The (involuntary) circumcision of Mickey Featherstone

The Mickey Featherstone says that he was “circumcised by his friends in a drunken prank” while stationed in Vietnam as a supply clerk.

Dumbstruck by this bizarre factoid, I looked it up on Google and it seems to be confirmed:

A book excerpt goes into a little more detail, claiming that an erstwhile erection caused a rupture in the incisions some time afterwards, with bleeding and extreme pain.

Supposedly the perpetrators of this act, orderlies from the base hospital, said: “Whaddaya say we give this cherry a circumcision? He ain’t been initiated yet.”

I cannot even begin to imagine what kind of animals would do this to another man. This is somebody’s idea of a prank? I’ve never heard of anyone ever doing this to someone else, during a war or otherwise, just because they were drunk. Circumcising an adult man? Why?

I think there had to be something more to this than the official story. I don’t know what exactly it is, but I do know that men don’t just circumcise each other as a “prank.”

Does anyone know any further details about this incident?

I don’t know any further details, but I fail to see why you think circumcising and adult man without his consent is any worse than circumcising a baby boy without his consent. The only difference is that the latter is a long-standing custom among some people, and the only good thing to say about it in recent decades is that at least we now give the newborns anesthesia before removing their foreskins.

Circumcising a baby? Why?

I suspect they drunken assholes did it because Mr. Featherstone was the only one in the group NOT circumcised and, being drunk, it somehow seemed like a good idea to make him like the rest of the group.

It’s routine for parents to consent on behalf of infants for medical procedures. If a baby needed an appendectomy, the parents would sign off on that, too.

I’ll say here that circumcising an adult male is a LOT more complicated than circumcising a newborn. Lots riskier, too.

So it’s worse from that perspective.

I’ll leave the rest of the circumcision argument alone at this point.

The difference is that appendectomies are done for medically necessary reasons, not because the parents think the kid “looks better” without an appendix, they fear the kid will feel different standing next to someone without an appendix in a locker room, and no mythological entity demands appendectomies in babies.

Circumcision is, 99% and more of the time, a completely unnecessary cosmetic procedure which carries a small but actual risk of damaging the ability of a boy’s penis to function adequately. Why, again, do we allow this?

For the record, I am also opposed to parents having the ears of their infant girls pierced as well, for similar reasons. It’s completely unnecessary and done without the consent of the person who owns the body. Granted, it’s less likely to have complications that impinge upon one’s life, but it’s still barbaric to subject babies to this. On top of that, unlike circumcision which, on rare occasion, does have a medical justification there’s no medical reason to ever punch a hole in someone’s earlobe. We shouldn’t be slicing up or piercing infants without a more compelling reason than “it looks better” or “God said so”. When someone is old enough to give consent *then *they can choose to have their foreskin removed or their ears (or other body part) pierced or get a tattoo or start smoking or whatever.

I can’t help but think society condoning doing these things to infants somehow plays into drunken idiots thinking it’s OK to do it to someone else. After all, it can’t be that bad if they do it to babies, right?

Well, then, could you explain why it’s so much more complicated and risky? Because I’ve never heard that explanation and it might, in fact, be a reason why it’s better to do it as an infant if it MUST be done. Up until now I always assumed it would be much the same which is probably layperson ignorance on my part.

When I asked my mother why… this is the answer I got…

"I was barely done giving birth, under anesthesia, a nurse threw a piece of paper at me and said,“Sign this!”

Apparently she wasn’t too happy about it either.

When our first son was born, we told our Doctor no thanks to the circumcision. He was happy with it and no problem.

When our second was born, some sort of social worker practically argued with us that we should get it done.

Luckily we had the same Doctor, and he knew where we stood already.

OK OK, look, I realize this is a controversial subject. But the main thing I’m wondering is: why would anyone circumcise a full grown man as a prank? It’s fuckin’ demented.

It was in the middle of a war. Combat makes some people lost their sense of what’s going too far.

I’ve been reading a book on World War I. British soldiers from the trenches got leave to go back to England. Originally they took all the field equipment with them. This practice was stopped when authorities found some soldiers were shooting at random buildings from train windows as they passed through London.

Pretty funny, coming from the guy who a year or so back started a thread asking other Dopers to tell him, in excruciating, minute detail, about their experiences eating feces…

I recall after going off on one of your shit-eating tangents (you brought up the subject of coprophagia and your favorite new book “Hogg” in several different random threads) you were called out on your unusual obsession, and were shocked, offended, even scandalized that someone might actually think that YOU yourself had taken up eating shit (for fun and profit?) and all of your innocent inquiries were just your oh so artful way off sniffing around for others who like yourself enjoyed dabbling in the brown-arts.

Fuckin’ demented indeed…

It IS fuckin’ demented, you’re right. Sadly, alcohol affects medics same as it affects you and me, only they have access to scalpels and needles.

Pranks around the firehouse when my SO was a paramedic included intubating (putting a breathing tube in) anyone who fell asleep on shift and putting lidocaine in their drinks to catch a Pepsi thief. And they weren’t even drunk at the time! (The medics, that is. One of the Pepsis *was *drunk. Hilarity, drooling and diarrhea ensued.)

Looks at thread title. Looks at posts. Walks away slowly.

While this one was started in General Questions, the topic has already generated heated opinions and will, no doubt, continue to degenerate. So, moved to IMHO. If it gets too heated, it might get moved to the Pit.

samclem, Moderator

PS–factual answers are still found in IMHO.

If the victim was so drunk that he actually passed out, chances are his buddies were just about as drunk themselves. It’s not like a group of guys soberly decided to prank the guy. Not that that’s an excuse.

I don’t understand where this indignant attack is coming from. What did I do to warrant such a dressing-down?

Yes, a year or so ago, I discovered this book, and asked some questions about the bizarre sexual practices in it, and yes, I may have gotten into the habit of bringing it up at inappropriate times. I admit it. It was a regrettable and immature phase. And when I saw the consternation it had caused, I resolved not to bring it up again, and I haven’t done so.

Now, a year later, I’m discussing an actual real-life incident of a brutal mutilation of a man’s genitals against his will; I express the opinion that it was a demented act; and you really have to dig up the Hogg incident? Just to take a cheap swipe at me?

I really don’t get it, man. If I did something to upset you lately, I apologize. I really try to stay clear of personal feuds on this board.

Some dodgy medical rationale that changes at least once a generation, the parents think it’s God’s will, the grandparents did it to the father, the parents are lazy and don’t want to bother teaching their son proper hygiene, they think teenage boys spend all their time comparing penises, or the mother is turned off sexually by foreskin.

In an infant, the prepuce (or foreskin) is very small, very vascular, uninflamed or irritated from chronic tugging or smegma-laden from being contaminated frequently with feces and retained urine, and really, really simple to snip off. And newborns heal amazingly fast, at least as far as bits of flesh such as this go. Scarring is much, much reduced in this age group too. Cutaneous nerve regeneration is far more common and complete at this age. Suturing isn’t even necessary as the incision is so small and the edges adhere together so easily when the standard cutting technique is used.

Let a few years pass, and that easy healing is no longer there, scars take longer to form and mature and tend to be thicker and the nerves that are cut don’t come back nearly as much. Tissue must be sutured into place, and the chance for a botched cosmetic job is increased.

Let the penis reach adulthood and require a circumcision, and there’s a much larger incision to be made, more sutures to be placed, more skill needed to get a decent cosmetic repair, longer healing time, more tissue left insensitive due to severing cutaneous nerves that don’t heal.

And those inconvenient erections during healing (and even during surgery) can pull stitches, complicate healing, and so forth. Yes, yes, one would think having one’s generative organ sliced on and sewn up would discourage this, but frankly the autonomic nervous system of an adolescent or young adult does what it will, and will frequently call up an erection even in response to painful stimuli down there. The cutting leads to inflammation, and calls for increased blood flow to the region, and voila, tumescence! Screamingly painful, suture-popping tumescence.

A young relative of mine didn’t get circumcised at birth, but went on to develop a nasty phimosis while still pre-pubescent. This necessitated an eventual circumcision which went well, but was not a fun experience at his age. His recovery time and trauma was greater than that of a typical infant having the same thing done.

The above is not meant to advocate for circumcision right after birth. But it does demonstrate why circumcision right after birth is a much safer, simpler procedure than circumcision later in life.

I always did a pudendal block on the infants I circumcised at the behest of their parents. I’d explain the (minimal) benefits vs. risk and if they really wanted the baby clipped (so he’d look like his dad, or so the kids in gym wouldn’t point and make fun, or whatever), I’d do it. I knew I could do it quick and easy and relatively painlessly. I mostly circumcised the boys I delivered myself. I didn’t miss it a bit when I gave up delivering babies.

Qadgop, any truth to something I once read - that, for unknown reasons, circumcision significantly reduces the chances of catching AIDS? This is supposedly based on studies in Africa which found that adjusted for equivalent sexual practices, circumcised men had a significantly lower incidence of AIDS than uncircumcised men.

The studies do seem to show that uncircumcised guys may pick up the virus easier.

However, more studies are needed.

Personally, I suspect poor hygiene is more the culprit. Smegma does need to be removed, or it causes chronic inflammation on the glans penis, and makes it more likely that this area can be penetrated by a virus. In my opinion. Hygiene is easier in a circumcised penis.

Would it be ok for them to sign off on day elective plastic surgery?