Toronto Star tech reporter Raju Mudhar conducted a real-life test of Shreddies, underwear whose motto is “Fart with confidence.” He tries to “create a Dutch oven” — OK, here’s a definition — which he describes as “one of those couple ‘games’ that I have been pulling on my wife for years.”
He “wore Shreddies for three days around town” and found they “seemed to work pretty well, although I wasn’t particularly gassy.” He also tried them out at work:
Sure, I let a couple fly — including one attempt on an elevator at work, which has mirrored walls, so I watched all the faces for familiar signs of putrid smell recognition, but no joy.
The takeaway here — besides never, ever get on an elevator with Raju Mudhar? They worked pretty well. Even at home.
Back under the sheets in the Dutch oven, I let loose a few. One loud one and a couple of quieter follow-ups. Speaking scientifically, the problem with fart testing is that each one is a random occurrence, so you never know exactly what their stink level is going to be. There is no control group to compare it with.
My wife inhales a big whiff and says: “I don’t smell anything.”
Something that passed less easily: The decision whether to recognize Mudhar’s work, which briefly paralyzed Poynter Online’s staff Wednesday.
When I asked my colleague Craig Silverman whether there were ethical issues with Mudhar’s story, he said, “Clearly the issue is whether it’s ethical to subject fellow citizens and spouses to flatulence and the dreaded Dutch Oven in order to get the story. In my view, it is unethical to review a product without giving it a proper testing. In that respect Mr. Mudhar was duty bound to suit up and cut the cheese. Though the choice of Dutch Oven is certainly a debatable one, and perhaps grounds for divorce.”
Via instant message, Interim Poynter Online Editor Sandee Oshiro invited this blogger to make a case for the post. A partial transcript of our conversation follows:
me: Well if you look beyond the subject matter
this guy really did a lot of work on this review
Sandee: That’s hard to do.
me: including: trying it out on unsuspecting colleagues
I mean, I guess you could make the case he was working
so work was an appropriate place to fart
if you don’t want to publish it I understand
Sent at 2:52 PM on Wednesday
Sandee: I’m thinking…and torn because on one hand we want to reach out to a demographic that would find this amusing as opposed to, well, old farts.
me: Craig gave me a quote if you want to pursue the ethical angle
or you can … pass hahahaha
Sandee: LOL! We should just post this chat.
I also sent Oshiro this tweet from Mudhar, trying to shore up the business-of-media angle:
From all the reax, I clearly should be looking for more stories on the fart beat. I mean, if the Denver Post can have a marijuana editor…
— raju mudhar (@rajumudhar) December 4, 2013