by Todd Strandberg
Down the Toilet
I have always been fascinated by how our standards of morality
change over time.
What was taboo a few years ago is not even worthy of debate today.
part is how this process goes on unnoticed.
Recently, I was watching a program on PBS about the history of
late-night television. In one segment, the program announcer talked
about "The Tonight Show" on NBC. In the early '60s, it was hosted by
the late great Jack Paar.
On February 11, 1960, Jack Paar famously walked off his show for a
month after NBC censors edited out a segment, filmed the night before, about a joke
involving a W.C. Being a thin-skinned emotional type, Paar abruptly quit the show
four minutes into a live program.
As he left his desk, he said, "I am leaving "The Tonight Show."
There must be a better
way of making a living than this."
Parr returned a month later and opened with the famous line, "As I
was saying before I was interrupted: When I walked off, I said there
must be a better way of making a living. Well I've looked and there
isn't. Be it ever so humble, there is no place like Radio City."
I was interested in finding the joke that caused all the trouble, so
I did a quick search of Google and found several sites posting the
infamous gag. It is so tame by today's standards, you would probably
have a hard time convincing someone unfamiliar with the incident
that it was once censored.
There is no sexual reference at all. You might call it bathroom
humor, but of the tamest variety. Here is the full text of the joke:
In the days when you couldn't count on a public facility to have
indoor plumbing, an English woman was planning a trip to Germany.
She was registered to stay in a small guest house owned by the local
schoolmaster. She was concerned as to whether the guest house
contained a WC. In England, a bathroom is commonly called a WC,
which stands for water closet. She wrote the schoolmaster inquiring
into the location of the nearest WC.
The schoolmaster, not fluent in English, asked the local priest if
he knew the meaning of WC. Together they pondered possible meanings
of the letters and concluded that the lady wanted to know if there
was a "Wayside Chapel" near the house . . . a bathroom never entered
their minds. So the schoolmaster wrote the following reply:
I take great pleasure in informing you that the WC is located 9
miles from the house.
It is located in the middle of a grove of pine trees, surrounded by
lovely grounds. It is capable of holding 229 people and is open on Sundays and
Thursdays. As there are many people expected in the summer months, I
suggest you arrive early. There is, however, plenty of standing
room. This is an unfortunate situation especially if you
are in the habit of going regularly.
It may be of some interest to you that my daughter was married in
the WC as it was
there that she met her husband. It was a wonderful event. There were
10 people in every seat. It was wonderful to see the expressions on
their faces. My wife, sadly, has been ill and unable to go recently.
It has been almost a year since she went last, which pains her
You will be pleased to know that many people bring their lunch and
make a day of it.
Others prefer to wait till the last minute and arrive just in time!
I would recommend
your ladyship plan to go on a Thursday as there is an organ
acoustics are excellent and even the most delicate sounds can be
heard everywhere. The newest addition is a bell which rings every
time a person enters. We are holding a bazaar to provide plush seats
for all since many feel it is long needed.
I look forward to escorting you there myself and seating you in a
place where you can be seen by all.
With deepest regards,
If the same censors who worked at "The Tonight Show" in 1960 were
teleported through time
to work on the program today, I would guess they would regard the
content of nearly every show as being over the line. Speaking of
censorship, I can't recall the last time there was a problem with
any network program. A star will occasionally drop the F-bomb on a
live show and suffer no consequence.
The last time we've had a national discussion about morality was
four years ago when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed for half a
second on CBS TV during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. The
steady flow of filth in movies, music, and TV that we see every day
doesn't set off any alarm bells.
It is amazing what late-night comedians are able to get away with
these days. When Michael Jackson was on trial, I couldn't believe that we had
descended to the point of joking about a man being a pedophile. I had the same reaction when
Idaho Senator Larry Craig was made the butt of late-night humor when
he was arrested for soliciting gay sex in an airport men's room.
What makes our slide into barbarity so important to prophecy is the
fact that our current moral state matches what the Bible predicted.
We are warned that the last days will come when the morality of the
world equals the level of evil Lot witnessed in Sodom . If we're not
there yet, we must be very close.
"Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they
drank, they bought,
they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot
went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and
destroyed [them] all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son
of man is revealed" (Luke 17:28-30).