NIGHT SHOTS (2004)
A well known usage of the fart in Middle English occurs in Chaucer’s “Miller’s Tale” (one of the Canterbury Tales). In the tale (which is told by a bawdy miller as a group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury), the character Nicholas hangs his buttocks out of a window and flatulates in the face of his rival Absolom, who is instead expecting a kiss. Absolom is humiliated by this gesture. Nicholas then attempts to repeat the prank, and Absolom then sears Nicholas’ rear with a
By the early 20th century, the word fart had come to be considered rather vulgar in most English-speaking cultures. For a long time, the word was prohibited from the public airwaves in the United States. While not one of George Carlin’s original seven dirty words, he noted in a later routine that the word fart (along with turd and twat) ought to be added to “the list” of words not acceptable (for broadcast) in any context (as opposed to words such as ass or cock which have nonoffensive meanings). With the rise of cable television and changing social mores in general, the word fart is (in 2006) frequently heard in the broadcast media. It is also now found in such places as children’s literature, such as the Walter the Farting Dog series of children’s books. While still considered impolite in some social contexts, much of the stigma which surrounded the word has disappeared.