Friday, November 03, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

This week, why not gaze into the abyss for a while as you peruse this balanced and objective review of the merits of female circumcision?

But remember, when you gaze into this abyss, it is not only gazing back but probably pulling on a suicide vest while it’s at it. Try not to make eye contact…

“Of course, the simplest way to deal with uncovered meat is to cut big chunks of it off and throw it away…”


Thomas Pauli said...

These gentlemen were so successful in pursuing their aims - we might be drawn into their pitchblack abyss as well!

Desargues said...

As far as I could reconstruct it, devout Muslim logic goes something liek this:

[1] Female circumcision is good.
[2] It's one of the Quranic injunctions, and all of them are good.
[3] Even if you don't see their apparent goodness, you have to have faith that they're indeed good.
[4] Even if you can't see any of their intended benefits, you must have faith; these benefits will show up... eventually?
[5] Female circumcision may not be so good for the woman, but it's really good for the man; he won't have to worry about bringing her to climax, since there can't possibly be one any more.
[6] Plus, Allah knows best.
[7] Therefore, female circumcision is good.

I mean, with such sloppy patterns of reasoning on the part of their leaders, is it any wonder that these countries are uniformly fucked up? What the hell is wrong with these sub-mental savages, and who appointed them to lead over any people at all? Shouldn't their heads instead be sticking out of windows, asking me if I want fries and a Mecca Cola with that? Fuckin' retards.

Kevin McDonald said...

While of course, cutting healthy tissue from male infants is considered rational by many Americans and most Jews and Muslims. In fact, Worldwide, just over 16% of male infants are genitally mutilated on either religious or spurious, now-defunked 'medical' grounds.
We are in the West, far from being in any position to critisize the irrationality of others. However much the 'A-rabs' make desargues foam at the mouth.
As to the other 84% of males Worldwide with intact genitals, well, I guess we'll just call them 'antisemites'.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hello again, Kevin. As a matter of fact, I'm no big fan of male circumcision either, as some readers might recall from the run up to my latest boy's arrival. The Americans have a lamentable fetish for male circumcision on health grounds, as you say. But in my book that is less repugnant than an explicit desire to control female sexuality. What say?

PI said...

Oooh I was hoping you weren't going to mention that. It makes my eyes water!

Kevin McDonald said...

Actually Ivan, if you consult the Rambam's 'Guide For the Perplexed', you'll see that controlling sexuality was precisely the justification ascribed to male circumcision. The whole idea, as the Rambam explains, was that men would not be as distracted by carnal thoughts if the head of their organs was 'keretanized' or dried out, hardened, insensitive, etc. Of course, this was before KY Jelly.
But the idea, from a religious perspective, is the same behind male as female mutilation. The spurious medical rationalizations came much later, starting in Victorian England where the practice was supposed to prevent boys playing with themselves (again, the recognition that an impairment occurs) and moved onto the 'hygiene' front around the 1940s. Today no official medical body in any country (except perhaps Israel and the Muslim states) recommends routine male circumcision for medical reasons. The rate of circumcision in the United States has also fallen dramatically since its peak in the 1960s, when around 90% of infants were circumcised, to today, when around 40% are. Outside the US, the practise is quite marginal amongst non Muslims and non Jews. What say you?

R. Sherman said...

Quick point of order. You might add a disclaimer to this post, suggesting that the gentle reader not click over during lunch hour whilst munching on a tuna sandwich.

Just a thought.


Tim Worstall said...

'With regard to the type of female circumcision which involves removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, which is similar to male circumcision, no harmful health effects have been noted. '

I think a little further research might be in order here. That's what that site says is the correct and 'necessary' form of female circumcision. Not a clitorectomy, rather, just as in male circumcision, the removal of the prepuce.

No, I'm not saying that it is either good nor necessarty, just noting that that is what that Islamic site is saying.

Here's wikipedia on the subject:
(warning, gynocological photo) and here's a womnan who had it done voluntarily.

From what she says (and contrary to the Imam) it incresaes, not reduces, sensiticity.

Kevin McDonald said...

"From what she says (and contrary to the Imam) it incresaes, not reduces, sensiticity."
Like removing your eyelids would improve the sensitivity of your eyes, Tim? Come on, a little common sense here. Exposed things undergo abrasion and drying. Rough, dry things are less sensitive than concealed moist things. We can agree so far?
The tricky part in this discussion resides in the fact that most circumcised men (or women I guess) are simply unaware that anything is missing, like someone who has only ever seen in black and white. Difficult to describe colour to such an individual. Luckily as I mentioned earlier, both male & female genital mutilation is dying out as awareness increases.

Aunty Marianne said...

All I can say is, OWWWWWWWWWWW!

And that's from a woman who regularly funds SGBV continence repair projects for Darfur and the Congo.

I'm going away to read someone else until you've all stopped.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi again, Kevin. I dare say you're correct on the history of Victorian attitudes to circumcision, but I suppose all I would say is that that was then and this is now. If anyone claimed that the Victorians were right on the topic, they'd be just as loopy as our friends in the madrassas.

And Tim, thanks for the links and the novel perspective. I agree that we shouldn't paint this debate with too broad a brush. Unfortunately, however, the fact remains that "reducing sensitivity" is precisely the point for many advocates, and I doubt that they are planning to stop at the prepuce.

Kevin McDonald said...

...and so Ivan draws a discreet veil over this uncomfortable, topic.
desargues, Tim, you can come back now; the water's fine:)

Fat Sparrow said...

"I mean, with such sloppy patterns of reasoning on the part of their leaders, is it any wonder that these countries are uniformly fucked up? What the hell is wrong with these sub-mental savages, and who appointed them to lead over any people at all?"

Not to point out the incredibly obvious, but it doesn't matter which Holy Book you use, Quran, Bible, or Dr. Spock, it's all pretty much the same line of "logic" and "reasoning."

And male circumcision is, in my mind, much worse, as we have supposedly educated, First World people practicing it to the tune of 60% of all new male births, here in the glorious U.S. Female circumcision doesn't effect me at all, but when I have to see my mother turn up her nose while changing my son, or have a few of my supposedly enlightened friends state that they would never even look at an intact man (not that they've ever seen one!), such as my husband or my son, well, that's when we see blatant cultural prejudice rear its ugly head (pun intended). And these are people who have had their own sons mutilated, not for religious reasons, even, but so they can "look like their dad." Should we brain damage them in advance, too, so they can be like both their parents?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Ivan. That is all I need to know (and way more). Interesting all the same.

Ivor Whopper said...

"As to the other 84% of males Worldwide with intact genitals, well, I guess we'll just call them 'antisemites'."

Why would anyone call them antisemites simply for having foreskin? I'd bet my house that Kevin M is Sol Kashburg wearing false whickers.

Kevin McDonald said...

"I'd bet my house that Kevin M is Sol Kashburg wearing false whickers."
Would you, Ivor? Then you'd be homeless faster than a Palestinian without an Israeli building permit.

Solwatch said...

Well spotted, Ivor. That last comment of his proves it beyond all doubt.

Desargues said...

Goddammit. All I wanted is to make some fun of a couple dim-witted, vile Muslim clerics, and look where it got me: A Serious Discussion On the Merits and Demerits of Us versus Them. A Kulturkritikfest, I'd say, if I were German.

Look, ye Westerners nagged by post-colonial guilt masquerading as cultural objectivity: if you think the removal of the male prepuce is more or less equivalent to the removal of the clitoris, think again. Not only is it more painful and debilitating (what the benighted Muslim dude forgot to link to is the innumerable horror stories of bloodied 7-year old girls writhing in pain in the wake of a cliteridectomy "for their own good" and ad maiorem Allahi gloriam). It's also an all-too-painful symbol of an infrastructure of systematic oppression of women, mostly by a bunch of guys who are too dumb and/or lazy to compete with them on equal terms. It is no secret that, in 'traditional' Muslim communities from Afghanistan to Londonistan, women have (far) less than equal status; it also doesn't take a master's in economics to know that a great part of the stifling stagnation in the Muslim world these days is because they don't allow women to reach their full potential. And, last but not least, it's a blatant violation of individual autonomy. I'd be more or less OK with a woman making a free decision to have part of her genitalia removed (I massively doubt she'd ever do that, were she allowed to make a truly free decision); but it's unspeakably wrong to make that decision on her behalf when she's too young to exert any autonomy, then hold her down and cut off her clitoris with a rusty knife.

Going the liberal-relativist way to rebut me won't do, I'm afraid; while it's true that in America there are still many places where women get paid only about 80% of what guys get, this is rather besides the point: the relevant thing is that, in the West, there are political and institutional mechanisms that allow for that kind of injustice to be criticized and, eventually, redressed. But these guys don't have anything like that: when they're not hounded and persecuted by their national Mukhabarat, their women are held down by a bunch of superstitious fucks who wouldn't know a valid argument if it poked them in the eye with a hockey stick.

One of the few remaining well-read Marxists, Terry Eagleton, points out that a great deal of this post-colonial PC righteousness is actually an ideologically-sharpened exportation to the Third World of America's own ethnic problems in the recent past. Never thought I'd agree with a Marxist on anything at all, but I have to give the old bastard credit where its' due.

Thomas Pauli said...

Des, well done!

Desargues said...

Why, thankee, sir!

Kevin McDonald said...

desargues is shooting down straw men again. Firstly, in the article Ivan linked to, the Muslims in question state quite clearly that they don't approve of removing the clitoris, merely the labia, which are analogous with the male foreskin.
Secondly, "rusty knife" clitorectomies are part of tribal African, not Muslim practice; I guess it was just too good not to mention it though, for dramatic effect.
Also amusing is the way you attach such complex political/psychological motivations to opponents of genital mutilation. Is FatSparrow also feeling "post-colonial guilt", would you say, professor? Doesn't common sense carry any weight around here?
And desargues, I'd bet my house that they performed this unecessary surgery on you, as an infant.
Don't blame yourself, you did nothing wrong...

Kevin McDonald said...

Poor little Thomas Pauli; you can almost feel his relief and delight at desargue's defence of male genital mutilation.
I imagine he had been sitting looking at his own curtailed organ all afternoon, worrying that maybe this wasn't the way the thing was meant to look.

Desargues said...

That's 'Desargues' for you, Kevin. With a capital D and an 's' at the end. A humble hommage to Girard Desargues, 17th century polymath and inventor of projective geometry.

Nice shot at drugstore psychology, but it inevitably fails, like most other similar attempts. I was baptized in the Eastern Orthodox Church, where they don't touch small boys wee-wees with knives or any other sharp objects. So, you see, my endowment has been left quite intact -- much to the pleasant surprise of my girlfriend, whom I have to run and meet shortly; it's a lovely afternoon out here, and I'd like to spend it wisely.

If you think these clerics are actually only after removing a little girl's clitoridal prepuce, keep deluding yourself. That this is not the case has been vastly documented, in many areas of 'traditional piety.' Plus, it's a really difficult surgical intervention -- no offense, but when's the last time you looked carefully at a girl's clitoris? The prepuce is quite tiny, and very hard to remove safely without hurting the surrounding areas, even by medically qualified personnel, much less by charlatans in a tent. Unless, of course, the venerable Muslim teacher had in mind a shemale's "clitoridal" foreskin. That, I hear, is fairly easy to get rid of. Them kinky clerics, always thinkin' 'bout chix with dix and stuff.

Kevin McDonald said...

"my endowment has been left quite intact -- much to the pleasant surprise of my girlfriend"
Why the surprise, Desargues? If you're intact, you're among the vast majority of men. Or are you living in a heavily circumcised area, such as New York or Israel?

Desargues said...

It's somewhat close to the former, Kevin. Not rich enough to live in the Big Apple proper. So I had to settle further down south. Quite close to the Third Rome, actually, where almost democratically elected quasi-emperors make history these days. I have only an intellectual interest in Israel and the neighboring areas.

Cantemir said...

The Third Rome was Moscow, not...

Desargues said...

Yeah, I know. But their claim was illegitimate. Never had the military power or the cultural splendor to be the true inheritors of Byzantium. Plus, they always had a challenger to the self-ascribed title in the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation. Now, the Germans, they could do things...

Cantemir said...

However, no Byzantine princesses married into the Holy Roman royal family, heh.

Desargues said...

True that. I only said the Germans could do things -- mathematics, philosophy, and warfare. I'd never marry one, tho'. Too damn earnest for my taste.

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