The Penis Mightier
So, some people want to make circumcision illegal. They call themselves “intactivists.” The argument goes: girls are protected from genital mutilation in this country, why not boys? Now, circumcision is not a clitoridectomy, but it’s not a fucking haircut either.
It’s more like a clitoridotomy or hoodectomy. You’re not eliminating the capacity for pleasure but you are affecting it. You’re cutting away living tissue, healthy living tissue which usually serves a function. The foreskin is a marvel of engineering. I’ve grown quite attached to mine over the years. Much like the eyelid, it evolved to protect moist, sensitive tissue. Anybody think walking around without eyelids sounds like fun?
I’m not for one second saying that we don’t have superflous body parts. Appendices are just one example of evolutionary dead weight. I’m just saying if you want to cut off a piece of my dick you better have a good case.
“In the past, we’ve said newborn circumcision has benefits and risks,” Dr. Douglas Diekema, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, told CNN last year. “Given the fact that neither the risks nor benefits are particularly compelling, this is a decision to be made by parents.”
Excepting all but the most extreme cases, parents shouldn’t get to make decisions about their kids sex organs. Especially before they even get a chance to use them.1
See, circumcision used to be a matter of hygiene. And you’ll forgive me, but I get uncomfortable when people say that sexual organs are “dirty”, whatever the rationale. Whether you’re doing it because it’s immoral for women to feel lust or from a fear of disease, it springs from the same impulse. There is something wrong with genitals the way they are and you need to fix them. When YHWH made us in his image did he forget some things?
Also, how is that not the most insulting thing you could ever say to a man? We don’t trust you to keep your dick clean so we’re going to whack a piece of it off to make it easier for you.
Naysayers will point out that statistically, pricking infants ears is more dangerous than snipping their pricks and that to ban one without banning the other would be hypocritical. In one sense, the comparison to ear piercing is valid, skin is resilient, it will grow back. And of course, ear piercing is just as insane and arbitrary a custom as circumcision. There is no pressing reason for humans to cut holes in themselves in order to insert shiny baubbles. It is an accident of culture and circumstance that we find some forms of body modification to be normal and others to be crazy.
But, unless you have really sensitive earlobes, the similarities stop there. To keep your ears pierced actually requires your active consent. To grow back your foreskin requires years of dedication and various contraptions.
The root of the problem, however, is the proposed legislation seems an awful lot like it would impinge on the freedom of religion that we occassionally remember this country was founded on. This particular naysayer takes it one step further.
As I see it, the proponents of a circumcision ban challenge more than basic religious freedoms; they contest the relationship between parents and children.
We don’t let parents do whatever they want to their children. If the state has a reason to suspect you are endangering your child they will investigate and if need be, forcibly remove them from you. That is part of the price for living in the state. Children are not property.
They’re not full fledged human beings either. We restrict children’s rights constantly, both for their own protection and because we recognize the limitations of their brains.2 They are prohibited access to certain substances, their education is compulsory according to guidelines set by the state, and quite sensibly it would seem, they are not allowed to participate in any matters of importance. Except one. We’re not allowed to vote until we’re 21 but we can enter into an eternal convenant with god after 8 days? Is choosing a president that much harder than choosing a deity? OK, maybe recently.
That the state has any say in matters of custody at all deeply offends the anarchist in me. The thought that their powers might extend to what can and cannot be done with a penis understandably leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And yet what’s the alternative? Children may not be property. But the government ain’t your mama. The issue is a complicated one.
Matters were only made worse by a comic strip featuring a very nordic Forsekin man battling a sinister looking Monster Mohel. This is clearly anti-semitic and seeing as I always assume the worst of people, I don’t think for one second that anti-semtism isn’t playing a part in this. But just because you’re a racist, doesn’t mean you can’t have good ideas.
I’m not going to pretend to know what it’s like to be a member of a group that has survived centuries of persecution. As a devout atheist, I’d have no idea what that’s like.
“No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”
- George Herbert Walker Bush
And I’m not going to condescend to millions of people3, by saying they’re overreacting, but I am going to respectfully ask that you consider how the practice looks to outsiders.
A week after your males are born their fathers or their preapproved proxies hold them down and cut off a piece of their flesh, sucking out some of the blood in the process, all because of a deal some dude made 4,000 years ago with a wrathful sky god who promised you great things were just around the corner.
Um, not for nothing, but I think you guys got the short end of that stick. If you’re going to commit a ritual sacrifice at least have the balls to call it that.4 No offense guys, I don’t want any trouble. I know all about krav maga.
Where does that leave us? Right back where we started.
Is the practice cruel and barbaric? Yes, but no more so than parents all over the world forcing their religions on their unsuspecting children. So, until some brave government outlaws that, I think we find ourselves in détente. May I suggest a compromise in the spirit of peace? Why not wait a little? Make them earn all that Bar Mitzvah money.
Speaking of Jewish weiners…
Hold the phone, a politician’s dick got him into trouble? Inconcievable!
I get it Anthony, believe me I do.
I can still remember the feeling of wonder at discovering what my penis could do. The sense of pride mixed with confusion and a looming sense of anxiety foreshadowing many things yet to come. Granted, I was six at the time, so cut me a little slack.
What strikes me is that, clearly, he wasn’t wrong. The only person more in love with Anthony Weiner’s penis than Anthony Weiner is every single news anchor in America.5 Which brings me to a particular pet peeve of mine.
I’m personally much more offended by “respected” news organizations calling this “scandal” Weinergate than by anything the weiner in question actually did. Why have we allowed journalists to get away with this for so long? Just tacking -gate on the end of something doesn’t add any meaningful information. It’s not cute, it’s not funny, it was a HOTEL. I know language evolves and no usage is ever entirely wrong, but this is just so lazy! I don’t care what Merriam or Webster say, a gate is a door or passageway.6 But it’s not just politicians dicks we can’t get enough of. No, it runs much deeper than that.
It should come as no surprise that when it comes to penises, men are actually the ones who can’t let go. Part of it is hard wired. This is a heat map generated by tracking where people hold their gaze when looking at images of people.
Why would this be the case?7
Sperm whales have enormourous brains, but relative to their body mass they’re actually tiny. If you were to plot out ratios of brain mass to body mass for primates, a line emerges. Humans are a clear outlier. You know what else humans have a lot more of relative to other primates? Besides tits.
You guessed it! But the question remains, did our dicks get bigger to keep up with the sexual demands of smarter and smarter women or did our brains get bigger so we could think about our dicks all day long? You know what they say, give a man a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.
So you can see, the lovely Kristen Schaal notwithstanding, how it would be hard to accept everyone else isn’t as fascinated as we are.
That’s still no excuse for sticking it in anything that moves, Congressman. Wait, he didn’t actually fuck anybody? What the hell is all this commotion over?
What is he actually guilty of? Not being the master of his domain? Taking perverted pictures? It’s never wrong to take a picture of your own genitals.8 For that matter, it’s never wrong to take a picture of someone else’s genitals, assuming you have their consent. But it’s never fun to have genitals (or their pictures) forced upon you.
Hey, I can relate. I’m pretty sure a guy once told me to look at his dick while he was taking a piss in a Chiptole bathroom.9
Is it a crime to be monstrously horny and not very good at sexting? What ever happened to good old fashioned phone sex by the way?
And if you have your heart set on sexting10 there are less dangerous ways to go about it.
OK, he lied. About things that are none of anyone’s damn business. No, the only convincing argument I can see is that any public official with the last name Weiner that plays fast and loose with his dick pics is too stupid to hold office. Somehow, I don’t think that’s why people were calling on him to resign.
I, for two, do hope he runs for reelection. I even have a campaign slogan all set up.
- Masturbating in the womb doesn’t count. [↩]
- If only we could recognize ours as easily. [↩]
- You know what’s cool? Condescending to billions of people. [↩]
- Unless they were included in the fine print. [↩]
- At least this finally proves Jews don’t control the media. [↩]
- Like a urethra. [↩]
- Dick devils! [↩]
- Just maybe don’t do it at a press conference. [↩]
- There may or may not have been perception altering substances coursing through my veins, but I stand by my version of events. [↩]
- Remember when it was just called cybering? I miss you 90’s. [↩]