by Drew Martin
Last night I saw Michelangelo's David in Union Square. It was not as some art-in-the-park replica but rather he was on literature being passed out by a group of anti-circumcision guys; all young and good-looking.
At first I passed by them but then I turned around and picked up their flyers. The piece with David on it had the tagline Born Perfect. Keep Him That Way.
I started talking with a young Australian guy who was ecstatic to learn that while I was cut like most boys in America in my generation, I was adamantly opposed to it for my two sons. Having a daughter first was a relief to delay the decision until some time later because the hospital puts a lot of pressure on your to do it a day after the birth. It makes sense for them and the doctors because they get to cash in on this billion-dollar industry, not just from the procedure but from the sales of the foreskins to beauty companies. But no matter how one looks at it, it is genital mutilation and it leads to the deaths of hundreds of babies each year or life-long problems such as accidental castration - that's a pretty big problem.
The Aussie explained that the cut rate down under is much lower than the States because the procedure is not covered by insurance. Here it is just part of the hospital-birth package deal.
Most of what the young man said was interesting, although I had heard a lot of it before. The one thing that absolutely blew my mind was that the biggest advocate for it in America was John Harvey Kellogg. Yes, the man that invented Kellogg's Cornflakes ushered in the nationwide call for circumcision in 1877 to curb male masturbation to uphold the moral values of the Victorian period. Fortunately the foreskin was already carved in stone of some of the world's greatest sculptures, which definitely influenced my decision to leave my boys intact because of my appreciation of the male body as they presented it. That, and a decisive moment in 1992, shortly after arriving to live in Prague. I was privy to a conversation at a friend's apartment where a young, attractive American woman who had dated circumcised Americans prior to her uncut Czech boyfriend was asked which she preferred: foreskin! I remember telling myself at that time to keep her enthusiastic response in mind if I had to make that decision for a baby boy entering the world, which I had to do in 2000 and 2007.