I find the whole subject of shit fascinating. I wouldn’t call myself an obsessive by any means; I’m no scatologist. I just find it hard to see how anyone interested in mind-body dualism, what culture is, what it means to be human… how could these quite natural interests not result in a healthy concern with crap?
Some shitty things that have grabbed me along the way:
- Alchemy via Coil and Jodorowsky.
- Anton LaVey’s ‘Hatha Toilet Seat Meditation’ in The Devil’s Notebook. Wittily lauds the sanctity of the water closet: that lock on the door and the free expression of base functions working well as sanctuary for the individualist. Whenever I work in offices, going into a toilet cubicle always gives me the same feeling I recall from stepping off-stage when performing in theatre.
- Norman O. Brown’s chapters on Swift and Luther in Life Against Death. Surely archaic by current academic standards, this psychoanalytical rummage through satire, Protestantism and capital still shines by virtue of its clarity and persuasiveness.
- ‘In Praise Of Devil Worship’ by Ramsey Dukes and ‘Nature Of The Beast’ by D.M. Mitchell. Both essays, while dealing with more general subjects, do a good job of mapping the waste-management crossovers between ecology and occultism. I first found both in The NOX Anthology: Dark Doctrines edited by Stephen Sennitt. You can still find Dukes’ piece in What I Did In My Holidays.
- The History of Shit by Dominique LaPorte. Great title, but a so-so read, this gives an interesting view to counter LaVey’s individualist toiletry, detailing the ‘privatisation’ (in its loosest sense) of human waste management in France.
- PoopReport.com. Home of the Shameless Shitting Manifesto, intellectual crap, and much more poo-related stuff than you’ll really want to bother with.
- Peiro Manzoni‘s audacious, cheeky, someone-had-to-do-it art project, Merde d’artista. Basically, the guy meticulously produced 90 cans of his own shit, and sold them as art.
- The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business. A friend bought me this a few years ago, and it’s been next to my toilet ever since.
Well, this little roundup was prompted by Another World Is Here, an intelligent and wide-ranging blog worth keeping an eye on. Alex Steffen just posted a little something on waste management and sustainability, with some good general thoughts and links on the ecology of human shit.
Norman O. Brown argued that time’s relationship to money, and both of their relationships to shit, intimately binds our historical and eschatological constructs to the lowliest, most abject side of our lives. I think you’d be hard put to find an intelligent ecologist who wouldn’t agree in principle. I guess the lesson—in psychology, sociology and ecology—is: Hold your nose and turn away at your own peril. And maybe everyone else’s peril, too.
UPDATE: On a lighter, slightly smellier note, here’s a few more links direct from a fellow scatophile, Merrick:
- German Toilets. An American look at those odd "shelved" toilets.
- Poo-eating Pigs. Waste management in India, as natural and weird as it gets.
- Do You Have Demons In Your Colon? Satire’s difficult with something as batty (no pun intended) as Christianity. Just ask Martin Luther…
- For Me To Poop On! Of course, how could I forget this handy service, to have Triumph the insult comic dog go crap on a website for you.
- You’ve surely seen Rate My Poo. People take photos of their dumps, and strange people give them marks out of ten…
There was another link sent by Merrick with this bunch, but I’m not posting it here as it’s not strictly about faeces. It’s also repulsive (think "surgery", think "anal", then thank me profusely).