Friday, April 29, 2011

State Of Ninnies

It's a beautiful place, with no shortage of natural wonders or clever and productive people; but the trouble with a place where you can get anything on the ballot is that there are plenty of persons -- or tallish, hairless/featherless bipeds that have (mostly) learned to not make messes in the house -- who have absolutely no grasp of "none of your business!"

And this time 'round, out in the Golden Pear State (look it up), in San Franciso, where happy, smiling people covered in tattoos and scarifications, with piercings through every bit that's pierceable, will greet you and politely ignore your goggling eyes, they've put a proposal to outlaw (male) circumcision on the ballot.

I haven't got a dog in that fight, bein' female and not a mother, nor livin' in Cally-forn-i-a; but I find myself goggling not at the innocent folks who have gone in for heavy decoration but the sheer, ignorant effrontery of the sort of shaved ape who thinks his personal prejudices and whims outweigh, gee, decades of custom, centuries of religious practice and, f'pity's sake, deals made with G-d?

--Sure, you can tell me I'm an agnostic -- but the parties to the cited arrangement are not.

Right about now, you prolly think I'll go Godwin; but I shan't. I don't have to. I just wonder when San Franciscans will move on up to the year 1290 and put an Edict of Expulsion up for vote?

The tyranny of the mob, sooooo much better than the tyranny of a single man. And so very much more wise, too. You betcha.


perlhaqr said...

I don't know.

All those pierced, tattooed, and scarred folks got those consentingly.

Religious compact with God or not, it's still an amputation on a child way the hell before it can consent.


Wouldn't that pact with the deity mean more if the people involved submitted to the process knowingly?

Ed Rasimus said...

Do people move to San Francisco because they are total loons or do normal people who move there become loons because of something harmful in the environment of the Bay? Can we occupy the EPA for a decade or so investigating that?

Turk Turon said...

It' been a couple of decades now, but I was participating in a bull session with my brother editors at a big postproduction house. I don't remember how we got on the subject; maybe it was the recent birth of my son. The most senior editor said, "I wasn't circumcised until I was twenty-five."

THAT quieted the room for a bit.

Joanna said...

Aren't these the same folks who want to outlaw kosher butchery because it's supposedly inhumane? If so, I'm sensing a pattern here.

Gewehr98 said...

Being that it's a free country and all, I guess I can support the right of San Franciscans out there on the Left Coast to reek of both patchouli and smegma...

John A said...

I may - indeed, do - agree that circumcision of either gender is a questionable practice. Perhaps it indeed should be illegal for other than medical need*. Not looking forward to the arguments over whether it is a religious requirement or a religious custom, but pre-bunfight my position is that it is so long-established a custom that even religious leaders think of it as a requirement.
* Well, medical need... My mother did not want me circumcised but at the time (mid-1940s) the establishment considered it so useful as a "cleanliness" measure that noone even asked. Just routine, ma'am, sorry about that. Establishment opinion has since changed on the issue.

Drang said...

I find it interesting that they are against male circumcision, but say naught about female circumcision. That alone speaks volumes about them.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

It hurts a hell of a lot less at 8 days than at 21 years. Idiot psychotherapists who would claim otherwise aside, I certainly don't remember mine...nor do I have any particular wish to do so.

Maybe Jewish males who have to wait until their majority to perform a religious requirement will be able to sue the state for their pain and suffering.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

"Wouldn't that pact with the deity mean more if the people involved submitted to the process knowingly?"

Nope. We were all at Sinai. We all accepted the covenant at that time.

At least that's the theological basis :)

Stuart the Viking said...

My personal religon is square set against the genital mutilation of newborn boys.

I have absolutely NOTHING against those who do this as a covenant with their diety. They should be allowed to practice their religion as they see fit. I don't agree with them, but I wouldn't condemn them.

However, those women out there that allow this to be done (or worse, insist upon it*) merely because it's a little easier to make sure little Jr's wee wee is clean are just selfish. After all, a foreskin is NOTHING to how dificult it is to clean up a baby girl's diaper sometimes. For those of you who have never had to do this, just imagine all the places where poo can (and often does) end up in a baby girl's diaper. When my girls were babys, I was often found myself wondering "How the hell do I get the poo out of THERE?!?!?". A foreskin is nothing by comparison.


Timmeehh said...

Roberta, speaking as a male circumcised Gentile, I think you are 100% wrong. I was physically mutilated for no reason and without my consent. Infant males must be protected from greedy doctors and superstitious busybodies. Of course we also need to protect infant females from the barbarians who would circumcise them.

perlhaqr said...

Drang: That's because female circumcision, or anything like it, is already banned in this country.

Anonymous said...

Perlhaqr's comment is nearly verbatim what I was going to put up. Mutilating infants to satisfy ossified dogma is utterly abhorrent.


Roberta X said...

Yeah, well, so are laws that define people's religious practices as "ossified dogma."

I believe this is an area where the law should shaddup, and let everyone have their own damfool opinion and practice. You don't like it? Buy billboards. Refuse to do it to your kids. Print up pamphlets, give speeches, convince. Don't coerce.

Maura said...

Circumcision on the East Coast is a rapidly declining practice - with only about 30-40% of male infants circumcised prior to leaving the hospital at birth. My husband and I went round and round on this - yes or no, should we or shouldn't we? It was decided when we spoke with a man who, due to an injury suffered in a car accident in his late 40's, had to be circumcised. He confided that sex just wasn't the same, and he lamented the injury greatly.

My husband gritted his teeth, nodded, and agreed our son would leave the hospital "not looking like his Dad."

perlhaqr said...

I believe this is an area where the law should shaddup, and let everyone have their own damfool opinion and practice.

So if I lose my left arm in an accident, decide I'm a prophet, and convince all my followers to not only have their left arms amputated, but to amputate the left arms of their children as infants, that's cool, because it's a "religious practice"?

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Perlhaqr: Now you're arguing just for the sake of argument.

Roberta X said...

Perlhaqr: if you say so.

Exatly how much State intervention between partents and children would be enough to suit you?

Should your (or my, or Nathan's) notion's of what is meet and proper overrule the rights of parents? Until I was 4, both of my parents smoked. Indoors. Even in the winter. Should the State have yanked my sickly young self outta there? Fined and/or arrested my parents?

And you, what vile habits, practices or beliefs do you have that endanger your young? Are you feeding them crispy bacon? Playing video games in their presence?

Do minor children belong to their parents or to the State? Pick one.

perlhaqr said...

Nathan: No, I'm not actually. I'm trying to establish a boundary condition.

Roberta: I'll have to get back to you. My desire to protect the innocent is warring with my philosophy as an anarchist, and it's not doing anything positive for my ability to formulate coherent arguments. Or, if you'd prefer to just drop it, say so, and I'll shut up about it.

Roberta X said...

As you wish -- but your own peace of mind, figure out where you stand and stand there.

Acceptance of contradictions are how we end up gettin' rooked out of rights. For instance, someone else could very easily apply your, "My desire to protect the innocent is warring with my philosophy as an anarchist..." to restricting or banning the ownership of firearms. It's all very noble to want to "protect the innocent," but where does it stop? Worse, where ought it start?

My own feeling is the State should butt out unless invited; even then, better runaways than door-kicking. (But I'm not an impartial commenter: I was kind of a runaway, having moved out of my parents house at age 19 without telling anyone).

perlhaqr said...

I recognize that my "desire to protect the innocent" is pretty much purely an emotional reaction. (Yes, I also recognize that this is a fairly terrible place to make laws from.) I watch things like the two women beating up the girls in the McDonald's from last week, and where no one else wanted to get involved, my first instinct is to step in. That video made me absolutely furious.

And that instinct only ramps up when the victims get younger and younger. And between myself being an EMT and my wife being a trauma pharmacist in a local ER, there are things one sees... Pediatric skull fractures. Pediatric rib fractures, with boot tread clearly outlined in raised welts on the kid's back.

I suppose my philosophical answering of your earlier query: Do minor children belong to their parents or to the State? Pick one. would be to respond simply, No. I choose neither. The children belong to themselves.

They have as much right as you or I to be whole in our bodies. Someone needs to defend that right. In the world which we inhabit, that someone is often the State. I don't know how to balance that reality against my desired Anarchotopia outcome of free-market law insurance and court systems.

Look, I recognize that my third to last posting ago in this thread (counting this one) was ... stupid. "Well, what about blah!"

That said, and asking in sincerity because I don't know, shouldn't there be some entity which can step in to provide enforcement of the rights of these children? Even if, in today's world, that entity is the flawed State?

Or should we just say "hey, it's discipline" or "hey, it's religion" or whatever, even if that leads to kids dying because daddy kicked them in the head because they were crying too much? Shouldn't daddy face some sort of result from that?

I mean, ok, in Anarchotopia, the fellow who owns the roads could prohibit Daddy from travelling on them and everyone else could flatly refuse to let him on their property or sell him things from their store, but we don't live in that world.


Roberta X said...

I'm having a little trouble equating "Daddy kicked them..." with a physician or a properly-trained practicioner performing a traditional and symbol-laden bodmod on infant children.

This puts me on the wrong side of the argument in re FGM; I suppose I could argue it's got far less religious justification but that's really appeal-to-authority in support of circumcising males.

I have no good answer here; either one trusts parents and/or the State with their children or not. You can't just turn 'em out to fend for themselves until they are marrying-high.

Anonymous said...

Geez, bris' already have an eight day cooling off period...

Practicality, enforceability, or constitutionality have never stopped a SF ballot initiative. Not even the threat of legal fees and challenges has ever stood in the way. SF is the embodiment of two major liberal imperatives: that

1) Human behavior can be changed through legislation; and

2) Wanting change creates change, no matter how conflicted with reality the wanting may be.

I wish they'd put to vote the idea of seceding from the rest of California...


perlhaqr said...

I'm not attempting to equate them, circumcision is clearly a much more minor injury than a boot to the ribs.

But if we're in black and white "who owns the kid" mode... I don't know how to differentiate.

And Chinese foot binding... where does that fall? It's not an elective limb amputation, (though it's close) and it's not a kick in the ribs or head, but it's more invasive than male circumcision certainly.

Wikipedia states: Evidence suggests that female genital cutting might be a cultural relic from pre-monotheistic African tribal religions, given that the practice is mentioned as far back as 163 BC. Which would seem to give us both a religious context and a long standing cultural practice. 2100+ years is a long time.

But you asked how much intervention between parents and children would be enough to suit me. Given that philosophically, I must answer that any is too much, I don't know how to resolve this.

Sabra said...

I told both husbands flat-out that no son of mine would be unnecessarily losing body parts. As it turns out, I've yet to have a boy. None of my daughters have perforated ears, either.

Disgusting and harmful as I find the practice of altering a child's body without his or her consent, I cannot back further inviting the State into child rearing. God alone knows what they might next decide babies need to be protected from--I can tell you I pissed off at least one doctor by declining to have the baby surgically. I choose to work on education; I wish more pregnancy books gave proper info on the subject.