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Profiles In Douchery: Dan Savage

So, yes! This is apparently becoming a blog about people who write shitty things. Shitty things which make it to the Internet, no less! Even as the economy collapses, the douche industry booms: Ian Sloane, Aaron P. Taylor, and Former Tenured Professor of Molecular Biology Alexander MacPherson have all made vital contributions to the field. Yet, in our focus on these rising fuckwads, we must not forget the dipshits who have pioneered the art of Saying Embarrassingly Stupid Stuff on the Internet. When we look to these early-adopter dickweeds, we can see that one trailblazing young man has made endless and selfless contributions to douchery:

Behold Dan Savage: the Ur-Douche. Unlike these flash-in-the-pan douches, Dan Savage has been saying embarrasing shit for years and years and years. Behold! As he insists that bisexuals do not or should not exist!

Bud, a gay man dating a married bisexual man, was frustrated about having to share his “soulmate” with his soulmate’s wife… Under the circumstances, telling Bud to rule out bi guys and married men was sensible advice. Sorry, but avoiding bi guys is a good rule of thumb for gay men looking for long-term relationships.

Yes, Dan, and it is a little-known fact that all bisexual men are married to women. They come out of the womb that way! Crazy, huh? Here, Savage reflects sensitively on heteronormative prejudice:

Bi guys who want opposite sex partners are under tremendous pressure to stay closeted. And when a guy is closeted — as most bi guys are — he can’t really be there for his boyfriend, can he?

You know what encourages people to come out of the closet, Dan? Telling them that, if they do, no one will ever – or should ever – want to have sex with them again. It is just really, really, really, really helpful.

Here’s Dan admonishing a woman for saying the word “what” when her boyfriend brought up an extremely rare kink!

There the guy was, boned for you, and he was brave enough to put his desires out there, to make himself vulnerable (which is what the ladies are always saying they want, right?), and you lobbed the ol’ “What?!?” bomb at him and made him feel like a freak. Is it any wonder that he quickly moved on to “other things” and, one would hope, better sex partners?

The kink, in case you were interested, was inserting his nutsack into her vagina. I’ve been a sex educator. I’ve talked to people about sex – lots and lots of people, actually – and I’ve heard some pretty unusual stuff. I’ve never heard of that. In this particular case, a “what” is pretty much merited, if only so that you can figure out how that particular arrangement might work. Anyway, in the same column, Dan addresses a guy who might have gotten some poop on himself during anal sex with a lady (it would have to be imaginary poop, since this is the most obvious fakeout I’ve ever read, but whatever):

You did all the right things after that Spanish tramp shit on you… [she] owes [you] the courtesy of being appropriately mortified… I’d say she was blind drunk, utterly clueless, into shit, or all of the above. Whatever her major malfunction, SSBB, wipe her number from your phone’s memory.

So, for the record, straight ladies (and bisexual ladies, if you exist), the answers are (a) do what your male partner is into, or you are a terrible lay and a bad person, and (b) do what your male partner is into, or you are a terrible lay and a bad person. Oh, and for the record – dudes who want things their ladies don’t like are poor sad vulnerable flowers, whereas ladies who want things their dudes don’t like are tramps who should be ashamed of themselves.
Okay, so Dan Savage has issues with bisexuals and ladies. How about trans people? Here, he addresses a cisgender mom whose son refuses to speak to his other mom, a trans lady in the process of transition:

Children have a right to some stability and constancy from the adults in their lives. Perhaps I’m a transphobic bigot, but I honestly think waiting a measly 36 months to cut your dick is a sacrifice any father should be willing to make for his 15-year-old son. Call me old-fashioned.

Unfortunately, your ex wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice (selfish tranny!), or it never occurred to him to make that sacrifice (stupid tranny!)…. If your son can’t deal with having his dad/mom/whatever around right now, support him and tell his dad/mom/whatever to leave the two of you alone for the time being.

Wow. Male pronouns? Insisting that a trans person should just put off resolving her gender dysphoria, which routinely causes severe depression? Calling a trans person a “whatever”? Encouraging people to cut off contact with trans family members? I think we’ve hit the bottom of the barrel. I think this is as low as Dan Savage can possibly go.

But wait: have you seen what he writes to rape survivors?

I’m extremely sorry that you were raped, DRARS, although your baseless accusations of rape make me doubt you when you claim to be a survivor of rape. The feminist bloggers are going to accuse me of thought crimes: If a woman says she was raped then, by God, she was raped. (Tell it to the lacrosse team.) But if my reaction to your letter is a thought crime, I can only plead entrapment: I wouldn’t have had these illegal thoughts if you hadn’t sent me such a stupid letter in the first place… Finally, DRARS, I hereby withdraw my consent for you to read Savage Love. If you continue to read my column against my will, well, we all know what word to apply to your actions.

Oh. Well. OK, then.

So, maybe it’s foolish to have any expectations of Dan Savage. I certainly try not to! For example, when he posted his charming little screed about Prop 8 and black homophobia (which, apparently, is much more of a problem than queer white racism, because they couldn’t possibly be equally important problems, could they, we couldn’t possibly live in a country where most people are simultaneously privileged by some aspects of their identity and marginalized by others, leading to counter-productive and ugly divisions between communities) and it became one of the focal points in a trend of blaming the Prop 8 verdict on increased turnout by voters of color, like, of all the problems with homophobia and black voter disenfranchisement in this country, the real problem is that black people are voting, and this in turn offered social conservatives a further chance to spread homophobia by saying that all gay people were racist, and Dan Savage, who was in a unique position to object to this, given his huge and admiring readership and the fact that he was one of the first people to get major attention for these sentiments, refused to admit that there was anything wrong with what he’d written, well, I was… not surprised.

I was, however, impressed by the fact that directly before Savage went on Steven Colbert’s show, that piece magically disappeared! Yep: you can only find it on Google Cache now. His petulant rants and links to similarly race-blaming articles are still available on the Slog, however. Enjoy the piece that opens with “black and Latino voters drawn to the polls in California because they were excited about voting for Barack Obama boosted the ‘yes’ vote on Prop 8” and then explicitly denies that he’s placing blame on anyone! I know I won’t.

Anyway, I was impressed, because it occurs to me that this is the closest Dan Savage will ever get to an apology: denying that he’s said anything wrong in the first place. I mean, damn. This is a man who will call a rape survivor a rapist for daring to question his work. Being an utter coward and deleting his blog right before he’s in a position to be called out on it is actually kind of a step up.


  1. Jaynatopia wrote:

    great article, thanks for talking about his really crappy advice and opinions.

    Friday, April 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Wow, what a dick. I feel bad for having laughed at him on The Colbert Report. If I had known about this I'd have puked instead.

    Friday, June 5, 2009 at 1:42 am | Permalink
  3. Towanda wrote:

    I don’t mean to be an apologist for these awful statements of him, but I’m a huge fan of Dan Savage. I don’t think you were obligated to include this in your rant, but I want to say that he is usually very considerate and straightforward in his advice. He also is big on supporting gay rights (obviously), and also trans and women’s issues.

    That said, on some subjects he is a complete dick, and in some areas he is dead wrong. I honestly thank you for pointing this out to me, because I know that I’m so used to agreeing with him that when he says something horrible I’m reluctant to admit that it was horrible. This was a good reminder that with Dan’s advice, as with anyone’s, I need to apply my own discretion and call out assholery when it happens.

    Friday, May 14, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink