Saturday, October 27, 2012

St. Augustine on Flatulence at Will

The casually-held dichotomy between voluntary and involuntary behaviors has long been held; despite suggestive evidence that, under some conditions, behaviors viewed as reflexive or involuntary can be voluntarily emitted.

One of these unsung skills is the ability to fart at will.  St. Augustine of Hippo, in his work The City of God reported that some men  "have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at will, so as to produce the effect of singing".   He thought that the loss of this charming ability originated with the first sin of Adam and Eve.  That was an expensive apple!

This form of entertainment was mentioned by Rabelais, among others.  Also, Joseph Pujol, a popular entertainer at the Folies Bergère, was known as Le Petomane.  He thrilled audiences with his ability to play tuneful flatuses!  Benjamin Franklin] wrote a work entitled Fart Proudly, so we have an early example of support for this art form among the Founding Fathers.  Well, probably not that old crank, John Adams.

Which leads to some questions: 
Suppose a Presidential candidate farted during a debate?  Would that adversely affect his showing, or would it forge a common bond with the listeners? 
Or suppose a preacher was enjoy a flatus while in the pulpit.  Would there be an odor of sanctity from it?
If you are on a date, is it okay to fart on the first date?  How much commited must you be to have this latitude?
Should not one of those arcane feminine skills imparted so that the possessor would seem more "ladylike" include being able to fart publicly without notice?  Clearly, our golfer is somewhat behind the curve on this one?
Dogs do it, as this children's book memorializes:
There are even regional differences as to acceptability.  For example, Matthew Richter, a yound man residing in Seattle, in a moment of excitement, accidently let loose a flatus while in the Public Market.  Everyone froze; no one said anything.
Poor Matthew was mortified.  He realized that he committed a monumental faux pas.  So he immediately abandoned his life in Seattle, and went off into exile in darkest Idaho, or was it Illinois?  One of those "I" states that polite people don't mention.  There, he lived in anonymity and lived a life satisfactory except for his secret shame.
Finally, after twenty-five years, he returned to Seattle.  He figured that, by this time, everyone would have forgotten his monumental blunder.  So this middle-aged Matthew, returning under an assumed name, happened to be in one of the Starbucks' near Elliott Bay. 
While enjoying his cappuchino, he overheard the barista talking about how old she was:
"I was born on the day, and in the very hour, that Matthew Richter let fly his fart!"

And that is why there is the well-known Seattle Freeze.


Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Great story!

St. Augustine must have been pulling his readers' legs with that remark, though. Farts like singing!

Anemone said...

That saint Gus must be one weird dude!

Banana Oil said...

The golfer probably had a better game after she pooted!

Randomly Rachel said...

"an odor of sanctity" . . . . I 'love it!

Mike said...

Dogs can create some of the nastiest gas around.

Dianne said...

my granddaughter and one of her pre-school buddies have farting contests ;)
her Mom tells her not to be proud of farts, I just smile

Grand Crapaud said...

Nothing like a semiserious post on farting, if there ever could be such a thing!

Kristen Lavransdrittsekkdatter said...

I'll bet the Saint had flatulence problems himself.

The Bastard King of England said...

You need to follow up with a post on how to fary ladylike.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Elvis -- He was trying to make a point about Free Will. Eccentrically.

Kristen -- Most do at times. Did he eat beans?

King -- I'll do research on that topic.

Dianne -- Kids are wonderfully less inhibited than adults.

Grand -- Several people have done so.

Mike -- Yes, they do. And cow farts are worse.

Banana Oil -- It would help her get back on her game.

Rachel -- That's a new interpretation of that concept.

Anemone -- He once prayed, "Lored, make me chaste, but not just yet."

Jon Frum said...

I'm sure Augustine like to cut a few now and then.

Bilbo said...

If you have never heard the hysterical, classic comedy routine about the Crepitation Contest between reigning champion Lord Windismere and challenger Paul Boomer, check it out ...