When it comes to farts, they're funny. And although farting is far from classy, pretty much the opposite of any etiquette, they constitute much needed comedic relief. Now if you're in the line of fire, where I often find myself, farts might not be the best thing in the world. However there is something nauseating yet appealing about the release of a hot stinky one from your little butt bubble. On average a person farts 14 times a day, most of which occurs while you're asleep.
Now why anybody would want to recreate a fart beats me, but in fact is the whoopee cushion was invented between 218-222 AD by Roman Emperor Elagabalus Varius Avitus Bassianu. Elagabalus got his kicks from watching others squirm, where the whoopee cushion prototype came in quite handy. Dinner guests were often encourage to sit upon small inflated pillows that released a squeal. He also instructed slave boys squash the cushions upon the floor. His overall tenacity for practical jokes and human suffering, forced guests to eat rocks, witness and succumb to torture, enter rooms filled with wild animals such as poisonous snakes, mice, and tigers. Elagabalus appetite for overall human degradation branched over into his sex life, where during his short reign he married 5 women and took countless male lovers. It was even rumored he ranked his body guards by penis size. Either way, this goes to show you humans share a love of humor and phallics.
An perfect example of poor taste and foul humor, is the placement of comedian Woopie Goldberg's face upon the Whoopee Cushion. Irony? Like Elagabalus, Goldberg also likes the cock, although unsuspectingly. Given her love of casual attire and support of the LGBTQIA community, it easy to see the misconception. But let's not forget her love affair with Ted Danson, as well as her three other husbands, where today she is a mom, great-grandmother, and grandmother. And although I'm defending her today, Goldberg is not shy from farting on camera where she let one loose on live TV while hosting the View. So there you have it, some things never get old, real farts or fake farts for sure.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.