Week 31 - Noise, Cutting, and Illness

by Tina Holmboe 7th of August 2010 (archive)

It’s friday — and I am glad. The week has not been a particularly nice one.

Let’s start with the age–old discussion of banning children from flying, ’cause they scream and run about and make a mess. This time it popped up on the «E24 Lifestyle» site (www.e24.se). Some companies – Thomas Cook Airlines and TUI Fly specifically — are planning kid free flights.

The mind boggles — as it does every time this remarkably short–sighted idea appear. The odd reader comment has, amazingly, pointed out that it isn’t the kids, but the noise, which is a problem. Who makes it? Who cares.

And yet, yet, I can’t but wonder. You are, basically, stuck in an aluminium tube with two, or more, gigantic fans on the outside and you can’t hear shit anyway.

Hello? *tap, tap* Aircrafts are high–decibel ways of travel. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a kid screaming behind your seat, or a drunk bugger ranting next to you. The place you are in will be noisy, unpleasant, and not in the very least comfortable no matter what you, or others do.

The inside of the tube will, with few variations, have a noise level in the vicinity of 75 to 100 dBa. That’s when all the kids are shutting up. A screaming child can reach 90–95 dBa. Peace and quiet? Get real, and get a grip. You won’t have quiet on an airplane, no matter how modern.

Unless, of course, you get a noise–cancelling headset. Duh. The idea of blaming kids for adding noise to an already uncomfortably noisy environment is, at best, fantastic.

People will talk. Children will scream. Some people will smell of sweat, of shit, and of too much perfume. Some kids’ll smell of the odd unpleasantness too. You’re travelling like a sardine in an uncontrolled environment! Grow up.

Following this is an interesting little article in «Aftonbladet» (www.aftonbladet.se) regarding sick pay. The Swedish system, which is quite humane compared to most nations, was — according to politicians – very costly, and left people on sick pay when they were, well, sick.

That doesn’t work, so a new system was introduced. Since then people have been de–insured, and now the first suicides are a fact. Yes, I know what you’ll say — we don’t know they are related. Oddly enough, other people are able to do research as well — yes, we do know this.

It’s a terrible shame, according to some Swedish parties, but, as you know, you can’t really make an omelet without cracking some eggs. A rational enough theory, unless you’re an egg. Do I need to mention that the current lot of oxygen–wasters are conservative? No? Didn’t think so.

Let’s go visit Norway — my home country — for a moment. Here’s an old favourite, courtesy of the newspaper «Verdens Gang» (www.vg.no) — male circumcision. It’s an old hat.

There are two sides to it: those who want to cut pieces of their male children’s genitals off for religious or cultural reasons … and those who doesn’t want to cut anything off unless it has a medical reason. So far so good — and, as could be expected, religion and culture has won up until now. After all, if a doctor doesn’t do the cutting, these buggers’ll do the cutting themselves. Much better with medical expertise on hand.

Except…. Hippocrates. Remember ’im? He’s the one with the Oath; the oath revised by the Declaration of Geneva: «The health of my patient will be my first consideration.»

Enter medical ethics. Two experts in said field state that, no, it isn’t ethical — or healthy — to cut pieces off what does not need cutting off. So far, so good. We are assuming an adult, rational discussion after all.

Then in jumps Rolf Kirschner, who is — surprisingly — a doctor of medicine as well. He is for male circumcision, and remark that one must have respect for traditions lasting thousands of years.

Took me a minute or two to pick myself up off the floor. One must, must one? Exactly which traditions would that be?

Female circumcision, perhaps? Some claims that has been going on for 4–5000 years. How about slavery? Ancient tradition, that, and if done correctly no harm — except to that pesky consent principle — will come of it. Anyone for a little ritual sacrifice?

He finishes by pointing out how surprised he is that circumcision is picked when there are so many other violations of children out there … duh.

I’m starting to get a better grasp on what being an adult means. It certain is the opposite of that particular «doctor».

Yes, yes. I know. I’m being closed–minded and anti–religion again. So be it. I’ll even accept «anti–semitic» this time around. If that’s what you want to think of me, despite knowing me, then all right. Think of me thusly.

Just explain one thing to me: why should we, society, accept only YOUR religious practises — and not everyone elses as well?

Oh, and he’s not alone, mind you. Shoaib Sultan in «Muslimsk Råd Norge» (Norwegian Muslim Council) has been at it as well.

Yes, boys. Parents do have the «right» to raise their children in their religion, no matter how hypocritical or illogical. That isn’t what I, and others, object to.

It’s the CUTTING OFF OF BITS THAT CAN’T BE REATTACHED which we object to. Get a ban in there, now; a ban, and application of law towards those who do bodily harm regardless of their particular excuses for doing so.

Such a ban does not attack the religious freedom of jews, muslims, or anyone else. It support the right of the individual not to be molested due to the beliefs of others.

Teach your children your beliefs. Don’t violate their human rights.