Since Andrew is on one of his periodic anti-circumcision crusades, I thought I'd say a few words in the procedure's defense. Since this is a family blog, I've placed them safely below the fold.

First, there's the aesthetic issue: I'm sure there are people out there who disagree with Seinfeld's Elaine on the relative attractiveness of the uncircumcised versus the uncircumcised penis, but these people are frankly untrustworthy and possibly mad. Keep in mind, too, that this is not the most attractive feature of the male anatomy to begin with, so every little bit extra helps. Or doesn't, if you take my meaning.

Then there's the matter of hygiene. Opponents of circumcision insist that smegma, the white, smelly secretion that tends to accumulate beneath the foreskin, is actually beneficial to one's health - that it helps to clean the genitals, and so forth. Proponents, like myself, point out that even saying the word smegma is really disgusting. Again, I think we pretty much win the debate right there, without even getting into the whole HIV question.

Finally, there's the issue of pleasure. Andrew cites a study suggesting that "male genital mutilation" might dampen male enjoyment of sex. Well, something like sixty percent of American males are so mutilated, and I believe I have the weight of the American experience on my side when I say that any such dampening would have to be extremely negligible.

All of which is to say that I'm gratified that my parents took it upon themselves to have a procedure performed on my infant self that I would have been too much of a wimp to obtain as an adult. And as Ann Althouse might put it, I doubt if any blogger will disagree with this assessment.

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