Tuesday, April 22, 2003

WARNING: Mature subject matter and sexual content.
Andrew Sullivan keeps hammering away on the circumcision issue. As the communists would say, it is no accident.

To judge between the circumcised and uncircumcised penis, one would think, requires a good deal of analytical comparison -- and Sullivan has done plenty of that.

Ad hominem? Homophobia? No, not at all. It is Sullivan himself who has made a public issue of his homosexuality. And when someone who has such wide experience with male genitalia begins advocating foreskin envy, wouldn't we be a bit naive to think that the one had nothing to do with the other?

To the issue, briefly ... Circumcision is not "mutilation." Unlike the ghastly procedure known as "female circumcision" -- or, more accurately, female genital mutilation (FGM) -- the surgical removal of the foreskin does not impair the essential function of the sexual organ. The sexual response of the circumcised penis in arousal, orgasm and reproduction is normal, and in most ways indistinguishable from that of its uncircumcised counterpart. (Yes, I realize there is a cottage industry dedicated to demonstrating the many wonders of the foreskin, but am unpersuaded by such blatant special pleading.)

Attempts to argue that circumcision is analagous to FGM are absurd. FGM generally involves clitoridectomy and excision of the labia minora, destroying organs essential to female sexual pleasure, and often also involves "infibulation," leaving the victim with a narrow, scar-encrusted vaginal opening that makes sex extremely painful and makes childbirth difficult and dangerous. For circumcision to be analogous to FGM, it would have to involve not merely the removal of the foreskin, but also the excision of the glans and much of the penile meatus, as well as some sort of butchery to the scrotum. The comparison just won't withstand scrutiny.

Form follows function, and if both the "cut" and "uncut" members function properly, the distinction of form is not exactly a civil rights issue. The Jews have been circumcising their sons for upwards of 3,000 years, as have Muslims for 1,300 years. With them it is a religious principle. Most American Protestants adopted the practice in the 20th century for reasons of hygiene. In the industrial West, circumcision became a matter of parental preference, informed by family tradition or pediatric advice.

So long as chastity and modesty were societal norms, there was no way for circumcision to become an issue of public discussion. In an age when the vast majority of American women married the only man they ever slept with, most women never saw a penis other than their husband's, their son's, or perhaps a brother or two, so certainly women in the pre-Sixties era would have had no basis for comparison between "cut" and "uncut." (Even among today's liberated women, I suspect, most have no strong preference in this matter.) And in the old days, men might have had the occasion to observe other penises in the locker room shower or in the Army barracks, but they wouldn't have spent much time staring. So there was no real reason, back then, for a circumcised man to compare himself favorably or unfavorably to his uncircumcised peer, or vice versa.

It is, then, the sexualization of American society over the past 40 years that has given rise to the contention over circumcision. Promiscuity and pornography have permitted a greater scope for comparative anatomy. Women get breast augmentation and fret over their too-fat thighs. Men trek to the gym seeking the perfect "six pack" abdomen, and wonder if they should get laser treatment for the hair on their backs, or just wax it.

This is the fertile ground from which has sprung our contemporary Cult of the Uncut, a foreskin fetish increasingly common among circumcised men. Straight men, from viewing porn, or gay men, from more intimate perusal, have become obsessed with the Other. Like the Connecticut WASP who decorates his home with Africana, or British schoolboys obsessed with American blues, the circumcised man suffering from foreskin fever is experiencing what can only be described as xenophilia -- a perverse preference for the strange and foreign over the local and familiar.

If Andrew Sullivan feels damaged in having been surgically deprived of the Joys of Foreskin-dom, well, what is his basis for this angst? Is there some sort of dysfunction or inadequacy involved? Having gotten a few decades of quite satisfactory service from my own circumcised unit, I certainly feel no need to complain. If uncircumcised fellows (and their partners) are similarly satisfied with their own equipment, fine for them. But this absurd campaign of invidious distinctions, apparently designed to make circumcised men feel as if they're victims of oppression, serves no good purpose. I'm having a Rodney King moment: Can't we all just get along?

Whether your Little Soldier is wearing a helmet or a hood, be at peace with your penis. Covet not thy neighbor's foreskin. Or lack thereof.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003


Hello Bloggy's Pentagon correspondent, Mel Brooks, has acquired a classified transcript of a secret meeting where the Defense Department planned its new Iraqi war strategy, dubbed "Operation Blazing Saddles."

DOD assistant undersecretary Hedley Lamarr was wondering how the allied coalition could overcome resistance in the key crossroads town of Iraq Ridge, where villagers loyal to Saddam Hussein were blocking the allied advance to Baghdad.

The situation seemed hopeless, until Lt. Gen. Taggart offered a helpful suggestion ....

Taggart: I got it! I got it!
Hedley Lamarr: You do?
Taggart: We'll work up a "Number 6" on 'em.
Hedley Lamarr: "Number 6"? I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that one...
Taggart: Well, that's where we go a-ridin' into town, a whompin' and whompin' every livin' thing that moves within an inch of its life. Except the women folks, of course.
Hedley Lamarr: You spare the women?
Taggart: NAW! We rape the shit out of them at the Number 6 Dance later on!
Hedley Lamarr: Marvelous!

Monday, March 31, 2003

Peter Arnett gets fired by NBC for giving an interview to Iraqi state TV, saying "Iraqi resistance" had thwarted allied war plans.

This shows, I think, why left-wingers like Eric Alterman can claim that there is no liberal bias in the media. Alterman supposes that "liberal" means what most of us would consider "far left" -- anti-capitalist, anti-development, anti-American. By Alterman's political calculus, an ordinary conservative Republican is "far right," while liberals like Joe Lieberman and John Edwards are "centrist." To Alterman, "liberal" means Maxine Waters, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich. And indeed, that fringe-left socialist perspective is not much in evidence in mainstream broadcast news reporting.

The Arnett incident shows why there is no "liberal media" in the Altermanesque sense of the term -- Americans simply won't stand for it. Arnett has once before been burned by his anti-American bias, when his CNN "Valley of Death" story claimed that the U.S. had used nerve gas against American deserters in Vietnam. Plenty of folks gripe about less-than-patriotic coverage of the U.S. military on the major networks, but when a subtle slant becomes outright slander -- well, you just can't get away with that.

And it's the same throughout the media. Folks will gripe and grumple about liberal bias in stories about the economy, the budget, elections, crime, race, religion, and the environment. But that bias is only effective to the extent that it is too subtle for the average viewer or reader to catch -- subtle enough that Alterman can pretend it doesn't exist. What Alterman wants -- a media with an explicit socialist agenda -- cannot find an audience in America. We may not be an outright conservative nation, but we are definitely not a socialist nation, and Alterman can't understand that.

Friday, March 21, 2003


The charming Rachel Lucas catches the CNN pinhead at his most jaw-droppingly stupid:

"What's to stop the Iraqis from seeing these tanks and sending out a few planes to take them out?"

Aaron was talking about the Third Infantry Division.

To answer your question, you pinhead: COMPLETE AIR SUPERIORITY! Any Iraqi military pilot stupid enough to taxi to a runway would probably be blown to itty-bitty Iraqi bits before he could take off. If he managed to get airborne, however, he would have to deal with this ...

And, of course, would be blown to itty-bitty Iraqi bits. There is simply no way, Aaron Brown, you ugly whore you, for Iraqi aircraft to threaten U.S. ground forces. As Rachel put it, it's a metaphysical impossibility. But I guess you'd have to have half an ounce of common sense to understand that, wouldn't you?



Just when you think Aaron Brown couldn't possibly be more stupid, he shocks and awes you. I walk past the TV tuned to CNN and the pathetic pinhead is suggesting that coalition forces could face a Mogadishu-type situation ("Blackhawk Down") when ground forces reach Baghdad.

OK, boys and girls, what was the one thing U.S. forces requested -- but the Clinton administration denied them -- in Mogadishu?


Anybody who's read the book or seen the movie should get the significance of this. Denied tanks and APCs, the Rangers were forced to go into Mogadishu in Humvees, and were spectacularly vulnerable to small-arms fire.

Obviously, this will not be the case in Iraq, where the U.S.-led coalition is advancing (you can watch it live on TV) with hundreds of tanks, hundreds more armored personnel carriers, and enough air power to blow the living hell out of anything that tries to stop them. There is nothing -- nothing -- in the Iraqi arsenal that can stop the M1A1 Abrams tank. So there is zero possibility of a "Mogadishu" in Baghdad, which anybody with a room-temperature IQ ought to be able to understand. But that doesn't include Aaron Brown.

Brown is not alone in his monumental ignorance of military basics. The 24/7 coverage of the war has put a bunch of pretty TV people in the uncomfortable position of having to fill hour after hour with chatter about the war, giving them ample opportunity to demonstrate their stupidity. Maybe this has something to do with our educational system, which has downgraded military history (battles, generals, et ceter) in favor of lots of PC multicultural "social studies" nonsense. The result is that there are many reasonable well-educated people who don't know their flank from their rear, so to speak.

You would think that such people would, in recognition of their own ignorance, be a bit humble when dealing with the military. You would be wrong. These arrogant TV twerps, who don't know Cannae from Caen, insist on acting soooo authoritative. Instead of asking basic questions to get information -- "Colonel, what can you tell us about this attack?" -- they ask complicated questions meant to show how smart they are: "Colonel, given the fierce resistance of the elite Republican Guards, how many American boys will go home in bodybags before you take Basra?"

These idiots have learned all the wrong lessons of the Vietnam War. They imagine that every war will turn into a quagmire and a bloody American defeat. Every battle will be the siege of Khe Sanh. U.S. generals are all bloodthirsty idiots. And the only honorable posture in time of war is to demand "peace."

Their wrongheadedness, combined with their astonishing ignorance, is evident every time they open their mouths.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003


OK, read this and ask yourself, "What's wrong with this picture?"
Ono waging full-page ad campaign for peace

Yoko Ono paid $42,000 for a full-page ad in today's [San Francisco] Chronicle, because "it is a pretty urgent message," she said by e-mail Tuesday. "It is my contribution to the community."

The San Francisco version of Ono's message is "Imagine Peace Spring 2003." Ono has taken out identical or similar ads making brief statements in last week's Los Angeles Times, the L.A. Weekly and the Village Voice, and another will appear in the Washington Post this weekend.

She prefers free weeklies to commercial newspapers.

"If I knew another paper like the L.A. Weekly and Village Voice, I would have chosen that in San Francisco," she writes. "Those two papers can be picked up by anybody in the city without spending money. They are truly for all PEOPLE" (the capital letters are hers).

L.A. Weekly, Village Voice, NY Times, San Francisco Chronicles -- all are newspapers in communities where people ALREADY OPPOSE THE WAR!

Targeting millions of left-wing urban pacifists with an anti-war message is just typical liberal stupidity. It's a waste of Ono's money and effort. Her ads cannot possibly inspire San Franciscans or Greenwich Villagers to be any more anti-war than they already are.

Why isn't Ono taking out newpaper ads in conservative places like Tulsa, Tupelo and Tallahassee? Why not try to inspire anti-war sentiment out there in 'red-state' America?

Why? Because Ono is a feeble-minded liberal idiot, that's why. Not to mention, she can't sing a note, her "art" is pretentious nonsense, and she will forever be hated by millions as The Bitch Who Broke Up The Beatles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


As our friend, John Ray from "up north" Down Under, points out, an ambitious public school "choice" policy in Florida is foundering on the rocky shores of racial realtity:

"Pinellas school officials acknowledged Tuesday they are limiting enrollment in several elementary schools, including the brand new Douglas Jamerson and James Sanderlin elementary schools in south Pinellas. ... The reason, in part, is that not enough nonblack students want to attend schools in predominantly black neighborhoods. ... [S]chool officials might not have enough nonblack kids to meet the all-important race ratios. ... under an agreement with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the district agreed to prevent any school from having more than 42 percent black students for four years."

Que pasa? The secret truth — what no one will dare say — is that the overwhelming majority of parents (black, white, "other") do not want their children to attend a majority-black school. Why does the NAACP not want any school to be more than 42 percent black? Because they assume that any school with 43 percent or more black students would be "segregated" and therefore bad. Non-black parents make the same assumption, and therefore, there aren't enough available non-black kids to make this "choice" experiment work.

Another way of saying this is that both black and white parents consider the term "good school" to designate a majority-white school. Black parents back school desegregation programs because they want their kids to have access to "good" (i.e., white) schools. And in communities with large black populations and vigorous desegregation policies, white parents typically respond by moving to suburban districts with "good" (i.e., white) schools. So that both desegregation policies and the typical "white flight" response to those policies are different expressions of the same (unspoken) assumption.

Now, the sentiments of those parents who participate in "white flight" (choosing homes in "good" school districts with relatively few black students) are typically characterized as racism. But this ignores the fact that the NAACP, in pushing for integrated schools, is acting on the same sentiment, i.e., "good school = majority white school" or, perhaps more accurately, "bad school = majority black school."

This has been the fundamental problem with school desegregation since the Brown v. Board decision in 1954. The implicit logic of the Supreme Court's decision was that white schools were better than black schools, in an almost metaphysical way. The import of Brown was not -- as liberals then claimed, and conservatives now claim in retrospect -- was not, I repeat, to impose a regime of "colorblindness" in matters of education. Rather, the Court reasoned, black children were being denied a positive good: attending school with white children. (If you doubt this interpretation of the Court's logic, I invite you to carefully study the decision and its appendices.)

If this was what the nation's highest tribunal believed, and was indeed the argument of the NAACP, then the same logic had quite opposite import for white parents. Who could blame white parents for reasoning that, if even blacks considered it a wrong for their children to be forced to attend school with other black children, then court-ordered desgregation was now wronging white parents by forcing their children to attend school with black children.

All this was troublesome enough when it was applied to the Jim Crow South in the 1950s and '60s, and it proved no less troublesome when applied to Detroit and Boston in the 1970s. When white parents in liberal Northern cities rioted in reaction to court orders compelling their children to attend school with black children, it should have been obvious that the entire edifice of Brown had been erected on a weak philosophical and legal foundation. Remember Ayn Rand's dictum: Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

Blacks and whites are equal, or they are not. If the races are equal, then no matter your race, it makes no difference if your child's classroom is 99 percent black or 99 percent white. American parents do not believe this. By their choices -- blacks in pursuit of "integration," whites through "white flight" -- both black and white parents exhibit a profound, if unconscious, belief in white superiority.

However mischievous such a belief may be be, per se, it is all the more damaging because it cannot be publicly expressed. Indeed, many of those who most vociferously argue for racial equality are equally vociferous in acting on premises of white superiority. White liberals like Bill and Hillary Clinton refused to send their daughter Chelsea to Washington, D.C.'s majority-black public schools, but then again so do the affluent blacks in Washington like Clarence Thomas. When the privileged and the powerful of both races in the national capital seek out majority-white schools for their children, why should we be surprised at similar behavior by ordinary parents in Pinellas County, Florida?

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


Yes, it's true, there is a columnist worse than The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, who actually manages to write one or two columns a year that make sense. Bob Herbert of The New York Times, on the other hand, is consistently, 100% wrong. (I leave open the possibility that there may be a Herbert column that makes sense, but I just haven't seen one yet.)

I am thankful to Friedrich of 2Blowhards.com for calling attention to the idiocy of Herbert's argument for affirmative action:

Bob Herbert in the New York Times of February 24 spells out the logic behind affirmative action in an Op-Ed piece by. In it he makes the following rather oddly paired assertions:

A glance at the current challenges to affirmative action in higher education would show little more than the fact that a number of white applicants have asserted in court that they were illegally denied admission to college or law school because of preferences given to racial or ethnic minorities.

...The United States is a better place after a half-century of racial progress and improved educational opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities and women. We have all benefited and, and voluntary efforts to continue that progress, including the policies at Michigan, are in the interest of us all. [emphasis added].

Friedrich offers an excellent dissection of Herbert's claim of universal benefit for affirmative action. I think the argument of universal benefit, whatever the issue, is one of the most transparent frauds in political rhetoric. Whenever it is argued that some proposal or program benefits everyone, you may be sure that some special interest will reap the direct and immediate benefits.

Suppose the county roads commission proposes to spend a few million to widen Route 5. "Everyone will benefit," they say -- and perhaps rightly so, in the most general sense. Improved transportation spurs economic growth and makes travel easier for everyone in the county. But the highway contractors will be the immediate beneficiaries, pocketing whatever amount of the taxpayers' largesse is voted by the commissioners for the Route 5 project. The secondary beneficiaries will be the property owners and real-estate developers along the Route 5 corridor who stand to gain from expanded commercial opportunities created by improved highway access. So while these interests reap benefits that are immediate and tangible, those taxpayers who live on the other side of the county -- who aren't paving contractors, who seldom travel Route 5, and who own no property there -- receive a benefit that is remote and abstract.

This is not to say that we shouldn't widen Route 5 -- or that we should not have affirmative action, more to the point. Rather, it is to say that we ought not kid ourselves about who is benefitting from government action. The "diversity" rationale is invoked to claim that the university is doing a favor to white and Asian students by imposing a quasi-quota system that ensures that they will be exposed to more black and Hispanic students. The absurdity of that claim ... well, I could go on forever. In fact, affirmative action is a sort of programmatic welfare giveaway, based on the university's perception of blacks and Hispanics as academic charity cases who can't be expected to meet common standards of academic achievement. Blacks and Hispanics are the direct and immediate beneficiaries -- they receive admission based purely on their ethnicity -- while whites and Asians are sold the "diversity" myth as a way to secure their cooperation in their own dispossession. And this dispossession is perpetrated by an institution supported by the tax dollars and votes of the dispossessed. It's suicidal, and sane people would never have stood for it.

People ought to be honest about what's going on -- that's all I'm saying.