Privacy and Power
The Throne Behind the Power
Attitudes about privacy have changed through the centuries, with much of that change coming very recently when most of the western world has become prosperous enough to afford it. National rulers and others wielding great power play by a different set of rules. This includes not caring about privacy while using the toilet. This goes back to the Bronze Age and continued through medieval times, but recent leaders such as U.S. President Lyndon Johnson have practiced Bronze-Age-style toilet habits.
The one theme constant from Old Testament times to today is that one of the privileges of great power or high social station is the lack of concern for privacy. It wasn't so much about privacy as it was about power and privilege.
Actions or situations that might be distasteful or embarrassing for commoners were not to those in power. Royalty and nobility could behave however they pleased.
This same "open toilet policy" for aides and emissaries continued at least as late as the 1963-1969 administration of the U.S. president Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Many Greek island public toilets are squatters, they are simple to build and easy to keep far cleaner than raised porcelain commodes. My collection also includes the raised thrones you will find in δοματια or domatia, typical accommodations.
Plus, inter-island ferry toilets and historic toilets like those at the Asclepion on Kos.
Only 22 days until Thomas Crapper's birthday!
81 days until World Toilet Day
Welcome to the Toilets of the World, where you can view toilets from all around the world. Are you wondering how to use a bidet, or even what a bidet is? Curious about what the toilets are like in a specific country such as France, Turkey, China, Greece, Japan, or many others? Would you like to see some of the worst toilets in the world? Or maybe you're interested in historical toilets, from ancient Greece and Rome, or even the Stone Age? Do you wonder who invented the flush toilet? (It wasn't Thomas Crapper) You've come to the right place! The Toilets of the World are ready for your visit. Learn about toilets, bidets, urinals, sinks, tubs, and other plumbing from all around the world.
Tour the Toilets!
Belgium Bulgaria China France Greek Islands Japan Turkey Trinidad Russia and many others
The Stone Age Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Bible era King Arthur's England Invention of the flush toilet To the toilets of the future
The Ottoman Sultan Woodrow Wilson Leon Trotsky Winston Churchill Adolf Hitler Dwight Eisenhower Robert Kennedy and others
William Shakespeare Edgar Allan Poe Vincent Van Gogh Jim Morrison Hunter S Thompson Tom Wolfe Lady Gaga and others
Did Thomas Crapper invent the flush toilet? Should I squat or sit? Should I wipe or wash? Where do I put used paper, in the bowl or in the bin? When did public toilets become segregated by sex? What is a bidet? What is a toilet snorkel? Should I incinerate my sewage in the basement?
Keep This Book In Your Bathroom
Rose George's The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters is a fascinating description of sanitation conditions around the world. To quote from the introduction:
[....] 2.6 billion people don't have sanitation.
I don't mean that they have no toilet in their house
and must use a public one with queues and fees.
Or that they have an outhouse, or a rickety shack that
empties into a filthy drain or pigsty.
All that counts as sanitation, though not a safe variety.
The people who have those are the fortunate ones.
Four in ten people have no access to any latrine,
toilet, bucket, or box.
Instead they defecate by train tracks and in forests.
They do it in plastic bags and fling them through the
air in narrow slum alleyways.
If they are women, they get up at 4 A.M. to be able to
do their business under cover of darkness for reasons
of modesty, risking rape and snakebites.
Four in ten people live in situations where they are
surrounded by human excrement because it is in the bushes
outside the village by in their city yards, left
by children outside the backdoor.
It is tramped back in on their feet, carried on fingers
onto clothes, food, and drinking water.|
[....] Poor sanitation, bad hygiene, and unsafe water — usually unsafe because it has fecal particles in it — cause one in ten of the world's illnesses. [....] Diarrhea — nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water — kills a child every fifteen seconds. The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade [1998-2008] exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.
Test your lavatorial knowledge with our new toilet quizzes!Quiz #1: International Toilets Quiz #2: Flying Toilets
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