Meet Dan Savage. He’s Editorial Director at the Seattle alternative weekly newspaper The Stranger, and author of The Stranger’s syndicated sex advice column, “Savage Love.” He’s also co-founder of the It Gets Better Project, a website aimed at reducing LGBT teen suicide by getting LGBT adults to post videos giving LGBT teens hope that life will get better as they get older. It Gets Better also encourages site visitors to take a pledge to speak up against hate, intolerance and bullying “whenever I see it.”
I do pledge that. And I hope you do, too.
But hold onto your hats, folks. Because this is where things start getting really ironic really fast.
- This is the Dan Savage who, in 2000, wrote (“Germ Warfare“) about volunteering at presidential candidate Gary Bauer’s Des Moines, Iowa office–while he had the flu. Savage wrote that he went around licking doorknobs, phones, keyboards and clean coffee cups in an attempt to sicken staffers and other volunteers. He even licked a pen that he later handed Bauer. While Bauer didn’t catch the flu, his Iowa campaign manager did.
(Savage, by the way, although a Washington State resident, also illegally registered for and participated in an Iowa caucus. He plea bargained the felony voter fraud charge down to a misdemeanor, for which he was fined $750 and sentenced to a year’s probation and 50 hours of community service.)
- This is the Dan Savage, who, in 2003, chose to oppose Senator Rick Santorum’s position on homosexuality by using his column to start a contest to invent a definition for the word “santorum” that tied it to some sex act. Savage took the contest-winning definition and started a website to promote it. Until very recently, it was the top website that came up in a Google search of Santorum’s name.
- This is the Dan Savage, who, in a video interview in 2006, suggested that Pennsylvania Green Party Senate candidate Carl Romanelli ”should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope,” and that, if Romanelli was successful in getting his name back on the ballot, ”someone should run him over with a truck.”
- This is the Dan Savage, who said last year in an HBO “Real Time” interview with Bill Maher, “I sometimes think about fucking the shit out of Rick Santorum. Because I think he needs it. So it’s not, it’s not just women we’re talking about fucking. [Comedian Marc Maron had just volunteered that he had fantasized about raping Michele Bachmann.] Like, let’s bone that Santorum boy.”
- And this is the Dan Savage who, last week in a speech in Dallas, said, “Every time LGBT bullying kills a kid, [Family Research Council President] Tony Perkins gets up from his desk and dances a jig. . . . Every LGBT youth suicide for them is a victory, a rhetorical and moral victory.”
After Bauer’s Iowa campaign called for charges to be pressed over the germ warfare incident, Savage claimed he hadn’t actually licked the office–just given the pen to Bauer. And he did apologize later for suggesting that a candidate for Senate should be dragged to death behind a pickup. He has not apologized for any of the other stuff.
Although Savage’s hate-filled rants have been reported extensively, and approvingly, in the gay media, mainstream outlets haven’t picked up on them.
Why do you suppose that is?
But Dan Savage asked me to speak up against hate, intolerance and bullying wherever I see it.
And I just did.
Hate, intolerance and bullying of LGBT teens is evil. So is hate, intolerance and bullying of anyone. (A tip of the hat to fellow Northwest blogger Kyle Pratt at Ruminations Blog for a heads-up on the latest Savage outburst.)