Plumbing Info

Assemblywoman March Fong breaks a porcelain potty with a sledgehammer on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento, California, April 26, 1969. Photograph: Walter Zeboski/AP

If you’ve ever heard of Uber or Airbnb, the advent of Looie probably won’t surprise you – and if you haven’t…Well first off, let us assure you that you’re not completely alone in this or devastatingly old, and then let’s marvel together at the idea of an app for your smartphone that will help you find a clean bathroom wherever you happen to be.

What’s the catch, you say? A monthly subscription fee. Since many of us have suffered through a hellacious bathroom experience replete with dirty walls, unflushed toilets, and the fear that washing our hands may result in catching a deadly disease rather than preventing one at least once in our lives, we can be completely on board with paying to use a clean public facility.

However, the “public” may not be exactly accurate in this instance. When you must begin paying for the privilege of using the privy, is it really public anymore? Jeff Sparrow (for The Guardian) raises some interesting questions about what society looks like when you start charging people for bodily functions. While we can’t say we wholeheartedly 100% agree or disagree with his views, we do encourage you to consider these points for yourself.

Additionally, we would like to point out one topic entirely neglected in Sparrow’s article – sanitation. What becomes of the taken-for-granted level of basic hygiene and sanitation we enjoy in the United States if the poor or dependent no longer have free access to public restrooms? When you gotta go, you gotta go. If there’s nowhere available, what’s to stop them from using the street? More questions to ponder…

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