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The Tip of the Iceberg

Famous men who resent/ed being circumcised

 

We often hear "I've never heard of a man complaining about being circumcised!" Send them here and they won't be able to say that again.

 

Contents

In roughly chronological order:

A E Housman
A. E. Housman, poet
A Shropshire Lad
When shall I be dead and rid
of the wrong my father did?

Housman and his brothers were circumcised in 1873, when Alfred was 14, at the command of his father, who had recently remarried. His brothers "made open complaint...of the ill-treatment which had befallen them" according to his sister. Housman's own reaction is not recorded, but several facts are suggestive. His poetry is preoccupied with "lads" (who would virtually all have been intact) and their death by violence, he was fascinated by Greek and Roman antiquities, especially nude male statues, his work was the restoration of incomplete and mutilated texts, and he told an enquirer his poetry was the result of a physical condition.

Graves, Richard, "A. E. Housman: The scholar poet" 1979, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul (pp 21, 253)

 

John Maynard Keynes - TIME cover
John Maynard Keynes
Economist

Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes
Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes
Surgeon, scholar, bibliophile

Both were circumcised in childhood (Geoffrey at three; if at
the same time, Maynard was seven) to stop them from masturbating.
Geoffrey never forgave their parents.

- R. Darby, A Surgical Temptation, p 298

 

Frank Capra
Frank Capra
Film director

The FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST

While in his early twenties [~1920], Capra contacted a raging case of gonorrhoea after a one-night stand with a woman he met at a party in San Francisco. He sought treatment at an underground "clap-shack" and appeared to have the problem under control until - wham! - another anonymous sexual encounter left him with with a maddeningly itchy penis once more. This time, the quack doctor Capra consulted suggested a radical remedy: adult circumcision.

"This guy wants to make a Jew out of me," Capra groused to a friend, before agreeing to undergo the procedure, which was conducted in a makeshift operating room with a shot of alcohol as the anesthetic. To Capra's dismay, the make-believe mohel proved a little too aggressive with the scalpel, removing not only his foreskin but every inch of flesh around the head of his phallus. [De-gloving]

"The son of a bitch cut everything off!" Capra later wailed. The operation left Capra hunched over in agony, bleeding into a rag -- and sexually crippled for the rest of his life.

"That finished women for me," he later admitted. "It practically wrecked my life." As a consequence of the botched surgical procedure, Capra had to endure excruciating pain with every erection.

He also ejaculated prematurely. "I became a lousy lay," the director confessed. "I just go in and bang bang bang - there it goes. I can't hold back. No woman likes to be fondled and then have somebody squirt all over her."

Over the years, Capra consulted numerous doctors to try and overcome his sexual dysfunction. With some effort (and the saintlike presence of his second wife, Lucille) he was finally able to become "Master of his domain" so to speak.

"I finally learned how to do it and hold back," he said. "It took a lot of brainwork." By the time he was in his late eighties, he declared himself cured, telling interviewers that he never failed to perform in the bedroom. Better late than never.

- Robert Schnakenberg, Secret LIves of Great Filmmakers,
(Quirk Books, 2010), p51

 

Alan Turing
Alan Matheson Turing, mathematician
The Computer
Enigma

Alan told his friend [Fred Clayton] how much he resented having being circumcised, and also of his earliest memories of playing with the gardener's boy..., which he thought had perhaps decided his sexual pattern.

Source: Alan Turing: the Enigma of Intelligence
by Andrew Hodges, p. 77
Hodges maintains an extensive Turing homepage

 

W H Auden
W. H. Auden, poet
Stop all the Clocks

At the age of seven, in 1914, about the time that he went to boarding school and his father went away to war, he was circumcised. ... Auden's operation remained an unpleasant memory.

Auden by R. Davenport-Hines, p31

 

 

Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson, actor
Pillow Talk
Magnificent Obsession

Marc Christian
And his last lover,
Marc Christian

Source: second-hand personal communication

 

 

James K. Baxter
James K. Baxter, poet (New Zealand), 1926-72

Not too far from the Leith water
My mother saw the mandrake grow
And pulled it. A professor's daughter,
She told me some time after how
She had been frightened by a cow
So that the birth-sac broke too soon
And on the twenty-ninth of June
Prematurely I looked at the walls
And yelled. The Plunket nurse ran in
To scissor off my valued foreskin,
But one thing staggered that grimalkin:
Poets are born with three balls.

Letter to Robert Burns (1963)

 

JFK at Harvard
John F. Kennedy

JFK was circumcised for "tight foreskin problems" (that is, unnecessarily) at the age of 21 in the Mayo Clinic in February 1938 while he was a student at Harvard.

Although he wrote to his gay confidante and roommate K. LeMoyne ("Lem") Billings,

"... as for your rather unnatural interest in my becoming circumsized [sic], J.J. has never been in better shape or doing better service"

- JFK: Reckless Youth by Nigel Hamilton

this is put in context by a more detailed comment:

"When you're circumcised at a much later age like that, you think of it as a kind of castration, a threat to manhood, so you have to keep on proving 'IT' is o.k. by any means possible."

- The Kennedys in Hollywood by Lawrence J. Quirk

...suggesting that if JFK had had a more foreskin-friendly doctor, Marilyn Monroe might have gone on to become a distinguished old character actress like Katherine Hepburn.

 

Joseph Kallinger
Joseph Kallinger, "the Shoemaker"

At the age of six, Joseph Kallinger, an abandoned orphan later taken in by a Catholic couple in Philadelphia, had to go into hospital for a hernia operation. When he came home his father Stephen, a poor German immigrant working as a shoemaker, explained what the doctor had done.

'He fixed your hernia ... but he also fixed ... your little bird.'
In the Kallinger home, 'bird' was the euphemism for penis.
'What's wrong with my little bird?' Joe asked.
'An evil spirit ... a demon makes your bird get hard and stick out so you do bad things with it. Then your soul goes to the Devil when you die ... but you won't have no demon, because your bird will always be small, small, small!'

- Christiane Olivier
Jocasta's Children: The Imprint of the Mother
Routledge, London and NY, 1989

For the rest of his life Joseph Kallinger ... was to suffer ... violent, overwhelming anxieties about the size and performance of his penis, with recurring episodes of impotence. ... the terror, and the rage against the terror, of being a 'No-Dick' set Kallinger's feet on the trail of the series of hideous sexual murders with which 'The Shoemaker' terrorised a 1960s America drunk on dreams of peace and love.

- Rosiland Miles, The Rites of Man p 42

 

Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida, philosopher
1930-2004

This post-modernist writes with stupefying obscurity, but phrases in "Circumfession", his long footnote to Geoffrey Bennington's Jacques Derrida, such as -

...this per­fumed water attenuates the pain which I suppose to be nil and infinite, and I can still feel it, the phantom burning, in my belly, irradiating a diffuse zone around the sex, a threat which returns every time the other is in pain...
...the crime of my circumcision...
- strongly suggest that he resented it, as does the fact that he left his sons intact, despite being Jewish.

 

Auberon Waugh
Auberon Waugh, essayist
1939- 2001

My first memory? A first memory of violence, being circumcised at the age of three. There were good medical reasons for it, of course. [Perhaps.] Nevertheless, I remember it vividly - it was very unpleasant!

- quoted in Rosiland Miles, The Rites of Man p 37

 

Dick Gregory
Dick Gregory, comedian, commentator

 

Howard Stern
Howard Stern, "Shock jock"

"... I am circumcised, and I tell you something, I despise it. I despise it. I despise it."


"... I dread [rue] the day my parents mutilated me."


"You know, my mother is so into 'natural'. Everythi- , 'The body is beautiful,' you should hear the rap. 'The body is beautiful, we should leave things natural...' So, she wouldn't get me braces. My teeth were as crooked as a four-way intersection in Washington DC, and green, and bu-bu-bu- wouldn't get me braces, My teeth were so wrecked because 'naturally the body will heal itself.' She's like a Christian Scientist. ... but the penis? Right out the window!"


"I am completely pissed off that I'm circumcised."


"I know my penis was mutilated and I called my mother ... I said to my mother the other night, 'I'm really freaked out by this circumcision thing.' I think that I was mutilated. I think my penis would have a lot more sensitivity. ... I'm talkin' to my mother and I said, 'Why did you have me circumcised, exactly?'

"She goes 'You know, at the time I didn't even know why. They took my baby from me and they said you know, "This is something you gotta do."'... caught up in the whole tradition, cause my, y'know, my father was was like, 'Hey, he's gotta be circumcised, he's gotta look like me.'

"And my mother goes, 'I just remember being so out of it that, I knew it was the wrong thing, I knew it shouldn't be done, somewhere in the back of my mind, but how dare I buck the system?' I go 'Well Gee! You're such a loudmouth on everything else, why weren't you a loudmouth on this?'"

[While Stern's heart is in the right place, his facts are often astray, especially figures.]

Adapted from the Howard Stern fan site www.marksfriggin.com:


Genital Crab And Other STD Discussions. September 4, 2003. 7:50am

A listener called in and said he had had genital crabs at one time and they were embedded in his foreskin. He claimed that he had to be circumcised because of it. [Isn't he lucky the crabs weren't embedded in his scrotum! Crabs (pubic lice, P[h]thirus pubis) infest only hairy parts of the body, not the foreskin: the call may have been a hoax.] He was only 19 years old at the time. Since he had had sex both before and after his circumcision, Howard asked him which was better. The man told Howard that sex was better after being circumcised. Howard was surprised to hear that, because he thought it would be better with the extra skin [not actually extra - standard equipment]. Howard bailed out on that call and said he didn't want to hear any more about that stuff. He took a break shortly after that.

 

Wink Musselman
Wink Musselman, Comedian/musician

"I may have foreskin-reattachment surgery.
I’ll either come back as a woman
or with my foreskin reattached."

Interview in OCWeekly

 

A reader and the editor of "Blueboy" magazine

Dear Chuck and Chip and Gang:
   I have a circumcised cock and I could kill my parents and their parish priest at the time for cutting my foreskin without asking me....
   George G.
   New York


Dear George:
   I happen to feel the same way you do. I am Catholic and curious as to how many inches I lost in that hospital back in the 30s....
    _C[huck] E[dwards]

- Blueboy, September 1994

The Catholic Church condemns circumcision.

 

Andrew Tavani
Boston Metro columnist and bloggerAndrew Tavani

I lament the circumcision of my foreskin. A circumcision removes about 70 percent of genital nerve endings. That sounds like a party in my pants. There is no telling what lingering psychological effects I’ve suffered as a result of the pain experienced during my neonatal circumcision.

It’s vexing that the medical community allows the removal of a body part we could actually find useful. Why not circumcise my appendix at birth instead of my foreskin? My appendix could potentially kill me one day if it bursts and I don’t receive medical attention swiftly.

My foreskin posed no such diabolical threat. ... I say, save the foreskins.

Boston Metro March 1, 2006 or Alternavision, Feb 22, 2006

 

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
Headline about Ben Affleck's ''anti-circumcision rant''

Ben Affleck was reportedly circumcised after suffering an injury. Jon Stewart brought it up briefly on the Daily Show of September 19, 2006 (4'45" in), and Affleck said,

"I hate the circumcisions! Get enough in me, and I'll tell you how much I hate them!" (5'20")

 

Brad Roberts
Brad Roberts
former lead singer of the Crash Test Dummies

In one of his pieces, called
"Another poem, entitled 'Circumcision,' is read"
he discusses the realization that he is missing something.

 

 

I can testify to the truth of the sentiments expressed in this recording, having been circumcised, unnecessarily (if I knew then...) at the age of 16, 26 years ago, following bad advice from an ignorant doctor and surgeon. The sensations possible with a foreskin are widely varying, intensely exciting, deeply satisfying and exquisite, just as nature intended. Without a foreskin? sex is dull, uncompelling, disappointing, and frankly, hardly worth the effort. Circumcision is a damaging mutilation.

- bjpitts on the same Youtube, 2009

 

Lincoln Kirstein
Poet, dancer and impressario Lincoln Kirstein

- photo by George Platt Lynes

Louis Kirstein, deciding his first born son should be circumcised, calls in the family doctor instead of the traditional mohel, to carry out the procedure, but after botching the job, "septicemia set in, and Lincoln nearly dies.["] To save him, the sweat glands in his groin were surgically removed, leaving physical and psychological scars, locker-room concealments, and castration nightmares that would haunt Lincoln into adolescence.

- Gay City News, 17 May, 2007

 


Christopher (not "Chris") Hitchens (2'40" in)
"I still sometimes brood on the missing bits." (3'20")

 

 

Tom Leykis
Tom Leykis

 

Caller: Ok, so, I'm calling because I have a newborn ... what is your opinion on circumcision?

Tom: My opinion is ... I think that people should get to decide that stuff for themselves.

Caller: That's what I said.

Tom: It shouldn't be decided by rabbis, or the family, or anybody else... I think it's barbaric.

...

Tom: Isn't there something kinky... everybody wants to know about your baby's penis? I mean what is that?

Caller: I don't know, and they're like "Well he can get infections" and all this other stuff, but,

Tom (disdainfully): Oh come on, you can get infections...

Caller: yeah, but I heard that, um, if you get em circumcised it takes off length and like uh, ten percent of the feeling when they get older so, but they're, they're like all,

Tom: I have no idea what I'm missing, I know. I'd rather have found out for myself, you know what?

Caller: Yeah.

Tom: You know what, if I would have had a couple extra infections over the years but it felt better? Would have been worth it.

- the Tom Leykis Show, open phones, March 11, 2005

 


Jason Paige
Blood Sweat and Tears lead singer

 

Erik Rhodes

Porn actor Erik Rhodes

 

His blog:

Erik Rhodes: "A Romance with Misery"

Anonymous asked
Hi Erik have you lost sensitivity since you got circumcised ? I read that you regret it, why is that ?

...

First off, Everyone was complaining saying it looked deformed and well… it was. The first doctor that did it, really f***ed it up… he, after months of leading me along saying that i had extra swelling… finally admitted he messed it up saying he would correct it and that “he was sorry”… Really, your sorry? Who wants to hear i’m sorry from the doctor who’s performing surgery on your penis? I swear, in my eyes, its as bad as a surgeon saying sorry that he f***ed up your face…

anyways, after losing sleep about this a**hole doing surgery on my dick again, i said to myself there is no way in hell that i could let the same guy who did this to me… try it again… i mean what if he messed up worse? So after doing 3 movies with my jacked up dick… i finally had a better surgeon do the correction. Which included having to cut my nut sack open and resetting where it hung… what fun.

So to answer the question, after getting all that out… yes i do regret it. I should have just looked for other options before letting some crazy a**hole take a knife to my dick and yes i have lost sensitivity. Its just not the same. Granted… it looks so much better now… as in after the second time around. Uncut cock is hot and i wish it was still intact.

...

 


Columnist/blogger Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan: ''One of the greatest bodily regrets of my life...''

The Dish, August 6, 2014

(He seems to have no empathy for men born into Jewish or Muslim families, who, like him, may resent being circumcised. The problem with his proposal (2:33) to allow a religious exemption for infant circumcision is that any parent can define any belief they happen to have as "religious". His proposal (2:53) that religious circumcision be publicly funded is a clear breach of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.)

 

Russell Means
Russell Means (Oglala/Lakota Sioux)
Activist and actor (Last of the Mohicans)

In his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread,
he tells how he was circumcised against his grandparents' will
during a tonsilectomy. His attitude changed from novelty
at age 6 to resentment as an adult.

 

Daniel Tosh
Daniel Tosh
Comedian

Just for the record ... I always wished that I wasn't circumcised.

Tosh.0, March 11, 2014 (not viewable in all countries)

 


Brian O'Gorman
Standup comedian

I'm not Jewish and I'm circumcised. That's a theft. I want it back. (3:18)

 


Billy Joel
musician

"I got the, ah, 'snip', and I had nothing to say about that. And I'm still a little pissed off about that, actually. They should have asked first." (3:07)

In the song "So Long, Reverend Ike" he sings to "Rabbi Gold" (at 1:03), "My circumcision grieves me".

 

Icky Boyfriends: Jonathan Swift, centre
Jonathan Swift (Icky Boyfriends)

'Since the band [The Icky Boyfriends] reunited in 2010, [Jonathan] Swift has been writing new songs. "We have a new one called 'Knives,' which is part of the campaign to illegalize circumcision, because it's dangerous and it traumatized me and ruined my sex life," he said. "It should go over well in the Bay where the anti-circumcision movement started."'

East Bay Express September 17, 2014




Davey Wavey
Gay travel and fitness writer/performer

"Fat Mike" Burkett of NOXS
Mike ("Fat Mike") Burkett
NOXS
Don't Call Me White

Don't call me white,
Don't call me white
Don't call me white,
Don't call me white
I wasn't brought here, I was born
Circumcised, categorized, allegiance sworn,
Does this mean I have to take such shit
For being fairskinned? No!
I ain't a part of no conspiracy,
I'm just you're average Joe.

We Called It America

We called it America, whoa.
We called it America, whoa.
National bankruptcy, circumcised society.
USA, dined and ditched;
Fox reports "poor is the new rich".


Lawrence Mooney
Lawrence Mooney
Australian Comedian
"When I was but a few hours old, my parents gave me to a complete stranger. And he took me into a room and hacked the top of my cock off. Let’s just sit with the loneliness and brutality for a moment shall we? ... My knob has been rubbing against my undies for 50 years, and it is dead to the touch. Alright? It is. No seriously, you could hit it with a hammer and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I could bang you for two hours…and nothing."

- Melbourne International Comedy Festival, 2016

(33 celebrities)

 

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Plunket nurse: nurse from the Society for Promoting the Health of Women and Children, better known as the Plunket Society.

Grimalkin: An old she-cat, contemptuously applied to to a jealous or imperious old woman.

J.J.: after J. J. Maher, a despised teacher at Choat.