Cheers and Jeers - On Certain Issues of Import

11 June 2011
Bill O'Reilly has his Pinheads and Patriots segment. Stephen Colbert has Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger. Maybe I need similar categories for the people I do and don't agree with - Darlings and Dunces perhaps? Champions and Cockheads? Anyway, I've got one of each today - and at least half that number are not whom I might have expected.

From the "and the horse you rode in on" files, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen has gotten himself in the papers again, declaring that same-sex marriage is a slippery slope that will lead to legalisation of polygamy and incest.

Assuming Jensen was sitting upright in his chair when he wrote this (by no means a guarantee), it should give us all hope. He's certainly not the first person to express such a sentiment, and statements like this show how desperate the Homophobes for Marriage brigade has become. They insult everyone. The community can cope with lots of changes - including the definition of marriage changing from a husband having legal possession of his wife to an equal partnership (although traces of the old custom still remain in archaic customs such as Mr and Mrs His Surname, it's balanced by marriages like mine, where the pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction). But apparently no one can handle same sex marriage.

Aren't we supposed to have equality between the sexes?! If men and women are truly equal, why do you need one of each of them for a marriage? Someone to take the kids to playgroup and someone who knows how to tune in a HD TV perhaps? In my house DH will do the kid stuff and I'm the one who knows how things work. Unless we're still forcing people into codified gender roles, a marriage can work just fine without needing one person of each gender. Not in Jensen's world, though - I'm guessing the man doesn't do an equal share of the housework. Polygamy and incest - well, at least he's not pushing the marriage to dogs line again.


On the other side of the coin, I never expected to be retweeting anything Russell Crowe had to say. Russell Crowe published a series of anti-circumcision tweets in his own inimitable style, railing against the practice: "Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect" and invoking readers who do not agree to unfollow him and and make their departure in an orderly fashion (or to f**k off, for those with less delicate sensibilities). The tweets have since been taken down, replaced by several apologies of sorts: "wasn't intending offense, certainly wasn't intending to provide fodder for lazy journalists. I can't apologize for my heartfelt belief". This isn't really surprising; as soon as I saw the tweets I was waiting for the "Russell Crowe's Bizarre Anti-Circumcision Rant" headlines. Sure enough, he has been attacked in the press as an anti-Semite. I don't get it. What's anti-Semitic about stating that Jewish boys deserve the same protect from painful lifelong procedures that remove healthy, necessary parts of their bodies, leaving them vulnerable to infection and complications, and reduce their sexual pleasure forever? But I really don't want to focus on Jewish circumcision here; there are still a terrifying number of people in the wider community who somehow, think this is okay.

There's a train of thought in the intactivist community that we need to take a "softly softly approach" towards the issue - "please don't circumcise, but if you do, we still respect your choice". I don't agree. The motivation behind going in gently, to pardon the pun, is that a forceful approach will turn people off. Well, it should. The whole issue should be viewed with revulsion by the community. We don't stand by and support people who, despite our best efforts, sexually abuse their children in any other way.  These are not reasonable people here - they are people who defend their right to cut a child's genitals. Education is helpful, sure. There are people who refer to the procedure as a "snip" (actually, no, it's gouging, crushing and cutting large amounts of extremely sensitive flesh), or believe that it's cleaner (this is just nonsense. It's no coincidence that in most boys the foreskin naturally retracts at around the age of toilet training - till then, it's needed to protect the penis from urine and feces in the nappy). Many of these people can be brought around when presented with the facts. Sadly, some can't or won't. They deny the facts ("oh, my son's circ was nothing like any of the videos out there - it was a special painless procedure that has somehow gone completely undocumented") or they even come out and admit they don't care about the pain, risks and disfigurement - what they want ("parent's rights!") is somehow more important.

Considering what they are happy to do to their own children, it takes a brave person to speak out against these creeps. So whilst I'm disappointed that Crowe removed his tweets, I'm glad to see prominent figures speak out against this practice. We need more of it.


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