Monday, January 24, 2011

Bathroom Humor

You may consider this post to be the "DVD commentary" on my story, #2@Area51.

In the 15th century play Mankind, one of the characters utters the following less-than-savory words: 

I haue etun a dyschfull of curdys,/ Ande I haue schetun yowr mowth full of turdys.

"Mankind" is what is known to scholars as a "morality play."

Humor which involves bodily functions has been around for a long time.  Like, since before Christ.  When I was an undergraduate, and taking a course on Greek and Roman mythology, our professor had an interesting anecdote.  As she related it to us, when she was in graduate school, she had blushed to translate some of the filthy jokes that appeared in the ancient Greek dramas.  When she had attempted to translate some of the words into terms such as "penis," "vagina," and "intercourse," her own professors had told her, "You're mistranslating them!"

Earthy humor involving the human body is part of the human experience.  It has a way of piercing pomposity.  It is no surprise that religious dictatorships attempt to suppress earthy humor.  But it may come as a surprise (though it shouldn't) to learn that even officially atheistic dictatorships have also been sexually repressed.  (Recently, there was a Russian language film, Stilyagi ("Hipsters") about, well, hipsters in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, resisting prudish Soviet norms.) 

Laughter is liberation, and even dictators who don't claim religious sanction try to stifle our horse laughs to control us.

Now, there can always be too much of a good thing.  (I think I'd like to see one movie produced by Judd Apatow that doesn't induce cringes.)  Indeed, when #2@Area51 was accepted for publication in Every Day Fiction, I was filled with pride when the editors told me the story "does the job without being graphic or gross."

I hope you enjoyed it.

1 comment:

  1. P. S.: I have noticed since this post that I have been getting hits from Russia more often than any other country outside of the U.S. At first, I was flattered, figuring that I had a Russian fan or two following my fiction. Then I realized that my brief mention of the Russian-language film "Stilyagi" must have tripped some search engine's mathematical model.

    So, for those of you in Russia who went to this page looking for information/commentary on "Stilyagi," you won't find it here, or in any other post on this blog. I'm not running some sleazy content farm site that throws out keywords hoping to trick people into clicking on my site.

    Прости, comrades! (I'm sorry!)