Join us on Facebook
What's Happening
Events & Entertainment
For a good claws
Columnist, Blogs & Reports
more >>
Larry Barnett
Public Citizen
Larry Barnett

Urine Trouble

Leaked documents detailing urine-play in a hotel in Russia are spattering the reputation of Donald Trump. It's been a while since "night water" has been in the news, but historically the topic of urine has bubbled up from time to time in literature and satire. Donald is not the first to suffer the ravages of scatology. Among the earliest writers to realize its potential was the 15th century Renaissance physician-cleric Francois Rabelais, whose five-book legend of the giants Gargantua and Pantagruel is widely considered the precursor to modern literature. Taking advantage of a whole range of scatological references, bodily functions and assignations, Rabelais entertains the reader with tales of war punctuated by the landscape-transforming power of Gargantua's bladder and the copious amounts of urine it contains.  His penchant for dismissive and insulting names for characters, even when translated from French, do not lose their punch; thus we find Lords Tickledingus Touchfaucet, Kissarse, and Bumfondle, also Captains Krapp and Tripefart Tripet. In this way, he pokes fun at royal power, and through relentless satire reduces the host of human affairs to little more than elaborations of biological and emotionally-driven needs. Jonathan Swift, the Irish Dean and author of Gulliver's Travels, explored much the same territory in his poems and books. Littered with scatology, Swift's works spanned the 17th and 18th centuries, a period dominated by the expansion of empires and the exploration of the world. Like Rabelais, Swift loved the power and humor of satire, and packed his tales of Gulliver with numerous episodes and accounts of bodily function, using it as humorous metaphor to depict the foolishness and arrogance of society's powerful but ignorant - scientists, clergy, and royalty were his frequent targets. In Gulliver's visit to the land of the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, humans are reduced to primitive "Yahoos", cavorting like monkeys in the treetops and treating passers-by to generous helpings of turds and urine from above. In 1917, the artist Marcel Duchamp famously turned a porcelain urinal on its back and signing it "R. Mutt" titled it "Fountain," thereby upending the art world (see photo above). More recently, urine played a primary role in the career of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who, had 9/11 not taken place, may well have gone down in history for reasons other than a terrorist attack. Titled "Piss Christ", artist Andres Serrano's photograph of a crucifix immersed in a tank of Serrano's urine provoked an outraged Giuliani to block the city's funding of the Brooklyn Museum unless the artwork was removed. His censorious action in 1989 outraged the art community, and Serrano's piece survived to continue to generate a chamber-pot's worth of froth in subsequent exhibitions. It was Sigmund Freud, of course, who markedly brought the west's attention to the importance of bodily functions and sexuality in human affairs. His idea that early fixations on bodily functions remain embedded within a subconscious realm, influencing and coloring feelings and thought, outraged many at the time, but we cannot deny how culturally significant sexual imagery and "vulgar" ideas have been and continue to be. Suddenly the topic of Golden Showers has risen to the top of the news cycle. In a way it's reassuring that we cannot escape our most basic and earliest experiences and the effects they convey into our present. If Rabelais, Swift and Freud were correct, civilization repeatedly mirrors our bodily obsessions and fixations; that such matters have yet again become topical, not to mention fodder for Alex Baldwin's Pee-Pee talk on Saturday Night Live, testifies to the political power of piss.
Continue Story...
Local Movie Trailers and Videos of Interest - more >>
SUN Columnist & Blogs
more >>
Public Citizen - Larry Barnett
The Sun Eats - Sonoma Valley Sun
Before It's Too Late - Eric Gullotta
The Sonoma Garden - Karen Boness
Progressive Majority Coalition - Ben Boyce
Taxpertise - Bonnie Lee
Snark Infested Waters - Bob Edwards
Springs Eternal - Gina Cuclis
Board Walk - Susan Gorin
Nonprofit Matters - Dr. B.J. Bischoff
What's Up With That? - Katy Byrne
Connecting the Dots - Fred Allebach
This Week in Politics - Ron Willis Ed.D.
Voices of the New Majority - Alejandro Águilar
Creative Arts - Deb Carlen, Editor
Sun In-Depth Report - Sonoma Valley Sun
Under the Sun: Interviews - Sonoma Valley Sun
Call the Super - Louann Carlomagno
Emily’s Post - Emily
Rude Awakenings - Catherine Sevenau
Find What You're looking For


Readers Poll
What We're Following
Stories of interest from around the Web
The owner of Yountville’s French Laundry restaurant now wants to build a hotel
> North Bay Business Journal
Land Trust of Napa County has added 7,260 acres northeast of Calistoga into a conservation easement
> Napa Valley Register
Community clinics ponder their fate in light of the possible repeal of Obamacare
Ukiah has decided to lift its ban on pot dispensaries
> Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Extra Larkspur ferry run added to accommodate march participants in San Francisco on Saturday
> Marin IJ
With Trump’s inauguration, California has dropped its plan to allow undocumented people to obtain state exchange health insurance
> Sacramento Bee
Santa Rosa City School declares grounds to be safe haven for immigrants.
> Santa Rosa City School
Wells Fargo Bank is going to close 400 branches; the status of those in our area is unknown at this time
> North Bay Business Journal
The first of three storms has passed through…what’s next?
> East Bay Times
Towns like San Rafael are getting ready to cash in on the Pot economy
> Marin IJ
She’s 83 and thinking about running again for Senator; what will Diane Feinstein decide?
The Earth’s temperature reached a new record in 2016, for the third year in a row
> Sacramento Bee
Oooops. The California legislature has questions about a $1.5 billion error in the Governor’s budget
> Los Angeles Times
Highway 37 has reopened in both directions at Highway 101
> Marin IJ
Farmers are trying to develop strategies to store water undergound, now that the rain has returned
Three storms are lined up in the Pacific…here’s how it looks
> Sacramento Bee
Pesticides contaminated about one-quarter of pot samples at the Emerald Cup
> Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary has his fast food employees in California worried
> New York Times
The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge addition of a lane is under way
> Marin IJ
There are eight very rich men who together have as much wealth as 3.6 billion people
> East Bay Times
More Following Stories...
Live Traffic
Link to Live Crime Map