Adjective-filled headlines aren’t objective reporting.

I wish I could send a memo to every newspaper headline writer. It would be brief, saying only “This headline is not clever.”

The kindest cut — AIDS-ravaged Swaziland rolls out male circumcision to prevent AIDS

First, notice how – once again – voluntary and adult are left out of the headline. The studies in Africa that have caused the world to lose its capacity to think rationally researched voluntary, adult male circumcision, not forced circumcision of boys. That’s an entirely different study, with impossible-to-overcome ethical hurdles.

Next, most dangerous complaint: the studies did not find that male circumcision prevents HIV infection. They concluded that male circumcision reduces the (short-term) risk of becoming HIV-infected. There is a significant difference, clearly lost in the current marketing. Somehow the correct interpretation appears in the story. I suppose the truth isn’t sexy enough for the headline. Marketing, folks, marketing.

Finally, regarding male circumcision being “the kindest cut”, the implication clearly implies that it’s kind on the part of the cutter. Shouldn’t the concern be for what and why the individual chooses for himself? For the cutter, it’s should be nothing but an objective medical procedure. Hacking away at the body of another for your reasons is unreasonable.

I allegedly have a reduced risk of being infected with HIV through sexual intercourse. I don’t engage in risky behavior, so my risk is zero. I do not care about any potential HIV risk reduction. For that reason, and many others, I do not consider my circumcision to be “kind”. It’s the rudest, most inhumane act as yet committed against me. My opinion is all that matters.

Or, all that should’ve mattered.