Brendon, your daily articles are very interesting. They have content which, many times, is new to me--by that I mean your point of view and interpretation of the subjects you write about. I would not blame you at all, though, for not continuing to post a daily article--how you have been able to keep up doing so, i.e., finding something not said before and with thoughtful input, is most admirable.

I'm very glad that I subscribed to your Hegemon Media. I am learning a lot from you.


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Mar 13, 2022·edited Mar 13, 2022

Dear Brendon, look, man, I am mid-70s, a victim of circ. - yes, but they did not know shit back then, not my bourgeois skeptic, barely cultural Jewish parents, not doctors or hospital -- I am sure leaving me intact was an unheard of option for them (better to have been born in ... Sweden, or in Navaho territory, I donno).

Ok, your work is worthwhile, but I am not going to read your book; I have been reading about circ. at least since early 80s, when I made sure to have my wife aboard in not having our son circ'd. Human rights are okay with me; I get your theoretical stance.

I also get that you have been fullscore on a ride which could as well have been a PhD program in literary "critical theory" (or since the 1990s, virtually in any academic program in the humanities or social sciences or education. I was engaged in brutal dialogue (back in the 90s and turn of millennium - always forget: 2 n's - when open dialogue was still permitted in email lists, etc., sans killer trolls) with "theorists", "radical constructivists", post-structuralists, deconstructivists, and the like. I am done with that. I see that your are in essence writing a reconstruction of your own mind and teaching others what you are thinking and doing. That is fine, some of your practical thoughts are of value; some of your conclusions are hasty and questionable (so you are against public health recognizing the collective responsibility of society to fight a pandemic? Okay, Okay, I do not want to get into an argument with you. By the way, your recent approach last week to those who refuse to listen would be interesting in application to "pro-lifers", i.e. anti-abortionists. But then, they 'know' they are right as do the god-believers who confront this atheist of 60 years vintage.

So, go on with your work. I do not care to subscribe. I have read - keep it brief - your daily messages so far -- though I am tempted to opt out altogether, which I do not want to do because I am a supporter of the intactivist cause. But then, I am an old fart who is long past reading journal articles on 'theory' (from kids barely out of grad school who begin: "I write in the strain of Derrida, Foucault, etc., etc., who have found their truth...and of course, if seeking academe, the only path to employment for a couple of decades); I had my fill of that, but I understand where you are coming from, in a larger perspective. If that advances thinking against circ., good.

Years ago, I had a sub. to the Jewish Forward and, back in those days, had my bouts in the comments ring (as I had on various education lists and pubs.) I recall a hard to find few day's discussion on circ., which of course IS identity for the orthodox. A few guys had written in about circ. being harmful, no graphically detailed explanations, mind you. A woman wrote in response that the ritual circumcision of infant males was not and could not be harmful, for, her only 'argument' went, "would she as a mother do anything to harm her child?" Well, that about says it all for the force of convention. You could say that she was, how did you put it, oppressively closed-minded to listening. But what is the point? If you sought to dispute rationally with her, it would be tantamount to challenging her entire religious belief system. An atheist since my own bar mitzvah or thereabouts, (they used to say: freshmen talk religion, politics and sex, sophomores just politics and sex, juniors just sex!), I learned long ago that trying to argue the religion out of a person was far more likely to end in being treated as a personal enemy than changing anyone's mind about religion.

As for intactivism and ending circ., first, the medical establishment must accept its vast harm to the male person, that it is violation of a human right - like the mutilations perpetrated by some imperialists, like chattel slavery, like various forms of cruelty and mayhem (legal sense). That will end medical circumcision of infants. As for the traditionalists -- Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and others, this will be a different kind of struggle. It is one which will take substantial sensitivity and dialectical perspicacity. Observe revived hatred against Jews; observe, even, that blunt minds' reactions to Russia's war crimes against Ukraine have evoked stupid prejudices against Russian-Americans, perhaps akin to anti-Asian crime in reaction to Covid --- and to US deindustrialization decades ago [viz murder of Vincent Chin in my hometown, Detroit, ID'd as 'Japanese', thus connected with Honda, Toyota, etc -- did not that bigot ever visit a Chinese restaurant -- what, there are different nations in Asia?!]

Anyway, it's complicated, and most Americans, most people are not complex thinkers; Hell, irony is dead, lest it kill the ironist! We need to start out children reading Dostoevsky and other profundities, but of course, most people never do -- and wouldn't care or know how; there are folks who say they read books who have no idea who Dostoevsky, Mann, etc. are. So, the approach to theory may need to be wed to a project writing children's books -- at least those for 'adults'.

My suspicion is that you are not Jewish, but I do not know. I could get into a voluminous discussion about the course of Judaism in the modern World, which of course could not neglect the virtual destruction of liberal or secular or 'ethnic' Judaism -- and possibly set the destiny for the disappearance of Jews in the near future. It has been said that The South won the Civil War ... after all, Reconstruction failed, twice so far and 100 years of terror followed the War. Possibly, Hitler did after all set in motion the destruction of Judaism -- or of the Jewish people, outside Israel or notwithstanding. By the way, the late Todd Gitlin, and Atlantic's Adam Serwer have excellent writings on Jewish identity. I do not presume to be any kind of authority; nothing more than an opinionated Jew, a reader, and a curious person.

Take care, and do not take yourself so seriously as to be harmful to your peace of mind. It seems you may be experiencing something similar to the passing of a major task completed, such as a dissertation, degree program, large project, published book, etc., the calm after a sustained burst of creative energy.


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