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Dr. Bronner: Moral Abecedarian
January 15, 2006 1:56 AM   Subscribe

Dr. Emanuel H. Bronner: refugee chemist turned madman-prophet-homophobe? Let us journey beyond the (pdf) bottle.
posted by The White Hat (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
DILUTE! DILUTE! O.K.!
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:45 AM on January 15, 2006


oh TwelveTwo...

this phrase is one of the things in life that makes me happy. along with DON'T DRINK SOAP.
posted by lapolla at 3:58 AM on January 15, 2006


homosexuals pointing to the mindless instinctual behavior of humping animals as a demonstration of normality seems counterproductive to me.
posted by quonsar at 4:48 AM on January 15, 2006


Man, this takes me back
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:51 AM on January 15, 2006


Thanks for this. OK
posted by brevator at 7:24 AM on January 15, 2006


A MoFi post on the same topic, with a few more links
posted by TedW at 7:24 AM on January 15, 2006


One more link: Great piece from the public radio show "The Next Big Thing".
posted by Miko at 7:54 AM on January 15, 2006


I know I've experienced the power of the All-One-God-Faith. There is no other way to explain the delightful tingle one gets when washing one's nether regions with Dr. B's fantastic soap.
posted by PhatLobley at 8:29 AM on January 15, 2006


Years ago, in high school, I called the number on the bottle. I asked the woman who answered if I could speak with Dr. Bronner. To my surprise, she connected me with an older gentlemen who spoke with a thick accent.

I didn't expect to make it that far, so I stammered something about how I liked his soap.

He thanked me, and promptly hung up.
posted by aladfar at 8:59 AM on January 15, 2006


Metafilter: "WE'RE ALL ONE OR NONE!"
posted by youarenothere at 9:06 AM on January 15, 2006


I mailed $2 to the address on the bottle a year or so ago. A couple weeks later, I got a large envelope with information on Bronner's life and soaps, an 8x11 color poster of Bronner, a copy of The Moral ABCs, and $2.
posted by The White Hat at 9:12 AM on January 15, 2006


From the "refugee chemist" link: "While we disagree with Dr. Bronner on some idiosyncrasies in his philosophy..."

On the company's own web site! Very odd. A reference to the homophobia?
posted by brundlefly at 9:28 AM on January 15, 2006


Oh man. My Dad has been giving me bottles of his soap every Christmas for years. He thinks it's great. I do too, but word of warning, if you don't DILUTE! DILUTE! OK! enough, your skin will tingle to the point of extreme unpleasantness.
posted by Meredith at 9:34 AM on January 15, 2006


If you use nothing but Dr. B's for a while, the tingle starts to go away. Which is a little worrying.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 9:42 AM on January 15, 2006


Dr. Bronner's is cool, but give me pine tar soap any day.
posted by fixedgear at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2006


There is no other way to explain the delightful tingle one gets when washing one's nether regions with Dr. B's fantastic soap.

If you use nothing but Dr. B's for a while, the tingle starts to go away. Which is a little worrying.


DILUTE! DILUTE! OK!
posted by quonsar at 10:05 AM on January 15, 2006


the bronners are good friends of mine, and of course, it's about the only soap i use. since no one has mentioned it yet, i figured i'd say that their alpsnacks are really good. i just had one yesterday. and before anyone mentions how delicious they are with pepsi blue, i would like to seque from endorsing the snack to pointing out that it is made partially of hemp nuts, and the soap itself uses hemp oil as well these days. it doesn't seem anyone has mentioned these things, but i think they add an interesting wrinkle to the dr. bronner's story. like the case in which someone in the airforce blamed a positive drug test on the use of dr. bronner's soap. apparently trace amounts of thc, if any, would be to, er, diluted to show up, and the airforce currently permits use of hemp body care products. and i'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the beautiful fields pictured on the updated dr. bronner's site are industrial hemp.
posted by snofoam at 10:23 AM on January 15, 2006


"Bronner has had an eventful life. The son of a Jewish German soap maker, he emigrated to the U.S. and pleaded with his father to do the same when the Nazis came to power. The old man refused. One day Bronner got a postcard with the words, "You were right. --Your loving father." He never heard from his parents again."
Makes me hesitate before I dismiss these loopy messages I read in the shower. thanks for the post and the Sun link.
posted by hortense at 11:24 AM on January 15, 2006


I mailed $2 to the address on the bottle a year or so ago. A couple weeks later, I got ... The Moral ABCs, and $2.

/spews coffee on monitor

Does the soap work well as the basis of a screen cleaner?
posted by mwhybark at 11:47 AM on January 15, 2006


Thanks for this! A friend turned me on to Dr Bronner's soap last year and I love love love the stuff. Great to read the backstory.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:59 AM on January 15, 2006


Yes, it was the only soap we hippies used, although the good Doctor's proclamation that it was a great shampoo was bullshit. And, yeah, I know I few people who talked to him too.

I still have a bottle. Peppermint. Tingly! Although in this dry desert climate all the skin experts (in other words, women), tell me it's stupid to use that stuff at all.
posted by kozad at 12:24 PM on January 15, 2006


I use the bar soap every day. Not that it is on topic or anything but I like to stick the sliver of old soap onto the side of the new bar. That way I use every bit of the bar. For some reason (maybe on purpose, when you consider the source) Dr B's is the only soap that this works really well with. The unbroken chain of bars stuck together makes me feel good for some crazy reason probably inspired by the good doctor himself.
posted by Mr T at 12:40 PM on January 15, 2006


From the Straight Dope article:
Initially settling in the midwest, Bronner married the illegitimate daughter of a nun, who eventually became suicidal and died in a mental hospital. (He says she was tortured by the hospital guards.) He also began devising his plan for world peace. Fittingly, he took to the soapbox to promote it. One of his listeners, Fred Walcher, was so inspired that in 1945 he had himself crucified in Chicago in order to publicize the plan. (He survived.)
I googled "Fred Walcher" but didn't find much else about him, except this (html version of a pdf), which says he was found under the El tracks at 1600 N. Clybourne (that's right about where the North and Clybourne Red Line stop is today). Intense.

Oh, and the soap works well as shampoo if you are trying to achieve dreadlocks, but despite Doc's claims on the bottle, it does NOT make good toothpaste. Yick.
posted by jennyb at 1:41 PM on January 15, 2006


I met his grandson at an outdoor retailer convention in Salt Lake last year. Pleasant guy who was kind enough to endure my reminiscing of using Dr Bronner's during long backpacking trips. The grandson was plugging their new energy snacks, which were just OK. I'll stick with the soap for now.

Oh, and his grandson is completely normal. Kind of a let down, really...
posted by qwip at 1:49 PM on January 15, 2006


my ex hippie friend claimed his band of hippie friends swore by the soap for every hygenic purpose. this lead to a fun drunken night of him coming up to me telling me he drank some soap as a mouthwash. incredulous i demanded he let me smell his breath and there was the tell tale mint flowing freely from his mouth. i scoured the bottle to disprove his claims that his friends used it as a toothpaste but then my eyes laid to rest on 'dental' in the many uses and blurbs. it was then that, still drunkenly, i determined it was appropriate to try some on my own tongue. and yes it tastes like mint but also tastes like soap and i recommend not using it for 'dental'

however this stuff is more than essential for keeping yourself cool in horrible southern summer. a shower with the soap paired with a fan and a naked bed sprawl will stave off the summer sweats. in new york now in winter i cant even touch the stuff as a soap. its far too chilling. though great for a migraine.

i think it works great as a taming shampoo for my frizzes. i dont even use shampoo anymore because my hair is so dry when washed. but the oils in dr bronner are perfect for keeping things in place from the get go after a wash and making everything lay down smooth.

ps, i am not, and never have been, a hippie.
posted by c at 2:59 PM on January 15, 2006


Dr. Bronner's Magic Quote Generator.

Via.
posted by fixedgear at 5:54 AM on January 16, 2006


Sweet, fixedgear.
posted by PhatLobley at 9:24 AM on January 16, 2006


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