February 5, 2011

"Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious..."

There's a dispute in Malawi over whether that language, in a criminal statute, outlaws farting.

Hey, that remind me of an old story about George Bush:
What the President thinks of the use of weird words. Having just expounded on the use of strange words, I especially enjoyed this extract--in Slate's always appreciated we-read-this-so-you-don't-have-to series--from Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack":
Page 186: Bush aide Nick Calio declares his intention to vitiate a congressional filibuster. Bush says, "Nicky, what the f**k are you talking about, vitiate?"
More on the inadvisability of using the word "vitiate" here. As for farting in public, I've only written about it before in connection with Saul Alinsky and Chris Matthews. And here's that wonderful George Carlin routine.

19 comments:

Almost Ali said...

It was so peaceful here. Then you broke wind.

Chase said...

I prefer the word "toot".

Lem said...

The levels of toxicity could be many times greater when you consider the trendy sagging of the multipurpose pants.

In a sagging situation there is hardly any blanket coverage/shield impeding the progress of the gas attack.

William said...

Charley Sheen was in the news, and not coincidentally I watched his show recently. For a network comedy it set some kind of record for fart jokes. There were even a few semen stain jokes. So far as I know, semen stains have been previously unexplored in prime time comedies. Charley, in his own way, is as much of a pioneer groundbreaker as George Carlin and the sainted Lenny Bruce. It is sad to note that he has not yet attracted the sympathy that they did......When you stop to think about it, there are many grounds of similarity between Lenny Bruce and Charley Sheen. Lenny was married to a stripper (the porn stars of their day) and had a huge drug problem. He had any number of problems including a persecution complex. He cleverly manipulated the United States Government to become complicit in his persecution complex by saying fuck in his act and getting prosecuted for it. Even better he got the general public and posterity to become complicit in his martyrdom complex. Most people think he died not so much from an overdose but from the hounding he got from the government. The self destruction and self indulgence that were so much a part of his character became subsumed under the narrative of an artist torn apart by Philistines. That's how he liked to think of himself, and he got us to buy into it......Charley Sheen easily has as many problems as Lenny Bruce, but he has not yet attracted any widespread sympathy. I suppose part of the problem is that people back then were outraged by Lenny Bruce, but now they are mostly titillated by Charley. Perhaps there's something to that old saw about history being enacted first as tragedy and then as farce, but who knew it applied to fart joke comedians......Well, you've got to admire the purity of someone who tries to hire a porn star to babysit for his kids. And I have an idea that his idea of bad sex is radically different than that of the general public. There is much about him to admire. I think we should be more supportive of him--otherwise Lenny Bruce died in vain.

The Concrete Dog said...

decembr 1835
harriet mccormick
excused hrself from
the famly chrismas dinnr
due to the vapors

far mor romantc thn
intestnl gas

emly bronte dint fart

Tyrone Slothrop said...

You know why farts stink, don't you?

So deaf people can enjoy 'em too.

chuck b. said...

Fuck you, I like "vitiate".

CachorroQuente said...

I don't find "vitiate" to be a strange word, though I confess to having never used it.

Perhaps it is strange to the gormless George, I am not a junior, Bush, Jr. "Hey, who stole my gorm?"

Chip Ahoy said...

What's wrong with vitiate?

And if I can't use vitiate without alienating myself can I still use mitigate?

But do you want to hear something that is really stupid? Okay, goes like this, sign posted in the elevator by management:

Call box out of order. Please escort your guests. Thank you for your patients.

Lem said...

Catfish 2010 vitiates.. something.

In a push to show the 'reality' of the film the filmmakers left in/showed footage of retarded young men.

To me those ends did not justify those means.

Florida said...

Farting is underrated.

Saul Alinsky farted once and now it's the president.

traditionalguy said...

For Ritmo's sake, I hereby abnegate my efforts to abrogate all attempts to adumbrate unvitiated speech which adulates latinate words in the aggregate.

Lincolntf said...

I miss William Safire.

ironrailsironweights said...

Farting is funny, but queefing is even funnier.

Peter

Fred4Pres said...

This remains funny.

lemondog said...

Government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong.

Waiting for Washington to recognize its importance, announce this comes under the Commerce Clause and present a 2000 page regulation requiring hard-wired fart alerts installed in all dwellings and places of business.

The birth of a new industry.

EDH said...

"Totally, and it smells like fart."

cokaygne said...

Could be a good policy for the US for the following reasons: 1. farts contribute to global warming; 2. farting is not civil discourse; and 3. most important, it is for the children!

wv: shiese what a topic

Synova said...

Was Woodward trying to suggest that Bush didn't know what the word meant? Or just that Bush was complaining about jargon?

I didn't know what the word meant. I don't think I've ever heard it nor seen it written. I suppose it's a perfectly useful word other than that. I don't think that people should modify their vocabulary in the normal course of things. But I sort of like the notion of speaking plainly as well and you know, after looking it up, "vitiate a congressional filibuster" seems like poor usage while "vitiate the atmosphere" seems quite more precise.