Bong! Bong! Bong!

I was recently alarmed to see questions raised in the media about the relevance of Who Farted?, that hilarious programme that comes on just before the six o’clock news. You know the one – mournful bells chiming over a succession of touching vignettes, each featuring an ordinary Irish citizen pausing and sniffing the air with suspicion. Although I find it hard to imagine the meeting where the idea was first floated (pardon the pun), the end result has proved to be a piece of art that, truly, we can all be proud of. Those sixty seconds of film tell us more about the human condition than a dozen earnest documentaries. For who among us can honestly claim that they’ve never been stopped in their tracks – scrubbing a monument, say, or piloting a fishing boat – by the sudden realisation that the very air itself has turned foul? And which of us has never looked around for likely culprits only to realise that he or she is alone? It’s a fundamental human experience, one of God’s regular reminders that we are frail, imperfect things who have no good reason to act so uppity all the time. Speaking of God, I believe that the Catholic church is the principal sponsor of Who Farted? Well, good for them. It’s nice to see the faithful displaying a sense of humour for a change instead of just moping about, po-faced, gloomy and utterly bereft of the joy they claim to know so much about.

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