Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How's This for a Career Choice?

The gentleman on the left is Joseph Pujol. 

The gentleman on the right is Paul Oldfield.

One is deceased, and one is very much alive.

One was a Frenchman, and one is from England.

Yet, they both have one quite peculiar thing in common: they are what are known as flatulists, farteurs, or fartistes.

That's right. They're professional farters. I kid you not. Wikipedia defines a flatulist as "a performer who receives payment for farting in an amusing and/or musical manner."

Joseph Pujol's stage name was Le Pétomane - combining the French verb péter, "to fart," and the -mane suffix, "maniac." That translates roughly to: "The Fart Maniac." Le Pétomane, who performed from 1887 until 1914, was famous for his "remarkable control of the abdominal muscles." And, of course, one who can control one's abdominal muscles well is able to fart at will. 

Yep. You read that right: Fart. At. Will. 

More recently, we have "The World's Only Performing Flatulist:" Paul Oldfield - AKA Mr. Methane, who says on his website that he employs the same technique as the famed Frenchman mentioned above. He performs his musical farting ability in live shows around the world - and even on television! This is how he makes his living. With musical, on-cue, farting.

But wait! It gets better: flatulists are not solely a modern phenomenon. There were ancient medieval flatulists, as evidenced by Saint Augustine's mention of them in City of God. Then there is 13th century England's Roland the Farter. Medieval Ireland's professional farters were called braigetori. Courts of European nobility delighted in flatulist performances, too. Even Japan, during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), has a recorded story of "a professional performer of fart dances."

Not only do we have professional farters in our histories, we have them in our folklore and fiction and mythology. There's Canada's Innu mythological Matshishkapeu (literal translation: "Fart Man") - the most powerful spirit, who could send one into either gastrointestinal pain...or relief. Scotland has the fictional Ross McPharter - an apparent expert in the the farting arts. And if anyone out there watches Johnny Test on Cartoon Network, you know that when Johnny transforms into superhero Johnny X, one of his superpowers is "Power Poots." They're powerful, and they're flaming.

Can you believe it?? There are people out there who actually get paid to fart

All I can say is...I hope Handsome Boy doesn't get wind of this. 



  1. Kathleen Krull and her husband have just published a picture book about Joseph Pujol.


    It's getting rave reviews (no lie)!

  2. I know! Isn't that a riot? I read about it in the current Horn Book magazine - guess what I'm buying on my next bookstore trip??

  3. So were you just sitting around one day and thought "hey, I think I'll write about farting?" or....??

    This was an amusing read!

  4. Well, having a small boy in the house kind of ups the Fart Factor as to having it in mind more or less constantly... ;-)

    ...however, I thought of this post when I read a book review about Fartiste (mentioned up there by Tricia), and then my husband looked up "flatulist" on Google and handed me his computer.

    I couldn't resist!

  5. oh dear friend... may our children never venture down this profession path.... then again.... sometimes I think my husband freelances in it outside his full time occupation. -meow


So, what's on your mind?