Yes, I think about this more than most people.

This story is from last week, but I ignored missed it while I was away. I think it’s interesting and insightful, while not needing much commentary.

The Marines are banning any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, saying such body art is harmful to the Corps’ spit-and-polish image.

“Some Marines have taken the liberty of tattooing themselves to a point that is contrary to our professional demeanor and the high standards America has come to expect from us,” he said. “I believe tattoos of an excessive nature do not represent our traditional values.”

Any time traditional values pops up, I’m likely to shake my head and dismiss the logic. However, when dealing with the military, there is some leeway since members of our military offer up some of their freedoms when they join. Such a policy could have implications in recruiting and retaining soldiers (and sailors and …), but that’s a different debate than whether that policy is reasonable. I’m not inclined to get worked up over the issue.

However, this quote fascinates me:

“This is something I love to do,” said Cpl. David Nadrchal, 20, of Pomona, who made an appointment to get an Iraqi flag and his deployment dates etched onto his lower leg. “The fact I can’t put something on my body that I want — it’s a big thing to tell me I can’t do that.”

Change a few words (while the overall meaning remains) and you arrive at a perfect summation of the argument against routine infant circumcision. It’s a big thing to tell me I can’t… To forbid a tattoo or keeping a foreskin, there must be an excellent justification. Perhaps there is a reason with tattoos, although I find that difficult to believe given the mission of the Marines. There is no reason with routine infant circumcision. The burden of proof rests with he who wishes to remove the body part from the male, not with the male to later protest that irreversible action.