The Song of Roland

In my defense.  Today is my last day of school.

Meet Roland the Farter. A minstrel in the court of Henry II of England, Roland had an annual Christmas Day engagement with the king and his fellow revelers. Roland’s act consisted of a dance that culminated with his trademark forte: a synchronized jump, whistle, and fart. Though accounts are sketchy, they indicate that Roland’s remarkable trifecta was performed simultaneously (and not surprisingly, only once). Roland was so valued as an entertainer that the king rewarded his impressive feat of dexterity with a plot of land.

The story of Roland the Farter is told by Valerie Allen in On Farting: Laughter and Language in the Middle Ages, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Allen uses flatulence as a prism through which to explore the entertainment mores of medieval society. Roland’s popularity calls to mind our own longstanding (if sometimes sheepish) embrace of bathroom humor.

Read the rest  (found via Language Log).

I generally don’t find fart humour very amusing.  Or at least I didn’t until I read this sentence.

Furthermore, farts are an occasion for self-examination, for questioning the extent of our freedom and the nature of self-mastery.

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