Friday, February 17, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dan Savage

You all know the work of sex columnist Dan Savage, right? Remember me to tell you about what happened when he appeared at GA two years ago, and how I bought him a drink afterward. Meanwhile, read this:


Blogger Rev. Sean said...

It's interesting to me that your dander would be up about the Onion's clear-cut satire but buy a drink for a man who was completely derisive and dismissive of both bisexual and transgender people.

The comments he makes about bisexual and transgender people aren't satire, and aren't humor. And because of his popularity, they mislead a lot of people.

Interesting that you'd think it ok for such a thing to happen again and again in one newspaper, but start to chafe when it hits too close to home.

Blogger Denise said...

OK I've read the link now I want to hear about you buying Dan the Man a drink at GA. This is probably going to be a pretty good story.

Blogger Peregrinato said...

Oh right...Dan Savage. I remember. I laughed. I recall that GA, and the whole "savaged by Savage" brouhaha. ("You invited a bitchy man to speak to you, and you're surprised when he acts bitchy?") I'm surprised it didn't become a Study/Action Issue. But help a seminarian with tired eyes--was there something in particular about this article we should look for, or was it a general "look-see"?

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Sean, I'm not sure what paper you're talking about. I don't read Savage's column regularly so if he's dismissive of transgender and bi people, I wasn't aware of it. So now I know, and I'm disappointed, to say the least. I know Dan is a bitch about many things (and he's not a big fan of vaginas, either, if memory serves, and has made many ridiculously insulting comments about their general acceptability as a focus of sexual desire).

If you're talking about The Onion, I look at it every few months, usually when someone sends me a link. I've never seen them do anything at all about bisexual or transgendered people. And the paper that Savage works for -- whose name I've forgotten -- I've never seen before, or heard of before yesterday. Is it discriminatory? Is it an on-line thing or an actual paper publication?

I hope you'll contribute another comment letting us know.

Blogger RevThom said...

I was there to hear Dan Savage at the Boston GA.

This had to be one of the all-time surreal GA moments. It was an amazing combination of embarrassing, awkward, pitiful, and absurd, all tied up with a kind of celebrity-worship that probably doesn't reflect all that well on us as people of faith.

I'd gladly pay money to go hear Dan Savage entertain. Not so much at a religious gathering.

Blogger RevThom said...


I believe I recall Dan Savage making identity-denying comments about Bisexual and Transgender people.

His argument, if I recall, is that nobody is actually Transgender inherently. He says that it is a decision somebody makes in response to the limited range of acceptability that society imposes on gender expression/identity.

It is an argument that is patronizing and simplistic.

Blogger Peregrinato said...

Rev Thom says, "I'd gladly pay money to go hear Dan Savage entertain. Not so much at a religious gathering."

And therein lies the difference! I didn't listen to him expecting a pastoral response.

His column is "Savage Love" and can be found online at The Stranger ( and other places. Read it for yourself.

The fact is, he holds opinions some people don't care for and other people do. It happens in all enterprises. He pisses people off. He makes some people laugh. And I'm not going to fall into the trap of simplifying him as solely good or solely bad. I don't care for some of his opinions. In general, people seem to love him or hate him--but I prefer to take a more nuanced view.

Blogger Chalicechick said...

He's in the City Paper here in DC. He's entertaining enough, sometimes, but no great shakes.

I didn't hear him at GA, but he doesn't seem especially mature and I can imagine a religious gathering tempting him to show off how shocking he can be.



Blogger Peregrinato said...

CC: " I can imagine a religious gathering tempting him to show off how shocking he can be." Let's add to that, a religious gathering inviting him to show off how shocking the gathering can be. And too is shocked. I think the UUA was going for the "oh, we're so hip, aren't we" factor.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Peregrinato, to answer your question: I just liked the interview in general. Nothing special to focus on.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

And CC, Peregrinato is right. Dan's lecture was really stock stuff, as he knew he was "preaching to the choir" and they were going to love on him. Which they did. Which makes their turnaround a few minutes later even more of a sad reflection on our maturity as a religious community. It's like "you're either a friend or an enemy of our ideology. You can't be in the gray area, because we can't handle it."

Blogger Rev. Sean said...

As was specified earlier, Dan's columns are in The Stranger, but are also syndicated widely in gay newspapers.

Let me see if I can explain why I bothered to comment at all. I think it was the juxtaposition of the "I bought him a drink" with the previous post that expressed indignation at a satirical piece in The Onion. It seemed inconsistent.

As far as the immaturity of those who "turned" on Dan Savage after his GA presentation, I think that's an ad hominem attack that's beneath all of us. Some of us objected to his presence from the time it was announced because we didn't think it appropriate for the office that acts as our advocate to invite someone who had consistently dismissed the concerns of bisexual and transgender people.

I don't care how "hip" "cool" or whatever it made us seem, having the OBGLTC sponsor, support, and introduce him was incredibly insulting to those of us who are trying to live in a society that is trans and biphobic enough already.
The OBGLTC knew what to expect and invited him anyway.

Blogger Chalicechick said...

My bad on the immaturity thing, which was based on how I stopped reading because I felt he was entirely too fascinated with what is more or less human smegma.

Judging by what I've read here (and pretty much only what I've read here,) I'm really torn.

Like PB, I'm uncrazy about taking a "you're with us or you're against us" attitude toward political issues. Like RevSPark, I'm uncrazy about giving a podium to man who basically makes his living talking about sexuality yet is kind of intolerant of sexualities we make an effort to treat decently since few others will.

I want to say "If there were a cool, popular columnist who just happened to take a snotty and dismissive view toward, say, Native Americans, there's no way in hell we'd want him speaking at GA."

But at the same time, if the columnist was snotty and dismissive toward Christianity, we might well be OK with it.

I guess in the end it comes down to what groups of people it is OK to speak badly about.



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