Presumably media outlets have bots scanning celebrity twitter feeds looking for words they might be able to make a story out of. They might as well get the bots to write the half-arsed, ill-conceived stories as well. Russell Crowe strikes me as being a bit of a tool, but he seems to have said some sensible things anyway. Someone asked him whether they should circumcise their child. Why anyone would ask Russell Crowe to decide that is fairly bewildering. Here’s Crowe’s response:
'Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect.'
I have to agree with Crowe that circumcision is stupid. Male circumcision itself isn’t all that barbaric, especially compared to the unspeakable horror of female genital mutilation. However, the act itself certainly is barbaric. It’s a means of indoctrination and control and it’s divisive by design. I also agree that male babies are not improved by removal of their foreskin, much less so that females are improved by the sickening mutilation of their genitals and its consequences.
I’d have gone further. I’d have called circumcision stupid, barbaric and child abuse. I’d have called the Jewish religion stupid, child abuse and responsible for much barbarism.
However, needless to say, Crowe has been branded by some random people on Twitter as being anti-sematic and the media have played up without pointing out that the accusation is nonsensical. Despising some Jewish practice in no way implies hatred of Jews. You have no right not to be offended and if you are offended, flinging moronic, unfounded accusations around seems unlikely to help.
Unfortunately, Crowe later issued a rather fawning apology. No problem in setting the record straight, but he apologises for seeming to mock the beliefs and traditions of others. Again, I’d have gone rather further by saying I mock stupid beliefs because they’re stupid. I’d have rammed the point home by mocking them further and – to show that I am an equal opportunities mocker – I’d have done bonus mocking of some other stupid beliefs.
It would be nice if he could have stood up for himself. I say this in the knowledge that this would be a lot more difficult for Crowe than it is for me. How did society get so screwed up that a perfectly reasonable statement – when made by a celebrity – causes a wave of collapses as people clutch their pearls too tightly.
Two reasons spring to mind: the hold we know religion has on people and our insistence that celebrities must somehow share our views or we’re allowed to punish them. We gave them their fame and we can take it away if they don’t pander. Why would anyone make a hero of someone they can control? I’m sure these two reasons are somehow closely related, but I don’t have time to tease it out right now.
Crowe said another decent and sensible thing. Someone asked him what they obviously considered a loaded question:
'I'm still waiting for @russellcrowe to give his opinion on abortion since he loves babies and all...'
and Crowe replied:
Abortion should always be a woman's choice, there is no benefit to "forced" motherhood...you got it? don't like it then bye.'
Again, nothing tricky here. I’d have gone further on this one too: if you think abortion is bad for religious reasons, you really need to re-examine your priorities.