Captain Israel vs. Foreskin Man

Boys and girls! Meet:

Captain Israel is a comic book illustrated and written by Arlen Schumer. Footing the bill for Captain Israel’s production is Stand With Us, an Israeli advocacy group.

Much less fun than Captain Israel is Does MGM stand for top-notch movie entertainment? Yes! — but not in this case. Here it stands for Male Genital Mutilation. The people (ostensibly) want to put an end to circumcision. They even managed to get onto San Francisco’s November ballot a measure to make circumcision illegal. (This past Thursday, though, a San Francisco county superior court judge removed that measure from the ballot, reasoning that while the state can decide such matters, individual cities cannot.)

The president of is Matthew Hess. Matthew Hess created his own superhero. Meet:

Shown here wielding a (magic?) 8-ball, Foreskin Man appears to also be battling a cold sore on his lip. Maybe he has herpes. Either way, nothing will stop him from fighting such evil-doers as



Other characters in the Foreskin Man comic book series include:



and who could ever forget:


That’s right: Jethro Sacks, and Vulva Girl.

Could I make this stuff up?

As you might expect, Captain Israel has issues with Foreskin Man. And here’s the proof:


This was drawn and written by Arlen Schumer.

I met Mr. Schumer during my adventures at Comic-Con. In the audience of our panel discussion, he afterwards politely came up to me and proffered his eight-page, lavishly illustrated comic book before quietly going on his way.

The next day, having read the fine print inside Captain Israel, I googled Mr. Schumer’s name, and from there learned about, the “intactivists” out there vigilantly fighting for the rights of infant boys to one day have their dicks look as long as possible, and, of course, the handsomely blonde Foreskin Man, who might as well have a swastika on his chest instead of that Bat-Butt thing he’s now sporting.

As I hope is already obvious, what fuels is good old-fashioned antisemitism.

I was never a big fan of Captain America; I just can’t get excited about what amounts to Captain Geopolitical Entity. And my first thought upon seeing Captain Israel was that a comic book from Bizzaro World had accidentally fallen into ours.

Without in any way referencing to the whole Jewish-Palestinian issue, I would just like to say, on behalf of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in WWII: Go, Captain Israel, go!

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  • Oh, Men’s Rights Activists. If you’re involved in the feminist blogosphere at all, there’s no escaping these jagoffs. They *love* to equate circumcision with female genital mutilation – the fact that feminists campaign against the latter but tend not to care one way or the other about the former is concrete proof, in their eyes, of the Evil Leftist Feminazi Zionist Cabal that rules the world. Or something.

  • Some folks just want to legislate everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t someone out there who’d like to pass a law telling you what TOOTHPASTE to use. Now, I’m one of those half-crunchy moms who breastfed both my kids and didn’t have my son cut, but I also used disposable diapers and I sure the hell didn’t have time to cook and puree organic vegetables to make baby food. My attitude about parenting is along the lines of “do what works for your family.” There are mothers out there, though, who are as off the hook about these things as Matthew Hess. Last year a mom-blogger lost her infant son who was born with a serious heart defect. He was not given good odds, but made it through three surgeries before he finally lost his fight. Because the family had made the decision to circumcise him, some of the intactivist mothers went nutso in the comments section of this woman’s blog. It was unbelievable — here this family is mourning the loss of their child and these women want to hang her off a flagpole. The baby didn’t die because of the circumcision, which is a relatively minor procedure, but because of the fact he was born with about half a heart. Crazy.

    I don’t know, though, I’m kind of a fan of Vulva Girl. I bet she drives a really sweet-looking Volvo.

  • Dirk

    Or something, indeed.

    Personally, I’ve always thought the decision should be left up to the boy when he attains his maturity.

    The nastiness of equating male circumcision with female genital mutilation coupled with the overt anti-Semitic position of so much of the San Francisco circ.ban movement was just too much.

    I’ve traveled extensively. I’ve spent time in the mid-east and, yes, the Israeli government has done some things which were very bad. That said, Israel is a democracy which grants full human and civil rights to women, gays, lesbians, the transgender and has strict laws on how dogs are to be treated.

    All other countries in that area violate the civil and human rights of women, gays, lesbians and the transgender, treat dogs badly.

    It’s not hard to take Israel’s side without being an end-times nut. It’s also not hard to understand why so many ‘liberals’ who have never actually spent any time in the Islamic world of the mid-east think the conflict justifies their anti-Semitic position.

    What a mess.

    Oh, John, just a thought: Every blog which has discussed this topic over the last months has seen nastiness on a level which makes the strongest exchanges here look like wet fireworks. You might want to pay close attention to this thread. Not that I, of moderate views and quiet speech would ever dream of raising my voice.

  • HeatherR

    Oh, dear.

    Eh-hem. I never supported the San Francisco bill because there were too much anti-semitism. That being said, I, too, don’t support in any way shape or form circumcision for newborn infants. For anybody: Jews and Gentiles. Does this automatically make me an anti-semite?

    I used to support it. I thought “everyone” did it so I considered it normal and never gave it a second thought. But then I started becoming friends with many gay guys (who are obviously very, um, sensitive to issues involving male genitalia), and then my non-Jewish, born-in-a-hospital nephew had a botched circumcision. Once I started asking myself if it was really necessary (to me, no), I gradually came to the conclusion that it shouldn’t be normal, and in fact to me it’s fairly barbaric.

    It’s not the cutting of the foreskin part that I, and many other people, have issues with. It’s the newborn infant part. If there were some immigrants from some far away land who, after giving birth in one of our hospitals, expected to tattoo their day-old child with the word “God” to dedicate them to God, we here in the US would say “hell, no!” We don’t let parents do elective, irreversible, painful procedures to their newborns. Except for circumcision.

    But the Bible says it has to be done on the boy’s 8th day. And this country has had HUGE problems with anti-semitism, so I support their right to do it to their sons, although it makes me cringe. (I don’t say get rid of mohels, I just suggest that their … clients? … should at least be old enough to say ‘yes’.)

    If I ever had children, I wouldn’t pierce my newborn daughter’s ears, and I wouldn’t allow my newborn son to be circumcised. If she wants earrings later, that’s fine. And if he wanted a circumcision, that’s fine, as well. But they would have to be old enough to say “yes” before anything elective and permanent were to be done to them.

    I have to agree that that comic above? Oh, yeah, he ate heavily from the anti-semitic buffet.

  • HeatherR

    They did WHAT to her?!?!?!?!? That’s … that’s … revolting!

    Fundies come in all shapes and bogeymen. That poor baby died due to a very sorrowful birth defect, not because he was circumcised, fed from plastic bottles, wore disposable diapers, nor due to the parents not praying hard enough or voting for the wrong political party.

  • Penthouse Comix, a magazine size comic book spinoff of the original, did a story where a giant outer space foreskin enveloped the Empire State Building and had to be trimmed back by a battalion of commando mohels.

    Why, yes, the editor of Penthouse Comix was a raving drug maniac. How did you guess?

  • Don Whitt

    The SF legislation is evidence of the major difference between the left and liberals. The left is as obnoxious and dogmatic as the right, just a different flavor. Let parents decide what they do with their babies penises’ foreskins. Sheesh. That’s the end of my cutting remarks.

  • My first thought is of course ‘Holy Genitalia Batman!”

    ok, now that is out of the way…

    I did circumcise my son, as I was told it was a health issue, more then a cultural one. Wanting a healthy baby boy, I had the deed done. My daughters however were not (didn’t even know that people did that to girls until I was grown. and the reasons are pretty vile to me)

    If I had to do it all over again, and knowing that it is more a cultural issue instead a health one, I would likely opt not to circumcise. IT is of course a personal matter, based on one’s choices, and culture. I breastfed two out of three kids, used cloth diapers, and even considered homeschooling, until realizing that I had enough stress on my plate. I was also in a very poor financial situation. At the heart of my raising kids was to try to make them as healthy and whole as possible, as well as emotionally and mentally ready for them to eventually move out one day.

    I disagree with the attempted law to ban circumcision. I am now not much of a fan, but I can respect the views of others, who feel it necessary for religious or health reasons. I do find it interesting that people protest. They raise hell over circumcision, but are largely silent on issues that are much more damaging to children. Makes me shake my head in wonder.

  • textjunkie

    Ummf. I’m with HeatherR on this one–it’s doing it to newborns that is a problem. When they are old enough to choose it themselves and have the freedom to do so or not, that’s fine. (And if you say, “But who in their right mind would choose to have THAT done?” well, just think about that… 😉

  • Hah! Very good. Thanks, Dirk. (For whatever it’s worth, I do pay close attention to every comment thread on my blog.)

  • Patiently Waiting

    The image of “Monster Mohel is one of the more offensive drawings I have seen in many years. It is incredibly anti-Semitic. I say that even though I am not a strong supporter of Israel and mostly deplore how the country has behaved over the years. Even my gut reaction to mistrust Israel does not prevent me from seeing that the image here completely crosses the line, and generally, the Captain Israel response was totally within reason.

    I would point out, however, that I am also really bothered by the Dr. Mutilator character. One thing that many people do not take into account in the circumcision debate is that many scientific studies do show health benefits to infant circumcision. They are not necessarily huge benefits, but they are statistically significant. When this comic portrays doctors as being “mad” with the desire to circumcise, it implies doctors are only doing these procedures because they are crazy, when in fact, many do these procedures knowing full well that there is no great health advantage to being uncircumcised.

    The reason we should not portray doctors as mad scientists is the same reason we should not portray climate scientists in a similar way. Good doctors and good scientists have no agenda. Dr. Mutilator implies otherwise, implying “science is whatever we want it to be” (in the words of Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock). This idea is exactly what many fundamentalist conservative Christians do in homeschools, teaching kids not to listen to the 99% of scientists who believe in climate change or to ignore the theory of evolution. By portraying doctors as people who make decisions based on agendas, not based on science, this comic contributes to the idea that science changes based on our political ideas.

    We are, of course, hyper sensitive to racist portrayals that undoubtedly cause so much damage to our world psyche, and we should be. I just wish we were a little more sensitive to the damage that is done by portraying scientists as madmen with an agenda.

  • Mindy

    Well, sure. Because men have so few rights, don’tcha know. This is the one thing they can latch on to in order to kick up a fuss – but look what you did to us when we were babies!!

    I’m not going to wade too deeply into the debate, simply because I have daughters. But I also have a brother and nephews, all of whom were circumcised, and all of whom are fine. My daughters’ half-brother was actually helped because of his circumcision, as that’s when his hemophilia was found. I’ve had partners of both, um, persuasions, and can say with certainty that I prefer one way over the other. But that’s just me.

    All that being said, as far as health goes, it is unnecessary. Boys are perfectly capable of learning how to clean and care for their favorite body part, with or without foreskin. I have no strong opinion on its religious implications, because I am simply not knowledgeable enough about that to comment.

    Equating it to female genital mutilation, though? Please. Far as I can tell, a circumcision in no way interferes with the functioning OR pleasure-deriving of said body part. The same cannot be said for the other.

  • Lisa

    The problem with the argument “leave it up to the kid when he attains maturity” is that according to Jewish custom, it has to be done on the 8th day after the child is born. That’s part and parcel of the ritual. There are some good Q&A’s here about it, though not being Jewish, I don’t vouch for their absolute accuracy.

  • At SF Pride, where else, I went to a fifteen minute “show” and demo in a zipped booth given by a Canadian foreskin advocate. SF is looking at a don’t slash the foreskin law on the next ballot. Being a Mom of a son whose foreskin is intact, I wanted to hear what he had to say.

    The demo started with a question “how many red seedless grapes do you think I can put in my foreskin” The numbers were screamed out from 2 to 24. The guy has EXCELLENT responses and was very engaging. (the answer was 8)

    I learned SO MUCH and was thrilled his Dad and I had made the decision we did. Dad is not circumcised so we mad that choice for our son. Some day, over a pitcher of beer, Iwill tell my son all about it and let him thank me buy buying the pitcher , and the next one. He is 25 and surely knows the weird gift Mom gave him–his foreskin.

  • Lacy

    I actually read in my Microbiology book when that if every man in the world were circumcised, cervical cancer in women would be cut down by 40%. If you don’t trust the $200 book I had to buy for a college course, then I’m sure you could use a Google search engine to back that claim. That was one of those times when I thought, “Hey, God really knows what he’s doing.” Also, I used to work in a clinic for a three doctors – two were OB/GYNs and one was a general practitioner, who performed circumcisions among other things. We had a 12 year old boy come in one time to get a circumcision because he was having problems. We could hear him in pain down the hall, and we all felt so bad for him. It really is just healthier to go ahead and do it when the boy is a baby, because it hurts them more when they are older and they have to remember getting it done. And, it’s healthier for their partners in the long run.

  • Don Whitt

    In my circle of friends, the moms are always more opinionated on this topic. Discussion ranges from health to sensitivity issues, but inevitably ends up on aesthetics. Ick. It’s too bad we can’t ask the little boys what they want after weighing all the data, but so it goes.

  • Dirk

    Ah, but that cuts no ice with me.

    I firmly believe that parents should let the child decide for himself when he is mature.

    That said, I wouldn’t force this upon anyone, Jewish or otherwise.

  • Dirk

    Conservative Christians do not oppose science.

    They just know that science is theory and their beliefs are fact.

    God said it, the Bible wrote it and they believe it.

    Except those icky parts about giving away their worldly goods and caring for the elderly, the widowed, the orphaned and loving their neighbors.

    Those don’t count.

  • BS



    Just… wow.

  • Dirk

    I know you do, hope that didn’t sound as though I thought you don’t.

    I wonder whether the research on HIV infections (primarily a heterosexual problem) and circumcision have now been independently verified?

  • Marc A.

    They already made it illegal to mutulate a baby girl’s vagina. Did you object to that? Or do you just have a problem when the ban extends to males? Even the slightest pinprick of a girl’s vagina, even for ceremonial and religious reasons, is illegal, but cutting off over 20,000 erogenous nerve endings from a baby boy is ok, right? And you’re not hypocritical?

  • Marc A.

    Even the slightest ceremonial pinprick of a baby girl’s genitals is illegal. Why it is ok to remove an infant boy’s healthy sexual organ that has over 20,000 erogenous nerve endings and is the most sensitive part of an infant boy’s penis? Male circumcision is gynecologically equivalent to removing the clitoral foreskin, one of several types of female circumcision all of which are illegal to perform on infant girls even though the harms and (purported but false) health benefits are the same.

  • Patiently Waiting

    Could you please direct us to some sources alleging that the health benefits are false? The medical research I have seen show that there are some small health benefits to circumcision, though not to the female equivalent. I would be interested to see the studies that falsify all the other studies.

  • Dirk: No, it didn’t sound that way at all. I was just letting you know more by way of assuring you that I’ll block anyone who gets out of line. (I already have my eye, for instance, on Marc A. in this thread.) Also, please don’t hesitate to email me (via “Contact” tab at top of blog) if there’s anyone here whom you think needs to go. I don’t do a lot of things well, but assuring that my readers can leave their thoughts on my blog without fear of being subsequently disrespected isn’t one of them.

  • Dirk


    I don’t quite agree with you. While it is true that there is anatomical correspondence (no surprise, given that we all begin life female) there are no valid medical reasons for female circumcision.

    As for male circumcision, there are, at times, valid reasons for circumcision.

    Living between Europe and the US, I have had the opportunity to observe both cultures on the topic. I know a few men who were circumcised as adults. Every single one of them, without exception reports that, after the initial pain had passed, they enjoyed sex just as much without a foreskin as they did with a foreskin.

    So, please, let’s be a bit less militant. Sure, I think we should never do unnecessary surgery (I’d say no to 99.9999% of elective surgery.)

    As for studies, you are seriously barking up the wrong tree.

  • You hit that nail square on the head!

  • One of the legitimate functions of government is to license the sale of foods and drugs, to make sure they are at the very least not harmful to consumers. So, yeah, we already are told what kinds of toothpaste to use: Those that have passed FDA testing.

  • As can be clearly seen from the responses of men who are happily circumcized and men who are not, and understanding the potential long-term difficulties with an adult male circumcision, I am going to state very clearly that there is NO realistic comparison between removing a foreskin and removing a clitoris. Victims of female genital mutilation, where the entire clitoris and sometimes the labia and parts of the venus mons are removed have virtually NO genital sexual sensation. In addition, the removal of the healthy areas of skin interfere with the vagina’s natural ability to cleanse itself and fend off harmful bacteria.

    The gross majority of men who are circumsized have normal, happy sex lives and experience satisfactory genital sensation. I do realize that there are nerve endings in the foreskin and the man that I know who are intact report indendently that they experience pleasurable feeling in the foreskin during sexual intercourse. This is one of the reasons I chose to leave my own son intact. However, because of the vast difference between these two very discrete procedures, I firmly believe that male circumcision ought to remain a choice by the parents.

    As a parent I make hundreds of decisions that affect the outcome of my children’s lives, from choosing to breastfeed them to choosing the foods that they consume. I choose their schools, I choose how they are disciplined. I choose where I – and therefore they – live. All of these things impact the people they will become. I don’t think circumcision is necessary, but I also do not believe it is excessively harmful. There are a small handful of boys who experience injury due to a badly performed circumcision, and I have a nephew who suffered adhesions. These things are painful, but they are the norm by any means. We don’t outlaw open heart surgery on infants just because some of them die during the procedure.

    You are trying to compare watermelons to grapes and you know it. Just because you aren’t happy about being circumcised doesn’t mean there aren’t billions of men who are. Get over yourself.

  • I remember when my youngest nephew was born. The father (and from what I know, my brother in law is an athiest or at least nay-theist… I remember saying something about prayer to him and he made fun of me for believing in God, but we never got in-depth – I just know religion was not an issue)… he had his son circumcised at the hospital, according to my sister “So his boy’s winky could look like his.”

    My brother in law was born in the generation when hospitals circumcized by default as a “cleanliness” thing. So, when his son was born, he argued with my sister a bit, then they chose circumcision to appease his ego.

    I think there are valid reasons for male circumsision (concerns for cleanliness, carrying on a cultural identity), but I thought “So the boy’s winky can look like mine” has got to be the stupidest reason, ever. If Foreskin Man wants people to fight, he should fight idiots like my brother in law.

  • Don Whitt

    There are lots of research papers about this – Google it. I did and, after consulting with sevral people familiar with both sides of the coin, decided NOT to circumcise my son.

    If a man practices good hygiene, there is absolutely no evidence that having a foreskin is unhealthy or riskier than not having one. In the days that circumcision was dictated, it was practical. Men were filthy, doctors were few and ineffective. it was a ritual that could be performed by the town shaman without too many health repercussions, but it had the gravity of saying, “You just made a deal with God”. You know – “OUCH!!!”. Now you’re one of us.

    All unnecessary for a people with easy access to soap and running water. It is an ancient religious ritual now and that puts it in the personal preference category, not the medical realm, with the exception that it indeed does sever 1000’s of nerves and makes sex less pleasurable for both parties. Nature made the penis the way it is for a reason.

    The mutilation of women is usually to the clitoris which is the equivalent of pulling the penis out by the roots, not akin to a circumcision. More like a light trim of the labia majora. No one should equate a clean male circumcision to a clitoredectomy performed with a sharpened rock. That is absurd and completely specious.

  • Dirk

    OK, this is just plain wrong:

    and makes sex less pleasurable for both parties.


    One of the enormous advantages of being a gay man is that women talk around us as they do among themselves on the subject of heterosexual men.

    The presence or absence of a foreskin plays no role in the satisfaction a woman feels during sexual intercourse.

    The exact same thing is confirmed by gay men who have been receptive.

    I know several men, some gay, some straight who have been circumcised as adults. Now, to be sure, they were also Europeans so maybe American men are special…but every single one of them says there is no difference in satisfaction.

    Honestly, just once I’d love to see a rational discussion of this.

  • Dirk

    There you go again, MIndy, approaching the matter with common sense and a quiet voice.

  • Don Whitt

    Okay – maybe that’s propaganda from men and women who prefer one over the other. But it makes perfect sense that, in a relationship where both people actually care about the other person’s level of sensitivity and pleasure, and where both parties are fully intact with all nerve endings firing, the experience would be better. I think that’s perfectly logical, Dirk.

  • Dirk, its my understanding that studies on the rates of HIV are not directly relevant as some of the countries that have the highest rates of HIV infection also have a disproportionately high number of uncircumcised men. Most non-US populations have a higher percentage of intact males. At least, the research I looked into about 7 years ago before my son was born indicated that.

  • Captain … Foreskin?


    The jokes kind of write themselves, don’t they? You know, Batman’s sidekick was Dick “Robin” Grayson. I’ll just let that fact sit there and let anyone who’s so inclined do the math.

    I think that I’d argue that anyone who spends this much time thinking about other people’s foreskins has a serious problem.


  • I have such a jaded opinion on both the efficacy and the objectivism of the FDA that I can’t even type out a response without sounding like a crazed conspiracy theorist. I’ve worked in a field related to manufacturing processes for decades now, in fishing and in food and beverage, and I’ve seen the FDA in action.

    Most govt. “regulations” these days exist to

    a) supplement the tax structure and

    b) provide profitability to the food and drug companies with the best lobbyists by keeping their competitors out of the market.

    Food safety is the least of what they worry about. Trust me on this.

  • Dirk

    Except there are too many men who have had it both ways who disagree.

    I do know that there are people with very clear preferences and I strongly suspect that that is the source of all these statements on levels of sensitivity, etc.

  • EffU

    It makes it more pleasurable for the woman because a man without the mutilation isn’t pounding away away trying to get some sensation. This is confirmed by studies. Your anedotes are useless.

  • Be nicer.

  • Dirk

    What studies? Please cite them.

    I do know that for gay men, the matter is purely one of preference.

    But he, you will probably dismiss that as ‘anedote’ (sic), too.

    Do get back to us with those ‘studies’.

  • Diana A.

    And for me, I’d be inclined to let the father decide, as long as I felt the health benefits were the same one way or another.

  • You know what I did, is cut mine half-way off. That’s how much I value compromise. Still, sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing. I DEFINITELY hate the nickname “Flappy.”

  • I’m sure, but w/o even that speed bump can you imagine how much worse it would be?

  • DR

    If a man is “pounding away”, I’m going to suggest that he’s got a few more problems going on than just missing foreskin.

  • DR

    That would have been even funnier if you – via a typo – forgot to include the “l”.

  • Sara

    The reason it’s done to newborns rather than waiting until they’re older, is their nervous system isn’t fully developed and they simply do not have the pain receptors that an older child has in place. I have assisted in several circumcisions in the course of my work in the medical field. The baby cries from being spread out and restrained, rather than being wrapped up snug and comfortable.

    A newborn stops crying almost immediately that they’re released from the restraints and never (in my experience) show any pain afterwards. Post circumcision treatment is usually limited to covering the tip of the penis with a gauze pad with some petroleum jelly or some other lubricating jelly. Within a day or two, everything is healed.

    Contrast that with a grown man having it done. The two patients I’ve cared for were in excruciating pain for weeks!

    I’ve heard various reasons pro and con about circumcision – I chose to have my son circumcised because I would be the one teaching him how to clean and bathe himself. At the time, cultural and health reasons were given as the reasons I should have it done.

  • My opinion is that if God wanted males to be without foreskin, He would have made them that way in the beginning. As a female, I’ve also “experienced” both ways, and it didn’t make any difference to me.

    I guess people would call me anti-Semitic, but I think that if proper hygiene had been written and taught in ancient times instead of circumcision, we wouldn’t be discussing this at all.

  • Don Whitt

    I’ve heard a variation on that theme where the parents are concerned they’ll have to explain why sonny doesn’t look like daddy. Like that’s going to cause irreparable damage to the kid. Or the dad. People worry about the strangest things.

  • Don Whitt

    Ooooo, flappy. Or “Snuffleupagus”.

  • Bowen

    If it’s part of your religious tradition, my right to intervene drops significantly. The benefits and disadvantages become inconsequential compared to respecting your religion.

    As I understand it, circumcision became popular in the US during WWI. In the trenches, circumcision became the easiest way to maintain basic hygiene. It came back in the ’50s as it was purported to hinder masturbation.

    Now, it’s mostly become tradition.

    For most people, I see it as unnecessary. I don’t think that we need a law to make in illegal, but I think it should be avoided.

    A small percentage of men have health issues. However, that doesn’t justify circumcising everyone out of hand. The problems can be avoided easily. Either by showering daily, or using protection. These arguments often get blown out of proportion. Increasing AIDS, cervical cancer? Stop making mountains out of a molehill. It’s also a bit extreme as a test for anemia.

    As for a man’s pleasure, the arguments have been said a thousand times. But they count against circumcision.

    To the woman, circumcision affects the man much more. As an uncircumcised gay man, I’ll leave you alone if you’ll do the same.

    If you really want to circumcise your son, I doubt I can stop you. But, for the record, I don’t think you should.

    If you’re Jewish, do what you think is right. Don’t let others intimidate you.

  • vj

    Most traditional African cultures practise adult male circumcision (as a rite of passage), and most Muslims practise infant male circumcision, so I would be very surprised if *most* non-US populations are predominantly UN-circumcised? I do know that, in South Africa, the general consensus among HIV-awareness activists is that circumcision *does* help to reduce infection rates…. It is also my understanding that circumcision can reduce transmission of other STDs (possibly related to easier hygiene, depending on the specific disease?).

  • vj

    To clarify, these are my impressions gathered from general media consumption, I have NOT done any particular research in this area. But it’s in the media a lot around here….

  • Don Whitt

    Re. STD’s I was absolutely appalled when the HPV inoculation came out and it was only offered to girls, not boys, because research had linked cervical cancer to HPV in women and men don’t have cervixes. The attitude was, “We have this great inoculation that protects people from HPV, but we’ll only solve half the equation.” Uh, who are they getting HPV from in most cases? Fail.

  • Don Rappe

    I think it;s important not to conflate male circumcision with mutilation of females.

  • You’re so right, Don.

  • Dirk

    In Europe, it is recommended for both boys and girls.

    The US, largely thanks to conservative Christians, is living in the medical dark ages on all aspects of preventative health care which have any reproductive aspect.

  • I have a theory on circumcision that was borne out of my gender dysphoria. Until I had my surgery (after almost sixty years on this planet and at least fifty six of those years being aware there was an appendage I was not particularly fond of, yet functionally necessary for the emptying of my bladder, even though I tried to put it out of my mind, I was reminded of its presence five to six times a day. My theory for God instituting this ritual has to do with Israel’s forgetfulness and out right rebellious nature. God needed to give them something that would be a constant reminder of their covenant and what better way than to remind them every time they had to piss, about five to six times each day?

  • kimberly

    you’d think growing up with all the brothers, 3 marriages and 2 sons, i’d stop being surprised, but no…

  • Sadly the high price of a book doesn’t guarantee the truth of what’s inside. NO good study has shown a direct link between male circumcision and cervical cancer. There were some bad old studies of correlation that assumed “not Jewish = not-circumcised” (and it turns out Jewish women have a genetic tendency to get less cervical cancer), and some bad modern studies that claimed to find a link between circumcision and HPV (a common virus, readily got rid of), but really only showed a link between HPV and country of reseidence (almost all of their circumcised men were in the Philippines).

    You claim the benefits of science and then rely on one anecdote – ignoring the gazillions of intact men who go to their graves with no problems.

  • “Could you please direct us to some sources alleging that the health benefits are false?” – you don’t have to believe the site, follow the links.

  • “anyone who spends this much time thinking about other people’s foreskins has a serious problem.” So what do you think of anyone who spends their time cutting off people’s foreskin?

  • “If it’s part of your religious tradition, my right to intervene drops significantly. The benefits and disadvantages become inconsequential compared to respecting your religion.”

    How about respecting HIS religion, by waiting till he’s old enough to decide whether to have one, and if so, which one, without pre-emptively cutting one, that he might not choose, into his flesh? It’s not like baptism that wipes off with a paper towel. And it’s not like ancient times when everyone followed the faith of their fathers automatically because any option was unthinkable (except for the occasional Martin Luther or Joseph Smith who started a whole new one).

  • Diana A.

    That’s actually a really good theory!

  • denver

    I agree with Mindy as far as the larger debate goes.

    And frankly, I don’t have one, so it shouldn’t be up to me. Kinda how I feel about womens’ reproductive rights – if you don’t have a uterus, stay the heck out of the debate.

    I do have to say that FGM doesn’t just make sex “less pleasurable” – it can make it extremely painful, and from the WHO: “Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.”

    But as far as the comics go… do kids actually read this propaganda and think it’s cool? Because I can’t think of a single kid that would either a) care about such things, or want to think about them, or b) not realize that both “superheroes” are pure, unadulterated morals being shoved down your throat in a way adults think kids think is ‘cool’ BS. So who are they really preaching to? I’m thinking grownups that like their serious life issues dumbed down to comic book propaganda form. Which kinda frightens me.

  • Don Whitt

    Parents make lots of decisions for their kids. It’s all part of the gig.

  • Annie


  • Dirk

    A false comparison and you know it.

    When my mother made me drink my milk, eat a balanced diet and wouldn’t let me subsist on ice cream and chocolate with chasers of candy that was doing her duty by me.

    When, however, a parent makes an irreversible, totally unnecessary decision such as whacking the foreskin off to satisfy some stupid bronze age mud-in-the-belly-button stupidity, that is not doing his or her duty.

    If the child, at maturity, decides to whack his foreskin off, that’s OK. Otherwise (short of medical indication) it is just plain on the same level as thinking the earth is 5,000 years old, evolution and natural selection are nonsense and global warming is a myth.

  • Don Whitt

    I think it’s an apt comparison and an extremely important and valid point or I wouldn’t have made it. Dirk.

    By the way, I sincerely hope that my disagreeing with you does not equal my being a drooling moron. I’m getting the feeling you think it does, or perhaps that’s just your charming style of engagement?.

  • Concerned Person

    Hows this prove its Ku klux klanissh, or “anti semantic”

    his argument is anti circumcision, jews are a group that happens to perform it on their children

    That being said, I was disapointed by foreskin man.

    its a propaganda tool for the converted.

    It doesnt educate people on the pro’s and cons of circumcision.

    it also brazenly ignores that we (Intactivists) Fight not against, flesh and blood, not against monsters, but against ignorance, against entenched dogma, against thousand years old cultures.

    And while im not CERTAIN its antisemantic like you are, I certainly agree it has disastrous connotations, especialy with the blatant kidnapping, though I confess I’ might have rather been raised an orphan in one peice, then mutilated as my parents son.

    but No ones complained how the 3rd chapter is anti african.

    I have to admit i wasnt particularly thrilled even with dr mutilator… it fails to address the strongest anti circumcision argument, that doctors are just doing it for money, and invent brave new reasons whenever one gets disproven.

    I was circed at birth and am NOT HAPPY.

    his body, his choice.