Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rush Limbaugh's Foreskin

First, my apologies for making you think about Rush Limbaugh's genitals. If I could make you unthink it, I would.

Why am I talking about Rush Limbaugh's junk today? Simple. It's because he thinks the government wants our foreskins.

Let's quote the corpulent fart-balloon!
RUSH: By the way, leave our penises alone, too! This is getting out of hand. There is a story that some officials in the Obama administration are pushing for circumcision for all boys born in the USA to fight HIV/AIDS. Not that I'm against circumcision, but it's a family's decision. Leave our penises alone, too, Obama! [...] So here's Obama out there saying we have to have circumcision of every young boy born in the country.
Trust me Rush, nobody wants your flaccid penis.

Some background would be sensible at this time.

The CDC (known to fearmongers as "officials in the Obama administration," apparently) are debating whether to recommend male circumcision as a potential way to reduce the transmission of HIV. They haven't made any recommendations at this point, and may or may not end up actually recommending it.

So yeah, that part about Obama "saying we have to have circumcision of every young boy born in the country" is quite simply a lie. Nobody's saying that. Nobody will say that, ever. If the CDC recommend circumcision, it's about as relevant as when they recommend not eating a dozen eggs every day. Decent advice, but it's up to you whether or not to follow it.

The evidence does suggest that male circumcision decreases the relative risk of transmission of HIV via penile-vaginal sex. But these studies are mostly on African populations, where there's a greater rate of HIV in the population, relatively few circumcised males (compared to the US), relatively little condom use (thanks, Catholic Church!), and where the majority of HIV infections are transmitted through heterosexual sex. In other words, it may not work the same in this country.

Notably, circumcision doesn't appear to make much difference in penile-anal sex. Since the majority of HIV cases in this country are found in males who have sex with males, we have a very different situation. We also have a lot more circumcised men, a lower rate of HIV, and more condom use. What works in Africa may not make any difference here. Or it may. That's why it's being debated.

There's this weird thread running through an awful lot of conservative bullshit these days, and this is yet another example. For some reason, conservatives seem to believe that whenever anyone even tangentially associated with the government makes a recommendation, that means they're going to force you to comply with it.

This is, of course, ridiculous. Even if they actually wanted to force everyone to get circumcised (which they don't, because c'mon), it's not like the CDC have a legion of jackbooted thugs they're going to send out with foreskin-snippers to make sure all foreskins are harvested (for use in kosher hot dogs).

Going a step further, even if you're batshit crazy and think that CDC goons are really going to come after you with pinking shears, it wouldn't work. It's just not something people would comply with if they're not willing to do it otherwise. For a guy who thinks the government is incapable of doing anything right, Rush sure seems to think they're capable of some pretty extraordinary things.

Of course, the idea that the government would force men and boys to cut off their foreskins is just totally objectionable. Yet Limbaugh has no problem at all with telling women what to do with their genitals. Seems like a little double standard there. Or for Rush, maybe I should say a teensy-weensy little "are you sure that isn't a Jujube?" double standard.

Furthermore, what's up with these conservatives constantly focusing on things that make them so terribly easy to ridicule? Does Limbaugh not realize that his status as a Viagra-popping sex tourist means that when he makes up lies about circumcision people are going to make dick jokes at his expense? Similarly, are teabaggers blind to the fact that taping teabags to their hats makes them laughingstocks?

Concerned citizen or scrotum aficionado?

You can't make up stuff this stupid. If you did, nobody would believe it.

Should I even go over the long history of white fears about black men cutting off their penises? The history of lies about sexual abuse perpetrated by black men being used as a fear tactic to fight racial integration? The implicit racism in this whole "a black man is going to cut off your penis!" bullshit?

Nah, dick jokes are less depressing.