Merry Christmas, someone stole Jesus's foreskin

The Catholic church has plenty of weird relics stored in ornate boxes around the world. Tourists flock to these churches to get a glimpse of the vessels that allegedly contain the original Crown of Thorns, or some of Christ's dried blood that turns to liquid every now and then.

And then there's Jesus's foreskin—the last (allegedly) surviving piece of flesh from God-made-flesh, chopped from the tip of his penis on New Year's Day, according to the official Roman calendar.

The fact that Jesus's foreskin still allegedly exists in the world somewhere is pretty weird, but its existence alone is not the weirdest part. No, the weirdest part is that Jesus's foreskin has been missing for more than 30 years—and that in true Dan Brown style, it may have been stolen by covert agents of the Catholic church.

According to "records," Charlemagne received the foreskin from an angel, and gifted it to Pope Leo II on Jesus' 800th birthday. It moved around a bit before being stolen during the Sack of Rome, then eventually turned up in a small village north of Rome called Calcata, where it remained until 1983, when it was stolen under mysterious circumstances. Calcata had become a sort of pilgrimage destination thanks to that little slice of petrified baby foreskin.

The Catholic Church started to downplay the foreskin in the early 20th century, even threatening to excommunicate those who mentioned it. Meanwhile, Calcata went through some changes on its own. The whole town was condemned in the 1930s, deemed unsafe by the local government due to the crumbling volcanic cliffs nearby. Read the rest

Penis facials contain foreskins of circumcised infants

"And not everyone is happy."

the controversial trend is back in the spotlight—and not in a good way. Penis facials are receiving a lot of backlash following a November 21st Instagram post by actress Kate Beckinsale, who captioned her photo, “After a long flight I do like to lie down and be covered in a mask of liquified cloned foreskins – frankly who doesn’t?”

Among the outlets elaborating on this story are People and The Guardian. The penis facial is $650, but there's a two-year waiting list. It is, essentially, minor outpatient surgery akin to a botoxing or chemical peel:

I’ll hate myself for this, but can you explain the foreskin facial? Of course! Epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum is derived from the progenitor cells of the human fibroblast taken from the foreskins of newborn babies. And what does it do? Glad you asked. It helps to generate collagen and elastin, which can help to boost the radiance of your face. Fun sidenote: it also smells exactly like sperm! Well, sign me up. Wait, there’s more. For the serum to take hold, a beauty therapist must first microneedle you.

I don’t know what that is. Oh, it’s fun. It’s where a pen containing dozens of tiny needles repeatedly stabs you in the face hundreds of thousands of times. It’s excruciatingly painful

Hyperreality refers to our inability to separate reality from simulation. This is a feature of postmodern life often associated with VR but baked deeply into our psychological relationship to media in general. Read the rest