Why Farts Are So Funny; A Biological Fact
written by: Cory Q
In high school I entered into a rather heated debate with my creative writing teach, Vern Hollister, about humor. Vern's assertion was that puns were the lowest form of humor. To this I strongly objected noting that a command of the langue is required to formulate and understand puns. The lowest form of humor in my estimation, both then and now, is slapstick. It transcends words and cultures. It is the great equalizer to lowbrow.
Now, not all slapstick is equal. A pie in the face might not translate to a culture that doesn't have pies. One gag that does transcend this issue to all peoples in all places and all times is farting.
Farting is funny. Oh, sure, some people find it to be rude or socially unacceptable, but everyone does it. Everyone! I'm just saying that if you rip one around a table, someone is bound to snicker. But why? Why are farts funny?
I've got a theory on that.
As a new parent, I have recently learned a couple things that I believe point to a biological imperative concerning the primal humor of the fart. You see, when a baby first starts to smile the activity is called a 'spontaneous smile'. I believe it is called as such because the child is smiling out of reflex rather than humor. According to the doctors I have talked to about 'spontaneous smiles', this first smiling happens almost unilaterally during the passing of gas.
That's right! Smiling at farts is hardwired into the human brain! We are biologically programmed to think farting is funny! Through the years many people will try to break us of finding humor in passing gas, but the biological imperative is just too strong.
So, next time someone scolds you for laughing like crazy when you rip one, feel free to point out this compelling biological and developmental link.
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