From: Mike Cule (
Date: Wed 31 May 1995 - 14:33:26 EEST

Andrew Joelson remarked on Peter Metcalf's earlier post:

> > Similar archaic
> > pratices have survived for long periods of time (Jewish circumcision etc)
> Archaic? Is that why most western hospitals circumcise male babies?
> Gee, I thought it had something to do with general cleanliness and inhibiting
> disease.....

Well, no not 'most western hospitals'. Most American hospitals.

(How many times have I thought while watching American sex-movies:

Ou sont les prepuces d'Amerique?)

The wholesale circumcision of male babies was prevelant in the UK until a couple of generations ago until it was proved that general cleanliness and disease inhibition could be preserved by teaching people to wash under the foreskin and with the general spread of indoor bathrooms the practice was allowed to drop.

I believe the decision of the Queen and Prince Phillip not to have Charles clipped (as automatically happened to previous generations of Royal infants) had a great effect in popularising the new stance.

Nowadays circumcision in the UK is done only for religious and genuine medical reasons. Perhaps the fact that here such operations would be paid for by the National Health Service and therefore by the taxpayer whereas in the US such things can be added to the bill automatically by the doctor explains the difference....

Yours off-topic but uncut,

Actor and Genius.
AKA Theophilus, Prince-Archbishop of the Far Isles (Arms: Purpure, an open book proper. On the dexter page the letter Alpha or. On the sinister page the letter Omega of the same. Motto: nulla spes sit in resistendo.)
Ask me about the Far Isles Medieval Society: Better living through pan-medieval anachronisms.

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