Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rhapsody on Farts

Edward Abbey, Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals, ed. David Petersen (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994), pp. 139-140:
Rhapsody on Farts: plaintive farts, resounding farts, explosive farts, reverberating farts, timid muffled farts, fluid farts, farts vigorous and robust, farts masculine, farts feminine, beastly farts, grim farts, lethal farts, poisonous farts, crushing farts, deadly farts, vicious and cruel farts.

There are the honest and manly unabashed farts of plumbers and locomotive engineers, the candid farts of farmers, the masculine and solitary farts of cowboys and sheepherders and rangers, the bold united farts of factory workers. There are the talented aerobatic farts of schoolboys, the bemused abstracted farts of college students, the soft mellow farts of old professors of philosophy. There are the farts protracted and sullen of infantry soldiers, the farts peremptory of sergeants, a la militaire of captains, pompous and brassy of colonels; the stern, powerful and prolonged artillery of generals.

There are the plaintive wistful farts of clerks, the suffocated farts of secretaries and stenographers, the nervous farts of switchboard operators, the farts pallid and timid of office receptionists and airline hostesses. There are the casual, indifferent farts of ward bosses and precinct captains, the ingratiating well-meant farts of candidates, the loud cheerful farts of governors, the forensic and embattled farts of congressmen, the magnificent thundering farts of senators, the proud stately farts of ambassadors and cabinet officers, the grave and politic farts of presidents and prime ministers.

There is the deliberate insolent fart of the pimp, the bitter fart of the whore, the aggressive fart of the car dealer and realtor, the stealthy fart of the burglar and the smug, satisfied fart of the money-lender, the insidious fart of the pornographer, the cruel fart of the model, the vulgar and brazen fart of the huckster, the vile sly fart of the mortician and swindler, the startled fart of the pickpocket. There are the farts dull and sorrowful of policemen, harsh of desk sergeants and detectives, crude and brutal of screws, wary and apprehensive of police commissioners.

There is the diffident fart of the seminarian, the gritty fart of the Bible student, the fart loud and exhortatory of the fundamentalist preacher, the incriminating and revealing fart of the evangelist, the mellifluous fart of the TV theologian, the impromptu fart of the organist and the fart sotto voce a la tempo of the choirmaster. There is the discreet and sanctimonious fart of the priest, the consecrated fart of the nun, the inadvertent fart of the altar boy, the irritable fart of the bishop, the painful and self-conscious fart of the cardinal, the solemn apostolic liturgical and infallible fart of the Pope himself. There will be finally the final divine omnipotent pretentious imperial fart of God. After that, nothing fartable will remain to be farted; for the mystery beyond God—the All-Source, the Brahman—does not fart.

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