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GCU Dancer on the Midway
Paul Wright's blog
Link blog: medicine, dance, lindyhop, genital-mutilation 
12th Dec 2011, 12:15 pm
giles
Infant male circumcision is genital mutilation | Martin Robbins | Science | guardian.co.uk
"Men should have the right to choose circumcision, not have the choice forced upon them. Infant circumcision without consent or immediate medical justification is an unjustified violation of basic human rights, that shares more in common with ancient coming-of-age rituals than responsible medical practice." Seems fair enough to me: the only reason we permit this is because of the common error of "respecting" religious opinions.
(tags: circumcision medicine surgery genital-mutilation religion science)
How Doctors Die « Zócalo Public Square
Doctors are better at making end of life choices for themselves than they are for their patients, as they're often hamstrung by patients, families and "the system".
(tags: death medicine health healthcare ethics dying doctors medical)
richardpowers.com
"Richard has been teaching contemporary and historic social dance for over thirty years. He leads workshops around the world and is currently a full-time instructor at Stanford University's Dance Division." Some interesting stuff on teaching, DJing and whatnot.
(tags: dance swing waltz dancing ballroom lindyhop stanford)
Open letter to Bell Pottinger | Bloggerheads
PR firm Bell Pottinger has been editing Wikipedia articles using fake accounts on behalf of their rather unsavoury clientele. When caught out, they responded that they'd done nothing illegal. Great public relations there, chaps.
(tags: astroturfing bellpottinger wikipedia lobbying uk news public-relations)
Comments 
12th Dec 2011, 12:50 pm (UTC)
Seems fair enough to me: the only reason we permit this is because of the common error of "respecting" religious opinions.

Is it, though? I was under the impression that it happened a lot in the USA even among people whose religion has nothing to do with it.
12th Dec 2011, 01:38 pm (UTC)
That's how I understand it, so I think it's religion and culture, not just religion, but I think that much the same arguments apply.

I desperately tried to avoid wading into this debate when it came up on AndrewDucker's links. Basically, I think unnescessary medical procedures on children are wrong, and if they cause significant harm (as in female genital mutilation) they should be stopped. But the situation on male circumcision seems fuzzy: since no-one can point to any clear benefit, it probably shouldn't be done just because of cultural inertia. It seems likely it causes at least some small harm, but as with most controvertial issues everyone seems to disagree vigorously about what studies are valid, and lots of people still claim it's a good thing.

I think it _is_ waning in popularity in America, so hopefully it will eventually go away there. I think it's worth recognising that there's a problem. But my problem is that it's SO central to Jewish and Muslim culture (including many of my friends) you're likely to have to basically go to war to eradicate it, and I don't want that, and that there's so many things which seem clearly clearly bad to fix, that I'm happy to leave this issue till later, even though I don't like ducking the issue...
12th Dec 2011, 02:14 pm (UTC)
But the situation on male circumcision seems fuzzy: since no-one can point to any clear benefit, it probably shouldn't be done just because of cultural inertia. It seems likely it causes at least some small harm, but as with most controvertial issues everyone seems to disagree vigorously about what studies are valid, and lots of people still claim it's a good thing.

I agree that it's much less harmful than FGM, but it's still surgery so carries the risks or surgical intervention for what seem like some pretty hazy benefits. There's also problem of consent, or lack of it: the author of that article is pretty clear that he's not opposed to people choosing to be circumcised at a later date.

But my problem is that it's SO central to Jewish and Muslim culture (including many of my friends) you're likely to have to basically go to war to eradicate it, and I don't want that, and that there's so many things which seem clearly clearly bad to fix, that I'm happy to leave this issue till later, even though I don't like ducking the issue...

There's also the problem that if you do ban it, you'd encourage backstreet circumcisions. The NHS doesn't fund it in most places and there have been public health arguments that it should, to avoid botched operations.

I agree that there are probably more important things to worry about, but I see no problem with social pressure along the lines of "this is a batshit thing to do which religion legitimises".
16th Dec 2011, 11:54 am (UTC)
And yes, I basically agree. It's a bad idea to circumcise everyone for dubious benefits, and agree that driving it underground is a good reason to not instinctively ban it, and that it's a good thing to maintain awareness of it. I guess I just wouldn't want to say "batshit" because I can see why people want to do it, even if I disagree, and I know how describing it like that would make my friends and family feel, although I'd probably use the same language for other things I disagreed with.
12th Dec 2011, 02:02 pm (UTC)
True, in the US it's cultural. You'd've thought it'd make it easier to displace it there since it's a "we've always done this thing" rather than a "God Told Me To Do It" thing.

Edited at 2011-12-12 02:14 pm (UTC)
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