The Art of Mooning


Anglorama nr 4/2005 (32)

The Art of Mooning

Potrzeba odwagi by szczerze wyrazić swoje poglądy. Istnieje jednak metodana ich głoszenie, która wymagaprawdziwegobohaterstwa.

Amtrak is famous for two things. It’s the name of a large American train network and it’s also the subject of a huge exhibitionist event known as the Annual Mooning of Amtrak. Guess which of these will be the subject of this article?

It all started back in 1979 at a local saloon in sunny California. A certain K.T. Smith, celebrating his 30th birthday, offered to stand a round of drinks to anyone who’d go to the railroad tracks and greet the passing Amtrak train with their butt exposed. Outrageous as it seemed, five daredevils (probably already inspired by their high BAC) rushed to fulfill their destiny. By doing so they had not only earned free booze but also laid the foundations for a tradition which has been repeated every year since. So, every second Saturday in July, about 3,000 people visit Laguna Nigel, California. Some of them come prepared to drop their drawers and participate in the one and only mooning festival in the USA. Others just want to cherish the view of hundreds of butts in line from a comfy seat on the train. So if you wish to visit the USA next year, make sure that your travel agent is going to include this event in your holiday package!

The tradition of mooning itself is said to have originated in the Maori culture, a tribe of New Zealand. It was (and probably still is) a gesture of dissent and disrespect but it’s not a taboo at all. How and when this gesture laid its roots in the fertile grounds of Europe is untraceable, yet a very notable event was the Battle of Crecy in 1364. To cut a long story short (but not to diminish the merits of valiant soldiers on both sides) the French soldiers mooned the English archers, for which they paid a painful, if not piercing price. These days the gesture has become simply a form of fun for college students. No matter how insulting it’s considered to be, audacious mooners say that nothing compares to the looks on the faces of people in a car who’ve been driving for hours along the dull, sterile highways of the US, when they raise their weary heads to a passing car and see splashed buttocks right in front of their faces (by the way, this type of exposure is called “a splashed ham”).

But don’t worry if it was you who’s had the chance to examine some hard-featured derriere – you are in the company of the world’s greatest. In 1953 the young and innocent Queen Elizabeth I during one of her first visits to New Zealand was wholeheartedly welcomed by Maori tribesmen and their seats. The story repeated itself in 2000 when the Movement Against the Monarchy gathered in front of Buckingham Palace to protest with their bare buttocks. Here, the police, in full battle attire, managed to prevent a large scale mooning. However, newspapers took note of some mooners who successfully displayed their discontent of whatever it was they were protesting against. In 2004 at the MTV movie awards ceremony, Eminem couldn’t resist the temptation to brag about his rapping rear while he was on stage (is it necessary to add that there was nothing to write home about?). The last, but not the least, is Mr. G.W. Bush who unwillingly added to his list of mooning experiences at an event in Sweden where 200 demonstrators, enraged by his policies on global warming, globalization, and the death penalty, bared their buttocks in disgust. What‘s more, Mr. Bush can’t be able to sleep safe and sound because three crazy guys who call themselves average but frustrated Americans are doing something that any red-blooded patriot would do when things seem their darkest. They are mooning the White House. It is a powerful tool of political speech which is intended to speak to the President clearly and loudly. “Our votes may not count but our butts will” they say. If you want to support their cause you can donate a proverbial buck, helping them to raise the $10,000 necessary to achieve their goal (mostly for bail money). So far, they have $615. Considering how unpopular George is these days, he might be in for a truly astronomical shock.

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