What are some of your hobbies? Perhaps you collect stamps or rebuild engines on ’65 Mustangs. Wil Kennedy, a 27-year-old from Australia, likes to go on Twitter and ask celebrities, “Are you circumcised?”
I discovered this when I came across a screen grab on The Big Lead sports blog in which middle infielder Reid Brignac of the Tampa Bay Rays responded to the question from @circdusoliel by replying, “stop asking me that none of ur business.”
Now why would anyone be pressing Reid Brignac, who’s not exactly a household name, about whether he’s been snipped? This required further investigation, so I went on Twitter and clicked on @circdusoleil. If you do the same, you’ll see that he’s put the question “Are you circumcised?” to countless men, day after day, many of them celebrities. Now why would somebody do that? And what kind of feedback do they get? Do people like comedian Andy Dick, singer Boy George and director Judd Apatow really discuss their junk with an anonymous stranger on Twitter?
Matter of fact they do. And do they share that in common with Russell Crowe? Uh, not so much.
Wil Kennedy, who asked that I not identify him too closely—there has to be plenty of circumcision-obsessed men named Wil Kennedy in Australia, no?—didn’t want to discuss the matter on the phone, but he was more than willing to address his hobby at length via email. Take it away, Wil:
In a round about way it started about a year ago when some friends were about to have a baby boy and the subject of circumcision came up in a group of friends, and the mood became decidedly uncomfortable. It occurred to me that the subject is very rarely spoken about.
Anyway, sometime later I was thinking of a question I could ask celebrities that would illicit an amusing response to compile into a website and that was the question I thought of. And it really is a question that illicits a lot of emotion for whatever reason, and certainly stands out amongst the hundreds of others they get. Reactions range from simple yeses and nos, to outrage, to humour and (not surprisingly) being ignored.
Some have retweeted the question, and fans have bombarded me with outrage—saying the question is disrespectful and an invasion of privacy, others have found themselves bombarded with fans asking, “Well, are you?” I find it very interesting how seriously some people take a random anonymous tweet from a stranger. It’s so very easy to ignore and essentially meaningless and only an invasion of privacy if they somehow respond against their will.
Andy Dick replied simply ”yes,” Mark Ruffalo told me to watch his movies to find out, Boy George wasn’t offended at all and offered a reply about being “hooded,” many, such as Judd Apatow offered a joke, while rugby league player Nick Youngquest said to “fuck off.” Adam Levine retweeted the question, Russell Crowe blocked the account. Some have chosen to [direct message] their answers and even asked questions about other responses.
So it’s been very varied.
I’m undecided about what form the responses, which I have collected, will take. I was originally just going to paste them on a tumblr and let them speak for themselves as I intended it to be more about how people responded to the question as opposed to the actual answer—but now I think it may be worth exploring further. One of the biggest surprises for me has been the amount of people who have said they wish they hadn’t been circumcised. One man said he had thought about having it done, but when queried said it was a joke.
Some people have tweeted and asked about my own status and I haven’t replied. While that seems hypocritical I don’t want to be seen as asking with an agenda. I’m not pushing a point of view, or looking to ridicule, just raising a question. That’s not to say I don’t have a point of view, but in this context I’ll keep it to myself.
Anyway, hope that’s of some use to you. As I said, feel free to send me any other questions you have.
My only question is this: Why didn’t you ask me if I’m circumcised, Wil?
I guess celebrities get all the perks.
But Wil is not alone in his foreskin frenzy. Circumcision is as hot a topic as it is ever likely to be; the rate of infant circumcision has been dropping for over a decade, and there are plenty of men who are unhappy with their parents for “mutilating” them shortly after birth.
In January here at GMPM, we ran the most comprehensive and entertaining story ever written on the foreskin restoration movement (yes, you read that right, foreskin restoration is real—so real it has its own movement), beautifully written by contributor Laura Novak, as well as a story by DadsGood contributor Cole Gamble about his losing battle with his wife over the future of his new son’s foreskin. If you want to get a sense of the tone of the conversation going on around this topic, have a look at the comments for either of these stories.