August 14, 2000 11:17 AM   Subscribe

YEEEEOUCH!!!!! - "...writhed in pain, teeth bared as he saw all the treasures he had carefully preserved for the big day drop to the polythene bag he was standing on,"
posted by Nyarlathotep (3 comments total)
This brings up a question I've always wondered about, why is circumcism present in so many cultures. It seems weird if not downright crazy to me. I'm happily uncut.
posted by skallas at 3:29 PM on August 14, 2000

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few reasons it probably developed.

Cleanliness. Yeah, sure, we've got showers and stuff now, but when time between bathings was measured in lifetimes, things probably got pretty ucky down there.

Bravery/Courage/Strength, etc., etc... what better way to prove how well you endure pain by snipping an awfully sensitive spot.

For the record, I'm happily cut. Never known it any other way, so it doesn't make much difference to me.
posted by cCranium at 3:34 PM on August 14, 2000

On a slightly different subject, anyone who's read the book Shogun will be familiar with the concept of a "second" assisting someone committing sepuku. The theory is that the person is going to stick a knife in the gut, but in actual practice few people really have the ability to do that. So someone stands behind the guy committing sepuku, and as he reaches for the knife, he is beheaded by the guy behind using a katana.

In "The Five Rings", a very important book written by Myamoto Musashi dating from shortly after the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate, he says that you should never be a second. That's because if it is done well, no-one notices, and if it is done badly (if you botch it and don't fully decapitate the guy on the first stroke, so that he falls over and you have to chase him to administer a second stroke) then you are dishonored. Thus you have everything to lose and nothing to gain from doing so.

Sounds to some extent like this situation here; why would anyone want the job of doing the circumcisions?

As for the poor kid, where HE is they are extremely unlikely to have the surgical ability to do a reattachment; it's not an easy operation and there's a severe time limit after which there's no point in even trying because the severed flesh will have died.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:48 PM on August 14, 2000

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