Dan Savage

| birth_place = Chicago, Illinois | death_date = | death_place = | other_names = Keenan Hollahan | known_for = sex advice columnist | occupation = Author, Media pundit, Journalist, and Newspaper Editor }}

Daniel Keenan Savage (born October 7, 1964) is an an openly gay American sex advice columnist, author, media pundit, journalist, and newspaper editor. Savage is best known for penning the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column Savage Love. Its tone is humorous, profane, and often hostile to social conservatives, as in the Santorum controversy. Savage has often been the subject of controversy regarding his opinions that pointedly clash with both traditional conservative moral values and those put forth by what Savage has been known to call the "gay establishment". He has also worked as a theater director, both under his real name and under the name Keenan Hollahan, using his middle name and his grandmother's maiden name.

Early life and college

Dan Savage was born to William and Judy Savage in Chicago, Illinois. He is of Irish ancestry. The third of four children, Savage was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary North, which he has described as "a Catholic high school in Chicago for boys thinking of becoming priests." (Though Savage has stated that he is now "a wishy-washy agnostic", he has said that he still considers himself "culturally Catholic".)

Savage attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied theatre and history. As a theater director, Savage (working under the name "Keenan Hollahan") was a founder of Seattle's Greek Active Theater. Much of the group's work has been queer re-contextualizations of classic works, such as a tragicomic Macbeth with both the title character and Lady Macbeth played by performers of the opposite gender. In March 2001 he directed his own Egguus, a parody of Peter Shaffer's 1973 play Equus which exchanged a fixation on horses for a fixation on chickens. Savage has not directed, produced, or performed in any productions since a 2003 production of "Letters from the Earth," his trimmed version of Mark Twain's "The Diary of Adam and Eve", which received scathing reviews, including one from his own paper ("My boss' show stinks."--Brendan Kiley, The Stranger, March 20th, 2003).

Savage Love

In 1991, Savage was living in Madison, Wisconsin, and working as a manager at a local video store that specialized in independent film titles. There, Savage befriended Tim Keck, co-founder of The Onion, who announced that he was moving to Seattle to help start an alternative weekly newspaper entitled The Stranger. Savage "made the offhand comment that forever altered [his] life: 'Make sure your paper has an advice column-everybody claims to hate 'em, but everybody seems to read 'em'." Savage typed up a sample column, and to Savage's surprise Keck offered him the job.

Savage stated in a February 2006 interview in The Onion's A.V. Club (which publishes his column) that he began the column with the express purpose of providing mocking advice to heterosexuals.

Forever, I'd read letters that had been written from straight advice columnists to gay people. Sometimes the advice was okay, but often it was clueless about gay issues or gay people or gay sex or gay rights. And I just thought it would be funny for once if there was an advice column written by a gay person where straight people had to get slapped around or treated with contempt.
Savage wanted to call the column "Hey Faggot!" His editors at the time refused his choice of column name, but for the first several years of the column, he attached "Hey Faggot!" at the beginning of each printed letter as a salutation. According to Savage:
When I started writing this column in 1991, there was a debate raging in hellish homosexual circles about words like faggot. The idea was that if we used these words ourselves--Queer Nation, Dyke March, "Hey, Faggot"--straights couldn't use them as hate words anymore. I chose "Hey, Faggot" as my salutation in joking reference to this lively debate about reclaiming hate words.
In his February 25, 1999 column, Savage announced that he was retiring the phrase: "Lo many columns later, it feels strange to begin every column with a joke about a debate that ended years ago."

He has written in a number of columns about "straight rights" concerns, such as the HPV vaccine and the morning-after pill, stating in his November 9 2005, column that "[t]he right-wingers and the fundies and the sex-phobes don't just have it in for the queers. They're coming for your asses too."

Radio and journalism

In addition to his weekly article and authoring four books, Savage is involved in several other projects.

He is now the editorial director of the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger, a promotion from his former position as The Stranger's editor-in-chief. Savage currently is a contributor to This American Life, an hour-long radio show on Chicago's WBEZ syndicated by PRI.

From at least September 1994 until 1997, he had a weekly 2-hour call-in show called Savage Love Live on Seattle's KCMU (now KEXP). From 1998 to 2000, he ran the bi-weekly advice column Dear Dan on the news website abcnews.com. Savage is also a frequent contributor to Out magazine.


The Savage Lovecast is a podcast of Savage's column Savage Love, available at iTunes and at the Stranger's website for free download. It features Savage doing a call-in version of his sex advice column.

Opinions and point of view

Political advocacy

Savage has written about his interest in political matters. His political leanings are primarily leftist or liberal, with pronounced contrarian and libertarian streaks. In 2000, he wrote that while suffering from the influenza virus while on an assignment for salon.com to cover the Iowa caucuses, he was so angered by televised remarks in opposition to same-sex marriage by conservative Republican presidential hopeful Gary Bauer that he abandoned his original plan "to follow one of the loopy conservative Christian candidates around-Bauer or Alan Keyes-and write something insightful and humanizing about him, his campaign, and his supporters."

He volunteered for the Bauer campaign, intending to infect the candidate with his flu. He wrote that he'd licked doorknobs and other objects in the campaign office, and handed Bauer a saliva-coated pen, hoping to pass the disease on to Bauer and his supporters (though he later said that much of the article had been fictitious). He also registered and participated in the caucus, which was illegal, as Savage was not an Iowa resident. He was charged and pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent voting in a caucus, and was sentenced to a year's probation, 50 hours of community service, and a $750 fine.

Savage often mentions political issues in his column, particularly issues that affect family planning, birth control, and sexuality. He often encourages readers to get involved, and often voices a positive or negative opinion about a politician or public official. After Rick Santorum, then a United States senator from Pennsylvania, made comments to a reporter comparing homosexual sex to bestiality and incest, Savage assailed Santorum in his columns, and eventually had a contest that ultimately led to the term santorum being used to refer to a byproduct of anal sex.

Savage also strongly supported the war in Iraq in the pages of The Stranger in October 2002. By the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003, however, he had somewhat softened his argument.

Savage has also been a vocal opponent of state laws which outlaw the sales of sex toys. In response to an expose by Kandiss Crone from WLBT (Jackson, Mississippi) that precipitated the arrest and fining of a adult video store owner, Savage suggested that the readers send any sex toys that they need to dispose of to Ms. Crone.

Personal opinions

Savage often surprises readers by defending unexpected positions. Among his more surprising or controversial statements:

Views on outing

Savage stated in a column that he favors outing in some cases, specifically mentioning anti-gay activist Tyler Whitney. However in the same column he said, "I recently talked someone out of outing a public figure. A Savage Love reader was contemplating outing an innocuous celebrity back in April. I advised him against it because, as I wrote to him privately, outing is brutal and it should be reserved for brutes." See The Frank Rule.

Local issues

Savage's editorship of The Stranger has established him as a voice in local Seattle politics. His most high-profile commentary has been as an outspoken critic of the Teen Dance Ordinance and other crackdowns on all-ages events.

Savage argues that closing down supervised all-ages dance venues drives teens to boredom and reckless activities: "Places like Ground Zero and the Kirkland Teen Center are invaluable from a law enforcement point of view. They keep kids out of, say, 7-Eleven parking lots or the homes of friends whose parents are away."

Ann Landers

On December 3, 2002, Savage announced in an article that he had purchased columnist Ann Landers' desk; she had died earlier in the year (on June 22). Savage has facetiously referred to Landers as his "college roommate" and said "I like to think of myself as a gay Ann Landers."


External links

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This article is based on "Dan Savage" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dan+Savage&action=history