Is your bathroom a cause of political radicalism?

bathroom bolsheviks.jpgI've been in some pretty terrible public bathrooms, some of which made me want to do various things, but I can't say they really affected my politics. But back in the 1930s, it was apparent to major paper companies that the best way fight the Red Menace was by eliminating scratchy toilet paper, which is why this poster strikes me as interesting.
<--Try wiping your hands each day on harsh, cheap paper towels and maybe you too, would grumble.
(Personally, I'd prefer even cheap paper towels over electric dryers although the new Xcelerator models are fun because you can make gross noises when you hold your hands just so.)


  1. I love propaganda. I wonder if there’s a modern anti-terrorist version. Maybe something having to do with fabric softener?

  2. My gosh that’s It! This is why I’ve been politically pissed off latetly: I just needed some cottony softness in my bathroom tissue!

    Kinda obvious now that I think about it.

    Thank you, Boing Boing!

  3. Woah! I used to have this advert as a poster on my bathroom door, but forgot to take it down when I moved. Still hilarious.

  4. Ha ha, the biggest sources of discontent for me when I worked in an office were the office being overheated and THE BATHROOM. The texture of the paper towel wasn’t so much of an issue of the way in which it was dispensed. Who in their right mind would design a paper towel dispenser that would require you to pull a lever that was touched by everyone else who used the bathroom before, including The Man With The Exploding Rectum who likes to leave a Jackson Pollock in the stall a few times a week? Do you think anyone who touched that thing got crap on their hands? Damned right they did. So what’s the point of washing your hands if you have to touch something that has someone else’s crap on it to get a paper towel to dry them?

  5. I wouldn’t say the paper towels at my workplace are causing Bolshevism, but the automatic taps have inspired several Frankfurt School reading groups.

  6. I had that in my guest bathroom back when I owned a house! The poster actually says “six days a week”, which fascinated me, since I read that as people were always in at work on Saturdays. They may have been, I don’t know.

  7. It’s a slippery slope from chapped hands to the Revolution!

    I like the Xcelerators, too. I cup my hands together and leave a gap between my thumbs a certain way and try to make this terrible howling sound.

  8. My friend has had that poster up in his bathroom for a couple of years. It always gives me a chuckle.

  9. The Reason Foundation — a libertine and libertarian bunch who produce Reason Magazine — has that poster in the bathroom of their DC HQ. I had to laugh at it when I saw it at their Christmas party, and ask Nick Gillespie, the editor-in-chief, where they got ’em.

  10. My husband had this in his bathroom when first started dating. Twenty years later, it’s still one of the things I love about him. <3!

  11. I’ve got this poster hanging in my bathroom. My dad gave it to me and we’ve had it for years. The one I really want though is the R. Crumb poster of a talking toilet that reminds you why it’s important to wipe your ass.

  12. The poster reminds me of the old joke about East German toilet paper “Why is the toilet paper in the GDR so rough? The Party wants every ass to be red!”)

  13. I deeply love the tacit assumption that grumbling workers = teh Bolshiosocialism, O noes! Management was so much more refreshingly honest in its contempt for labor way back when.

    1. If the workers complain, then bosses can consider them Reds, just rabble-rousers, not someone whose demands should be met or considered. But the ad encourages the company to buy superior paper towels and provide decent facilities to prevent apparently valid complaints. It sounds like they’re admitting that Bolsheviks have valid complaints, so employers should humor them in some ways.

      Are starving children in your ghettos breeding Bolsheviks? Citizens lose respect for a nation that fails to provide even minimal resources and facilities for their survival. Just ask Katrina!

  14. My roommate had that poster on our wall last year. We both agreed that it very likely explained my school’s high concentration of socialists. In fact, we once had a group set up a socialist commune on the front lawn. Of course, the students in the fascism seminar decided to stage a takeover, which the socialists were dumbfounded by.

  15. My (Cuban) ex-girlfriend had that poster in her bathroom. It glared at you as you sat. Always made me laugh.

  16. I don’t know it it’s still there, but that poster was in the mens room at San Francisco Green Party headquarters in 2004.

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