Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Since there's nothing else going on in politics, let's dig into the #Fartgate conspiracy

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Perhaps the most important week in 2019 American politics is happening right now. As you read this, the government and the nation’s people are gathered together, determined to get to the bottom of an unprecedented event that could rock the foundation of a country. That’s right: We’re talking about whether or not Representative Eric Swalwell farted live on camera last night.

The original document in this vast conspiracy—the flatulent Zapruder Film of 2019—is a tweet from Andrew Lawrence that shows the brief but momentous clip as it aired on MSNBC’s Hardball. In it, Swalwell, while talking about some other, less important topic, seems to rip a robust one and continue onward, undaunted.

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Before we go any further, please watch for yourself—several times if necessary.

While this sure does sound like Swalwell blowing ass during a live broadcast, the powers that be have scrambled to cover up the situation in any way possible. The official Hardball Twitter account acted quickly, blaming the sound on a “mug scraping across the desk” and urged everyone to “get back to the news!” Hm. We think the Hardball doth protest too much.

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Intrepid Buzzfeed News reporter Addy Baird got in touch with Swalwell himself, outright asking “if this was you or someone in the studio.”

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Swalwell, as expected, denied (using a suspicious number of exclamation points), admitting only that the entire situation is “funny tho.”

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He also replied to the Hardball tweet in Trumpian fashion, acting as if the mug theory truly clears his name and the stinky, stinky air that filled the nationally televised moment.

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Obviously, the official line here is too simple to be believed. We all know what we heard on the tape and the internet will not give up so easily. The video continues to be analyzed and notes taken on minute details ranging from body language to audio hints.

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Clearly, the eager excuses offered up by Hardball, Swalwell, and god only knows how many other shady actors, are not compelling enough to flush away this scandal.

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The people need only to continue examining the video, graphing out sound waves, and comparing audio forms in home laboratories to get at the truth of the matter. The smoking gun—and the moment it, uh, loudly shot—was captured on a live broadcast and archived for view by anyone on the planet. It’s on us now to furrow our brows, squeeze together the divide splitting America in two, and, now that scandal is so thick in the air it’s as if our very nostrils are filled with it, band together and refuse to let the truth slip away on the wind.

[via Buzzfeed News]

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.