Top positive review
98 people found this helpful
Let one go...
on November 29, 2002
This is truly a fun little book. It's worth having on your shelf when friends come over and peruse your collection. Without fail they'll pull this one out thinking it's nothing but potty humor. Then they see WHO?!?! Ben Franklin?!?!!? WHAT?!?!?
This very small book is a collection of the satire of Ben Franklin. Those of you looking for a good book of fart jokes will be deeply disappointed. Those looking for a good laugh will not be. Those looking to learn more about Ben Franklin will learn a great deal.
A few must-reads are "Rules on Making Oneself Disagreeable" (though farting is not mentioned), "On choosing a Mistress" (again, no farting, but it's hilarious), and the best of all "A Letter to a Royal Academy" in which Franklin makes a suggestion to a group of scientists: throw away all your abstract theory and find a way to make farts smell nice. It is the most subtle and disparaging piece I've ever read, and it rides that line between "is he SERIOUS?!?" and "is this is a joke!??!"
There are actually historically important pieces in this book, believe it or not. Don't let the title throw you. "Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced" is cutting satire from right before the American revolution. It ran in papers of the time and made an impact. "The Speech of Miss Polly Baker," about a woman having children out of wedlock, was reported as fact throughout the colonies until Franklin admitted the joke.
And finally, for those looking for good fart humor, there's "The Dream" from which the book takes its title. Read and giggle 'till you cough.
Something the book does not mention is that many of these pieces were originally published anonymously, as was the custom in the 18th century. You would not have seen "'Fart Proudly' by Benjamin Franklin" in the press. Instead there would have been no name on the piece or a false one. Franklin assumed numerous false names throughout his life, as did most authors of the time. Writing was more about what was being written than who was writing it. This has changed drastically in the intervening centuries.
Hopefully this selection will whet your appetite for more Ben Franklin. He wrote an incredible amount, much of it is very funny as well as significant. He was no stodgy old professor, as this book more than proves. If you enjoy this collection, go out and get more, or read a biography. You'll find there's much more to Ben Franklin than you ever thought.