Monday, October 09, 2006

Dan Savage on Mark Foley and Marriage

Most people know of Dan Savage in his capacity as the author of Savage Love, his syndicated sex advice column. In recent years, however, Dan Savage has become a rather prolific book author, and has also ventured into some more serious territory on politics and gay rights.

Writing for the Slog, the blog of Seattle's alternative paper (of which he is the editor), The Stranger, Savage offers an interesting perspective on the Mark Foley scandal and its possible implications for gays in the United States.

Since I'm linking to Dan Savage's writings, his piece on some of the less-desirable and possibly confining implications of gay marriage, a sort of prequel to his book The Commitment is also very perceptive and well worth a read. (I referenced this article last week in a conversation with friends about Canadian queer politics last week - I'm hotlinking it here partly for my own reference.)

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At 12:23 pm, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I have some huge issues with Dan Savage, so I generally avoid him, but that is a very insightful column.

Every now and then I get a reminder that while queer men and queer women have very similar issues in some ways, we also each have issues that are quite different (and often quite opposite). This column was one of those times.

At 3:56 pm, Blogger Matt said...

IP: All right, I'll bite. I don't disagree with you that queer men and queer women often have very different issues - but I'm curious to know in what ways this column prompted that reminder for you.

At 4:45 pm, Anonymous Simon said...

I thought Savage's columns were quite insightful. Although I try to avoid his stuff. The last time I checked he was writing about the tender love story between a man and his Alsatian. Vomit. But a couple of points.
(1) I think his foley column points out the need to try to make sure that gay teens never come under the influence of these hideous closet queens.I don't want to sound disrespectful or cruel but I'm fucking sick of them.I'm sorry that they were made to feel too afraid to come out.But in the end it just takes guts. They didn't have it. They ruined the one life they had. Buy the old guy another drink and move on. My generation has enough trouble fighting the bigot bullies without having to watch our backs. From those who would undermine our spirits with their creepy self loathing. As we say in gay, enough already!
What we need to do as a community is concentrate on making our schools as safe and supportive as they can be for gay teens. So coming out is as natural and normal as it should be. And all this self loathing and old closet queenery will be history. At last.
(2)It's way too early to draw any kind of conclusions from the gay marriage experience.Heterosexuals have had their unions celebrated and mythologized for thousands of years.Our love stories have been suppressed or covered up. They have a whole support system, rites and rituals set up for them. Gays and lesbians are still getting married in a society where far too many people hate them for doing that.Check back in twenty years...we'll have a better picture then.
(3) It's in the interests of Savage and many others in the gay media to portray gay marriage as a conservative institution. Most of these gay rags depend on bath ads, bar ads, and their sex dating services to make their money.It's in their interest to portray gays as sexual athletes, and encourage us all to fuck, party, and drink like maniacs.Is that what we are? Maybe but I doubt it. The point is I don't know. And neither does anybody else. We won't know until we can study the life experience of gay people who were born free in a more tolerant world. Free to come out and celebrate who they are, free from self loathing, free to choose their companions in other places than bars.When being gay is as natural as having green eyes,and no big deal.
As I said before check back in about twenty years and we should know who we are.In the meantime if you ever bump into a closet queen please pass on my condolences (yawn) And don't forget to buy him a drink!!

At 8:01 pm, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...


The Foley scandal doesn't play into stereotypes about gays in general, it plays into stereotypes about gay men in particular. So when Dan Savage is saying that this is going to be "bad for gays," he really means that it's going to be bad for gay *men*.

I'm not saying that it's a bowl of cherries to be invisible, either, but there at least some ways that gay men have it rougher, and this is one of them.


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