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An Ode to the Post’s Fart-Filled RFK Jr. Story

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

If you spend a bit too much time online, you probably have a fun story you come back to anytime you’re down or need a reminder that the internet is actually the best. For some, it’s the Onion’s “Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades.” Others have an annual ritual of rereading McSweeney’s “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers” every time the leaves start to change color. My go-to is “The Pitch Meeting for Wishbone,” from the Toast.

On Wednesday night, the New York Post’s “Page Six” published a piece that already seems destined to join this pantheon. The subject matter is inherently hilarious: Two men got into an argument about climate change at a press dinner promoting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential candidacy, and one farted loudly. But it’s Mara Siegler’s writing and some strong visual choices by the Post team that make it transcendent. While I urge you to read the full story, as its majesty can’t really be summarized, here are some particularly delightful elements.


The legendary headline.

The bar is high for hilarious New York Post headlines. Fifteen years ago, it rounded up the best examples of this art form into a book titled Headless Body in Topless Bar: The Best Headlines from America’s Favorite Newspaper. If there’s ever a second edition, this certainly deserves a spot:


This lede.

Journalists have confirmed that this is the first time someone has used the phrase “polemic farting,” and the two words may never appear in a better sentence.

Camelot it ain’t.

Page Six regrets to report that a press dinner to boost Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign devolved into a foul bout of screaming and polemic farting on Tuesday night.


The Post bearing “reluctant witness.”

Back in 2017, Louise Mensch famously reported, “My sources say the death penalty, for espionage, being considered for @StevenKBannon. I am pro-life and take no pleasure in reporting this.”

I never really bought that Mensch didn’t enjoy tweeting this (and, of course, Bannon still lives). But I fully believe that Siegler wanted no part of this fart-fest, despite the great journalism it produced:

The gaseous exchange — to which Page Six bore reluctant witness — began after a guest asked Kennedy, founder of ecological organization Waterkeeper Alliance, about the environment. And it seems that the mere inquiry was enough to set off apparently drunk gossip-columnist-turned-flak Doug Dechert, the host of the event, who became enraged and screamed at the top of his lungs: “The climate hoax!”


The surprise appearance by Anthony Haden-Guest.

Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

The 86-year-old British writer, art critic, and gadfly doesn’t just pipe up in response to Doug Dechert’s climate-change denial. In Siegler’s eloquent telling, he “appeared to have been sleeping happily for most of the dinner,” but “was roused by the abrupt rumpus.” As the Post’s caption on this superb photo notes, Hayden-Guest then “stepped in to call Dechert a ‘miserable blob,’” among other insults.


This photo of RFK Jr.

Speaking of top-notch photo choices, the piece also includes this image of RFK Jr. with the perfect caption: “Kennedy remained composed throughout the screams and farts.”

Photo: Page Six/Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images


The description of the fart.

Siegler isn’t shy about describing the toot and the ensuing confusion over its meaning:

Here, it seems, Dechert sensed the need for a new rhetorical tack, and let rip a loud, prolonged fart while yelling, as if to underscore his point, “I’m farting!”

The room … was stunned, seemingly unsure about whether Dechert was farting at Haden-Guest personally or at the very notion of global warming.


The farter asked to be identified as a “beer-fueled sex rocket” — and the Post obliged.

Anyone who hasn’t bailed on the story by this point is down for some fun, so why not? Siegler writes:

Dechert told us when asked to comment about his, er, outburst the next day: “I apologize for using my flatulence as a medium of public commentary in your presence.” (He also asked us to refer to him either as a “gallivanting boulevardier” or a “beer-fueled sex rocket.”)

But the beer-fueled sex rocket, who picked up the tab for the evening as its host, was unapologetic about his views …


The story (probably) has a happy ending.

By the end of the evening, Dechert was sticking with his view that the “climate hoax scam” is “nonsense.” And during the exchange, Haden-Guest, who has known Dechert for decades, declared, “I am done with you.” But the next day he took it back, telling Siegler, “I am sure we will talk again.”

So the two men will reconcile, and someday this will be the only thing anyone remembers about RFK Jr.’s presidential candidacy.

… Unless this hilarious story becomes weirdly prophetic, like the time the Onion published a fake Donald Trump op-ed and we spent the next few years living out the headline “Admit It: You People Want to See How Far This Goes, Don’t You.” Siegler’s piece is fantastic, but I can’t cover the kooks in President Kennedy’s administration waging an endless war of words and farts.

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An Ode to the Post’s Fart-Filled RFK Jr. Story