Treatment of Circumcision on TV
appears frequently in television sitcoms.... [I]t is
reasonably safe to say that whenever circumcision is
discussed ... the defining motif is uneasiness.
- Leonard Glick,
Marked in Your Flesh,
It happens remarkably often. You'd think a circumcision episode
The stories convey some interesting underlying themes/myths:
- "If circumcision of a baby is discussed, baby will be
circumcised." (Ari [Zighelboim]'s Law).
- "The foreskin is disgusting." (In "Marked
in Your Flesh" Leonard Glick traces this view back to
Jewish reactions to Christian polemic against circumcision in
the second and third century C.E.)
- "Anyone may be as insulting as they like about the foreskin
or the man who has one. They have no feelings or rights."
- "American gentiles are not routinely circumcised: Jews
circumcise - and gentile men who want to marry Jewish women."
(Judaism specifically forbids converting in order to marry a
Jew, but that is never mentioned. Other Jewish rules
concerning circumcision are also ignored - because the
Jewishness of circumcision on TV is only a plot device - a deus
ex machina - to explain and justify the otherwise
inexplicable American circumcision.)
- "Circumcision is highly controversial and (paradoxically) no
- "Circumcision is safe, quick, painless, and beneficial."
- "Circumcision is harder on the parents than the baby."
Foreskin restoration is a recent element. It is always
presented as surgery. (When non-surgical restoration enters
sitcoms the comedy will doubtless be based on the public and
noisy loss of huge weights, shaming the restoring man and
convincing him that restoration is foolish.)
Game and Talk Shows
Game shows generally refer only to Jewish circumcision.
Talk shows promote circumcision through ignorance and
(Additional contributions are welcome. email
- "That Thing" - portrayal of
the foreskin and circumcision in popular media
- Circumcision in the movies
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