You Didn't Have To Be A Dick About It

Politics & Current Events, WTF?

You've probably heard that San Francisco voters will consider a ballot measure to ban circumcision in the city. It's a controversial topic; there are hotly contested medical, social, and individual rights arguments on both sides. I'm not going to try to resolve them: I was circumcised, my son isn't, I see arguments on both sides.

Some Jewish leaders view the initiative as an anti-Semitic attack. It need not be one, necessarily — the circumcision rate in the United States hovers around 50%, while Jews make up only about 2% of the U.S. population (and observant Jews less than that). Moreover, there are many arguments to be made against circumcision that do not depend on denigration of religion.

It would take a heroic effort to frame this dispute as primarily one of anti-Semitism in time for the vote.

Help us, Foreskin Man!

Saunders interviewed Matthew Hess, author of the upcoming anti-circumcision referendum this week.

His website, mgmbill.org — which pushes "a bill to end male genital mutilation in the United States" –also pushes his literature and merchandise starring "Foreskin Man," shown here at right.

Just how anti-Semitic is Foreskin Man? Well, he's a blonde Aryan superhero. And he fights a circumcising villain named Monster Mohel, who cackles as he attempts to circumcise a child against its mother's will: "Nothing excites Monster Mohel more than cutting into the infantile penile flesh of an eight day old boy." Foreskin Man saves the day, rescues the baby, and takes it away to be raised by Aryan progressives in beach sandals.

The art is straight out of Goebbel's wet dreams:

The comic wallows in classic anti-Semitic tropes. I'm only surprised they didn't work blood libel in there. Matthew Hess — together with artists Gledson Barreto (a boy from Brazil) and Ian Sokoliwski, have framed the San Francisco circumcision debate as an anti-Jew issue with a level of explicitness and clarity that's rare in politics.

Hess claims it's about "human rights":

Saunders asked Hess if his comic is anti-Semitic. His answer: "A lot of people have said that, but we're not trying to be anti-Semitic. We're trying to be pro-human rights."

If so, Mr. Hess, in a country where Jews make up only 2% of the population, but 50% of boys get circumcised, why is your villain a Mohel? Why not make the villain Soccer Mom, or Unreflective Dad?

Like I said, I'm not going to take a shot at arguing the circumcision issue one way or the other. But this is flatly despicable. I hope that it comes to represent the anti-circumcision campaign in San Francisco. That's my hope not because of how I feel about circumcision, but how I feel about attempts to harness anti-Semitism for political ends. I want to believe that we have clawed and struggled far enough out of the pit that it doesn't work any more.

Edited 6/4 to add:

A couple of additional points:

1. I'm actually beginning to think, based on the comic site's links to criticism, that this is a deliberate troll — a purposeful employment of anti-Semitic tropes to draw attention to the movement. That's vile in a subtly different way than believing in one's bigotry.

2. I recommend Tony's posts at Rolling Doughnut here and here on this subject for a thoughtful reaction from someone who is anti-circumcision but appalled by this propaganda — and not just because he links me.

3. As I said on Tony's site, I perceive another guilt-by-association problem for circumcision opponents here. One of the most trenchant criticisms of anti-circumcision laws is that they represent nanny-state interference in parental decision-making. Anti-circumcision advocates have a quite arguable response to this: they seek to preserve the autonomy of the individual child rather than take away the autonomy of the parents. But by choosing to pursue anti-circumcision laws in San Francisco and Santa Monica, anti-circumcision advocates tend to associate anti-circumcision laws with the petty totalitarianism and nanny-statism of those locales — they help their opponents put anti-circumcision in the nanny-state box rather than the autonomy box. (Anti-circumcision advocates would probably say that San Francisco and Santa Monica are cities most likely to be receptive to an anti-circumcision law. As much as I love San Francisco as a beautiful city — and as much as I like many San Franciscans individually — I have to ask whether that receptiveness actually represents a pro-autonomy mentality or a pro-nanny-state mentality.)

Last 5 posts by Ken White

53 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Jason!  •  Jun 3, 2011 @11:42 am

    I've seen Jack Chick tracts that were more subtle.

  2. Stephen Mendelsohn  •  Jun 3, 2011 @12:10 pm

    BS"D

    I am the one who found this on the web, e-mailed Abby Porth of the SF Jewish Community Realtions Council, and she must have forwarded this to her contacts.

    One correction: There is a blood libel in the comic strip at this frame: http://www.foreskinman.com/no2panel36.htm It has Monster Mohel seeking to "partake" of the blood of metzizah b'peh, the traditional way mohalim have stopped any bleeding after the cut. Outside of a few ultra-Orthodox mohalim, it is not done this way, primarily because of the risk of transmitting HIV, HPV, or herpes. Note even the reporter's name, "Amanda Pagan" (the real religion of intactivism) and the baby's "Glick," named after Leonard Glick, a prominent intactivist author of "Marked in Your Flesh." Note also that Glick is kidnapped to be raised by non-Jewish thieves who stole curcumstraints from a San Francisco hospital. Every detail of this comic was intended to provoke.

  3. Joe  •  Jun 3, 2011 @12:35 pm

    Not anti-Semitic? Please. And it's not like any little boy is ever circumcised against their parents' will.

  4. As is so often the case with California politics, I look at this scene from my midwestern sensibilities laden vantage, and I'm ready to make a bet that this guy's campaign is a falseflag op. I know it's just that Cali's weird that way, but the suspicion remains.

  5. SPQR  •  Jun 3, 2011 @2:12 pm

    Wow. I don't think I've ever seen anything as brazen as that. There are KKK members reading that saying: "Wow, that's bold."

  6. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @3:32 pm

    Let's say someone was from the planet Preputia and all Preputians sexually assaulted their children at 16 days old. Everyone knew this. There are kind hearted people who say "hate is wrong" They are right, all hate is wrong, but how could they rationally argue against the people who hate them if the preputians continued to sexually assault their children?

    The Preputians believe this act of sexual assault to be divined by their God, yet all but the most orthodox of preputians (which make a minority, yet practice what would widely be regarded as the most heinous of child sexual assaults) make exceptions in the rules ordained by their holy book.

    The preputians have a choice, Continue to sexually assault their children,thus validating the hatred that intellectual anti-preputians have for them.

    Or…

    They can admit that in in our current society, sexual assault may be added to the list of no-longer-required religious practices. Thus eliminating the ammunition for hatred that the intellectual anti-preputians have. Leaving only the brainwashed and stubborn assholes with no way to validate their hate to despise the preputians.

    Cutting a Child's healthy and normal genitals is by every definition sexual assault. Regardless of purpotrator, regardless of societal acceptance of the action.

  7. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2011 @3:38 pm

    Josh, let's take your analogy further.

    Say that society has a history of bigotry and discrimination against said Preputians. Say that Preputians have been slaughtered by the millions based on that bigotry within living memory, aided by propaganda campaigns that imputed all sorts of terrible qualities to Preputians — almost none of them having anything to do with what they do to kids on the 16th day. Say that half of our society molests kids on the 16th day of life, and that Preputians are only 2% of our society.

    Now say that people who oppose molesting kids on their 16th day of life launch a campaign to discourage it, and specifically elect to frame the campaign in terms of anti-Preputian bigotry, adopting the tropes used in living memory to justify the mass slaughter of Preputians, even though they only make up a tiny percentage of the citizens engaging in this practice.

    Wouldn't you agree that the opponents are at best utilitarian to the point of amorality — willing to fan the flames of bigotry against a tiny minority in order to achieve a social goal — and at worst actively bigoted against Preputians?

  8. SPQR  •  Jun 3, 2011 @4:07 pm

    Cutting a Child’s healthy and normal genitals is by every definition sexual assault.

    Bzzzzt. Nope. Begging the question. Logic fail.

  9. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @4:14 pm

    If this were the case i'd agree with you Ken, However, This comic book doesn't represent the backbone of the intactivist movement. The first issue does indeed villify the so called "medical professionals" who inflict the same damage upon children. In fact, many of my Intactivist friends shun this particular issue, and agree that it is inappropriate.

    Both sides are plagued by misrepresentation.

    A comic book made by a handful of people with a few dozen unfortunate artistic decisions is being used to dismiss the message of the whole.

    Is that not a form of bigotry in itself?

    All children, regardless of the religion that their families uphold, deserve the right to remain intact bodily. Should they desire to follow a different religion as an adult they should be capable of deciding whatever body parts they wish to sacrifice for whatever covenants they desire. No one has the right to force such a permanent decision upon them.

  10. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2011 @4:20 pm

    Josh, I agree with you that the rights and wrongs of circumcision in the abstract is not impacted by this propaganda. But I find your attempt to distance this particular campaign in San Francisco from this anti-Semitic propaganda to be unconvincing. Weren't Matthew Hess and his organization the ones who spearheaded getting it on the ballot there?

  11. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2011 @4:29 pm

    Also, Josh, trying to pass this off as "with a few dozen unfortunate artistic decisions" is ludicrous. Classic anti-Semitic iconography and tropes permeate the comic — they are its core. That's like saying "Showgirls" has some incidental nudity, or that "Scarface", in final form, included some moments of violence.

  12. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @4:46 pm

    That may be the case, (I will look into this further) But even if they were involved, so what?

    It's a comic book. Not an in-depth commentary. It accomplished it's goal, to get people talking. So it piggy backed on less than reputable methods. Its intention wasn't to offend.

    Are people seriously going to start taking social commentary from comic books seriously? That should be more worrisome than anything that could possibly be contained in them.

  13. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2011 @4:52 pm

    OK, Josh. I'm sure you won't mind if I start building a pro-circumcision campaign based on the notion that most intactivists are pedophiles who want intact under-aged penises to grope, right? Because I'm just starting a conversation, and it would be silly to take it seriously.

    If your response to an advocacy group deliberately using anti-Semitic tropes to advance a social goal is "so what", then I think our values are too different to have a worthwhile conversation. But rest assured that I don't judge the entire anti-circumcision movement based on them, or you.

  14. b  •  Jun 3, 2011 @4:58 pm

    "Accomplished it's [sic] goal?"

    At which point does the outrageous vileness and stupidity exhibited *here* by the "intactivists" become too much for you, Josh? Whatever their "intentions," this should be highlighted at best as phenomenally and jawdroppingly ill-advised.

  15. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @5:00 pm

    It would be scoffed at, In reality any intellectual would recognize it's people who desire to cut the genitals of children to suit their sexual preference to be the pedophiles. That the true pedophiles only have to put up a facade of trustworthiness to gain access to and unlimited supply of genitals of newborn boys to molest and mutilate.

    It's not "so what" i agree it's inappropriate. But this is not the face of the intactivist movement. Intactivism is young and needs exposure, and you know what they say, any publicity is good publicity. This is 3 people who wanted to make a comic book to represent their feelings about a controversial subject.

  16. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @5:01 pm

    Well, not so much young. as it is small.

  17. Base of the Pillar  •  Jun 3, 2011 @5:29 pm

    I live just close enough to SF that this scares me. I live just far enough away that I feel safe.

  18. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @5:49 pm

    What scares you? The chance that you won't be allowed to take a knife to your potential son's genitals anymore?

    Sheesh, people are so obsessed with cutting children's genitals. It's about damn time boys might receive the same legal protection as girls.

  19. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:02 pm

    What scares you? The chance that you won’t be allowed to take a knife to your potential son’s genitals anymore?

    You know, I find your loathing of circumcision to be really odd.

    It isn't like they are dragging 10 year old boys from their beds at night, and drawing out the procedure over a period of hours…

    We're talking about a procedure conducted by people who have gone to doctor school, takes all of 10 minutes, and is never remembered.

    I have a pretty amazing memory, and even *I* start to get fuzzy once you start walking back prior to season three of Story Of Scott.

  20. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:04 pm

    I have a pretty amazing memory, and even *I* start to get fuzzy once you start walking back prior to season three of Story Of Scott.

    That's because we had to recast you that season. It's totally Dick York/Dick Sargent.

  21. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:09 pm

    You know what i find odd?
    Your validation of permanent deprivation of 50% of the penile surface tissue/ numerous penile functions/ thousands of sexually responsive nerves… FROM AN INFANT!

    How anyone can sit there and pretend that the damage of ALL forms of FGM (including the ritual knick of the clitoral hood for a drop of blood) should remain illegal, while the fully amputation of the foreskin of males is acceptable.

    It takes quit an amazing force of will to remain oblivious to the egregious violation of human rights that this is.

  22. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:18 pm

    Your validation of permanent deprivation of 50% of the penile surface tissue/ numerous penile functions/ thousands of sexually responsive nerves… FROM AN INFANT!

    I don't know who you've been talking to, but the unit I have works perfectly, and has ever since I got the firmware patch around age 15 that put a stop to that whole "random boner" bug…

  23. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:19 pm

    It takes quit an amazing force of will to remain oblivious to the egregious violation of human rights that this is.

    Just wondering…

    What's your stance on abortion?

  24. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:25 pm

    "I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but the unit I have works perfectly,"
    It works perfectly, like a car without power steering.

    You don't know what you're missing. Because you weren't given any chance to experience it. It was your right to experience it. you should be pissed.

    Imagine children born into slavery, they might be happy with how they live their lives, but it's certainly not an excuse to validate slavery. Just because they never knew freedom, freedom is no less important of a human right.

    Abortion isn't part of this discussion. Please stop attempting to distract from the issue at hand.

  25. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:26 pm

    I've often suspected that the anti-circumcision movement is an elaborate framework designed to provide a socially acceptable reason to brag that your penis is superior than someone else's.

  26. Josh  •  Jun 3, 2011 @6:37 pm

    Well, Biologically, that is an undeniable fact. Otherwise so many species wouldn't possess foreskins.

    Basic knowledge of the functions of the foreskin would make anyone realize that amputating it is a very damaging action.

    But of course, it's not about what's better. It's about each person's individual right to bodily autonomy. If you desire to cut your genitals, that's your right, and nobody elses.

  27. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @8:33 pm

    Abortion isn’t part of this discussion. Please stop attempting to distract from the issue at hand.

    It most certainly is.

    Answer the fucking question, jack-wad. Are you pro or anti abortion?

  28. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @8:37 pm

    Basic knowledge of the functions of the foreskin would make anyone realize that amputating it is a very damaging action.

    Funny… We've been doing ok for a while now with it being pretty common practice.

    It’s about each person’s individual right to bodily autonomy.

    The fuck it is. If you don't want to have it done to your kid, you don't have to. They don't force it on you, you know…

    Why is YOUR opinion more important than a PARENT'S opinion?

    This isn't about choice, no matter how you want to color it. It is about your self-righteous belief that you know better than someone else. This is about you *ahem* dictating how someone else gets to act.

  29. Joe  •  Jun 3, 2011 @9:04 pm

    The fuck it is. If you don’t want to have it done to your kid, you don’t have to. They don’t force it on you, you know…

    Fuck that, it is forced; I didn't want that irrational mutilation done to myself.

    Why is YOUR opinion more important than a PARENT’S opinion?

    This isn’t about choice, no matter how you want to color it.

    Because it's my fucking body and non-therapeutic that's why. We protect girls from this kind of abuse, and I feel that I deserved the same protection and respect.

  30. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @9:23 pm

    Because it’s my fucking body and non-therapeutic that’s why.

    Ok. Fine then.

    We won't circumcise you. Promise.

    Now can you give up your efforts to force your world view on people you've never met?

  31. Joe  •  Jun 3, 2011 @9:42 pm

    We won’t circumcise you. Promise.

    Now can you give up your efforts to force your world view on people you’ve never met?

    A meaningless promise at this point. And no; not so long as boys, such as myself, were/are/will be, subject to non-therapeutic circumcision at the whim of someone else. I can't, won't, give up efforts to seek equal justice in the law, the same protection that girls enjoy boys should too.

  32. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @10:12 pm

    So Joe, what is YOUR opinion on abortion?

  33. Joe  •  Jun 3, 2011 @10:24 pm

    I'd just like to point out that this is a different Joe than me, the one who has been commenting here for a long while now.

    I too was snipped as an infant, but I'm not about to share my opinions on that with the world and am certainly not going to force them upon anyone else.

  34. Joe  •  Jun 3, 2011 @10:27 pm

    So Joe, what is YOUR opinion on abortion?

    Why don't you blog about abortion, state a position, and perhaps I'll come over and opine about it. Where ever on the spectrum one falls though, none would deny that once the child is born they are an individual and are entitled to all the rights and protections appertaining thereunto. Unless you are male. That must change.

  35. Robert  •  Jun 3, 2011 @10:56 pm

    Why is YOUR opinion more important than a PARENT’S opinion?

    It was my body, not my parents'. It should have been my decision. No one, absolutely no one, not even my parents, had the right to cut off a normal, healthy part of my body without a compelling medical reason.

  36. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 3, 2011 @11:04 pm

    Why don’t you blog about abortion, state a position, and perhaps I’ll come over and opine about it. Where ever on the spectrum one falls though, none would deny that once the child is born they are an individual and are entitled to all the rights and protections appertaining thereunto.

    So you're telling me that you don't care about killing the entire child, but try to snip the tip? BURN THEM AT THE STAKE!!!

    Fuck-wit. Fascist. Morally feckless pile of shit.

  37. Joe  •  Jun 4, 2011 @5:59 am

    So you’re telling me that you don’t care about killing the entire child, but try to snip the tip? BURN THEM AT THE STAKE!!!

    Fuck-wit. Fascist. Morally feckless pile of shit.

    Where exactly did I say that? I only suggested a venue where I might come and provide my opinion on the matter and made the factual observation that once the child is actually born, few would suggest that standard legal protections don't apply at that point, unless you're male.

    So rather then trying to suss out my opinion and derail the topic of this blog post, why don't you go write about abortion and if I have time, I might discuss my opinion on the matter.

  38. Tony  •  Jun 4, 2011 @6:58 am

    Scott:

    I'll answer your question. I am against abortion. I think it's silly to pretend legally that life begins at the moment a child leaves the birth canal. We could get into viability, which I think is a relevant topic. At some point working backwards in time, the child requires his/her mother's body to continue existing. That's relevant, but not definitive. Outside of pregnancies from sexual assault, I'm not offended by efforts to limit abortion. Being an issue of competing rights, though, it's not quite that simple if people are to have autonomy over themselves. Our goal should be to get it as close to zero as possible through safe(r) sex and adoption. It's a challenging question that can't be neatly resolved in reality because of the competing rights.

    Non-therapeutic male child circumcision is not a challenging question. Proxy consent must have limits. Preventing non-therapeutic surgery is reasonable. Lacking the ability to remember being circumcised doesn't render it valid, among the many non-medical justifications used. If that's the standard, just about anything done to a child could be deemed acceptable.

    You asked, "Why is YOUR opinion more important than a PARENT’S opinion?" My opinion is not more important than a parent's. The parent's son's opinion, however, is more important when the circumcision would be non-therapeutic. I take no position on what the child should choose for himself when he is able to choose, just that he should be able to choose for himself whether or not he wants part of his normal anatomy removed. So, my opinion is more important than my parents' opinion. Or, rather, it should've been. Instead, we think it's somehow okay for parents to dictate forever how their sons will be physically, for any reason the parents cite? That illogical position doesn't hold up to examination.

    Let me ask you a question: why should a child have rights in the womb, but lose a specific right to not have its healthy genitals surgically altered once outside the womb, but only if born a boy?

  39. SPQR  •  Jun 4, 2011 @7:27 am

    Ken wrote: I’ve often suspected that the anti-circumcision movement is an elaborate framework designed to provide a socially acceptable reason to brag that your penis is superior than someone else’s.

    My theory is that its the attempt of premature ejaculators to blame their parents for their problem.

  40. Amy Alkon  •  Jun 4, 2011 @7:33 am

    I'm Jewish (now an atheist, but strongly influenced by my Jewish upbringing). I spent my formative years at Detroit's Temple Beth El, was active in the youth group by choice, went to NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth camp in the summers), won a trip to Israel for an essay I wrote, and my mother is a biblical scholar, so I currently have a bunch of Rabbi Telushkin books, etc., on my shelves.

    I find it absolutely barbaric to do unnecessary surgery for any reason on an non-consenting child. Does this make me anti-Semitic — or civilized?

  41. Ken  •  Jun 4, 2011 @7:40 am

    Amy, it certainly doesn't make you anti-Semitic.

    Now, if you were to launch a campaign opposing circumcision on the grounds it was a secret Jewish plot to gather bits of Christian children for Passover matzo, that would be anti-Semitic.

  42. Ken  •  Jun 4, 2011 @8:06 am

    Based on the way they are linking criticism on the comic's site, I'm increasingly thinking that this is a deliberate troll to get attention — a deliberate invocation of anti-Semitism to make more people notice the circumcision issue. That's vile in a subtly different way. Either way, Hess and his illustrators are going to find their Google presence dominated by accusations of bigotry. They deserve it.

  43. Tony  •  Jun 4, 2011 @8:28 am

    Ken,

    I think it's a deliberate troll, too. I thought that in December when issue #2 popped up. I don't know if Hess and his illustrators are anti-Semites. My interactions with him, both direct and indirect, has shown that they want to be offensive for the sake of offending. I suspect they're smart enough to understand what they're doing but too stupid to understand the implications of their actions. That combo makes me angry as someone who will be lumped in with them.

  44. Ken  •  Jun 4, 2011 @10:26 am

    Tony: your level of discourse distinguishes you quickly and conclusively. That and your cool website.

  45. Ken  •  Jun 4, 2011 @10:49 am

    Note updates to post.

  46. The love of my life, My wife of 20+ years, has assured me that were it not for the unilaterally imposed foreskin lacking state of my penis, that she probably wouldn't have, uh, gone all the way with me. So there's that.

  47. Tony  •  Jun 4, 2011 @1:42 pm

    Ken,

    I think you're right on the guilt-by-association. I think California is a good place to start because it offers the ballot initiative that I don't think most places have. Going through legislatures now is just asking to get filed in the round file. It doesn't advance much of anything but mockery because it puts everything in the control of politicians. But the ballot initiative isn't enough. As you suggest, strategy matters most, especially in the early stages.

    My problem with the choice of San Francisco stems from exactly what you state. It's too easy to pollute the discussion with the wrong implication and approach. I've read the Happy Meal comparison so many times, and it hasn't yet been intelligent. But it's there and must be dealt with. I'm fine with doing that since it's the option right now, even though I wouldn't have suggested SF if I'd had input. It doesn't change my defense from my principled approach to something less coherent.

    I'm not sure that the digging in from the reasonable opponents of the SF proposal after it began has been caused more by bad marketing or by a first-glance nanny-state judgment by people considering it for the first time. The conservative sites I've seen have been gung-ho on the latter, but they also introduce it with "lib-tards" and other indicators that they don't want to think. Most other people can be reasoned with, if it weren't for the power of self-inflicted wounds. Those wounds result largely because there's no powerful organizing force among activists. The question is will we kill the possibility before we can marginalize those who keep inflicting such wounds… I wish I could be more optimistic.

    As for Santa Monica, that frustrated me. As much as I'm hopeful to get my vision of individual choice as the standard as quickly as possible, the early stages have to be a slow play. Start the process, let opponents rant through the initial effort and celebrate the inevitable failure. Over time, thinking will start. It's the three stages of truth. Right now we're just beginning to cross from the first to the second. Instead, it's the loudest screaming "BUT THEY'RE TEH IDIOTS WHO CUT!", which is trying to skip the tedious, necessary process. More boys than should be will be circumcised by going slow. But fewer boys will be circumcised in the long-term if my alleged friends stop acting like morons.

    (I posted this in my comment thread, too, but I'm fine with staying on topic here, in the event that you or others want to respond.)

  48. Robert  •  Jun 6, 2011 @7:43 pm

    It's not a matter of being "reglious" or not. All Jewish males must be circumcised. They are trying to outlaw Judaism because they hate Jews and love terrorists. It's that simple.

  49. Goober  •  Jun 7, 2011 @2:03 pm

    I haven't really ever understood why our society considers female genital mutilation to be so repugnant while 50% of us continue to do essentially the same thing to our sons without even really thinking about it. My parents did it to me. I don't really resent them for it, but I do wonder why, and also what I might be missing out on.

    It is a body part. It is part of you. it shouldn't be cut off. I know that they say that if you cut off your foreskin you are less likely to have foreskin infections of something trite like that. Great. I'm sure if I gouge my eyes out i won't ever have pinkeye again, too, but I'm not going to do it.

    It is a strange practice with no value and I don't understand why we cling to it the way we do. It needs to stop.

    Just like anti-semitism.

  50. Scott Jacobs  •  Jun 12, 2011 @12:39 pm

    and also what I might be missing out on.

    Check wikipedia for the term "smegma"…

  51. SPQR  •  Jun 13, 2011 @12:49 pm

    "I haven’t really ever understood why our society considers female genital mutilation to be so repugnant while 50% of us continue to do essentially the same thing to our sons without even really thinking about it."

    Because it isn't essentially the same thing. There is quite a bit of difference between the two. Male circumcision does not eliminate functionality like female genital mutilation does.

  52. Snooder  •  Jul 27, 2011 @2:04 pm

    Wow, this has got to be the dumbest thing I ever read. Anti-circumcision campaign? Equating it to female genital mutilation or abortion? Are you kidding me?

    Goddammit, it's a purely cosmetic modification done at a time when it imposes the least effect on the child. There's a certain point at which people just have to accept that other people have different ideas on how to raise their kids and as long as they aren't literally beating them to death, you just shouldn't interfere.

    Because hey, once we go down that road, where do we stop? Do we mandate that no parent can ever guy pink toys for a male child because said toys will lead to harrassment and suffering later in life when the kid gets called a "pussy?" Do we jail the parents of every 5 year old girl who walks around in juicy couture with makeup on?

    As the saying goes, "he who is without sin cast the first stone." Everyone has some idea of parenting that is outside the mainstream. Maybe it's letting your kids watch tv at 10pm. Maybe it's never giving them meat. Maybe it's breastfeeding way past the right age. Maybe it's deciding to have a caesarian section. Maybe it's NOT deciding to have caesarian. As long as said decision is not inherently dangerous to the life of the child, then it should not be illegal.

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