My Once A Year Jewish Rant

Today, I’m going to take this time to explore some Jewish-related subjects that I’m in the mood to rant about to you, my Jewish and non-Jewish friends.  I’m not sure why it occurred to me to write this today.  Maybe it was the bagels and lox I had for breakfast.

I’m usually much of a ranter.   I don’t have too many hang-ups over religion.   I’m not overly-touchy about Israel.   I don’t see anti-Semitism in every joke.  That would make me hypocritical, especially since I spend a good deal of my day making jokes about Catholics and Mormons.  We all have our own ethnic and religious prides and foibles, and the great thing about America is that we can freely express it.

It’s pretty clear that I am a Jewish guy, right?  So, I think it might be interesting to you to hear what I think about some of the following topics.  And if you disagree with anything I say, don’t be afraid to say it.

1) Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays


Remember me?  The guy who throws the online Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa concert every year?  I like all holidays. Maybe next year, we can throw in a Muslim holiday into the concert mix as well! I’m all for inclusiveness.   However, every year, I find myself in the middle of the same boring argument — should Christians say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?”  Some are adamant that America is really a “Christian” nation and are upset that outsiders are undermining the sacredness of this three month consumer bonanza we call “Christmas.”  Naturally, the haters always come out to play.  And we all know who are the biggest kvetchers about Christmas, right?  The Jews.  First Jesus, now Christmas.  What spoilers!

Here’s my take.  If you live in a big city were there are many religions and minorities, you should be able to make a big public display of your holiday.  There are plenty of those not celebrating your holiday, so we don’t feel bad.  We go for Chinese food.  Everyone loves Christmas trees.  However, if you live in a small town in mid-America where there is only one Jewish and one Muslim family, it probably would be nice if you went OUT OF YOUR WAY to make the outsiders feel comfortable, which means stop pushing for nativity scenes outside of the public library and city hall!  Who wants to be told “It’s a Christian nation” right to your face? It isn’t polite.

2) Israel and Gaza


Is God playing a joke on the Jews with Israel?  What a pain in the ass this country is! And have you ever tried to date an Israeli woman.  Talk about tough!  Israel is a tough subject for liberal Jews to talk about in public.  I have no problem with it.  During the recent election, I found it extremely annoying how the McCain campaign was trying to appeal to American Jews by creating “Obama is a Muslim” fear, as if we were a bunch of idiots.  Jews go to college.  We’re not that stupid.  On the other hand, I don’t find much of the progressive community a big fan of Israel, since these good-hearted souls prefer to side with the underdog, and not the American-allied bully.  And who can honestly root for a country that bombs poverty-stricken innocent women and children in their mosques and schools?

So what is a liberal Jew supposed to do?

I’ll never forget when some columnist wrote a post on the BlogHer political site advocating shipping all Jews from Israel to some place in Siberia, which would help defuse the problem in the Middle East, and friends of mine, normally outspoken political women, were protecting this writer, saying, “Well, perhaps it is an issue we should discuss.”  Maybe conservatives are right about liberals being the Jewish people’s worst friends!  My mother went to Boca Raton to escape the cold.  No Jew WANTS to move to Siberia!

Some of my favorite progressive bloggers, especially the ones in Europe, were very angry over the recent fighting in Gaza.  Many Europeans dislike the Israeli government, and think the American media is controlled by the pro-Israeli propaganda machine.  Two bloggers I know wrote pieces demanding that Israel be held for war crimes for the murder of innocent children.  On one of the posts, the word HAMAS was never used once. The scenario in Gaza was presented as “Israeli occupiers vs. people of Gaza.”

“What happened to the real bad guys in the story?” I commented.

Talk about propaganda!  While I was worried that I was losing my liberal credentials by bringing this up, it bugged me that someone could complain about slanted views, and substitute it with another man’s propaganda!   Wasn’t Hamas shipping in increasingly powerful weapons and hiding them in schools and mosques AND purposely endangering innocent victims for their own purposes?   What the hell was Hamas doing (with Iran’s help) by sacrificing their innocents for power and ideology?  Shouldn’t THEY be put up for war crimes?  The deaths of so many innocents is shameful, and it angers me that so many excuse the actions of Hamas as if they a local boy scout troup.

Sometimes I think the best thing for the Palestinians to do is to accept that they lost the endless war and start to figure out a way to live peacefully with their strong victors, like Japan did after World War II. Forget talking about 1948 and 1967.   Much of the Arab world likes to keep the Palestinians angry and in poverty, so they can keep them as a symbolic thorn in Israel’s side, and control their own corrupt governments.  HAMAS needs to accept Israel already, stop throwing bricks at the big bully’s head, and start asking their Arab brothers to help build some nice hotels by the Ocean and trying to really compete with Israel by offering better vacation packages.

But no one progressive would ever say that.

3) Beautiful Barcelona


January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day to remember the victims of the Holocaust.  This date marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

As I mentioned, Europeans were very angry over the recent fighting in Gaza.  And many European cities have large Muslim populations that are a growing political power.  Because the local Barcelona media had run stories comparing the Israeli stance on the situation in the Strip to Nazi atrocities, the Catalunya government called off the city’s public memorial service.  This was to be the only public event marking the day, and was scheduled to take place in Barcelona’s central piazza.

“Marking the Jewish Holocaust while a Palestinian Holocaust is taking place is not right,” a local City official told Barcelona’s La Vanguardia newspaper.

Despite my love for the beautiful city of Barcelona, I found this quite disturbing.   Even if one is upset over Israel’s actions, why exactly is this the fault of those exterminated in Nazi death camps?  They don’t live in Israel.  They’re already dead.  If the Barcelona government was more logical, they would CELEBRATE this occasion, because if these six million would survived, there is a strong chance that THEY would be living in Israel themselves, as well as their children and grand-children, and the Israeli population would be three times as large, and Israel would even have a larger army in which to go into Gaza!  So next year, rather than pooh-poohing the holiday, I say free Tapas in Barcelona for everyone!

4) 1/3 of all Europeans


A week after the Bernie Madoff scandal broke, I was having coffee with my friend Barry.  We were discussing the amazing hubris of this guy.  How could he pull this off?

“There’s one thing that is cool about this country,” I said.   “Bernie Madoff is clearly Jewish and his victims were wealthy Jews, but Americans never say things like, “Oh, the Jews, they’re always ripping people off.   All they care about is money.”

My friend laughed and said, “In Queens, they don’t, but believe me. they’re are doing it everywhere else.”

Call me naive, but I would assume most of those old stereotypes have died already in a country with an African-American President.  That’s why it is good to have Europe around for some of that old-fashioned anti-Semitism.  Good ol’ Europe — home of the Crusades, the Inquisition, forced conversion, and the Holocaust.  Even when most of the Jews are killed off, it is still the fault of the Jews… especially during economic downturns.   It has to be someone’s fault, right?

The Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday that a survey it commissioned found nearly a third of Europeans polled blame Jews for the global economic meltdown and that a greater number think Jews have too much power in the business world.   In Spain, 74 percent of those asked say they feel that Jews hold too much sway over the global financial markets.  That is the highest percentage in the survey.  Nearly two-thirds of Spanish respondents said Jews were also more loyal to Israel than they were to their home countries.

Did I ever tell you that Sophia and I honeymooned in Spain?  We loved it, except for the fact that it was almost impossible to find anything to eat that wasn’t made from the pig!  Hmmm…

5) Circumcision


Can you believe that until I read this post on Her Bad Mother, I didn’t know that circumcision was such a big issue and that there are many ANGRY over it?!   I know that Americans tend to be circumcised more readily than Europeans (uh-oh, I can feel the American Jewish doctors having a hand in this… more trouble), and that it is considered unnecessary to many.  But what is the big deal?  I say, if you don’t want your son to get circumcized, don’t do it.  Who cares?  I don’t remember any discussion in the locker room between circumcised and uncircumcised men, or any laughing and pointing.  They are just penises.

But the fact is that circumcision is a big deal in Judaism.   It is probably one of the oldest traditions in the book, a symbol of the convenant between God and his people.   Jews have been doing it a long time without much trauma (unless research shows that circumcision is the cause of our neurotic behavior, but how would we then explain the neurotic Jewish women?).

Her Bad Mother’s post was intelligent and well-reasoned about her personal decision not to have her son circumcised, but if you do some googling on the subject, you find some scary stuff, and not just from crazy people, but from seemingly “loving” people who care about their children.   Circumcision is called “primitive” and “barbaric” and “genital mutation.”  It “destroys a man’s sexual pleasure” and “torments” the baby and should be “made illegal!”  WTF are we talking about?  Jack Bauer’s interrogation techniques on “24?”

Even if a person did have these beliefs about circumcision, I would think it impolite to blast a tradition so integral to another religion — in public!  There are all sorts of weird rites and rituals that occur around the world, and we appreciate them as part of some other culture.  Do people really want to make the bris illegal?  Would the same person feel as comfortable saying that wearing a burka should be made illegal?  Can you really compare the bris to female genital mutilation?

The whole issue sort of amused me.   Have you ever been to a bris?  The ceremony is done quickly, and then everyone eats a lot of food.  The only thing barbaric about the event is the amount of cholesterol in traditional Jewish food and the overly-sweet taste of the kosher wine.

Danny told me that he once wrote a post about the Jewish bris on the Huffington Post, and it received so many anti-Semitic comments that they had to remove the post from the Huffington Post.

Here is Danny’s post
, which is on his own blog, Jew Eat Yet.

This was his reaction after taking the post off the Huffington Post. And remember — the Huffington Post readership is a progressive one, believers in freedom of speech and religion.

Last Friday I posted my piece about circumcision which was mostly a family reminiscence based on an old discovered film I saw of my 1959 bris. I added a few comments about the people who oppose circumcision and I adopted an over-the-top and I thought humorous tone of intransigence about Kendall’s ambivalence towards the procedure. When I first saw my post zooming to the “Top Posts” list on Huffington, a way they have to track the most-read pieces, and the comments started pouring in fast and furious, I was excited that my post was generating such controversy. But I was unprepared for the level of hysteria that the “anti-circ” people would unleash, some of it accompanied by blatant anti-Semitism. Never in a million years did I mean to imply that circumcising your male child was the “right” thing to do, I was just sharing my own very personal feelings on the subject, all the while saying that this anti-circumcision group makes some valid points (which I still feel they muck up by resorting to outrageous hyperbole and propaganda).

I thought I had a very tough skin when it came to people sharing opposing views but I am not used to the level of personal attacks I received on the Huffington Post. Here is a sampling:

—Pull your head out of your egotistical Jewish ass.

—Let’s make a movie…at least this time it will have sound to preserve your pompous Jewish pontification (or should I say rabbification?).

—Your wife has a better sense of what a woman wants a penis partner to look like. Unless you’re planning to raise a gay son.

—Would you think the same thing if all male babies had to have their ears cut off at birth? Let’s dress up and make a fucking ritual of it and have a party with covered dishes!

—This last bit of animal sacrifice needs to end no matter the sentimental charm it has over older Jews.

—While you’re at it, Danny, you should really think about having all your children’s fingernails removed. After all, they are unnecessary in the evolutionary sense.

—YOU are the reason there are self-hating Jews, asshole. Your son would have every reason to hate you for being a coward.

—I demand that you CUT YOUR SON’S PENIS YOURSELF. See if THAT brings you closer to God!

—Fascism comes in all forms and degrees…you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

—Is this “mark” kind of like that yellow star the Nazis had all Jews sew on their clothes during WW2? They tried tattoos, too. How did those work out?

—Kendall, don’t damage and risk your child’s life by allowing some idiot to chop off the most sexually pleasurable part of his penis. Chop off that idiot you married instead, and do it before you get pregnant. Find a human being for a father for your children and replace this monster.

—Being Jewish and circumcised is no excuse for the kind of abusive behavior Miller exhibits. Many Jews are humane, decent people. This bozo is a disgrace to the good name of Judaism.

—Circumcising infants is a Satanic blood ritual. That is the only possible explanation for the persistence of this heinous evil. Human beings are not this evil. Only Satan himself is. All children circumcised are severely injured for life.

All I can say is that I am blessed with my friendly readership. You seem to like me, despite my circumcised Jewish talking penis.

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91 Responses to My Once A Year Jewish Rant

  1. Jane says:

    WINNER of the comment of the day — Miguelina. No wonder she’s your favorite so often. :-)

  2. Neil says:

    Miguelina — I am very pro breast-feeding. My lousy Jewish mother gave me formula. Now that is barbaric. It has made me boob-obsessed ever since!

    Hugh – I am far from an expert on Jewish history or philosophy, but I know Rambam (Maimonides) — one of Judaism’s greatest Torah scholars, was also a physician and was greatly influenced by the ideas of finding practical and scientific reasons to “explain” some of the mysteries of the Torah. He might have explained circumcision as related to masturbation, but he didn’t know anymore than anyone else. He is a religious scholar, not a modern historian. And I doubt very much that even with him looking for a rational reason behind God’s laws, that he would dismiss the commandment as human folly. He was trying to explain why God might have instructed the Chosen People to do this odd symbolic gesture as a sign of the covenant. Rambam’s interpretation is just one of many. He would be the last person on Earth to say, “Eh, everyone still masturbates. It doesn’t work. Let’s call it a day!”

    I would assume if there was a purely historical reason behind circumcision it was probably the Israelites wanting to separate themselves from those around them, keeping the clan together, not because of masturbation.

    But that is all a moot point if you are religious. The reason is not as important as God saying so, even though there are countless other examples of rabbis “reinterpreting” stuff in the Bible like animal sacrifices. I’m sure more liberal Judaism could start reinterpreting “circumcision” as some other type of ceremony if there was real evidence that the bris was truly harmful, but I haven’t seen this evidence yet.

  3. Mark Lyndon says:

    “I’ve seen him compare male circumcision on other sites to female genital mutilation which is total insanity”
    It’s actually kind of strange to see a fundamental difference between cutting parts off male genitals and cutting parts off female genitals. The people that cut girls certainly don’t, and they quote the same reasons to do it that are used to justify male circumcision. I’m also working to reducing the rate of female circumcision too, but that’s really hard to do when male circumcision is so readily accepted.

    I’m well aware that some forms of female circumcision are unquestionably far more severe than the usual form of male circumcision, but some forms do less damage, and one form is the exact equivalent. It’s illegal even to make a symbolic incision, or even a pinprick on a girl’s genitals in the USA though, yet baby boys routinely have the most sensitive part of their penis cut off.

    It’s not just me that compares male and female circumcision btw. I already posted what the Canadian Children’s Rights Council have to say.

    “if there was real evidence that the bris was truly harmful”
    Babies have died because of a bris, most recently in New York and London. Another baby in New York got brain damage. How harmful does it have to be?

    I just think that people should be able to decide for themselves if they want part of their genitals cut off. It’s their body after all.

  4. Neil says:

    Thanks Mark for you interesting comments. I’ll try to research and find some more concrete unbiased information on the severity of the health and mental issues that arise from the bris ceremony. If it truly is dangerous, I will gladly join the cause. For now, I say those who want to participate in this tried and true religious ritual should continue to do so, and be able to connect themselves… and their children… with their heritage in the way they choose.

  5. Jack says:

    Babies have died because of a bris

    We need specifics. General statements like that aren’t compelling nor particularly useful.

    It is like saying that babies choke on food and die. Some do, so maybe we shouldn’t feed them because it is a health risk.

  6. Mark Lyndon says:

    “We need specifics.”
    The Talmud itself allows for a boy not to be circumcised if three older brothers have died as a result. This seems to have happened often enough for uncircumcised Jewish men to be specifically excluded from certain ceremonies.

    Here are a couple of recent cases:

    These cases are rare, but why should they happen at all?

    Comparing it to feeding babies doesn’t seem like a valid analogy. Babies die if you don’t feed them.

  7. Christine says:

    Hi Neil! Can you still see me under all this? Loved your yearly rant.

  8. headbang8 says:

    I am an adult male of considerable maturity and sexual experience, and the owner of a functioning foreskin. Forgive me if I become anatomically explicit.

    I cannot imagine sex, and life, without a foreskin.

    It DOES contain the most sexually sensitive tissue on my dick, a frenulum of skin below the glans. If I were without it, I’m sure I could still function sexually, but the pleasure would be vastly diminished.

    Once, as an experiment, I tried to wear the skin back for a day. Yeesh. How do you cut guys stand it?

    Circumcision is no more medically justified than a prophylactic appendectomy.

    People get away with circumcising their infant sons because violence against men and their bodies is commonplace, and sanctioned by our culture.

    * * * * *

    Memarie, if you circumcised your son because “uncircumcised penises look kind of gross”, shame on you. That’s like saying that all women should starve themselves because child-bearing hips look “kind of gross”. In both cases, we should learn to love our bodies as they are.

  9. mv says:

    nicely said headbang8….and mark lyndon.

  10. headbang8 says:

    Forgive me if I got a bit hot under the collar with that last comment. But it’s something about which I feel very strongly. On to another subject.

    * * * * *

    “Sometimes I think the best thing for the Palestinians to do is to accept that they lost the endless war and start to figure out a way to live peacefully with their strong victors, like Japan did after World War II.”

    This is a really intriguing thought, Neil. May I provide a different slant on it?

    One of the things which confounds those who wage a war on terror, is that an act of terror isn’t really an act of war. It’s a crime.

    How do we stop crime? Soldiers dropping bombs, or cops on the beat? More appropriately, there is a role for a social worker.

    Poverty, disadvantage, and social alienation play a role in causing crime, especially violent crime. It doesn’t matter whether the crime yields an economic advantage to the perpetrator, or whether he does it just for the thrill, or as a gesture against the establishment.

    Interestingly, this was the principle behind the occupation of Japan and Germany after WWII.

    Citizens of both nations were amazed when the Americans took over during the occupation. They wanted to help rebuild, and were quite generous about it, when they might just as easliy have extracted revenge. It paid off–few lingering resentments, years of peace with former foes, and, coincidentally, healthy markets for Ameircan goods and investment.

    The secret to a Japan-style peace lay not with the vanquished becoming more humble, but rather the victor becoming more generous. Such a course of action may not prove popular in the Israeli electorate, and may even offend the nation’s sense of natural justice, but it may be in Israel’s self interest.

  11. Neil says:

    Headbang — Again, I am not an advocate of circumcision. I was just saying that it is a tradition closely connected with a religion — and has been for a very long time. And that the subject should probably be discussed without the words barbaric in there, just to be sensitive. And that until there is real evidence that this is dangerous experience for the child, that it should be allowed to be continued. Female gentital mutilation is another matter, and it is a phony argument to compare the two.

    As for the comparisons with Japan when talking about Israel and the Palestinians, I was worried that it might come off harsh, but I think there is some truth to it. There is still controversy about whether the atomic bomb was a necessity at the time, or whether it saved lives by ending the war. I’m just saying that Palestinian culture cannot thrive on teaching their children to hate and believing that one day they will kick Israel into the sea. There’s a complicated history, and Israel is not the only one at fault. Israel was attacked several times, including 1967, and much of the disputed land came about after the Arab world took a gamble, and lost.

    You are right that Japan got on her feet with American generosity. And I bet Israel would be generous with the Palestinians. Who wants to have an angry population next door? Who wants to have a large Arab population in your own country disliking you? But there is no way Israel is going to be generous until Hamas stops throwing rocks and calling for the destruction of your country.

  12. Neil says:

    By the way, I took down my next post since it was dumb.

  13. Danny says:

    Does that make TWO posts you’ve deleted today? It must be the anti-circ people who are making you so nervous. Or maybe it’s your own barbaric circumcision that is finally going to your head.

    (Didn’t I just say two comments ago that perhaps this was a topic I should stop joking about?)

  14. AnnieH says:

    Whasssuuuup?? Now I shall be left ALL DAY contemplating what “Everyone Loves A…” what?? A good trapeze act? An extra dollop of sour cream? A good sing-a-long? If I’m distracted today I’m pointing the finger to you, Mr. Neilochka. Personally, I always love a funny looking guy on stilts. I wish one would come through the units of the hospital.

  15. ali says:

    my son is circumcised. lalalala. and yes, if i had another son, i would circumcise him as well. so, there’s that.

    the Barcelona thing makes me SO angry. my bubbie was liberated from Auschwitz. and my zaydie was liberated from Dachau. holocaust rememberance is VERY important to me regardless of what is happening in israel right now.

  16. Jack says:

    These cases are rare, but why should they happen at all?

    Still not a reason not to do it. If you receive a vaccination with a tainted needle you can become ill and die too.

    We don’t stop certain activities just because they might have danger attached to them.

    The Talmud itself allows for a boy not to be circumcised if three older brothers have died as a result.
    I’d be curious to see that, especially to see what Rashi said. But there is a real question of applicability.
    The secret to a Japan-style peace lay not with the vanquished becoming more humble, but rather the victor becoming more generous.

    What you said makes sense, but there is a fundamental distinction that needs to be addressed. The Hamas charter calls
    for the destruction of Israel. It is hard to negotiate with people who do not recognize your right to exist.

    Hamas fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel proper. They were fired at land that is not under dispute. The world doesn’t consider that land to be occupied territory, it is Israel proper.

    I’d also argue that one of the big distinctions is that the US unleashed the big guns. Two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. It was made clear that they couldn’t defeat the US militarily.

    Sometimes the best way to bring diplomacy is to use force. It sounds backwards, but you can use violence to convince the other side that they cannot win by military might. That leads to the understanding that diplomacy is the only answer.

  17. mommyknows says:

    Hey, where is the talking penis post?

  18. sarah g says:

    I’m glad that you took down the other post. It took away from sharing a real post here. People really do tend to get passionate about thing. There are many things that can fire people up; at least by avoiding apathy; change occurs.

  19. Neil says:

    Sarah G – You always give organized religion a good name.

  20. Great post! Thanks!

    While writing my novel for pre-teens, I did a lot of research on Christmas around the world. It is interesting how the different cultural versions of Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, or Father Christmas, and many more, all have one thing in common. That is, they remind us of the benefits of unselfish, anonymous, generosity. It’s the idea of giving that should be in focus; we are all on this planet together for the long run. So let’s be kind to one another.

    All the best,
    Eric Dana Hansen, Author of “IAN, CEO, North Pole”

  21. Hugh7 says:

    I only quoted the Rambam as a source for “The funniest thing I read on an anti-circ site” that “the bris was created by the ancient rabbis to “curb masturbation.” (He also said “The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision.” – though to me the last line is a non-sequitur.)

    Danny is quite right, Mark and I and some others have Google alerts for “circumcision” and “foreskin” (but I for one don’t have one for “brit milah”, let alone “metzitzah b’ peh”) and we go around the web putting the case against cutting parts off babies’ or children’s genitals (of any sex) for any reason except pressing medical need. It’s called Intactivism, and it’s an emerging human rights movement. Of course we have our extremists. Brit Milah is only a tiny part of the issue, but one with a high profile. I appreciate that it grew out of a collective tradition in which the individual hardly existed, but that time is over. From our point of view, we’re not anti-Semitic because it’s not about the Judaism, just the cutting of babies. A disproportionate number of Intactivists are Jews, and a list of celebrants (including some rabbis) of non-surgical ceremonies is at .

    In your search for a measure of the harm of circumcision, I suggest you don’t confine yourself to the Jewish rite, because the outcomes are not fundamentally different, and when doctors are brought in to repair the damage, they don’t record (and may not even know) whether it was religious or not. A list of complications is at

    “We don’t stop certain activities just because they might have danger attached to them.” Yes, certain activities like bungy jumping that are undertaken by consenting adults at their own risk. Circumcision is not just a “weird rite” (your words) it is a peculiarly invasive permanent modification of someone else’s body – nothing like wearing a burqa. As a human rights issue in the western world, infant circumcision – whether Jewish or Islamic or “cultural” or “routine” – is anomalous and anachronistic.

  22. Jack says:

    In your search for a measure of the harm of circumcision, I suggest you don’t confine yourself to the Jewish rite

    That is another way of saying that from a statistical standpoint almost no infants are harmed. And without numbers your allegation just doesn’t hold up.

    A disproportionate number of Intactivists are Jews

    It doesn’t lend any more weight to the fairy tales you try to promulgate. Just demonstrates that we have our share of people who just don’t get it.

  23. headbang8 says:

    Yes, Neil, the political realities mitigate against generosity.

    It’s counterintuitive. Or is it?

    It’s like this. The victor says “I will give you reasons not to hate me, but you have to stop hating me first.” After you’ve just been defeated, that ain’t likely.

    Really, the first steps in mutual forgiveness need to come from the victor, not the vanquished. And maybe even the second and third steps, given the history of the conflict.

  24. headbang8 says:

    And yes, where is that talking dick post? I thought I got off one of my finer ripostes in my comment on it.

  25. JChevais says:

    Re: Neil’s presence as a mommyblogger and the next topic being breastfeeding, behold:

    With all the rant fodder in your post, why is it that very few people are interested in talking about the atrocities in Israel? Or the Holocost?

    Are these not controversial subjects? Helas, it is apparent that your readers are only interested in knobs… ;-)

    No idea if it is politically correct of me to say so. Not sure it matters really.

    Now, I must know because it’s been driving me potty: Could you explain to me, you can use little words if you like, what makes wine “kosher”? Am dead curious and ask myself the same question every time I pass the “cacher” wine section in my local French grocery…

  26. sassy says:

    If it makes you feel any better about 1/3 of Europeans (or at least the French) they are just plain all around flat out racist. I have had conversations where someone will openly make a statement in a large group of people about ‘not liking Arabs’ or ‘Did you see how black his girfriend was? I just don’t like black people, they smell’ or ‘Are we in China or in France because all this yellow is gtting to me.’- SERIOUSLY. Oh, and the Jews? I’ve heard them compared to the illumanati.

    Did I mention not having many friends here?

    Oh, and the froggy hubs? Not circumcised. (He’s persuaded it’s an American thing.)

  27. JChevais says:

    My comment might have been too flip. I really am curious and silly enough to not understand big words. I’m not “taking the piss”.

    Where in the world do the British get these witticisms?

  28. Neil says:

    JChevais – it isn’t flip at all. Most Jews are confused about what makes some innocent food products like wine kosher. I mean grapes are kosher, so what is the problem? Like in any religion, there are levels of “strictness,” and sometimes, whether for good or bad, the ones who most adhere to the letter run the show. That wine is kosher usually means that the facility is run to certain standards — there are no preservatives that may come from something non-kosher, the same plant doesn’t also manufacture bacon next door — there are a whole list of things that are checked before they get the kosher sign. I am far from an expert in this matter, because I don’t keep kosher, but in layman’s terms — there is a sliding scale of how kosher you are depending on how strict you want to be. However, when there is a Jewish ceremony or event, everyone tries to go for the stricter level, just out of respect for those who follow it.

    Here’s a Wikipedia article about kosher wine —

    To me, the concept of kosher wine sounds a little far-fetched, almost as if it is there to create a new business, but then again, religion is pretty wacky –

  29. Hugh7 says:

    “Can you really compare the bris to female genital mutilation?”

    “…compare male circumcision … to female genital mutilation which is total insanity.”

    These articulate circumcised African women do exactly that – in order to justify their custom:

  30. Jane says:

    Being articulate does not mean one can’t also be wrong. There are plenty of very articulate Republicans, for instance. (My levity for the day).

    I would not even attempt to argue with someone who compares an infant’s circumcision with a 5-7 year old girl’s genital torture, because I have found that one cannot argue reasonably with unreasonable people. It is obvious to any rational person that the cultural reasons for circumcision and genital mutilation are quite different, as is the amount of pain, the short and long term affects, the psychological and physical trauma.

    Incidentally, there are also risks for boys associated with being uncircumcised, such as ballooning, UTI’s, and foreskin infections. Parents of uncircumcised boys have to be educated and diligent about penile for several years beyond infancy, or until the child is old enough to handle his own hygiene.

    No matter which route a parent chooses, it is ultimately a parental choice.

  31. Hugh7 says:

    Did Jane read what the women have to say? They deny sexual harm and minimise pain and damage. Their cultural reasons for genital cutting seem all too familiar (it bonds them to their tribe…), and these are women who have undergone the procedure. (I’m not defending it for a moment, but as a human rights issue, sauce for the goose…)

    Three-quarters of the men in the world don’t seem to have significant problems keeping all the genitals they were born with; ballooning is perfectly normal; of 1000 circumcisions to prevent UTIs, 991 are wasted – by the circumcision advocates’ own figures; the foreskin is no more prone to infections than any other part of the body, and requires no special attention – in fact meddling with it causes more problems than it prevents.

    “No matter which route a parent chooses, it is ultimately a parental choice.” And that’s exactly what the circumcised women say.

  32. Jane says:

    I don’t argue with unreasonable people.

  33. Pingback: The February Just Posts « collecting tokens

  34. Pingback: Cold Spaghetti » Blog Archive » Just Posts for a Just World: February 2009

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  36. Loukia says:

    Wow. I think you need to write more posts like this! I mean, you probably do, but I’m new her. So. Great post. Well said. And please don’t hate me because I’m from Europe. I’m Greek. Most of us are nice. And not ignorant and stupid. I’m a Canadian-Greek, so that makes it better. ;)

  37. Pingback: Best of the 2009 Just Posts: The Semifinalists « collecting tokens

  38. Pingback: Best of the 2009 Just Posts: The Semifinalists « collecting tokens

  39. Pingback: Cold Spaghetti :: The Best of the Just Posts for 2009: Semi-finalists!

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