The creepy circumcision comics

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I'm not the sort to cry racism, or sexism, or anti-thisorthat-ism every time something offends me. There's stuff that's intentionally offensive and still funny, stuff that's unintentionally offensive and harmless and all sorts of other stuff that might be in poor taste but doesn't rise to the "ism" level. But I have to say: The comics that the anti-circumcision folks are putting out are just creepy.  

The Chron story on this was a classic of its kind, with quotes from both "sides" and an academic interlude. But it all becomes a bit more clear with this comparison of the circumcision comics and some classic graphics from Nazi Germany (thanks to Sen. Mark Leno, who passed these along to me).

I'm not going to claim the authors of the comics were motivated by anti-Semitism; I don't even know them. But folks, get a clue -- this is beyond offensive. Anyone with any sense at all should know better.

Comments

Plain and simple. The anti-circumcision backers should (but will not) separate themselves from it. The measure would lose anyway but now it's going to lose by an even bigger margin than before.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 10, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

The comics definitely do not help their cause.

If it came from their campaign, they're doing themselves no favors by putting out something that's going to offend people this way.

If it's from a supporter outside the campaign, then the sponsors need to distance themselves from the comic.

That said, I'd like to see the Guardian do a story on the initiative itself... you know, like focus on the actual issue perhaps? I know that it's hard to focus on the issue when something so exceptionally stupid like this is out there. So it's easy to do a sensationalistic and superficial story, but that's what the Chron is for. I expect better here. In any case, it's on the ballot now, and voters should probably make their decision based on something more than some idiotic comic.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 10, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

The voters should just ignore the sponsors of the measure and simply vote for it because it is a good idea. Forced circumcision is barbaric, harmful and dangerous, (sometimes deadly) and should have been ended long ago, just as was female 'circumcision'.

(I've never seen a stupider, more badly run ballot campaign in my entire career as an activist. But don't hold it against this very much needed law.)

Pay no attention to the bozos, and cast a vote to protect the rights and the health of baby boys.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 12:57 am

How you can compare female circumcision to male circumcision is beyond me. Female circumcision is performed for one reason only-the denial of any sexual pleasure so women will be chaste. No one would ever claim that it is done for health reasons.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2011 @ 2:22 am

Take a look at the Wiki article on female circumcision. The reality is a bit more nuanced.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_circumcision
While it's true that most forms are much more invasive than male circumcision, there are about a half dozen types of female circumcision. Take a particular look at Type 1a, which is actually quite analogous to male circumcision.

And yet, even that type is still banned in western countries from being performed on non-consenting girls.

Why is that? Because the principle is "my body, my choice." If that's the principle for girls, then the principle holds for boys.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2011 @ 9:53 am

The mass non-religious based circumcisions of American and British boys began in the Victorian era when they wanted to deny sexual pleasure. As you say, female circumcision is to deny pleasure and make sex or masturbation unsatisfying. Victorian doctors and moralists believed male circumcision would help keep little boys from touching themselves. They had a real problem with masturbation, even to the point of putting people in insane asylums for excessive masturbation.

Posted by chelsea on Jun. 17, 2011 @ 8:59 am

Anyone seem polls on this one? No pun intended.

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 8:56 am

Then don't circumcise your child, or yourself for that matter. People can disagree with circumcision but the fact remains that circumcision has been shown to vastly decrease the risk of HIV infection. It's now recommended in Africa as a means of fighting HIV. There is no dispute about this.

There's also the issue of the public deciding what medical procedures are going to be allowed and not allowed. That is really a choice physicians should be making, not the general public. There are many medical procedures which people no doubt view as gruesome and of doubtful medical legitimacy, like electroshock therapy, yet I'd prefer for my physician and myself to make those decisions - not the uninformed public.

If I were you h, with your long record of very strong anti-semitic statements to your name, I'd keep my mouth shut on this issue (which is highly unlikely seeing as how you don't keep your mouth shut on any issue). Your public support is likely to cause far more harm than good.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

The contention that circumcision prevents AIDS is a complete myth.

To see a site which records -real- disease and death caused -by- circumcision go to: http://www.circumstitions.com/death.html

And the point, is that no one should be choosing for a baby boy whether or not to cut off a piece of his body. That choice should be made by the boy himself when he becomes an adult.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

"There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence." World Health Organization

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

First, the WHO is responsible for all sorts of nutball decisions (such as its deal with the pro-nuclear International Atomic Energy Commission [IAEA] that all of the WHO's health impact assessments of nuclear power have to be vetted and approved by the IAEA before release).

Second, the study in Africa that you are referring to, used -ridiculously- bad methodology.

Here's a good article highlighting myriad problems with that methodology and the study's findings:
http://alirizvisblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/male-circumcision-and-hivaids-...

Finally, even if there -were- health benefits to circumcision, it should still be an adult man's choice, not a choice forced upon him as a baby by his parents, doctors, and/or religious doctrine.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

Somehow Eric, I think the physicians and health professionals who comprise WHO are a little more knowledgeable than you on this matter or any matter concerning public health.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

Suits me. Perhaps you'd also like to take the WHO's word that less than 50 people have died because of the Chernobyl disaster, and that no harmful radiation from Fukushima has reached the U.S.

As long as you are willing to believe the WHO's ridiculous pronouncements, I've got to tell you - there's this -great- bridge in New York that I happened to get an amazing deal on, called the 'Brooklyn Bridge'.

I'd be willing to part with it for a couple of hundred bucks.

Imagine! Your very own bridge! And I've heard that driving over it in a full moon prevents HIV infection too!

Wow!

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

Maybe the rate of HIV infection has dropped because after they got their penii cut it just didn't feel so good anymore!

I'm unfamiliar with this study, did they circumsize babies years ago and now are studying it or was it adult males? If so, how did they get them to agree to do that and is there data on the rise or decline of overall sexual activity.

Posted by chelsea on Jun. 17, 2011 @ 9:21 am

Circumcision does not decrease sexual HIV infection. These are scientifically invalid, discredited studies that were designed to get exactly the results that the pro-circumcision "researchers" wanted to get. The main reason why circumcision is being pushed in Africa is because they have very corrupt governments there and the market for circumcision is rapidly drying up in North America as people figure it out for the scam that it is.
Saying "if you don't like circ, don't get circ'd or have your kids circ'd" is like saying if you don't like slavery, then don't own slaves. That was a common retort to the abolitionists who thought that particular "cultural tradition" was corrupting and harmful to our country and our society as a whole. The same goes for any form of genital cutting/mutilation on children of either gender. True medical need for a boy to have his foreskin amputated is rare. In countries where foreskins are considered normal, healthy and desirable things to have and not some sort of ticking time bomb, i.e. not in north America, medical circumcisions are almost unheard of. Doctors have made it clear that they will not stop this nice lucrative racket unless they are forced to do so. We have all kinds of regulations on medical practice. This one protects the human right of the child to reach adulthood with intact, fully functioning genitalia and have a normal and satisfying sex life.
With respect to the Foreskin Man comic, it is the personal expression of one individual. It is not connected to or distributed by the SFMGM Bill backers.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

proposal? Matthew Hess. Hard to argue it's not associated with the campaign.

Posted by Sambo on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

And believe me, their genitalia was "fully functioning."

You "Intactists" are a strange bunch. Sitting around all day thinking about your lost foreskins, support groups for foreskin loss etc...

The good thing to come out of this is there is going to be a reform of the initiative process in this city. It's absurd that only 7000 signatures are necessary to put shit like this on the ballot.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

No actually. The subject crosses my mind perhaps once every couple of years at most. But when it does, I am always reminded of how outrageous it is that someone cut a piece of my body off, without my permission.

This ballot measure gives us a chance to keep such a thing from happening to others in the future.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

"Then don't circumcise your child, or yourself for that matter."

Yeah, when it comes to various body-altering procedures, I'm of the opinion that the person whose body it is should decide. Kind of like abortion. Pretty basic principle if you believe in human rights and individual freedom.

But what if you never get the chance to decide? What do you do if someone forces you to have it? What do you do if someone just did it to you when you were born without asking you?

Certainly I can understand if a procedure is medically necessary, like a vaccine. But if it's not medically necessary, I think maybe a more prudent course of action would be to wait and ask, rather than snip first and ask questions later.

I haven't read the initiative. Does it really ban circumcision, or does it just say it shouldn't be performed till the person is old enough to consent? Because that makes a big difference.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

And completely inaccurate. Female circumcision is often performed under extremely unsanitary conditions by persons who are not medically trained. Often the entire clitoris and labial folds are removed and then the wound stitched together, requiring the suture to be torn open to have sex. The complications are myriad and the trauma and pain inflicted on the female child is horrific.

Comparing that to the removal of less than 1" of lose skin around the penis is absurd. It minimizes the suffering of millions of women who've had this operation performed on them. It's like comparing a heart attack and indigestion.

And the argument that circumcision reduces sexual pleasure is wrong. I've had friends who had to be circumcised as adults and they said there was absolutely no difference in sensation before and after. None.

This is an issue in which parents and doctors should be involved. Not the general public.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

You are comparing an operation done on baby boys at birth to an operation on girls near puberty when the have -much- larger bodies. The proportional amount of crucial sex organs and nerves removed is comparable. An inch off of the penis of a baby is huge.

Furthermore, this argument is not just about suffering, it is about right and wrong and the fact that people should have control of their own bodies and sexuality, not their parents, doctors, or religious dogma.

Of course young women suffer more under the circumcision that they endure. So you mean to tell us that because women suffer more it is therefore ok to circumcise baby boys? What a load of crap.

Again, male infant circumcision is indeed extremely dangerous and has lead to illness, mutilations and deaths.

See:

http://www.circumstitions.com/death.html
http://www.drmomma.org/2010/05/death-from-circumcision.html

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

I wonder if that's the next target of the busybodies who compose the supporters of this ballot measure.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

Vaccines have a proven benefit. Circumcision is very controversial. Even if you believe the WHO studies, the alleged benefit of AIDS reduction would accrue later, whereas if a child is not vaccinated, they may get a disease and die in infancy. With circumcision, if there is any benefit at all, there is certainly time for the man to get it done later if he chooses.

If you believe in the WHO studies, and you also believe in personal freedom over one's own body, would a more prudent course of action be to recommend that men do it, but not force the procedure on infants and children who cannot consent?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

Last time I checked, the definition of 'vaccine' did not include circumcision.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

has FAR more adherents than does the "intactist" movement. There is no end to where this type of interference in a doctor's relationship with his patients and his proxies will end up. You don't have the right to tell parents what they can and cannot do with their child if the child is not being harmed Eric. That's the fundamental difference between your view and mine: you feel you have the right, indeed the DUTY, to impose your will on other people. I do not. I'm pro-choice and anti-interference in the relationship between a physician and his patients. There's really nothing more to it than that.

And why do you keep bringing up religion? This is not a religious issue for me. It's an issue of overreaching government.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

Why do you say 'not being harmed'?

I dare you to actually respond to the fact that babies boys have died because of circumcision.

I have raised that fact at least three times and yet you continue to outrageously claim that it is 'harmless'.

Why?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

Pregnancy too. If your test is 100% survivability then no surgery would ever be allowed. I consider the risk to be manageable.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

But...

You clearly said...

'the child is not being harmed'

Which truth are we going by in this particular blog moment?

Are baby boys dying because of this completely unnecessary procedure?

Or not?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

Just to get this clear in this particular "blog moment." Are you opposed to circumcision because there is a RISK of harm, because you see it as inherently harmful or otherwise?

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

The SFMGM bill bans circumcision or genital cutting on any child under 18 years of age. An exception is allowed for medical need that cannot be resolved with less drastic means than amputating or modifying the child's genitals.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

I don't know who you're responding to, but your response has nothing to do with my post. Go back and re-read what I wrote. Nowhere in my post did I mention female circumcision. I was actually agreeing with your apparent position that if you don't like circumcision, you shouldn't have one. Or at least I thought I was -at first you seemed to indicate that it should be a personal/parental choice:

"Then don't circumcise your child, or yourself for that matter."

I merely brought up the question of what to do if the personal choice might be different than the parents' choice. At that point, your position seemed to morph a bit. The choice became one of "parents and doctors."

What happened to "yourself?"

Posted by Greg on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

Eric Brooks made the comparison - I was writing a response to both your post and his and didn't make that clear.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

So does this initiative "ban" circumcision, or does it just say it should be postponed till the person getting the procedure can give his consent?

You had indicated that you'd want you and your doctor making these kinds of decisions, not the general public. That actually makes a lot of sense to me.

I haven't reviewed all the literature about sensitivity and HIV prevention... I understand there's a lot of controversy about all that.

But at it's most basic level, I think we can agree on the general principle that medical procedures should ultimately be between you and your doctor.

Right?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

Exactly Greg.

And the ban would be on circumcising boys under 18, making the decision, as it should be, made between a man and his doctor.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

All kinds of decisions. There hasn't been a case made that this one is of such importance that it should be removed from the private domain and put into the public.

The issue of circumcision as a tool to fight HIV is not controversial. Anymore than the theory that HIV causes AIDS is controversial. You'll always find someone to around willing to say that the things that have greatly improved public health, like vaccines, are REALLY deeply insidious. With the crazed left today it's the issue of male circumcision. 30 years ago with the demented right it was fluoride in water.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

Do you know of any other permanent alterations that parents are allowed to make to their children's bodies for non-medical reasons?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

The ballot measure puts only one question to the public. Should men be able to decide for themselves what is done to their bodies.

The ballot measure of course does not make the choice more public, it in fact makes the choice more personal and private.

The issue on the refutation of the AIDS study is not that I posted someone who disagrees, but that I posted an article which presents an ironclad logical analysis (and backed it up with sources) as to why the study was flawed. And in any case, the fact that you would base serious decision making on one singular study is also laughable. Indeed the study has not been replicated, and for a very good reason; because it was a joke.

What this really boils down to 'Lucretia' is that you are an archaic religious zealot who believes that circumcision is ordained by 'God'.

And that is a truly frightening thing...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

I would love to put Erik Brooks' personal choices up for public vote.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

It doesn't sound to me like he's arguing for that at all. Just the opposite, sounds like he's arguing that the choice about his own body be up to the man.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

There is no requirement under Jewish religious law for a circumcision to be a full resection of the foreskin.

There are those who interpret the Biblical commandments to mean that, at a minimum, blood must be drawn and a mark made.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

Or a Muslim issue. It's an issue of parents being able to make choices for their infants which are deeply personal and which neither harm the infant or society. It's also an issue of medical procedures being put to public vote. The general public should have no say in what a doctor and patient, or a patient's proxies, decide is in their best interest. This is the crazed left's version of the Terry Schiavo debacle - an attempt to impose the "public interest" on private medical decisions.

I feel the same way about the public deciding whether abortion is legal or not or whether a terminally ill patient should be able to request assistance in making the decision on whether to end their life. All of these things should be decisions made between a doctor, his patient and/or the patient's proxies.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

'Lucretia' why do you continue to claim that circumcision is harmless when baby boys have died as a result of circumcision, performed in hospitals? I've posted links which show this. Why don't you try actually looking at those links instead of pontificating without any regard to evidence.

Here is a site which has the full straight info on circumcision which has factual answers that fly in the face of all your claims.

http://www.nocirc.org/

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

The fact that we are at all leaving the question of what should be done to a baby's body to an archaic book of religious myth written thousands of years ago, is what should trouble us...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

Plain and simple. He doesn't trust a parent to make the best choices for their child. In the fun house world of SF politics Republicans don't trust adults to make the right choices for themselves when it comes to sex and abortion and the left doesn't trust a parent to make the right choices for their child.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

Is not the act of choosing to have one's child circumcised, an act of imposing one's will on another?

Let's bring this all the way down to one person.

My parents had me circumcised. As an adult, I strongly disagree with their decision, and I can now do nothing about it. I have no choice in the matter.

That situation is clearly wrong on its face.

It is time to end such blatantly anti-democratic nonsense.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

I'm not sure if you're a parent or not but parenting is NOT a democratic exercise. Parents decide what's best for their children, whether children like it or not. You don't bargain with children, you don't let them decide whether to go to school or not, or finish homework or take a bath. You don't allow them to make their own choices on most issues - because they're CHILDREN.

That's what parenting is about. Making the right choices for your kids. And you don't get to decide what's best for my children Eric.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

Do you have any connection to reality whatsoever?

Parents are not by any stretch of the imagination allowed to parent children in any way they please without regard to rights and consequences.

That's why female 'circumcision' is currently, guess what, -illegal- in the United States...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

Like comparing a heart attack to indigestion.

And yes Eric, parents do get to parent their children without your input. I know that's shocking to you - to think that people should be able to make their own choices without the input of Eric Brooks. But they do. And parenting is not a democracy where the SF Green Party gets to have a say.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

Really?

'Like comparing a heart attack to indigestion.'

Really?

When hundreds of of little boys have died...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

...a 13-year old boy whose "proxies" want force him to have this procedure and he's refusing? Would you tell him tough shit?

Or is there an age-cutoff where the opinions of the human being about their own bodies matter, and before that age the parents get to make any alterations they want without the child's consent, even when there is no medical benefit?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 11, 2011 @ 5:57 pm