Art and entertainment using farts

Farts are old as the world but you may not know that the art of entertaining with them is not that new.

As reported here, Saint Augustine described street entertainers in Algeria in the fifth century who had such control of their bowels, that they could break wind constantly at whim, so as to generate the effect of singing in The City of God. In his poem Piers Plowman from the fourteenth century, William Langland also provided examples of successful entertainers who could fart amusingly during parties.

These individuals were known as “braigetor” in medieval Ireland and “heppiri otoko” (“farting men”) in Edo Period Japan (1603 – 1868). The job was referred to in the English language as either a “flatulist,” “fartist,” or simply a “farter,” and King Henry II’s jester is said to have been so skilled at it that he was able to advance to landed gentry status via his methane ability.

During an annual Christmas performance in front of the king, Roland le Petour, also known as “the Farter,” was hired to do “Unum saltum and siffletum et unum bumbulum” (one jump, one whistle, and one fart). Roland received a manor in Suffolk and thirty acres of land in exchange for handling two-thirds of the dog’s morning routine. On these lands, he probably planted a lot of cabbage so that people wouldn’t keep questioning what that strange smell was. Joseph Pujol, often known as Le Pétomane (“The Fartomaniac”), was a French entertainer who achieved greater success than Ronald through the art of getting the vapors.

Pujol, who was born in Marseilles in the middle of the 19th century, had exceptionally strong anal sphincter muscles that enabled him to inhale enormous amounts of air or water through his anus. He relocated to Paris and was hired as a performer at the renowned Moulin Rouge.

The nightclub director didn’t call the security and instead said, “I want to see where this is going”. According to multiple sources, before his interview, he took off his pants and gave himself an enema. When he was prepared, Pujol demonstrated his talent to fart on command and was immediately hired.

>>>  Austria, man fined for farting

Thanks to his ‘trumpet’ skills, Joseph Pujol swiftly became the highest-paid artist in all of France. He was able to perform tricks like playing “O Sole Mio” while holding an ocarina between his cheeks, making animal noises with his butt, using his incredible farts on a candle from a distance of many feet, and more.

Due to the employment of chemical warfare during World War I, the gas comedy was no longer regarded as such by the time he retired. However, Le Pétomane’s legend endures thanks to films.

In Iceland instead, some of the dark arts, such as the flying spell mentioned in the Icelandic Book of Sorcery, were as evil as serial killers.

However, this does not imply that Icelandic magic did not have a more humorous side. It actually possessed spells that could supposedly cause someone to fart uncontrollably, for instance. People were even prosecuted in court in the 17th century for cursing someone with the “Fretrnir” fart runes! Sadly, the accused was executed by being burned at the stake after being found guilty of fartomancy.

Local priest Jón Magnússon charged two members of his congregation, Jón Jónsson the Elder and Jón Jónsson the Younger, with stockpiling the strategic Jon supply for the community during the 1656 Kirkjuból trial. And of using magic to make him and another girl ill. For some reason, the Accumulated Four Jons allegedly utilized spells from a magic book to humiliate Magnússon by converting his bathtub into a farting jacuzzi and making him experience excruciating abdominal discomfort.

The Galdrabók, a grimoire with 47 spells, sigils, and staves for every situation, was probably the book in question. The Fretrnir fart runes must be inscribed on white calfskin with blood while reciting the following curse: “I carve you, which are to torment your belly with terrible s**tting and shooting pains, may all these runes afflict your belly with violent farting”.

When the Jónssons admitted to the crime, they were convicted guilty. That was probably a coincidence after seven months in jail. Magnússon then acquired all of the Jons’ belongings. However, there is a sort of happy ending to the whole incident because Magnússon later claimed that Thuridur, daughter of Jónsson the Elder, had used Fart Runes against him, but the claim was later rejected. Thuridur then filed a countersuit and was awarded all of Magnússon’s property as restitution.

>>>  Haunted toilet experience in a Japanese theme park

The scroll here above instead, which dates to about the middle of the 19th century, shows 15 scenes of individuals bending over and unleashing gas on one another, animals, or anybody or whatever else got in the way of their Way of the Thunderous Cheeks skill. The scroll depicts numerous fart-related scenes, including individuals using fans to shield themselves from the smelly onslaught and people farting while riding horses. With their rear roars, even women join in on the fart action.

There are several ideas about what He-Gassen represents, but the most popular one holds that it was meant to make fun of the Tokugawa shogunate for consistently refusing to open the country to the outside world. (But before you pass judgment, keep in mind that the shogunate’s protracted isolationist strategy ultimately gave rise to the four most lethal murderers in Japanese history.) In the end, the scroll gained a lot of popularity simply because it was humorous, not because it contained any sophisticated metaphors. No matter how far back in time you go, it seems that people have always found farts to be amusing.

This was equally true in 19th-century Japan as it was in Thomas d’Urfey’s famed farting-filled plays and songs from the 17th and 18th centuries in England. But it’s interesting to note that in d’Urfey’s works, only ladies ever farted. Like He-Gassen, some have attempted to interpret this fictional female flatulence in a deeper way, although literary heavyweights like Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) weren’t among them. Swift genuinely called d’Urfey’s works “excrement”, and the irony that no one cared must have killed him. Five different kings were fans of Thomas d’Urfey, and the public adored his work.

However, there are instances of art being used in political commentary without any humor intended. Martin Luther commissioned artist Lucas Cranach the Elder to produce a piece in 1545 that criticized the Catholic Church and the papacy. One of Cranach’s woodcuts, The Papal Belvedere, showed Pope Paul III being farted on by two peasants as a representation of what the founder of Protestantism thought of the pontiff. If pun humor had been there back then, he’d probably refer to them as the “poo-ntiff” to them, and Luther had used English rather than German or Latin.

>>>  Poo on the moon
Cranach

The interesting thing about Jonathan Swift is that he didn’t snub d’Urfey for writing about crap air. He merely believed that d’Urfey wasn’t very skilled in it. Swift cherished good-natured silliness. He also wrote a spoof of The Benefit of Fasting by the Bishop of Down and Connor in 1722 called The Benefit of Farting Explain’d.

Since a “crack” was 18th-century slang for badonkahonks, Swift even penned it under the pseudonym “Don Fartinando Puff-Indorst, Professor of Bumbast in the University of Crackow”, which contains a total of 4 fart puns. Like d’Urfey, Swift also enjoyed writing about ladies farting, but in this instance it had significance, meaning how much women talk and how it all amounted to a fart in the wind.

Geoffrey Chaucer’s description of Satan farting forth 20,000 monks from his Beelzebum in “The Summoner’s Tale” from the 14th-century Canterbury Tales puts Swift in some extraordinary company for his penchant for finding art in farts. Even Shakespeare used laugh gas occasionally in his plays, such as when he introduced Crab the Farting Dog in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

According to John Aubrey, Queen Elisabeth always managed to find amusement in a good fart, therefore the play was undoubtedly one of her favorites. The story of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, who once unintentionally released gas in front of Queen Elizabeth and was so humiliated that he went into voluntary exile for seven years is recalled by Aubrey in his collection of short stories, Brief Lives.

The Prince of Wales, King Leopold II of Belgium, and Sigmund Freud were among his admirers. The latter is said to have kept a photograph of Pujol on his wall and used him as an example while establishing his theory of anal fixation.

Thomas Edison, who was an admirer and memorialized some of Pujol’s accomplishments on film, is another reason why he is still so well-known today.