Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Epeli The Envelope Pusher

               A supplementary read for Epeli Hau’ofa’s Kisses in the Nederends, is his interview; “A Promise of Renewal: An Interview with Epeli Hau’ofa.”  It is helpful to get to know the author and his assertive perspective.  The interview allows the reader to absorb Epeli’s intention.  He places humor, crudeness, and awkwardness to draw attention to the masked beauty of the body.  The body, and all of its parts, should be embraced no matter the description or presentation because it is natural.  Something natural, bowel movenents and “arseholes,” invite the reader to hurdle insecurity and tackle the reverence of the seemingly irreverent.  Now, Epeli doesn’t hide his agenda, he puts it on a poopoo platter with the dressings on the side.  What we are served isn’t exactly what we ordered, but swallow the putrid flavor and accept the hearty humor.  The stench seeping from the platter, collectively, contributes to a resonating satire.  It is odd how Hau’ofa accomplishes abstract and important ideas through such a strange platform.  The word strange is at the heart of the discussion; he doesn’t rope-a-dope or shy away from an imposing figure of discomfort, rather he jabs into it constantly with the same comedic form.  Unpacking the style, Hau’ofa takes a rather disgusting and bleak subject and turns it into the central hub of the novel.  Farts are part of life, your anus is part of life, your acceptance of their inherent pivotal nature—should be part of life.  Why is it so unattractive to talk about the butt or anus?  The next time you go to a fancy dinner bring up bowel movements and ghastly farts, it’ll certainly spice up the mood.  While you have their complete attention, them being parents or friends, look deeply into their eyes and see the discomfort you have imposed.  It is undeniable, unless you have anally liberated family and friends, that an awkward pause or two will strangle the sound waves. But what doesn’t pulsate out of your conversation is a genuine insight to the universality of the body and its beauty.  Though we don’t kiss each other with our “arseholes” or greet eachother with a booming fart, we do encounter the utility of both frequently.  Wouldn’t it be funny, or strange, if we didn’t encounter our bottom half? So the discomfort associated with our anus should be overcome, by um humor.  We utilize humor to circumvent insecurity and uncomfortable situations.  But Hau’ofa delves into, I believe, an intricate part of our perception of the body.  Since there is a reaction to his abrasive language, it can be inferred that all of his readers have a gauge of discomfort associated with the ‘ugly’ part our otherwise majestic form.  But in all seriousness, we can romanticize our bodies as supreme, symmetrical, and godly and we can mask our perspective in advertisements of ‘perfect,’ ‘sexy,’ people.  Or we can confront the superficial and vane nature of believing in such a mirage (I’m not saying people aren’t beautiful, I’m hinting that beautiful people poop too).  Epeli confronts an institutional insecurity of a smelly, grotesque, and ugly body part; but the anus is critical in survival.  Doesn’t its pinnacle usage suggest its beauty, better yet, shouldn’t we accept our “arseholes” as assholes.  Epeli might suggest that humor and beauty converge, and we can see it most clearly against a white porcelain canvas; art is expression- no one clarified what’s expression.

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