Farting is a universal human experience, as routine as eating, breathing and sleeping. And it seems to be a cross-cultural and trans-historical fact that passing gas, at least in most social contexts, is rude and offensive.
There’s also the fundamental truth pertaining to the topic: farts are funny. But why is this the case? They’re often a source of discomfort and embarrassment, so why do they double as an inspiration for humor, even literary beauty?
Literary giants let it rip
Every culture in recorded history has had its preferred forms of humor relating to bodily functions, but none have been more reliable in stirring a reaction than fart jokes. In fact, according to British academic and poet Paul MacDonald, the oldest joke in recorded history – which dates back to the Sumerians in 1900 BC – was a fart joke: “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”
Fart jokes have also found their way into some of the classics of Western literature.… Read the rest