Savage Love

By Dan Savage
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 10, 2012

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I am writing to thank you. I remember reading your definition of “santorum”—“the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex”—when it first appeared. I remember thinking it was a cute way to make fun of a dickhead politician. I never thought it would go this far. But after Iowa, Rick Santorum is in the spotlight again. And so is that frothy mixture. And that’s fucking awesome.

Jeff In Wisconsin

Don’t thank me. Thank Rick Santorum for making his bigotry clear in a 2003 interview with the Associated Press. Santorum equated consensual gay sex with child rape and dog fucking; he stated that birth control should be illegal; and he argued that states should be able to arrest, prosecute and imprison people—gay and straight—for private, consensual sex acts.

Thank the Savage Love reader who, after reading that interview, urged me to invite my readers to submit new definitions for Santorum’s last name. And thank the Savage Love readers who—in their wisdom—selected “the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex” from a crowded field of equally repulsive candidates.

I did my part: I counted the ballots, I created a website ( that eight years later remains the No. 1 return when you Google “Santorum.” But, again, if it weren’t for my creative, kinky and hilarious readers, JIW, an otherwise distressing news cycle—a ranting, raving, washed-up religious bigot tied for first place in the Iowa caucuses?!?—would not have been leavened by such unintentionally hilarious headlines as “Santorum Surges from Behind,” “Santorum Runs Hard” and “Romney Squeezes Out Santorum.”

Dan Savage is one sick, pathetic excuse for a human being. Truly a sad piece of sh*t. Especially trying to “insert himself”—pun intended—into the GOP presidential race.

Savage Isn’t Completely Kind

We redefined “santorum” back in 2003, SICK, long before Santorum was running for president. So it would be more accurate to say that the GOP presidential race has inserted itself into me, not the other way around. And, gosh, I hope there isn’t any santorum on the GOP presidential race when it pulls out of me—that would be so embarrassing!

Also embarrassing: Elise Foley’s gushing profile of Elizabeth Santorum, Rick’s adult daughter, that appeared on the Huffington Post before the Iowa caucuses. “It is tough [being] a young surrogate for a candidate/father clinging to an older worldview,” Foley writes. “Her father’s stance on same-sex marriage and gay rights, in particular, has caused some friction from nonsupporters. ‘It’s a policy thing,’ [Elizabeth Santorum] said of gay marriage … Opposed to same-sex marriage herself, Elizabeth said she has gay friends who support her father’s candidacy based on his economic and family platforms.”

Yeah, it’s tough out there for a ’phobe—and it’s getting tougher all the time. Santorum was nearly booed off a stage in New Hampshire last week after he insisted that legalizing gay marriage would lead to the legalization of polygamous marriage. (The same argument was made against legalizing interracial marriage—and here we are, 44 years after the Supreme Court declared laws against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional, and Tiger Woods can marry only one busted Olive Garden hostess at a time.)

You know what else is tough? Gay widowers losing their homes after the deaths of their spouses because they don’t qualify for the same Social Security benefits as all other married couples.

But, hey, Elizabeth Santorum isn’t a bigot—she can’t be! She has gay friends! And her gay friends support her dad!

Who are these gay people who support Rick Santorum despite his having equated consensual gay sex to child rape and dog fucking? Who are these gay people who support Rick Santorum despite his opposition to gay marriage and any other legal framework—civil unions, domestic partnerships—that might provide legal protections for same-sex couples? Who are these gay people who support Rick Santorum despite his promises to write anti-gay bigotry into the U.S. Constitution, forcibly divorce all legally married same-sex couples in the U.S., reinstate DADT and ban adoptions by same-sex couples?

Who are these faggots?

To Ms. Foley and all the other political reporters out there: When someone like Elizabeth Santorum tells you that she has gay friends and her gay friends support her dad based on his “family platforms”—gay people shouldn’t be allowed to have families—your subject is making an astonishing claim. Your immediate response should be a demand for the names and phone numbers of these gay friends. Offer to quote these gay friends anonymously, to protect their privacy/stupidity, but tell the homophobe that you will need to verify the existence of her gay friends because you’re a journalist, not a stenographer . You’ll either catch the homophobe in a very revealing lie—what does it tell us about this moment in the struggle for LBGT equality that even bigots like Rick and Elizabeth Santorum perceive a political risk in being perceived as homophobic?—or land a fascinating interview with a crazy-ass faggot.

I’ve been a loyal reader for half my life. Today, a friend and I got into a debate about you. My friend says your campaign to redefine “santorum” flies in the face of your anti-bullying “It Gets Better” campaign. Would you please address this issue?

Google Problems

First, GP, the campaign is over: Santorum has been redefined.

Second, taking the piss out of a middle-aged bigot who has repeatedly and viciously attacked a tiny minority for personal and political gain—a man surrounded by people who support him personally, politically and financially—is not the moral equivalent of beating the shit out of a vulnerable and isolated 13-year-old queer kid in rural Texas who is a member of the tiny minority that this powerful bigot has repeatedly and viciously attacked.

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