The receipts are in and, despite a $56,000,000 haul, 20th Century Fox has to be a little underwhelmed by the performance of X-Men: First Class. Speculation is rife about why the film had the weakest opening of the franchise to date. They might blame the largely unknown cast, director Matthew Vaughn's relative inexperience, or just general audience mistrust towards prequels (that slapping sound is George Lucas giving it some heavy facepalm). But the most likely explanation is that we're just getting a bit sick of comic book movies.
After the first X-Men movie confounded everyone by being a decent film that treated viewers like grownups, the studios set their x-ray vision on any character with a cape and an alliterative alter-ego. They may not have killed the golden goose, but they certainly rammed a funnel down its oesophagus and started pumping. As a result, the market's been saturated and filmmakers are running out of recognisable properties to adapt.
If, like us, they're growing bored of the conventional underdog-turned-vigilante story, they might be interested in an all-new superhero currently flying off the shelves in San Francisco. Foreskin Man may share a costume colour scheme with Wolverine, but he's vehemently opposed to sharp blades, especially the ones used to "cut into the penile flesh of an eight-day-old infant boy." Well, who wouldn't be?
the uncircumcised minority are treated as quirky novelties, like gingers or Sarah Palin.
OK, so it's unlikely that this particular hero is going to be featuring on a Happy Meal box anytime soon. Instead, he's here to rid the world (or at least Northern California) of the scourge of circumcision, and it seems like he's got a battle on his hands. In the US, 80% of American men are snipped as children, so much so that the uncircumcised minority are treated as quirky novelties, like gingers or Sarah Palin.
For years, debate has raged about whether or not it's acceptable to 'mutilate' a child's genitals. Advocates of the practice argue that it’s a relatively painless procedure with a myriad of health and hygiene benefits. Alternatively, opponents believe that maybe kids should be entitled to decide for themselves whether they want part of their cock cutting off, rather than having it done arbitrarily before they’ve even grown out of their first pair of bootees.
The political debate has come to a shiny purple head in the Bay Area, where a concerned public interest group of 'intactivists' has lobbied to have a new proposal added to the November ballot. This means that voters get to decide whether theirs will be the first US city to outlaw child circumcision.
In many ways, it makes sense that the battle lines over this issue would be drawn in San Francisco. After all, this is a city with cock on the brain. As well as being home to the ultra-desirable neighbourhood of Nob Hill, the city is watched over by Coit Tower, a 210ft phallus that was erected in 1933 in honour the city's firefighters. Then, of course, there’s The Castro – a whole district dedicated to wang worship, where the only toys displayed in shop windows come with a realistic vibrating action. If you see the word 'uncut' on a DVD in this part of town, it's probably not referring to a previously unseen Director’s edit.
If the measure passes, circumcision on the under-18s will become a misdemeanour offence punishable by a $1,000 fine or a year in jail, with no religious exemptions. The Jewish community is understandably upset about this threat to their religious freedoms, with Rabbi Gil Yosef Leeds claiming "For a city that's renowned for being progressive and open-minded, to even have to consider such an intolerant proposition ... it sets a dangerous precedent for all cities and states." They've also accused the creator of Foreskin Man of being anti-Semitic, given the fact that the comic's chief villain is called 'Monster Mohel'. Matthew Hess defended himself, saying "A lot of people have said that, but we're not trying to be anti-Semitic. We're trying to be pro-human rights."
The argument of religious freedom is a tricky one, especially since the children involved have no say in the matter. As with all forms of freedom, limitations come into effect as soon as the freedom of a third party is affected. Surely, kids would be better off growing into their own bodies before they have bits of them hacked off, in the same way that no-one would condone giving a three-year old a nose-job. By the time they reach the age of consent, they can decide for themselves whether they want their cock remodelled - hell, they can hammer a nail through it if they like. Each to their own.
In the meantime, we can all sleep soundly in our beds, safe in the knowledge that the ever-vigilant Miles Hastwick is defending our dicks through his research at the Museum of Genital Integrity. When this Dark Knight Rises, it's hard to miss - in fact you can see it through his tights.
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