Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Monday, February 8, 2016
Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody (photo: Roy Erickson)
There are people who don’t like talk about their bowel
movements and others who go on about their diarrhea and constipation, as if
they were talking about the election. Generally the people who don’t like to
talk about bowel movements find it repugnant to talk about them at
dinner and make irate remonstrative comments like “this is not dinner
conversation” when they're eating with someone who starts talking about Ex-Lax. There are a whole class of people who find it
so impossible to talk about excrement that it’s as if this venerable old product of the digestive tract didn't exist. Such unfortunates won’t even use that
old-fashioned euphemism for shitting, elimination, and they have such a problem
with bowel functions that even in a moment of anger they won’t call a person “a
piece of shit.” This self-same
crowd do not get the pleasure from the smell of their own shit that most normal people do. While no one likes it when somebody has stunk up the
bathroom most human beings experience their own fecal odors as a kind of sublime perfume. From an olfactory point of view this is significant and could
easily be the subject of a study. A sample title for such a paper would be “Narcissistic Defenses Against Self-Created Fecal Odor.” "Shit or get off the pot" might be the subtitle. “Doody” is a word
that children use for excrement. Only the most precocious child will use the
word bowel movement (though irritable bowel syndrome will undoubtedly be something they'll face as grown-ups). Children and even teenagers refer to bowel movements as
“doody,” using the expression “I have to make a doody” (a usage that undoubtedly became more widespread due to the l950's television show, Howdy Doody.) Of course they may simply say “I have to go," when it's time for #2, a more demure locution that's often inculcated
in children by coprophobic parents (who have overdosed on Pasolini's Salo).
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.