Treatment of Circumcision on TV
... appears frequently in television sitcoms.... [I]t is reasonably
safe to say that whenever circumcision is discussed ... the defining
motif is uneasiness.
Your Flesh, p241
It happens remarkably often. You'd think a circumcision episode was
The stories convey some interesting underlying
- "If circumcision of a baby is discussed, baby will be
circumcised." (Ari [Zighelboim]'s Law).
- "The foreskin is disgusting." (In "Marked in Your Flesh"
Leonard Glick traces this view back to Jewish reactions to Christian
polemic against circumcision in the second and third century C.E.)
- "Anyone may be as insulting as they like about the
foreskin or the man who has one. They have no feelings or rights."
- "American gentiles are not routinely circumcised:
Jews circumcise - and gentile men who want to marry Jewish women."
(Judaism specifically forbids converting in order to marry a Jew, but
that is never mentioned. Other Jewish rules concerning circumcision are
also ignored - because the Jewishness of circumcision on TV
is only a plot device - a deus ex machina - to
explain and justify the otherwise inexplicable American circumcision.)
- "Circumcision is highly controversial and
(paradoxically) no big deal."
- "Circumcision is safe, quick, painless, and
- "Circumcision is harder on the parents than the
Foreskin restoration is a recent element. It is always
presented as surgery. (When non-surgical restoration enters sitcoms the
comedy will doubtless be based on the public and noisy loss of huge
weights, shaming the restoring man and convincing him that restoration
Game and Talk Shows
Game shows generally refer only to Jewish circumcision.
Talk shows promote circumcision through ignorance and misinformation.
(Additional contributions are welcome. email
- "That Thing"
- portrayal of the foreskin
and circumcision in popular media
- Circumcision in the movies
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