© MGMBill'Foreskin man' in action
Even though they'd be a great medium for it, comic books aren't known for tackling sensitive social, religious or cultural topics in an overt way. People who read comic books are looking for fantasy and escapism rather than intellectual stimulation - just like people who read men's magazines. Maybe that's why a new comic produced by Matthew Hess, the president of MGMBill, an organisation that has authored a bill that has been submitted to the US congress to ban Male Genital Mutilation (hence MGMBill), has made the headlines recently.

Unashamedly titled Foreskin man, the comic book series features a blonde superhero doing battle with the evil 'Mohel' (Mohel being the Hebrew word for a Jewish person trained in the practice of Brit milah or Bris (circumcision).

I have to admit that my first reaction on hearing about the comic was 'what a good idea!', but when I saw the comic and the reaction it had received from certain quarters, my reaction was more along the lines of 'this the best idea since anti-Vegetarian man!'

It seems a little weird to me that I would actually have to write this but, I'm not exactly a fan of genital mutilation, regardless of the justification, hence my appreciation of Foreskin Man.

So circumcision, what's it all about?

According to the WHO, 30% of the world's men are circumcised. Apparently a majority of Muslim men are circumcised, and while there is no specific age when the 'procedure' should be carried out, it is commonly done at 7 years old or later. At the very least, a 7 year old (or older boy) has some capacity to understand and prepare himself for the event, and at that age a local anesthetic is used because everyone knows 7 year old boys feel pain. In the case of Jews however, the Bris is invariably performed on the 8th day after birth, and anesthetic is NOT commonly used because, as everyone knows, 8 day old boys feel no pain.

While some nut jobs still think that circumcision is necessary for 'health' reasons, the origins of this repugnant idea are to be found in religion, which just makes it all the more insane. I mean, 'god told me to cut my son's penis'?? Or even worse, 'god told me not to use anesthetic when I have my 8 day old son's penis cut'? Or, 'would you like to attend our son's 'Bris this weekend? The Mohel is going to chop off a part of his penis and then suck some blood out of it with his mouth. There'll be nibbles!' What is there NOT to repulse any normal person about that scenario? I mean, we're talking about an extremely painful procedure on a child that has only just been born! (in the case of Jews). What kind of first (and life-long lasting) impression is that going to give to the child? Then again, we're probably not talking about 'normal people' here in the sense of people free from mind-programming of one sort or another, and the fact that 33% of parents in the oh, so 'civilized' USA subject their children to this neanderthal procedure is kind of unbelievable when you consider that only 2% of the US population is Jewish. That's not to say that there may not be a rational (in a psychologically messed up way) origin to the whole idea of 'peepee whacking', as I've heard it euphemistically called.

The 8th day after birth idea is Jewish and apparently inspired by the wrathful Jewish god 'Yahweh' (who, by the way, seems for all the world to be some kind of ancient alien or something, but that's a whole other story).

In Genesis Chapter 17, verses 10 through 14, 'Yahweh' promises Abraham that he'll do lots of wonderful things for him, on one condition: he must make sure that all his peeps chop a chunk off their willies, or to be more precise:
"This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your posterity after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token or sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner not of your offspring. He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your money, must be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the male who is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."
It's kind of funny (in a full-blown psychologically-warped way) that so many people look at verses like that and think to themselves, 'where do I sign up!?'

Getting to the point; this kind of infant torture, especially within the first couple of weeks of life, is obviously pure evil, but it also has scary social health implications, and the reason is 'imprinting'.

Thanks to the work of people like Konrad Lorenz we know that animals like geese and monkeys are 'imprinted' early in life with not only ideas of what a 'mother figure' is, but also with very basic 'attitudes' and 'beliefs'. For example, the geese experiments determined that, within a few hours of birth, geese will bond with something, anything, and forever after recognize it as their mother. Since monkeys have a broader range of measurable reactions and monkey 'emotions' than geese (and are closely related to humans - some more than others) those experiments produced results that had interesting implications for humans. For example, it was determined that if a monkey does not receive motherly stimulation before he is a certain number of weeks old, he will grow up to be cold, aloof, and unfriendly to his own offspring. Monkey's also have a 'mother imprint window' during which time they will bond with almost anything that loosely resembles a monkey mother, although the window is a few weeks, rather than a few hours, after birth.

In the case of humans, the general idea is that, when born, the brain/nervous system/body complex of a child is like a blank slate, but with a special natural disposition to accepting certain types of 'writing' at certain stages. The concept of imprinting applies to senses, motor functions, emotions and thinking but the windows of imprinting are different for each function. There are apparently three periods of imprinting in a child's life, in Freudian terms these are 'oral', 'anal' and 'genital' or just the first, second and third 'circuits'.

So as concerns eighth day after birth circumcision on human babies, that would be the 'first circuit imprinting' that is affected. This first circuit imprinting is most often (for obvious reasons) done by what is perceived to be the mother or first mothering object (and for humans there is usually a real mother available). This imprinting can be conditioned by nourishment or threat, and is mostly concerned with what is safe and what is not safe. Trauma (as in the child getting its 'peepee whacked') during this phase can cause an unconsciously motivated mechanical retreat from anything threatening to physical safety and can last a life time.

In a medical paper in the 1992 Sept-Oct edition of the Journal of Midwifery, the authors state that circumcision involves "excruciating pain, perinatal encoding of the brain with violence, interruption of maternal-infant bonding and betrayal of infant trust." The British Medical Association stated in 2006 that "it is now widely accepted, including by the BMA, that this surgical procedure [circumcision] has medical and psychological risks." No shit Sherlock!

In 2001, Sweden passed a law allowing only persons certified by the National Board of Health to circumcise infants, requiring a medical doctor or an anesthesia nurse to accompany the circumciser and for anesthetic to be applied beforehand. In 2001, the World Jewish Congress stated that this constituted the "first legal restriction on Jewish religious practice in Europe since the Nazi era." A word of advice for the World Jewish Congress: when the government of a country attempts to protect your babies from excruciating pain with the simple use of anesthetic, it's doesn't look good when you imply that they are Nazis for doing so.

All of which gives us lots of food for thought about why our society appears to be so dysfunctional. The question is, did it have to be dysfunctional already for such a barbaric idea as circumcision to be adopted by so many, or is it so dysfunctional (partly) because 30% of men are circumcised?

Since people who have been traumatized during the imprinting phase of the first circuit tend to view other people in an 'us and them' way; since they tend to easily feel threatened by disapproval because disapproval suggests the idea of extinction or loss of food supply; and since virtually all Jewish men were circumcised 8 days after they were born; what can all that tell us about the history of the 'Middle East conflict', its causes and ongoing lack of solutions? And, finally, since those who have been negatively imprinted at this stage tend to have a chronic muscular armoring that prevents proper, relaxed breathing and are 'up tight', is the Éiriú Eolas programme their best hope for recovery?

Getting back to Foreskin Man. Unsurprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League has been quick to defend the archaic and probably psychopathically-inspired practice of cutting off the foreskin of Jewish babies at a crucial and very vulnerable time by dragging out the old 'anti-Semitism' canard:
"with its grotesque anti-Semitic imagery and themes, reaches a new low and is disrespectful and deeply offensive," Nancy J. Appel, ADL Associate Regional Director, said in a statement Friday."
Sure, Foreskin Man tends to vilify the 'Mohel', but it's a comic book! It's meant to have an arch evil bad guy, and the author assures us that other practitioners of circumcision will be dealt with in a similar way. So someone tell the ADL to get off its high horse, and that the only thing grotesque, low, disrespectful and deeply offensive about this topic is the practice of mutilating 8 day old children.

So I'm with Foreskin Man. The world needs superheroes who aren't afraid to take on the most entrenched, and frankly screwed up, ideas that, for some ungodly reason, still hold sway over our increasingly uncivilised world. And while I have no way of knowing, it would be rather ironic if the creator of Foreskin Man, Matthew Hess, turned out to be circumcised (and Jewish) because he could make a pretty good argument that Foreskin Man is simply a result of the negative first circuit imprinting he experienced. How would the ADL deal with that one I wonder?