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This Day in My History

2001:  Celebrations
2002:  Things I Can't Say
2003:  Getting By with a Little Help from my Friends
2004:  Crazy Mum
2005 Off the Top of My Head

2006:  What Went Wrong?

"Les Liaisons Dangereuses"

Books Read in 2007

Updated 2/23:
"The Christmas Shoes"
"The Ultimate Gift"
"Those Who Save Us"


"Community Meals, 2006"

Community Meals
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Flash version here

Mefeedia Video Archive

My Favorite Video Blogs

Desert Nut

(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
The Wilhelm Scream
History of "The Wilhelm Scream"
Introducing "The Book"
Cat vs. Cow
Penguins Chasing a Butterfly
Kitten on the Keys

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Walt's Retirement

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25 February 2007

I listened to Dr. Dean Edell on the ride home from my mother's on Friday.  He did quite a long segment on circumcision and the arguments for and against infant circumcision.

You know, when I gave birth to Ned, and then three other boys, I never even questioned whether they would be circumcised or not.  It was just what you "did."  It was a regular medical procedure that was recommended, just like vaccinations or any of the other things that we did for our children on the advice of our pediatricians.  Yeah, we knew it would hurt a bit, but so did injections and the doctors recommended it.

So all four boys were circumcised and I am now publicly apologizing to all four of them, even the two dead ones.

There has been great outcry in recent years over genital mutilation of young girls in Third World countries and we are appalled at the pain and suffering that is inflicted on these young girls, and yet circumcision is still a routine procedure for newborn baby boys in the United States (though Dr. Edell says that more people now are opting not to have their sons routinely circumcised).

All I can suggest is that anybody who feels s/he has strong opinions in favor of circumcision watch this video, imagine it's your baby lying there, and see how you feel after.  YouTube will tell you that it contains explicit material so you must acknowledge that before you can see the video...and it does contain explicit, though certainly not prurient, material.  It shows, close up, the actual circumcision of a 1 day old infant.  It's a 9 minute video and I only lasted 2 minutes.  It wasn't the procedure itself that got me (I'm good with all that medical stuff), but it was the blood curdling screams of this 1 day old infant, and realizing that this is what I had given permission for my pediatrician to do to our sons.

Knowing what I know now, there is no way in hell that I would agree to such a barbaric practice, which has apparently been abandoned in most developed countries where it used to be a common procedure on newborn males.

Routine circumcision apparently began in the early 1800s to prevent masturbation...our old sex hang-ups once again.  To prevent young children from exploring their bodies, we mutilated them, causing them excruciating pain in the process. 

For those who are unaware of exactly how the procedure is done, this is from a No-Circ pamphlet, which describes it (though the video will have a greater impact):

The baby is placed spread-eagle on his back on a board and his arms and legs are strapped down so that he can't move.  His genitals are scrubbed and covered with antiseptic. His foreskin is torn [emphasis mine] from his glans and slit lengthwise so that the circumcision instrument can be inserted.  Then his foreskin is cut off.

Think of how much a paper cut hurts, then envision a newborn baby having the hypersensitive covering of his penis torn and slit...without anesthesia (which can be life-threatening to a baby).

It is a subject I never really had much of an opinion about before.  I have a very strong one now.  For further information, check The Circumcision Resource Center or The National Organization of Circumcision Resource Center (No-Circ).

There is a movement in Africa today, apparently, for circumcision as a way of lowering the incidence of AIDS, the theory being that it is cleaner and they figure they can reduce new cases of AIDS by several thousand over the next few years.  As Dr. Edell pointed out, the cost of soap compared with the cost of sending surgeons to African to perform circumcisions seems to make the choice a no-brainer.... but when have we human beings ever acted in a logical fashion?

* * *

One of the things I came home for this weekend was to see a workshop performance by a young woman actress whose work I like very much.  It was raining tonight, but we dutifully drove in to Sacramento to go to the show (I will be writing a feature article about her when this one-woman show is finally finished and she is ready to open it "for real").  Drove all the way in to Sacramento--and the building was dark and locked up.  I'm slightly pissed that she didn't think to let me know the performance had been cancelled, since she had made it a point to invite me and I had double-checked with her about time and location.  But only slightly pissed, because I really wasn't in a mood to go to another show tonight anyway!



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