Michael Douglas defends farting as Benjamin Franklin: ‘He wrote a whole book about it’

“He was very proud,” the two-time Oscar winner said of the founding father.

Michael Douglas has no regrets about farting as a founding father.

In an interview with Sirius XM’s The Jess Cagle Show, the Wall Street star defended the scene in his Apple TV+ series Franklin in which his Benjamin Franklin repeatedly breaks wind. “That was my addition to the script, actually,” Douglas said. “I read this book [about Franklin] and we did get a couple of criticisms on this show about, ‘Ugh, they try to show him farting.’”

Douglas said that he wanted to prove those critics wrong, so he showed them flatulent receipts. “I’m sending these critics who brought this [criticism] up this book on Franklin: ‘This is ‘Fart Proudly,’ okay? So you learn about this,’” he said. “He was very proud, he wrote a whole book about it. So I decided [in] the opening episode, I think that’s about the only time in the whole show… so far.”

<p>Dave Benett/Getty</p> Michael Douglas

Dave Benett/Getty

Michael Douglas

Franklin did, indeed, write an essay titled “Fart Proudly” in 1781. “It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind,” Franklin wrote. “That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.”

Franklin noted that keeping a tight one might actually have adverse effects on human health. “That so retain’d contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Diseases, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c. often destructive of  the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself,” he explained. “Were it not for the odiously offensive Smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are in spitting, or in blowing their Noses.”

<p>The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty</p> Benjamin Franklin

The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty

Benjamin Franklin

Later in the essay, history’s foremost kiteflyer proposed studying the science of farts in order to discover a way to transform their stench into a pleasant smell. “My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreable, to be mix’d with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreable as Perfumes.”

The Apple TV+ series — not to be confused with the cartoon turtle of the same name — is based on A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff. The eight-episode miniseries chronicles Franklin’s mission to convince the French government to support the American revolution.

The first three episodes of Franklin are streaming on Apple TV+. The remaining five episodes will release weekly on Fridays. Watch the full Jess Cagle Show clip with Douglas above.

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