Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is it, or is it not Anti-Semitic?

There's a lot of chatter about the comic Foreskin Man being anti-semitic. Well, it's a lot of anger and name calling actually. This cannot just be a "yes it is", "no it's not" back and forth. This needs to be broken down.
What is anti-semitism? It's hatred of all people who are semites and expressions of that hate. A lot of anti-semites use negative portrayals of jews to express themselves, but that does NOT mean than anything negative associated with Jews comes from hate of Jews as a people.

What exactly is it that is supposedly anti-semitic? The bad guy is Jewish, and particularly gruesome. But that in itself isn't anti-semitic. That's just the point of comics, the good and the bad are exaggerated. He's the bad guy because he wants to cut parts off of the baby's penis and suck on it, NOT because he's Jewish. There also isn't anything that implies in the comic that all Jews are like this. (So there's no bigotry either.) Just as in the first book nothing implied that ALL doctors are horrendous slobbering monsters. The boy's mother is Jewish, and so opposed to circumcision that she tells Foreskin Man to take the baby to another woman.

 It's not meant to be taken literally. I mean, the henchmen had freeking machine guns. Does that mean that all Jews are machine gun carrying murderers or that brises are all carried out by force if someone objects? NO, it's an exaggeration of the bad guy.

I think a couple of things are going on here. One is that this comic is being taken by itself and not in the context of the overall message. Unfortunately, there are only 2 books out so far, so it's hard to understand the bigger picture; but if you read the first book, you will see the same exaggeration of the bad guy in the white American doctor role. The point of these stories is that men deserve choice. If they were to address all forms of circumcision leaving out the Jewish element, that would be like saying that Jewish babies aren't worth speaking up for. THAT would be anti-semitic.

Second is that many simply WANT to point and cry hate because it's an easy distraction from the point that ALL men deserve the right to refuse unnecessary amputation of their healthy body parts. There is NO argument against that fact, so, distractions are needed. This attack on Foreskin Man comes in direct opposition to the proposed circumcision ban in San Fransisco. It's not just Jews distracting, and it's not just Foreskin Man that is being used. Plenty of people are distracting the argument from one of protecting men's equality, to parental decision making and governmental meddling.

I'm not saying there isn't genuine hurt and misunderstanding for people, but In the end, offense is an interpretation of intent. That means that once you know anti-semitism is NOT the intent, then you don't HAVE to keep being offended.   \ /,,

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