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Luther’s anal arsenal against the Devil also included verbal ejaculations and heinous threats: “Kiss my posterior,” “Throw him into my anus, where he belongs,” or “Defecate in his face.” Luther ridiculed the Evil One, saying, “But if that is not enough for you, you Devil, I also have shit and pissed; wipe your mouth on that and take a hearty bite.” Luther's interminable use of coprolalia much worried the early church fathers, who attempted to expunge many such references. Nevertheless, the popular term “shitfaced” can be traced to a verse in the Old Testament: “Behold, I shall spread dung upon your face.” (Malachi 2:3) The blasphemy “holy shit” is a corruption of the vain use of the name of the Holy Spirit. This curse is the one unforgivable sin, as “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12:31)

The practice of coprophagy, or excrement eating, can be found in many passages in the Bible. The prophet Ezekiel was commanded by God, “And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt cover it with human excrement.” (Ezekiel 4:12) Another passage reads, “They may eat their own excrement and drink their own piss.” (Isaiah 36:12) (This sounds like a G. G. Allen performance.) Blessed St. Marie Allacoque, who tenderly cared for the diseased and dying, was known to have consumed the excrement of her sick patients. A common belief held that the impure are delivered from iniquity by ingesting the holy shit of the pure. The term “bullshit,” meaning “a lie or concocted story,” possibly derives from a corruption of the Papal Bull or Vatican Decree.

Luther wrote that Papal Decrees were like the Devil’s excrement, and the Pope’s words were equal to farts. In Angola, the worst thing to say to someone is “Go and eat shit.” For the Cheyenne tribe in North America, the expression “shit mouth” is thought to express bitter contempt. For the Sioux tribe, the worst insult is to exclaim, “You are the eater of dog dung.” In John Waters’s film Pink Flamingos, the character Divine performs an identical procedure—one that has gone down in the annals of cinematic history. The early Christian church used the term “Stercoranistes” (from stercus, meaning “dung”) for any heretical group that believed the apostasy which claimed that when one consumes the Holy Eucharist, the Lord’s Body contained in the wafer is subject to normal digestion and evacuation.


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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