"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 10 June 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Here's a Little Tip


[This is a urinal.  A Marcel Duchamp urinal.]

It's strange that New York Times

lunatic emeritus A. M. Rosenthal

has become America's most vocal

opponent of female genital

mutilation. In column after

incomprehensible column, the

always-impassioned editor has

brought the world's attention to

this horrific practice, and

paved the way for preventive

laws. Still, as he hunches over

43rd Street's hallowed urinals,

doesn't Abe ever look down and

notice a wee conflict of



Sure, it's dirty pool to equate

circumcision of male babies with

disfigurement of young women.

And to question circumcision too

forcefully is to tread on some

thorny religious and cultural

ground. Worst of all, an article

devoted to the matter will

always be at some level an

effort to extract yucks from

people who can barely say

"subpoena" without giggling.


[It's a little girl playing with her doll.]

But there's a serious

anthropological question here -

the spread of circumcision in an

overwhelmingly gentile

population. Specifically, how

did several generations of

American parents get convinced

it was a good idea to subject

their infant sons (including the

author of this article) to an

operation of no known value,

without patient consent or

benefit of anesthesia? At the

very least, this suggests those

damn Europeans may be right - we

really are all hung up about



[It's those guys from the front of the cereal box.  They talk when you pour milk on the cereal.]

There are many arguments for

circumcision, and to put them in

perspective, keep in mind that

the first one was propounded by

Corn Flakes inventor and maniac

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who

believed a deftly wielded pair

of scissors would cure the

masturbation epidemic of the

19th century. Later arguments

are more high-minded, if no less

wacky. Health claims - that men

without the superfluous prepuce

are less likely to develop

infections or disease - are

poorly supported, and no more

convincing than an argument for

postnatal appendectomies or

lobotomies. In fact, lobotomies

(which, if the enduring

popularity of The Celestine

Prophecy is any indication, may

already be part of the neonatal

routine) would be at least as

effective in curbing



A very recent justification holds

vaguely that circumcised men

have more "fun." Since clipped

males have less genital

sensitivity, the argument goes,

they must work harder to make

sex enjoyable. That sounds like

decidedly less fun to me, but

never mind, since there's no

evidence for this theory either.


[The foreskin restoration society wants you to start here.]

Most persuasive is the aesthetic

argument. Most circumcised

Americans believe the reduced

package "looks right," but

obviously, we have reason to lie

to ourselves, and little idea

what we're missing (though we

can always try). In the few

places where men honestly talk

dongs (in gay porn, for example,

where the uncut dick is an

almost universal fetish object),

there's every indication that

men would like more skin (and if

you could, God, a little more

length too?). But in the battle

to maintain a phallocracy,

American men are clearly losing.

Is it mere coincidence that the

New Line release Boogie Nights,

whose money shot features an

impressive 13 inches of Mark

Wahlberg, is currently being

trimmed by the studio?


On the other hand, many women

claim to find a clipped dingus

more attractive. And it's only

fair that women have some say in

deciding what's a good-looking

wang. But the decision to cut or

not to cut is inarguably an

it's-my-body (not to mention

children's rights) issue. No

child should have to get surgery

just so the rest of the world

can see Mr. Happy.


[A portrait of a naked dad and a naked kid.]

Yet somehow, this topic of

seemingly universal interest is

relegated to a few medical cranks,

gay lotharios, and men's-movement

pansies. The San Francisco

library contains a total of

eight books on circumcision, and

the names of the authors - Billy

Ray Boyd, Bud Berkely, Jim

Bigelow PhD - are oddly similar

enough to suggest a single set

of aliases, maybe a Goldstein

fiction intended to convince us

there's a resistance. If so, the

shoot-the-messenger strategy

couldn't be more effective.


Mais voyons un peu. While there's

a natural tendency to,

you know, make fun of

anti-circumcisionists, a

selection of "victim's quotes"

in Bigelow's The Joy of

Uncircumcising! (a plug for

foreskin restoration through

what sounds like an excruciating

stretching regimen) would

silence even the smuggest



"I feel a part of me is gone



"I screamed until the gas mask

was put on me."


"I envy my dog."


On the Net, of course, the

complaints (and

counterarguments) are even

more intense. Posts at

alt.circumcision range from

"You're a homo ... I don't want

to see your shrivled (sic) up

little anteater ..." to what

seems like sound medical advice.

But as the conversation ranges

over alt.skinhead and the many

soc.cultures, inevitably, the

worldwide Jewish conspiracy

rears its head.



That's always a cue to find a new

barstool (and the traditional

Judaic trimming of the prepuce

is a far cry from the wholesale

removal practiced by US

surgeons, who reap an estimated

$100+ million annually from the

procedure), but you can't very

well have a circumcision mystery

without the Elders of Zion. And

after reading Victor Ostrovsky's

book, By Way of Deception, I

can't dismiss conspiracy talk

out of hand. Indeed, as the

author, a "former Mossad agent,"

details Israeli intelligence's

intoxication of American

opinion, it becomes all too easy

to imagine a legion of spooks

from the Holy Land, herding us

subtly toward an unneeded, and

possibly absurd, shearing. The

strategy is clear: Bind

America's interests to your own

through a device of Foucaultian

coerciveness - a Priapticon, if

you will.


[I have no idea what they are doing to that cow!]

There's an obvious corollary to

this theory, one which suggests

that while US circumcision rates

are dropping (down from 90

percent in the 1960s, though a

healthy majority of newborn boys

still meet the mohel), that's

probably just a temporary trend.

Since Islam is the de facto

faith of the Arab world, the

Middle East's (supposedly)

prehistoric enemies share many

odd hygienic notions, including an

affinity for abbreviating the

male organ. Think about it.

Against the potential mutilation

of every prick from sea to

shining sea, is it not possible

to view the Arab-Israeli

conflict as merely a

sophisticated son et

lumière staged for our

benefit, while the real business

of colonizing half of America's

crotches was completed? And with

the Muslim faith now America's

fastest growing religion, is

there any hope for the future of

intact dingles?


Maybe not, but we can at least be

better parents than our own

parents. No son of mine will

ever get an operation he doesn't

agree to. If, later in life,

squeamishness in locker room or

boudoir prompts young d'Arcy to

undergo cosmetic surgery, that's

his lookout. But if he chooses

to keep the pecker God gave him,

more power to him. Either way,

he'll be a free man in this

penal colony.

courtesy of BarTel D'Arcy

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