"Reasons to Circumcise: A Comprehensive Unbiased Evidence-Based Guide To All Of the Data In Favor Of Circumcision" is a new book that just appeared on Amazon.com.
This is a textbook example of the phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover." The book is a prank; it's filled with blank pages - apparently to convey the author's belief that there are no valid reasons for circumcision.
Clues that the publication is not what what it appears are apparent. The "author" is the obviously fictitious name, "Hugh Dickman, M.D." The back cover features sly endorsements by several longtime anti-circumcision activists. One of the endorsements is, "The pages of nothing turned out to be really something. Buy this book!"
If those aren't enough clues to the joke, the description on Amazon.com spells it out. "Our lawyers require us to inform you that this book contains only 117 words and is almost entirely blank pages."
Despite the obvious clues, several anti-circumcision reviewers have given the book the minimum 1-star rating. One brazen reviewer warned, "This writing does nothing to tell you the truth about the horror of this procedure. It is full of half truth and innuendo... This book is the worst piece of trash I have ever read. Don't waste your money. Pure garbage."
Another reviewer who didn't bother to read beyond the front cover wrote, "Not unbiased. It's one man's sexual fetish and cherry picked 'research.'"
Ironically, this joke exposes the deceit of online anti-circumcision fanatics. Many of them deliberately downgrade and write negative online reviews for books, articles, physicians, nurses, and videos that promote circumcision or provide at least a balanced analysis of the subject.
The people who write such negative reviews almost never read the book, and those who downgrade doctors almost never have any personal experience as a patient or a parent of a patient. This abuse of online rating systems can deter potential patients and customers.
This prank is the brainchild of Brendon Marotta, the producer of the anti-circumcision documentary American Circumcision that is currently available on Netflix. Marotta is heavily promoting the book to his fans. Still, even on his public Facebook page, some of his fans were oblivious to the joke. One asked, "Are you out of your fucking mind?"
Marotta is charging $13.49 for a paperback version of his blank-page book. He has suggested, among other ideas, that his fans could leave a copies at libraries and medical offices. One envisions the amusing scenario in which one intactivist leaves a copy at a doctor's office; as she leaves, another anti-circumcision activist enters, reads the title, and angrily tosses the book in the trash.
In a future post, we will explain how medical professionals can protect themselves from fake negative reviews and other sinister acts used in the online intactivist harassment campaign.
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