Posted in Environment by Ken Thomas
I suppose we should be thankful that the environmentalists profiled in this piece would permit the use of any kind of toilet paper at all. I once heard a very loud and earnest argument from an environmentalist about the evils of using all varieties of toilet paper. His suggestion was to use . . . you guessed it: your hands. Even so, his environmentalism was suspect. For he also advocated the use of soap and water after the deed--and, not to be too graphic here--that would obviously mean using more soap and water than one normally uses upon such occasions. As a citizen of Los Angeles County, I am not sure that we would be permitted to use that much water in our current "crisis" . . . and, even if we were allowed to use it, would our water mains support the added burden to the system? And I don't even want to contemplate the potential damage stemming from the additional release of phosphates into the environment because of the increased soap usage.
Perhaps we could do some kind of cap and trade arrangement . . . though, there would be a real concern about the potential for sexism in any plan for the distribution of these credits.
Yes, it is a real problem for the ages. But don't worry. Somewhere there is an earnest leftist hard at work to discover and promote the proper way for all of us to wipe our hind ends. Good to know someone is out there working on the big questions while lesser minds concern themselves with trivial matters like freedom, justice and economic prosperity.
One fondly recalls the original Cynics, named for their dog-like behavior, and I don't mean their affection.
The human desire to sanctify, or at least have a real reason for, everything is strong. If we try to push it aside, it rushes back in. Combine that with the desire to appear virtuous in the eyes of others, and we have the motivation for a great deal of command and control.
This subject has already been addressed here at NLT, in a similarly lame, cynical, and snarky manner, several months back:
As I was then, I'm amazed that the people who constantly want to affiliate themselves with manliness are so quick to defend the most crass marketing efforts to appeal to our fussiest, softest, most finicky desires, such as this for ever-softer toilet paper. In much of central and eastern Europe, the old Commie-style toilet paper is still popular, even among those who can afford the softer stuff from the US-based companies. Generally the attitude is "it's good enough for the intended purpose" and there's also a burgeoning awareness that it IS more eco-friendly. Why fell extra forests just to clean our derrieres? Perhaps THAT gets to the kernel of the right's contempt for these enviro concerns (even while I hold out the distinct possibility that such things sometimes get higher priority than they deserve) - it's somehow manly to use a chainsaw to cut butter, to drive a Hummer over paved roads to meetings of men in suits puffing cigars, to knock down trees purely for the purpose of indulging in extra-luxurious toilet paper. At least, it's manly in the eyes of the right-wing beholder.
You don't understand, Craig. It's not about us men; most of us use sandpaper. It's just that it would be unmanly to require that our wives and daughters use anything but the softest toilet paper.
Oh, that's it, eh John? Well, I guess in that case, I win, seeing as I provide the women of my family with a special Toto "cleansing" toilet (think something like a bidet, but more thorough and more complicated) that uses only purified water that I have shipped in from a secret island in the Pacific. (Velvet towels are kept at toilet-side, as well) For myself, I just use broken whiskey bottles, and I've always assumed other men do the same. Sandpaper strikes me as a bit prissy.
Here's betting the Cheney bathrooms are always stocked (by the maid) with nothing but the very softest for Dickie-Poo.
Aside from Craig's "lame,cynical and snarky" reductio ad absurum about Cheney, he touches on a vital point. He can use (or not use, especially for this purpose) whatever he likes, given our free market. He can provide for his family as he pleases. We all can.
What this piece of news had primarily meant to me, before reading this blog, was that now I need to worry about what the toilet paper I buy is going to do to my septic system. I was annoyed that I have this whole new shopping worry when buying toilet paper. It is bizarre to me that to I may find myself paying more for an uncomfortable product so I will not have to suffer septic system renovation and rehabilition more frequently.
However, even if the federal government enacts regulation of the content of toilet paper, requiring some higher percentage of recycled paper, (unless the goal is punishment of us all for being human and products resembling the paper now used for newsprint) the industry will find some means of making a marketable product even given restrictions. That will probably require the use of chemicals, to make the product close to meeting current industry standards (the explanation of which made me laugh out loud when reading the article) which will offer new waste management problems. Here we are back to Julie's unintended consequences, which Craig also reduces to absurdity.
Of course, we could go to a command economy, which seems increasingly possible and apparently would please Craig, but I think that would be punishment. Isn't it funny, maybe I am wrong, that in "the worst economy since the Great Depression" we are upset about the too common use of luxurious toilet paper?
I've noticed a real lack of civility in the tone of American politics since Obama's been elected.
I think Cheney and Obama probably wipe their behinds with the U.S. Constitution.
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