The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973

Yesterday morning over at the blog Nebraska Energy Observer, NEO’s in-house guest writer, Audre Meyers, wrote a short, fun piece about prepping, “The Neo made me do it!,” in which she extolled the virtues of preparing ahead of time for disasters, rather then getting caught up in the frenzied mobs of panicked shoppers.  She wrote about some various and sundry items she needed to top off, including the increasingly-precious toilet paper, because “there are some things I simply refuse to do without!”

In reply, commenter “Scoop” referenced a similar toilet paper shortage in 1973 (and provided a handy link to a piece about the scare in a follow-up comment).  There’s even a documentary about it!

With the obligatory hat-tips squared away, let’s dive into this early 1970s TP shortage—one that mirrors our own mania for clean bums.  What is it about toilet paper—and the threat that it will disappear—that drives Americans to hysterics?

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Belated SubscribeStar Saturday: A Little American History – And Some Reflections on Teaching It

This past weekend’s SubscribeStar Saturday post was delayed until Sunday evening.  The end of the first week of school, followed by a very late night/early morning drive, with that followed up by a long day of family events, meant that my perfect attendance record for Saturday posts had to suffer.

But you can read that post—which went up last night—with a subscription to my SubscribeStar page!

Here’s a sneak peek:

Robert Kennedy was a strong contender for the Democratic Party primary in 1968, especially among the progressive wing, before Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian terrorist, shot him. His death left Vice President Hubert Humphrey as the only viable candidate. Remember, LBJ declined to run for reelection in 1968 because the Vietnam War was so deeply unpopular among antiwar Democrats, many of whom were radicals who were exerting greater control over their party (sound familiar?).

The Democratic National Convention devolved into riots and chaos, with Humphrey nearly succumbing to tear gas in his Chicago hotel room. Humphrey managed to close the gap with Nixon, but it was a three-way race (with segregationist George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, running as a third party candidate), and Nixon won on a law and order platform.

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