Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Reading: And You Thought You Knew How To Poop

japanese-toilet The Internet never ceases to amaze me.  Last week, the creator of 4Chan was explaining “rickroll” to a captive audience of jurors, and this week Slate’s Daniel Lametti described the various ways in which we’re pooping incorrectly.

To say “various” is a little inaccurate.  He’s mostly concerned with the method favored by the majority of the world: cheeks resting on porcelain, perhaps with a magazine or camera in hand.  According to more than a handful of nutjobs, this simply isn’t the correct way to go about your business.  We should all be squatting, as nature intended.  Lametti explains why in clinical (and inadvertently hilarious) detail:

“Before we dive into the data, let's review the mechanics of going to the bathroom. People can control their defecation, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But that muscle can't maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend between the rectum—where feces builds up—and the anus—where feces comes out. When we're standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.”

I’m sorry, but a venerable site like Slate (it’s been around since 1996; that’s like a century in Web years) taking the time to cover the benefits of squat-pooping just makes me giggle.  Usually, articles like this are prompted by current events (though what could prompt something like this I don’t want to imagine), but I can’t find any evidence of this in Lametti’s piece.  He cites a Time magazine article from the 70s, as well as a number of gastroenterological texts and some websites.  No breaking fecal news or anything.

Does anyone else find this as funny as I do?