Critical Loo Studies

Amos, D. “Marxist Approaches to Public Urination: The Dialectical Materialism of Portland’s Public Loos.” Critical Loo Studies 5:1 (2012), 215-260.

As radical urinary Marxist, Amos is committed to justifying the use of public money for public restrooms. Using Portland’s famously successful model as an example, Amos spins a fabulist’s argument, and regales us with the history of private sector attempts to control public waste elimination. The private sector, Amos argues, is simply incapable of financing this sort of endeavor because the market capitalization process is inefficient when applied to problems of defecation. In other words, “capitalists can’t account for pooping” (217). Unfortunately, his attempt at a Marxist solution falls flat; Amos claims that the fundamental model of “from each according to his ability to poop, to each pooper according to his needs” (240) is the fairest distribution, yet contravenes his own argument with his previously issued historical evidence: “Traditionally, those in need of expedient bowel release have been unlikely to receive subsidies from those who ‘sit all broken-hearted,’ and strangely all consider this to be fair…to the point of legislation on the matter” (234). Overall, while Amos’s history is useful, his conclusions are not.

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