Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bathroom Humor

The other day, I made an off-hand reference to two conservatives who have been obsessed with our nation's toilets. It's Stickleback Saturday, so what better excuse to dredge up a couple of my old cartoons about them?

First was Phyllis Schlafly, spokesperson for the Eagle Forum and vociferous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The proposed amendment, which passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly in 1972, would have guaranteed women equal rights before the law with men. Schlafly is credited for derailing its ratification, predicting that the ERA would result in unisex bathrooms, same-sex marriage, and compulsory military service for women. The ERA fell three states short of ratification in 1982.

There was some talk of reviving the ERA after Democrats swept the 2006 elections. Only talk, apparently. Most public buildings still offer a choice of men's and women's rest rooms, and there hasn't been any military draft since the Vietnam War, As of this writing, we're still waiting for the Supreme Court's ruling on whether marriage equality should be the law of the land even without the ERA.

I drew the above cartoon for the Kenosha [Wisconsin] Tribune when the deadline for ratification had passed in July of 1982. I believe I've mentioned the Tribune before; it was a very short-lived newspaper that failed to survive that summer.

I have no idea whether Schlafly's husband, John Fred Schlafly Jr. bore any resemblance to the man in the cartoon. Or whether they had a dog.

✍ ✍ ✍

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) had a very different interest in public rest rooms. The conservative Idahoer (yes, that's a word) had racked up a solidly antigay voting record in the House and Senate when, on June 11, 2007, he was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport for soliciting sex from an undercover policeman in the men's room.

The nation learned how men supposedly invite sexual encounters by sticking a foot underneath the stall divider; Senator Craig protested that the officer had misinterpreted his habitual "wide stance." He later revised that to "I'm a wide guy," but ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Meanwhile, the second stall from the right in the men's room next to the lottery shop actually became a tourist attraction.

I drew a couple earlier cartoons about Craig, but my favorite is this one from June of 2008, when the retiring senator announced that he planned to write his memoirs.

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