Flatulence  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply (in American English) gas. The gases are expelled from the rectum in a process colloquially referred to as "passing gas", "breaking wind" or "farting". Flatus is brought to the rectum by the same peristaltic process which causes feces to descend from the large intestine. The noises commonly associated with flatulence are caused by the vibration of the anal sphincter, and occasionally by the closed buttocks.

Literature and the arts

  • In Roald Dahl's The BFG, the giant teaches Sophie about the joys of "whizzpopping" (farting). In the book, whizpopping is caused by taking the drink Frobscottle.
  • In St. Augustine's The City of God, Augustine, not otherwise noted for his levity, makes mention of men who "have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at will, so as to produce the effect of singing." That mankind in general has lost this ability he attributes to the first sin of Adam and Eve and it consequences with respect to body control. (The City of God Against the Pagans, ed and trans Philip Levine (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), XIV.24. St Augustine observation would be emulated in the nineteenth century by the performer Le Pétomane who could fart the French national anthem, La Marseillaise.
  • In the the second verse of the traditional English round "Sumer Is Icumen In" comes the line "Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ" ("The bullock jumps, the billy-goat farts").
  • In Dante's Divine Comedy, the last line of Inferno Chapter XXI reads: ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta ("and he made a trumpet of his buttocks"), in the last example the use of this natural body function underlined a demoniac condition.
  • Montaigne, in his essay Of the Force of Imagination, includes a discussion of flatulence. Of 'the vessels that serve to discharge the belly', he writes "I myself knew one so rude and ungoverned, as for forty years together made his master vent with one continued and unintermitted outbursting, and 'tis like will do so till he die of it".
  • The Gas We Pass is a popular children's book in the United States about flatulence.
  • The film Wet Hot American Summer features a boy lighting a fart as an act in a talent show. Additionally, the film's DVD features an optional "fart track" that adds flatulent noises to the film's audio.
  • An episode of MythBusters featured myths about flatulence and determined the chemical composition of a typical flatus.
  • The lighting of flatulence is used as a device of social acceptance in a dream sequence of the film Dumb and Dumber.
  • In the movie Mystery Men, "The Spleen" (played by Paul Reubens) is a "superhero" who, due to a gypsy curse, can aim his highly noxious flatulence with deadly precision.
  • The animated series South Park features two comedians, named Terrance and Philip, who star in a television program the main characters frequently watch. Their act features a lot of flatulence which causes a great deal of offence to the more conservative residents of South Park.
  • A scene in the comedy film Blazing Saddles in which a posse of cowboys sitting around a camp fire eat baked beans, causing extreme flatulence.
  • The film ¡Ay, Carmela! has a theater scene in which the main actor plays a role of a fart-man. He is requested by the audience to produce many farts.
  • In the movie Beavis and Butthead Do America one of the drifters in the desert remarks "Do you wanna see something really cool" and then proceeds to fart into a campfire igniting a nuclear bomb like mushroom cloud.
  • In the video game Fable, the Hero can fart when ever the player wants to at the push of a button.
  • "I fart in your general direction, you English wiper of other people's bottoms!" was a taunt delivered from the top of a castle wall to King Arthur and his company in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Flatulence" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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