Americans are desperate for fart content. This much was made clear (again) Monday night when Rep. Eric Swalwell caused a sensation by apparently deciding to let his ass get a thunderous word in edgewise during a discussion of impeachment hearings on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.
As farts go, the timing was impeccable. As Swalwell was saying, “The evidence is uncontradicted that the president used taxpayer dollars to ask the Ukrainians to help him cheat...,” a guttural noise ripped through the live air and, so it seemed, his pants. Swalwell paused for a second as if to regain his composure before concluding his sentence with, “...an election.”
It was a perfect ass storm. Too perfect. For one thing, the sound was amplified to the extent that his ass would have had to be miked to get that kind of resonance. It immediately reminded me of the Farting Preacher—so much so that I thought maybe the clip I first saw on Twitter was edited. It wasn’t though—such a prank would have been quickly sniffed out and Fartgate wouldn’t have ended up at the top of Twitter’s trends list, as it did within hours of Swalwell’s apparent dealing. A subsequent check of the broadcast feed (see above) proved that the fake-sounding fart indeed made it to air.
I’m sorry to fart on your fart, but that wasn’t a fart. I know a lot of people really wanted to believe. Farting is fun and being able to witness a fart happening while not paying for the spectacle with your nose is great fun, but this was fake. Swalwell told Buzzfeed that it wasn’t him and he didn’t hear it. A much as a rogue rumbling basso interjection scans immediately to the human ear as fart, other theories cast the fart in a new light.
Rewatch the clip with this in mind and it certainly does seem to be not a fart but a phone. The idea that the sound could have come from the studio did not occur to many people who heard what sounded like a fart and assumed the guy on screen was the culprit. In a way, Swalwell was a victim of montage theory.
And actually, it wasn’t a phone either, according to Hardball’s official Twitter, which claimed that it was a mug scraping across a desk.
This is what I believe. I also believe that more fart sounds should be inserted on news programs because it makes them better.