Friday, February 7, 2014

Olympic Bathrooms: Casinha Grande e Senzala?

Nick Trask
has some delightful commentary on Sochi bathroom hotels:

"On Sochi hotel toilets: Žižek was right that differences among toilets convey national ideologies. In this case: hastily and shoddily put together to impress Westerners, but also not giving a fuck because fuck Westerners!

'It is easy for an academic at a round table to claim that we live in a pos
t-ideological universe, but the moment he visits the lavatory after the heated discussion, he is again knee-deep in ideology.'"

Brazilian Olympic planners should take this into consideration: you can jail dissidents, kill stray dogs, beat prostitutes, torture gays, evict poor communities at the point of the police baton and the Western media will still give you the benefit of the doubt.

Fuck with the journalists' shitters, however, and you'll have a PR disaster on your hands.

It's going to be fun to see how these same people react to Rio in six months time.

Here, toilets are completely schizophrenic.

Some rival anything in the first world for comfort and convenience, at least outwardly. Most, however, are cracked and stained, lacking seats, and can't reliably swallow toilet paper.

Even in the best bathrooms, however, where no expense has been spared to convince guests that they are crapping in civilized comfort, problems are routine. Brazilian plumbers have apparently never heard of S-traps, so sewer gas will frequently waft up from below. And, for some reason, bathroom builders here often have a hard time anchoring toilets to the floor. As you lean over to go for the paper, you'll thus often find yourself wobbling precariously on your porcelain throne.

Brazilian bathroom behavior is even more revealing. Many men display their patriarchical contempt for the (often literally) shitty accomodations by walking to the door of the commode and letting loose with a spray in the general direction of the bowl.

Meanwhile, women (educated from childhood on that the vagina is the sacred repository of the family's honor and should never be sullied by public exposure) often decide to perch on top of the toilet bowl, planting their feet on it and crouching to do their business (which might explained why the fixtures so commonly come unanchored in this country).

In spite of the fact that the Russians invented the name, however, Rio has had much more practice at building Potemkin Villages, so we'll see how many of these hard-boiled seekers of truth get fooled.

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