One of my New Year’s resolutions was to post here every day, and to cut down on my comments on other blogs. (It’s so much easier to find one’s own posts when a subject recurs.) To get started, I’ll recycle and merge a couple of comments I recently left at Betsy’s Page.
One of the stupidest of the tag-team trolls that infest her blog recently defended clitoridectomy in the Muslim world by equating it to male circumcision. This assertion is of course (a) obviously false and (b) a favorite of anti-Semites. Male circumcision is often said to detract somewhat from sexual pleasure — not that many men would know, since the vast majority of circumcisions are done on infants, and adult circumcision would no doubt have psychological as well as physical effects. However, it also protects against AIDS, and is currently recommended for non-religious reasons in countries where AIDS is rampant, e.g. parts of Africa. Clitoridectomy reduces sexual pleasure to zero, and is designed to do exactly that: it has no other purpose. Accompanying operations often make sex downright painful for the woman, though more pleasurable for the man. When other commenters replied that clitoridectomy is much more like castration than circumcision, the troll tried to evade the issue by writing: “Clitorectomy and circumcision have some aspects in common, as well as some differences.”
Of course, heart transplant surgery has “some” (quite obvious) “aspects in common” with the ancient Aztec practice of cutting out the living hearts of captives and eating them, but anyone who equated the two morally would be a liar or a fool.