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Pissing match started tangential to gyno thread
January 8, 2007 9:13 PM   Subscribe

An otherwise great post on a gynecologist rearranging his patients' genitals without their consent is turning into a pissing match. [More Inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon to Etiquette/Policy at 9:13 PM (579 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

It's your typical scenario: poster uses thread to grind personal axe about male circumcision, poster is asked to pipe down, this thread is about the vag not about his penis. General decrying of male circumcision as barbaric is made, followed by the outburst "Can we please stop making every post about FGM about male circumcision?!"

Seriously, can we? Please? I get that male circumcision is a pretty, er, sensitive issue, but it's not the issue that the post is about and it really does NOT need to be up for debate. For the love of all things holy, the post was about a gynecologist who "realigned" his patients vaginas without their consent. I fail to see the connection between that scenario and anything even vaguely penile.

I also fail to see the reason for dragging that debate out even further in an otherwise interesting thread.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:13 PM on January 8, 2007


I'm trying really hard not to make a terribly hateful response to this comment. I'll just leave it at "delete that whole fucking mess please".
posted by bob sarabia at 9:20 PM on January 8, 2007


I'm with grapefruitmoon, five fresh fish FunkyHelix and others from that thread who valiantly tried to hold forth against the knuckleheads.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:30 PM on January 8, 2007


grapefruitmoon: "It's your typical scenario: poster uses thread to grind personal axe..."

Post seems to have been trimmed; the only comment mentioning male circumcision that I can find is mr. strange's. (That's a good thing, although I don't know why his wouldn't make the cut.) So I'm just wondering: did kyrademon (the poster) really grind that axe? Or did you mean commenter?
posted by koeselitz at 9:32 PM on January 8, 2007


koselitz: I guess I did mean "commenter" though my brain had spaced out on the word. I used "poster" instead of OP to try and distinguish that kyrademon was not the one with the axe. Sorry for any confusion.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:33 PM on January 8, 2007


"Poster" should mean "original FPP poster" and everyone else in a thread should be referred to as a "commenter". That's my opinion, anyway.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:34 PM on January 8, 2007


I'm out of the pissing match. I made my point and wish I hadn't responded to the dipshit's trolling.

I apologise to everyone on behalf of those of us with penises who don't give a good goddamn about circumcision issues outside circumcision-related threads. It grates me to no end that some men can't pull their heads out of their dicks long enough to talk about someone else's genitalia.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:39 PM on January 8, 2007


koeselitz:

The comments are still there. Look for pretty much every comment made by spacediver.
posted by chundo at 9:47 PM on January 8, 2007


I left that post early, but it seemed that Spacediver was doing most of the male focus...or were there more commentators that joined in?
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 9:49 PM on January 8, 2007


spacediver needs a fucking timeout. What an ass.
posted by dobbs at 9:50 PM on January 8, 2007


Metafilter: Can't we all just relax and talk about someone else's genitals for a change?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:50 PM on January 8, 2007


Maybe we should have special designated female-only threads so those mean nasty boys won't barge in and talk about topics the girls don't like.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:51 PM on January 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I thought it was guys making a fuss about it too? Or are they just "queer" in your books?
posted by liquorice at 9:54 PM on January 8, 2007


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese: Why don't we have special threads about the subject at hand so those mean nasty derailers won't barge in and talk about topics that are completely irrelevant.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:55 PM on January 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's funny how people latch onto certain hobbyhorses that they make their own. Like people who are obsessed with circumcision. It's funny that people care so damn much. I honestly don't think there's any topic I care that much about. Watching spacediver go to work on genital mutilation makes me feel like I ought to get passionate about something!
posted by jayder at 9:55 PM on January 8, 2007


Holy foxy moxie batman!: anotherpanacea was not nearly as obnoxious, but did his part to further the male-circumcision parallel, and requested that any "FGM only requesters" take it to MetaTalk. And lo, here we are.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:57 PM on January 8, 2007


I hadn't, um, trimmed anything until just now. I removed the last two of spacediver's comments because they were pretty much just shouting at a wall and not really responding to or interacting with anyone. What an odd hobbyhorse topic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:58 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Be circumspect with circumcision, eh?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:05 PM on January 8, 2007


Before I joined metafilter I had no idea so many people had a bug up their ass about male circumcision. So that's something.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:05 PM on January 8, 2007


Suddenly, dame's whole "hey cortex I want a hoodie" takes on a profoundly weird subtext.
posted by cortex at 10:08 PM on January 8, 2007


There's a joke about a bucket of cocks just waiting to be made here.
posted by FunkyHelix at 10:14 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Perhaps men who lament their circumcisions act like utter cock-ends as some form of compensation?
posted by Abiezer at 10:17 PM on January 8, 2007


Be circumspect with circumcision, eh?

Or just circumnavigate the entire subject.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:23 PM on January 8, 2007


I vote to keep axe-grinding and circumcision as far apart as possible.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:46 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Even my special bris axe?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:54 PM on January 8, 2007


Interesting that people are calling out the male circumcision talk but no one the rampant sexism of surprise that some husband/brother/father hadn't put the smack down on the bad doctor.
posted by Mitheral at 11:00 PM on January 8, 2007


Goddamnit, right now on AskMe we have a perfectly good place for jackasses to get their asinine comments about circumcision deleted. What's with trying to stealth-inject them into a totally unrelated thread?
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:12 PM on January 8, 2007


I'm sorry, how is my cock not relevant to this discussion?

"Post seems to have been trimmed"

(You made me snicker).

"Suddenly, dame's whole "hey cortex I want a hoodie" takes on a profoundly weird subtext."

Dude, get hoodie up on UrbanDictionare stat. I love the idea of some kind of foreskin frotterage or something called a hoodie (perhaps a cortex hoodie?)
posted by klangklangston at 11:13 PM on January 8, 2007


Interesting that people are calling out the male circumcision talk but no one the rampant sexism of surprise...

Considering that the thread was derailed in the second comment, no it's not that interesting.
posted by bob sarabia at 11:16 PM on January 8, 2007


Interesting that people are calling out the male circumcision talk but no one the rampant sexism of surprise...

Also, not EVERY thread on FGM gets turned into a clusterfuck on the subject of sexism, whereas anytime I've seen anything about anyone's genitals on MeFi, sense gets thrown out the window somewhere around comment #100 at which point it becomes all about somebody's poor penis and could they just get their foreskin back already.

But hey, if you want to call out the sexism, be my guest.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:25 PM on January 8, 2007


I'm with you guys. I'm glad someone called it out.

That having been said, I'm guessing that most dudes who have bugs up their asses about male circumcision are uncircumcised.

Seems like overcompensation for the (somewhat shitty) childhood trauma of being pointed at in gym class and made fun of for looking different.

It really is kind of rough when people tell you your junk looks different.

Still, agreed, the female genital mutilation threads always turn into a cluster fuck cause of these soap-boxers.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:34 PM on January 8, 2007


I was thinking that, actually. How people were all "the men need to give 'em a good beating", whereas I was wondering why weren't the women doing that.

Ah well, I have bigger issues to deal with. Like eating carrot or chocolate cake for dinner.
posted by liquorice at 1:34 AM on January 9, 2007


Liquorice, chocolate cake, obviously. Carrot cake is an unnatural procedure to both carrot and cake, and several culinary professionals agree that eating carrot cake reduces sensation in the tongue and decreases the oral pleasure derived from eating.

The whole concept of eating carrot cake is barbaric. All my eating partners have preferred chocolate cake as well.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:13 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


To me, part of the whole appeal of metafilter to begin with is the interesting tangents that conversations take within the threads. Maintaining a tight focus on the topic that the OP intended is really not a priority for me at all, and I don't see why it's a priority for anyone else.
posted by bingo at 2:18 AM on January 9, 2007


Looks like genitals are highly sensitive at Meatfilter.

Oops, I mean, genitals are a highly sensitive TOPIC, at Metafilter.

Problem here, when discussing female genitals, it will always end up involving a penis, due to the simple fact that everyone isn't perfect, and most MeFites are therefore straight.

Only a properly homosexual male can consider the subject of female genitals with sceintific detachment neutrality unbiased. Equally, only lesbians can be completely trusted to stay on-topic without a penis entering the discussion.

So, please, unless you're prepared to accept your obvious inferiority as heterosexuals, just accept that any thread involving vaginas must, by necessity, involve a penis or two.

As for the thread: I see more comments complaining about mention of male circumcision than there is mention of male circumcision. That is often the case, and it seems really stupid that all the complainers don't realize how they contribute to the problem.

I live in a province of South Africa where, last winter, 23 males died as a result of botched circumcision. Youths, dead as a result of their participation in traditional culture (these were all 'initiates' into manhood).
posted by Goofyy at 2:20 AM on January 9, 2007


speaking of circumcision, I was surprised to see in the anastasiav baby foreskin thread that a lot of users here didn't circumcise their kids, i was under the impression that in the US/Canada/UK circumcision was still an almost universal choice
posted by matteo at 3:15 AM on January 9, 2007


matteo: I don't believe that circumcision is the norm in the UK (I'm British), Jews and Muslims aside. That circumcision is the norm in the USA is something I realised only in the last year or two (when suddenly lots of humor about the use of lubricants during masturbation clicked into place!)
posted by alasdair at 3:27 AM on January 9, 2007


To me, part of the whole appeal of metafilter to begin with is the interesting tangents that conversations take within the threads.

Sure, but the key word here is "interesting". The male circumcision debate here on MeFi is a dead horse. It died many years ago. Now all you get is people yelling back and forth at each other, with the common knowledge that nobody is going to convince anybody of anything, but trying their damnedest any way. It's boring. You've been here much longer than me, how have you not seen this yet? There's lots of subjects that result in similar threads.
posted by antifuse at 3:35 AM on January 9, 2007


That circumcision is the norm in the USA is something I realised only in the last year or two (when suddenly lots of humor about the use of lubricants during masturbation clicked into place!)

As a teenager, I remember wondering why all porn actors were Jewish.
posted by jack_mo at 3:43 AM on January 9, 2007


So, please, unless you're prepared to accept your obvious inferiority as heterosexuals,

(Snarky, pointless response to this troll has been deleted.)

(Everyone else, please ignore the counter troll, I'm drunk) (again)


i was under the impression that in the US/Canada/UK circumcision was still an almost universal choice


It's difficult for uneducated parents to resist the prodding of their doctors, whatever their (the docs) particular opinion may be. IANC by pure luck. My two sons aren't either. If they feel this should be done, they can choose it themselves when they're old enough.
posted by IronLizard at 3:46 AM on January 9, 2007


Hmmm, please ignore the directive to ignore the counter troll that no longer exists. Ahem. Thank you. (Editing skills suffering terribly at this point)
posted by IronLizard at 3:47 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm 50, I don't know if it's still the norm in the States. But I was clipped at age 8, and it was weird to have a foreskin when no one else I knew had one. In the southern states, this is not the case.
posted by Goofyy at 3:48 AM on January 9, 2007


Spacediver's remaining comment is pertinent, informative and not a throwaway line. He shows a knowledge of the subject and the ability to address the issues which most of the posters do not. Most people do not RTFA and therefore blurt out repetitive, uninformed noise.
There is a place for comparison of FGM with MGM within any discussion of GM, mostly due to the lack of information on it in the public realm. It is revealing to see the abhorent reaction to discussion of the facts of MGM from people who come from a society where it is seen as normal, while the same people express amazement that FGM could be seen as anything other than a destructive practice in societies where it is the norm1.

People who find the subject of MGM completely irrelevant to a discussion of FGM could either bring it to Metatalk or attempt to steer the original thread back on topic instead of repeating the 'don't mention the war penis' line, ironically resulting in a cavalcade of comedic repitition.

I come from the UK, which along with the rest of Europe does not practice male circumsision by default. Only around 6%2 of male infants are circumcised, so if there were to be any '(somewhat shitty) childhood trauma of being pointed at in gym class and made fun of for looking different' it would be the circumcised who experienced this. When I was at school, pointing out that someone's penis had been circumcised would most likely result in the 'pointer' being dissed for being an ignorant fool. This could have been because the practice was not limited to a certain religious or economic group, as both Jews and Muslims would be likely to be circumcised as would some immigrants.

FGM (along with religion, politics, the paucity of American geographical knowledge, hip-hop, suicide etc.) is a subject which 'we don't do well'. To me this means we should practice it more until we can 'do it well'.

1 Speaking in general, not relating specifically to this particular thread.

2 The rates of circumcision vary from country to country, being about 60% in the USA (with recent data suggesting falling rates, particularly amongst the growing Hispanic population), 30% in Ontario, Canada, 6% in the UK (rates fell when circumcision became unavailable on the NHS), and less than 2% in Scandinavia. Estimates for Australia range between 10%-20% and for New Zealand somewhat less than that.
posted by asok at 5:11 AM on January 9, 2007


Hey, someone came along to defend the idiot! I guess it was just a matter of time.

grapefruitmoon: Thanks for the callout. I bailed out of the thread when the male circumcision derail started, figuring I'd just waste time and energy getting involved.
posted by languagehat at 5:44 AM on January 9, 2007


Can't we just agree that mutilating people without their consent (male or female) is bad?
posted by IronLizard at 5:51 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Good callout, crappy posts (as usual) from spacediver.
posted by OmieWise at 6:02 AM on January 9, 2007


I apologize if there was a risk of my comments derailing the thread. Every single one of my posts was in direct response to someone who had made a claim which, based on my study into this issue, I deemed to be wrong.

I guess when I see ignorance, I feel compelled to do something about it, and as you well know, I'm quite passionate about this particular issue.

As for circumcision rates, I think the global circumcision rate is 15%. That means that 85 percent of males on this planet are intact (though I haven't checked this from primary sources).

I see people getting frustrated about circumcision being a dead horse, and that it's not worthwhile discussing it anymore.

I have not once, in my commentings here on metafilter, ever received an argument in response to the fundamental point that I keep making. There have been at least two times where the person who I'm engaging with literally drops off into silence.

the fundamental point is this:

If we reflect upon the features of FGM which are minimally sufficient to cause moral outrage in many of us, we see that those features map onto male circumcision.

In other words, most of us would not condone the removal of any genital tissue off a female, unless it was absolutely medically necessary.

If, for example, it were found that removing parts of the vulva would reduce incidence of cancer of the vulva, then we would certainly not begin to think that removal of the vulva may be a healthy option.

In fact, it would be considered absurd to even investigate the possible benefits of such a procedure. Such research would never be funded here.

One area where Western culture shines is its respect for female sexual anatomy. There is something sacred about a female's genitals. It is common wisdom that the labia minora, clitoris, and some inner parts of the vagina are involved in sexual sensation. We respect them as erogenous structures.

The same knowledge does not exist, nowadays in North America, for the male genitalia (though it certainly has in recent and ancient history, as I have painstaikingly pointed out on multiple occasions).

Quite simply, we do not accord even close to the same respect to male sexual anatomy, as we do to female sexual anatomy.

If you really believe that circumcision doesn't remove sexual tissue, just examine your own circumcised penis. Notice the scarline. Likely, you'll have a tiny bit of sensitive tissue on the ventral portion, just below the scarline. If you're lucky, you'll have remnants of your frenulum which extend from this point up to the meatus (tip of glans). If not, you'll probably notice that this sensitive tissue stops abruptly at the scarline.

In the intact penis, this tissue is the base of the frenular delta, which forms a triangle whos tapering tip is the frenulum. This whole structure is highly erogenous - if you have the courage, ask an intact male about his frenulum.

There is absolutely no question that circumcision destroys significant amount of high quality sexual hardware. Whether this reduces pleasure in the male has not been answered scientifically, since it has not been properly studied (though I hope to conduct a study which addresses this rigorously, using objective physiological measures rather than self report).

Many people don't understand that the attitudes we have about the intact male genitalia are almost identical to the attitudes proponents of FGM have towards the intact female genitalia.

This alone should raise flags.

I sympathize tremendously with victims of female genital mutilation. Often, these procedures are done in extremely unsafe and painful conditions, and in many cases involve much more damage than most males suffer.

Furthermore, it is unclear whether females can restore significant portions of their function, as males are able to through foreskin restoration. In fact, one area I'm interested in is non-surgical restoration for victims of FGM, using what we have learned from non-surgical foreskin restoration.
posted by spacediver at 6:08 AM on January 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


Spacediver spends an awful lot of time thinking about penis.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:11 AM on January 9, 2007


The at-birth circumcision rate in Canada is just under 10%. This excludes those done for religious reasons later in childhood. The US has by far the highest circumcision rate, apart from Israel I suppose.

I just think it's a bummer that people can see a thread about a horrific act of mutilation of women and think, "This is about my dick!"
posted by loiseau at 6:15 AM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Can we talk about the father's rights movement now?
posted by OmieWise at 6:15 AM on January 9, 2007


Is the circumcision derail more offensive than the current tonsillectomy derail?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:21 AM on January 9, 2007


my tonsils, my choice
posted by cortex at 6:25 AM on January 9, 2007


I just think it's a bummer that people can see a thread about a horrific act of mutilation of women and think, "This is about my dick!".

Loiseau, when I hear about the mutilation of women, I think of mutilation in general. You may not agree that the genital cutting of penises is bad, but at least I've given coherent reasons why I think it is.

Please also note that I did not spontaneosly chime into the thread. Someone actually made a comment (zinger) to which I responded to.
posted by spacediver at 6:26 AM on January 9, 2007


I think it's time someone brought up NAMBLA.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:26 AM on January 9, 2007


To me this means we should practice it more until we can 'do it well'.

No, please god no. If it's been proven that nobody intends to change their opinion on a subject (as it very clearly has in the case of the circumcision debate), to the point where every discussion of the subject just turns into yelling back and forth, it should enter into the realm of "We don't need to talk about this anymore" subjects.

The at-birth circumcision rate in Canada is just under 10%

Really? I'm shocked to hear this, as just about everybody I knew grewing up was cut. It would be somewhat of an oddity to encounter a non-circumsized male among folks in my age and social class (middle-class suburban folks, mid to late 20's) - the only people I know who are uncircumsized are hardcore catholics. That's in suburban Toronto, perhaps mileage varies across the country.
posted by antifuse at 6:32 AM on January 9, 2007


Omiewise, remember our last discussion? You claimed that the conversation could not proceed since we had differing intuitions about the costs and benefits of male circumcision.

You never actually responded to my central argument (which I've reiterated in this thread), and your last post deftly avoided responded to this comment I made.

If you really believe my posts are crappy, then you should point out exactly what it is about them that are crappy.

I dare you to dissect my arguments, as I've presented them.
posted by spacediver at 6:33 AM on January 9, 2007


Umm, also most of my brown friends born outside of Canada were uncut... but they were born outside of Canada, so I obviously wouldn't include them in the Canadian circumcision rate :)
posted by antifuse at 6:33 AM on January 9, 2007


No, please god no. If it's been proven that nobody intends to change their opinion on a subject (as it very clearly has in the case of the circumcision debate), to the point where every discussion of the subject just turns into yelling back and forth, it should enter into the realm of "We don't need to talk about this anymore" subjects.

I've changed many people's minds, including muslim doctors in my own family, jewish friends, male friends who are circumcised. (this isn't counting people who i've engaged in through the internet). It just requires patience, and a willingness to actually engage with the arguments.

p.s. I'm in Toronto also - same age group as you, and many of my peers are intact.
posted by spacediver at 6:36 AM on January 9, 2007


If this were just about genital mutilation, then a discussion of circumcision or indeed even of the earlier contraceptive practice of the South Australia aborigine with the whistestop (or perhaps this link is bettter).

But this is not just about genital mutilation. It's about a recent time when a group of people in one of the most advanced nations on earth were unfamiliar with their biology. It's about an unethical behaviour of medical practitioners, where the patients were women and the doctors men. It makes me ask how things have changed, and if this is what they have developed from, what have they changed to, and what gender imbalances are we not aware of now, because they seem normal, that will be horrific in 50 years time.

I think this is the issue. Wiith sticking to the topic of male circumcision which is often performed by men, with the consent of fathers on boys, it was about as relevant as the tonsils I mentioned, and in this place, didn't not require perhaps as indepth discussion.


And if the tonsilectomy derail is offensive, I'd be interested to hear why.
posted by b33j at 6:37 AM on January 9, 2007


This is all well and good, but when do we get to talk about the wonders of my penis?
posted by IronLizard at 6:41 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


spacediver: No offense, but you are obsessed about this issue, as obsessed as bevets is about his. I'm not going to tell you you're wrong (partly because you clearly wouldn't listen), but surely you can see that MeFi is not the venue for you to proselytize. Nobody appreciates it, you're not changing any minds (here, as opposed to your wonderful consciousness-raising sessions with your Muslim and Jewish friends), all you're accomplishing is getting everybody mad at you. Is that really what you want? If you're incapable of participating except to rant about mutilation, maybe MetaFilter isn't the site for you.
posted by languagehat at 6:41 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's about a recent time when a group of people in one of the most advanced nations on earth were unfamiliar with their biology. It's about an unethical behaviour of medical practitioners, where the patients were women and the doctors men.

Don't you see that an extraordinarily simliar analysis can be made about genital mutilation in general, including male circumcision?

Most medical practitioners are unfamiliar with the anatomy of the intact male. It is not part of their medical curriculum.

Granted, the particular conditions of the discussion case are different from those involved in standard genital cutting (of females and males), but there indeed relevant similarities.

In fact, i'd say that male genital cutting is more relevant to this case than is female genital cutting, since the medical establishment plays a much bigger role in the former.
posted by spacediver at 6:45 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm not going to tell you you're wrong (partly because you clearly wouldn't listen)

Languagehat, try me. Actually address the arguments I made in this post.

Yes I am obsessed about this issue, since it is something that is deeply personal, and something which the society I live in is largely ignorant about.

If this renders me biased, then the burden is upon you to demonstrate this, by showing the flaws in my reasoning.

And not everyone is getting mad at me. For all I know, there may be many lurkers who are reading here and interacting with the information in a more mature manner.
posted by spacediver at 6:50 AM on January 9, 2007


We don't want to address your arguments because we're sick of the topic. How are you missing that point?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:52 AM on January 9, 2007


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese: Maybe we should have special designated female-only threads so those mean nasty boys won't barge in and talk about topics the girls don't like.

Wow, that was uncalled for. I don't think it's a question of it being a topic the "girls" don't like, it's deliberately derailing what had the promise of being a very interesting discussion by bringing up something completely unrelated repeatedly.

A doctor deliberately mutilating patients without their consent is the topic. Not clitori (except as the object of said mutilation), not penises. The jerk got away with all these unauthorized procedures -- even bragged about them in public -- and no one did a thing to stop him, not even his fellow physicians.

That women are rather vocal in this thread is not surprising -- we get an awful lot of head patting and "that's very nice, dear" from doctors, even today. But if the "mean nasty boys" want to go discuss penises elsewhere, I promise we won't barge in and discuss vibrators, fisting, oral sex and other no-penis-required methods.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:55 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm lurking and being mildly annoyed at you, spacediver. What languagehat said is pretty on target: you are obsessing in a public space.
posted by cortex at 6:56 AM on January 9, 2007


(On post), yeah, b33j.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:57 AM on January 9, 2007


anotherpanacea's corollary to Warnock's dilemma:

Why did my post get so many comments?

1. A lot of readers thought it was profoundly interesting and insightful and launched a number of closely related but non-repetitive avenues of discussion.
2. One or two enthusiasts thought it was profoundly interesting and insightful and carried on an intense discussion regarding the topic.
3. The post was complete and utter nonsense, and many people stopped by to correct its inadequacies.
4. The post sucked, but an early commenter saved it with a subsidiary contribution. Some might call it a derail, but most are thankful.
5. Though the post itself was fine, few read it, and those that did ran out of steam fast. Since there was nothing more to say except "Yeah, what she said," the rest of the conversation was derails, trolling, and in-jokes.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:58 AM on January 9, 2007


As I've said many times, I didn't spontaneously derail the thread. Someone else brought up male circumcision, and zinger replied to that person.

Zinger's reply contained information which I deemed to be false, hence my response.

Perhaps I should have refrained from this, as it only added fuel to the fire.

If anyone wants to actually engage me in the topic of male circumcision in this thread, however, I promise an intellectually honest and noble discussion from my end.
posted by spacediver at 7:01 AM on January 9, 2007


I promise an intellectually honest and noble discussion from my end

Yes, I'm sure you look quite dignified with your fingers in your ears.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:04 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


For all I know, there may be many lurkers who are reading here and interacting with the information in a more mature manner.

This is the best. Everyone who is commenting is tired of my axe grinding! But surely many of the folks who aren't commenting stand with me!

What would it take to get you to shut up, spacediver? Every single MeFite telling you that they are sick of you? Well, I've been lurking here and in the Metafilter thread, and I am. So that's one datapoint for you.
posted by Kwine at 7:05 AM on January 9, 2007


Cortex, your laundry room is a continual disappointment. It needs more sensation.
posted by dame at 7:06 AM on January 9, 2007


*Runs into thread*
PENIS!
*Jazzhands**Big Fake Smile**Pants for breath*
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:07 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


What would it take to get you to shut up, spacediver? Every single MeFite telling you that they are sick of you? Well, I've been lurking here and in the Metafilter thread, and I am. So that's one datapoint for you.

I've already ceased discussing this in the main thread.
posted by spacediver at 7:08 AM on January 9, 2007


Yes, I'm sure you look quite dignified with your fingers in your ears.

Does this imply that I ignore people's cries to tell me to stop bringing this issue up?

Or does it imply that I am not addressing people's arguments about circumcision?
posted by spacediver at 7:09 AM on January 9, 2007


Also lurking and annoyed. You've said everything you have to say, at least once. Give it a rest.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:11 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver,

I think you're comments are shitty because they are inappropriately obsessive and moralizing. When we have discussed things in the past I've found that your hyperbole is matched only by your obfuscation of your lack of evidence through extensive quotation. As far as I can tell you have no argument that rests on anything much more substantial than your opinion, which includes disregarding recent scientific evidence that male circumcision is actually limits the transmission of life-threatening illnesses. As I said in that linked thread, however, I'm prepared to not discuss this with you because I don't think you or I can ever fundamentally reach agreement: our frames of reference appear to be so different as to be incommensurable.

However, my comments about your crappy posts do not have to do with the content of your rants, they have to do with the inappropriate nature of your insistence that we discuss male circumcision as a human rights abuse even in threads about other topics. Further, I think your attempt to link nefarious and forced genital mutilation of female patients expecting a different medical procedure with the choice some parents make to circumcise their male babies is abhorrent. With it you fail the most basic test of whether or not your pet issue exceeds the bounds of rationality and humanity, and prove that you cannot be trusted to fairly think about issues of human rights and justice. That's why I think your comments are shitty, because they are misplaced and offensive on their face.
posted by OmieWise at 7:12 AM on January 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


The tonsillectomy comments are neither a derail nor offensive, because they are about the ways in which doctor's and parents make choices about surgery for other people. Male circumcision is related in the same way tonsillectomies and hysterectomies are related. (my original comments to this effect here and here)

As kyradeamon points out, at least one husband allegedly conspired with the doctor to have this done to his wife. Which means that the doctor was willing to take the husband's consent to stand in for the wife's. This means that the wife is being treated as a ward of the husband... much in the same way that the child is treated as a ward of the parent in cases of male circumcision and intersex sex assignment surgery. There is something worth comparing here, although it is not the degree of damage that the surgeries cause.

The absolute refusal to accept any possibility of any discussion of circumcision is just as disruptive and pointless as the kinds of comments that insist on comparing the "degree" of pain and suffering between the botched surgeries of the post and male circumcision.
posted by carmen at 7:15 AM on January 9, 2007


Cut him off.

Nip it in the bud.

Off with his head.
posted by yhbc at 7:16 AM on January 9, 2007


I engage in this issue once every few months here. I have yet to receive a proper engagement with the arguments I present.

I've given it a rest in the main thread on the front page, but I will continue to engage in this issue when it comes up again.

i.e., when the topic is the mutilation of genitals, I will continue to remind people that they live in a society which practices it as a matter of course.

Granted, in this particular thread, genital mutilation wasn't the core issue here. But I remind you once again, that every single comment in the thread was in response to another's comment.
posted by spacediver at 7:17 AM on January 9, 2007


Everyone needs a hobby I guess. Keeps you sane.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:19 AM on January 9, 2007


Omiewise:

As far as I can tell you have no argument that rests on anything much more substantial than your opinion, which includes disregarding recent scientific evidence that male circumcision is actually limits the transmission of life-threatening illnesses. As I said in that linked thread, however, I'm prepared to not discuss this with you because I don't think you or I can ever fundamentally reach agreement: our frames of reference appear to be so different as to be incommensurable.

This is a cop-out, and a misconstrual of my argument. My argument does not depend on there being no health benefits of circumcision. Read my post carefully, particularly this bit:

If we reflect upon the features of FGM which are minimally sufficient to cause moral outrage in many of us, we see that those features map onto male circumcision.

In other words, most of us would not condone the removal of any genital tissue off a female, unless it was absolutely medically necessary.

posted by spacediver at 7:20 AM on January 9, 2007


Perhaps I should have refrained from this, as it only added fuel to the fire.

Keep repeating this to yourself until you understand it.

I will continue to engage in this issue when it comes up again.

You know you're likely to end up banned if you do that, right? But that will just prove how INTOLERANT people are—they REFUSE TO LISTEN to the TRUTH!!
posted by languagehat at 7:23 AM on January 9, 2007


Does this imply...?

It implies that you still don't get (or, more likely, refuse to get) that circumcision isn't really all that relevant to that discussion and that what little relevance it has can be left off in a sentence or two and that other people starting a derail isn't a reason for you nuke the train right off the map and that you should just shut the fuck up already.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:25 AM on January 9, 2007


I engage in this issue once every few months here. I have yet to receive a proper engagement with the arguments I present.

Well, perhaps one day a someone worthy of your genius shall arise. Until then, I am sure there are plenty of Jewish and Muslim friends you can annoy with your brilliance.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:26 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Languagehat, I said I will continue to engage in this issue when it comes up.

i.e. when it is relevant.

If engaging in an issue when it is relevant gets me banned, what does that say about those who would have me banned?

You can't accuse me of flaming or being disrespectful or insulting.

At the very most, I bring this up when it isn't appropriate, as perhaps in this last thread. However, if I bring it up when it is relevant, then this is perfectly reasonable.

Or don't you agree?

posted by spacediver at 7:28 AM on January 9, 2007


sorry bout the all-italics - shoulda previewed
posted by spacediver at 7:28 AM on January 9, 2007


Or does it imply that I am not addressing people's arguments about circumcision?

There's still more you haven't told us? Are you holding out on us, man??

At this point it would clearly be best for you to email all users who have addresses in their profiles and initiate one-on-one debates.
posted by hermitosis at 7:29 AM on January 9, 2007


I engage in this issue once every few months here. I have yet to receive a proper engagement with the arguments I present.

i expose myself to people on the street every few months here ... i have yet to receive a proper engagement with the penis i present

i hit myself on the head with a hammer once every few months ... i have yet to receive proper enlightenment whenever i do so

i try to pound a square peg into a round hole every few months ... i have yet to get the damn thing to fit

every few months, i am presented with the opportunity to learn something important ... oddly enough, i never do
posted by pyramid termite at 7:30 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


As a side note, if your going to go around calling it FGM--which the OP didn't--you're going to bring in cross-cultural comparison, since FGM is rarely applied to American operations. In which case, I've never understood the "cutting is fine on men evil on women" total dichotomy. While the results are often different in severity, the operations are very similar. Surely being held down, awake, no anaesthetic, as a young man and having your penis cut as you watch--probably with the same types of instruments used on the girls--is not so innocuous that comparisons between that and the female operation deserve nothing but scorn and derision? As Goofyy points out, it's not risk-free, either.
posted by carmen at 7:30 AM on January 9, 2007


It implies that you still don't get (or, more likely, refuse to get) that circumcision isn't really all that relevant to that discussion and that what little relevance it has can be left off in a sentence or two and that other people starting a derail isn't a reason for you nuke the train right off the map and that you should just shut the fuck up already.

Fair enough. I'm willing to concede this point.
posted by spacediver at 7:30 AM on January 9, 2007


The funny thing is I agree with him, in the sense that I would not circumcise my own (hypothetical) children. But the fact is he was obsessively (and verbosely) derailing the thread. It doesn't matter if people agree with you -- that just isn't the right place for the discussion to begin with.
posted by loiseau at 7:31 AM on January 9, 2007


What is with the circumcision fixation of some guys around here? I was clipped when I was born and fwiw, I've never missed my foreskin, and the unclipped dicks I've seen look like they're covered with dirty sausage casings.
posted by jonmc at 7:34 AM on January 9, 2007


jonmc, many women who are circumcised feel exactly the same way about their bodies. They don't think they're missing anything, and consider the intact female genitalia an object of scorn.

If you're serious in your query about the fixation that some people have, watch this video, which, drawing on peer reviewed literature, outlines the anatomy and sexual function of the male foreskin. (direct link here).
posted by spacediver at 7:40 AM on January 9, 2007


You can't accuse me of flaming or being disrespectful or insulting.

I'm comfortable accusing you of being disrespectful to any conversation other than the one you decide to have. And your insistance that you are essentially compelled to do by the recurring lack of proper engagement is insulting to everyone on this site.
posted by cortex at 7:41 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver: pretty much everything I've heard on the subject of female circumsision has been negative, but I'd never heard anybody get so passionate about male circumsision until I started hanging out here.
posted by jonmc at 7:43 AM on January 9, 2007


jonmc, please don't encourage him. Unless you're trying to get him to flame out, of course, in which case: rock on!
posted by languagehat at 7:45 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm not trying to encourage anybody. I didn't even notice this till this morning. At this point, I'm kinda sad that I didn't keep my foreskin in a pickling jar, so I could give it somebody pining for theirs.
posted by jonmc at 7:48 AM on January 9, 2007


Fair enough. I'm willing to concede this point.

Which point are you conceding?

1. you still don't get (or, more likely, refuse to get) that circumcision isn't really all that relevant to that discussion
2. what little relevance it has can be left off in a sentence or two
3. other people starting a derail isn't a reason for you nuke the train right off the map
4. you should just shut the fuck up already

I guess it wasn't 4.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:49 AM on January 9, 2007


Jonmc: there are millions of female and male humans in other parts of the world who consider female circumcision to be a great thing. They don't get much press here, but they do exist, in very large numbers.

To them, the intact female genitalia are ugly, disease prone, spiritually impure, and a sign of low status.

And there are many people who are passionate about male circumcision, but again, they don't get much press.

Margaret Somerville is a good place to start.

I also urge you to watch the video I posted above. It's quite detailed and dense, and the language may be a bit scientific, but there is a lot to learn by watching it.
posted by spacediver at 7:49 AM on January 9, 2007


Kirth, I did stop talking about this in the other thread. I see no reason to stop engaging people in this particular thread. If you don't like what I have to say, switch channels.
posted by spacediver at 7:50 AM on January 9, 2007


sorry, languagehat. spacediver is right that many women from cultures in which cutting is the norm have positive feelings about their genitals, and prefer them to non-altered ones.
posted by carmen at 7:51 AM on January 9, 2007


*calls doctor, has him mail me preserved foreskin, which I then stretch and offer to anyone who wants it as a jaunty chapeau*

I'll pass on the video, dude. I'm quite happy with flap free rig, and I've never met a woman who seemed to miss the peckersweater.

I do have a friend who was circumsised as an adult (general anaestesia). He used to get UTI's a lot. he said after the procedure, he never got them again. FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 7:53 AM on January 9, 2007


(jonmc, you just brought back weird memories about going to a boyfriend's house and having his mother proudly show me the tiny dried foreskin she kept in his baby book)
posted by carmen at 7:53 AM on January 9, 2007


maybe she was hoping to clone him.
posted by jonmc at 7:54 AM on January 9, 2007


I see no reason to stop engaging people in this particular thread.

Well this thread is about the derail in that thread. Again circumcision yay or nay is not particularly relevant.

(I sure hope I'm spelling relevant, right.)
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:55 AM on January 9, 2007


The great thing about spacediver's obsession is that if you rub it a little it turns into a suitcase.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:58 AM on January 9, 2007


I'll pass on the video, dude.

Right, but it will shed some light on why some people are passionate about it, and you do seem to be curious about why that is.

But yea, I have found that getting circumcised males to actually sit down and watch this video (or read critical information) is the biggest challenge. Most of them would simply rather not.

Perfectly understandable, but I imagine the same difficulty is experienced by those who are active against FGM in the communities which consider it normal.

Again, it's perfectly understandable why a woman who's been circumcised would rather not confront any of this information, but it's also tragic.
posted by spacediver at 7:59 AM on January 9, 2007


Well this thread is about the derail in that thread. Again circumcision yay or nay is not particularly relevant.

I think the derailing issue has been dealt with sufficiently. I've already conceded at least twice that I should have refrained from bringing it up in the original thread.

So, I'm not sure what the problem is in discussing male circumcision in this thread is.

If you'd rather not discuss it, then switch channels.
posted by spacediver at 8:02 AM on January 9, 2007


At this point, I'm kinda sad that I didn't keep my foreskin in a pickling jar, so I could give it somebody pining for theirs.

Is...is there a market? What's the going price?

*digs through pantry*

maybe she was hoping to clone him

That was how the original opening sequence of Starman worked, until those Hollywood fatcats made 'em reshoot.
posted by cortex at 8:03 AM on January 9, 2007


and you do seem to be curious about why that is.

No, not really. I'm just a little puzzled by all those flyin' the foreskin flag. But if that's what gets you excited more power to you. Idealize the foreskin, praise it, erect monuments to it.

Like I said, I'm happy with the German soldier helmet, myself, so I'll keep out of Battle Smegma, thanks.
posted by jonmc at 8:04 AM on January 9, 2007


If you'd rather not discuss it, then switch channels.

13448 on the dial is apparently SPACEDIVER TEEVEE.
posted by cortex at 8:05 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think the derailing issue has been dealt with sufficiently.

Apparently not.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:05 AM on January 9, 2007


Yes, Kirth, it has.

This thread was set up to discuss the derailing issue of the original thread.

This has been dealt with, to the extent that the prime perpetrator has conceded.

Therefore, any discussion separate to the issue of that derailment, is not hindering the derailment issue.

Hence, the issue is not being derailed.
posted by spacediver at 8:09 AM on January 9, 2007


my theory is that the percentage of circumcised players is lower on the florida football team and that's why they beat the crap out of ohio state

discuss
posted by pyramid termite at 8:11 AM on January 9, 2007


I will continue to engage in this issue when it comes up again.

Wow, announcing your intention to derail and axe grind, considerate of you.

Granted, in this particular thread, genital mutilation wasn't the core issue here.


Then shut the fuck up and don't contribute to derails.

But I remind you once again, that every single comment in the thread was in response

Take some responsibility for yourself, christ.

On preview, cortex and languagehat have pretty much pwned your lame ass with their trademark intelligence and wit, but I'm feeling my oats today.

Oh yes: I'm uncircumcised! 100% uncut & pure! Nyah! Nyah!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:11 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver, altering our bodies has been a part of being human pretty much as long as we have records for. These alterations accomplish different things, and trying to convince people that what their doing is bad for them based on something that is completely irrelevant to both *why* they do that thing and *how* they experience it is not effective. This is why anti "FGM" materials and your circumcision video are ineffective. People don't want to see it not because they are afraid to confront it but because it does not address anything that is important or of concern to them.

For instance, materials that say "FGM" kills girls in societies where parents, midwives, and doctors have never heard of a death due to the genital alterations they practice is going to be dismissed as flawed, for obvious reasons.

Similarly, trying to convince circumcised men that something terrible has been done to them when they have never experienced any problems and they have never known anyone that experienced any problems is also going to be seen as flawed. If you want to make changes, you need to find another approach.
posted by carmen at 8:11 AM on January 9, 2007


No, not really. I'm just a little puzzled by all those flyin' the foreskin flag.

Well the information I've provided should serve to "de-puzzle" you. The excerpt from Margaret Somervile is entirely readable, and the video presentation is very detailed. It will certainly allow you to see the logic of those who fly the foreskin flag.


Like I said, I'm happy with the German soldier helmet, myself, so I'll keep out of Battle Smegma, thanks.

Does this mean that confronting the information will make you unhappy with your helmet?

Females also produce smegma, btw.
posted by spacediver at 8:12 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver, that you see a percieved lack of a sufficiently robust and kicking purpose in this thread as reason enough to declare it a Circumcision Awareness Conference ("don't like it? switch channels!") suggests you maybe aren't getting the spirit of the derailment discussion.
posted by cortex at 8:13 AM on January 9, 2007


This thread was set up to discuss the derailing issue of the original thread.


No, this thread was started to discuss the derailing of the other thread. Not the derailing issue - the derailing. So you proceed to derail the discussion about derailing with the same hobbyhorse you used to derail the original one.

You should have gone with #4.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:15 AM on January 9, 2007


Alvy, I suggest you continue reading my posts which I made after that one. They directly address all of your points.

1) I've already taken responsibility for derailing in the other thread (even though it was in response)

2) As I clarified , I have not announced my intention to continue to derail. I announced my intention to continue to engage in the issue, when it comes up

3) I'm not continuing to derail.
posted by spacediver at 8:16 AM on January 9, 2007


You've derailed this MeTa with the same issue, you stunted knob!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:17 AM on January 9, 2007


Well the information I've provided should serve to "de-puzzle" you.

No. Now I find the whole obsession weirder than ever.
posted by jonmc at 8:18 AM on January 9, 2007


Does this mean that confronting the information will make you unhappy with your helmet?

no, it means that whatever happened to us happened decades ago, it's not going to be changed, we've all found other things to worry about and it's called living in the present and having a life

short version - shit happened, we got over it
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, this thread was started to discuss the derailing of the other thread. Not the derailing issue - the derailing. So you proceed to derail the discussion about derailing with the same hobbyhorse you used to derail the original one.

Let me be clear:

1) This thread was started to discuss the derailing of the other thread.

2) This thread has served its purpose insofar as the derailer has conceded that he derailed the thread.

3) Any discussion in this thread, which does not directly address the derailing of the original thread, cannot therefore derail this thread, since this thread has already reached its goal, or destination.

In other words, my engaging people in a discussion of circumcision should only frustrate you if it was preventing me from acknowledging that I derailed the other thread.
posted by spacediver at 8:20 AM on January 9, 2007


I've already taken responsibility for derailing in the other thread (even though it was in response)

"I'm sorry I hit Billy (even though HE STARTED IT)"

As I clarified , I have not announced my intention to continue to derail. I announced my intention to continue to engage in the issue, when it comes up

Yes, but it seems that "when it comes up" is defined simply as "when spacediver sees an opening". You've seemingly announced an intention to inject your personal obsession wherever you find an excuse. I've known Christian evangelists who do the same thing, and justify it in the same terms.
posted by cortex at 8:20 AM on January 9, 2007


Late to the, er, party. Just wanted to respond to Mitheral's comment. I deliberately asked that rhetorical question in a sexist way for the following reason. The entire context of what was done to the women by that psycho pseudo-doctor was sexist. So I asked the rhetorical question in my comment with that patriarchal attitide and sexism in mind.

Because the women who endured the abuses of this psycho doc were treated as if they only existed sexually for men, I wondered if the men in this context wouldn't have defended the women in their lives with whom they did not have a sexual relationship. Apparently they wouldn't and the abuses of female patients by Burt went on repeatedly for years with the psycho-doc never apologising nor being punished.
posted by nickyskye at 8:21 AM on January 9, 2007


Wait, MeTa's are supposed to stay on-topic? When did that happen?
posted by carmen at 8:25 AM on January 9, 2007


nickyskye, did you catch Kyrademon's comment that at least one husband had been sued in conjunction with the doctor? I suspect that more than one husband was involved (based on the historical involvement of husband's in clitoridectomy to treat diseases in the 19th and early 20th century).
posted by carmen at 8:27 AM on January 9, 2007


"peckersweater"?

Oh dear, jonmc. I think I've got a new funny to use on the bf when he gets home... thanks!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:27 AM on January 9, 2007


Carmen:

the information I'm trying to present is personally relevant. Most people here value pleasure, and the ability to fufil their sexual potential.

If they came to believe that male circumcision actually hinders this potential, or at the very least does remove erogenous tissue, they are more apt to change their minds.

The problem is that many people do not allow themselves the opportunity to even confront this information, and you will find that those who have changed their minds are those who did engage with this information.

At least in the past, people were honest about male circumcision. They recognized that it did remove sexually sensitive tissue, and indeed this was a major driving force behind the practice.

What is absurd about the practice today is that people are actually more ignorant.
posted by spacediver at 8:28 AM on January 9, 2007


Wait, MeTa's are supposed to stay on-topic? When did that happen?

Normally, I'd fight for tangents in the gray. The grindstone in this case is the difference.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:29 AM on January 9, 2007


But if the "mean nasty boys" want to go discuss penises elsewhere, I promise we won't barge in and discuss vibrators, fisting, oral sex and other no-penis-required methods.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:55 AM EST on January 9


Actually I'm tempted to start a post about penises just so that you could barge in and talk about the above. It sounds way more interesting. I'm so bored about reading about penises and male circumcision that I'm going to go and get some work done...
posted by ob at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2007


If they came to believe that male circumcision actually hinders this potential, or at the very least does remove erogenous tissue, they are more apt to change their minds.

and do what? wrap their johnson in uncooked crescent roll dough and install robotic sensors?

(putting aside whether there is any actuall difference in sexual pleasure, since as I've said, no woman ever told me 'you're cute, but you'd be hotter with a foreskin.')
posted by jonmc at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2007


dirty sausage casings ... flap free rig ... peckersweater ... flyin' the foreskin flag ... German soldier helmet ... Battle Smegma

Can I pay you to stop?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2007


you don't have that much money, shankster.
posted by jonmc at 8:32 AM on January 9, 2007


I could take out a loan.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:33 AM on January 9, 2007


ob: I'm so bored about reading about penises and male circumcision that I'm going to go and get some work done...

My God, people. We've driven a fellow MeFite to go get some work done! See what happens? See? Are you happy with yourselves now? (mutter, mutter)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:34 AM on January 9, 2007


cortex:

"I'm sorry I hit Billy (even though HE STARTED IT)"

No, I already said that I should have not done this even though it was in response, since I should have seen that it would "add more fuel to the fire"

i.e. the fact that he started it doesn't excuse my derailment.

Yes, but it seems that "when it comes up" is defined simply as "when spacediver sees an opening". You've seemingly announced an intention to inject your personal obsession wherever you find an excuse. I've known Christian evangelists who do the same thing, and justify it in the same terms.

Yes, defining relevance here is something that is a function of both my assessment and the community's assessment. Discussions like these certainly give me insight into what the community-here-apart-from-me deems as relevant, and I will certainly use this as a learning experience.

I think we can both agree that if the topic of male circumcision came up in an fpp then it would be relevant for me to chime in.

Bear in mind that I am personally motivated in engaging people on this issue, and that it makes sense from a game theoretic perspective for me to avoid "committing the sin of derailment".
posted by spacediver at 8:34 AM on January 9, 2007


and do what? wrap their johnson in uncooked crescent roll dough and install robotic sensors?

hehe. Until regenerative medicine advances to that point, we'll just have to suffice with traditional foreskin restoration.

But no, the larger "good" here is that those who change their minds on the issue will prevent their own children from undergoing the procedure.

(putting aside whether there is any actuall difference in sexual pleasure, since as I've said, no woman ever told me 'you're cute, but you'd be hotter with a foreskin.')

I hardly see how a woman's aesthetic assessment of a cut penis has any bearing on the difference in pleasure between a cut and intact penis, anymore than I see how a man (or woman's) aesthetic assessment of a cut vulva has any bearing on the difference in pleasure between a cut and intact vulva.
posted by spacediver at 8:38 AM on January 9, 2007


cmon armitage, we haven't even scratched the surface of penile humor yet. It's that deep a comedy well.
posted by jonmc at 8:38 AM on January 9, 2007


and do what? wrap their johnson in uncooked crescent roll dough and install robotic sensors?

no, we're supposed to spend our lives whining about how mutilated and inadequate we are ... didn't you get the memo?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:39 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver, I understand what you're saying, but the thing about genital alterations is that a) they are about more/other things than pleasure and b) people who have them often don't know the difference. It's hard to convince someone who has a satisfying sex life that their sex life has been fundamentally and problematically damaged. This is a problem in the anti "FGM" literature and in the anti circumcision literature.

You might find that people who came to believe that circumcision was a problem did not have, as a first step, someone claiming that something terrible had been done to them personally. I, for instance, was first confronted with the possibility that male circumcision wasn't necessary when a friend explained why she wouldn't make that choice for her son (although she would allow him to make the choice for himself).

Take, for example, Mali. Claudie Gosselin went to Mali to study female genital cutting and found that women had other concerns. They didn't care about surgeries that they had had long ago. They cared about how they were going to feed their children and whether they could afford school fees, medical bills, etc.

Although surely not to the same degree of basic survival concerns, pyramid termite's comment is essentially similar: oh well, we have bigger concerns. If you want to make change, you have to find a way of relating circumcision to those bigger concerns. Otherwise it will always end up here.
posted by carmen at 8:40 AM on January 9, 2007


I too would love to hear about barges and fisting, ob. Do ladies really talk about them in private? I always thought fisting was kind of a dominance/degradation thing ... is it possible it's actually pleasurable for the fistee (beyond the pleasure of pleasing your partner)?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:41 AM on January 9, 2007


traditional foreskin restoration.

I used to think 'anus bleacher' was the lowest rung on the aesthetician career ladder, but I guess 'foreskin restorer' has it beat. and 'restoring' sounds like something you do to old motorcyle. Do the guys from American Chopper come in and go to work on your cock with wrenches and blowtorches?
posted by jonmc at 8:41 AM on January 9, 2007


I think we can both agree that if the topic of male circumcision came up in an fpp then it would be relevant for me to chime in.

In a vacuum, yes. Do you understand that your personal, way-above-average motivation to discuss the subject should be reason for you to be more discerning and more cautious about when to chime in? That you might have trouble being objective about when it's really relevant, when it would actually contribute to rather than distract from the ongoing conversation?

Look. I really love my wife. I'm a huge fan. I could talk about her all day, and lots of discussions here provide openings that I could use. But I don't, because that would annoy the living hell out of all these other people on the site. I keep it to a goddam minimum, and likewise with my other passions and personal interests, and even then I get on someone's nerves now and then. And when that happens, I take the hint and lay off it. I don't consider my personal inclinations to be a trump card.
posted by cortex at 8:42 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm gonna have my kid circumsized twice, just to piss spacediver off. Who knows? Maybe I'll even raise a eunuch!

(One of my favorite things about the appropriation of "Who watches the watchmen?" into a political context has been how people don't seem to realize where it came from: Juvenal is saying that many of the so-called eunuchs which guard wives are actually fucking them, and the husbands have no idea.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:43 AM on January 9, 2007


"Look. I really love my wife. I'm a huge fan. "

Man, is Cortex on another one of those "I love my wife" derails again? We get it already— you think she's really great. Do you have anything but personal opinion and long quoted passages from "experts" to back that up?
posted by klangklangston at 8:45 AM on January 9, 2007


Foreskins are spacedivers' religion.

Unfortunately, it's more of an evangel religion instead of a zen religion.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 AM on January 9, 2007


jonmc, I think you're confusing it with Pimp My Wang.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:46 AM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


klang, you should have a bunch of eunechs, and frolic in the Sun.
posted by cortex at 8:46 AM on January 9, 2007


Foreskins are spacedivers' religion.

does he kneel in front of them and prostrate himself?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:47 AM on January 9, 2007


Foreskins are spacedivers' religion.

*looks at spacediver's 'leatherbound' bible. becomes unhinged.*
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on January 9, 2007


Well, cortex, similarly my screwed-up elbow. I thought it was relevant to this topic since it involved a male doctor being an ass and treating me like a child, all while getting big pats on the back from other doctors and the same medical board who let this jerkface loose on the unsuspecting Ohio populace. Just because something relates to a topic doesn't mean it's necessarily relevant or welcome in the broader discussion.

jonmc? American Chopper? ooooooh... unintentional pun?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:48 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver, I understand what you're saying, but the thing about genital alterations is that a) they are about more/other things than pleasure and b) people who have them often don't know the difference. It's hard to convince someone who has a satisfying sex life that their sex life has been fundamentally and problematically damaged. This is a problem in the anti "FGM" literature and in the anti circumcision literature.

Yes, and this is a huge block in trying to get through to people. I completely agree with you here.

I also don't believe that relating circumcision to bigger concerns is necessarily a genuine move, since it really isn't that big of a deal compared to many other problems that the world faces.

As I said, I'm working on multiple fronts - a major one is the running of a study that would actually scientifically test whether male circumcision reduces sexual pleasure. Having pored through the literature, there is not one single study that addresses this - there is a lot of indirect evidence that suggests it reduces pleasure (e.g. circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure), but almost all of the research is based on self report. The study I hope to run (for which I've already constructed a fairly detailed proposal), is well controlled, and would assess multiple physiological markers, in effect measuring the orgasm profile of cut vs. intact males.

I believe that if such a study did show a difference, then physicians could no longer use the excuse "well there is no clear evidence that circumcision reduces pleasure". You're already seeing discussion in the bioethics literature which draws upon neuroanatomical research to argue against male circumcision, and in parallel, many medical organizations are taking this information into consideration in advising against male circumcision.

One key is to bridge the gap between scientific research, and medical practice, and that is a front which I hope to contribute towards.

Another front is engaging people like those on this forum, and I think the best way is to present high quality information, and make high quality philosophical arguments such as the ones which get people to examine their intuitions around FGM, and see why they don't apply them to MGM.

If you have any other suggestions on tactics I could use, I'd be grateful for them.
posted by spacediver at 8:51 AM on January 9, 2007


circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure

whaaa?
posted by jonmc at 8:52 AM on January 9, 2007


In a vacuum, yes. Do you understand that your personal, way-above-average motivation to discuss the subject should be reason for you to be more discerning and more cautious about when to chime in? That you might have trouble being objective about when it's really relevant, when it would actually contribute to rather than distract from the ongoing conversation?

Cortex: agreed. As I said, what is relevant to me may not be relevant to others, and finding this equilibrium is certainly going to be challenging for me. I find this particular discussion to be particularly useful for me in this regard.
posted by spacediver at 8:53 AM on January 9, 2007


I second jonmc -- whaaaaaa? Cite, please? And not from some crazypants organization, from a peer-reviewed medical journal or the like.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:54 AM on January 9, 2007


the orgasm profile of cut vs. intact males

orgasm profile? jeez, way to make one of the most pleasant experiences known to man sound tedious.
posted by jonmc at 8:54 AM on January 9, 2007


circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure

whaaa?


just remember ... to the man who has a hammer, everything looks like a nail
posted by pyramid termite at 8:55 AM on January 9, 2007


whaaa?

See this study

( Journal of the American Medical Association), Volume 277, Number 13: Pages 1052-1057,
April 2, 1997. )
posted by spacediver at 8:56 AM on January 9, 2007


and stats or no starts, people engage in oral and anal sex because they're fun, not for 'compensatory measures.' This is sex not long-term investing.
posted by jonmc at 8:56 AM on January 9, 2007


jeez, way to make one of the most pleasant experiences known to man sound tedious.

On the other hand, "orgasm profiling" would make airport security a whole lot sexier.

Okay, no it wouldn't.
posted by cortex at 8:56 AM on January 9, 2007


This is sex not long-term investing.

if pickled foreskins were currency, you wouldn't say that ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:58 AM on January 9, 2007


Interesting datapoint: circumcision can reduce your risk of future flameouts.
posted by koeselitz at 8:59 AM on January 9, 2007


If pickled foreskins were currency, being a bank teller would really suck.
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on January 9, 2007


I'd like my orgasm profiled, is this the right line?
posted by Floydd at 9:00 AM on January 9, 2007


Orgasm Profiler, cumming this fall on NBC.

There's also a peacock joke in there, but I am a lazy, lazy man.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:01 AM on January 9, 2007


if pickled foreskins were currency, the _____ would have all the money ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:01 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


and stats or no starts, people engage in oral and anal sex because they're fun, not for 'compensatory measures.' This is sex not long-term investing.

When you see a systematic difference in sexual practices between intact and cut males, it suggests there must be a reason.

One plausible reason is that cut males require more intense stimulation than that found by vaginal stimulation.
posted by spacediver at 9:02 AM on January 9, 2007


oh wow carmen , no, I hadn't read that. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by nickyskye at 9:03 AM on January 9, 2007


Ok, so in the linked study, we get:

However uncircumcised men appear slightly more likely to to experience sexual dysfunctions, especially later in life. Finally, we find that circumcised men engage in a more elaborated set of sexual practices. This pattern differs across ethnic groups, suggesting the influence of social factors.

and

The association between circumcision status and the various sexual practices exhibited differences across ethnic groups (Table 4). While circumcised men of all 3 ethnic groups tended to engage in more elaborated set of sexual practices, this was less true of blacks and Hispanics. For white men, the difference between being circumcised and being uncircumcised was quite stark. Circumcised men exhibited a greater likelihood of experiencing each of the various practices.

Geeeeeee, you don't think this is because of the so-called "social factors" referenced in the first quote, do you? To go out on the Wild Overgeneralization Limb, at least here in the States, uncut men tend to be from more conservative social segments (über-Catholic, etc) -- hence cultural and social stigma associated with masturbation and more "elaborate" social practices.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:03 AM on January 9, 2007


Damn, that last comment was supposed to be prefaced by the following:

"Hey chief, check out these splatter marks!"
"Good lord... someone get Jism Caulknbawls on the phone, now!"

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:06 AM on January 9, 2007


There's also a peacock joke in there, but I am a lazy, lazy man.

so what's the REAL meaning of the cbs eye?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:06 AM on January 9, 2007


In a similar vein, it was found that intact gay men were less likely to use intravenous drugs than circumcised gay men.

One interpretation is that circumcised males needed the drugs to enhance their sexual experience more so than intact males, although this interpretation seems more tenous than the one for the above mentioned study.

( "The association between circumcision status and human immunodeficiency virus infection among homosexual men." Journal of Infectious Diseases. Vol 168 No 6: Pages 1404-1408, December 1993.)
posted by spacediver at 9:08 AM on January 9, 2007


In a similar vein, it was found that intact gay men were less likely to use intravenous drugs than circumcised gay men.

That's surprising. I figured the foreskin would provide them with a few extra veins to shoot up in.
posted by jonmc at 9:09 AM on January 9, 2007


Honey, I have to do you in the butt. You see, I'm circumsized.
posted by klangklangston at 9:10 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dear lord, jonmc. I don't even have a penis and that made me squirm.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:10 AM on January 9, 2007


Geeeeeee, you don't think this is because of the so-called "social factors" referenced in the first quote, do you? To go out on the Wild Overgeneralization Limb, at least here in the States, uncut men tend to be from more conservative social segments (über-Catholic, etc) -- hence cultural and social stigma associated with masturbation and more "elaborate" social practices.

That same study found that cut males were more likely to engage in masturbation than intact males

More importantly, the differences in sexual practices were found after controlling for demographic factors.
posted by spacediver at 9:11 AM on January 9, 2007


my question is "what would eraserhead do?"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:12 AM on January 9, 2007


One interpretation is that circumcised males needed the drugs to enhance their sexual experience more so than intact males, et al.

Ok, you are a full-on loon. Please disregard my earlier STFU ... do go on.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:13 AM on January 9, 2007


That same study found that cut males were more likely to engage in masturbation than intact males

maybe the foreskin functions like a rifle barrel allowing for better distance and accuracy.
posted by jonmc at 9:13 AM on January 9, 2007


maybe the foreskin functions like a rifle barrel allowing for better distance and accuracy.

Sort of like a sniper's sight? Yes, I see what you mean...
posted by ob at 9:14 AM on January 9, 2007


I love my wife, too - but I take her out of my mouth once in a while.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:15 AM on January 9, 2007


I've also heard that intact males can actually hear the choruses of Angels singing in Heaven and that their stools are gigantic and have no more odor than a hot biscuit.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:16 AM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ok, you are a full-on loon. Please disregard my earlier STFU ... do go on.

Why is this a loony statement, especially considering I qualified it as one interpretation and not the only possible one. I even said it was a tenous connection.

If you have something valuable to contribute, then please do so, like bitter-girl.com did.
posted by spacediver at 9:17 AM on January 9, 2007


I've also heard that intact males can actually hear the choruses of Angels singing in Heaven and that their stools are gigantic and have no more odor than a hot biscuit.

they can also fly to Spain using their foreskins as hot air balloons and only the flatulence of the Gods to stay aloft.
posted by jonmc at 9:19 AM on January 9, 2007


Well, all the uncut Catholic boys I know are poster children for masturbation -- where is this study digging up its data?

And again: While circumcised men of all 3 ethnic groups tended to engage in more elaborated set of sexual practices, this was less true of blacks and Hispanics.

Y'know, this gets me thinking... what is considered "elaborate" these days? And does this data correlate with the urban legend that black men refuse to provide their female partners with oral sex? (hey, wait... maybe not an urban legend: "Compared with white men, black men attending a genitourinary medicine clinic were much more likely to be unemployed, to have commenced intercourse earlier and to have urethral infection. They were much less likely to practice fellatio, cunnilingus, or anal intercourse.")
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:20 AM on January 9, 2007


I even said it was a tenous connection

kind of like the---

nah, too easy.
posted by jonmc at 9:20 AM on January 9, 2007


I've also heard that intact males can actually hear the choruses of Angels singing in Heaven and that their stools are gigantic and have no more odor than a hot biscuit.

while cut males have to settle for the lawrence welk singers and little rabbit turds that smell like an explosion in a sewer plant
posted by pyramid termite at 9:20 AM on January 9, 2007


Nah, I'm personally motivated in pointing fingers and laughing. I hope you understand. I only stop when game theoretic perspective tells me to.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:21 AM on January 9, 2007


Nah, I'm personally motivated in pointing fingers and laughing.

studies show that cut males do that to compensate for their missing foreskins
posted by pyramid termite at 9:25 AM on January 9, 2007


Well, all the uncut Catholic boys I know are poster children for masturbation...
posted by bitter-girl.com


Well, now we know who your sock puppet is, don't we?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:26 AM on January 9, 2007


Y'know, this gets me thinking... what is considered "elaborate" these days?

I believe the study defined it pretty clearly, but yes, these days, what is considered elaborate is a tricky issue. (however this is moot point with respect to the study at hand)

And does this data correlate with the urban legend that black men refuse to provide their female partners with oral sex? (hey, wait... maybe not an urban legend: "Compared with white men, black men attending a genitourinary medicine clinic were much more likely to be unemployed, to have commenced intercourse earlier and to have urethral infection. They were much less likely to practice fellatio, cunnilingus, or anal intercourse.")

I don't see how this is relevant. It may be the case that blacks are less likely to engage in elaborated sexual practices, but we're discussing the systematic differences between cut and intact males, not between different ethnic groups.
posted by spacediver at 9:28 AM on January 9, 2007


Well I wanna talk about why black dudes don't eat pussy. Where can I sign a petition about that?
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:32 AM on January 9, 2007


So, what you're saying is, cut guys have more fun?

Gotcha.
posted by chundo at 9:32 AM on January 9, 2007


To be clear, you're telling me I wack off a lot because I'm cut. That I enjoy watching a young lady's head bob up and down on my knob more because I'm cut. That I shoot drugs because I'm cut. I don't care what you've got to back that claim up, I'm gonna call you crazy and not even gonna try to document it.

Say I've got my fingers in my ears (as I said of you) if you like, but I'm quite sexually satisfied, thank you very much, and none of your bullshit matters to me ... other than the matter of your droning on and on which at first was annoying but now has turned comical.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:33 AM on January 9, 2007


I wish I had an actual sock puppet of Ceiling Cat, Alvy! Imagine the fun...

And spacediver, it's relevant because the study you referenced flat-out said: "While circumcised men of all 3 ethnic groups tended to engage in more elaborated set of sexual practices, this was less true of blacks and Hispanics."

So, broken down: Which, to me, points to a cultural marker (these sexual practices are perhaps considered distasteful by black and Hispanic men) and not a cut/uncut division.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:35 AM on January 9, 2007


circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure

That's what I've been telling my girlfriend, but I still can't talk her into doing it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:35 AM on January 9, 2007


To be clear, you're telling me I wack off a lot because I'm cut. That I enjoy watching a young lady's head bob up and down on my knob more because I'm cut. That I shoot drugs because I'm cut. I don't care what you've got to back that claim up, I'm gonna call you crazy and not even gonna try to document it.

Yes because I enjoy all those things more than you and I'm not cut!
posted by ob at 9:37 AM on January 9, 2007


We all love Cortex's wife.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:38 AM on January 9, 2007


Actually, I'm more partial to shooting up with his dad.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:40 AM on January 9, 2007


Man, she is gonna kill me.
posted by cortex at 9:41 AM on January 9, 2007


To be clear, you're telling me I wack off a lot because I'm cut. That I enjoy watching a young lady's head bob up and down on my knob more because I'm cut. That I shoot drugs because I'm cut. I don't care what you've got to back that claim up, I'm gonna call you crazy and not even gonna try to document it.

No I'm not telling you any such thing. I'm presenting scientific data which shows systematic differences between cut and intact males. Remember the context of my bringint this up.

As I said, I'm working on multiple fronts - a major one is the running of a study that would actually scientifically test whether male circumcision reduces sexual pleasure. Having pored through the literature, there is not one single study that addresses this - there is a lot of indirect evidence that suggests it reduces pleasure (e.g. circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure), but almost all of the research is based on self report. The study I hope to run (for which I've already constructed a fairly detailed proposal), is well controlled, and would assess multiple physiological markers, in effect measuring the orgasm profile of cut vs. intact males.

Someone called me on this and asked for a source, which I then cited. We are now discussing the details of that study.

If you would like to participate, then please do so, but accusing me of telling you that you wack off a lot because you're cut isn't really furthering the critical discourse.

As for your sexual satisfaction, that's great, but consider the fact that many circumcised females also are able to derive plenty of sexual satisfaction.
posted by spacediver at 9:42 AM on January 9, 2007



That's what I've been telling my girlfriend, but I still can't talk her into doing it.


She'd listen to you if you had a foreskin, of course you'd be too busy admiring it and moisturizing it and yelling at people about it to care about oral or anal sex, irony is not lost on the intact male, oh no.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:42 AM on January 9, 2007


Actually, I'm more partial to shooting up with his dad.

i like shooting up with his mother
posted by pyramid termite at 9:45 AM on January 9, 2007


So, broken down:
Circumcised men of all 3 ethnic groups tended to engage in more elaborated set of sexual practices.

Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to engage in more elaborated set of sexual practices.

Which, to me, points to a cultural marker (these sexual practices are perhaps considered distasteful by black and Hispanic men) and not a cut/uncut division.


But the data shows that there were differences between cut and intact males within the ethnic divisions. This is the key finding here. You cannot explain that by invoking cultural markers. I'm having trouble understanding why you're persisting in this point. Maybe I've missed something?
posted by spacediver at 9:46 AM on January 9, 2007


It's a little known fact that in the original version of the Wizard of Oz, the Lion wanted the Wizard to restore is missing foreskin.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:48 AM on January 9, 2007


Maybe I've missed something?

girls prefer knobs, not slobs
posted by pyramid termite at 9:48 AM on January 9, 2007


is his
posted by MegoSteve at 9:48 AM on January 9, 2007


Divine_Wino: with Steve Martin's Penis Cream?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:55 AM on January 9, 2007


Just unguents in general, lotions, salves, sometimes a little cocoa butter. The intact man is 37% less picky about what he puts on his "preciousssss" than the cut man or as I like to call them "stumpers", that is a F-A-C-T, take it to the bank.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:58 AM on January 9, 2007


Yes, but it seems that "when it comes up" is defined simply as "when spacediver sees an opening".

Yeah, I think that's pretty clear by now.

So I'm taking bets: is spaceboy going to 1) flame out, or 2) get banned? I suppose 3) continue providing an occasional source of entertainment and annoyance indefinitely is a third possibility, but it's boring, so we'll ignore it in the interests of SCIENCE.
posted by languagehat at 9:59 AM on January 9, 2007


Hey moron, did it ever occur to you that maybe there are confounding variables that need to be considered? Like maybe circumcision and socioeconomic status/educational level are correlated, and maybe sexual experimentation and socioeconomic level are correlated? The lead author of your linked paper opines that there is a sociological rather than physiological reason for the apparent modest differences in sexual behaviors, though his reasons are slightly different than those I proposed above (we could both be right actually):
While we do not wish to push speculation too far, differences in the association between circumcision status and sexual practice across ethnic groups suggest that cultural, rather than physiological forces may be responsible. In particular, the presented results may reflect attitudes regarding the cultural acceptability of the uncircumcised penis. Note that the association of circumcision with experience of sexual practices is weakest among ethnic minorities for whom circumcision is less prevalent. Among whites by contrast, uncircumcised men are relatively uncommon. A consequence of this may be that a certain stigma is attached to the uncircumcised penis by the white population. If the uncircumcised penis assumes a somewhat negative cultural association among whites, this may lead uncircumcised men to engage in a somewhat less elaborated set of sexual practices.
You should also point out that the only statistically significant difference in sexual practice in cut v uncut males, according to this study, was in masturbation frequency (measured as likelihood to have masturbated at least once within the last month).

In conclusion, learn how to read the literature you fucking moonbat.
posted by Mister_A at 10:01 AM on January 9, 2007



Spacediver, get a blog started already, I'm sure there is someone out there that will fight alongside you in your quest to spread the word.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 10:02 AM on January 9, 2007


I think all you dicks need to grow a thicker skin.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:02 AM on January 9, 2007


languagehat, refer back to the exchange between myself and cortex. You'll find that it's not "pretty clear" that "when it comes up" is defined as such.
posted by spacediver at 10:03 AM on January 9, 2007


But the data shows that there were differences between cut and intact males within the ethnic divisions. This is the key finding here. You cannot explain that by invoking cultural markers. -spacediver

Dude you are either being obtuse or you're just really really really stupid. You are suggesting that all white dudes are the same as all other white dudes? That there are no other significant differentiators or indicators of socioeconomic status or any other social or cultural norm that may influence sexual practice other than "race" and circumcision? You ain't that bright.
posted by Mister_A at 10:05 AM on January 9, 2007

The way I figured it, however, there are three reasonable explanations why an otherwise sane person would do such a thing. One, as in the case of former President George H. W. Bush, to save his life when his plane has been hit by enemy fire. Two, also as in the case of the ex-president, when one is winding down his life and figures he hasn't much of it left to lose anyway. And three, as in my own case, when one is not yet sufficiently mature to appreciate that his life is far too precious a thing to be thrown casually out of an open hatch at 3000 feet.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:05 AM on January 9, 2007


Uh-huh, Mister_A. You said it better than I did.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:06 AM on January 9, 2007


I don't know, I still agree with languagehat's agreement with my statement. But I'm biased. Kudos if the end result is you reigning it in a bit, but that kind of remains to be seen, and the fact that you are pretty much unrepentant about the general behavior isn't promising.
posted by cortex at 10:06 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver:

You seem to have the interesting notion that this thread is a "channel" which you can tune however you want, and that we're all very aggravated because we don't want to hear the bitter truth.

Since this is your first MetaTalk thread, I'll explain it for you: MeTa is a dark, cavernous kingdom inhabited by truculent monsters who see their cruelty and viciousness as points of pride and esteem. We've all receded here because we retain this one slender bit of humanity: we know the value of a nice conversation, and, in our tragic repose, we long to allow the good little souls of Metafilter a small place for them to have their good little discussions. Our very baseness denies us the sweet fruit of this most joyous privilege; but, though we are not in any way redeemed, even creatures such as we are inhabited by the ounce of decency which impells us to keep our hellish, vengeful wrath away from the blue.

You have, however, entered our realm here. And you seem confused, because you're trying to do what you see done all the time up there on the surface. Allow me to inform you: we are not obliged to listen to your sniveling shit about circumcision. We are not required to answer you point by point when you start in with this quasi-comment-spamming "please watch this video" bullshit, you simplering bag of miniscule, herpes-infected, and, yes, mutilated cocks.

Also, let me to assure you that telling you these things, making jokes about you, and insulting you, is not a burden to us. You should note that you have, in fact, been encouraged to continue your rank silliness in order that our pleasure may be increased, you filthy, shit-masturbating pigdog. We exist to devour souls like yours.
posted by koeselitz at 10:08 AM on January 9, 2007 [8 favorites]


matteo writes "i was under the impression that in the US/Canada/UK circumcision was still an almost universal choice"

Fairly uncommon in Canada, even 30 years ago it was less than 50%. It's an extra cost procedure here that they don't even ask you about (or at least our doctor didn't).

antifuse writes "The at-birth circumcision rate in Canada is just under 10%

"Really? I'm shocked to hear this, as just about everybody I knew grewing up was cut. It would be somewhat of an oddity to encounter a non-circumsized male among folks in my age and social class (middle-class suburban folks, mid to late 20's) - the only people I know who are uncircumsized are hardcore catholics. That's in suburban Toronto, perhaps mileage varies across the country."


It must, in my limited experience the only guys I know were cut have Jewish or American parents.

jonmc writes "(putting aside whether there is any actuall difference in sexual pleasure, since as I've said, no woman ever told me 'you're cute, but you'd be hotter with a foreskin.')"

They just didn't want to hurt your feelings jonmc.

spacediver writes "there is a lot of indirect evidence that suggests it reduces pleasure (e.g. circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure),"

Now there's a pro circ arguement.
posted by Mitheral at 10:08 AM on January 9, 2007


In conclusion, learn how to read the literature you fucking moonbat.

I found Laumann's conclusions about stigma to be more tenuous than the physiological interpretation. It suggests that the females are the primary decision makers in what sort of sexual practices the males will experience, and furthermore, that the decisions made by these females are directly affected by circumcision status of their partners.

I can see how this might be true if the situation is of a male having a one night stand with a female, in a culture which has a strong distaste for the intact male genitalia.
posted by spacediver at 10:13 AM on January 9, 2007


you simplering bag of miniscule, herpes-infected, and, yes, mutilated cocks.

that's simplering BUCKET of miniscule, herpes-infected, and, yes, mutilated cocks

get it right
posted by pyramid termite at 10:13 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, I didn't see that about there being a lot of indirect evidence. That changes everything - indirect evidence is the most bestest and robustest kind of evidence ever! Spacediver wins!
posted by Mister_A at 10:13 AM on January 9, 2007


Less filling. Tastes great. Less filling. Tastes great. Less filling...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:14 AM on January 9, 2007


Ahem... if I may, just this one time I promise and never again...

Metafilter: a strong distaste for the intact male genitalia.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:17 AM on January 9, 2007


Dude you are either being obtuse or you're just really really really stupid. You are suggesting that all white dudes are the same as all other white dudes? That there are no other significant differentiators or indicators of socioeconomic status or any other social or cultural norm that may influence sexual practice other than "race" and circumcision? You ain't that bright.

There are certainly many differences within an ethnic group, however when we find two systematic differences which are correlated, within a group, then things get interesting.

This is even more tantalizing when demographic factors within that group are controlled for

("These factors included the number of lifetime sexual partners; education; race/ethnicity; religion, nativity; residence in urban; suburban, or rural areas; a 7-point scale indicating how liberal or conservative were the respondents sexual attitudes")
posted by spacediver at 10:18 AM on January 9, 2007


We exist to devour souls like yours.

:)
posted by spacediver at 10:20 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


spacediver, you misrepresented the findings about the differences in sexual practices. The only significant difference that was observed in exactly ONE study, was a modest change in the reported (my emphasis) rate of masturbation. It is possible that the willingness to report masturbation is influenced by socioeconomic status, no? This is why research like this is interesting at best. It is anecdotal and relies on self-report. Nothing is nor can be established as fact.

Laumann et al, who presumably have some experience in this field, lean towards rejection of the physiological explanation of these dubious findings. Your straw man, above, is not the only non-physiological explanation for these findings. I am fairly certain that circumcision correlates with socioeconomic status, and that the willingness to engage in various sex practices also correlates with socioeconomic status. I do not have a 10-year old study with soft methodology to "prove" this though.
posted by Mister_A at 10:20 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver, my suggestion has been--and continues to be--to abandon the ultimately undefinable and inflammatory "X is as bad as Y" tactic and look at what *actually* makes male circumcision worth comparing to this specific case of medical malpractice and cover-up.

What I've suggested is that the issue of consent and the formulation of the medical subject as incapable of providing his/her own consent is an issue on which these two topic can be compared fruitfully. Why did the doctor accept a husband's consent for the surgery? Why do doctor's accept parent's consent for surgeries? There is an issue of infantalizing women here, but there is also a chance to question the boundaries around and the ethics of custodial care and surgical consent.
posted by carmen at 10:20 AM on January 9, 2007


You're all being pretty gosh darned abusive towards spacediver. The guy cares about something passionately. You've got to respect that even if you think he's wrong.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:23 AM on January 9, 2007


No - we don't. You know who else was passionate about something?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:24 AM on January 9, 2007


That's right: Magic Johnson.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:25 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know who else was passionate about something?

charles manson?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:25 AM on January 9, 2007


Well I've very recently become passionate about NOT talking about circumcision. Shall I go on and on about it here?
posted by ob at 10:27 AM on January 9, 2007


I thought we promised not to talk about Magic Johnson.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:28 AM on January 9, 2007


Metafilter doesn't do Magic Johnson well.
posted by cortex at 10:29 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


i thought this whole discussion was about magic johnsons
posted by pyramid termite at 10:31 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


And on a related note, Clyde the motherfucking Glide gave up a MVP shot at the All-Star Game on a very gentlemanly assist to a swan-songing Magic Johnson, and then Johnson came back to basketball. I'm still pissed about that.
posted by cortex at 10:31 AM on January 9, 2007


Mister_A:

Our findings regarding sexual practice pose the greatest challenge for future research. NHSLS results reveal a clear pattern in that circumcised men report a more highly elaborated set of sexual practices. In particular, the association between circumcision status and masturbation frequency was quite strong. Similar results, at a somewhat weaker level, occurred for heterosexual oral sex. These results escape easy interpretation. Certainly, they cast doubt on the Victorian-era notion that circumcision reduces the urge to masturbate.

The oral sex correlation was still there, albeit weaker than that for the masturbation finding.

My stigma explanation may indeed be a strawman with respect to another non-physiologic explanation (and I would be genuinely interested in considering an alternative explanation), but remember that socioeconomic status was controlled for. Remember that Laumann et al themselves had to resort to the following explanation:

A consequence of this may be that a certain stigma is attached to the uncircumcised penis by the white population. If the uncircumcised penis assumes a somewhat negative cultural association among whites, this may lead uncircumcised men to engage in a somewhat less elaborated set of sexual practices.

So they are invoking a very similar strawman to the one I did.

Also, keep in mind the context of my originally bringing this study up - it was paranthetic and used as an example of weak evidence that circumcision reduces sexual pleasure.

In other words, I was lamenting the fact that the issue of pleasure has not been properly studied, and cited this study as an example of merely "suggestive" evidence.
posted by spacediver at 10:31 AM on January 9, 2007


That's tragic johnsons pyramid termite. Tragic Johnsons!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:32 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver, my suggestion has been--and continues to be--to abandon the ultimately undefinable and inflammatory "X is as bad as Y" tactic and look at what *actually* makes male circumcision worth comparing to this specific case of medical malpractice and cover-upi

Ah I see what you mean. Yes, that would have been a great strategy to employ in the original thread.

posted by spacediver at 10:33 AM on January 9, 2007


Kudos if the end result is you reigning it in a bit, but that kind of remains to be seen, and the fact that you are pretty much unrepentant about the general behavior isn't promising.

Yes that does remain to be seen. As I said, it will be challenging for me, but I believe I've expressed my intentions to reform fairly clearly.

I don't see how I'm unrepentant. What would you rather I made an fpp apologizing to the community and sharing my feelings of guilt?
posted by spacediver at 10:37 AM on January 9, 2007


You're all being pretty gosh darned abusive towards spacediver. The guy cares about something passionately. You've got to respect that even if you think he's wrong.

I don't think he's wrong at all. I wouldn't circumcise a male child of mine, even though I'm Jewish, because I think it's unnecessary and, well, the idea of taking a scalpel to my kid squicks me out.

I do think though that spacediver needs to just SHUT UP because he's ill-informed, making specious arguments about sexual practices (are you saying that anal sex is a BAD thing? Because really, my head could explode if I started getting into that argument), and generally injecting his point of view where it doesn't belong (into threads about FEMALE genitalia).

He is amusing though. But reading the 200+ comments that this thread gathered overnight (which I felt compelled to do as I was the one with the original call-out) is making me late to work. Being that there are no MeFites in my place of employment "spacediver made me do it" isn't going to be a credible excuse.

(Though I wouldn't mind blaming it on cortex's wife either...)

So, yes - I don't think he's WRONG, I think he's obnoxious. Big difference.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:40 AM on January 9, 2007


What would you rather I made an fpp apologizing to the community and sharing my feelings of guilt?

no, you should just cut off your foreskin
posted by pyramid termite at 10:40 AM on January 9, 2007


What would you rather I made an fpp apologizing to the community and sharing my feelings of guilt?

Not in this lifetime, man. No img tag. Try again later.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:41 AM on January 9, 2007


IIRC, the official MetaTalk act of contrition involves slamming your dick in the oven. Which would be a little poetic in this case, too...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:43 AM on January 9, 2007


My kingdom for an image tag right now.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:44 AM on January 9, 2007


The guy cares about something passionately. You've got to respect that even if you think he's wrong.

I have never been persuaded by this argument.

The fact is that spacediver is hectoring and pedantic, he derailed a thread and then continues to lecture people who don't care for his lectures in a obnoxious and bizarre way. He might very well have a point, but he buries that point in a flurry of nutty statistics, a condescending tone and all the usual spit-flecked charm of bugeyed obsessives. He is - like the doorbell ringers, the pamphleteers, the Jesus shouters, the telemarketers and the social crusading busybodies of all stripes - quite frankly, rude. That is the sin for which he gets "abused", not his concern with the tips of our cocks, misplaced, unwanted or not.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:44 AM on January 9, 2007


I do think though that spacediver needs to just SHUT UP because he's ill-informed, making specious arguments about sexual practices (are you saying that anal sex is a BAD thing? Because really, my head could explode if I started getting into that argument

Where on earth did I even come close to suggesting that anal sex is a bad thing?

If you've misunderstood that simple point, is it unreasonable to suppose that perhaps you've missed a slew of other subtle arguments I've made?
posted by spacediver at 10:47 AM on January 9, 2007


I just had my cock declawed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:47 AM on January 9, 2007


Oops! I meant cat, sorry. I just had my cat's cock declawed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:48 AM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


"to the study at hand" *titter*

To paraphrase another MeFite, the Mohel only cuts off the foreskin of Reformed Jews. On an Orthodox baby, he cuts off the foreskin and the aftskin.
posted by nickyskye at 10:48 AM on January 9, 2007


hoverboards don't work on water: "You're all being pretty gosh darned abusive towards spacediver. The guy cares about something passionately. You've got to respect that even if you think he's wrong."

Look, the guy is one step down from a comment-spammer. For reference, here's some material from his past comments.

spacediver on the Islamic Fatwa against female genital mutilation:

"I look forward to the day when similar fatwas are made against male genital cutting." [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment] [comment]

spacediver on the BBC attaching-cameras-to-genitals project:

"It was nice to see that they used an intact penis, and acknowledged the sexual importance of the frenulum (a component which is often removed during male genital cutting)." [comment]

The whole circumcision thing is already sensitive enough on MeFi without dipshits like this stirring the pot every time a hat drops. Not to mention the fact that spacediver doesn't seem to have read the MeTa wiki, which is pretty clear on this point:

MetaTalk is an area of the website specifically devoted to issues that concern the website itself. (emphasis mine)

He's continually used Metafilter, and now MeTa, as a forum to spout his own opinions. I'm a fan of opinions, and I'm a fan even of dirty, no-holds-barred argument, but this sort of stupidity is akin to selling a religion door-to-door; he gets his foot in, and then shills for all he's worth.

I say banning is probably the best solution right now. He should at least be watched closely; he's getting in the habit of ruining threads.
posted by koeselitz at 10:52 AM on January 9, 2007


People seems to enjoy the last one. In the gray, tho -- not the blue.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:53 AM on January 9, 2007



If you've misunderstood that simple point, is it unreasonable to suppose that perhaps you've missed a slew of other subtle arguments I've made?

My now inescapable mental image of spacediver is of an uncut cock in a pith helmet with a monocle and a walrus mustache. I dare you all to not picture that image when you read his comments, I DARE YOU!
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:54 AM on January 9, 2007


couldn't an uncut cock be it's own pith helmet? I'm just sayin'...
posted by jonmc at 10:59 AM on January 9, 2007


An apt image divine :)
posted by spacediver at 10:59 AM on January 9, 2007


Astro Zombie: "People seems to enjoy the last one. In the gray, tho -- not the blue."

Yeah. Well, like I said, we're different here.

posted by koeselitz at 11:00 AM on January 9, 2007


Keep it up, Spacediver!

There is clearly nothing funnier than a penis joke. Bill Hicks would be pleased.
posted by asok at 11:00 AM on January 9, 2007


Thanks, koeselitz. I was too lazy to dig all that up, so I'm glad you did.

There's a difference between caring deeply about a subject and collaring people to rant about it every time you think there's an opening. If you care that much, start a blog and do all the ranting you like; we won't try to stop you.
posted by languagehat at 11:01 AM on January 9, 2007


well, if circumcision's so great how come you never see a circumcised woodpecker? ... huh? ... huh? ... explain THAT if you can
posted by pyramid termite at 11:02 AM on January 9, 2007


"Uncut cock," DW? I had pictured him with a patchwork quilt of foreskin reassembled a la Silence of the Lambs. "It rubs the lotion on it skin, or else I snip the hose again."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Divine_Wino writes "I've also heard that intact males can actually hear the choruses of Angels singing in Heaven "

I can hear flyback transformers does that count?
posted by Mitheral at 11:05 AM on January 9, 2007


I don't see how I'm unrepentant.

Mostly it's the lack of repenting, I guess.

What would you rather I made an fpp apologizing to the community and sharing my feelings of guilt?

That is almost precisely the opposite of what I'd rather.
posted by cortex at 11:06 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver: "I don't see how I'm unrepentant. What would you rather I made an fpp apologizing to the community and sharing my feelings of guilt?"

I'm sorry for earlier rage against you, as it's clear that you're just unfamiliar with some of the finer points of Metafilter.

I'm happy to explain: the standard procedure for apologizing on MeFi is to make a page about how you're sorry on your own web page, and then post a link to it on the front page. If you do that, I think a lot of the anger will be assuaged; and it'd be appreciated as a gesture of good will.
posted by koeselitz at 11:13 AM on January 9, 2007


My now inescapable mental image of spacediver is of an uncut cock in a pith helmet with a monocle and a walrus mustache.

Actually, I was picturing him as more like that kid in the Bazooka Joe comics who wears his turtleneck up over half his face.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:15 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


or truman capote robbing a bank with pantyhose pulled over his face
posted by pyramid termite at 11:18 AM on January 9, 2007


I can hear flyback transformers does that count?

only if you're a flyback deceptagon
posted by pyramid termite at 11:19 AM on January 9, 2007


More than meets the one-eye.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:21 AM on January 9, 2007


I think Jessamyn is watching this thread, one eyebrow raised, arms crossed, like a mother watching two preschoolers in a sandbox fighting over a plastic shovel when there are three other shovels available right over there. And if everyone doesn't shape up right now she's not going to let us watch Reading Rainbow when we get home.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:21 AM on January 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


or she's simply laughing her ass off. dealer's choice.
posted by jonmc at 11:22 AM on January 9, 2007


Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
M: Well, I was told outside that...
Q: Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
M: What?
Q: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, coffee-nosed, maloderous, pervert!!!
M: Look, I CAME HERE FOR AN ARGUMENT, I'm not going to just stand...!!
Q: OH, oh I'm sorry, but this is Metatalk.
M: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.
Q: Ah yes, you want the blue room, Just along the corridor.
M: Oh, Thank you very much. Sorry.
Q: Not at all.
M: Thank You.
posted by Otis at 11:22 AM on January 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


I know I'm late to the party, but...
If, for example, it were found that removing parts of the vulva would reduce incidence of cancer of the vulva, then we would certainly not begin to think that removal of the vulva may be a healthy option.

In fact, it would be considered absurd to even investigate the possible benefits of such a procedure. Such research would never be funded here.
You have, I take it, never heard of the surgical procedure known as "mastectomy", nor the practice of preventive mastectomy used to reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Because no-one would ever fund or act on a study regarding removing female organs to reduce incidence of cancer in said organ...
posted by Karmakaze at 11:24 AM on January 9, 2007


And if everyone doesn't shape up right now she's not going to let us watch Reading Rainbow when we get home.

that's ok, mr rogers' neighborhood is doing their circumcision show today and i don't want to miss that
posted by pyramid termite at 11:27 AM on January 9, 2007


Now that this thread is TRULY derailed, I'd like to say that while I also found some of the comments in the original thread to be a derail, I cannot understand or sympathize with some of the putdowns (e.g., STFU, "cunning" jokes, etc) against Spacediver, whom I have found to be astonishingly gracious in this thread. Additionally, I am one of those lurkers who has found sense in what he has said, despite some of my previous beliefs. However, apparently there aren't too many of those lurkers, but if he wants to continue (when the topic presents itself) despite obvious rudeness, catcalls, and jokes instead of facts as a response, then more power to him.
posted by artifarce at 11:27 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I cannot understand or sympathize with some of the putdowns

Well, most of them come from the fact that he seems to blame everything bad on circumsision and credit everything good to the lack thereof. Some of us have little patience with zealots.
posted by jonmc at 11:29 AM on January 9, 2007


jonmc: Why do you think Muslims and Jews fight so much? Lack-of-foreskin-induced ressentment. I'm sure in a freudian way they are only overcompensating for their lack of foreskin by fighting each other.

And how about Americans and their big SUVs? Can't you see? Americans are causing global warming just to overcompensate for their lack of foreskin.

In the end I think it's all a conspiracy.
posted by qvantamon at 11:36 AM on January 9, 2007


*runs in with 10 inch pole held erect at crotch level*






*pokes spacediver*
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 11:37 AM on January 9, 2007


Karmakaze, you realize that breasts are considered secondary sexual characteristics, correct, and aren't analogous to primary sexual characteristics, i.e., genatalia? Additionally, preventive removal is only done when the risk (e.g., previous breast cancer, gene mutations, radiation to that area) presents itself, which surely isn't happening at the age of a child.
posted by artifarce at 11:37 AM on January 9, 2007


Karmakaze, you realize that breasts are considered secondary sexual characteristics, correct, and aren't analogous to primary sexual characteristics, i.e., genatalia?

well, walking down the street I can see teh bewbies, but chyx can't see the wedding tackle, if you know what I mean.
posted by jonmc at 11:41 AM on January 9, 2007


Maybe they'd be able to if you hadn't had half of it chopped off!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:42 AM on January 9, 2007


hey, all they have to do is look closely at the shoulder I sling it over.
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2007


I cannot understand or sympathize with some of the putdowns

he insisted, more or less, that we were going to discuss this in this thread instead of the initial transgression

well, if he can decide that, we can decide that it's a thread about jokes

if he wants a more focused thread maybe he should do an fpp
posted by pyramid termite at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2007


Circumsision talk invades Scooby Doo cartoonist thread.

More at 11.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2007


jonmc, if I see teh bewbies long enough, soon the chyx will be able to see the wedding tackle.

Specially if I'm wearing sweatpants.
posted by qvantamon at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2007


jonmc:

Well, most of them come from the fact that he seems to blame everything bad on circumsision and credit everything good to the lack thereof. Some of us have little patience with zealots

Can you point to any particular cases where I've done this? I've been quite respectful in my interactions with you. It would be nice to have some reciprocation, if possible, by not caricaturing my arguments.
posted by spacediver at 11:47 AM on January 9, 2007


Circumsision talk invades Scooby Doo cartoonist thread.

Yeah, so, helpful hint? If you take a phonecall right in the middle of a ranty argument, don't forget to doublecheck which browser window you're in.

I wish I could flag 'em with "delete faster", but, oh well.
posted by cortex at 11:49 AM on January 9, 2007


he insisted, more or less, that we were going to discuss this in this thread instead of the initial transgression

I've discussed the initial transgression in quite some depth, and I believe that particular issue is resolved.
posted by spacediver at 11:50 AM on January 9, 2007


Now it's the Scooby Don't thread.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:50 AM on January 9, 2007


artifarce: "Now that this thread is TRULY derailed..."

Not really. This is a thread about people derailing Metafilter threads to talk about circumcision. There are a lot of dick jokes, but in general, we're sticking to the topic: stupid derails. Some of us in particular are on about spacediver over there.

You're the second one I have to tell this to, so pardon me if I'm a little blunt about it: this is not a space for discussion about topics. Metatalk isn't a place for people to waltz in, smell the flowers, propose random subjects for discussion, and expect to have the discussion play out nicely. It is a forum solely for discussion about Metafilter itself. We're not supposed to sit back and play nice and listen to facts and refute facts. Further upthread, I stuck to the topic: I gave a point-by-point record of spacediver's previous derails. The onus is on spacediver to respond to these facts and tell us we're wrong, or to do something about it and be quiet about it already.

artifarce: "I cannot understand or sympathize with some of the putdowns (e.g., STFU, "cunning" jokes, etc) against Spacediver, whom I have found to be astonishingly gracious in this thread."

I sort of got at this before, but I'll say it again: Metafilter doesn't need people turning every single discussion, no matter what it's about, into a chance to soapbox about their favorite topic. It destroys good conversation, and on a site that does good conversation better than most, that's going to be viewed disfavorably. When people try to ruin Metafilter, we try to convince them not to here in MetaTalk, using any means necessary. Sometimes that seems cruel and unusual. However, it's not, for two reasons. First, we are just people on the internet, and if you crave our approval, you're probably in need of some balls. Second, this is necessary for the health of the site.

To you, spacediver may seem like a nice guy who's just trying to get his point across. I urge you to read his comment history, however, and notice that he's fucked up several discussions over in the blue by being overzealous and by not letting up even when he's way off topic. He has, in short, created a great deal of noise on Metafilter. We don't like that, because we like Metafilter.

spacediver has begun, slowly, to apologize for this stuff. I appreciate that; it's just about the only good response to the charges against him here. But his apparent inability to let up about circumcision in this thread, which is about him destroying discussions with his soapboxing, isn't a virtue; it's a vice.
posted by koeselitz at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2007


spacediver: have you actually read your own comments? "uncut men need drugs, buttfucking and muffdiving because the precious little cockhat was snipped. Cut men can satisfy King Farouk's harem simply by gyrating their hips and then go off and save third world pets for Jesus."

Don't be cute, you're not good at it.
posted by jonmc at 11:52 AM on January 9, 2007


"...you're probably in need of some balls..."
Duh.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:53 AM on January 9, 2007


I actually got my last post backwards. reverse 'cut' and 'uncut,' if I'm trying to characterize spacediver. lousy liquid lunch.
posted by jonmc at 11:56 AM on January 9, 2007


CitrusFreak12: I'm glad you're still posting like mad. Were you aware that you're currently ranked #2 on the contribution index?
posted by koeselitz at 11:56 AM on January 9, 2007


Q: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, coffee-nosed, maloderous, pervert!!!

Otis thank you for making my day 1000x better. That was beautiful.
posted by crackingdes at 11:58 AM on January 9, 2007


Grandfather clocks, that's what we should talk about.

Grandfather clocks are cool, not enough people own them. You can watch the pendulum, listen to the tick-tock of the gears, and every quarter hour they play a nice chimey tune.

I especially like the ones that play that chimey chime from the British Houses of Parliament.

The problem with Metafilter is that we don't talk enough about grandfather clocks. This seems like a perfect opportunity, so let's have at it.

If anyone has arguments (sane rational ones, mind you) I am ready to calmly debate the merits of grandfather clocks here and in any other thread, with any and all takers.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:59 AM on January 9, 2007


How can you talk about grandfather clocks when there are so many clocks with missing pendulums out there? They'll wind down, man, they'll wind down - and they'll never know the correct time again! (Well - twice a day, I suppose.)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:04 PM on January 9, 2007


And there you have it, folks. We're over three hundred comments here.

Really, spacediver, if you never mention circumcision again, you can probably spin this into some kind of MeFi celebrity.
posted by koeselitz at 12:09 PM on January 9, 2007


You've got to respect that even if you think he's wrong.

His patience and tenacity have earned some respect, yes. I hear Dubya is going to increase the troop level in Iraq.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 12:11 PM on January 9, 2007


jonmc:

fellatio, not muffdiving.

If you want to interact intelligently with the material, take a cue from bitter-girl.com
posted by spacediver at 12:11 PM on January 9, 2007


Well I learned something useful today:

I can refer to my cock 'n' balls as "wedding tackle". That's a lot nicer than "junk" IMO.

plus i learned that the anti-circumcision dude needs to think about something besides other people's cocks now and again.
posted by Mister_A at 12:12 PM on January 9, 2007


I can refer to my cock 'n' balls as "wedding tackle". That's a lot nicer than "junk" IMO.

I usually call mine the BLT (Beloved Lovehammer of Thrustosity) but that's just me.

fellatio, not muffdiving.

well, they're both nice.
posted by jonmc at 12:14 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short ...
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 12:18 PM on January 9, 2007


flyin' the foreskin flag

that's an emo band name right?
posted by matteo at 12:18 PM on January 9, 2007


Spacediver: "I don't see how this is relevant. It may be the case that blacks are less likely to engage in elaborated sexual practices, but we're discussing the systematic differences between cut and intact males, not between different ethnic groups."

If you were a judge of what was relevant, we wouldn't be here.

Still, thanks for one of the funniest threads I've read in months!
posted by klangklangston at 12:23 PM on January 9, 2007


My friend claims that when he was little he got a green army man trapped under his foreskin.

That is all I have to add at the moment.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:24 PM on January 9, 2007


Hey as I've said before, and will now say in every foreskin thread, MINE IS SO BIG IT'S A MOTHAFUCKIN' EIGHT-SKIN.
posted by Mister_A at 12:24 PM on January 9, 2007


You know, there's plenty of circumcision discussion going on right now at Salon, about an article posted today.

Just by the by.

will probably need to click through site pass
posted by gaspode at 12:25 PM on January 9, 2007


that's an emo band name right?

If it wasn't before, it probably is now.
posted by jonmc at 12:26 PM on January 9, 2007


klangklangston: "Still, thanks for one of the funniest threads I've read in months!"

I could tell this was gold from the beginning. "Guy derails thread, then has the tenacity to derail MeTa thread about said derailment" is a recipe for a good deal of hilarity.
posted by koeselitz at 12:28 PM on January 9, 2007


I think "The Grandfather Clocks" would be a cool name for a band.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:30 PM on January 9, 2007


I sort of got at this before, but I'll say it again: Metafilter doesn't need people turning every single discussion, no matter what it's about, into a chance to soapbox about their favorite topic. It destroys good conversation, and on a site that does good conversation better than most, that's going to be viewed disfavorably.

So that applies to the people who say "why oh why don't people see that circumcision is as bad as FGM" AND the people who say "OMG Don't ever mention penises when it's VAGINAs we're talking about because the WOMEN think of the WOMEN" right?

Because if we're going to have a good conversation about the topic in the original post, there is room for circumcision, just like there is room for tonsils, intersex, clitorodectomy, hysterectomies done on latina women seeking abortions for the joint purposes of medical training and sterilizing "undesirables", and all kinds of other examples of consent/ethics issues and medical cover-ups. Right?
posted by carmen at 12:31 PM on January 9, 2007


Please tell me you're making that up, nathancaswell. Please?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:32 PM on January 9, 2007


you forgot poland.
posted by jonmc at 12:32 PM on January 9, 2007


Bitter-girl, I wish I was. BUT SUCH ARE THE DANGERS OF UNCIRCUMCISION.

Really though, he does claim that.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:35 PM on January 9, 2007


Wish I *were*.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:35 PM on January 9, 2007


Which explains why he only shoots blanks, although the little soldier salutes just fine.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:36 PM on January 9, 2007


Eight-skin... get it? See, it's so... because it's a big... so it's not a four... it's... it's...
posted by Mister_A at 12:37 PM on January 9, 2007


There being room for circumcision in a thread about a doctor cutting up women's genitalia without their consent is quite a stretch* to a discussion of a procedure performed on infants with the full knowledge of his parents (which is sometimes performed at a party).

*I understand that weights and stretching are somehow involved in foreskin restoration. Possibly also with the restoration of missing pendulums in grandfather clocks. Please, someone, think of the clocks. With a pendulum they are the mightiest of the time-keeping devices. Without the pendulum they are simply tall wooden boxes with faces that probably have to shoot up sawdust just to make it through the day.
posted by winna at 12:37 PM on January 9, 2007


(which is sometimes performed at a party).

by a man called a mohel (pronounced 'moy-el'). Once I learned the pronunciation, I always heard that Proclaimers song 'one hundred mohels,' which was, y'know, weird.
posted by jonmc at 12:39 PM on January 9, 2007


Oh dear. I was afraid you weren't kidding.

Now the only way to top this is some kind of vaginal ping pong ball assault on said trapped army man. We gotta save him, kids. He's one of ours! And we never leave a man behind. Or is that a man's behind? Or some other elaborate sexual practice...

(wheeeeee! so this is what too much caffeine feels like!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:40 PM on January 9, 2007


It seems a lot of you are afraid to face the facts, and deal with my arguments. Here is a video you should all watch, and I am sure you will be convinced that grandfather clocks are much better than regular ones.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:40 PM on January 9, 2007


Grandfather clocks are the new Treaty of Versailles.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:42 PM on January 9, 2007


I am going to have to show that video to all my friends with wristwatches. Once they are aware of the true horror of this crime they'll undoubtedly start strapping grandfather clocks to their arms in solidarity.
posted by winna at 12:43 PM on January 9, 2007


koesiltz: It is a forum solely for discussion about Metafilter itself.

By "derailed" I was referring to the inevitable progression of a valid metatalk thread to a rash of in-jokes and nonsense. And previously images. *reads newest posts* Yeah, like that.

But apparently spacediver's derail of metatalk isn't acceptable, whereas "la la la penis joke la la la Are we done yet? silly joke about oral sex" is perfectly fine.

If you want a metalk thread to stay on topic, there's plenty, uh, meat, for that discussion.
posted by artifarce at 12:43 PM on January 9, 2007


you partisans. cuckoo clocks are obviously superior to staid ol' grampa. I'm cuckoo for cuckoo clocks.
posted by jonmc at 12:44 PM on January 9, 2007


I remember this from Viz Top Tips from years ago. I guess only Brits will get this:

"I would like to warn people about the dangers of entering marathons. My husband entered a marathon last year and he's still picking the peanuts out from under his foreskin"
posted by ob at 12:44 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


But cut-you for cuckold cocks.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:45 PM on January 9, 2007


Hrmph. "metalk" Seems appropriate applied to multiple people, apparently.
posted by artifarce at 12:47 PM on January 9, 2007


Tips hat to nathanswells' friend.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 12:47 PM on January 9, 2007


CitrusFreak12: I'm glad you're still posting like mad. Were you aware that you're currently ranked #2 on the contribution index?

Holy crap! No, I wasn't!
:D
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:48 PM on January 9, 2007


My Grandfather's cock was uncut, as is my fathers', as is my sons'.
Next Thanksgiving I'll ask them if they feel the urge to resort to elaborative sexual practices.
"So, dad, hows sex for you? Is it the best thing ever? And you, Junior? How is it for you? As good as it is for your grampa? Because your uncle and I, well, for us it's only the best thing ever but probably not as good as it is for you guys because the evil doctors cut off our pendulum. Pass the carrots."
posted by Floydd at 12:50 PM on January 9, 2007


Pass the carrots

sliced carrots, I assume?
posted by jonmc at 12:52 PM on January 9, 2007


Only if I'm cooking.
posted by Floydd at 12:53 PM on January 9, 2007


My grandfather's cock
Was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half
Than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;

But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

In watching its frenulum
Swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood
The cock seemed to know,
And to share both his grief and his joy.
It stayed up twenty-four
When he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride;

But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.
posted by kyrademon at 12:57 PM on January 9, 2007 [6 favorites]


a rash of in-jokes and nonsense

I'm gonna be lazy and not completely formulate the diaper-rash-and-caring-for-your-son's-foreskin joke here, and just note that this is comment 339.

339, man. Think about that shit for a moment, but not too long 'cause then you'll go crazy.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:04 PM on January 9, 2007


This thread was useless without pics dicks.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:07 PM on January 9, 2007


Ok so has this thread officially been pancaked or what. Just checking.

I have a bad feeling someone is going to take something like this to AskMeFi. "I'm writing a book, and I need to know who here has been circumsised and who hasn't. Uh. For my book."
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:16 PM on January 9, 2007


Ok so has this thread officially been pancaked

more like sausage linked.
posted by jonmc at 1:19 PM on January 9, 2007


Here is your Grandfather Cox bitches.
posted by Mister_A at 1:19 PM on January 9, 2007


winna, in the original thread it was suggested that at least one husband conspired with the doctor to have this done to his wife. In both this case and in the case of circumcision, one person is allowed to stand in for another in giving consent. There is certainly room to discuss this similarity. Obviously sometimes it is necessary for others to give consent and other times it is not only unnecessary but also wrong. But where do we draw that line?

People yelling that we must never compare penises to vaginas are crapping in the thread as much as the ones being yelled at.
posted by carmen at 1:23 PM on January 9, 2007


I don't believe that circumcision is the norm in the UK

No one seems to have told John Landis back then, though.

He's an American, you know.
Dr. Hirsch is going to fetch
round one of those Embassy
fellows to see him.

ALEX
Chart says he's from New York.

MISS GALLAGHER
I think he's a Jew.

ALEX
Why on earth do you say that?

MISS GALLAGHER
I looked.

ALEX
(smiles)
Really, Susan, I don't think
that was very proper, and
besides, it's common practice
now.

DR. HIRSCH
Yes, Miss Gallagher, Miss
Price is quite right
posted by pleeker at 1:26 PM on January 9, 2007


What's that green thing hanging off of there?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:27 PM on January 9, 2007


gaspode, that article was disgusting. To think that one would acquiese to parental demands over their grandchild? For a medical procedure they don't really want to do? What idiotic parents. I hope those grandparents don't demand anything else they'll bow down to.
posted by agregoli at 1:27 PM on January 9, 2007


I think "The Grandfather Clocks" would be a cool name for a band.

Not as good as "My Grandfather's Cock".
posted by timeistight at 1:35 PM on January 9, 2007


Agreed, agregoli -- that article was terrible. Well-written, but disturbing. Should we ever reproduce, I can see this sort of thing coming up repeatedly (not circumcision-wise, we're all agreed on that one) -- I'm dreading the day I have to tell a certain relative on my boyfriend's side to go stick it as regards my (potential) offspring. S/he hates me enough as it is...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:42 PM on January 9, 2007


People yelling that we must never compare penises to vaginas

WE MUST NEVER COMPARE PENISES TO VAGINAS! NEVER EVER! Wait, no, I think you missed what b33j, bitter-girl and Divine_Wino said. See, I just skimmed through a 300+ comment MeTa thread which I didn't follow from the start and I still managed to get the basic point of the complaints, I must be a genius!
posted by pleeker at 1:49 PM on January 9, 2007


WE MUST NEVER COMPARE PENISES TO VAGINAS!

Well, of course not. It's patently obvious that the penis makes a far superior hatrack. And the vagina a better change purse.
posted by jonmc at 1:53 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


carmen: "if we're going to have a good conversation about the topic in the original post, there is room for circumcision, just like there is room for tonsils, intersex, clitorodectomy, hysterectomies done on latina women seeking abortions for the joint purposes of medical training and sterilizing "undesirables", and all kinds of other examples of consent/ethics issues and medical cover-ups. Right?"

Free-ranging discussion is neither productive in general nor useful on Metafilter. Since we're a site for discussion about links, it's best to keep the discussion to the topic in the links. That means that, while you're free to mention whatever the hell you want, and to say whatever the hell you want, it's frowned upon when you mention things randomly, without mentioning how they pertain to the topic at hand. That's called "derailing," and it's exactly what happened in the thread we're talking about here: the post was about a particular doctor who mutilated his patients. There was plenty of room for discussion under that heading, as it was a very well-constructed post. However, several people wandered in and insisted on talking not about that topic, but about the practice of male circumcision. Furthermore, not only did they create a lot of noise in the discussion, but they repeatedly and obtrusively tried to get others, who were merely discussing the topic at hand, to engage them in discussions about male circumcision. This is known as trolling.

I want to note one more time: this doesn't pertain in any way to the topic at hand. You can say, as spacediver has upon occasion, something like "nice video of genitalia. It's good that the guy isn't circumcised, as circumcision is evil" and pretend that, because penises or genitalia have come up, trolling is okay because you've proven that your point is pertinent. But, rationally, the point is not pertinent. Those comments counted as a derail. And kyrademon's thread, started with a great and well-constructed post, was completely derailed through trolling.
posted by koeselitz at 1:58 PM on January 9, 2007


Oh I agree about that article. Talk about not having your parents go in to bat for you.
posted by gaspode at 1:59 PM on January 9, 2007


That article was very disturbing. The most ironic part is that the whole reason why they wanted him circumcised was that his father was Jewish. Yet with his mother not being Jewish the kid isn't Jewish! The parents didn't seem like they'd bring him up as any particular religion, so why did they acquiesce???
posted by ob at 2:00 PM on January 9, 2007


Also:

carmen: "People yelling that we must never compare penises to vaginas are crapping in the thread as much as the ones being yelled at."

In a world where women suffer a lot at the hands of men, it's sort of understandable that those of us who care about the rights of women will get upset when you blatantly derail a thread about abuse of women by trolling about male circumcision. It looks, to a lot of eyes, like you're trying to marginalize the suffering of women. I'd say it's on you to prove us wrong. You could start by not derailing threads.
posted by koeselitz at 2:04 PM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's not 'we must never compare penis to the glory of the vajayjay'! It's 'sometimes the terrible crime against the Cavaliers might not be relevant to the post.'

If someone had brought up intersex operations, that would have been relevant. The medicalization of sex by Dr Acton and his peers would have been relevant. Even a mention of the John/Joan case would have contributed a meaningful addition to the post. But simply to hijack the thread to go on and on about male circumcision seems odd.

I am certainly a new user, and if I were the only one to think it was strange I wouldn't have said anything. But it's clear from this thread that the hijack was strange to other people as well.

And also I have learned about grandfather clocks and how we have Christian Huygens to thank for the pendulum-driven clock.
posted by winna at 2:08 PM on January 9, 2007


I haven't had time to read every single comment here. Here's what I am wondering: is spacediver obsessed with the topic because he is no longer "intact"? It would seem very strange for someone who is intact to be obsessing over other men's loss of their foreskins; on the other hand, it would be very sad for someone who was circumcised to be obsessing over the loss of his foreskin and inflicting that obsession on everyone else. I mean, if you don't have a foreskin to experience sexual pleasure with, how do you really know that the foreskin allows increased sexual pleasure? The obsession would seem to be based on a merely conjectural possibility of higher pleasure.

And the topic really does seem to lend itself to chuckles --- I can't wait to tell my buddies over beer tonight that part of the penis head is called the "meatus."
posted by jayder at 2:14 PM on January 9, 2007


Jayder, yes I am circumcised (though fortunate enough that it's a relatively loose cut). Do I blame my parents? No - I've made it clear to them that I recognize that it was an act of love. I would never, however, inflict such damage upon my own daughters or sons, given my current awareness.

this comment should answer the rest of your questions, regarding conjectural possiblities.

If, after reading it, you still have questions, I'd be happy to answer.
posted by spacediver at 2:22 PM on January 9, 2007


spacediver stated that he has all his meaty-bits, jayder.
Whether he has all the meaty-bits he was born with or reconstructed them through extensive stretching and elaborate manipulation is unclear. Whatever the condition of his tommyknocker, his interest in the condition of every one elses' wedding tackle is a bit disconcerting.
posted by Floydd at 2:25 PM on January 9, 2007


On preview, I sit corrected.
posted by Floydd at 2:26 PM on January 9, 2007


Personally, I kind of agree with both sides of the current debate here, in that I find both of the following two statements true and not mutually contradictory:

1) It is and was perfectly reasonable for the original thread to include a reasoned discussion of involuntary surgery, both in general and as it pertains to specifically to genitalia, particularly if said discussion relates to the cultures of medical authority, sexual obsessiveness, and/or prejudice against or infantilization of women that are explicitly or implicitly mentioned by the post.

2) There are several posters who routinely and obsessively bring up male circumcision pretty much whenever possible, often in ways that do not add substantially to the discussion, and almost always in a manner that leads threads to devolve into a "It's just as bad!" "No it isn't!" "Yes it is!" "Tisn't!" "Tis!" shouting match. This is frustrating, derailing, and arguably marginalizing towards women when it happens in threads that began as discussions of female genitalia.

Personally, I would argue that, if you are brining up male circumcision in a thread which is not specifically about male circumcision - and ESPECIALLY if you are bringing it up in a thread about FGM or female genitalia in general, given the history of such posts on this site - please take great pains to make sure that you are referring substantively to the original topic, being inclusive rather than making a post solely about male circumcision, and resist all urges to get into a flame war about the subject with those who might disagree with you. If you can't do that, keep it to yourself or start your own thread, please.

We now return to your regularly scheduled penis jokes.
posted by kyrademon at 2:32 PM on January 9, 2007


So, spacediver: how do you feel about religious circumcision? Do you think it should be illegal?
posted by koeselitz at 2:32 PM on January 9, 2007


winna, I did bring up intersex.

koeselitz, you have not convinced me that discussing how women get cast as children for the purposes of surgical consent is irrelevant to the original thread. Which is what I suggested was, for me, anyway, one of the interesting points where this case, circumcision, and a host of other examples of surgeries done without the consent of the individual undergoing them--such as intersex, forced sterilization of minorities and the mentally ill, and historical precedents of clitoridectomy used to treat both real and fabricated diseases in women--have something in common.

And for the record, I'm a woman who cares a lot about women's rights. I've found that it is productive to look at what sorts of ideas and customs support the kinds of actions (like *both* this doctor's and those that covered for him) that hurt women. Sometimes this involves looking at where these actions are generally socially condoned (such as, in this case, male circumcision) and figuring out how the two are related.
posted by carmen at 2:36 PM on January 9, 2007


jonmc, I used to think so too, but then came Metafilter and taught me that while penises make for far better piano playing, vaginas make for far better ping pong balls shooting. The things you learn on this site eh?

Now a couple totally random questions popped into my head, I swear I don't know why: would a cut penis be just as able to play the piano? would those penis puppetry crazy aussies be just as skilled if they were cut? is circumcision depriving whole sections of the population of the chance to produce such great art and what effect does that loss have on their sexual life?

I know, I know, no one was talking about circumcision so I apologise for the derail, but, since I'm here and I paid my 5 dollars, I'm hoping some experts on the topic would maybe care to join in and answer in detail, pretty please? haven't heard much about this lately, shame really. TIA!
posted by pleeker at 2:37 PM on January 9, 2007


kyrademon,

Thanks (and sorry for misspelling your name earlier). You have got my point, and suggested what I was trying to suggest, probably too wordily, in both the original thread and here.
posted by carmen at 2:39 PM on January 9, 2007


carmen: "koeselitz, you have not convinced me that discussing how women get cast as children for the purposes of surgical consent is irrelevant to the original thread."

I guess I'm only trying to explain why people got upset. To wit: your suggestion that the female mutilation described in the post is somehow comparable to male circumcision is a direct implication that the root of the difficult case of James C. Burt is not sexism (since this sort of thing is done to boys, as well) but an institutionalized norm. I have a feeling that that's dead wrong. Not only dead wrong, but inflammatory, not matter how neutral the terms in which you couch it.

There may be a problem with institutional circumcision (I personally am against it, unless it's for religious reasons) but you still haven't demonstrated how that's relevant to the post. And, as I've said, it's on you to convince people that it's relevant; it's not on me to prove that it's irrelevant, though I've tried to.

I should say that you've been very civil. This whole thing, in fact, is a pretty good case-study in the fact that a comment can be completely civil and completely inflammatory at the same time.
posted by koeselitz at 3:00 PM on January 9, 2007


carmen, I know that you did. I'm not suggesting that you did not contribute in the thread, or that you don't care about women's rights.

Surely you can concede that while the issue of elective surgery performed on nonconsenting patients of whatever age is an issue for both male and female persons, the specific manner in which the issue of male circumcision was introduced into the thread was less than helpful?
posted by winna at 3:01 PM on January 9, 2007


So, spacediver: how do you feel about religious circumcision? Do you think it should be illegal?

That's a tough question. I think by making it illegal, more harm than good may emerge. Practices would go underground, and it wouldn't necessarily solve anything.

This is why battling FGM, which certainly has religious importance for those who practice it, is so difficult to overcome.

I don't see our species outgrowing male circumcision within this century, but I may be wrong - relatively spontaneous shifts in consciousness are possible.

I think FGM has much better prospects, for two main reasons:

1) The global superpowers are against it.

2) The fact that we live in a male dominated society means that if males can change their minds about FGM, it is more likely that they'll enforce measures against it. This is based on the assumption that it is much harder for women to change their minds about FGM, in cultures where it is practiced, than it is for males.

To go into the religious aspect in some more depth, judaism and islam can address the issue in different ways.

Not many muslims know that circumcision is not commanded in the qur'an, but rather only in the hadiths. This makes for more flexibility.

In Judaism, the practice of questioning and challenging law is considered healthy - there is not as much dogmatism. Furthermore, there are alternatives to bris milah, which don't involve a knife, such as bris shalom.
posted by spacediver at 3:05 PM on January 9, 2007


My uncle got stabbed to death during a bris shalom. Or, rather, the card game that followed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:07 PM on January 9, 2007


See, this is interesting and the point of having a civil discussion because it would never occur to me that anyone would have read my comments like this:

To wit: your suggestion that the female mutilation described in the post is somehow comparable to male circumcision is a direct implication that the root of the difficult case of James C. Burt is not sexism (since this sort of thing is done to boys, as well) but an institutionalized norm.

Sexism was for a long time institutionalized in law in the form of making women the perpetual, legal wards of men (i.e., perpetual minorities, in the age sense). Which, among other things, empowered men to make decisions about surgeries for their wives/daughters regardless of their age. By pointing out that the doctor is treated his patients as a children, I am not in any way suggesting that what he did wasn't sexist. In fact, it is evidence of a very old form of sexism, and the fact that other doctors supported as recently as they did is of grave concern.

Suggesting that we can productively think about how two things are related is not the same as suggesting that they are equivalent in any specific way.



winna, yes I do. But both sides are frustrating if you want to talk about something substantive. Which I kinda did, and then I kinda couldn't.
posted by carmen at 3:46 PM on January 9, 2007


your suggestion that the female mutilation described in the post is somehow comparable to male circumcision tonsillectomy is a direct implication that the root of the difficult case of James C. Burt is not sexism (since this sort of thing is done to boys, as well) but an institutionalized norm.

Yup. That's what the post was about: the norms of the medical institution that made it so hard to have this doctor's license revoked. Frankly, the fact that doctors in that period performed hysterectomies, tonsillectomies, and circumcisions made it pretty easy for his fellow doctors to consider his actions merely an eccentric form of 'research,' old-fashioned, but not immoral. The hubbub about MGM v. FGM was started when some posters suggested this was a matter of misogyny rather than simple institutional arrogance, and others, like spacediver responded that similar procedures are still performed on men even though we live in a patriarchy.

To equate the power of medical expertise with the powers attendant with masculinity in a patriarchy is boring and tautological: dominance = dominance, but the two forms of dominance operate in radically different ways.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:52 PM on January 9, 2007


sorry, that last paragraph was aimed at carmen.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:54 PM on January 9, 2007


But isn't the point that circumcisions are performed on boys? They're only very rarely performed on men.
posted by occhiblu at 3:55 PM on January 9, 2007


spacediver: "This is why battling FGM, which certainly has religious importance for those who practice it, is so difficult to overcome." (sic)

To the contrary, so far as I can tell, all the reasonings in favor of female cutting have been cultural rather than religious. Islam condemns the procedure; the correct reading of the hadith,

"A woman used to perform (female) circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: 'Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.'"

is that Muhammad (PBOH) expressly forbade female circumcision, as it brings the charge of "severity" down upon the circumcisors head; while the Koran itself says (Al-Tin 95:4) that

"We have indeed created man[kind] in the best of moulds"

which by implication forbids female genital mutilation.

So far as I can tell, there are no African religions which make it a central tenet to circumcise women. I'd like to know if anybody has any evidence on this point, however.

In short, female circumcision seems to have the status that male circumcision does among non-Jews and non-Muslims in the United States; it is a comforting cultural practice which is performed because it is what parents are used to, not because there is a religious law about it. It will be much easier to end female genital mutilation, because it is not expressly condoned by any religion. This makes sense; religion is generally humane, and it seems to me (as it does to many) that female circumcision is much more egregious than male circumcision.

Do you really believe that the cutting off a clitoris is no more harmful a procedure than that which you and I went through at birth? I can understand believing that we lost something with our foreskin; however, I have some objections to the thesis that this loss is the same as the loss women undergo through female genital mutilation. First of all, though my experience might be different from yours, I feel as though the females with whom I've had sexual contact, and who still had their clitorises, were, on average, about as sexually responsive as I am; though I don't believe it's possible to study such a thing scientifically. Second, the statement that you and I have undergone the same abuse as the millions of women who have suffered genital mutilation seems to me a bit self-centered. While I wouldn't want to circumcise a child of my own, I don't harbor any illusion that I am the victim of tragic oppression. At the very least, whatever oppression and abuse I've faced fairly pales in comparison to the extreme situations which African and Middle Eastern Women have faced.
posted by koeselitz at 3:57 PM on January 9, 2007


Where on earth did I even come close to suggesting that anal sex is a bad thing?

If you've misunderstood that simple point, is it unreasonable to suppose that perhaps you've missed a slew of other subtle arguments I've made?


You imply that anal sex is BAD by saying "And if you're circumcised, you have more anal sex!"

Also, I said that I don't think you're wrong. I AGREE WITH YOU THAT CIRCUMCISION IS UNNECESSARY. Now pull your head out of your ass and shut up.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:04 PM on January 9, 2007


I don't know that asking how two forms of dominance might support and reinforce each other is tautological, though, which is what I was trying to do in my original comments about why it might be useful to look at how medical consent is formed in surgical cases where the consent is given by someone other than the recipient.

If you're suggesting that there is no sexism and/or no way to discuss sexism in medical power, then I'll have to disagree.
posted by carmen at 4:05 PM on January 9, 2007


Wow. A thread about penises has turned into a reasonable discussion. I will now sit back and watch the rest of you debate the merits of women's rights and the alleged marginalization thereof. I'm still in a state of brain-death from spending the afternoon with not enough customers and not enough coffee. Cheers!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:16 PM on January 9, 2007


Thanks for the thoughtful reply koeselitz.

What is important is that many people believe that FGM is mandated by divine law. And even if they can be convinced otherwise, many of them really believe the external female genitalia to be a source of evil.

(incidentally, do you not find the quote you presented regarding mankind being created in the best of moulds grounds for an argument against male circumcision?).

Physiologic comparisons between male and female circumcision is extremely difficult, if only because it is not clear that the two are isomorphic on an anatomical, neurophysiological, or on a functional level.

For example, on a gross anatomical level, the glans penis is analogous ot the female clitoris, and the male and female prepuce are analogous.

On a neuroanatomical level, however, the male prepuce as a whole seems to be analogous to the labia minora, and perhaps the clitoris.

The way that many males describe their frenulum is evocative of the way that females describe their clitoris.

Another complication in comparing the two practices is that, as you're probably aware, not all female genital cuttings are the same. There are various forms of it, ranging from mild to severe. Similarly, there are different styles of male circumcision - some males have lost almost all remnants of their frenular delta, and rely primarily on glans and sulcar stimulation to achieve orgasm, while others have a generous amount of fine touch receptors left.

I am not making the claim that any given male circumcision is equivalent to any given female circumcision. What I can say with confidence is that standard male circumcision is far more severe than the milder forms of female circumcision (i.e. genital pinpricks, or removal of clitoral hood).

The moral claim I am making, however, is that there is something fundamentally wrong when we remove healthy tissue from a baby when it is not medically necessary. The fact that it is sexual tissue just makes the situation a bit more poignant. In order to make this claim convincing, I ask others to reflect upon whether they would condone the removal of similar types of tissue off a female unless absolutely medically necessary.

I also want people to understand that those who practice FGM are fundamentally decent people, who are intelligent and are able to function as a cohesive society. They see absolutely nothing wrong with what they do.

However, to us, there is something fundamentally horrifying about taking a knife to a baby girl's genitals, be it in the name of religion, culture, or whatever. We would never condone that unless it was absolutely necessary.

I am arguing that we should, to be consistent, experience the same horror with respect to taking a knife to a baby boy's genitals.
posted by spacediver at 4:18 PM on January 9, 2007


Miracles can happen, grapefruitmoon.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:21 PM on January 9, 2007


grapefuitmoon:

You imply that anal sex is BAD by saying "And if you're circumcised, you have more anal sex!"

No not at all - read the text carefully. I was bringing up a study which showed that circ'd males engaged in anal sex more than intact males, lending the possible intepretation that circ'd males require a tighter orfice for stimulation to compensate for lack of sensitivity.

I did not claim, or even subtly imply, that anal sex is a morally indecent practice, and I think you're the only one in this thread who got that impression.
posted by spacediver at 4:21 PM on January 9, 2007


But isn't the point that circumcisions are performed on boys? They're only very rarely performed on men.

If the operation of male privilege is such that most males don't benefit from it, I'm not sure why we wouldn't just call it 'privilege,' and ignore the gender/sex component completely. With white privilege, there's clearly a benefit to being white and poor (insofar as one still feels superior to non-whites, even rich ones.) The model of patriarchy that subsumes the domination of women and children under the same general form confuses quite legitimate domination of minors with completely illegitimate domination of adults. (But then, concepts like rationality and autonomy have been used to dominate women in the past, too, and thus, some argue, are not good justifications for the domination of minors. I don't agree.)

If you're suggesting that there is no sexism and/or no way to discuss sexism in medical power, then I'll have to disagree.

Well, obviously there's sexism, and there's medical power, and there are sexist and non-sexist uses of medical power. I'm suggesting that not all illegitimate uses of medical power on female genitalia are sexist. In particular, I contend that Burt's use of his power was sexist, motivated by badly reasoned opinions about women whose core was misogynist ideology, but the subsequent cover-up was not sexist: just doctors being arrogant.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:21 PM on January 9, 2007


koeselitz, Ellen Guenbaum says that there are many different reasons, some cultural, some religious, some aesthetic, depending on which people you are talking to.

And Lori Leonard found some girls in Chad who do it to be rebellious (their parents disapprove). (The description of the people starts pg 10... there's more to it, it's a fascinating read.)

anotherpanacea: gottcha.
posted by carmen at 4:27 PM on January 9, 2007


No, the idea is that in general, we require the patient's permission for medical procedures unless the patient is a child, or incompetent in some major way, or physically unable to give permission. Performing an operation on a child without the child's consent (but with its guardians') is considered standard.

Performing an operation on an adult with no mental problems without her consent pretty much says that the doctor thinks she is mentally a child or mentally incompetent.

One of the major things that women have historically fought for is the right to be treated as adults -- to own property in our own name, to vote, and to otherwise act in our own interests without needing a man's (husband or father) permission to do so. That's what I see as the main issue with what this doctor did -- the infantilization of adult women. There are other issues, of course, and we can debate whether doctors are more likely to treat adult female patients as children, but it's wrong to say that doctors treating child patients as children is the same thing as treating adult patients as children.
posted by occhiblu at 4:34 PM on January 9, 2007


Hanny Lightfoot-Klein is a pioneer in the study of female genital mutilation. She spent the better half of a decade living in communities which practiced it.

She compiled a disturbing chart comparing attitudes around female genital cutting to those around male genital cutting.

I'm off to dinner - be back in a few hours.
posted by spacediver at 4:36 PM on January 9, 2007


There are other issues, of course, and we can debate whether doctors are more likely to treat adult female patients as children, but it's wrong to say that doctors treating child patients as children is the same thing as treating adult patients as children.

Who said that?
posted by carmen at 4:40 PM on January 9, 2007


That seems to be the point that many are missing with the analogy to male circumcision. Male circumcision may usually be performed without the patient's consent, but the patient does not have the legal ability to consent, so it's kind of a moot point. The women in kyra's links did have the legal ability to consent, and yet the operations were performed without their permission. This is a huge difference, and makes a lot of the male circumcision discussion a complete red herring.
posted by occhiblu at 4:45 PM on January 9, 2007


That's what I see as the main issue with what this doctor did -- the infantilization of adult women.

Look, the doctor's a misogynist, right? He has views of women that are hateful. But the main issue of the post wasn't "psycho doctor," it was "collusive medical community." There, I think you move beyond individual psychology and into institutional configurations, and while many institutions from that era are arguably misogynist, it is clear that these doctors didn't support Burt's ideas or methods, but rather refused to break the institutional code of silence by testifying against him.

Now, you've argued that the operation of Burt's medical privilege is something like the form of domination we give to adults over children. You might as well say: "Historically, slave-owners have had the right to determine the medical treatment of their slaves, and thus Burt's actions enslaved women." Slavery, racism, sexism, classism, and elitism all have independent modes of operation. They all concern power and domination, but that's only the most basic level. It's banal, and it ignores the insidious and mostly ignored modes of these forms of domination in our everyday lives.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:52 PM on January 9, 2007


I don't disagree that it's a power issue, but I have no idea why that means that sexism doesn't exist. It is worthwhile to see who the victims of these power plays are, and to notice that they're not randomly selected. Otherwise you're just throwing up your hands and saying "Nothing to be done! All random displays of power!", aren't you?

(Or are you saying it is a sexism issue, but not a power issue, because that's a boring way of putting it? I'm not following your chain of logic very well.)
posted by occhiblu at 5:00 PM on January 9, 2007


Male circumcision may usually be performed without the patient's consent, but the patient does not have the legal ability to consent, so it's kind of a moot point.

This assumes that consent is the general mode of interaction between doctors and patients. In reality, the doctor's elite status and medical privilege structures the relationship so that patients bow to their expertise. Since consent requires a meeting of the minds, and (in the structure of medical privilege) patients cannot understand the full ramifications of the procedures to be performed or the risks involved, the choices patients make are largely framed by domination. Here, though, we tend to ignore this domination because it is justified by status and knowledge.

Much of this has changed in the last few decades, but certainly it would have been the case at the time. Again, it is the structure of this particular form of domination (medical, rather than misogynist) that determined the trajectory of the attempted lawsuits and license revocation.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:00 PM on January 9, 2007

Karmakaze, you realize that breasts are considered secondary sexual characteristics, correct, and aren't analogous to primary sexual characteristics, i.e., genatalia?
Astonishingly enough, possessing a pair myself, I am aware of that. I'm also aware that they are a visible sexual characteristic, and are extremely fetishised in our culture. And yet, amazingly enough, some women choose mastectomies rather than risk cancer. Had you bothered to read the quoted text and applied the barest moment of thought, you might have realized this tends to suggest that we as a culture do not reject any research whatsoever into surgical solutions to cancer, just because they involve female parts. Which was the claim made in the quoted text.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:01 PM on January 9, 2007


Also, I was arguing the child-parent angle because it ties into the male circumcision issue. If we're talking about male circumcision, it's disingenuous to ignore the fact that we are, in fact, talking about children.
posted by occhiblu at 5:01 PM on January 9, 2007


It is worthwhile to see who the victims of these power plays are, and to notice that they're not randomly selected. Otherwise you're just throwing up your hands and saying "Nothing to be done! All random displays of power!", aren't you?

As I read you, you're boiling all power down to misogyny, which to my mind is like saying, "Nothing to be done! The men are in charge and the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house, so we we can't fight back!" I prefer to think of domination as something that can be isolated and rooted out, which requires us to use some forms of power (say the rule of law with its obsession with consent and autonomy) against others (crazy doctors and collusive medical communities.)

I'm guessing you don't really think all power is fundamentally masculine, but I'm not sure why you're so concerned with equating misogyny with infantilization.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:07 PM on January 9, 2007


anotherpanacea, as I said, there's a debate to be had about whether a doctor -- or this doctor -- would have treated male patients with the same level of disregard (given that he actually colluded with at least one of the patient's husbands, I would speculate that he wouldn't have; given the stated reasons for his intervention, I would speculate that he wouldn't have; given the general way in which the medical community has historically mistreated women, I would speculate he wouldn't have) and whether other doctors would have ignored male patients (mal)treated in this way in the same manner.

But you can't really ignore that this particular doctor did this to women. Yes, it ties into the general arrogance of the medical community, but it also ties into the general disregard that men have historically had for women. I don't think you can ignore either of those facts; they're reinforcing each other here.

But again, my main point here is that treating children as children is different from treating adults as children, because the power differential is different. Saying "this happens to boys, so it's not any different when it happens to women" is ignoring a huge power differential that should exist between male children and adult women, and yet in this case, did not.
posted by occhiblu at 5:09 PM on January 9, 2007


...it's disingenuous to ignore the fact that we are, in fact, talking about children.

I see... I'm not talking about circumcision here, but the topic of the original post, a doctor who was engaging in undesired and non-consensual surgical alterations to adult women. Male circumcision is, so far as I can tell, just another form of the same arrogance all medical knowledge undergoes.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:11 PM on January 9, 2007


Ack! I previewed. I think we're literally talking past each other.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:11 PM on January 9, 2007


On non-preview: I think you're missing the reason I brought up children. I'm talking about children because in general, children are the ones circumcised. So the "males get circumcised too!"argument is speaking about children, not adult males. Which is why I'm contrasting the way we treat children, and children's rights, with the way we (should) treat adults, and adults' rights.

I don't disagree it's a power issue, at all. I just think ignoring who is in power (and who isn't) doesn't serve anyone.
posted by occhiblu at 5:12 PM on January 9, 2007


I think we're literally talking past each other.

Heh, yes, we are.
posted by occhiblu at 5:12 PM on January 9, 2007


...my main point here is that treating children as children is different from treating adults as children, because the power differential is different.

And my main point is that Burt and the other doctors were not treating these women as children, but rather as patients, because this is the arrogance that is institutionalized into the form of medical knowledge/power.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:13 PM on January 9, 2007


OK, and that goes back to my question, "Would adult male patients have been treated with the same level of disregard?"

Given we have an example (the FPP) of women being treated this way, I'd have to see another example of a doctor systematically treating adult men this badly in order for me to answer that question with a "yes." But that's a separate discussion, and not one I'm really up for just now. I just wanted to point out that using circumcision as a counter-example of how men are mistreated by the medical establishment is a bad example, because those operations are not being performed on men but on boys, who by legal and various other standards inherently have less power than adult men.
posted by occhiblu at 5:19 PM on January 9, 2007


(Which is not to say that I think the medical community never hurts men, just that I do think gender plays a role here, and that this same level of malpractice perpetrated against (white) men would never have gone on this long.)
posted by occhiblu at 5:21 PM on January 9, 2007


...whether other doctors would have ignored male patients (mal)treated in this way in the same manner.

Here, we have fallen into speculation. I can show that doctors in the sixties and seventies -did- engage in similar cover-up practices for their colleagues who harmed male patients, but I can't do so right now, or without reference to academics like Foucault or Szasz, and without raising the question of madness and insanity as they were used during that era. In any case, the argument -I- thought we were having has to do with which set of dominations is primary: sexism, ageism, etc. My claim is that no single form of domination is primary, but rather that different kinds of power operate in different contexts. This is why circumcision is a red herring; it's really part and parcel of the other unnecessary and not-properly-consensual operations doctors performed during that era, like tonsillectomies. This requires us to distinguish conventional consent from the kind of agreement garnered by doctors in a hospital.

In short, I am not ignoring "who is in power," but rather responding with "doctors" rather than "men." (I've previewed, and I think this is still responsive.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:24 PM on January 9, 2007


I'd just like to say that the word cock appears 25 26 times in this thread. Carry on.
posted by moonbird at 5:26 PM on January 9, 2007


spacediver: I am arguing that we should, to be consistent, experience the same horror with respect to taking a knife to a baby boy's genitals.

That is clear enough, but what I really want to know is, what do you think about grandfather clocks? Should we just confine them to dusty museums, or do they have a place in a modern home?
posted by Meatbomb at 5:26 PM on January 9, 2007


anotherpanacea, I'm totally happy to agree to disagree at this point -- I understand and do respect your arguments, I'm just coming at them from a different perspective.
posted by occhiblu at 5:29 PM on January 9, 2007


occhiblu, there is a continuum of, let's call it "proxy consent" to facilitate the discussion, there is a continuum of proxy consent that goes from acceptable to unacceptable. At the acceptable end the law, social conventions, ethics and medical practice converge. Somewhere along the line, they start to diverge, until we have medical practices that are socially and ethically abhorrent and at times legally wrong.

I don't see the point in assuming a priori that the acceptable end of that continuum cannot shed light into how medical practitioners end up supporting the unacceptable end.

In fact, I think it is relevant to bring children into the discussion because there are surgeries done to children--much like the ones done by this doctor to adult women--that are definitely in the grey range for many people. While circumcision is pretty much at the acceptable end of the proxy consent continuum (whether or not it's a good idea, objectively), to me castrating a baby boy, removing the shaft of his penis, and taking a piece of his intestine to make a vagina that his parents must dilate with a dildo every night for months all before he is 2 years old is way closer to the unacceptable range. I don't think the fact that they are children makes the issue "moot".
posted by carmen at 5:37 PM on January 9, 2007


It doesn't make the issue moot, and I think the way you've presented it in this thread makes sense. The way that spacediver presented it in the other thread, however, as if circumcising baby boys without their consent and doing surgery on adult women without their consent were equivalent, makes no sense.

There are many things that we consider medically acceptable that probably aren't, really. But that doesn't make them all the same thing, or all the reasons for doing them interchangeable. You seem to recognize that; spacediver doesn't seem to, and it didn't seem that anyone was pointing out one of the major fallacies in his argument. It also seemed like people were picking up on the "Circumcision is a bad thing done to men! The medical community is just as stacked against men!" argument without acknowledging that boys and men are not legally or morally equivalent.
posted by occhiblu at 5:47 PM on January 9, 2007


occhiblu: now that we've clarified the discussion, I must admit I'm disappointed that you've withdrawn. I would have liked to hear a really good argument for using misogyny as the baseline for an understanding of domination; I don't often meet thoughtful people who maintain such an essentialist view of power. That said, I must admit that the argument for racism-as-primary (or at least white privilege) made by Charles Mills is sort of attractive. (On his model, we would answer the "who is in power" question with "white people," which would be equally true, and also allows us to talk about contemporary medical attempts to invoke race in scientifically thoughtless ways.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:47 PM on January 9, 2007


see, now that's just absurd.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:48 PM on January 9, 2007


With white privilege, there's clearly a benefit to being white and poor (insofar as one still feels superior to non-whites, even rich ones.)

Well, one interesting (possible) hole in that theory is that for a poor non-white it's socially acceptable to blame ones poverty on racism, whereas as a poor white is told that his poverty is his own fault, thus adding self-loathing to the pile of grief in his life.

I don't say this to negate racism or white privilige, merely to add some complexity.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on January 9, 2007


Heh. I'm not sure where I'm being absurd; lemme know.

The quickest Feminism 101 I can give would be: Whatever position you have in society, however bad it is, if you were a woman, it would be worse. (And if you were a black woman, even worse; black gay woman, even worse worse; etc. I'm not trying to negate other power differentials.) I think if you look at the way women, as a class, are treated throughout the world, and the way that such mistreatment is ignored or explained away, there's simply too much evidence to argue against gender being a huge (and I would argue primary) indicator of who's in power, and who's not.
posted by occhiblu at 5:55 PM on January 9, 2007


411 comments?? WHAT.THE.FUCK.METAFILTER?
posted by disclaimer at 5:58 PM on January 9, 2007


Why are you even surprised, disclaimer? You've got all the button-pushing topics in one go... including the ever-popular penis.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:16 PM on January 9, 2007


occhi: maybe. but it still strikes me as reductive. who's position would you rather occupy: Ellen Degeneres' or a straight white homeless drug addicts?

Yeas, that's offering two extremes, but the point I'm making is this: we are more than our genders, races, sexualities, economic classes, etc. I don't know what it's like to be you and you don't know what it's like to be me. That's why viewing the world thru any 'ism' is incomplete to my eyes at least. The best rule of thumb is to just try and recognize everyone you encounter as a human being and let your empathy take it from there. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but I'll try.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on January 9, 2007


"My friend claims that when he was little he got a green army man trapped under his foreskin."

If he'd gotten it stuck in his ass, it would've been a GI Joe.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:32 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


And if you were about to be born, and you got no choice about where in the world that would be or about the circumstances of the family you'd be born into, would you do better, statistically, to be born male or female?

Of course there are individual differences. Those don't erase group differences, however.
posted by occhiblu at 6:46 PM on January 9, 2007


I'm not saying they do. I'm just saying we shouldn't let those group differences determine how we view the world and eachother, to the degree that's possible. We are ourselves before we are anything else. I'm not saying this to contradict you, just explaining something.
posted by jonmc at 7:00 PM on January 9, 2007


It is ever so tempting to push you circumcision-obssessed twits into an amusing self-destruct kablooie all over MetaTalk. But I care so little about circumcision rights that I can't even be bothered to give it a shot.

And that is why your quest is Quixote-ian. Nobody really gives a damn about your issue, and the silly rite is falling by the wayside as-is. Within the next two generations circumcision is going to be a minority practice, with Jews being the only ones who really stick with it.

But this thread sure did have some great moments. Some of you people are wickedly witty. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 7:22 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thank you.
posted by jonmc at 7:50 PM on January 9, 2007


Karmakaze:

You have, I take it, never heard of the surgical procedure known as "mastectomy", nor the practice of preventive mastectomy used to reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Absolutely, and if a woman decides to remove breast tissue to reduce her risk of cancer, then that is her choice.

I hope you would not condone routine neonatal mastectomies, however.
posted by spacediver at 8:15 PM on January 9, 2007


occhibilu:

It doesn't make the issue moot, and I think the way you've presented it in this thread makes sense. The way that spacediver presented it in the other thread, however, as if circumcising baby boys without their consent and doing surgery on adult women without their consent were equivalent, makes no sense.

I don't think I made this claim. Remember, my original comments in that thread were primarily in response to someone else's claim about male circumcision. My comments were actually derailing comments, since they weren't tightly integrated with the main fpp material.

I talked about a deep intersection of medically sanctioned assaults on the genitalia between males and females, and how aesthetic and medical prejudices underlie both practices in general, but I don't believe I made the claim you're alleging I did (i.e. that the reasons are fully interchangeable).
posted by spacediver at 8:29 PM on January 9, 2007


"...and the silly rite is falling by the wayside as-is. Within the next two generations circumcision is going to be a minority practice, with Jews being the only ones who really stick with it."

I don't think so. Muslims are not known for overhauling their traditions so quickly.
posted by Liosliath at 8:35 PM on January 9, 2007


err, is there actually any religion that changes with the times?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 8:46 PM on January 9, 2007


Not that I know of, but not all of them have circumcision as a religious rite, either.
posted by Liosliath at 8:53 PM on January 9, 2007


First off, lemme say kudos to carmen, anotherpanacea and occhiblu. That was a great exchange and, y'know, if I haven't been around here too long to still do this— one of those reasons why I came to Metafilter.

As for jonmc: "Well, one interesting (possible) hole in that theory is that for a poor non-white it's socially acceptable to blame ones poverty on racism, whereas as a poor white is told that his poverty is his own fault, thus adding self-loathing to the pile of grief in his life."

I'll call bullshit on that one. I hear all the goddamned time white people blaming minorities for their shortcomings, and not just poor white folks. Rich white folks and upper middle class white folks blame minorities for not being richer. I watched my girlfriend's cousin go on a tirade about affirmative action keeping him out of U of M's business school due to "quotas," when, really, the reason is that he was a C student in undergrad and a bit of a fucking numbskull with a sense of entitlement. In fact, I hear that entitlement come up nearly every goddamned day from white folks, and it never fails to annoy me, and it's nearly always some abstract sense that society is putting too much investment into helping minorities (and, if the speaker is male, women). So, broadly socially acceptable? Acceptable in liberal or progressive crowds? Acceptable in groups that have a fucking clue? No, it's not. Acceptable in supposed in-group moments? Hell fucking yeah.
But hey, I quit the best paying job I've ever had (which, frankly, as a student and a writer, was still just a pizza delivery one), because I got sick of hearing the rest of the poor white guys I worked with CONSTANTLY bitching about the "niggers" that lived in my neighborhood. (Though, I did learn the best justification as for why they had black friends: "See, there are black people, and they're just like us. And then there are niggers, which are the rest of 'em.")
posted by klangklangston at 9:00 PM on January 9, 2007


"err, is there actually any religion that changes with the times?"

Scientology? Mormonism?
posted by klangklangston at 9:03 PM on January 9, 2007


WAIT.
HOLD ON.

HOW DID RACISM GET WORKED INTO THIS?


Female circumsision => male circumsision => racism???

....
Why am I surprised.
This is nothing new. lol.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:05 PM on January 9, 2007


Female circumsision => male circumsision => racism???

Well of course, Citrus. Everyone knows that discussions of unwanted female circumcision are a slippery slope, bound to descend into rants on male circumcision and then on to racism and from there it's just a matter of time before someone steers the thread toward, uh... the new iPhone?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:25 PM on January 9, 2007


occhiblu: It's better to be a black woman than a black man in the US, and increasingly it's a toss-up for middle-class or richer white women. It's worse to be a woman in most other contexts, especially war-torn countries or places where the rule of law has been seriously damaged... but the key here is that it's also always worse to be physically disabled, to be non-white, and to be poor. As I understand it, the "Feminism 101" response is that femininity is somehow -more- oppressed than disability, poverty, or racial otherness. I'm curious to hear the argument for that "moreness."

That view seems slightly anachronistic these days, not because we don't still live in a patriarchy, but because those of us having the conversation are elites at the top of a global empire, where education and skin color matter a whole lot more than genitalia, gender performances, or sexual preferences.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:35 PM on January 9, 2007


those of us having the conversation are elites at the top of a global empire

Hmmm... oh yeah?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:44 PM on January 9, 2007


I think a lot of it ideologically intersects -- most of the feminism I'm familiar with (and agree with) is based on the idea that these sorts of either/or, winner/loser, in power / out of power splits come from patriarchal norms, that the key to unlocking these sort of binary splits is to dismantle the idea of a binary split between the genders in which someone has to "win."

And I just flat-out disagree that race matters a whole lot more than gender in this country; I think racism is a huge problem, but I think to some extent we see it where we don't always see sexism, which makes sexism sometimes easier to ignore.

I actually read a great throwaway line the other day, something like, "Feminism is the only human rights cause in which the oppressed are literally in love with their oppressors." The intimate relationships between men and women make a great deal of analysis uniquely hard; both women and men (and I'm including myself) have a lot personally at stake in the current system. There's a general idea that women have advanced a great deal in the public sphere but not so much in the domestic sphere (still shouldering a huge majority of childcare and housework, for example, even when holding full-time jobs), and I think this sort of inequality is easy to dismiss because we've all grown up with the idea that "men are like this, women are like this, and that's why we like each other." It holds both men and women in rigid roles in intimate relationships, where transgressions require a HELL of a lot of vulnerability, and it's easier to fall back on evolutionary psychology or the Bible or whatever the "let's pat girls on the head and send them back to the kitchen" rationale of the day is and to let it go.
posted by occhiblu at 9:55 PM on January 9, 2007


(That above was a bit rambly; just meant to be my thoughts at the moment, not a huge manifesto.)
posted by occhiblu at 9:56 PM on January 9, 2007


Class and race intersect with gender in ways that are not linear or simply accumulative.

I read a great definition of inequality this summer that was along the lines of: inequality consists of both a distinction and a differential moral evaluation of that distinction.

Gender, race, class, mental/physical ability are all forms of distinguishing between people. To over-simplify for the sake of discussion, say that the moral evaluations are good/bad. If you make a chart that includes each of the categories of distinction and then map whether a person falls into good/bad for that category, you're going to come up with, what, 16 different possible configurations? What you seem to be suggesting is that in every single one of those 16 cases, it's which side of the gender category they fall into that determines the outcome. What anotherpanacea seems to be suggesting is that for some configurations, other categories will matter more (or will matter more in particular situations).
posted by carmen at 10:29 PM on January 9, 2007


No, I agree with that. That was why my original comment was that gender magnifies or multiplies those problems, that being female is always going to take your status down a notch from where it would be, given all the same circumstances, if you were a man. It's not always going to be the most salient characteristic in a given situation, just that, statistically on average, if you are female, you will most likely be economically, legally, and socially (in terms of status) worse off than a male in the same situation as you. (And by "situation" I mean life circumstances, not one particular snapshot in time.)

Again, I'm speaking about large populations, averages, and statistics. Some woman are better of than some men; some women (notably college-educated white women in the US, like me) are much better off than a great number of men throughout the world. But that's why I'm framing it like I am -- given all the same variables except gender, being female is a liability. There are probably exceptions, but I'd say that in general, there's not a set of life circumstances in which being female is a legal, economic, and social advantage.

Which is why I see gender as the fundamental inequality. There is racism everywhere, but which races are discriminated against changes depending on where you are. That's not the case with gender -- despite women making up more than half the world population, there's not a place in which being female means you are legally, economically, and socially better off than a male in your same situation.
posted by occhiblu at 10:52 PM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well, I don't disagree with any of your descriptions of gender inequities, but nor can I agree that racism is more visible than sexism, if only because physical distinctions between the sexes, and the heteronormative framework of sexual relations, constantly bring sex and gender issues to the fore. People must constantly repeat to themselves: "Men are like this, women are like that." It becomes a mantra, almost meaningless in its endless repetitions, and it's inevitable that all sorts of permutations and alterations slip into the stream of unconscious habits.

On the other hand, most whites live and work in an environment that makes it easy for them to ignore the distinctions between whites and non-whites, either because they don't know encounter non-whites, or more likely because they literally don't notice there are other human beings serving them, making the clothes they wear, the food they buy, and the houses they live in. When they encounter people of color whose class or social status requires that the white person treat them with respect, they'll either find hints in their clothing, mannerisms, and lifestyle that indicate that this non-white person is really just as despicable as poor non-whites, or, if this person has assimilated well to white cultural cues (the black professor in tweed and an English accent), they'll simply pretend to be 'color-blind,' i.e. to ignore the physical 'defect' of skin color. "That's mighty white of you," etc.

Racism, like sexism, has an overt and easily recognized form of expression, but just like sexism there's a core of unacknowledged justifications and effects. I'm not really arguing that racism is more powerful than sexism, or more essential or more pressing. As I've said, I think it's a shifting thing, dependent on context... but I do find the argument tempting.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:55 PM on January 9, 2007


Yeah, I don't think we're hugely disagreeing, just using slightly different lenses (or filters, or whatever the better metaphor would be). Which is why I was hesitant to keep posting before -- I didn't want to turn it into an argument, because we seem to be agreeing on the main points: People in power are nasty to people who aren't in power, and race, gender, disability, etc. are all things that put you in the "less powerful" category. That's about 357% more agreement than most discussions on MetaTalk start with (or, at least, than mine start with); I didn't want to jinx it.
posted by occhiblu at 11:09 PM on January 9, 2007


You know who else hated circumcised people? That's right.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:09 PM on January 9, 2007


let's agree to agree then, eh? :-)
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:14 PM on January 9, 2007


it was a pleasure. i'm signing off unless somebody tells a whomping good penis joke, or there's a fire that can only be put out by a political philosopher.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:25 PM on January 9, 2007


Holy carp. That was one of the best discussions of feminism and privilege that I have ever seen. And it happened in MetaTalk. On a thread that I posted.

I feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Like a warm fuzzy penis.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:37 AM on January 10, 2007


So let's see...
    Circumcision (male and female) Diamonds (all bloody, apparently) Police abuses Cat declawing Overweight Bicycles(!) Apple Windows
What have I missed?
posted by fixedgear at 3:43 AM on January 10, 2007


Grandfather Clocks.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:31 AM on January 10, 2007


anotherpanacea: what I was trying to say is this, where well-off educated whites will very often accept racism as a reason for a non-white person's poverty, they'll view a poor white simply as a loser, and that's where self-loathing comes in and it often gets turned outwards onto non-whites. A lot of personal (as opposed to systemic) racial prejudice is projected self-hatred in my opinion.

Both the Nation Of Islam and the Aryan Brotherhood do their most effective recruiting among poor demographics, because as Jim Goad said 'Tell people they're nothing enough and eventually they'll come back claiming to be everything.'

(FWIW, I'm not trying to deny, negate, or dimsiss anything you've said just add to it.)
posted by jonmc at 6:10 AM on January 10, 2007


I feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Like a warm fuzzy penis.


The penis itself is fuzzy? Not just the balls? eeeeeewwwww! Let's shave it!

(stands back and watches conversation devolve into a shouting match over the relative merits of manscaping)

And yes, that was a great set of posts on feminism & privilege.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:06 AM on January 10, 2007


(stands back and watches conversation devolve into a shouting match over the relative merits of manscaping)

Me, I'm agin it.
posted by jonmc at 7:07 AM on January 10, 2007


You forgot Portobello mushrooms, remember that thread(AskMe)
posted by Wilder at 7:21 AM on January 10, 2007


Yeah, well, jonmc, you must not love your wife. That stuff can itch.

(Sorry, couldn't resist)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:34 AM on January 10, 2007


Blasphemer.

(actually, nature has already manscaped me. I'm almost hairless from the waist up-except for the mop on my head & chin- almost furry from the waist down. I'm mother nature's topiary, yo)
posted by jonmc at 7:39 AM on January 10, 2007


Metafilter: Mother Nature's Topiary
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:52 AM on January 10, 2007


How do you keep warm?
posted by klangklangston at 8:13 AM on January 10, 2007


Bonfire of laminated bris logs.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:10 AM on January 10, 2007


How do you keep warm?

Clothes.
posted by jonmc at 10:38 AM on January 10, 2007


Th' hollowed out belly ov'n elk was good enou' fer my pappy, by gar, an it's'd be good enough'n fer ye.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:47 AM on January 10, 2007


or a hollowed out -- oh dang, I just forgot what they were called, is it tauntaun? -- thingy from The Empire Strikes Back...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:56 AM on January 10, 2007


Magic Johnson?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:58 AM on January 10, 2007


Is it time to talk about fisting now?
posted by ob at 3:23 PM on January 10, 2007


Is it time to talk about fisting now

Sure! When I was just a wee lad my grandpa used to take me fishing on weekends, and one time-

What?

Oh, it's not... it's... what?

I see. Nevermind.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:57 PM on January 10, 2007


Spacediver --

I just noticed that you responded to my question about whether you were circumcised. Here's what I don't understand:

(1) What was the defining event, if any, that led to your fascination with this topic. (I am circumcised, and it actually never occurred to me to be interested in this ... I'm really curious how you got onto this.)

(2) What makes you think that uncircumcised males are capable of more sexual pleasure than circumcised males?
posted by jayder at 7:22 PM on January 10, 2007


Jayder, yes I am circumcised (though fortunate enough that it's a relatively loose cut). Do I blame my parents? No - I've made it clear to them that I recognize that it was an act of love. I would never, however, inflict such damage upon my own daughters or sons, given my current awareness.

this comment should answer the rest of your questions, regarding conjectural possiblities.

If, after reading it, you still have questions, I'd be happy to answer.
posted by spacediver at 5:22 PM

posted by nathancaswell at 7:40 PM on January 10, 2007


Oh wait, disregard. I misread. I have been drinking.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:41 PM on January 10, 2007


I get a real kick out of this line: Do I blame my parents? No - I've made it clear to them that I recognize that it was an act of love.

Makes me laugh my ass off. I swear to gods I have never discussed my circumcision with my parents, let alone felt any emotion over their decision. What a hoot to imagine what that conversation would be like!

"Hey, Mom, y'know how you had me circumcised?"

"Er... what?"

"Circumcised? Y'know, when I was born? Well, I forgive you for it!"

"Er... okay. I, uh, didn't know it was an issue."

"Oh, it's not! My gods, no, no. But, y'know, it just wasn't cool to go hacking off a bit of me."

"Well, dear, that's the way it was back then. I don't think I'd choose it this time around. Seems unnecessary."

"Yup. Anyway, no problem."

"Oookay, son. Have you been taking your meds?"
posted by five fresh fish at 8:35 PM on January 10, 2007


"Oookay, son. Have you been taking your meds?"

*looks at bottle of vicodin*

"ma, you're not gonna cut something else off, are ya?"
posted by pyramid termite at 8:46 PM on January 10, 2007


Jayder:


(1) What was the defining event, if any, that led to your fascination with this topic. (I am circumcised, and it actually never occurred to me to be interested in this ... I'm really curious how you got onto this.)


Like many other circumcised males, I always considered it to be a normal and desirable thing. I was raised to consider the male foreskin to be a dirty, useless, and vestigal part of the body which caused medical problems. About 7 years ago, I stumbled across some information that challeneged the necessity of circumcision, and the as I read about the history of the practice, and educated myself about the anatomy of the intact male penis, I had a shift of consciousness around the issue.

Similar things have happened to many other males, and a few circumcised females.


(2) What makes you think that uncircumcised males are capable of more sexual pleasure than circumcised males?


I've addressed this quite thoroughly in the thread, but I'll reiterate:

1) The male prepuce as a whole is a highly complex and erogenous structure. The comprising tissue is loaded with fine touch receptors (meissner corpuscles). Stimulation of these receptors feels good, and orgasm is derived from such stimulation.

2) Circumcision removes much of these receptors. If you care to examine your own penis, you'll notice that there are a few important areas. The glans as a whole provides a nice deep feeling, though it can be overbearing if stimulated in certain manners, or during certain phases of the sexual response (e.g. post orgasm it can be quite sensitive). The coronal ridge, or the sulcus is also important - stimulation of this area can lead to orgasm.

None of the above mentioned areas, however, contain the fine touch receptors previously mentioned. If you examine the ventral portion of your shaft, just below the scarline, you'll likely find some very sensitive tissue, which feels great when stimulated. Depending on the style of your circumcision, you'll have more or less of this tissue remaining. If you have no frenlum left, you'll probably find that the sensitive area stops abruptly at the scar line (i.e. between the scarline and the corona, there is no sensitive tissue at all).

Intact males have the full array of tissue here, and it forms a triangular portion of tissue, whose base is where your scarline is, and whose apex tapers off toward the meatus. The frenulum forms this tapering portion. It is a very special type of tissue, in that it contains highly organized arrays of these corpuscles, which, when deformed by the slightest touch, fire off signals to the brain. It is extremely rare on the human body - found in the lips, palms of hand, and feet. The highest density is found on the male prepuce.

Intact males describe the sensations derived from stimulation of the frenulum in a very similar manner to how females describe stimulation of their clitoris.

It may be the case that circumcision doesn't reduce sexual pleasure in the male. We haven't done a proper expeirment to test this yet.

It may also be the case that female genital cutting doesn't reduce sexual pleasure in the female (ignoring infibulation for now). Again, we haven't done a proper experiment to test this.

There is excellent reason to suppose that removing erogenous tissue reduces the amount of pleasure one can receive, simply because there is a smaller and less complex platform for reception of sensory stimuli.
posted by spacediver at 10:00 AM on January 11, 2007


Thread still going! Yow!

Like many other circumcised males, I always considered it to be a normal and desirable thing. I was raised to consider the male foreskin to be a dirty, useless, and vestigal part of the body which caused medical problems.

It may be that part of my lack of stake in it is that I had no negative perception of my absent foreskin growing up. Some people had 'em, some people didn't.
posted by cortex at 10:07 AM on January 11, 2007


And as far as potentially being not as sensitive as the uncircumcised variety, I don't see that necessarily as a bad thing. All I know is, mine works, and it works well.
I'm happy with it.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:45 AM on January 11, 2007


CitrusFreak

It's not so much about it being less sensitive in terms of quantity, but rather in terms of quality.

Would you consider it a bad thing if we safely removed part of a female's vulva at birth, if it were not absolutely medically necessary?
posted by spacediver at 10:52 AM on January 11, 2007


Thread still going! Yow!

Indeed. I was going to add a comment about gaspode's link yesterday morning, but decided against it, in part because it would be conceding to having a(nother) discussion (as opposed to a snarkfest) about circumcision at the behest of spacediver, but mostly so as not to disturb the great bits that started around comment 400 or so.

But, since we're still here ...

gaspode, that article was disgusting.

I dunno. Though he mentioned it tongue-in-cheek, I don't think it's so far out there for six thousand years of Jewish tradition to trump the "research" the wife did on the internet.

I'm in the same, but opposite, boat as the couple in the article. My wife's Jewish, I'm gentile. My father-in-law has been coming over lots of Friday nights lately for a little Shabbat-iness. He's concerned that his grandson isn't getting enough of an education about his heritage. Last Friday, at dinner, my father-in-law says "So, (grandson), do you know how the world began?" I tensed up for a moment, thinking we were gonna hear about Eve and sin and Abraham and shit. But, no, father-in-law explains about the Big Bang and proteins and shit. (I realize my WASP is showing with the sin part.)

My point is that, for some Jews, God himself plays second-fiddle to tradition. My father-in-law cares more that his grandson is exposed to the Shabbat ritual than religious teachings. So if cutting a little flap of skin off makes the grandparents happy, I don't feel that is such a great burden for the child to bear. Even though circumcision may affect the grandson the rest of his life, he owes his very existence to the grandparents and honoring them is not that much to ask.

(And it really isn't that big a deal. In my own experience, orgasms are sometimes meh and sometimes mystical. The physical sensation is pretty much the same in both cases, it's the setting and other (non-penis) sensations that make the difference.)
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:33 AM on January 11, 2007


Nobody is answering the question though:

Would you consider it ok to take a knife to a baby girl's genitals, and remove erogenous tissue from her, if it weren't absolutely medically necessary?

I've asked this about five times, and not one person has answered it.
posted by spacediver at 11:48 AM on January 11, 2007


And you, spacediver, have willfully ignored my direct and repeated questions to you re. the role of grandfather clocks.

Pot, kettle, etc.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


No.* Happy now?

* Assuming there was no historical context in which the tissue removal was taking place and assuming I wasn't a woman who'd had the procedure done to myself as a baby and had no (cognizant) ill-effects from it.

posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:54 AM on January 11, 2007


There is a very real historical context surrounding the removal of female genital tissue which dates back thousands of years also.

Furthermore, the vast majority of women who've been cut are proud of their status, and feel exactly about their cut genitals as the vast majority of cut men feel about them.

This doesn't mean we find it any less abhorrent.

So, the next question I ask is:

Why do you think it is wrong to take a knife to a baby girl's genitals and remove erogenous tissue from her, even when it is an important part of the culture?


Here are some reasons that work for me:

1) A girl's sex organs should be left as they are, unless medically necessary.

2) One should not cause damage to a girl's biology unless medically necessary.

3) Nobody should have a right to interefere with a girl's sexual hardware, unless medically necessary.

When a culture which practices female genital cutting does not respect these principles, it is the women who most strongly disrespect them. It is the women who rally against Western initiatives to eradicate the practice. It is the women who carry out the procedure.

What would you say about these women?

They are decent human beings and have loving relationships.

Would you not agree, however, that they suffer aesthetic, sexual, spiritual, and medical prejudices against the female genitalia?

Would you not agree that it would be better if somehow their culture evolved to eradicate these prejudices?
posted by spacediver at 12:08 PM on January 11, 2007


You know what, man? Fuck this shit.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 12:13 PM on January 11, 2007


Would you consider it ok to take a knife to a baby girl's genitals, and remove erogenous tissue from her, if it weren't absolutely medically necessary?

When the post is about female circumsision, someone brings up male circumsision.
When the entire discussion is focused on male circumsision, someone brings up female circumsision again. Oy!

Spacediver: I am not going to answer your question, because my comment was about me, so in my situation I see your question as a case of apples and oranges.

As far as I know, I'm not missing out on anything. Even if I am, I'm happy with what I've got. If I had the opportunity to go back in time and decide whether or not the operation would take place on myself, I'd opt for it. Why? Because I don't think it really makes a difference. Except, perhaps, for one thing:
Circumcision reduces the amount of smegma produced by the male. Smegma is a combination of exfoliated epithelial cells, transudated skin oils, and moisture that can accumulate under the foreskin of males and within the female vulva area. It has a characteristic strong odor and taste, and is common to all mammals—male and female. While smegma is generally not believed to be harmful to health, the strong odour may be considered to be a nuisance or give the impression of a lack of hygiene.

One less thing I've got to worry about.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2007


CitrusFreak, the point I've been patiently trying to make is that the very moral principles we invoke in forming a negative judgement on female genital cutting are directly applicable to male genital cutting.

That is: human genital cutting is wrong, unless medically necessary, or unless the owner of the genitals makes a conscious choice to do it her or himself.
posted by spacediver at 12:33 PM on January 11, 2007


You know what, man? Fuck this shit.

Hail Erogenous!
posted by cortex at 1:04 PM on January 11, 2007


Nigel Tufnel: [pointing to a customized Marshall amplifier head unit] This is a top, to, uh, you know, what we use on stage, but it's very, very special, because, if you can see...

Marty DiBergi: Yeah...

Nigel Tufnel: [pointing to the control dials] ...the numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board: eleven, eleven, eleven, eleven...

Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?

Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.

Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is that any louder?

Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most... most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up... you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

Marty DiBergi: I don't know...

Nigel Tufnel: ...nowhere! Exactly! What we do is if we need that extra... push over the cliff, you know what we do?

Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.

Nigel Tufnel: ...Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder, and make ten be the top... number, and make that a little louder?

Nigel Tufnel: [pause, blank look and snapping chewing gum] These go to eleven.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:25 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Though he mentioned it tongue-in-cheek, I don't think it's so far out there for six thousand years of Jewish tradition to trump the "research" the wife did on the internet.

Yes, it is, when your wife is dead set against it and you'd rather please mommy and daddy instead of her. When you acquiese to grandparent demands instead of making your own decisions for your own children. THAT'S what's pathetic about that story - the lack of ability to stand up for themselves or make a decision on their own.

And tradition...is just tradition. And the grandparents didn't even follow Jewish law to the letter, so in this case it's particularly weird that they were so adamant.
posted by agregoli at 2:44 PM on January 11, 2007


The Dude: You're living in the fucking past.

Walter Sobchak: Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax... YOU'RE GODDAM RIGHT I'M LIVING IN THE FUCKING PAST!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:13 PM on January 11, 2007


Wisdom involves reflecting upon tradition and refining it.

I know very little about Judaism, but one thing I do admire about it is that questioning doctrine is considered to be a healthy thing.

Not many jews have reflecting deeply upon the practice of circumcision. To them, it is simply a covenant, but they have not really come to terms with the nature of this sacrificial bond.

Some are aware of the original jewish wisdom behind circumcision - as a means to curb the male sexual response:

Advocating Circumcision Today, a Jewish pro-circumcision group, states:

"When the foreskin is properly removed on the eighth day, all negative energy is annihilated and will never be able to have control over the person. On a metaphysical level, we cut off the ability for the potential of negative energy to become actualized in the child, thus giving him the extra strength necessary to overcome any problems he will experience throughout his life.

Kabbalah explains, that in this world there are many obstacles which conceal G-dliness. It is our job to remove these blocks, thus revealing the G-dly light. Circumcision is an act of removing unholiness. By physically removing the foreskin, we are spiritually removing and eliminating undesirable character traits, depressive tendencies and so on. We eliminate from the body of the child, forces which might try to cultivate overindulgence in physical pleasures, etc. In short, we give the child a boost and head start in fighting life’s battles; it can be compared to the concept of immunization.”
(emphases added)

And from one of the most revered figures in Jewish history, Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides), 12th Century:

“With regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible.

The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished. The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened.

The sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: "It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him." In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision.”

Here's a quote from Philo Judaeus, a 1st century Jewish Philosopher:

“To these [reasons for circumcision] I would add that I consider circumcision to be a symbol of two things necessary to our well being. One is the excision of pleasures which bewitch the mind. For since among the love-lures of pleasure the palm is held by the mating of man and woman, the legislators thought good to dock the organ which ministers to such intercourse, thus making circumcision the figure of the excision of excessive and superfluous pleasure, not only of one pleasure, but of all the other pleasures signified by one, and that the most imperious.”

Here's another from Isaac ben Yediah, a student of Maimonides:

"When a woman makes love to an uncircumcised man, she feels pleasure and reaches orgasm first. When an uncircumcised man sleeps with her and then resolves to return to his home, she brazenly grasps him, holding onto his genitals and says to him, "Come back, make love to me". This is because of the pleasure that she finds in intercourse with him, from the sinews of his testicles -- sinew of iron and from his ejaculation -- that of a horse -- which he shoots like an arrow into her womb.

With the circumcised man it is different. He will find himself performing his task quickly, emitting his seed as soon as he inserts the crown. … As soon as he begins intercourse, he immediately comes to a climax. The woman has no pleasure from him. She leaves the marriage bed frustrated. She does not have an orgasm once a year, except on rare occasions.

[This is good for her husband: freed from lascivious desires] he will not empty his brain because of his wife [and] his heart will be strong to seek out God."

It was considered a wise thing, back then, to reduce the intensity of the sexual experience for the male. Whether or not circumcision actually achieved this is irrelevant. The point is, this was a primary rationale, and is part of the tradition to which so many people blindly adhere to.

I seriously wonder if jewish people today would be comfortable upholding that wisdom, which seems inextricably linked to attitudes towards women which are very unhealthy according to today's standards.

Yes tradition can be beautiful, and yes there can be much subtle wisdom in tradition.

And yes, one should tread cautiously and respecfully when reflecting upon tradition.

But to blindly uphold a tradition without even bothering to examine its underlying wisdom (how many jews today have researched the historical rationale for circumcision, laid out explicitly by jewish figures), is the very definition of being a fool.
posted by spacediver at 3:53 PM on January 11, 2007


When an uncircumcised man sleeps with her and then resolves to return to his home, she brazenly grasps him, holding onto his genitals and says to him, "Come back, make love to me".

Where's my empirical data?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:25 PM on January 11, 2007


It's in a jar.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:32 PM on January 11, 2007


What. The. Fuck.
posted by liquorice at 4:35 PM on January 11, 2007


Not many jews have reflecting deeply upon the practice of circumcision. To them, it is simply a covenant, but they have not really come to terms with the nature of this sacrificial bond.

Oh please, do you know any Jews? Most of the ones I know spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not to circumcize their sons.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:48 PM on January 11, 2007


You know next time someone posts an Askme question worrying about their current state of mind, feeling a little weird and low on self esteem and wondering if they need therapy? Direct them all to this thread, it'll work a beauty.
posted by pleeker at 5:02 PM on January 11, 2007


Yes I do know many jews (though I've never brought this up with jewish parents), and the few I've spoken to about circumcision are completely ignorant about the jewish historical thought around it.

Many may spend a lot of time thinking about whether to do it or not, and most probably end up having their babies' genitals cut, but how many of them are aware of the underlying "wisdom" behind the tradition?

Whether or not they spend time aggravating over the decision is irrelevant to the point i'm making, since their aggravations are a conflict of their perceived harms of circumcision vs, the benefit of following tradition.

My point is that they don't even understand their own tradition, when it comes to circumcision.

If they did, they'd either have to agree with the wisdom (something very few jews alive today would be able to do), or to challenge it.
posted by spacediver at 5:03 PM on January 11, 2007


"Many may spend a lot of time thinking about whether to do it or not, and most probably end up having their babies' genitals cut, but how many of them are aware of the underlying "wisdom" behind the tradition?"

This is exactly the sort of conversation best had with a stranger on a subway platform.
posted by klangklangston at 5:19 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or in Times Square! Listen, spacediver, you can get a box right next to those black guys who claim to be the true Jews and taunt Jewish passersby about the "so-called Jew"; you can tell the Jews they're "completely ignorant" about their own traditions of circumcision! It'll be a blast, I tell you. And you may get your name in the paper!
posted by languagehat at 5:34 PM on January 11, 2007


and the few I've spoken to about circumcision are completely ignorant about the jewish historical thought around it.

Ah. So you've talked to "a few" jews.
And you're using the information garnered from these few good jews to make sweeping generalizations about Jews at large, saying, "Not many jews have reflecting deeply upon the practice of circumcision."

"Something very few jews alive today would be able to do."
You don't know that.

You're essentially saying, "Jews don't even understand their own tradition when it comes to circumsision. If they did, they'd either have to agree with it, or disagree with it."

Well no shit.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 5:41 PM on January 11, 2007


I'm not sure what's motivating your comment languagehat - as far as I know we're not discussing the utility or futility of assaulting jewish strangers with claims about their ignorance.

My last post was in response to jessamyn's comment.

If you'd like to contest my claim that most jews are ignorant about jewish historical thought around circumcision, then we can have a meaningful discussion about that.

If you'd like to discuss the pragmatic issues around jewish dialogue, then by all means.

I personally think that intrajewish dialogue is what is needed though - respected jewish figures need to start making these points.

Leonard Glick's book "Marked in your flesh" published by Oxford University Press a couple years back is a good example. (He's a Jewish physician).

There are also some rabbis who have taken the same stance.

Here's a good starting point
posted by spacediver at 5:45 PM on January 11, 2007


This brings us to what grapefruitmoon said, which is interesting! Please, close this...
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:05 PM on January 11, 2007


Ah. So you've talked to "a few" jews.
And you're using the information garnered from these few good jews to make sweeping generalizations about Jews at large,


Yes this is admittedly true. I have not done any proper research into the state of modern jewish awareness around this particular issue, and I'm not sure any such research exists.

In all fairness though, you're making claims of similar import by reference to your interaction with the many jews who have aggravated over their decision.

My claim about the state of ignorance is motivated by a few inductions:

1) Not one single jew who I've spoken to about this, and who is not adamantly against circumcision, is aware of this historical thought.

2) If you scour contemporary discourse around circumcision as it relates to judaism, there is no mention of this historical thought - rather there is reference to a covenant, or sacrificial bond. My scouring here is limited to browsing through various books, media sources, and web pages.

(for example, the online jewish encyclopedia has no mention of this, although there was an interesting tidbit about how some jewish sects circumcise both the male and the female, and how it is likely that the practice was inherited from other traditions).

I should qualify that some of those who discuss circumcision in the academic literature are indeed aware of this part of the historical thought.

"Something very few jews alive today would be able to do."
You don't know that.


Again, this is more of an induction on my part. I find it hard to believe that many jews alive today would agree with the virtue of making sex less pleasurable for the male (not to mention the implicit prejudice against the female sex revealed by those quotes).

Hygiene and aesthetics yes - very easy to get on board that wagon. Diminishing pleasure, however, is a tough one to follow.

You're essentially saying, "Jews don't even understand their own tradition when it comes to circumsision. If they did, they'd either have to agree with it, or disagree with it."

Well no shit.


My point is that they neither agree nor disagree with the wisdom, since they are (as I claim) ignorant about it, and if they did understand the wisdom, they'd be more likely to disagree than agree with it (based on my claim that it's hard to get on board the pleasure reduction rationale).
posted by spacediver at 6:10 PM on January 11, 2007


subgenius, I much prefer http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/ - a more mature site with better quality information.

Why do you want this closed? Is it causing you harm?
posted by spacediver at 6:12 PM on January 11, 2007


I've been meaning to ask: which thread has the most comments? How many does it have? Are we in contention here?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:35 PM on January 11, 2007


er, no harm, it's just stupid now.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:41 PM on January 11, 2007


Now?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:59 PM on January 11, 2007


Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbi out of a hat!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:09 PM on January 11, 2007


This thread has nothing on Son of 9622: THIS MESS.

I can't believe that this discussion is still going on and there aren't even any long boats to be seen on the horizon.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:11 PM on January 11, 2007


It rubs me the wrong way to hear someone say "I know better than an entire group of people that their sacred religious rites are wrong!" Disagree with circumcision all you will, but don't say that the Jews haven't thought about what they're doing.

A covenant with G-d might be irrelevant to you, but to some people, it's more important than a tiny piece of skin.

(I can't believe I'm saying this, I'm Jewish and I wouldn't circumcise my own children, but really - to hear someone who's NOT Jewish say "Well, I've talked to a bunch of Jews and basically, they're wrong. And more of them would know that they're wrong if they just thought about it!" makes my skin crawl.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:14 PM on January 11, 2007


It kind of depends on how you count comments, panacea. Two thousand six and eighty six is the literal record, I believe, but it's really quite a mess.

err, what she said.

posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:14 PM on January 11, 2007


Damn. Never mind then: I'm just going to cross that off my list of life objectives. Though we should get credit for (occasional) substantive discussion.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:20 PM on January 11, 2007


Two thousand six hundred and ...

No, wait, 500!!

*does little dance*

Oh, wait again, I'm in mourning. Lurve ya, Bob. Wish I'd gotten a chance to ask if you were circumsized before you kicked it. Maybe next time.

posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:28 PM on January 11, 2007


"I'm not sure what's motivating your comment languagehat - as far as I know we're not discussing the utility or futility of assaulting jewish strangers with claims about their ignorance."

You should make up tracts!
posted by klangklangston at 7:39 PM on January 11, 2007


I dunno man, I think the ability to carry on a couple-thousand comment thread WITHOUT having any sort of substantive discussion is a triumph.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:51 PM on January 11, 2007


Before we all get lost up our own asses, let's settle one thing: this.

Spacediver, will you still be waving your cock in everyone's faces when we're talking about girlie parts? I hope not.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:32 PM on January 11, 2007


Thank you for explaining yourself, spacediver.
I appreciate it.

I'm leaving this thread now, because I think it should rest in peace. A discussion for another time perhaps, but this has been pancaked to a degree I was not even previously aware of.

Thought I'd just let you know your comments have not gone completely unheard.

Thank you folks, it's been a blast.

::drives penis-mobile off into the setting sun::

posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:38 PM on January 11, 2007


cheers citrus.
posted by spacediver at 8:50 PM on January 11, 2007


grapefruitmoon:

I'm making a stronger claim that - not only am I saying that jews are wrong to circumcise their children (due to arguments that I've explicated throughout this thread), but that (contemparary) jews are ignorant about the origins of the tradition.

I'm not saying that a covenant with god is irrelevant, but that most jewish people today don't understand the meaning behind that particular aspect of the covenant.

It would help if you read the discussion here carefully. This is the second time you've completely misunderstood something that's being discussed.

The first time was when you thought I was badmouthing anal sex :p
posted by spacediver at 8:55 PM on January 11, 2007


fivefreshfish,

this question has been addressed in the discussion between cortex and myself.
posted by spacediver at 8:58 PM on January 11, 2007


I'm not sure why you keep namechecking me as if our exchange was a definite, exclusive, and satisfactory handling of the question. I mean, I hope you do hold off on the cockwaving, and I'm willing to extend the benefit of the doubt that you'll do so, but I'm not your watchword for deflection. I was neither the first nor the only to bring it up.
posted by cortex at 10:05 PM on January 11, 2007


I'm not suggesting that people refer to your comments as proof that the cockwaving will cease, but rather that the question about my transgression, and my intentions in the future, have been expressed quite thoroughly during my exchange with you.

As you can imagine, I'm beginning to tire of repeating myself, and have done my fair share of it here.

Hence the lazy reference to "our discussion".
posted by spacediver at 10:18 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


You do all know that he gets into this discussion with everyone he meets on the street too, right?

And spacediver! You don't actually know that uncut people have more fun (especially since they don't get blowjobs and are allergic to anal sex), seeing as how you have not been both cut and uncut while sexually active. This makes you entirely unable to say anything knowledgable on the subject.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 1:34 AM on January 12, 2007


KingoftheWhales,

I've never actually said that uncut people have more fun, or that sex is more pleasurable. Read my comments carefully.
posted by spacediver at 5:57 AM on January 12, 2007


I'm making a stronger claim that - not only am I saying that jews are wrong to circumcise their children (due to arguments that I've explicated throughout this thread), but that (contemparary) jews are ignorant about the origins of the tradition.

I'm not saying that a covenant with god is irrelevant, but that most jewish people today don't understand the meaning behind that particular aspect of the covenant.


WOW.

What part of "And G-d said to Abraham you shall circumcise all the men in your tribe as a sign of my promise to you that you are my chosen people" is really hard to grasp? I think most Jews DO understand that part of the circumcision debate and I think that you are sorely missing the point of what it means to have a religious identity to say that they don't.

To say that contemporary Jews are ignorant of this... well, that's pretty offensive. To say the least.

I don't think you fully understand the negative connotations that you've been throwing out there during the debate. You may think that I'm misunderstanding you, but you really have been making ludicrous claims to back up your point. If you're not making a pejorative statement about anal sex, then why on earth bring it up as a "side effect" of circumcision? You disagree with circumcision and one of your many points is that it leads to lower sensitivity - I don't think anyone would argue that. BUT when you say that aforementioned lack of sensitivity leads to anal sex, you're making some pretty iffy statements. So what? Who cares? Why should it matter whether someone likes a certain sexual practice or not? I'm trying to bring it to your attention that these statements are unnecessary and furthermore, rub people the wrong way, but you don't see that. You just have your set points and anyone who tries to debate the logic behind them is "misunderstanding" you.

This "Jews are ignorant" claim is even worse. My mind boggles. How do you think that a typical observant Jew would receive this statement, coming from you? Do you think that s/he would say "Oh yeah, I really AM ignorant about my religious culture, thank you for bringing it to my attention" or do you think s/he would be seriously offended? I, for one, fall into the latter camp. To make statements about any culture, even one's own, is a very sensitive thing. To me, you have shown little to no sensitivity to the Jewish culture beyond your "but I have Jewish friends!" excuse. It doesn't matter that you've "talked to Jews" - what matters is that you believe that a religious group as a whole is ignorant of its traditions and you know better. That's beyond arrogant, it's insulting.

Please don't think I've misunderstood you yet again. I've understood you quite clearly as having spent a lot of time firming up your arguments. Again I would like to point out that I agree with you on the topic of circumcision, that it's wholly unnecessary. What I am merely trying to point out is that the arguments that you use to come to this conclusion can, and are, read as offensive in many ways.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:07 AM on January 12, 2007


As you can imagine, I'm beginning to tire of repeating myself

Actually, no, I can't imagine that. It's fun, in a morbid sort of way, to watch you repeat yourself and repeat yourself and repeat yourself every time somebody else says something. You are perhaps the most obsessed person I've seen on MeFi since bevets, and I'm not altogether sure you don't have a chance of knocking bevets off his throne. (After all, for a long time I was sure no one had a chance of displacing Miguel from his position atop the contribution list.) But keep waving your cock from that soapbox, you crazy diamond!

grapefruitmoon: If you take this guy seriously, your digestion is bound to suffer. Honk as you pass by his soapbox and drive on.
posted by languagehat at 6:29 AM on January 12, 2007


languagehat: Oh, I know. Fear not for my digestion, I've got lots of tea and all is well.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:46 AM on January 12, 2007


Grapefruit:

If you're not making a pejorative statement about anal sex, then why on earth bring it up as a "side effect" of circumcision? You disagree with circumcision and one of your many points is that it leads to lower sensitivity - I don't think anyone would argue that. BUT when you say that aforementioned lack of sensitivity leads to anal sex, you're making some pretty iffy statements.

I'm seriously wondering if you're being serious here, or just trying to troll me.

I'll repeat myself:

"No not at all - read the text carefully. I was bringing up a study which showed that circ'd males engaged in anal sex more than intact males, lending the possible intepretation that circ'd males require a tighter orfice for stimulation to compensate for lack of sensitivity.

I did not claim, or even subtly imply, that anal sex is a morally indecent practice, and I think you're the only one in this thread who got that impression."

I never said that circumcision leads to anal sex - I was referencing a study which showed some tantalizing behavioural correlations between circumcision status and elaboration of sexual behaviour. That's all - we had an intelligent discussion regarding the merits and possible flaws of such a study, and its interpretations. Furthermore, if you care to read even further back in this thread, you'll notice that I was bringing this study up as an example of poor quality data around the sexual effects of circumcision.


What part of "And G-d said to Abraham you shall circumcise all the men in your tribe as a sign of my promise to you that you are my chosen people" is really hard to grasp? I think most Jews DO understand that part of the circumcision debate and I think that you are sorely missing the point of what it means to have a religious identity to say that they don't.

To say that contemporary Jews are ignorant of this... well, that's pretty offensive. To say the least.


As I've said at least three time, I'm not contesting the fact that jewish people understand that aspect of the tradition -i.e. that it's a commandment to symbolize belonging to the tribe, etc.

I'm saying that people don't go beyond the scripture, and examine the thoughts of some of the most revered jewish rabbis and philosophy throughout history, and are unaware that these very figures made it very explicit that the true purpose of circumcision is to reduce the pleasure of sex for men (and women).

Relax, go back, read carefully, reflect.
posted by spacediver at 7:01 AM on January 12, 2007


You are perhaps the most obsessed person I've seen on MeFi since bevets, and I'm not altogether sure you don't have a chance of knocking bevets off his throne. (After all, for a long time I was sure no one had a chance of displacing Miguel from his position atop the contribution list.) But keep waving your cock from that soapbox, you crazy diamond!

heh - I compensate for lack of penile sensitivity with unhealthy amounts of patience, and a zeal for rational argument.

I do this with many subjects - circumcision just happens to be one which has a particularly moral dimension to it, and which many people in North America disagree with me on.
posted by spacediver at 7:05 AM on January 12, 2007


Look, spacediver, I was being completely serious but the point went over your head entirely. I am not trying to get into a debate with you on any finer points. I am merely trying to explain to you WHY what you say is offensive to some people, myself included. You have missed all of that entirely and even assumed I was trying to "troll" you.

What's worse is that you have missed, over and over again, the point that I AGREE WITH YOU. But you're trying to set me up because you don't know how to have a discussion about the arguments you use to make the point, only about the point itself.

Circumcised or not, it takes some fucking BALLS as a non-Jew to tell a Jew to "reflect" about the rabbinical teachings on the matter of circumcision. Seriously, man. Keep those things in check. I conceed to the cock-waving, but pulling out the scrotum was totally unncessary.

My point about anal sex was that some people could construe what you're saying in the wrong way, which you seem to missing entirely. You just want to argue the same thing over and over and over again. You don't so much show a zeal for "rational" argument in my mind as a zeal for "circular" argument.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:16 AM on January 12, 2007


"It's fun, in a morbid sort of way, to watch you repeat yourself and repeat yourself and repeat yourself every time somebody else says something."

Yeah, and the best part is how he keeps trying to throw these bombs out there, and then move back from the explosions as fast as possible. "I'm not saying that circumcision leads to anal sex..." Then why did you bring it up? "This tantilizing study..." With giant flaws in its methodology? "I'm not saying that uncircumcisied sex is better, just that the penis is more sensitive..." Well, if it's not better, then why would you bring that up? "You're misunderstanding me... You just need to read my tract more carefully..."
Intellectually dishonest and conversion-van creepy? That's our spacediver!
posted by klangklangston at 7:24 AM on January 12, 2007


klang:

"As I said, I'm working on multiple fronts - a major one is the running of a study that would actually scientifically test whether male circumcision reduces sexual pleasure. Having pored through the literature, there is not one single study that addresses this - there is a lot of indirect evidence that suggests it reduces pleasure (e.g. circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure), but almost all of the research is based on self report. The study I hope to run (for which I've already constructed a fairly detailed proposal), is well controlled, and would assess multiple physiological markers, in effect measuring the orgasm profile of cut vs. intact males."

bitter-girl then asked me for a citation, which I did, and then we got into a discussion on the topic.

The original context where it was brought up was merely parenthetical.
posted by spacediver at 7:36 AM on January 12, 2007


spacediver: Advice on your Sticky Wicket

I think part of the problem here is that you haven't adequately spelled out the reasonableness of beginning a discussion about male circumcision in the context of the post. That's all anyone here wants (well, that, and to troll you, because that's fun too.)

1. Avoid repeating yourself. Use hyperlinks! Each comment has a time stamp below it, which serves as a permanent link to that comment. You can copy that link, then associate it with a word or phrase in your comment, like this. Since many metafilter members use their personal comments page to navigate older threads, we're all constantly seeing reiterations of old material, and it's irritating. For an otherwise fairly polite fellow, this counts as inciting behavior. You should stop it.

2. Make your case and then leave. The goal here is not to have the last comment of the thread, or to respond to all comer. It's not about having the last word. The nature of the internet allows users who are interested to review old conversations. (See hyperlinking, above.)

3. Know what the topic is, and stay on it. Topics generally remains somewhat fixed within threads. Think of them as trains of thought: sudden shifts are called derails because they threaten to throw the whole conversation off the tracks, resulting in great loss of life and property. Or at least loss of sang-froid. You brought up a discussion of male circumcision in a post that looked like it was about something far more severe: female genital mutilation. In the same way, you've continued the discussion in a thread about you, about the appropriateness of your behavior. It's off-topic, and it's... well, I don't advice continuing with this course of action.

4. Read the Fucking Article (RTFA). The best way to keep your discussion on-topic is to read the article that raised the topic, and then to comment in a way that's relevant to the topic. A lot of what makes your behavior so impolite is that it doesn't reference the source material; the article itself. Moreover, as I read the article itself, it's far more reasonable to discuss male circumcision in that thread than many people give you credit for. Make the case that prepuce removal (the clitoral hood) is exactly congruent to circumcision. Also, remember the 'horny little minxes' line: Dr. Burt wasn't out to kill female sexuality, he wanted to harness and amplify it. He was crazy and arrogant and wrongheaded and inept, but not really opposed to female sexuality, which is what a lot of people seem to think. Many people have pointed out that the most prevalent form of FGM is clitorectomy; while true, it's irrelevant. They're the ones off-topic when they start talking about practices from northern Sudan in a thread about Ohio. (I'm looking at you, fivefreshfish) Make that case. Then, as before, stop.

5. Stop talking about your penis. Any legitimacy you might have is completely lost the moment we are forced to image you as a body, with pudgy love handles, a tiny, denuded cock shorn of its sensitive bits, and a bald spot. It doesn't matter if you're trim, hung like a horse, and sporting a mane to match; that's what we're all imagining, and frankly, it's gross. So stop. You're... hurting us.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:50 AM on January 12, 2007


anotherpanacea:

thanks for the advice.

I'm not sure if you've read all the posts in this thread, but I've already conceded that I derailed the original thread, and have stated my intent to reform multiple times (even koeselitz acknowledged this).

So if those people who still don't understand me continue to challenge me, then I will continue to do my best to help them understand me, and defend my ideas.

If this irks you, then don't simply switch channels. There is no opportunity cost by having this thread continue (there would be if the issue of derailment hadn't already been adequately addressed).

If you feel that the derailment issue still hasn't been addressed, then go back and read the relevant comments I've linked to in this post, and if you find something lacking, or wish to discuss it in more depth, we can address it here.

As for not continuing to respond to other people, I'm not sure what the harm in this is. Other people have still apparently not understood me (although at least one person, after a grueling dialogue, finally did).

And that's good advice about how to make the issue of male genital cutting more relevant. I admit I didn't read the original article thoroughly, and that I could have added much some more valuable insights had I done so.
posted by spacediver at 8:21 AM on January 12, 2007


::ducks in::

I just wanted to say that I am amazed at how well spacediver maintains his composure. Really. While I may or may not agree with your statements, the fact that you've been able to present them over and over again and participate in this discussion without being discourteous is, I have to say, somewhat humbling. I'm not sure if this is good or bad (after all, wasn't Dahmer a nice polite quiet young lad?), but the fact that you replied to my somewhat irked post without so much as a hostile return is what put me in my place. I felt like an ass after. So. Kudos.

I say anyone who can say these things as calmly and politely as spacediver should have, I don't know, maybe a custom-made soap box? Really pimped out and whatnot. Perhaps lined with red velvet. Because, as crazy or obsessive as your statements may or may not be, I prefer them exponentially to "OMG WTF STFU U FAG!!1! JEWZ R DUMB WEN IT CUMZ TO DIK CUTTING ROFLLCOPTER" which, unfortunately, is a style of persuasion I am all too familiar with on Internets.

Today we salute you, Mr. Polite Yet Oddly Obsessed with Circumsision Guy.
A herald of health hazards, you alert the public to the possible dangers of foreskin removal,
and though your warnings may fall on deaf ears, a modern Cassandra in terms of genital modification,
you do your duty, knowing that if you can save just one foreskin from the knife, you have made a difference.
so crack open an ice cold bud light oh prepuce prophet,
you've brought a whole new meaning to the phrase,
"Looking out for the little guy"

posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:33 AM on January 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who you callin' "little"?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:39 AM on January 12, 2007


space, just in case you didn't know (and at this point, I wouldn't venture to guess whether you do) - "give it a rest" is not a challenge. It's advice.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:40 AM on January 12, 2007


nah, kirth, in his case, it's a challenge ... can't you tell?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:06 AM on January 12, 2007


hehe thanks for the kind words citrus (and for the clarification kirth).
posted by spacediver at 11:04 AM on January 12, 2007


Grapefruit: just saw your latest post - let me attempt to make peace with you:


What's worse is that you have missed, over and over again, the point that I AGREE WITH YOU. But you're trying to set me up because you don't know how to have a discussion about the arguments you use to make the point, only about the point itself.

I've recognized that you agree with my arguments about why circumcision is unnecessary - and i've never indicated otherwise. I really haven't tried to set you up about anything.


My point about anal sex was that some people could construe what you're saying in the wrong way, which you seem to missing entirely.


So far, you're the only person who seems to have misconstrued what I was saying about the elaborated sexual practices. I've tried repeatedly to assure you that my comments were indeed not at all meant to convey any value judgement on anal or oral sex, and have repeatedly reiterated the context where the point was originally made.

To be quite frank, it wasn't even a subtle point which lent itself easily to misinterpretation - and if you go back and read the comments carefully you should see that. You are the one who gleaned an entirely irrelevant and false interpretation.

Would it be too much for you to concede this? -I promise I won't say TOLD YOU SO BITCH! :P


Look, spacediver, I was being completely serious but the point went over your head entirely. I am not trying to get into a debate with you on any finer points. I am merely trying to explain to you WHY what you say is offensive to some people, myself included. You have missed all of that entirely and even assumed I was trying to "troll" you.

Point taken, and perhaps I should be a bit more diplomatic and less generalizing in my claims about the state of contemporary jewish awareness over the historical dimension of the practice.

That said, you (nor anyone else here) has been able to challenge my claims regarding the alleged ignorance. And my claims do not rest solely with respect to contemporary jewish awareness.

Muslim awareness is even weaker - from what I've learned, Muhammad adopted the tradition directly from the jews, after he spent some time learning about their customs from them - in my experience, when you ask a typical muslim about the practice, they'll simply say that god commands it, and that the foreskin is dirty. Those who have read a bit more will note that the qur'an has no mention of the practice, but that it is from the hadiths (sayings of the prophet). In my experience, if you press them further, they'll just jump on the hygiene and aesthetics wagon - no real depth in their awareness at all.

And let's not get started with the medical establishment - many doctors are completely unaware of the fascinating story of how circumcision became ingrained in medical practice (starting a century and a half ago).

I brought up the jewish issue because a few people were alluding to the fact that tradition is important to keep. I was challenging the wisdom of upholding a tradition without even understanding its basis.
posted by spacediver at 11:24 AM on January 12, 2007


So far, you're the only person who seems to have misconstrued what I was saying about the elaborated sexual practices.

Even if grapefruitmoon were the only one to mention it (which she wasn't) that doesn't mean other people didn't read you the same way ... or even, wait for it, that most folks would infer a pejorative meaning from "circ'd males (are) more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure". It just means they didn't engage you. Just because you seem to have to answer everybody (multiple times) doesn't mean the rest of us share your compulsions.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 12:36 PM on January 12, 2007




MeTa: Where to come to beat a dead horse.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 12:55 PM on January 12, 2007


that most folks would infer

D'oh ... would not.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:08 PM on January 12, 2007


Resolved: most folks either would or would not infer that.
posted by cortex at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2007


uranus:

as far as i've been able to tell, grapefruit is the only person who thought that the purpose behind my bringing up oral and anal sex was meant to imply that they were immoral in anyway.

The two people who did engage me on the issue (MisterA and bitter-girl) understood the point comlpetely.
posted by spacediver at 1:46 PM on January 12, 2007


Not immoral, but used as an example of inferior sex that one must have to approximate the absolutely FANTASTIC sex you're missing out on with foreskin attached! I thought the same thing, incidentily, grapefruit was not the only one.
posted by agregoli at 1:49 PM on January 12, 2007


Would it be too much for you to concede this? -I promise I won't say TOLD YOU SO BITCH! :P

Um.

Right.

As and hosted from Uranus points out, I'm not the only one who got this impression, but you have singled me out. And I never EVER said that I thought you were inferring anything "immoral" as you may have read, but as agregoli clarifies, "an example of inferior sex that one must have to approximate the absolutely FANTASTIC sex you're missing out on."

Please don't refer to me as a bitch, even in jest. We're not buddies. We do not joke. I have done my best to be courteous in this discussion and first I get accused of "trolling" you and now this. If you're not trying to bait me, you need to learn new discussion techniques and FAST.

Also: guys! Internet ettiquette! grapefruitMOON. I am not merely a piece of citrus. I am a Tom Waits song.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:01 PM on January 12, 2007


What's wrong with citrus?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:03 PM on January 12, 2007


"That said, you (nor anyone else here) has been able to challenge my claims regarding the alleged ignorance. And my claims do not rest solely with respect to contemporary jewish awareness.

Muslim awareness is even weaker..."


Please shut up now. We don't have to challenge your claims, it's up to you to provide evidence of this alleged ignorance. I've got 50:1 that your knowledge consists of randomly asking a few people, not on any scientific study.
posted by Liosliath at 3:13 PM on January 12, 2007


spacediver - your posts indicate you are aware of the existence of upper case letters.
Could you please capitalize the word "Jewish"?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:40 PM on January 12, 2007


Sweet Jesus' Foreskin ... what I said the first time! Uranian circumsized dudes are clearly stupid. Somebody please step in with an intervention to make me stop posting in this thread.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 5:04 PM on January 12, 2007


Somebody please step in with an intervention to make me stop posting in this thread.

Okay, listen up!

Every time you comment in this thread, going forward, you have to buy another copy of the metafilter compilation album. No ifs, ands, or buts.
posted by cortex at 5:17 PM on January 12, 2007


Every time you comment in this thread, going forward, you have to buy another copy of the metafilter compilation album.

Well, that's certainly gonna put a cold stop to the proceedings! Heh heh, if everyone has to b--

oops.

Uh... where do I order?

but cortex, if i order, then you have to go listen to the songs i've recently posted to MeFi Music...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:37 PM on January 12, 2007


Click on the "order" link, silly. And I will, I promise.
posted by cortex at 5:47 PM on January 12, 2007


My copy arrived Monday, and it, unlike this thread which haunts my My Comments page like a giant, dong-shaped specter of stupidity, makes me glad to be a part of this place.

Thanks to all for the great tunes, and damn me to hell for commenting in this MeTa in the first place.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:34 PM on January 12, 2007


grapefruit:

And I never EVER said that I thought you were inferring anything "immoral" as you may have read

some intellectual integrity would be appreciated here:

Here are your quotes:

****

"I do think though that spacediver needs to just SHUT UP because he's ill-informed, making specious arguments about sexual practices (are you saying that anal sex is a BAD thing? Because really, my head could explode if I started getting into that argument), and generally injecting his point of view where it doesn't belong (into threads about FEMALE genitalia)."


****

"You imply that anal sex is BAD by saying "And if you're circumcised, you have more anal sex!"

****

It's pretty clear that you thought I was implying that anal sex was bad/immoral/wrong.

As and hosted from Uranus points out, I'm not the only one who got this impression, but you have singled me out.

And you'll also note that uranus never responded to my reply to him.

Just concede the point already - I promise I won't rub it in your face :)
posted by spacediver at 8:01 PM on January 12, 2007


Liosliath:

Muslim awareness is even weaker..."

Please shut up now. We don't have to challenge your claims, it's up to you to provide evidence of this alleged ignorance. I've got 50:1 that your knowledge consists of randomly asking a few people, not on any scientific study.


Well I have a lot more experience with islam, having lived in the middle east for over a decade, and having been a devout follower for many years.
posted by spacediver at 8:03 PM on January 12, 2007


Alvy: You're already here.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:07 PM on January 12, 2007


(e.g. circ'd males more likely to engage in oral and anal sex, presumably as a compensatory measure.)

I'm afraid I gotta call bullshit on this. Compensatory measure my hairy ass: I engage in oral sex because it is outrageously good. I love eating vag and I love having my sausage swallowed. It's fucking great. In some ways it's better than intercourse: cunts don't have tongues.

If anything, your silly presumption speaks more of sexual hangups and inadequacies on your part, not of circumcised men in general. You don't have good sex. Bummer, but don't blame it on your circumcision.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:36 PM on January 12, 2007


Sweet Jesus Fuck, I said "BAD" I never said "immoral." By bad I meant "Are you implying that anal sex is a sub-par substitute for the good ol' fashioned vag?!" There is no point to conceed! Who fucking cares about fucking points?! Just stop. Take a walk. Get a hobby. Anything but make the same circular argument over and over again where you misinterpret what I say and then accuse ME of not being able to conceed an arbitrary point. It's like arguing with a brick wall that takes everything you say and types it back to you with the emphasis shifted to the wrong syllable. Only more annoying.

Please don't accuse me of intellectual dishonesty or say I need to gain credibility. It's like the pot calling the kettle retarded. SERIOUSLY.

And please, I've already said it once, it's grapefruitMOON.

If you're going to drag out everything I say, you can at least do the courtesy of typing four measly extra characters to get my username right.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:11 PM on January 12, 2007


Grapefruitmoon: You still haven't answered my question.

I really wish you would stop implying that citrus is a bad thing.

Fucking fruitist.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:43 PM on January 12, 2007


if it makes you feel any better i'm drinking diet sunkist soda tonight ... and in spite of local traditions, i have never, ever smashed a pumpkin in my life
posted by pyramid termite at 9:48 PM on January 12, 2007


fivefreshfish (and grapefruitmoon for that matter), if you're interested in following the previous discussion in this thread (which basically explicates the details of the study in question, and discusses the plausibility of the suggested interpretation), read the following:

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link

link
posted by spacediver at 9:58 PM on January 12, 2007


Someone needs to go wash their hands.

Because they are covered in time.

A ridiculous quantity of it.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:16 PM on January 12, 2007


but you know how he feels about cutting things short
posted by pyramid termite at 10:20 PM on January 12, 2007


Ba dum CHA!

I laughed way too hard at that, pyramid. Way too hard.

Hard enough to have grapemoon juice come out my nose.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:27 PM on January 12, 2007


and wtf? Pumpkins are citrus fruits? What? I think not.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:30 PM on January 12, 2007


"Well I have a lot more experience with islam, having lived in the middle east for over a decade, and having been a devout follower for many years."

Pardon me, but you know nothing about me, and even less about many other subjects.
posted by Liosliath at 10:49 PM on January 12, 2007


I disagree. One could say he's very well versed in Zoosadism.
A veritable guru for flogging deceased equines.

Alright. Time to hit the sauce hay.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:09 PM on January 12, 2007


CitrusFreak12! You have exposed my secret identity. I AM a self-hating fruitist. *cries*

(By the way, how weird is it that we're both juicing it up in Rhode Island? Weird.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:29 AM on January 13, 2007


It's ok, grapefruitmoon. With time, and therapy, you will be able to come to terms with who you are.

And wow that is weird. I did not realize that. You live about fifteen minutes from where I work sometimes! But then again, what isn't 15 minutes apart here?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:30 AM on January 13, 2007


See, this is one of the reasons I oppose heavy handed thread closing, comedy gold I tell ya.
posted by Mitheral at 5:31 AM on January 14, 2007


I wonder if spacediver has anything interesting to say about vasectomies.

Or, for that matter, eating muff.

Two things of which I'm strongly in favour: reduced pregnancy worries and increased cunnilingus.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:50 AM on January 14, 2007


I don't have a problem with vastectomies so long as the person having it done has chosen it for himself.

Similarly, I don't have a problem with any form of genital cutting, so long as the person having it done has chosen it for him or herself.
posted by spacediver at 12:39 PM on January 14, 2007


Metafilter: a giant, dong-shaped specter of stupidity
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:32 PM on January 15, 2007


Whatcha think about innoculations, spacediver? Blood transfusions? Ear piercing? Tattooing? Religious indoctrination?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:06 PM on January 15, 2007


Tongue kissing? Fistfights? Volleyball? Transformers? The Decemberists?
posted by cortex at 3:12 PM on January 15, 2007


Well obviously parents should not be allowed to inflict The Decemberists on their newborn child.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:48 PM on January 15, 2007


Whatcha think about innoculations, spacediver? Blood transfusions? Ear piercing? Tattooing? Religious indoctrination?

Not a fan of religious indoctrination, and I would certainly try to avoid indoctrinating my own children (though the line between religious indoctrination and other forms of indoctrination are not always that clear).

blood transfusions are fine
ear piercing is fine
tattooing is fine

why would i have a problem with them?
posted by spacediver at 5:23 PM on January 15, 2007


Of children, natch. As in, innoculating children, putting blood into children, punching holes through their ears, colourizing them, giving them religion.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:56 PM on January 15, 2007


And on a related note, Clyde the motherfucking Glide gave up a MVP shot at the All-Star Game on a very gentlemanly assist to a swan-songing Magic Johnson, and then Johnson came back to basketball. I'm still pissed about that.

I remember this, cortex! Clyde the Glide was all class. When Clyde lost that MVP, the Portland owners were like, fuck this, nice guys finish last, we're only drafting shaky character guys for the next decade. At least, that's a theory that does not obviously contradict those facts that are easily accessible to me.
posted by Kwine at 7:50 PM on January 15, 2007


Kwine, I think you may have it in a handbag there.
posted by cortex at 7:53 PM on January 15, 2007


Of children, natch. As in, innoculating children, putting blood into children, punching holes through their ears, colourizing them, giving them religion.

innoculating children via vaccination seems fairly innocuous (assuming there aren't terrible risks involved)

same thing with putting blood into them - i'm assuming you'd do this to prevent serious organ failure or death, as in the case of blood transfusion.

not too keen on punching holes through the ears - i don't like the idea of permanently altering a child's body if it ain't medically necessary.

So pierced ears I'm fairly against
pierced genitals would be even worse
removing genital tissue is just unspeakable.

religion's a tough one - how do u actually define religion? One could argue that a modern moral philosophy is religious doctrine, or that the scientific world view is religion.

A more refined discussion is needed to address this very interesting point.
posted by spacediver at 7:47 AM on January 16, 2007


There are those who claim innoculations are extremely dangerous, and are responsible for a wide range of now-common childhood disorders of a sort we don't seem to have previously recorded in large numbers. The short term risks seem few. We are not sure whether there are long term risks; it's nigh impossible to test the thesis.

There are religions that would refuse the blood transfusion. There are court cases in which parents have lost the ability to enforce their religious doctrine upon their child. I believe there are also cases in which the child, indoctrinated, argues to forgo the treatment, and who have won that right of body ownership, ie. didn't get a transfusion and subsequently died.

They're just ears. The practice seems to have absolutely no long term harmful effects, and we are a species that likes to decorate. Piercing a child's genitals, though, wow. You're taking the idea places I'd never conceived.

Imagine, you could come up with an entire social tradition based on genital piercing and chastity and the loss of one's ring and all that. Wholly replace the hack-off-bits traditions. It'd be a step in the right direction!

Plus you could put GPS in the ring and track your kids' movements for all time. Muuwhahaha, what a powerful parenting tool that would be!

Religion is whatever helps you get through this life. It's only when it makes you dangerously dumb or forceful that it becomes a problem. Believe you're Peter Pan, or that there is God, or that you need to pierce and tat your body all over; so long as you aren't making me kowtow to your religious requirements, I'm fine with it.

I like the idea of activists working within their religion to move the circumcision ritual toward tattoos.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:45 PM on January 16, 2007


"It's just foreskin" could be said too.

What about tattooing foreskin? Would that be a suitable compromise? I would not opt for that procedure, however.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:33 PM on January 16, 2007


"It's just foreskin" could be said too.

yea heh - or it's "it's just labia or just clitoris"...

fivefreshfish - yep am aware of the points you raise in the first 2 paragraphs.

As for ears to genitals - i was trying to indicate my position regarding altering another person's body without their own consent. In order of degrees, it was more or less as follows, from mildly against to severely against:

1) piercing ears
2) piercing genitals
3) removing genital tissue

I hope nobody would use an argument that equates piercing ears with removing sexual hardware.

As for the ritual elements, I think it's somewhat disturbing that the genitals should be involved at all. Again, the history around such traditions needs more scrutiny from the mainstream, so that these (relatively) ancient prejudices and negative values around sexuality can be exposed. They were rather unenlightened elements of thought, in my opinion (it's pretty remarkable that people today don't understand that the origins of circumcision are intrinsically rooted in ideas about sexuality).

There are far more healthy and meaningful ways to welcome a member of the tribe than fucking with her or his genitalia.

As for religion, I don't have too much of a problem with it so long as it expresses itself peacefully. Fucking with an infant's genitals in the name of a religion (or culture) is not, to me, a peaceable expression.

Furthermore, it's a pretty vacuous affair today, given that the initiate is barely conscious of the purpose, and that the original meaning behind the initiation has been completely forgotten.

On a somewhat broader note, I do have issue with dogmatism - I think it is spiritually dangerous to willfully constrain one's mind around certain ideas or propositions.
posted by spacediver at 1:24 AM on January 17, 2007


Last word!
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:12 AM on January 30, 2007


Nuh uh.
posted by OmieWise at 11:37 AM on January 31, 2007


I like this game.
posted by cgc373 at 7:16 AM on February 7, 2007


Game?
posted by OmieWise at 7:17 AM on February 7, 2007


Woocha!

How did you see that comment so quickly, OmieWise?
posted by cgc373 at 7:20 AM on February 7, 2007


Oh, missed that because I was offline. I just happened to hit recent comments right after you posted. Serendipity.
posted by OmieWise at 9:26 AM on February 7, 2007


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