Andrew Sullivan, California, Health Care / Medicine, Jews, Kids, Politics, Religion, Weirdness

Circumcision, Anti-Semitism, and You

Ask the Tooth Fairy, son.

The phone’s been ringing off the hook here at the Circumcision Law Desk all weekend, so I apologize in advance if this post comes off sounding a bit distracted. Oftentimes, the intersection of foreskin and law is a lonely corridor filled with nothing but shattered dreams and crying babies.

A screaming anti-semitism comes across the sky.

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an article that did a pretty good job of illuminating where we are at in the pitched legal battle over circumcision. As mentioned at the end of the last dispatch from the Circumcision Law Desk, the forces of full-bodied penises have turned their attention to passing legislation that outlaws circumcision.

As Elie pointed out two weeks ago, San Franciscans will be voting this fall on whether to ban circumcision. And they’re not alone.

After the jump, find out what happens when people stop being polite and start trying to pass laws that outlaw circumcision and, in the process, piss off an entire religion (and blogger Andrew Sullivan)….

The Times article details the efforts intactivists have made in getting a circumcision ban on the ballot in San Francisco and how they aren’t stopping there:

[L]ast month, the group collected the more than 7,100 signatures needed to get a measure on the fall ballot that would make it illegal to snip the foreskin of a minor within city limits. Now a similar effort is under way in Santa Monica to get such a measure on the ballot for November 2012.

Santa Monica residents! Be on the lookout for people carrying clipboards and sounding like Mr. Brown in Reservoir Dogs.

If you’re looking for a nuanced opinion on these ballot measures, you’ve come to the wrong place. The only thing I can think when I hear of something like this is that these various forms of direct democracy were invented to highlight why we can’t have nice things.

Is it possible to care about something too much? To love too much? Yes. It is possible. The Times article catches up with one of the intactivists who is working to save foreskin in Santa Monica and manages to get this quote from her:

“I am just a mom trying to save the little babies,” [Jena] Troutman said. “I’d rather be on the beach, but nobody is talking about this, so I have to.”

Why do people say this? Why is weird behavior always contrasted with beach going? Life is not like that. Life is a series of very mundane choices that usually have nothing to do with acting like an asshole or going to the beach. But maybe I don’t know the first thing about life in Santa Monica. Maybe there are only two things to do in that godforsaken village. And just maybe, healthy reproductive organs are like a wet T-shirt contest at Señor Frog’s. It takes skin to win.

But Ms. Troutman isn’t the star of the Times article. Nope. That honor goes to something called Matthew Hess, who crafted the two bills being considered in the California cities. He’s just your basic political intactivist trying to make the world a better place for baby humans and working diligently on his… comic book. His bizarre and wildly offensive comic book:

Mr. Hess also writes an online comic book, “Foreskin Man,” with villains like “Monster Mohel.” On Friday, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement saying the comic employed “grotesque anti-Semitic imagery.”

Yep, this is happening. Hess is committed to the cause, but also likes to write comic books that feature evil Jewish characters. As far as I can tell, there’s no truth to the rumors that Mel Gibson has already optioned the screenplay for “Foreskin Man.” For more on the ADL’s complaint, check out this article.

Also, feel free to visit the website for Mr. Hess’s comic creation. It takes awhile to load, but it’s well worth it for the lulz.

Shockingly, a comic book with anti-Semitic imagery has managed to tick off the most prominent supporter of circumcision bans, Andrew Sullivan. In response to these stories, he wrote:

It’s maddening and sickening at the same time. Given these themes behind the movement, despite my conviction that male genital mutilation is a violation of human freedom, I’d vote against it now. The contempt for religious freedom and the use of this kind of anti-Semitic dreck – Monster Mohel anyone? – have pushed me over the edge. One day, a rational, calm and tolerant campaign to prevent the routine mutilation of male infants will emerge. But not this one. It’s despicable.

“You go to war with the creepy anti-semitic comic book artists you have, not the rational, calm, and tolerant army you want.” –Donald Rumsfeld

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr. Rumsfeld.

Efforts to Ban Circumcision Gain Traction in California [New York Times]
Jewish groups blast ‘Foreskin Man’ comic book’s ‘overly anti-Semitic’ images on circumcision [New York Daily News]
The Anti-Semitism Behind San Francisco’s Anti-Circumcision Proposal [Andrew Sullivan]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of circumcision

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