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WHY THE TOILET IS A LIBERAL ADVENTURE | 2004-10-23

Every child has to go through the pulling out of his "baby" teeth, but we consider it a childish problem. If an adult had to go through that, he would demand anesthetics.

Remember Mister Rogers? He was a wonderful man who had a program for preschoolers. He was actually an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church. One of his little songs was about, "You won't go down the drain." He was telling three-year-olds that when they took a bath and all that water fell into the drain, they wouldn't go down the drain. Tiny children are afraid of that drain.

Who else would think of that?

Another traumatic problem little children have is the "stinky" in their diapers. At first, all the attention they get from their Mommy when the diaper is changed is just fun.

Then they find that "the stinky" is a disgusting thing.

Then they find out, to their horror, that even Mommy and Daddy "go stinky." Then they get to the first grade and they tell each other jokes about "go stinky." It makes them feel grownup to make those jokes.

I think New York writers are stuck right there. I can't get inside their minds, so this is a guess: I think their obsession with the toilet that puzzles and irritates the rest of us is that, being raised by Jewish Mothers, they are still at the first-grade stage. They are still bragging about their familiarity with the fact that everybody goes to the stinky. For them, this is a symbol of macho adulthood.

New York Intellectuals are still six-year-olds in many ways.