The Idea Fairy and I were nibbling on a new batch of edibles when there was a knock on the door.
It was Saul Alinsky.
“Saul, you old horse thief, what brings you up from the depths?” I said.
“It’s finally gonna happen!” he said excitedly. “It’s finally gonna happen! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
“What’s finally gonna happen?” I asked.
“The great fart-in,” he said giddily. “After all these years! It’s gonna happen! Just like I imagined it! And the whole world will be watching!”
The Idea Fairy flew over to him and perched daintily on his nose and put her hands on her hips.
“Dude, what have you been smoking?” she asked sweetly.
“No, no,” I interrupted, “He’s right. I read about it on the internet. There really is going to be a fart-in. It’s set for the evening of July 29th at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. During Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech.
“It’s sort of a case of life following art,” I finished.
“WTF is a fart-in?” iFairy asked?
“It’s an idea Saul dreamed up in the 1950s, to get the undivided attention of the Establishment of Rochester, New York during one of his community organizing campaigns,” I said. “It was kind of a community organizer’s wet dream.”
“Allow me to explain, little lady,” Alinsky interrupted. “As I said in my book Rules for Radicals (on page 139 of the Vintage Press edition):
“‘I suggested that we might buy 100 seats for one of Rochester’s symphony concerts. We would select a concert at which the music was relatively quiet. The 100 blacks [Saul was organizing in the Rochester ghetto at the time] who would be given the tickets would first be treated to a three-hour pre-concert dinner in the community, at which they would be fed nothing but baked beans, and lots of them; then the people would go to symphony hall — with obvious consequences. Imagine the scene when the action began! The concert would be over before the first movement…’”
“And someone is actually gonna do this?” iFairy asked incredulously.
“Yep, a group called the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is organizing it,” I said. “They’re billing it as ‘the world’s largest fart-in.’ Only they’re gonna use white people instead of blacks — Bernie Sanders delegates that is.
“Cheri Honkala, the group’s leader, is quoted as saying ‘We will be holding a massive bean supper for Bernie Sanders delegates on American Street in my Kensington neighborhood on the afternoon of July 28th… The Sanders delegates, their bellies full of beans, will be able to return to the Wells Fargo Center and greet the rhetorical flatulence of Hillary Clinton with the real thing.’”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” iFairy said.
“No kiddin,” I said. “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.”
“Of course you could,” she snapped. “You’re a trained journalist, and a habitual politico on top of it.”
I let it pass.
“Surely you don’t think they’ll actually pull this off?” iFairy said, pacing nervously from side to side on Saul’s head.
“It doesn’t really matter if they do or not, now that someone has spilled the beans, so to speak,” I said.
“Exactly,” Saul said. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. Rules for Radicals, Rule 9.”
“And in the age of the internet, there’s no telling what this could lead to,” I went on. “As far as I know, no one has actually held a real fart-in up to now. So after the initial round of giggles dies down, people will be organizing test fart-ins all around the county. Up in Bean Town, MIT students will probably hold one in a heavily instrumented laboratory. La Raza activists will probably demand that the pre-speech dinner serve refried beans instead of baked ones.
“Sanders supporters will hold practice fart-ins at Trump rallies. Trump backers will light the farts.
“By the time the real thing finally happens on July 29, the networks will have equipped all of their correspondents with gas chromatographs and will be breathlessly reporting methane and hydrogen sulfide levels in the hall.
“And after the Democratic convention, it’ll just get worse. The first presidential debate will have to be held in an outdoor stadium. The two major parties will each host pre-debate dinners sponsored by America’s great bean purveyors: Bush for the Republicans and Heinz for the Democrats. Even the candidates will get in on the act, practicing the art of the fart, and how to let one fly just when the other candidate makes a telling point.
“The 2016 election will be remembered as The Great Flatulence,” I said.
“Stop it!” iFairy shouted. “This is all supposed to go down in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the Constitution! What would the founders say?”
“With Washington, it’s hard to say,” I said. “But we know exactly what Franklin would say.”
“And what might that be?” iFairy asked.
In 1781 he penned an essay that was the funniest thing he ever wrote. It’s title is “Fart Proudly.”
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.