Well, long-time readers of this blog will recall a number of shrill screeds on our part about how the BID Patrol keeps arresting people for public urination but the HPOA doesn’t do anything to get public toilets installed. And aren’t we embarrassed now. We had assumed that the HPOA had so much political juice that they could get anything they wanted out of the city, so the fact that Hollywood has no public toilets, we wrongly assumed, was proof that the HPOA was opposed to them.
We’ve written before about the shameless hypocrisy of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, whose bully-boy BID patrol agents arrest homeless people on a regular basis for relieving themselves on the public street.
We’ve argued that the HPOA consciously chooses to deprive the homeless of access to bathrooms, and is thus culpable for the broken lives and pain caused by the collateral consequences of these hundreds of arrests over the years. We’ve discussed the fact that the HPOA not only sets these people up for arrest by not having public restrooms available and then compounds their crime by arresting them, but they also mock them for the fact that they’re forced to shit in the streets.
Human shit has a number of remarkable properties. First of all, every human produces shit. Secondly, every fully autonomous human handles the disposal of their own shit. In fact, properly disposing of one’s own shit is a necessary condition for being considered a fully autonomous human being. Thus it is possible to efficiently and completely dehumanize people by preventing them from dealing competently with their shit.
This principle was grasped early on by the National Socialist founders of the infamous complex of concentration camps known collectively as Auschwitz,1 where the subhuman (Jews, Russians, etc.) inmates were allotted only 0.2 square feet of toilet space, less than one twelfth the amount allocated for ordinary criminal prisoners. Historian Robert-Jan Van Pelt summarizes the view of historian Terrence Des Pres that design choices like this, which resulted in every surface in the camps including human flesh, being covered with shit, were “the result of a deliberate policy to destroy the last vestiges of the prisoners’ sense of self-worth. It was not enough just to kill the prisoners. They had to be totally broken first.“2 As Van Pelt summarizes, “with the latrines submerged in excrement, with very little water to be had at very few points, and with mud all around, what remained was an inmate population without the means to preserve any outward sign of human dignity.”“2
It’s not discussed in the article we’re citing, but it’s surely plausible that such degradation made it easier for the SS to go about their unholy work of genocide. No matter how cruel the project, the guards carrying it out were still human beings, and is it not easier to send millions of people to their deaths if they’re smeared with their own shit and therefore, at least in that one sense, not fully human? Or to move them away from their native land so that you and your totalitarian buddies can move in? This principle has been rediscovered throughout history by those who have need of such a tool.
NOTE (December 2015): Please read this retraction to provide context to this post. We remain right about many of the issues discussed, but we were dead wrong about the BID’s opposition to public toilets. They support them.
The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance is really, really, really opposed to people pissing on the streets of Hollywood. They’re so opposed that in 2013 they spent over $132,000 to combat it, at approximately $1500 per pissing incident.1 Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. It’s safe to assume that the HPOA BIDs have their hearts dead set against public pissing.