Anti-Circumcision Comic Hero’s Anti-Semitic Undertones do Disservice to Noble Cause
Moral Low Ground believes that the practice of circumcising newborn baby boys is barbaric and will, like the debilitating foot binding in old China or the savage clitoridectomies in parts of Africa today, eventually come to be seen as baseless and uncivilized cruelty. We also back San Francisco’s ballot initiative to ban the unwarranted procedure within city limits, and being that we’re based in the City by the Bay, look forward to voting against circumcision this November.
The man behind the drive to ban the tip snip, however, has done his cause a great disservice with the introduction of a comic book titled Foreskin Man, which stars an eponymous hero who crusades against evil Orthodox Jews led by Monster Mohel (a mohel performs ritual Jewish circumcision on eight-day old infants).
Whereas Foreskin Man is a strapping blonde with bulging muscles, Monster Mohel is a blood-thirsty, hooked-nose creature with a claws for hands and a sinister grin whose mouth positively waters at the prospect of wrapping his gomco clamp around some poor unsuspecting newborn’s tender knob.
You see the problem with this.
Nancy Appel, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League, sees a “direct parallel” between the Foreskin Man comic and the Nazi propaganda of the 1930s.
Matthew Hess, the activist who conceived Foreskin Man, told the Associated Press that he did so to raise awareness of his national effort to ban circumcision. Hess, who founded MGMbill (for male genital mutilation), is responsible for getting the proposed ban on San Francisco’s ballot. That measure would make it a misdemeanor to circumcise males younger than 18 years old when there is no medical necessity for the procedure.
Hess’ efforts began back in 2003, but he had great difficulty getting people to pay attention until he created Foreskin Man. “This is generating a lot of attention that is pushing people to look into this a little bit more,” Hess told the Associated Press. “The more you look into it, the worse it gets. It is a serious human rights violation. Now a lot of people are going to learn about circumcision and be thinking about it before the November ballot.”
Yes, but at what cost? One look at the Aryanesque hero (his caped suit is even blue and yellow, the national colors of Sweden, a country that Hitler greatly admired), or even more so, the evil Monster Mohel (who bears an uncanny resemblance to the “evil” Jews depicted in the propaganda cartoons of the Third Reich) is enough to send shivers down the spine of any Holocaust survivor. That alone should tell you everything you need to know about Foreskin Man. That alone is enough to compel condemnation.
Hess, who coincidentally also shares the surname of Hitler’s right-hand man, insists he is “not a Nazi,” pointing to the fact that Foreskin Man saves Jewish babies from the horrors of genital mutilation. And we don’t doubt that he’s not an anti-Semite. But in Hess’ zeal to raise awareness of his noble cause he has clearly crossed an uncrossable line, and in doing so may have done more harm than good to his effort.
There are those who defend the barbarism of male genital mutilation on religious grounds, arguing that banning it would amount to an attack on their First Amendment rights. But slavery and the stoning of adulterers are also sanctioned in the Old Testament, and if someone tried to defend the buying and selling of human chattel or the execution of cheating spouses on Biblical grounds, they’d surely be run out of town (at least this town). The religious contention, therefore, is morally bankrupt.
But those who say the attack on circumcision is born from the sinister recesses of anti-Semitism now have themselves quite the poster child to point to, thanks to Hess’s reprehensible Foreskin Man comics. You can be assured that more than one San Franciscan will remember this come November, and cast their vote accordingly. In his quest for publicity, Hess has shot himself– and potentially, every baby boy born within the 49 square miles of heaven known as San Francisco– squarely in the dick.
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