The art of making crap

A correspondent draws my attention to a ground-breaking exhibit in Australia’s Museum of New Art. It is a device that mimics the mammalian digestive system by converting food into faeces. This poo-poo machine has been lauded for producing exquisitely malodorous turds which visitors can sniff at their leisure. Few of them are up to the challenge:

“It put me off because of the overwhelming assault on the senses,” declared Diane Malnic, a Sydney-based accountant.

Perhaps the senses of an accountant are rather too easy to overwhelm. An honest farmer, who knows the value of muck, might react more favourably. This machine wasn’t intended for namby-pamby city dwellers who have never fisted a four-legged beast.

The manager of the safari camp grinned facetiously when I told him about it.

“I always knew modern art was shit and now someone’s proved it!” he quipped.

That’s easy for him to say, but what does he know about art? The museum’s mission statement is to “shock, offend, inform and entertain” as if those were the relevant criteria. Frankly, I have my doubts. Watching Jerry Springer ticks all of those boxes, but not even an ignorant baboon would confuse that with art.

In my humble opinion, this turd-machine is a brilliant piece of technology rather than a work of art. Breaking down food, extracting the nutrients and shitting out the remnants is an amazing feat to perform mechanically. It makes one ponder about the true nature of food. Consider the following mathematical equations:

Shit = Food – Nutrients


Food = Nutrients + Shit


Food contains shit.

Is there a flaw in this logical proof? I sent an email to my friend Dicky Dawkins, who knows about these things, and he assured me that he wasn’t a shit-eater. Apparently, the excrement one expunges from the bowels acquires its shitty characteristics from the bacteria in the gut and other chemical processes. Making poo-poo is a mysterious and complex biological process, no less wondrous than the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Remember to feel awed the next time you have a dump.

Not all shit is the same, of course. In general, the most foul-smelling, disgusting excrement is produced by carnivorous creatures. I remember opening the door of a portable lavatory back in my circus days:

“Pooh!” I exclaimed. “Has one of the big cats been doing its business in here?”

“Sorry, GB, it was me,” said one of the female acrobats, blushing furiously. “I had steak for dinner last night.”

“Little girl make big stink!” I replied with an avuncular grin.

This incident taught me that the poo-poo of a pretty girl can be as vile and offensive as anything a hyena can produce. If you don’t want to make a stink in the bathroom, the only solution is to adopt the diet of a gorilla. Our dung is not much worse than Fresh Umbrian Clay with a hint of guacamole. But you’ll have to give up meat; there are no shortcuts in life.

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