December 4, 2014 by John Crapper
It was 1992. My wife Kathy, Jonathan, Joanie and myself, all teachers at Ruamrudee International School, gathered together as we often did to talk about school, our lives and things happening in our world. Most nights we were drinking way too much beer while attempting to solve the world’s problems but on this particular night we were teetotalers.
When I blurted out the Holy Shitters concept and began in earnest filling in some details I remember Kathy repeatedly saying, “How long have you been thinking about this? I don’t believe you’ve never told me about this before! The four of us, sober as could be, brainstormed for hours and hours that night expanding on the concept. Oh how I wish I had recorded our conversation. The creativity was sure flowing. The pope became the poop and the popemobile become the poopmobile. The genuflect turned into the squat. Holy water took on a whole new meaning as toilets became the imagined places of worship. It was a pretty “shitty” night.
Almost two decades later I finally started to get serious about the concept and began writing the book. I could say I wish I would’ve started sooner but that is just water under the bridge now. It wasn’t the right time for a number of reasons.
In 2010, when I started in earnest on the project, the world was a pretty ass-backward place. Barack Obama was President. When he took office in 2008 the US was experiencing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. There was an unpopular Wall Street bailout to save the financial system. A huge stimulus package was passed by Congress to prop up consumer demand and save jobs. On inauguration day there was a great sense of optimism in the country. That feeling quickly faded, however.
In 2010 US dependency on foreign oil stood at 49% of the total having gone down from its peak in 2005 but still dangerously high. Drill baby drill was the mantra of the Republican Party during the mid-term elections. They were swept into power in the House of Representatives and gained seats in the Senate. They campaigned promising jobs, jobs, jobs but once in office passed laws that attacked worker’s rights to unionize, a women’s right to choose, Planned Parenthood and women’s access to contraception. They pushed for ever greater tax cuts for the wealthy while trying to gut the social safety net for the middle and lower income brackets.
In 2012 approval of the Keystone Pipeline became a big issue and building of the first nuclear power plants since the accident at Three-Mile Island were approved. The Citizens United supreme court decision had opened up the floodgates of campaign contributions from billionaires and the Koch brothers were fully engaged in protecting their fossil fuel interests. During this time mankind’s relationship with the environment was as far away from “Soft and Fluffy” as it would ever be. For the US the early warning sign that something seriously wrong was happening to the climate came in August of 2005 with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. It was the costliest national disaster in US history. In 2011 NOAA scientists reported that 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year for the global surface temperature since record keeping began in 1880. It was also the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average. In 2012 long-term study showed that the biggest trees in the world were dying off rapidly as roads as they came under attack from severe droughts, new pests and diseases. Evidence of global warming was considered unequivocal, with scientists being more than 90% certain that most of it was caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Yet organizations such as the Heartland Institute were busy disseminating misinformation and doubt about climate change and pushing to have a deceptive curriculum introduced in public schools to mislead youth in their science studies.
Leading up to the presidential election of 2012 political gridlock was the norm and bi-partisanship was becoming a distant memory. The campaign itself ranked as the dirtiest mud-slinging campaign in the history of the country. Barack Obama ended up being elected to a second term but the policies he proposed were still largely obstructed since the House came under the control of the climate change denying Republicans while the Republicans in the Senate continued to use the filibuster to obstruct passage of legislation.
The mid-term elections of 2014 were a disaster for both President Obama, the Democrats and the environment. Control of both the Senate and House of Representatives ended up in Republican control. Senator James Inhofe, the famous climate denier became chair of the Environment Committee in the Senate.
In early 2016 The Holy Shitters was first published. The book offered new way of looking at the world and mankind’s place in it. The Church called it the ass-forward way of thinking. Once released word spread fast. Overnight the book and website went viral. Membership in the Church of the Holy Shitters grew exponentially. Progressive movements quickly coalesced under its banner and disparate groups began communicating and coordinating in innovative ways. Apassholes were appointed and began writing in their areas of expertise further defining and giving greater detail to the Shitty Way of Life.
Pressure soon mounted on the established political structure calling for dramatic change. The stage was set.