Quest For the Missing Piece

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 27, 2007 07:00pm | Post a Comment
I saw this documentary with Chaz. It's a documentary wherein director Oded Lotan explores the topic of male circumcision. Whereas female circumcision is an almost universally vilified procedure, one in five males in the world is circumcised, the film tells us. The reasons given are usually the same: To maintain the status quo, hygiene, aesthetics, health, tradition, to fit in, religion/kicks.


It's told in sort of a contrived fairy tale structure with narration and whimsical cartoons which I found a bit annoying but I could imagine the more whimsically-inclined enjoying. Lotan attempts to track down both his Mohel and his estranged foreskin. In the process he engages his uncircumcised boyfriend, his mother, an adult Russian immigrant who undergoes the surgery to feel more whole, a seven year old Muslim kid with little idea what "becoming a man" entails and a group of Jews vehemently opposed to this strangely anachronistic and (more strangely) run-of-the-mill ritual.

Lotan presents compelling arguments. As a gay Jew, he still doesn't fit in, even without his foreskin, so why is it that his not-especially religious mother thought that penile similarity would ensure his acceptance in a society that probably never knows what his penis looks like unless speedos are popular in Israel? Why not get him a nose job or gender reassignment? Maybe remove some moles and birthmarks too.

But what about health and hygiene? I like the idea waiting 'til adulthood to decide whether or not you'd like to symbolize your bromance with God by slicing off a bit of their knob that He probably shouldn't have put there anyway. Why does it have to be done when you're a baby and can't verbally oppose the process? Why are we the only species that evolved to have a pesky foreskin that serves to make sex even more amazing only to be required to chop it off? God is cruel.

But don't take my word for it. Quoth Yahweh: "This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." (Genesis 17:10-14)

Most people that circumcise their kids don't seem to mind that God also forbids eating pork, being gay, eating rabbit, eating shellfish, tattoos, men having long hair, women not wearing veils, women speaking to men other than their husbands, touching anything that's touched a woman whilst she's on her period, grilled cheese, Three Musketeers candy bars and a bunch of other stuff. God's like some crazy rock star with this really bitchy, insane, prima donna-ish backstage rider. That stuff is all silly, we can agree. But the part about mangling a baby's penis. Well, who would question that? It's just common sense, right? God's circumcised, right? It's not like he's asking us to remove all the green M & Ms!  
I swear, if you don't cut off that damned foreskin I'm never talking to you again!


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Tradition (1), Oded Lotan (1), Circumcision (1), Foreskin (1), God (8), Yahweh (1), Hygeine (1), Penis (1), Genital Mutilation (1)