The Further Limits Of The "Poop = Funny" Equation

« January 2009 »

Memo to iPhone and iPod users: STOP FARTING.

I may have mentioned this before, but I own, and adore, the iPod Touch. It is essentially the magical pocket computer that science fiction promised me I'd have in my lifetime, and for once, science fiction was right. I love it so much that when an act of kindness on my part broke the headphone jack, I replaced it with a shiny new 2G Touch as soon as disposable income became available.

Now I know there needs to be a point to any digression into my personal electronics buying habits, and trust me, there is. You see, the 2G iPod Touch has a built-in speaker like the iPhone. This means that when I play a game like the utterly charming Rolando, I can actually hear the music and sound effects without wearing headphones. This speaker also puts me in the target audience for what has been, for quite some time, the single best-selling paid application on the iPhone platform.

And no, it's not a clever game like Rolando or a useful application like a pocket checkbook. It's not even a famous name like Crash Bandicoot. It's iFart. Or, to call it by its full name, "iFart Mobile: Fart Machine For All Ages". I can only assume this title answers the two questions the developer of iFart hears most often: "Is this really a fart machine I can take with me? I've been lugging around this 30-pound fart machine in the back of my station wagon for five years, and it's a real hassle trying to find an electrical outlet behind a bush." And, of course, "Does this fart machine produce any farts that are unsuitable for the ears of innocent children?"

I have a pretty good idea of the numbers you have to pull to be the number one selling app on iTunes. And at a buck per download, the seventy cents the developer keeps has probably added up to a small fortune. I, of course, resent this on a number of levels.

Fuck knows, I'm no prude. I'm a big fan of scatological humor, on the grounds that poop is funny. But as a big fan of scatological humor, I can tell you this - making your phone fart? Not funny. You might get a laugh once, from the novelty / shock aspect of it, but that's it. From the second time you activate iFart onward, you'll just be irritating people and cementing your image in their minds as that stupid fucker who won't stop making his iPhone fart. Especially when there are millions of other people using the exact same app to make their iPhones fart, too.

Not that iFart is the only option. Oh, no. It's just the most popular. There are, by my best count, 45 different applications that will make your iPhone fart. A handful of these are sound-board or synthesizer applications that include farting as a bonus feature, but most are just farts. Names range from the minimalist ("Fart Button"), to the slightly ironic ("Pull My Finger: Professional Edition"), to the unfortunately phonetic ("iPhart", "iWhoopi", "I-Prank-U [IFart++]"). There's the inexplicably anthropomorphic "Mr. Poot", and the ontologically iffy "Cheese Cutter Whoopie Cushion".

My favorite, though, has to be "iPooted: The Original iPhone Whoopie Cushion". I can only assume that James G. Speth is seething with rage at that farting usurper, claiming the number one sales position despite being a johnny-fart-lately to the digital methane scene. So he throws down the gauntlet. When the time comes for you to spend your ninety nine cents on a flatulence simulator, will you be a poseur, or will you buy THE ORIGINAL iPhone Whoopie Cushion? Think carefully. Your social standing may depend on the result.

For research purposes, I decided to get one of the free fart machines to see if perhaps there was something I was missing. I settled on iToot, with an average three-star rating and thoughtful user reviews like "If you like farts, this is perfect" and "Tdrxt". Upon installation, and after a splash screen featuring the least classy piece of clip art in the history of clip art, I was presented with nineteen different fart options. These ranged from "Duck", which sounded more like a duck call than a fart, to "Baby Cry", which thank the gods sounds more like a fart than a crying baby, to "Worldly", which is in no way traveled or erudite.

Despite options to make my iPod fart on a regular schedule or in the event the device is picked up, I was bored with iPoot in under three seconds, and I lasted that long only because of the non-sequitur fart-naming conventions. I understand that this is one of those entertainment industry situations, like "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Mamma Mia", where market forces, rather than my impeccable taste, hold sway, but farting iPhones really sum us up as a species. Capable of epic technological advancement, which we then use to make bodily function sounds and chortle over them at the sports bar. We can be better than that, people. Well, I can.