The Place of Excrement

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You can't win. Except, maybe you can. The carbonation helps break the chemicals down. You can also buy specialized wipes that neutralize the acidity of the excrement. Or, go the Waymo route and add mini wipers to every surface of your car. If the poop is long dried, leave a cloth soaked with car-safe cleaner over the stain for about 10 minutes, and gently rub it away.

Then, smooth out the paint by using a clay bar, polish, or soft sanding. When another bird immediately craps on your car, simply repeat the previous steps. You may even want to swallow your pride and cover your car with a tarp during the height of spring and fall migration. But bird poop isn't all bad. Read more. So do we. View the discussion thread. Audubon is a nonprofit organization committed to protecting birds and the places they need. Almost everyone who lives, works, or ventures into Old Town Chinatown has stories of routinely having to avoid stepping in coils of human shit.

Lucille says that during the summer she finds poop in the parking lot behind Kells almost every night. Flanked by the pseudo-cultured Pearl district to the west, Downtown to the south, and the broad Willamette River to the east, Old Town Chinatown houses some of the most iconic parts of the city.


Whenever tourists visit, most of them need to see the White Stag sign, Union Station, and the remnants of the underground tunnels that were used for Shanghaiing unwitting sailors, according to legend. Ten years ago, Portland was nothing more than the second-biggest city in the drab Pacific Northwest, but it seems like every day some national publication has it atop some internet click-through best-of list. Many out-of-town visitors I talked to in Old Town said they were shocked by the state of the district. Few imagined that waiting in line for a doughnut, or taking a picture under the neon Portland sign, would mean tiptoeing over turds on skid row.

Germs Are Us

With shelters, missions, and soup kitchens come areas of vagrancy, drug use, and overall shadiness. Everybody poops, but not everybody has a private place to slink away and drop a deuce, so the human shit piles up in alleyways, under bridges, and in public parks. The barren streets are dotted with transients lining the blocks. Alcoves are filled with bedrolls, shopping carts, and drooling junkies. According to a report issued by the city, almost a third of people on the streets have been in Portland for less than two years, and 60 percent of that group were homeless when they arrived.

Is hygiene in our genes?

Unsightly, unpleasant, smelly and anti-social

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine , 44 1 , 17— Sapolsky, R. New York: Penguin Press. Two families living in a house in Copenhagen used this toilet. Each family its own toilet roll.

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Thank you Rebecca Williams and Jed Stevenson for your comments. It is significant that both of you focus on disgust while my presentation discussed three qualities of dirt: disgust, humour and emphasis. But disgust comes first.

Live PD: Drunk guy poops all over the place.

It is the sine qua non for the other two. Without disgust, shit would not be able to provoke laughter or to produce rhetorical power. Rebecca and others in the audience wondered if Mary Douglas and I following her are not overlooking the inherent material and sensory dirtiness of faeces. It is obvious that the fried bacon in my copious English breakfast turns into dirt when I spill it on my clean trousers.

But what about faeces? Can they ever be clean and in place? Can they ever be not out of place? Defecatory dirt is not even mentioned in her book, if I remember correctly. The result of my test mainly by casual observations, chats and introspection was: she is right. Human relations are after all the place or situation in which we grow up and live. Privacy and intimacy versus public territory are profound qualities that to a large extent determine I use that term with hesitation as I consider it a forbidden word in anthropology … determine human experiences and well-being.

Individual versus society is an age-old theme of swinging discussions in anthropology and sociology. The relational dimension of place — and, therefore, of faeces — has been my main contribution to the debate about dirt: dirt is most disgusting when it is unwanted intimacy. This does not mean that I ignore the material qualities of defecatory dirt but I insist — in accordance with Douglas — that we normally overestimate the materiality of shit as source of disgust.

The past few decades anthropologists have — in my view convincingly — argued that our senses are not culture-free, nature-given.

In the place of excrement: progressive framing for a punitive species*

We have learned that certain smells, touches, sights, etc. Why do human babies want to touch shit, and why are dogs attracted by turds of other dogs, and why do fish and pigs eat shit? This insight implies that a discussion on inherent versus added dirtiness of — for example — faeces becomes a circular affair.

What was first, the material or the cultural? As an anthropologist I have learned to focus on living experiences, meanings and emotions instead of asking questions about first beginnings.

Hell of Excrement

But let me nevertheless speculate about the distant past. Prehistorical ancestors realised that certain materials were harmful to their health and therefore avoided them. Disgust developed out of avoidance and maintained it. This explanation sounds plausible for certain plants, foods and animals but why should there be disgust? Would caution not be enough?

In what way could the presence of human or animal faeces bring them to the conclusion that they were a danger to their health? Extreme dirt disturbs the order that people need to feel comfortable and secure, in primitive as well as present-day conditions. But why should faeces be extremely dirty, as I just said? Here my theory comes in. The distinction insiders-vs-outsider, us-vs-them, seems to me a more plausible constant in the history of mankind than disease prevention. There is no doubt that concern about health has always consisted, but not the clever medical reasoning that evolutionists assume when they defend their thesis about dirt avoidance.

Uncover Hidden Dream Meanings

Of course, there are examples that convincingly show that disgust follows the experience of getting sick. The smell of spoiled food is a warning against eating it. admin