The One Heresy to Rule Them All
A heresy is a view that questions something which everyone seems to take for granted, something that we have forgotten can even be questioned in the first place. In its best instance, it is a position that no one has truly expressed before, and not just because it is obviously false or uninteresting. It might be wrong or wildly unrealistic (and in fact it probably is) but it’s also not impossible to imagine a world in which this belief becomes mainstream.
A most glorious epiphany has occurred, a divine revelation that will ring out through the ages. In a moment of rapture bordering on orgasm, it was known.
The One Heresy to Rule Them All
“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman farts in her husband’s lap.”
— the oldest recorded joke, Sumer, 1900 BC
Across all the vagaries and vicissitudes of history—the empires risen and fallen, the fortunes won and lost—there remains only one constant: farting, and our negative attitude towards it. With perhaps one exception (the Yanomami tribe of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, for whom farting is a form of greeting), there has never been a culture that regarded flatulence as anything butt a gross amusement, a cause for snickering and scolding.
The unspoken logic behind this attitude is something like this: poop can cause disease and should be avoided—that’s why evolution made it smell bad to us; farting is a discharge of poop particles into the air, therefore it is also bad for you and should be avoided. Even a mere fool could see that this is a non-sequitur. Our senses lie to us all the time—why should we trust our nose as a reliable guide in this case? There are many foods that smell like shit to some people but actually taste pretty good, and of course there are countless things which are bad for you in large doses but good in small doses. It simply doesn’t follow that eating and/or sniffing poop = bad therefore sniffing farts = bad.
I suppose the opposite: that passing gas is good for both the passer and the receiver of said gas in virtually every way possible and that we should all be doing it as much as humanly possible. The benefits for the flatulist are obvious enough: anxiety over inappropriate farting can cause profound psychological damage and holding in farts can irritate your colon and trigger hemorrhoids (source). The benefits for fart-sniffers are less obvious but no less potent. The farter and/or fartee (the one who has been farted at or on) may laugh at the event, and laughter is good for you (there is reason we call it comedic relief). Beyond that, we are, admittedly, getting a little speculative but hear me out. I once read that the activity of earthworms modifies the soil in ways that make it more hospitable for other earthworms (they are ecosystem engineers). I imagine that farting works something like that but for humans—just like the earthworm who feels happier and healthier in soil that has been tended by his/her fellow earthworm, air that has been seeded with poop dust speaks to you on a physiological and perhaps even spiritual level: you are not alone, there are others in this place, and, judging by the smells of it, they appear to be eating very, very well. In addition to more general effects on mental and physical well-being, it seems particularly likely, given the dangers of over-sanitization, that a little sprinkling of the dust is good for your immune system.
“Over the past few decades, doctors have arrived at a counterintuitive hypothesis about our modern, ultra-sanitized world. Too much cleanliness may be causing us to develop allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, and other autoimmune disorders. The idea is that for many children in the wealthy world, a lack of exposure to bacteria, viruses, and allergens prevents the normal development of the immune system, ultimately increasing the chance of disorders within this system down the road.” (source)
I have a dream that one day, not only will it be socially acceptable for you to fart in polite conversation, in a business meeting, or in the middle of a speech, it will be encouraged, applauded, celebrated! I have a dream that one day people will be judged, not by the size or frequency of their farts, butt by the style and artistry (and elegance) with which they fart! I have a dream that one day farts of every kind will sing out across this great land with wild beautiful ferocity and tickle the nostrils of every man, woman, and child!
SAY IT WITH ME PEOPLE AND SAY IT WITH YOUR BUTTS:
FREE THE FART!
FREE THE FART!
FREE THE FART.