A few days ago, something came up involving smegma. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, so don’t even bother asking. I’m sure they were horribly embarrassing and probably involved me threatening to set some one’s smegma on fire. Or pelt them with baboon smegma. Or wondering if whales had smegma and if anyone had ever tasted it.

You know, my normal train of thought.


Some how this ends up with me Googling “smegma”, and of course, the first thing that pops up is the Wikipedia entry on the subject. What the hell, I think. I’ll click it. Smegma’s got to be an interesting place to fall down the wikihole, right? Lord only knows where it’ll lead.

Or so I thought.

Turns out the wikihole for smegma stops about three quarters of the way down the page when you hit this line:

An early study by Plaut and Kohn-Speyer (1947)[11] found that horse smegma had a carcinogenic effect on mice.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a single line that did more to damage my brain than that one did. Well, maybe not damage, more like seize up. That line did to my brain what that silica solution does to the cars turned in for the Cash for Clunkers program. Complete system hard lock.

After about five minutes of staring blankly at the screen, and drooling slightly, my brain managed to right itself. At least, until I read the next line:

Heins et al.(1958)[12] used human smegma on mice and found a carcinogenic effect,

It was all about to happen again. My brain was going to seize up, I was going to probably start bleeding out of my tear ducts and there was a decent enough chance that I would shit myself while in this smegma fugue.

Fortunately, the rest of that line offered some salvation:

but Reddy and Baruah (1963) were unable to reproduce this effect, concluding that if a carcinogenic effect did exist, it must be weak.

Oh, thank Christ. Some one took the time to repeat the experiment of rubbing human cock cheese onĀ  mice and found that the original people who decided that this was a worthwhile scientific experiment were, in fact, crackpots. Where as these people were upstanding members of the scientific community and had upheld the highest standards of the Scientific Method and should in no way be banned from sitting outside school yards in vans with binoculars. Why? Because they are doing it for SCIENCE, DAMN IT ALL!

After muddling my brain on this for a little bit, I’ve come up with a few thoughts on the smegma experiments.

I know, ostensibly, that they were attempting to find credible evidence for saying that male circumcision is a direct contributor to a decrease in the likelihood penile cancer. Which experiments since then have backed up, but not because of the smegma angle that these experiments were attempting to lock down. But, my gut tells me there was something else going on here.

The original research was done back in the 50s, at the hight of the Cold War. I think the CIA found out that some one like Khrushchev or Castro had a penchant for horse fucking and wanted to see if there was a way they could kill them and make it look like it was something natural, like say…cancer?

So, the CIA commissions a study. They want to find out if the penile excretions of a horse can give you cancer. They hire someĀ  poor bastard scientist who probably cried a lot when they told him what they wanted to do, but then shut up when he realized what they were going to pay him. He might have even smiled a bit when they told him that he was going to do a great service for his country. But, I’m pretty sure he went back to crying when he found out about this bit:

Smegma is best obtained from dead horses in rendering plants or from anesthetized animals in a department of veterinary surgery.

But he’s not the bastard I feel the worst for. I feel bad for his graduate student assistants. They probably had no fucking idea what they were getting into. While their friend were probably off smoking grass and making drunkenly bad choices involving birth control and townies, this poor sod of a grad student thought he’d get ahead of the curve by helping out Professor Smegma. I can’t imagine the look on his face when his job was described to him.

“Ok, Billy, here’s what I want you to do. Each morning, drive down to the old McPherson Glue Works and pick up the dead horse cocks they’ve saved for me. No, no, they’ll be waiting for you. They should even be wrapped up. Now, bring them back here to the lab. Put them on that table over there and go get a box of mice from the experiment group. Take a mouse out, write down its number and rub it furiously up and down the dead horse’s cock. Don’t be timid about it now, you want that mouse to have a good coating of smegma. Repeat this for each mouse in the control group. All six hundred of them. What? Yes, of course every day. This is science, m’boy! GOVERNMENT SCIENCE!”

“…oh, you’ll also be doing this every day for the next two years.”

“Why are you crying? Is it because you’re so excited about the experiment? I know I am! Now, off with you! Those horse cocks aren’t going to get any fresher!”

I can almost completely assure you that Professor Smegma went through at least a half dozen lab assistants. They were killing themselves when they realized they couldn’t get out of the gig or he’d flunk them out of school.

They certainly don’t do science like this anymore, do they?