Pre-Fringe Profile: The Problem of the Body: Why Is Our Society Ashamed of Bodily Urges?


by Phillip Andrew Bennett Low | 7/21/09 • SHOW TITLE: The Problem of the Body: Why is our society ashamed of bodily urges?
PRODUCER: Prof. Rudman
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Like John Waters channeled through Sir Kenneth Clark, Prof. Rudman examines contemporary American attitudes toward bodily urges by comparing recent media coverage with jaw-dropping imagery from other cultures.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: The combination of the political and the historical. It’s a bull’s-eye for my corner of geekdom.

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

womb with a view is the blog of phillip andrew bennett low, one of seven bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival and other theater for the daily planet.

Damon Rudman is the Jonathan Wad Endowed Professor and Proctor of Scatology and Sexology at the Upper United States University (Up.U.S.U.). (Actually, it’s a nom de theatre, but I got a mortgage to pay, and it might be hard to work if every time someone Googles me they get what they may consider “salacious filth.”)

So what’s the big idea?

Many people decry the amount of sex and vulgarity in US media today. They feel that our society is losing its way, and they long for restoration of “traditional” decency. However, history and anthropology prove that prudishness has seldom been the norm. On the contrary, in comparison to other cultures, we still stand out as uncommonly ashamed of our bodies and their urges; acknowledging them is seen as perverse and suppressing them is seen as natural.

By juxtaposing contemporary media with artifacts and verbal accounts from other times and places, this show will deconstruct contemporary attitudes surrounding our urges for sex, food, sleep, and the defecatory urges (including belching, spitting, nose-picking, farting, pissing, and shitting).

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

Our bodies are always near at hand. Urges arise regularly. Isn’t it nuts to feel ashamed about them? What virtue is there in repression? Why should prigs hold the moral high-ground?

Why should I care?

Expect mind-blowing edutainment! Fun for your whole family—if your family don’t mind dirty pictures and stuff.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Bodies not dirty

Repression is perverse

Laughter can free us

Phillip Andrew Bennett Low ( is a playwright and poet, storyteller and mime, theater critic and libertarian activist, who lurks ominously in the desert wilds of St. Louis Park, feasting upon the hygienically-prepared flesh of the once-living. His main claim to fame is probably as co-founder of the Rockstar Storytellers, and as founder/producer of Maximum Verbosity, a garage-band-like theater troupe that is in a state of constantly re-defining itself.

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