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Dan Savage


Dan Savage. Originally uploaded by cpb.

Dan Savage is arguably the most important and influential gay writer in the United States today. I say this having read all four of his books and regularly reading his weekly sex advice column, Savage Love.

I cannot really remember my first distinct encounter with Savage Love, but I have strong memories of reading Savage Love in the Village Voice during the summer of 1996. I read the Village Voice each week at work—usually while waiting for the New York Times to arrive at the warehouse before heading out on whatever random route I was filling in on that day—ah, the memories of working for Sagebrush News, the then distributor of the New York Times, the Financial Times, Investor’s Business Daily, and other assorted newspapers in Denver.

It was illicit fun, at the time. I knew Dan Savage was gay and that was the summer that I was first dealing with myself. (And for those of you who knew I was gay before then, fine, but I didn’t know it myself.) Savage provided sage advice to people about sex never hesitating to be blunt, straightforward, and honest.

It was then that he moved onto my personal radar.

Now, thanks to the Internet, I read his column weekly—still in the Village Voice, plus I have his book, Savage Love, which is a collection of his responses to questions from the column.

Savage Love amuses me. It entertains me. It educates me.

Along the way he promoted the publication of his serious book, The Kid, which chronicled his and Terry’s, his boyfriend, effort to adopt a baby. The book was exceptionally moving and entertaining.

His second book, Skipping Towards Gomorrah, was absolutely fantastic. I learned a lot from Dan in the first chapter—namely that the seven deadly sins were not biblical in origin, which surprised me. As he personally committed every one of the seven sins, except adultery, for since he wasn’t married to his boyfriend, he couldn’t be adulterous.

His most recent book, The Commitment, is great as well. As his and Terry’s tenth anniversary is fast approaching, they undertake a personal debate: whether or not they should get married. Their son is opposed since boys don’t marry boys. Dan’s mother is strongly in favor and pushes them to do it. The book is not quite laugh-out-loud as The Kid or Skipping Toward Gomorrah were, but it has its moments. Thanks to Dan, I will never view cake the same way again—I have an image burned into my mind that is hard to explain, and to attempt to try wouldn’t do justice to Dan’s writing abilities, so I can only say: read the book. (And Jerry, Vancouver is pretty important to Dan. I think you should read the book for multiple reasons.)

I would argue that Dan Savage is the most important gay writer in the United States today. He’s important because he does something few gay writers do successfully: he reaches out to the straight world, something I believe that only David Sedaris also does well—just not with the weekly regularity that makes Dan Savage so critically important.

Thanks Dan.

4 comments to Dan Savage

  • Here’s the link to Dan Savage’s Vancouver essay: http://www.straight.com/content.cfm?id=12940 (I know I sent it earlier in an email but I thought it would be a good idea to post on your blog for the benefit of your other readers).

  • jen

    okay, okay–i’m gonna have to get off my ass and read his shit. i’ve avoided him for some time because some of my other friends says he makes fun of fat people, so i allowed them to cloud my judgement instead of reading his work for myself. you’ve convinced me adam!

    ps-you missed one hell of an eroticon in btown. vin went as cupid, and i went as breakfast in bed. painted up my eggs like sunny side up eggs and everything.

    xo

  • mateo

    Breakfast in bed, eh, Jen? That sounds truly adorable and totally tasty!!! Heheh. I didn’t goto the Eroticon since they already supposedly had the “last” one years ago. Besides I didn’t have anyone to go with, but I’m glad you enjoyed yourself 🙂

    And Adam……*everyone* knew you were gay before you did!! Well, not me since I didn’t know you at that time, but I’m sure I would have known! Heheh.

  • Dan’s statements about fat have been sort of taken out of context, as far as I can tell… and even if they’re not, you can ignore that segment of his writing and learn a lot from him.

    All great people have their flaws. Bill Clinton’s was getting a blow job…

    Glad you had fun at Eroticon…