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Sunday, July 15, 2007

CTA Ad Endorses Public Urination

This ad appeared on a Red Line train I rode on July 6.

This ad was run by Chicago Apartment Finders, a venerable and formerly respectable local concern whose focus is Lakeview, Wrigleyville, and other North Side neighborhoods, and the ad was evidently approved by the CTA, even though ads advertising tobacco products are prohibited by the agency, so the only conclusion I can draw is that CTA and Chicago Apartment Finders think it is OK to urinate in public.

I didn't know that it was ever considered OK to relieve yourself in public, even on your own lawn, or in any other place but a facility designed specifically for the purpose. In other words, a washroom.


But now both CTA and Chicago Apartment Finders have served notice, by this ad, that public urination is normal and acceptable. It's especially surprising that CTA would let an ad like this be run, not only because the agency will not permit tobacco to be advertised on their property or vehicles, but also because they have a massive, ongoing problem with urination in el stations and sometimes even on their trains. It's also surprising that this ad even made it through all the steps between the little genius copywriter's desk to the trains to begin with. Don't these ads have to be approved by the writer's superiors at the ad agency and also by the appropriate people at CTA?

How could an ad that promotes such an extremely offensive, and illegal, behavior be approved by a major local business and a highly visible and important public agency? I'd seriously like answers from Chicago Apartment Finders, their ad agency, and the CTA.

13 comments:

rebecca said...

There's nothing wrong with peeing in your own yard. It's one of my not-so-secret pleasures. When I bought my place, I was done with being secret about all these perfectly normal needs.

The North Coast said...

Hey, it's your yard, not mine!

But I still maintain that the ad is extremely offensive and does make it seem like urinating in public is a normal thing to do. Just because the yups in Wrigleyville do it after they get wasted in those sports bars doesn't make it civilized.

I sent e-mails to everyone at CTA and their ad agency for whom I could find contact info to get this ad off their vehicles immediately.

Paradise said...

We don't have public toilets in Chicago...

The North Coast said...

No excuse, Vanessa. There are restrooms available all over the place if you look for them.

However, it is true that there are not nearly as many as there were when I was a child, due to the complete breakdown in civility and the concurrent increase in crime since the late 50s. Any restroom that was not monitored non-stop became a dangerous, highly unsanitary cesspool because people trashed them totally with personal filth, vandalized and destroyed the fixtures and plumbing,and criminals hid in them to waylay people. The transit authority in my city totally gave up trying to keep up with the situation and closed what few they had, due to the impossibility of keeping them minamally usable.

What really makes it inexcusable is that the guys who use other people's lawns around the ballpark, plus many other inappropriate places, are well-heeled white-collar guys who just spent hours in a nearby bar swilling beer and getting blasted out of their wits, for which they laid down a considerable wad of money. Do these bars not have restrooms? Do these guys not have homes with bathrooms in them?

I mean, I can forgive some homeless person who sneaks behind a bush and at least tries to be inconspicuous. But I have witnessed so many well-paid Lincoln Park louts relieve themselves on lawns and even people's doorsteps. A few precincts went dry over this, in that area, back in the 90s, so infuriated were local homeowners.

Sometimes there is humor in it, like when some moron from an outer nabe close to the Ravenswood tracks just HAD to relieve himself on those tracks and got electrocuted by the third rail. This is what is called Evolution In Action. What a moron.

Maybe, if we could restore some level of civility, we could restore the public amenity we once had. However, it looks to me like we have a long way to go in incalculating any public spirit and care for the civil environment in the American population, when guys with 4, 6, and 8 years of college and 6-digit incomes think it's cute to piss in public.

ceedub said...

North Coast-

Get over your righteous indignation long enough to realize times have changed. First, we learned that sex sells. Now we are learning that pandering to the frat boys and sorority girls that would even bother GOING to a goddamn baseball game sells.

The scale has tipped, the pendulum has swung, and until some scary religious group can turn back the clock on our culture, you'll have to deal with this poppycock.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not defending it. I'm not offended by it, but I think it's damn stupid. It makes me glad I ride the Metra to work...

The North Coast said...

Well, ceedub, I guess you like el stations that reek of urine and watching people urinate on your lawn.

The "times have changed" out wears thin. They have not changed enough to make public urination acceptable, and it's not any more acceptable when some yup does it on my front lawn than when some slumdweller does it in the el station.

My fear is if we don't restore some level of civility, some religious maniac or "corn pone fascist" WILL take control, as the population at large grows more exasperated with living in a country that feels more and more like it is totally controlled by its least civilized elements on every socio-economic level.

Paradise said...

what is a corn pone fascist?

The North Coast said...

A "corn pone fascist" would be a politician of the Bush-Cheney-Limbaugh-Falwell stamp, except that he would openly preach, and run on, Hitler's platform, while preaching down-home,simple, folksy virtue.

Remember that most people will do anything to have ORDER. You can point out the obvious, that governments are humanity's biggest criminals and killers, but when people are traumatized by rapid social and economic shifts, and surrounded by crime and disorder, they will go for symtomatic relief.

My personal belief is that the rampant incivility you see in every segment of the population causes crime and disorder, and people respond to the deterioration of their civil and personal environments by demanding authoritarian governments whose leaders promise to relieve the symptoms. Saddam was tolerated, even loved, because under his hand Iraq had safe streets, a decent business climate, and some progress in women's rights. Hitler made the trains run on time.

I will personally tolerate a lot of disorder and incivility rather than subject myself to a terrorist regime, but when people feel they have totally lost control over their immediate environment, an authoritarian regime begins to look good. That's the danger of letting your nabe and your city be turned into a cesspool of filth and incivility.

Margot Hackett said...

North Coast said:
"My personal belief is that the rampant incivility you see in every segment of the population causes crime and disorder, and people respond to the deterioration of their civil and personal environments by demanding authoritarian governments whose leaders promise to relieve the symptoms. Saddam was tolerated, even loved, because under his hand Iraq had safe streets, a decent business climate, and some progress in women's rights. Hitler made the trains run on time.

I will personally tolerate a lot of disorder and incivility rather than subject myself to a terrorist regime, but when people feel they have totally lost control over their immediate environment, an authoritarian regime begins to look good. That's the danger of letting your nabe and your city be turned into a cesspool of filth and incivility."

Girl, you are up on your history!!! Hitler also ran on the comfort of older ways, as I am sure you know.

In complete agreement. Authoritarian political groups, like criminals, pray on those that are fearful, distracted or out of control.


Well said!!!

formul8 said...

I think getting caught pissing on your own front lawn still nets a $50.00 ticket or $500.00 in Wrigleyville, for "urinating in public".

The North Coast said...

I think so, too formul8. If you get caught, that means you were public about it.

The whole point is that bathroom functions are PRIVATE. Among even the most primitive tribes, people do this out of sight and out of the public way.

People who urinate in public are TRYING to be offensive.

formul8 said...

I don't know if being completely shitfaced after a Cubs game and having a capacity bladder is trying to be offensive, but is is certainly lacking any class whatsoever...

LOL

BTW, Cubbies in 1st place!

Tiago said...

Ok. I see your point, but I supposed it is just a clever announce that tried to pick up your attention with a unoffensive joke. I assume that most people didn´t chose their appartments because of the possibility of peeing in their own yard haha. I remember that once I visited a relative of mine that had moved to Argentina, and he used to peeing from the balcony of his Argentina Apartments to the courtyard of his downstairs neighbor because they had a bad relation hhahah that was hilarious.