The Unkindest Cut

March 11, 2020

I am, apparently, what is known as an “intactivist”. That is, I am totally opposed to the medically-unnecessary genital mutilation of infant boys in the procedure known as circumcision. I have been writing about this on and off since at least 2004.

At the beginning, let me be clear that I am not opposed to circumcision for, say, religious or cosmetic reasons; but this should be a conscious choice made by the man when he is an adult, not something forced on an unwitting child by others simply to satisfy a prehistoric tribal rite or to make the child look like his father.

This distasteful business was brought to mind by my reading of a study that links infant circumcision to autism. The researchers studied the life histories of 340,000 boys before reaching their conclusions.

“Possible mechanisms linking early life pain and stress to an increased risk of neurodevelopmental, behavioural or psychological problems in later life remain incompletely conceptualised,” said Professor Frisch. “Given the widespread practice of non-therapeutic circumcision in infancy and childhood around the world, our findings should prompt other researchers to examine the possibility that circumcision trauma in infancy or early childhood might carry an increased risk of serious neurodevelopmental and psychological consequences.”

In no way would I equate the savage barbarism of female genital mutilation to the removal of the male foreskin, but child mutilation of all kinds is still child mutilation and all such practices should be banned immediately.

Image: Spring Blossoms

March 11, 2020

Grandview 11th March 1920

March 11, 2020

“Vancouver Sun”, 19200311, p.14

Fear and Loathing In Lotusland

March 11, 2020

Yesterday on Twitter, Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung wrote:

“Attn all Vancouver #smallbusiness & businesses. If you are having a real challenge with City of Vancouver permitting, I’d like to hear from you to hear the problems firsthand, as well as try to help. My Council email is & my phone is on City web.”

She was responding to numerous conversations that morning about how City of Vancouver permits and licensing are difficult. expensive, and frustratingly time consuming.  A journalist noted:

“I tried to write about this two years ago and couldn’t get any businesses to go on the record. They were fearful it could further delay their permits!!”

This seemed to be a not uncommon feeling and the words “petty” and “fear” were frequent.

I have a good friend who had a very lengthy, expensive, and frustrating experience a year or so ago when he was renovating an in-law suite. I asked him if he would speak with Councillor Kirby-Yung. His reaction:  “I would be happy to do that but it would have to be anonymous,” and he went on to describe issues he could expect from City Hall staff if he were to make his feelings public.

How can we have gotten to this state where an entrenched bureaucracy in our beautiful City can instil such fear in successful business people and tax-paying citizens who are just trying to improve their lives and their properties? What is going on here? Why is the City Manager allowing this to happen?

I wish Councillor Kirby-Yung the very best results with her inquiries, and would close by making it clear that calling out inefficiency is not a sign of disrespect to staff; but failure to root out the problem IS disrespectful to the tax-payers of Vancouver.