Thursday, November 23, 2006

Shut Up and Sit Down

On page 180 of Mark Steyn's America Alone he writes that standing while peeing is frowned upon in Germany. There is an alarm you can buy for your toilet that gives off a scolding if the toilet seat is raised. Now I understand that many in Europe are giving up and letting their lives be run by nanny-state governments as they let their countries be overrun by Muslims who will force their children and grandchildren (if any) to adopt Islam or suffer for not submitting, but this seemed like a bit of Mark Steyn-brand humor.

Sadly, it isn't. According to the Telegraph,
German men are being shamed into urinating while sitting down by a gadget which is saving millions of women from cleaning up in the bathroom after them.

The WC ghost, a £6 voice-alarm, reprimands men for standing at the lavatory pan. It is triggered when the seat is lifted. The battery-operated devices are attached to the seats and deliver stern warnings to those who attempt to stand and urinate (known as "Stehpinkeln").

"Hey, stand-peeing is not allowed here and will be punished with fines, so if you don't want any trouble, you'd best sit down," one of the devices orders in a voice impersonating the German leader, Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. Another has a voice similar to that of his predecessor, Helmut Kohl.

The manufacturers of the WC ghost, Patentwert, say they are ready to direct their gadgets at the British market.

Their prototype English-speaking WC ghost says in an American drawl: "Don't you go wetting this floor cowboy, you never know who's behind you. So sit down, get your water pistol in the bowl where it belongs. Ha, ha, ha."

They also plan to copy the voices of Tony Blair and the Queen.

So far 1.8 million WC ghosts have been sold in German supermarkets.

But Klaus Schwerma, author of Standing Urinators: The Last Bastion of Masculinity? doubts whether it will ever be possible to convert all men.

"Many insist on standing, even though it leads to much marital strife," he said.

In German, the phrase for someone who sits and urinates, a "Sitzpinkler", is equivalent to "wimp".
Just how much control will Europeans allow their government to have over them? If they can get men to become wimps who allow themselves to be shamed into sitting to pee, there really is no hope for Europe.

I was in Germany in 1979. Public transportation was insanely cheap, probably subsidised heavily by the government. People still balked at paying, and many times didn't. It reminds me, as others have pointed out, of the spoiled child who gets what he wants, but is never satisfied with what he's got. I assume they still have cheap public transportation, but just as there is a cost to children for their treats, now the German adult children's cost (for men) is to become increasingly whimpy. Unfortunately, what they need is strength.

And as Norman Mailer once said,
There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same.

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