I can’t believe I’ve just read this in 2011. The Melbourne Herald-Sun’s Andrew Bolt picked up on this article in the Los Angeles Times, regarding a citizen-initiated referendum in the state of California seeking to outlaw male circumcision.
Now, I’m not sure what your views are on circumcision. I do know that it’s fallen foul of political correctness in recent years, despite a wealth of scientific and other evidence demonstrating its effectiveness in preventing disease, not least of which is cervical cancer in women. I had vaguely thought of raising it here at LibertyGibbert at some point.
I am also aware it’s the height of male hubris to make base reference to one’s own member of the aristocracy, so to speak. I mean, look at the Beatles: John Lennon made a bloody film about his, and Paul McCartney had a #1 hit song about his! Wankers. So suffice it to say that I was born in a time and place where the procedure was routinely performed on baby boys, without even consulting the mother in most cases; that I’ve never felt “deprived” in any way as a result; and that when Oz Jr. was born in 2006 I had the devil’s own time finding a doctor (a Jewish one, as it transpired) who would oblige me.
So much for declarations. Today’s thread isn’t really about circumcision, per se (though you’re welcome to discuss this as well, of course). But what caught my eye in the above story was a bit of promotional material put about by the loony left in support of this anti-circumcision proposition in California. It’s a comic book, featuring a blonde-haired, blue-eyed super-hero who rejoices in the moniker “Foreskin Man”. He battles the evil “Monster Mohel” and his yarmulke-and-ringlet-wearing, Uzi-toting orthodox Jewish henchmen.
Here’s a couple of screen grabs, from Bolt’s column. You can go to the entire comic book here (note the logo on the hero’s costume—Superman, he ain’t)
You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. The comic’s author, a certain Matthew Hess (yes, you read that right), one of the leaders behind this movement, tried to defend it: “we’re not trying to be anti-Semitic… we’re trying to be pro-human rights”
Really. The anti-Defamation League called the comic book “an advocacy campaign taken to a new low”. We here at LibertyGibbert support the right to free speech, above the right not to be offended. Even this bloke’s.
The loony left have always taken an anti-Jewish stance, usually disguised as opposition to the policies of the State of Israel. But when genocide seems to be never far below the surface of so many of their other plans, and when they have more power today than at any time in the past sixty years, what else are we to conclude on those occasions—like this one—when the green mask slips and the red fangs are bared?
Just like in the song, everything old is new again…
I will leave my counter argument till tomorrow needless to say it’s the unkindest cut of all.
Apparently on much of continental Europe, the procedure would only be done for religious reasons, and in the more prosperous northern european countries (more comparable to US) the incidence of dick cancer (rare anyway) is supposed to be lower than in the US, which has around 50% of males circumcised.
Papiloma virus can now be vaccinated against, and that is supposed to protect against cervical cancer.
All mammalian females evolved with exposure to smegma (and produce it themselves from their analogous structures), though only humans get the choice of using soap and water – or not.
HIV, I’d be wearing a condom, on the basis that if she’s having a bit with me, she’s probably not got very high standards :-0.
that only leaves the risk of paraphimosis (and was that risk increased by parents being advised to try to retract the child’s foreskin long before it was ready to be?) and occasional infections. I wouldn’t be rushing to get my finger amputated because of an infected cut on it.
That leaves personal preference as the plus.
Of those females who’ve expressed preferences in my earshot (i have very poor hearing) some said that they like playing with a foreskin, others like the appearence of a circumcised tool. I’m not sure that any talked about relative preference for sex with, although I know of one woman who tried to select potential boyfriends who were likely to be circumcised, and wanted to get any male kids she had circumcised – though that was before she had any. I never heard her express a desire to have her own clitoral hood cut…
My personal position, I haven’t kids, but I would actively prevent anyone circumcising them if I did, on the basis that it’s their body part, not mine, and it cannot be replaced. They are free to take the one way trip if they want to.
Religions that ask for it; I’m very dubious about the desires of anyone wanting to control someone else’s religious practices, and I’m also dubious of anyone who thinks that cutting a baby’s genitals is pleasing to a god.
One of my ex girlfriends went out with a jewish bloke before she met me. She said he wasn’t done and had no intention of getting done.
Turning the whole subject around,
I’ve never met external female genitals that have been “modified”.
I’m not sure what my response would be if I did, sadness for the loss I guess.
I never encountered fierce opposition to circumcision until I moved to the ultra liberal enclave where I now live. There were running gun battles in the letters to the editor between two local physicians. There were nurses who refused to assist in the procedure and others who went to far as to sabotage the circumcision kits.
There are a number of good, valid arguments in favor of circumcision. These include religious beliefs and practices of the parents, to facilitate hygiene and for aesthetics.
A friend of mine had to get circumcised in his late 20s. His foreskin tore during intercourse. I had to quiz him because of his rather unique “before and after” perspective. He maintained that there is no discernible difference in terms of sex and that he actually prefers being circumcised.
The anti-circumcisionists foam at the mouth that this is mutilation. Oddly these are often the very same people who vigorously defend a woman’s right to abort a fetus while screaming in opposition to a parent’s right to have their son circumcised. A late term abortion a month before delivery is morally defensible yet to snip a bit of smegma collecting foreskin off the end of an infant’s penis a few days after delivery is barbaric mutilation. Go figure.
Oh yeah…I meant to add the vulvaplasty is a procedure that is gaining popularity. Apparently it diminishes that “catcher’s mitt” appearance.
It should be interesting to read the comments of the uncircumcised Philistines.
As I said at the top folks, I didn’t intend to focus on the circumcision issue; otherwise I’d have written rather more about it. Nor am I strongly advocating a view on the procedure. What I was trying to show is how, out of the circumcision debate in one jurisdiction, the latent anti-Semitism of the progressive Left has exposed itself.
Hi Dr Dave,
Vulvaplasty, that does sound like a nasty dose of female insecurity.
I’ve never gone for a woman because of what I expected to see in her pants, but finding out what was there was always exciting. I’ve never yet heard a male complain about finding an ugly one.
With your pal, what did his girlfriend think of the before and after?
The propaganda does have a strong “eternal jew” flavour to it.
has someone pulled off a very sly false flag operation on the banners?
or should someone remind the lefties that Marx and Trotsky were almost certainly both circumcised?
This story has lit up a number of US blog sites. There are over 300 comments to the article at PJM:
Here’s the story from Hot Air:
About 75% of US males are circumcised while only 1.7% of the US population is Jewish so it’s not exactly a “Jewish thing”. Most Muslim men in the Middle East are circumcised. A few decades ago it became “fashionable” not to circumcise infant boys. Pediatricians maintain there’s nothing to recommend it while urologists maintain there is evidence to support the practice. Personally, I don’t think matters much either way.
This has been the “week of the penis” in US news. Rep. Weiner (I’m not making this up) allegedly sent a tweeted photo of his tumescent member swaddled in underwear to a 20-something year old girl in Seattle. Then he claimed his twitter account was hacked. Then he didn’t want an investigation. Now he calls it a “prank”. It’s rather obvious that he did it and the week has been replete with “Weiner jokes”. Now we get the anti-Semitic circumcision cartoons…
Hmmm… is it worth my effort trying to keep this thread serious then? There is a very serious undertone to it – Oz
Ozboy how can the left be anti semitic because large numbers of Jewish people in the USA are active members of the left and secondly just because they hate Israel they love the Palestinians both Semitic peoples?
The real reason people are circumcised in the USA is not for health reasons DrDave although that is used as an excuse it is quite simply to stop young boys masturbating this started back in the 1920’s and 30’s. Obviously it failed in it’s aim but like hysterectomy’s back in the 1970’s it is a money earner and no one gets harmed right after all you can live without a foreskin or reproductive organs.
The reason the practice is not as common in the UK is that the health care is rationed so circumcision is a money wasting procedure for most young boys.
As for religious reasons well I think most religions are full of stupid rules and demands but if they wish to mutilate themselves knock themselves out but don’t be complaining about female circumcision if you do.
However I don’t believe in the practice for everybody else.
I do remember that there have been a number of cases of short sighted Rabbi’s taking a lot more than the Foreskin.
Ozboy as for the San Franciscan episode you have to remember this is not driven by the left but by homosexual men a small subset of the left. Oddly enough a number of key Nazi’s were gay and encouraged the practice in others.
So could it be a homosexual agenda rather a leftie agenda per se?
For quite some time I’ve wondered about exploring the undoubted link between totalitarianism and sexual deviancy. I don’t have any psychiatrists (that I’m aware of) lurking at LibertyGibbert, but although the topic suggests itself, it’s a bit too murky to make much sense of IMHO.
As to the issue of anti-Semitism on the left, well there has never been a shortage of anti-Semitic Jews; listen to that fruitcake silqworm (aka Stan Lippman) at the DT, when he pops his head up and you’ll see what I mean. Just as there have always been plenty of anti-Catholic Catholics and anti-Muslim Muslims. And all of them eventually make their way over to the political Left. Call it the “Gerald Broflovski Syndrome” – Oz 😛
Where do you come up with this stuff? Stopping little boys from masturbating? That’s ridiculous! Human kind had a few thousand years experience with circumcision before the 1920s and 1930s. By that time I’m pretty sure they had figured out that it does not prevent masturbation. Smacks of an urban legend.
You cannot compare circumcision to clitorectomy. And how in the world do you get a homosexual agenda out of the anti-circumcision movement? These folks are more like PETA. It’s not enough that they choose not to eat meat, they want YOU not to eat meat for the moral reasons they cling to. The anti-circumcision folks have made up their tiny little minds that the procedure is mutilation of the young and innocent. It’s not enough that THEY eschew circumcision and are free not to circumcise THEIR offspring, they want to prevent EVERYONE from circumcising their sons, irrespective of cultural or religious beliefs and certainly not in the interests of hygiene and aesthetics.
Check out “dementia precox” and the late 19th and early twentieth century descriptions of “schizophrenia” it was almost certainly a different condition to what gets called schizophrenia now.
The conditions affected adolescents and young adults, and resulted in a rapid deterioration, through dementia, to complete incapacitation followed by death. Very different to what carries the name now.
That was the time of the puritanical progressive “Christian” revival. Check out some of their writings, they wanted to make people “good”, it wasn’t just alcohol prohibition and war socialism which appealed to them.
Masturbation was blamed by cranks for all sorts of ills, including dementia precox and “schizophrenia” (remember all the crap when we were kids about it making you blind, sending you mad, how it would stop you enjoying real sex, make you gay? folk memories die hard), naturally, some enterprising individuals saw a market for their skills with a knife, and the christian progressive opinion formers spread the word.
They didn’t mince their words either, they sold it as saving the family from the shame of insanity, of degeneracy affecting future generations, and of saving the life of a loved child.
There was a guy I went to school with called Shariah, he only had a stump, and I’m guessing that the accident is where his name came from.
Oz and crown,
The SA was the main force of the Nazis until Hitler purged them in the night of the long knives, they, and their leader were overtly gay. The german national socialists were into all of the fads that today’s lefties are still following; animal rights, organic whole foods, compulsory outdoor exercise for the masses, anti smoking, and propaganda pictures of Aryan ubermensch…
Ernst Röhm yes a nasty piece of work, as were his inner circle of followers. It would be terribly unfair and wrong to tar all gays with that particular brush (gays being found, of course, right across the political spectrum these days), but undoubtedly the urge to control others is somehow tied up with insecurity regarding one’s own identity and the inability to control oneself, for better or worse.
I’m not sure how LibertyGibbert could approach that topic, without it appearing as an open invitation to gay-bashing – Oz
Hi guys, hi Oz.
A quick check in, mainly because I was asked to turn off the computer in the chalet by the person that was defragging it! So while it’s still on…. I am not in the least anti-Semitic, in fact I’m very pro-Israel and I think that the Jews are some of the world’s brightest and most delightful people. They made much better rulers than the sorry bunch currently occupying the White House and various federal agencies. But you know what’s coming. I support Intact America, I gave money to the campaign in California, and I think it’s wrong to mutilate babies (excruciatingly painfully, it must be said), who of course cannot give their consent. I do not believe in the abridgement of human rights so fundamental as amputation, and this is a kind of amputation (nature evolved the foreskin for excellent reasons). Women are perfectly fine with it and certainly should not be endorsing the cutting up of men because of one cancer among many (the risks of which, incidentally, are over-hyped by the medical profession, especially in my lifetime).
Many things were done in the name of Christianity, that are not done now, and Christians still believe that they have their god. The Jews may be advanced in many ways, but in this one, they are not. Of course, the question of whether it should be allowed for religious reasons is an honourable one, but I think it is mostly an evasion, for the simple reason that religious belief is not sufficent in my view to abridge a fundamental human right not to be partially amputated.
I have no children but I feel it is a duty to stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves, and who will have to develop rationalizations for what cannot be changed, by the time they can. Oz calls it ‘the last respectable prejudice’. I think on the contrary, it is the last respectable barbarism.
And I hope you still like me, Oz, having said that! This is no doubt our most serious disagreement about anything.
It’s not a problem, Amanda. The “prejudice” I’m talking about is anti-Semitism, whereas you are addressing circumcision in particular, on which, I repeat, I don’t have a strong opinion – Oz
P. S. I should have said, ‘they and their colleagues made much better rulers’, since I was referring to the George W. Bush administrations.
I haven’t heard the term “dementia precox” in over 30 years. It was not a unique syndrome. It was just a poorly described psychosis (and not dementia at all). You have to remember that until the development of the phenothiazines in the early to mid-50s there were absolutely no effective treatments for schizophrenia. Also, schizophrenia typically afflicts those in late their late teens to early 20s. There are many forms and degree of schizophrenia. When you see one that’s catatonic you’ll never forget it. In fact, our understanding of all the mental illnesses really took off once we discovered effective treatments. This seems backwards but it’s true. We were pretty stupid up until the days of Thorazine. We used ECT for everything although it’s really only effective in depression (actually it’s remarkably effective.
I’m no expert when it comes to circumcision. It was one of the topics we discussed in medical ethics. But let me ask you this…when you were a kid did you know ANY kid who actually believed all the hooey kids were told (e.g. “you’ll go blind”)? Circumcision gained popularity in the US in the 40s, 50s and 60s. It was viewed as a new “American standard” and was sold on the basis of hygiene. I don’t have kids and quite honestly, I’m not sure I would opt for circumcision if I had an infant son. My GF didn’t have her son circumcised. He’s 23 today and appears to have turned out OK. The boy’s (uncircumcised) father was ambivalent, but she couldn’t bear to cause pain to her infant son so opted against the procedure.
As I stated earlier, I don’t think it makes much difference one way or the other. It doesn’t rob a male of sexual sensation or performance. I would imagine a young Jewish boy would be rather self-conscious if he were NOT circumcised and a young Navajo boy might be rather self-conscious if he WERE circumcised. It’s cultural and ultimately largely inconsequential.
I’ve had long discussions with the FP doc who is the leading crusader for the local anti-circumcision movement as well as the Jewish ER doc who leads the opposition. They both make excellent points. Me…I remain firmly ambivalent.
Amanda having met some Israeli’s although very nice people are some of the worlds worst racist when it comes to black people.
Dr Dave the masturbation issue is not a myth I have in my possession a 1920’s sex guide as written by doctors not exactly the karma sutra and rather quaint by our standards. It’s all driven by a certain puritanism that makes life so soul enhancing.
Dr Dave as for catatonics we had them in the hospital back home, fine one minute freeze up the next, rather funny if they playing darts and you end up moving them back to their beds minus darts. That may sound cruel to you but I’ve heard lots of tales of patients get up to and if you didn’t laugh you would cry.
Dr Dave electro shock treatment is effective in more than depression they still used it in the 70’s and 80’s and had the effect of resetting the brain for a number of conditions, my mother said it was quite effective and extremely beneficial to the patients.
The superhero has a picture of the head of a penis on his chest can anyone actually be taking that seriously except a ten year old.
It certainly beats wearing your heart on your sleeve… 😆
I understand that it’s a rule of thumb among tabloid newspaper sub-editors that any word outside the vocabulary of an eleven-year-old is out. And I always remember an interview with Sherwood Schwartz, the producer of the 60’s TV sitcom “Gilligan’s Island”, where he recounted that, the week after the show premiered, the CBS network received literally thousands of earnest letters from viewers sure they knew exactly where the castaways were stranded, and giving directions for the U.S. Navy where to pick them up.
So you see, pitching an advocacy campaign at what you might believe is a ten-year-old level (and I agree with you the idea is puerile and childish) doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t have lowbrow popular appeal. Quite the opposite, actually – Oz
Looks like you got me. What, pray tell, are the conditions for which ECT has proven useful other than depression? I mean, what the hell do I know about American Healthcare? I was educated in this country and have been a healthcare practitioner for only 30 years. Please enlighten me.
Must be why the British healthcare system is such a resounding success and a crucible for medical innovation…when patients aren’t dying of thirst. Please don’t yank me around. I don’t know shit about geology (or FedEx), but I do have a pretty good understanding of American medicine. This is what I do for a living. In my little sphere of expertise I’m actually pretty good, too.
DrDave my mother worked as a psychiatric nurse a very large mental hospital and no she did reveal to me the diagnosis of these patients but they were not in for depression. However it was common knowledge among all the staff that the psychiatric Doctors were actually crazier than the patients themselves. What do I know I knew people who worked in the hospital all my life. People who actually did the real work of caring for these people, my mother was also glad of the new drugs available to help treat these people, although lithium was and still is the best drug out out there for calming a lot of these people down but there is no money to be made out of it anymore.
DrDave the USA may have the best health care in the World but only if you can afford it, it also performs many countless useless tests thanks to having some of the finest legal minds in the world as well, driving up the cost of healthcare about three times of anywhere else.
The USA was where they invented dropped organ syndrome (1930’s again) and massive invasive surgeries were conducted to put them back in place it was a decade before someone had the common sense to realize that organs shift in the body cavity between standing up or lying down, you can not make this stuff up.
The USA was also the place where they performed prefrontal lobotomies on mental patients before they discovered that the genius behind the procedure wasn’t even a real doctor but a clinical psychopath.
Money can be a great driver behind a lot of unnecessary surgical procedures.
Also yes the NHS sucks and that is because it is run by managers not Doctors and now finally they are giving the power back to the Doctors standards have improved in those hospitals where they have been given charge. This has been one good thing Cameron has done.
Ol’ Pal. Lithium salts are useful for treating the manic phase of bipolar depression. Manic-depressive or “bipolar” depression is a disease which is distinct from major affective disorder. Major depression, or what they used to term as “endogenous depression” used to result in hospitalization and now rarely does. I remember, as a student, one patient we had who had severe psycho-motor retardation. This guy was too bummed out to even kill himself and he had a bad heart…too risky to try high doses of the tricyclic antidepressants (state of the art at the time). We got him to consent to electroconvulsive treatment. It was bizarre. We laid him out on a stretcher and cuffed off one arm. We knocked him out with sodium thiopental and then paralyzed him with succinyl choline (all the while bagging him). The ECT unit was housed in an ancient wooden box. We put the electrodes on his temples and applied the the juice. Only his cuffed off arm convulsed and this only lasted 30 seconds or less. We then let him wake up and took him back to his room. It was like magic! In two weeks time (3 treatments a week) this guy went from being a nearly immobile slug to laughing and joking with the nurses. It transformed his life…but it probably fried some of his short term memory. There ain’t no treatment without side effects. When I was in school ECT was used sparingly and rarely. When I started practice in Aurora, Illinois I discovered they did ECT on a wholesale basis and actually let patients convulse (sometimes with broken bones as a consequence).
I’ve witnessed the failure of pharmaceuticals and the unexplained efficacy of ECT with my own eyes. I’ve seen drugs perform miracles that couldn’t even be imagined a generation ago. When I started practice patients stayed in the hospital for three days for a simple biopsy. Now they want to kick them out 5 days after a hip replacement!
Trust me…healthcare has changed. I hope and pray the US doesn’t descend into the pit that is Britain’s healthcare system.
Ozboy you have a point even Churchill when writing speeches especially when campaigning avoided using big words and kept it simple. Which was why he was an effective orator and his sarcasm was legendary.
I don’t think the San Francisco ban will pass constitutional muster and will die in the Federal courts at some point although it should be interesting to see the arguments of a child over the parents being presented. After all the courts have ordered health care be given to children whose parents are Jehovah’s witnesses.
The Obamacare health bill has enshrined into law that it may be permissible to kill a child who is severely deformed when born and that is also going to open a can of worms with the law. The law as written may even make it legal to kill a child up to the age of 18 if it is broadly interpreted for things like mental illness. It’s the abortion issue extended for convenience of the left.
DrDave I have no doubt ECT worked for severe depression and I can only vouch that they only ever locked up those people on suicide watch in the 70’s and 80’s, you had to be a harm to yourself or others. They may have performed ECT on some of these people but I think they used it sparingly in some other cases as it was going out of fashion as a cure by then. It would not work on the large number of syphilis patients cured but still quite mad in the hospital, it would never be done on the nervous breakdown patients either. I wish I could provide more information and confirm it so I think I shall ask my mother what other types of cases they used it on. I will get back to you on that.
DrDave what worries me is obamacare will put remuneration limits on Doctors while not giving them Tort reform from frivolous lawsuits which drives up the cost of healthcare. It will also make you beholden to some faceless bureaucrat that will tell you what tests and procedures can and can not be performed.
As I understand it people seeking careers as doctors have plummeted.
If you have ever wondered why dental care was so bad in the UK it was down to the fact that the government only paid them by the filling/tooth extraction and corrective work was considered unnecessary. I have more fillings in my mouth than I needed because of that.
DrDave what you forget about the NHS it’s a lottery as to what care you receive by area. My family has only ever gotten excellent care and some of the best surgeons available because it is a well run local authority, most hospitals are still well run. The worst problems happen in the South of England where the system is overwhelmed by large numbers of immigrants and funds have stayed the same.
A pal of mine (died a few years back, so I can’t ask him the details) was studying medicine in the mid 70s and failed the year, so he spent the next year scrubbing floors in a mental hospital to gain karma along with re-sitting exams.
His descriptions of it keyed in pretty well with “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”.
The “treatment” a patient received had no relationship to any ongoing assessment of their symptoms or progress, it was decided according to which section of the mental health act they was sent to the hospital under.
ECT appeared to be used as a punishment for not complying with the regime, he said one girl in particular hated being in the place and took the piss out of the psychiatrists, who prescribed her ECT until they succeeded in killing her. Friend said that the girl did have problems, but no where near serious enough to require ECT.
The final straw for my pal was a date with one of the nurses. She pulled a scalpel out and slashed his wrist, followed by her own – so they could be together forever. she missed his artery, but got her own and passed out pretty quickly, so he was able to stop her bleeding and call for help without having to take the knife away from her as well.
Pal abandoned medicine after that, and swapped to engineering, got his PHD and was doing very well in business.
A mutual friend who is a psychiatrist, had a job a few years back at an institution where almost all of her patients were old women, who’d spent their lives in there for having a teenage pregnancy, or one too many boyfriends. She said the only thing wrong with most of them was they were completely institutionalised and unable to function outside.
Life and death sentences as puritanical social control.
My ref for the early descriptions of “Schizophrenia” as fatal is Benthall, madness explained.
Benthall discusses how different the early twentieth century symptoms were to the present day condition (his research and teaching is clinical psychology) and speculates that they were possibly describing a fatal viral or post viral condition that was active for a few years and isn’t seen now.
Like so many other new and frightening things, drastic solutions were suggested, to “Do Something”.
Benthall is also pretty sceptical of any sharp separation between the psychotic episodes of “bi-polar” and “schizophrenia” he thinks there is overlap of symptoms and process there.
The Lottery which Kittler describes seems to be the patchiness of a dysfunctional monopoly. I’m not sure how it is working at present, but for a while, you had to attend the facilities you were told to, for where my folks live, cancer patients were having to travel 1 1/2 hours each way, on a route with zero public transport (and no direct road there!), rather than 40 minutes to the nearest city, which had buses running, but which crossed and administrative boundary. Money wasn’t allowed to cross boundaries.
The ex that was a plastic surgery nurse, used to get old folks with stinking bed sores sent from another hospital with crap care for the hospital where she worked to treat. One hospital caused the problem, the other fixed it.
It certainly helps to have someone who knows their way around the system, Step father and step brother are surgeons, and one of my old man’s employees father is a GP, so the knowledge of the system is there for them, but unfortunately not for most people.
It’s funny how we drifted from circumcision and anti-Semitism to mental health and healthcare policy. I’ve always found mental health fascinating but too lacking in objective measures for my sensibilities. I prefer more objective measures of outcome. In psychiatry they often use drugs as diagnostic tools and this is sort of bizarre. The movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” nearly destroyed ECT as a treatment. This was a shame because it was at least 20 years before more effective drugs were developed. But it still works and it is still used.
If y’all are interested in national health policy I would recommend the book The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care by Dr. David Gratzer. Gratzer is a relatively young fellow. He is a Canadian and a psychiatrist who practices in both Canada and the US. The book is actually kind of a page turner.
DrDave well discussed with my mother ECT and she said they phased it out 30 years ago because effective drugs had become available, also she said they did use it on depressives but also schizophrenics although it was rare for both back in the 1970’s.
Definitely Anti-Semitic! Wonder what would have happened if the evil ‘Monster Mohel’ had been portrayed as a muslim instead???
My sister married a jewish man, race not religion – he loved his bacon butties, but I’ve never asked her whether he was circumcised or not, it just never occurred to me. I done really care either way what you blokes keep in your trousers. (Sorry – that doesn’t mean I’m not interested – just not selective) but I hate the thought of what is done to women!
By the way are 50% of American men REALLY circumcised?
The health arguments for circumcision are pants.
Unless the procedure is caried out in the best medical setting with full backup from modern medical treatment for infection and complications the morbidity rate from the procedure outweighs any health benefit from lower cancer rates. Which are vanishingly rare for males anyway, and are now possible to prevent with vaccination. The hygiene aregument is equally silly, we don’t usually advocate the extraction of teeth as an alternative to learning basic hygene measures.
The Jewish reason is entierly religious, its a mark of membership of the tribe, the prevelance in the US is the result of the big ‘sex scare’ of the turn of the century when Dr Kellog was just the most well-known of the people advocating various treatments including circumcision to prevent sexual ‘self-abuse’.
The tissue is very highly innervated with specialised ‘stretch’ receptors that play a role in triggering the full cycle of nueral processes in orgasm. Its loss requires the body to compensate by using other stimulus to help trigger various reflexes involved in the sequence of reflexes.
Removing functional tissues from babies for religious reasons is suspect to say the least, if adults want to mutilate themselves for cultural fashion – tattoos, peircings skin excision etc then I guess that is their libertarian right, but for parents to do it to babies is wrong.
How much the anti-cut movement is motivated by an anti-jewish motivation is unclear, but the cartoon is more playing with cultural steretypes from the 1930s ‘post-ironically’ than espousing the attitudes those graphics might have originally supported.
I’m not in a position to argue, Izen. But I’ve read an awful lot of scientific literature to the contrary.
Is this going to be global Warming all over again? – Oz 😮
“I’m not in a position to argue, Izen. But I’ve read an awful lot of scientific literature to the contrary – Oz”
So have I, but the numbers don’t add up on the health front. The increased risk of a rare disease is too small to justify a blanket application of such a procedure. The appendix, tonsils and wisdom teeth probably cause more health problems but are not routinely taken out in symptom-less people. I can think of no medical procedure of similar impact performed purely as a precautionary procedure for even a more common or higher risk disease.
Most of the Health arguments look like post hoc justifications for a purely cultural fad. The antecedents in various religious practises implies that it has psychological power.It occurs in other cultural groups, and always as a mark of ‘special’ identity.
But its adoption by the US after the turn of the century seems to be based on the belief it, like female circumcision, has the ability to modify behavior. The theory went that as removal of a most sensitive part of the genitals would reduce stimulation it would reduce sexual arousal which would clearly be a ‘GOOD THING for society in general. Look at the literature of the time when circumcision started to be carried out widely among the english speaking peoples and you will find very few health justifications. There may be some lip service paid to concepts of cleanliness (g) but most of the arguments for its wide adoption at the time the trend started was to prevent the ‘weakening of the next generation of the white race’.
This whole subject came up a couple of years back on another forum, I came across some hilarious stuff reading up on it!
I should of course declare an interest as one of the intact…-Grin-
I’m really not sure about the cartoon slant. Its a bit like DT’s use of ‘bone thru the nose’ stereotypes, its not that you suspect the writer holds certain views, its that the vintage cliche’s they are invoking have a whole lot of historical baggage loaded on by some very unpleasant events and attitudes in the past.
Mrs Oz frequents a couple of parenting blogs, and she tells me that circumcision is an absolute no-go area. People are very polarized and passionate about it, and the topic cannot be raised there without sparking flame wars.
Also, my mum remembers some nurses she knew who treated soldiers returning from the war in the Pacific, with some pretty awful infections – always the uncut guys. It’s a fact that today, it’s rarely performed in Tasmania (cool climate) but almost routine in Queensland (tropical). My brother in Brisbane has three sons and had no trouble locating a doctor – Oz
Mrs Oz frequents a couple of parenting blogs, and she tells me that circumcision is an absolute no-go area. People are very polarized and passionate about it, and the topic cannot be raised there without sparking flame wars.
When something prompts that sort of reaction from people it clearly goes beyond what can be determined by clinical data and has become a matter of belief. Some overt or unacknowledged ideology drives that sort of emotional response, not an uncertainty about medical outcomes.
Yes circumcision may be advantageous in extreme conditions where the basics of civilization are not readily available, but then in those places the procedure on the newborn, or later carries so much risk of infant morbidity you probably don’t gain much.
To carry it out in advanced societies just in case society collapses or the person may grow up to be trapped in primitive conditions seems unduly pessimistic.
Meltemian: The number is much closer to 75 pc., as Dave says: in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the number were higher.
By the way, in the U. S. the best doctors were long held to be the Jewish doctors. Guess what the Jewish doctors favoured….
Also, I think that doing this without the mother’s consent — or better yet, the *parents’* consent — as Oz referred to in his article — is disgusting in the extreme, and should be (if it is not already) illegal. ILLEGAL. If I were a mother, and someone took my baby and did that to him behind my back, I would sue that damn hospital into oblivion…. And I am *not* a litigious type. Some janitor nearly broke my finger through negligence at my high school: and I bore the pain without any thought of suing — nowadays it would be done as a matter of course, without a second glance — and I don’t think that’s a good development — but in the case of torturous pain and irreparable damage to my child: look out!
I suppose I should add that my own decision on this was determined for me by a strong family history of phimosis; my father was done at age two, and his father (who should have known better) at age eight; a number of other male relatives as well. God only knows what they went through. My three brothers and I were spared, being done at birth, and between us we have six sons; there was simply no way we were going to put them through that experience. None of us feel mutilated in any way, although I completely agree that to do it without parental consent is totally wrong.
Interestingly, among the various medical associations (here and, according to Dave, in the U.S.) there is a fairly broad range of opinion; the OBGYNs and paediatricians are against it, while urologists are more in favour – Oz
Also, the health argument is ludicrous. For god’s sake, you just *wash* there, like anywhere else! Jesus, it’s not rocket science. My brother is uncircumcised (English) and my mother just told him: you want to make sure that area’s clean. He lives a normal happy life like any other English (uncircumcised) man.
And I note that nobody is concerned about the unaesthetized pain done to the newborn. That’s right: a great concentration of nerves in that spot, a newborn just coping with life outside the womb, a knife, a pull, a tear, all round: and NO pain relief. My god. Where’s the humanity? We wouldn’t do that to our dogs. Why are we so willing to do that to our children?
I tell you what: those of you uncertain about whether this is an ethical thing to do: watch it being done. Read a description of what the newborn goes through — how his body responds — while this torture is being carried out. Because that is what it is. Torture. Full stop.
Izen: The trouble is that circumcised men don’t want to hear about what they’re missing. They don’t want to hear that sex isn’t what it should be because some doctor chopped off a good bit. They don’t want to hear that a few days after birth they were tortured. (Fortunately, you could say, they’ve forgotten.) They don’t want to hear that the experience they have with a woman is … truncated in any way. So that’s what we’re up against. ‘No, I was not hurt’. ‘No, nature didn’t know better’. ‘No, my son could not cope with being natural and intact even though I’m not’. ‘No, no harm was done to me’. How many generations of men have to be compromised and maimed in this way so that their dads can keep telling themselves comforting lies?
Note to readers: I respect Oz immensely for allowing this discussion. He’s a wonderful man and please don’t think I think otherwise.
Oz: saw your comments: you are a love, and your children are very lucky to have you as their dad. Fondly, Amanda
As a matter of fact, I was present at Oz Jr’s procedure, and I assure you I suffered more than he did! There definitely was an anaesthetic, a local injected into the dorsal surface of the shaft before the procedure began. That was the only pain he felt (though he was sore for a few days afterwards). These days they use the “plastibel” method (down here anyway), where rather than the foreskin removed by excision, a small lengthways cut is made and the foreskin tied tight around a small bell-shaped piece of plastic, with the tip cut out to pass urine. Starved of blood, the foreskin necrotizes (I hope that’s the appropriate word, Dave) and falls off into the nappy (diaper) after a few days. Mostly, OJ was outraged at being restrained like that – Oz
This is rather amusing. izen’s rant read almost like a cut and paste from the anti-circumcisionists’ propaganda. I don’t really know for certain, but I would guess more than 75% of American men are circumcised. It became established as a paradigm in this country about 60 years ago. Like I stated earlier, I seriously doubt that it makes much difference one way or the other.
I believe Kitler made the most telling observation some few comments back that Britain’s NHS doesn’t sanction circumcision as it it is viewed as unnecessary. For the most part I think I would agree with that assessment. As a result most men in the UK are uncircumcised. It is natural to defend the cultural “norm”. I couldn’t help but notice that the shrillest defenders of the “intact state” here were all Brits.
Though probably ultimately pointless, some longitudinal studies might be interesting. I would venture to guess that the lifetime incidence of penile infections in uncircumcised males probably exceeds the incidence of peri-operative morbidity in circumcised infants. I also might add that, although theoretically possible, we don’t currently have a recommendation for HPV vaccination in young boys. It might also be interesting to see if there is a statistically significant difference in the legitimate use (i.e. legitimate indication) of ED drugs between circumcised and uncircumcised adult males. Who knows?
For the most part I think this is a non-issue in terms of public health. On a cultural level this is obviously one of those tinderbox issues. I’ve listened to this debate off and on for over 15 years. You wouldn’t believe some of the claims I’ve heard. Somehow I have to believe that if circumcision resulted in a significant diminution of sexual pleasure the practice would have died out thousands of years ago.
Back when we were expecting OJ, we were pointed to this site by a friend. Looks pretty factual to me. The fact that some medical associations lean towards it and others against it tends to suggest to me that, as you say, there’s very little in it either way from a medical point of view – Oz
The site you linked to is an exceptionally good one. I am pleased you made this decision based on an objective review of the literature. I can’t help but notice some hypocrisy on the part of those who advocate for the “natural human state”. Do they eschew corrective lenses? Do these women wear bras or let their boobs sag “naturally”? It is also ludicrous to pooh pooh the hygiene argument which is entirely valid. Do these uncircumcised chaps retract their foreskin and wash their johnson with a wet washcloth every time after they pee?
What amazes me is that this is such an emotional issue for so many people. We’re talking about a VERY little bit of tissue, not an entire appendage. Think of how we torture children with orthodontia and corrective shoes. Oh GOD…the humanity!
@- Dr Dave
If you think that was a ‘rant’ you should see my contribution to the ‘secrecy’ thread….!
I agree it is not a procedure with any clear evidence of either damage or gain. The body seems quite capable of compensating for any sensory loss.
It is not a new controversy, in the UK the objections arose as the procedure became more common, its worth remembering that it was very rarely performed except for religious reasons until the late 1890s, then it became a cultural fad. The discussion within the medical profession at the time is revealing…
When a procedure of such uncertain provenance gives rise to such hard-line responses there is clearly more than just clinical judgment at stake. Its hard to avoid the conclusion that the sexual and symbolic aspects of the procedure have come to dominate any medical issue.
DrDave the penis is self cleaning as is the vagina and only occasionally is it a problem, self hygiene when showering and the use of soap solves 99% of the hygiene issues.
Also may I point out it adds to the girth of the penis when doing the mamba for her pleasure, well if your doing it right that is. Evolution gave humans a foreskin for a reason as it did most mammals it serves a purpose mainly protection. You will be sorry the next time you sunbathe nude.
Also comparing thingy size nationally UK males rate a half inch over USA males, the majority of UK males are not circumcised in the USA they are coincidence I think not.
Believe it or not, I actually cherish your contributions to this site. I also hold your opinions, although I don’t always agree with them, in the greatest respect. I’ve never really been all that interested in circumcision. I don’t think I ever paid any attention to it until I moved to NM and was suddenly confronted with a bunch of mouth-foaming anti-circumcisionists. To this day I can’t say as I fully understand what all the upset is about. I’m an ugly empiricist…a “bugs and drugs” guy. I concentrate on infectious diseases and, in the more pedestrian sense, obvious drug-response relationships for well described disease states. It’s nuts and bolts stuff…not really rocket science. I’m neither a research practitioner nor a philosopher.
So how does one become “expert” in circumcision? Hell, I have no idea. The two guys I know…who still duke it out to this day…are a Family Practitioner named Chris and an ER doc named Ritchie. Ritchie is about a 6’6″ Jewish jock ER doc and Chris is about a 5’7″ balding (and circumcised…he told me) FP. How could either be considered an “expert”? I don’t know. Over the years I’ve discussed this issue with pediatricians and OB/Gyns. In this country there is no consensus. There are good arguments to to be made for and against the procedure. Personally, I don’t think it makes much difference either way given our current state of medical sophistication.
I don’t believe we’re cruelly “maiming” children with circumcision, but I will agree the practice seems to be a cultural fad. Then again…so is modern dentistry and orthodontia.
Y’all measure in centimeters…WE measure in inches! Once you have your units straight we’ll talk.
DrDave I’m old school we use inches.
DrDave if it’s completely straight you may have a medical condition seek assistance.
DrDave..”So how does one become “expert” in circumcision? Hell, I have no idea.”
You have to ask why this is done is it cultural and religious or was it actually driven by real science. Consider when it was promoted?
A lot of what passed for medical knowledge has been shown to total bunk and total quackery by today’s standards of knowledge. Since there is no real medical consensus on the issue one way or the other based on science could it not be said we are just doing this out of cultural imperatives like female circumcision?
Like tonsillectomy’s a once useless organ has been shown to be useful in the prevention of infections and mostly curable with antibiotics.
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Just one last for Kitler:
It isn’t such a small piece of skin, the sensitive inner surface is probably the same area and similar sensitivity to the palm of your hand, both the inner surface of the foreskin and the frenulem are more sensitive than the glans, if you don’t believe me, try a touch experiment with a piece of thread on the remnant ring of mucous membrane the doctor left you with.
Foreskins aren’t necessarily completely retractable until late teens, and apparently it would be common enough for a five year old’s to be none retractable. I’m told that some were rendered non retractable due to scar tissue following forcible retraction – as the child care books used to suggest.
For problems circumcision causes, consider the friction burns on the base of the shaft from frequent sex uncircumcised guys don’t get them.
For the lady’s there is more frequent cystitis and soreness from rubbing and longer strokes
I have to say, having read Dr Dave’s posts (and slurs) on this subject, that Dr Dave is a dick.
Which is quite an accomplishment, considering how little the doctor left him of the one he was born with.
Oz: Thanks, I’d never heard of that method. It still sounds undesirable to me, but then I don’t support the cropping of dog’s ears, either, however it’s done….
Amanda they do the same when they castrate lambs but they use a tight rubber band apparently it is painless but no one has asked the lambs. Same for cropping a dogs tail apparently they feel nothing but how do we really know?
On the same subject…