The Defamation of Defecation

As per my promise, I’m tackling the tough issues this month.

  • Why don’t writers get down and dirty with doo-doo?
  • Why are we fickle about feces?
  • Why don’t we care about crap?
  • Why do we subvert the soft-serve?
  • Why don’t we contemplate constipation?
  • On the other end, why don’t we narrate nausea?
  • Why are we belligerent about barf?
  • Why is coming up with these so much fun?

Let’s start with everyday life.  People will say “I have to use the rest room” or even “I have to pee,” but it’s lewd and shocking to hear “I gotta take a dump,” generally speaking.  It’s a great way to put some grit into a character that we’re writing, because it speaks volumes about someone that they would speak, with volume, about needing to go #2.

I’ve read a lot about foods (Harry Potter is a good example) and a lot about wines (50 Shades talks about food/ wine pairings a LOT… and probably more realistically than the sexy parts).  Consistency, color, aroma, feel…

But it still has those attributes coming out, doesn’t it?  (In either direction, I might add!)

This brings me to another point, and a very important one.  I’ll never eat the magical foods of the wizarding world and I’m not into wine like Christian is.  From a distinct lack of goose and bread pudding and escargot, I have awfully limited experience with food.  And I’m an American- so what about someone from a totally different ethnic background?  Will mashed potatoes hold meaning?

But there is a way to reach readers more effectively.  There are lots of people with colostomies, but the point is that literally everyone, everywhere, has experienced poop (even if it goes into a bag).  It’s a universal demographic.

So what, it’s gross?  Lewd?  Inappropriate?  Not socially acceptable?

People still read things written from the viewpoint of cannibals and child rapists.

There are TV shows that strictly avoid bathrooms, stressful dramas that don’t have stress-induced BMs, licorice fanatics that don’t extol the virtues of the lubricating effects of the greenish dye, silent victims of a digestive system unable to process capsaicin (spicy in, spicy out)…

I think we need to grow up a little, writers, and tackle this tough issue.  Who’s with me?

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2 thoughts on “The Defamation of Defecation

  1. Two things that came to mind. First – Gulliver’s Travels where good old Mr. Swift expresses his annoyance at the writer who don’t mention basic human needs like going to the toilet that are very much a huge part of a human being. Mr. Swift is also quite elaborate in letting the readers know how Gulliver ‘did his business’, and I can’t say I liked it. Hence the second thing that I was reminded of. One person said to me once: “If there’s shit in life, it doesn’t make you have to make a movie about it.” Well, there’s a Korean cartoon called ‘Doggy Poo’, which is a cute and lovely christian story about how all things, no matter how gross, are a part of God’s creation and are worth something. Other than that, I’d rather authors leave the ‘gross and basic’ out of the books I read. 🙂

  2. I think I might have mentioned the quote before, but I guess it’s worth it 🙂

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