Writer of Blatantly Anti-Semitic Comic Book Denies Blatant Anti-Semitism
Today In Obvious
Here is something for the brethren: Right now in San Francisco, there is a ballot measure to make male circumcision illegal, citing the “preservation of the penis.” So to spread the message about the measure he wrote himself, Matthew Hess — who calls himself an “intactivist” (see what he did there?) — created Foreskin Man, righteous defender of eight-day-old baby foreskins and their eternal attachment to the mighty penis. Hess cites his main goal as “making cutting boys’ foreskin a federal crime.” And he swears, this has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with stopping “male genital mutilation.” Now, the last thing we want is to see babies being mutilated. But let’s look at this perfectly tolerant, not-at-all-anti-Semitic comic he’s drawn.
So, that cover — This is taking place at a bris, and that is definitely religious. And those appear to be rabbis, who are generally Jewish, drawn in the classic “evil” style, ready to face the suspiciously Super-Anglo-Saxon Foreskin Man. But before we jump to conclusions, maybe there’s a page of the comic we can look at. And I’m sure this will have nothing to do with a Jewish father imposing a “Vicious Religious Edict” on his unsuspecting wife and child.
Well, it totally does. Poor Glick! But wait a gosh-darn minute. I’m not convinced this is truly anti-Semitic until I’m specifically told that the rabbis, including the mohel — who performs the circumcision — is an actual monster, who loves nothing more than to cut into the penile flesh of an eight-day-old infant boy.
But did someone flat-out ask Matthew Hess if this was meant to be anti-Semitic? Oh yes! Carolyn Saunders, a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle did! And what did he say?
I asked him if the comic is anti-Semitic. He answered, “A lot of people have said that, but we’re not trying to be anti-Semitic. We’re trying to be pro-human rights.”
Well, he couldn’t have been expected to say: “Yes indeed. This was totally intended to be 100% intolerant of the Jewish faith and all the people who follow it.”
The first issue of this comic deals with a circumcision that curiously takes place in a dingy, back-alley clinic (question: people are getting back-alley circumcisions?), and that appears to be taking place in a non-religious setting. Also true: there is a community of people who have heard one too many stories about circumcisions gone wrong and really, truly believe that circumcision is a bad choice for purely medical reasons. (“But why should only some babies be protected?” said one intactivist at the prospect of religious exceptions, should the ban become law.) And those people should definitely choose not to have their children circumcised.
But, I think that by using the Scientific Method — or just our eyeballs and basic reading comprehension skills — we can definitively conclude that this — or at least this issue — is a 100% anti-Semitic comic. Really, he had us at “Monster Mohel.”
It’s sad when you see a beloved medium used to spread a hateful message (even when it’s weirdly ineffective), but we would all be poorer without free speech. Because free speech also allows us to mock others.
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