Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mr Pope takes the piss

To give a tone of academic respectability to this forum, the GLG will occasionally report on instances of loo-going in world literature. Here is an excerpt from Alexander Pope’s rambling and cantankerous mock-epic poem The Dunciad:

See in the circle next, Eliza placed,
Two babes of love close clinging to her waist;
Fair as before her works she stands confess'd,
In flowers and pearls by bounteous Kirkall dress'd.
The goddess then: 'Who best can send on high
The salient spout, far-streaming to the sky;
His be yon Juno of majestic size,
With cow-like udders, and with ox-like eyes.
This China Jordan let the chief o'ercome
Replenish, not ingloriously, at home.'

(Note: In this section, poets, printers and publishers are competing in a series of games for the crown of Dulness. This game is a pissing contest—who can pee the highest—and the prize is the unfortunate playwright and novelist, Eliza Haywood. A Jordan, of course, is a chamber pot or a guzunder.)

Watch this space for the result of the pissing match.


Blogger lady marmalade said...

did you know that there are 'live and let live' pay-and-use loos in North Calcutta? Aptly named, given that most commuters who use these drink very little water, no? Concentrated ammo and all that.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rodin's The Thinker, is based on Dante but somehow it always reminds me of a man on the pot. This comparison is strengthened by Isabgol using a similar cartoon for its advertisements years back.

7:14 AM  
Blogger arundhati said...

no wonder martin luther(allegedly) wrote his magnum opus in the loo.the loo does ispire some heavy-duty thinking!

10:29 AM  
Blogger good morning, midnight said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:22 AM  
Blogger good morning, midnight said...

I remember Roald Dahl complaining about having to warm the loo seat for the senior boys at public school. Warming the freezing pot was apparently a major fagging duty.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Srin said...

How bout a post on goodloo reading, Sir?

11:31 AM  
Blogger Phõéníx said...

Lead vocalist of the Offspring spoke about how he would write his best lyrics on the pot. But that was a while they sound terrible. Hmm...I wonder what happened...

11:35 AM  
Blogger Abhijit Gupta said...

goodloo reading, aasche aasche, don't 'loo'se patience

12:31 PM  
Blogger Deep said...


June 11, 1942

From: Commanding Officer

To: Supply Officer, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California
Via: Commander Submarines, Southwest Pacific

Subject: Toilet Paper
Reference: (a) USS HOLLAND (5148) USS SKIPJACK req. 70-42 of 30 July 1941.
(b) SO NYMI Canceled invoice No. 272836

Enclosure: (1) Copy of cancelled Invoice
(2) Sample of material requested.

1. This vessel submitted a requisition for 150 rolls of toilet paper on July 30, 1941, to USS HOLLAND. The material was ordered by HOLLAND from the Supply Officer, Navy Yard, Mare Island, for delivery to USS SKIPJACK.
2. The Supply Officer, Navy Yard, Mare Island, on November 26, 1941, cancelled Mare Island Invoice No. 272836 with the stamped notation "Cancelled---cannot identify." This cancelled invoice was received by SKIPJACK on June 10, 1942.
3. During the 11 ¾ months elapsing from the time of ordering the toilet paper and the present date, the SKIPJACK personnel, despite their best efforts to await delivery of subject material, have been unable to wait on numerous occasions, and the situation is now quite acute, especially during depth charge attack by the "back-stabbers."
4. Enclosure (2) is a sample of the desired material provided for the information of the Supply Officer, Navy Yard, Mare Island. The Commanding Officer, USS SKIPJACK cannot help but wonder what is being used in Mare Island in place of this unidentifiable material, once well known to this command.
5. SKIPJACK personnel during this period have become accustomed to use of "ersatz," i.e., the vast amount of incoming non-essential paper work, and in so doing feel that the wish of the Bureau of Ships for the reduction of paper work is being complied with, thus effectively killing two birds with one stone.
6. It is believed by this command that the stamped notation "cannot identify" was possible error, and that this is simply a case of shortage of strategic war material, the SKIPJACK probably being low on the priority list.
7. In order to cooperate in our war effort at a small local sacrifice, the SKIPJACK desires no further action be taken until the end of the current war, which has created a situation aptly described as "war is hell."
J.W. Coe

11:26 PM  
Blogger Deep said...

Wikipedia says:

In the court of Henry VIII of England, the Groom of the Stool was given the job of cleaning the royal posterior with his hand. The Groom of the Stool was both a highly respected and coveted position. For security reasons, only a highly trusted courtier would be chosen and it was coveted because of the influence he might have with the king, daily having the opportunity to be alone with His Majesty.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Deep said...

Using water to clean oneself, in lieu of toilet paper, is common in India and Muslim countries, where people use their left hand to clean themselves and their right hand for eating or greeting (In parts of Africa, though, the converse is true, and a right-handed handshake could be considered rude). The use of water in Muslim countries is due in part to Muslim sharia which encourages washing after defecation. The lack of availability of paper in the Mideast and North Africa during the early period of Islamic history probably promoted this regime out of necessity. Toilet paper is not as rare today in these households, but in many countries, a hose with a water sprayer (called a "health faucet") or a pail of water is found instead.

Some people will just compromise and use toilet paper dipped in water to clean themselves. There have been attempts to market wet swipes as toilet paper, but the market was not big enough.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Erythrocyte said...

what happened to poor old Pope?
or are the boys too shy to talk about pissing contests?

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A funda from Suk Chau's Renaissance class: Sir John Harington who translated Ariosto's Orlando Furioso into English, also designed Britain's first flushing toilets.

More on this from the Wikipedia article on John Harington: "His attempt at a translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso caused his banishment from court for some years, but was completed in 1591 and received great praise.
Around this time, Harington also devised Britain's first flushing toilet — called the Ajax (i.e. "a jakes"; jakes being an old slang word for toilet) — installed at his manor in Kelston, and which was reputed to have been current with the queen herself. In 1596, Harington published a book on his device, entitled The Metamorphosis of Ajax, but his use of certain political allusions led to a further banishment from court, and he was threatened with proceedings in the Star Chamber."

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A loo is also referred to as a John because of John Harington and not because of King John (as depicted in the film Robin Hood: Men in Tights).

7:13 AM  
Blogger "sen"sational said...

regarding loo reading material....has anyone ever tried reading in an eastern style loo?? or is this habit restricted to western style toilets only?

7:33 AM  
Blogger the wizard of az said...

Speaking of pissing contests...try holding them off (deserted) mountain passes...And speaking of mountain passes they're the biggest loos I've ever used. had too. Going on treks is fun. (How about a Dept. trek?) My first time did, however, leave me a lil taken aback when we crossed the tree-line proper and hit snow. Pretty difficult to find cover then...

1:36 PM  

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