Dan Savage’s latest

Savage cover

Columnist Dan Savage, the gay author, activist and relationship guru to a large straight readership via his syndicated column Savage Love, is also a media hottie, seen frequently on CNN and HuffPost.

He is, happily, anathema to the religious right and the GOP hacks, who want to diminish his clout. They are wasting their sanctimonious breath. He is after all the perpetrator of the infamous cyber bomb that will forever, link politician Rick Santorum to…a byproduct of…well you know the rest. He weighed in on many of the words and deeds of all of the toxic spawn of the GOP primaries and he is more popular than ever.

Savage pulls few punches on a whole range of issues in his new book American Savage, a collection of essays about sex, politics, religion, media, gay-parenting, social-networking, realpolitik and homophobia. The book is also a snapshot memoir of Savage’s 17 year marriage with his husband Terry and their 15 year old son DJ, who they adopted at birth. His essays are witty, personal and economic in detangling complex social issues past buzzwords or media scenarios.

Whatever methods Savage uses to expose hypocrisies, he is in fact never more eloquent, lacerating or witty when he goes after anti-gay politicians with facts, history and logic that eviscerates the anti-gay myths, lies and aspersions leveled toward gays and minorities.

For GLBTQ Americans, Savage is no less than a hero, for his most inspired It Gets Better Project, his anti-bullying campaign. His and Terry’s outreach to GLBTQ teens who live in oppressive or abusive circumstances or are struggling with their sexual identity. Everyone from President Obama to the San Francisco ball team have made IGB videos.

In one of the book’s most poignant pieces My Son Comes Out, Savage turns his son’s announcement that he is straight into a snapshot of how normal such a scene now is. A normal a scene as a Norman Rockwell painting. Meanwhile, it is also routine for MJ to get dropped on his grandparents so his parents can attend the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco for a day in the sun for s&m carnivale.

Savage is an absolutist about safe, consensual sex, no matter what kink is explored. He has given tutorials to many a straight young man on the location of the clitoris. Savage writes about sex not only in healthy, practical and clinical terms, but as a vital pursuit of remaining a happy, healthy and fulfilled human being.

His uninhibited scholarship of sex education spills over into politics. Savage, is nonetheless, just as frank in exposing right wing political machinations as they apply to issues not only about gay civil rights, but about physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. In his essay ‘Extended Stay’ he writes movingly about his mother’s right to die with dignity and her stated desire to be kept out of pain. “It wasn’t a choice that the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict, or Joel Connelly had a right to make for her.” he writes.

In ‘Bigot Christmas’ recounts Savage’s now infamous ‘dinner table’ debate with Brian Brown, head of the antigay group YouTube debate with Savage faces down the antigay dragon with logic and a money shot provided not by Savage this time, but his husband Terry, who had had enough of suffering fools gladly (even for the famous husband) Terry asked Brown “Do you think our son should be taken away from us?” Let’s just say that the bigot’s answer did not sit well with the gay father, husband and homeowner. Huh… cue Jaws music.

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