Posts Tagged ‘Dan Savage Is Annoying’

28 years old, female, 59, 263 lbs.
I will explain in my next post why I feel the need to come to the defence of Lindy West. It involves debates around gay marriage, and the comments and attitudes of my favourite ‘bete noir’ and gayist activist, Dan Savage, of  Dan Savage Is Annoying fame. But for now,  I will simply repost Lindy’s latest article from The Stranger, where she works as a journalist, alongside Dan, and significantly, as will become clear, in a less senior position than Mr Savage. This is her article. It is good.
Hello. I am fat.
This is my body (over there—see it?). I have lived in this body my whole life. I have wanted to change this body my whole life. I have never wanted anything as much as I have wanted a new body. I am aware every day that other people find my body disgusting. I always thought that some day—when I finally stop failing—I will become smaller, and when I become smaller literally everything will get better (I’ve heard It Gets Better)! My life can begin! I will get the clothes that I want, the job that I want, the love that I want. It will be great! Think how great it will be to buy some pants or whatever at J. Crew. Oh, man. Pants. Instead, my body stays the same.

There is not a fat person on earth who hasn’t lived this way. Clearly this is a TERRIBLE WAY TO EXIST. Also, strangely enough, it did not cause me to become thin. So I do not believe any of it anymore, because fuck it very much.

This is my body. It is MINE. I am not ashamed of it in any way. In fact, I love everything about it. Men find it attractive. Clothes look awesome on it. My brain rides around in it all day and comes up with funny jokes. Also, I don’t have to justify its awesomeness/attractiveness/healthiness/usefulness to anyone, because it is MINE. Not yours.

I’m not going to spend a bunch of time blogging about fat acceptance here (but please read this), because other writers have already done it much more eloquently, thoroughly, and radically than I ever could. But I do feel obligated to try to explain what this all means.

You asked me for links, Dan, so here are some links for you. There are plenty more, but if you want me to go through each one and explain to you how these words and implications hurt and shame people, you’re going to have to pay me overtime (in Doritos!!!!!). I get that you think you’re actually helping people and society by contributing to the fucking Alp of shame that crushes every fat person every day of their lives—the same shame that makes it a radical act for me to post a picture of my body and tell you how much it weighs. But you’re not helping. Shame doesn’t work. Diets don’t work. Shame is a tool of oppression, not change.

Fat people already are ashamed. It’s taken care of. No further manpower needed on the shame front, thx. I am not concerned with whether or not fat people can change their bodies through self-discipline and “choices.” Pretty much all of them have tried already. A couple of them have succeeded. Whatever. My question is, what if they try and try and try and still fail? What if they are still fat? What if they are fat forever? What do you do with them then? Do you really want millions of teenage girls to feel like they’re trapped in unsightly lard prisons that are ruining their lives, and on top of that it’s because of their own moral failure, and on top of that they are ruining America with the terribly expensive diabetes that they don’t even have yet? You know what’s shameful? A complete lack of empathy.

And if you really claim to still be confused—”Nu uh! I never said anything u guyz srsly!”—there can be no misunderstanding shit like this:

I am thoroughly annoyed at having my tame statements of fact—being heavy is a health risk; rolls of exposed flesh are unsightly—characterized as “hate speech.”


1. “Rolls of exposed flesh are unsightly” is in no way a “tame statement of fact.” It is not a fact at all—it is an incredibly cruel, subjective opinion that reinforces destructive, paternalistic, oppressive beauty ideals. I am not unsightly. No one deserves to be told that they’re unsightly. But this is what’s behind this entire thing—it’s not about “health,” it’s about “eeeewwwww.” You think fat people are icky. Eeeewww, a fat person might touch you on a plane. With their fat! Eeeeewww! Coincidentally, that’s the same feeling that drives anti-gay bigots, no matter what excuses they drum up about “family values” and, yes, “health.” It’s all “eeeewwwww.” And sorry, I reject your eeeeeewwww.

2. You are not concerned about my health. Because if you were concerned about my health, you would also be concerned about my mental health, which has spent the past 28 years being slowly eroded by statements like the above. Also, you don’t know anything about my health. You do happen to be the boss of me, but you are not the doctor of me. You have no idea what I eat, how much I exercise, what my blood pressure is, or whether or not I’m going to get diabetes. Not that any of that matters, because it is entirely none of your business.

3. “But but but my insurance premiums!!!” Bullshit. You live in a society with other people. I don’t have kids, but I pay taxes that fund schools. The idea that we can somehow escape affecting each other is deeply conservative. Barbarous, even. Is that really what you’re going for? Good old-fashioned American individualism? Please.

4. But most importantly: I reject this entire framework. I don’t give a shit what causes anyone’s fatness. It’s irrelevant and it’s none of my business. I am not making excuses, because I have nothing to excuse. I reject the notion that thinness is the goal, that thin = better—that I am an unfinished thing and that my life can really start when I lose weight. That then I will be a real person and have finally succeeded as a woman. I am not going to waste another second of my life thinking about this. I don’t want to have another fucking conversation with another fucking woman about what she’s eating or not eating or regrets eating or pretends to not regret eating to mask the regret. OOPS I JUST YAWNED TO DEATH.

If you really want change to happen, if you really want to “help” fat people, you need to understand that shaming an already-shamed population is, well, shameful. Do you know what happened as soon as I rejected all this shit and fell in unconditional luuuuurve with my entire body? I started losing weight. Immediately. WELL LA DEE FUCKING DA.

Lindy West

Ah, Barry Manilow, he of the famous nose and the camp jumpsuits and the big songs that are probably being played at someone’s wedding, somewhere, as I type. People may claim to hate him but nobody does. He’s a legend.

But Patrick Strudwick, the Gay of the year in some circles, well Gay journalist of the year. Well Gay UK broadsheet journalist of the year, Patrick doesn’t like Barry.

According to Strudwick, instead of taking the mick out of Manilow’s conk, as people have been doing forever, (and with renewed vigour since he made an appearance on UK TV recently), we should criticise him for ‘not coming out’.

Now, I am not going to launch into a discussion of the history of gay rights, or deny the fact that if no gay people had/do come out in times and places where being gay was and is treated as a sin, or an illness, or a terrible perversion, we’d not have many gay rights at all.

But here in Britain in 2010, when gay people are pretty well as free or as constrained in terms of their sexuality as the rest of us, why pick on a great icon of pop to stand up for the cause? So he didn’t write a song for Stonewall in 1969, and he didn’t play Pride in 1998. He didn’t do a Will Young and come out on national TV, or a Joe McEldery and come out all over the tabloids. So, he stayed in. Is it such a big deal?

As a non-Gay person, I like having some stars who keep the flag of sexual ambiguity flying. When I was a kid I adored Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey, and Frankie Howerd. I don’t remember them telling their ‘stories’ to the press. They were quite sad stories as well. I loved Boy George in the 1980s, and Morrissey, refusing to be pinned down to a sexual identity that can be packaged and adopted by ‘The Gays’. What about us? The Confuseds? The Strange? The Unsure? Can’t we have a hero or two, too?

Gay Evangelicals these days like to make out that ‘coming out’ is some kind of heroic act, and also that not coming out is cowardly. That it lets the side down. Leads you to live a lie. My friend Dan Savage has made some quite savage comments in his columns about people who are married, for example, but who may be gay or bisexual and don’t acknowledge it. But that is a fact of life for many many people I believe. Some people do explore their sexuality without it turning into a rainbow flag over their doors. Some of them keep quiet about it, because they don’t want to be ‘gay’. They just want to be. Savage and Strudwick share more than a sexual identity and a love of going on and on about it, they are both wedded to the idea that being gay is ‘natural’ and ‘innate’ and unchangeable. So people who refuse to identify as anything, but who they know or believe practice same-sex sex, really annoy this pair. Because they challenge their whole little Gay Religion. If people can be ambiguous, or can change, or, God forbid can make choices about their sexual preferences and activities, how can Being Gay be such a virtue? Such a minority identity? Such a place for victims and heroes to flourish?

There is no shame in being gay. So why should there be any shame in not identifying as ‘gay’? It’s one less guy for the team. One less float at Pride. But so what. I am not proud of my sexuality. It’s a pretty fucked-up shoddy little piece of tits and ass. I’m not ashamed of it either. Sometimes it can be beautiful and exciting. But I am quite proud of people. People who resist being forced into the homo-genous pre-packaged boxes we are offered in the way of sexual identity. People who are prepared to be themselves without having to define who that is. I have to say I am quite proud of Barry. And I’ll be dancing at the CopaCobana for many years to come.


The Savage Truth

Posted: October 24, 2010 in Identity
Tags: ,

My obsession with the horror that is Dan Savage has taken me to reading some very boring and very stupid articles, and the comments that go with them, ‘under the line’.

To sum up Dan’s philosophy on sexuality: ‘Gay is good. Gay is natural. Straight is tolerable. Christians are evil. Homophobia comes from Christian Straight people. I have a big cock. Suck it.’

But the real bile and hatred in Dan’s heart is reserved for bisexual people. Somehow they just don’t fit in his  world at all. Throughout his columns he presents bisexual men in particular, as immoral, sluttish, corrupting of innocent monogamous gay men, fickle, and well perverted.

In his Savage Love advice column Dan takes an email from a reader:

‘I am a gay man, and my closest friend, who I have no strong romantic feelings for, is bisexual. He is engaged to this cool girl. She knows that he is bisexual, and that he gets “frustrated” if he is intimate with only one sex for a long period of time. She is not into threesomes apparently, and obviously doesn’t want him running around fucking whoever he wants—which is what he is used to. But she is willing to work something out, where he would be able to fuck guys on the side. So they asked me to be my male friend’s “release”, meaning someone he can go to for sex throughout their marriage.’

I can’t be sure but this scenario sounds very unlikely to me. A gay man who is best friends with a bisexual man and who is asked by his best mate to be his lifetime fuck buddy? Would you ask your best friend to do that?

Whether or not Savage made this up, he shows his lack of respect for bisexual people in his response:

‘Let me be clear: I’m not making any general generalizations about bisexuals generally here. I’m talking about this bi guy and this bi guy only.

If this bi guy—this one and only bi guy—is used to doing whoever he wants whenever he wants, HGF, I doubt he’ll be satisfied with just one guy on the side, even if that guy is someone as sexy and amazing as you. So this plan seems unworkable to me over the long run as he’s used to a certain amount of variety in his sex life. He’s unlikely to be satisfied with just you for many of the same reasons he’s unlikely to be satisfied with just her.’

Of course Dan is generalising about bisexual men, by saying this bisexual man will not be satisfied with ‘just one guy on the side’, and will not be satisfied with a monogamous marriage either, because he is bisexual.

He ends by saying:  ‘you’ll most likely be the first in a long string of fuckbuddies…’ suggesting this gay man’s best friend will be the one to end their sexual relationship if they have one, because being bisexual, he is fickle and sluttish.

This comment from one of the column’s readers, which went unchallenged by Dan or anyone else, sums up the Savage view on bisexuality:

‘The word for people for whom being gay is a choice is “bisexual”

You see? Gay is natural and good. Straight is natural and tolerable. ‘Bisexual’ is unnatural, and wrong. Wrong because it throws into question the whole idea that ‘gay’ is natural. If we are born a certain way, if our sexuality is down to genes and fate, why would people be bisexual? What genes would make us neither one thing nor the other? Certainly not good wholesome gay genes. And certainly not boring, but useful heterosexual genes.

Within this binary way of thinking, ‘bisexuality’ is just as much a problem as trans identity, and we know Dan has a problem with that too.

Dan Savage Is Annoying. He is also a bigot. I don’t like him one bit.

It Gets Louder…

Posted: October 10, 2010 in Identity, Uncategorized

Amidst my crazy ranting about why Dan Savage is a COCK, I managed to find time to calm down and look beyond my own tiny section of the earth, at the arguments going on out in the world, about the It Gets Better Project. I am relieved to say there has been a lot of intelligent and thought-out critique of the campaign, its aims and objectives, and its approach to the suffering of young people, whatever their sexual orientation. 

This is the post I featured before, which has had over 40,000 hits in the last week, and which is being used to spark discussion all over the net and in people’s bedrooms and hallways and lives:

Two people have taken my words and made them sound more intelligent than they were, so I recommend reading their take on the issue:

And some other folk have critiqued not only It Gets Better, but also Dan Savage’s whole approach to talking about sex, identity and relationships.

Oh and someone has linked to my last post on this subject, in a discussion on a blog that I think is German! I can’t speak or read German but hello! … It must be getting louder…

I leave these links to show that dissent and discussion is possible although sometimes the critical voices that go against the grain of liberal consensus, can get marginalised and go unheard. But in this case dissent has got louder and that heartens me.

Here’s another classic from Dan Savage:

‘Dying is easy. Coming out is hard’*.

*Turns out this is a paraphrased quote from actor Henry Irving: ‘Dying is easy. Comedy is hard’. You decide if it is funny or not.  Especially in the light of Savage’s current crusades…

 Oh really Dan? I can’t be sure as I have never done either. But I am going to take a wild guess that when the time comes  for you to meet your maker, you are going to wish to goodness that you were just standing in front of your ma and your pa, telling them that you like it up the ass (I doubt they see the subtle difference between a fucker and a sucker Dan, so it doesn’t really matter if that is not technically the case).  Have a nice day.

I promised to put my Dan Savage Is Annoying campaign into context. Thankfully, other people out there think Dan Savage Is Annoying too, and probably have much more reason to than I do. So if I haven’t completely lost you already, I highly recommend you read the following post. It criticises the It Gets Better youtube video project, which Savage set up after the media highlighted recent suicides in America by ‘gay’ teenage boys and young men. The project involves  ‘queer’ people  recording video messages for young people who may be feeling distressed and who could be being bullied over their sexuality/gender identities. The message being, ‘it gets better’. 

This is just one example I found of a few similar criticisms of the It Gets Better Project:

I don’t have much to add to that critique. Except for some snide remarks about Mr Savage’s need to tell us all about how he met his partner at a gay club where there was a drag queen working the cloakroom and his no… I just won’t go there. Quiet Riot Girl Is Annoying Herself.

There was one youtube video submitted for the project criticising it along similar lines to the above post, saying Dan Savage is a ‘rich white man’ so of course it gets better. But the person who submitted it took it down, and made another, more positive video, after pressure from others involved, who said it might ‘hurt’ vulnerable young people. Basically the youtube  project suggests support for queer youth has to stay ‘on message’ and ‘upbeat’. Dissent and diversity does not seem to be encouraged. This is borne out by the vast numbers of videos being uploaded by white university-educated gay men, in comparison to those from women, transgender people, and working class people, and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

You may notice my trademark use of ‘ ‘ inverted commas, round the terms ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ in particular. This is my main criticism of It Gets Better. Many many young people are confused and isolated for many reasons. Their identity becomes bound up in sexuality and gender during adolescence, well, even earlier than that. And this can be very challenging. But to lump all that confusion, isolation, and yes, sometimes cruelty and bullying, together as affecting ‘gay’ or ‘queer’ young people, is misguided and misleading in my view. Associating teenage angst and alienation with a ‘deviant’ sexual identity, and expecting those teenagers to hold onto that sexual identity for the rest of their lives, I think, is just as much a problem as things like homophobia and bullying. Some ‘queer’ kids are so keen to avoid getting stuck with that deviant identity that they are the ones that act in a homophobic bullying way. Some people don’t experience same sex desire until adulthood. Some people sail through high school as a ‘normal’ ‘popular’ kid and then have a really shit time later on, partly because of who they happen to fall in love with*

*Raises Hand.

So to the sentiment of ‘it gets better’ I still ask  ‘what does? and for whom?’ Not to be negative about people with diverse sexual experiences and identities,  and not to make such a song and dance about ‘privilege’. But to be open-minded about life, love and young people’s sense of who they are, and who they might be. And to resist this ever-encroaching culture of homogenity, whereby if someone who seems to have influence in liberal, socially-aware circles does something, the consensus has to be that it must be A Good Thing. Because it is campaigning against Bad Things.

 I will leave you with a quote from Goodbye To Berlin by Christopher Isherwood:

‘We are all queer in the end’.


I am in danger of turning the name of this blog into Dan Savage Is Annoying !

I am barely joking.

There is something about his particular unique melange of machismo, uber-masculinism, GAY fundamentalism, American middle class liberal imperialist superiority, a hint, a subliminal hint of hatred of men (men who are not Dan Savage that is-even in his sex advice columns), the inevitable, pernicious, underlying misogyny that goes with all those characteristics, that makes me want to RIOT!

Here is an excerpt from a letter to Dan’s ‘Savage Love’ sex advice column in The Seattle Stranger:

‘Is it considered “going down” on someone if they don’t have an orgasm? For instance, one night, right before my girlfriend and I have sex, she sucks my penis for five minutes, then we switch to traditional penis-in-vagina sex. Would she be able to tell her friends the next day (hypothetically) that last night, she went down on her boyfriend and then we had sex? Or do I have to have cum while she was sucking my penis for her to have “gone down” on me?’

Here is an excerpt from Dan’s response to his reader:

‘let’s say I come over to your place, bend you over the sofa, and fuck your ass for, let’s say, an entire episode Judge Judy. But after 30 minutes in Judith Sheindlin’s courtroom—and your ass—I pull my dick out of your ass and get myself off with my hand.Did I masturbate? Or did I fuck your ass? … Similarly, if your girlfriend sucks your dick, Brock, then you have to concede that she went down on you even if you didn’t orgasm in her mouth, same as I fucked your ass during a whole episode of Judge Judy even if I didn’t orgasm in your butt. So when she sucks you and then you fuck her, Brock, you and the girlfriend are having oral sex first as foreplay, then vaginal intercourse for the main event.’

To quote my lovely online friend, Olga, ‘Holy Hell!’

Firstly Dan rolls out the very retrosexual idea of ‘oral sex as foreplay and PIV intercourse as ‘the main event’ ‘. This old fashioned view of sex has been refuted by respondents to a recent American  Sex Survey who value a range of activities and consider them to be part of their sexual repetoire, not hors d’oeuvres before the main juicy cock steak that Savage seems hooked up on.

Also, Savage uses this question about what constitutes a sexual act, to tell us all how easy it would be for him to come round and fuck some straight dude’s ass for a full thirty minutes. I will ignore the fact he doesn’t mention consent, as that is probably nitpicking.  As an agony uncle, isn’t it a bit um, egotistical to say the least, to put yourself in the story told by the person writing to you, to use the image of you, buggering that individual, to illustrate a reductive point about what sex is? Yes Dan it is.

I love men. I love cocks. But I do not respect cocks any more than I respect cunts, or arms, or rectums, or knees, or spleens, or eyeballs, or elbows. I respect people.  But I don’t respect people who wave their cocks in my face, demanding my respect. My worship. My acqiuescence. This cunt will not be tamed.

 What Dan needs, what we all need at some point in our lives, is a little bit of cunt love

Following my announcement to the world that Dan Savage Is Annoying :

I have one more thing to add. Dan Savage Is Really Annoying

After his outburst at Garrison Keillor for his comments on The Gays,  Garrison was bullied into an apology and Savage responded to it with these immortal lines:

‘Excuse me… what? I’m pretty familiar with gay people, seeing as how gay people have been sucking my cock for close to 25 years now. But somehow I didn’t get it—and neither did Andrew Sullivan, John Aravosis, or Andy over at Towleroad. It wasn’t a lack of familiarity with the gays that lead to those angry responses, Garrison’…

Let me reiterate Dan’s point. Gay people have been sucking Dan Savage’s cock for nigh on a quarter of a century, but it is important to note that in all that time, Dan has not been sucking gay people’s cocks. Because he is not a cock-sucker.  Dan Savage may be  professionally Gay, and very well-connected to some important, professionally Gay friends.  But he’s not gay. Get it, bitches?

And I am not going to say another word about Dan Savage’s cock. Ever.

P.S. If you read this Dan, maybe you could try and seek some Advice from a fellow ‘sexpert’, who writes:

‘The one thing that absolutely bugs me in the gay world isn’t a question of “Are you a top or a bottom?” it’s “How masculine are you?” I don’t believe in identifying yourself through a sexual position…when gay people make a distinction between top and bottom, what they are really making a distinction between is men and women, and they have absorbed the societal prejudice that men are strong/women are weak. From an intellectual standpoint, I rebel against it’.

And so do I.

P.P.S. I am going to put this bitch fest against poor Mr Savage in context, very soon. Machismo and fundamentalism are two things which get my goat the most. And Savage and friends encapsulate both quite alarmingly.

P.P.P.S My question, posed a while ago, still stands. Is it physiologically possible, in the world of Middle Class Enlightened Gays, to be a ‘bottom’, and an intellectual, a writer, a leader?  I don’t ask this question to point the finger at gay men in particular, but to try and understand more about gender, sex and power. For deep, deep down, I still have some feminist blood pumping round my queer heart.

Dear Reader,

(Is there really more than one of you?) I have a confession to make. I am an immature, catty, bitchy, (any other animal imagery you care to add feel free) Cow. And when I am angry and upset and tired of bullshit, I am even more immature and bitchy. This is the context in which I post this.

Today I googled ‘Dan Savage Is Annoying’ in a last-ditch attempt to dig some dirt on the squeaky-clean, toned and lean gay rights campaigner, ‘sexpert’ and Seattle-based Stranger journalist. You can google him yourself if you really want to. I am too annoyed to link to his crap right now.

But my search for Dan Savage Is Annoying only brought up examples of Dan Savage being annoyed. And, one of the people he has been most annoyed with in recent years, is Garrison Keillor, that cuddly, Minnesotan, Episcopalian author and radio broadcaster. Uncle Garrison to me.

Here is what annoyed Dan:

Garrison Keillor wrote a column (in 2007-I know this is the bottom of the barrel-watch me scrape), a gentle self-effacing, satirical column, about changes to the family and society in America. He reminisced about life with a monogamous, cross-sex mommy and daddy couple as parents. He made some jokes. And then he wrote:

‘And now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives. In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife’s first husband’s second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin’s in-laws and Bruce’s ex, Mark, and Mark’s current partner, and I suppose we’ll get used to it.

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men — sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That’s for the kids. It’s their show’.

Dan Savage didn’t see the funny side, especially as Garrison seemed to be describing someone remarkably like Dan.

‘Oh. My. God.’!   exclaimed Savage, flamboyantly, in a piece entitled, interestingly, ‘Fuck Garrison Keillor’…

‘Where to start? How about that one sentence that somehow manages to pack in six flaming stereotypes about gay men—fussy hair, small dogs, over-decorated apartments, and on and on. Yes, Garrison, all of us gay men—particularly us gay parents!—are decadent, flamboyant creatures. Sure, having kids means puke on your chartreuse trousers and candy ground into your expensive sofa—but, hey, those are small prices to pay if it means getting to show off your chartreuse pants at PTA meetings!

What an asshole. Asshole, asshole, asshole. What Keillor wrote today on Salon is every bit as offensive as Ann Coulter’s “faggot” joke about John Edwards and relies on the same set of cultural prejudices’!

Look at these two men. Look at Garrison’s puggy little face, his wrinkled brow, his grandad specs. Look at his down-turned mouth, the way he faces the camera with a shrug, a sigh. Compare that to Savage, his nice hair, the glimpse of some impressive biceps, that clean white t-shirt, the glint in his eye, a semi, self-appreciating-smile.

Which one do you think is more capable of taking the piss out of himself? Of his fellow human? Of his ‘Nation’?

Which one could take a joke? Or make a joke? Or get a joke?

Which one loves the sound of his own voice, especially when it is saying the word ‘asshole’ over and over?

I am really annoyed with Dan Savage. I am too annoyed to articulate why or to even tell you what I am annoyed about. So I have found this example of him being annoyed with one of my favourite writers. And I want you to think he is a real twat who doesn’t have a sense of humour. I want you to look at his smug face and to feel like, oh, to feel like telling it how smug and twattish it is.

And then I want you to do your research, and come back and tell me I am right. That Dan Savage Is Annoying and his hissy fit over lovely Garrison’s gentle humour is just the tip of a very big, very nasty, very annoying iceberg.

 Yours, in ever-decreasing circles of irritation,

Quiet Riot Girl