Page 8 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 15,1992
It's a Gas: A Study
Eric S. Rabkin, Ph.D. and
Eugene M. Silverman, M.D.
We live in a society where Dr.
Ruth Westheimer can, at 11 in the
morning and on network television,
discuss with Joan Rivers the advan-
tages of having a man stimulate a
woman with his big toe. (It's true-
I watched it myself just last week.)
And yet, if either of them had audi-
bly farted on the very same pro-
gram, the offender would instantly
have become a national disgrace.
Do you sense some sort of dis-
crepancy? Well, the University's
own Drs. Silverman and Rabkin have
combined their medical and literary
talents to expose this double stan-
dard, and explore, in the words of
their preface, "What's wrong with
"We all do it, but we can't talk
about it," they begin the book.
"And why not? In some cultures
people pass a happy afternoon in
contesting who can pass the most
gas, but in our culture we don't even
have a simple, acceptable word for
They proceed to supply the more
obscure, medical terms (eructation,
emanation, and crepitation) and a
helpful glossary of the noun and
verb forms of fart in 43 languages,
from Afrikaans to Zulu, just in case
one finds oneself in the middle of an
That rather pathetic pun reminds
me to warn the reader that, in this
book, any possible play on words
about intestinal gas is brutally
waved under the reader's nose. Bad
puns permeates this book like, well,
a fart in an elevator stuck between
Aside from the punning (Rabkin
is, after all, an English professor at
the University) the book is a wealth
of information about a subject no
one wants to talk about. The reader
turds sometimes float. One can even
learn the state-of-the-art strategies
for reducing flatulence.
But this isn't just a medical dis-
sertation. The reader is also treated
to the etymological roots of the
word fart. Did you know that "fart
was very much an accepted part of
Standard English from the 13th cen-
tury to the middle of the 18th cen-
Our brave authors also make an
attempt to revive fart literature
(including works by Aristophanes,
Chaucer, Jonathan Swift, Ben
Franklin, and Mark Twain, among
others) and fart art in a 25 page
They cover, in no uncertain terms, (unless you
count eructation and crepitation) everything
from the, chemical composition of a fart, to
why, as we are all wondering, turds
sometimes float. One can even learn the
state-of-the-art strategies for reducing
learns the nitty-gritty about farts in
a dialogue between a flatulent cab-
bie and his fare, an eminent flatosca-
They cover, in no uncertain
terms, (unless you count eructation
and crepitation) everything from
the chemical composition of a fart,
to why, as we are all wondering,
The most interesting story, how-
ever, is the true story of Joseph Pu-
jol, aka La Petomane, who earned a
living until 1914 in the capitals of
Europe by, with his own anus, imi-
tating the "farts of modest virgins
or wild animals" and, amazingly,
making music. Oh, for the good old
days when, like La Petomane, a man
could "fart as often and as fre-
quently as he wished."
But that's not all! This phenom-
enal book also includes an anthropo-
logical tour of the world of farting,
a convenient guide to what will
happen to you if you are unlucky
enough to fart in a foreign culture.
After all, "A fart is not a fart is not
a fart, it seems, because who does the
farting, when, and how makes all
the difference in the world."
The more one thinks about this
book, and its daring topic, the more
one realizes how much the world
needs to open up on this issue. In
fact, you-yes you, gentle reader-
may be repressing a fart at this very
instant. That act may, in some insid-
ious way, be evilly affecting your
psyche, and I, for one, can't wait to
hear all about it on the Oprah-
But until then, I am forced to be
content with one of the limericks
found in Drs. Rabkin and
A keen scented dean from Tacoma
Was awarded a special diploma
For his telling apart
A masculine fart
From a similar female aroma.
Quite simply, England's diva of
soul has done it again. On the sly and
sexy Real Love album, Lisa Stans-
field has again successfully captured
the feel of classic '70s rhythm and
blues. Forget the funk and disco re-
vivals; Stansfield goes straight for
Along with collaborators Ian
Devaney and Andy Morris, Stans-
field has crafted a pop gem. She
pours her deep, throaty growl over
thirteen charming new tracks that
will have listeners running for the
bedroom as well as the dance floor.
Where her stunning debut album
Affection stormed dance floors
with thumping love anthems, Real
Love is subtly seductive. "Change"
is a smooth, driving groove with
luscious strings and mellow horns
that sounds like a '90s Love Unlim-
ited Orchestra. "Soul Deep," a zeal-
ous gospel rave, could be a missing
Gamble and Huff outtake.
The way "It's Got To Be Real"
buildsfrom Stansfield' s sexy purr
over a simple piano into a thunder-
ous explosion of horns, Shaft-style
wah-wah guitar and a thumping
four-on-the-floor bass beat would
do even the master himself, Barry
White, proud. And by the time the
chorus of "Set Your Loving Free"
rolls around, you're hooked. This
high-energy workout rivals even the
O Jays at their best.
In the 1896 etching, Lysistrata Defending the Acropolis, English illustrator
Aubrey Beardsley depicts how the women of Ancient Greece might have
kept men away. Try it at home sometime.
Real Love also has its share of
steamy, between-the-sheets grooves.
The dreamy "Time To Make You
Mine" showcases Stansfield's gor-
geous voice at its best. Mixed right
up front, it sounds like she's whis-
periag her proclamations of love
inches from your ear.
When she croons, "I never
thought I'd feel such ecstasy," you
believe her. From the slow burn of
the hypnotic title track to the stark,
moody "Tenderly," this album
moves with a deliberate sexiness
that's all too rare in today's music.
Only Lenny Kravitz' Mama Said
can compete with Real Love for the
make-out album of the year.
So, whether you're throwing a
house party or snuggling with that
special someone in front of the fire-
place with a bottle of wine, have a
copy of Real Love handy. You'll
thank me in the morning.
Pop's Cool Love
I'll admit it. I'm partial to mu-
sicians who appear nude on their al-
bum covers. It makes me think that
they're taking a huge artistic risk in
Pop displays the same tastefully
air-brushed (and PMRC-correct)
picture of himself four times on the
packaging. Unfortunately, the pic-
tures are not accompanied by truly
At one point between two songs,
a woman's voice cynically asks,
"What kind of music is this?" If she
read the album's thank-yous, she
would know. Pop thanks just about
every influential artist in the hip-
hop and funk business, then proceeds
to re-create some of their own very
At times, he becomes Public En-
emy meets Consolidated, with De
La Soul's samples, especially on the
first track, "Revelations," when
you could swear Chuck D was be-
hind the vocal scene.
This isn't to say that Pop is only
copying what is out there right now.
His layered music steps above usu-
ally sparse hip-hop, and includes a
fat Hammond organ, a horn section,
scratching, and some drum sounds
that are more authentic sounding
than the usual drum machine sounds.
Most of the tunes are a nice
blend of soul and hip-hop, but noth-
ing is really outstanding. He just
can't pull off a track that you want
to hear again and again. You've also
heard most of these samples before
on other peoples' records, namely,
Fear of a Black Planet. I found my-
self naming the Sly and the Family
Stone, Prince, and Public Enemy im-
itation areas while listening to this
album - they were that obvious.
This album is a nice listen, not a
complete wasteland but still not
brilliant fun. It's too bad that emu-
lation can be this dangerous. Pop's
Cool-Love? No thanks, I'll maintain
abstinence. -Andrea Kachudas
Continued from page 5
reer or record deal, the band simply
continues to stretch the capacity of
local clubs and their own musical
"We don't really have a specific
goal. I'm not sure what will happen.
We're sort of doing it for now, for
TRA CEY SCIENCE plays Thursday
night at the Blind Pig. Call 996-
8555 for more information.
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Continued from page 5
The critics must not have gotten
the joke, because as anyone who has
memorized every line of Raising
Arizona can tell you, there's what's
right and there's what's right, and
never the twain shall meet.
Raising Arizona will be shown
Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m. in the Nat-
ural Science Auditorium. Admis-
sion is $3. -Gabriel Feldberg
OR SELECTED FEATURES
11 Discount Available 7 Days a Week!
Announcing Our New Price Policy
Check our directory listing for details
WNEE STED IN
The CNA Insurance Companies
will be on campus on
TUESDAY, JANUARY 21ST
to interview Actuarial Science, Math &