STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Not Your Place

NOTE: This post is ultimately about circumsision, so if discussion of that kind of thing urks you, you might not want to read.

I have some interesting quirks. One of these, is that I cry pretty easy. For a guy, that's not something that's particularly admirable, but I don't care - it's who I am, and I like it. However, there are very specific things that get me emotionally choked up. One of the absolute worst for making me an emotional mess is things to do with family and children. For example, we were watching season 5 of 24, and without giving too much of the story away for those who might like to watch it, there's a bit where some nerve gas gets released into a shopping mall, and a handful of people die. The main character, Jack, knows this is happening and has raced out to try and get people outside, but for some people he's too late. He runs up and sees this little girl, possibly around 10 years old, collapse on the ground and so picks her up and runs outside while telling her to stay with him and all that usual stuff people say when they're trying to stop someone dying. They get her outside and inject her with... something, I dunno, and eventually she comes to. Anyway, as you'd imagine, it's done with that TV drama intensity that you'd expect in a scene like that. The point of the story is that by the end of that scene, I was a blubbering mess. My wife was sitting there having a bit of a giggle, not sure how to respond to my sudden display of emotion, but there was nothing I could do, I just was honestly drawn in to being concerned that the little girl might not make it, and how increadibly sad that would be if it were real.

Anyway, this is not the point of my post.

I stumbled across this site about circumsision the other day, and emailed it to myself so I could read it later. Why? Because the tiny bit that I read at work really hurt me, and that's the point of this post (and of the preceeding diatribe, btw). I had my son circumsised, and I am, and my father is also. I'm pretty sure his dad is too. When my son was born, my wife and I discussed whether or not we would. We researched, we spoke with people. It was important to us that we didn't make a decision on this based on false understanding and information. The understanding we came to was this: opinion on whether circumsision is OK are pretty much divided down the middle. There are plenty of people who will argue that you shouldn't for a variety of reasons, primarily that it's unnecessary in a number of ways. Some argue that it's a positive thing, that it prevents disease and has some other medical and non-medical benefits.

The thing that fires me up about the site above, is that it basically calls me a child abuser. It says that I've mutilated my child. I'm fine with people having opinions, I really am, but this isn't about opinion - it's about someone trying to put legislation in (admittedly not in australia, but that's not really my point) to call illegal actions that I and many, many others made a rational decision on based on weighed up evidence. More then that, the only option that is allowed for a parent not to be an evil child mutilator, is if you were misinformed. So the options are: ignorance, or abuse. I LOVE my son. My priorities in life start like this: God, Wife, Son... and then proceed on from there. I have given up a lot of things for those three, and I have already made the decision that if it was ever needed, I'd give my life up for any of them. I will protect my son from things that will be detrimental to him, but that doesn't mean that I will never let him be hurt. The day he was born, I watched a pediatrition bend his hand over flat against his arm and shove a needle into it. As it turns out, it was completely unnessisary - the needle was antibiotics in case he had an infection, but he didn't. He was just dehydrated because he wasn't feeding well. Should I resent that man for doing what he did? He caused my son unnessisary pain - surely I should feel some anger? The answer of course is no. He was doing what he believed, and we still believe, was best for our son. The same is true of my decision to have him circumsied.

How dare you, writters of that site? Your opinions don't justify the stigma you place on people who actively disagree. Nothing you've said on your site about the physical and mental side-effects of circumsision apply to ANYONE I know who is circumsised. I've never "missed" that part of my body - I don't care that it's not there. Who would? Oh, I know who would - those who would also say you shouldn't discipline your kids, because they need to make their minds up for themselves. That you should expose them to everything you possibly can, because then they'll be able to make decisions based on a full experience. That religious beliefs should be kept out of everywhere except churches with their doors closed, and that you shouldn't teach kids about them because they need to decide for themselves. Loving discipline makes good kids. Direction produces leadership and purpose. Religious beliefs produce and understanding that there are things more important then YOURSELF. And I think that's what this comes down to. The movement of people who says that we need to legislate against circumsision are those who are looking to blame something for their own lack of direction and purpose, and it might as well be this. There are things far more important then your foreskinless penis! There are people dying in your own country for lack of food and housing, and yet you're busy looking at yourself. Grow up, I swear. The same people will happly put half a dosen holes through their kids ear if they feel like. And don't say those just heal - I'm yet to see a person who had pierced ears who isn't left with a scar. A little hard pea-like piece of scar tissue in their earlobe. But you know what? No one will ever rally political support against piercing kids ears because everyone recognises it DOESN'T MATTER. In our sexually-focused society, where your own pleasure in life is all that matters, blaming your missing foreskin for your feeling of emptiness or incompletion might seem like a good idea. But let me put this to you: If it was there, you wouldn't feel any different. How do I know? Well, I don't have a foreskin - but I don't feel empty. Or hurt. Or abused. Or incomplete. I'm just one person - but I'm a 100% bonafide example of someone for whom this has had zero negative impact. My son will be exactly the same, because I'll teach him there's far more important things in life. He's circumsised because it's a reminder that he is a part of something that goes beyond the here and now. He's a part of our family. He's a part of God's family. I don't mind if people don't agree and don't want this for their kids - that's fine, and not a bad thing. Having a choice is a good thing. Just as long as they're willing to accept that there's two sides to the coin and not everybody has to be on your side.

OK, I'm done speaking to people who will never read this anyway. Needless to say, family is a big deal for me. When I get my faux political party policies written, family will feature pretty solidly. Not that I know how to write policy - it'll just be more a collection of what I think should happen politically. However, I've come to the realisation that family as I know it is being erroded and attacked, and I could use that to sound like we should rise up against the oppressors or whatever, but the fact of the matter is it's not going to get any better. People will redefine family based on their own agendas, and legislate to try and tear honest families apart. Eventually I'm sure they'll make it illegal for parents to talk to their kids about God, because that's indoctrinating them, and they have the "right" to make up their own mind. The generation of children who's parents are prevented from raising them - those children I feel sorry for. From where will they draw their direction? Being taught nothing of meaning, they will have to start with nothing, and try and build from there. They'll probably fail for generations to come as they try and regain what their greatgrandparents just took for granted.



Anonymous said...

A few quotes from the site:

"My sexual experiences in life had been so very important to me, and I now felt cheated, robbed of sensations that I would never know"

- There is nothing different to feel! Sex is sex! Positions chnage feeling not a piece of skin, and If you're that desperate put a franger on. Pretend it's your "lost" bit of

And the best one so far:

" When I was younger I used to wish I'd been born in America. Then I learned about circumcision.

I'm glad I was born in Scotland now."

- Because of course they don't perform circumsision in any other country than America...

What a wacky bunch of ill informed individuals...

Nathan Zamprogno said...

FWIW, showing emotion for a guy should not be the issue it once was, maybe. I've never had a problem having a good sob if the occasion warranted. Four Corners last week had an episode on the effects of senile dementia on families. There was a bit where a silver haired lady was staring blankly into space as her husband of 60 years fed her a meal. She didn't recognise him, and kept asking who he was. Dementia is so cruel, so arbitrary; such an awful way to lose the dignity at the end of your life, that I found myself crying openly in the lounge room. And it (the crying) wasn't a problem.