JESUSLAND—Parents Television Council (PTC), the pro-censorship organization that gave you the faux controversy over Janet Jackson's nipple, has now set its sights on Savage U, the excellent sex education series created by journalist/pundit/editor Dan Savage, who also gave us the "It Gets Better Project"—short videos to help LGBT youth and others understand that life can improve after bullying—and, of course, our favorite definition of "Santorum": "The frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."
In the show, Savage and companion/producer Lauren Hutchinson travel to college campuses around the country, answering questions about sex—how to do it, with whom to do it (whether gay or straight), how to experiment with it, how to avoid having it rule your life—in public forums and with students individually, and the answers are incredibly straight-forward with no bullshit anywhere to be seen.
"Savage U isn’t any ordinary sex and relationship advice program… This isn’t like Dr. Ruth, or even MTV’s previous effort at a sex advice show, Loveline," PTC wrote in its project to bully Burger King and Subway into dropping their sponsorship of Savage U, as they claimed they had already successfully done with Red Robin restaurants. "By contrast, Dan Savage’s background was writing a satirical advice column for an alternative weekly newspaper which was begun, by his own admission, with the express purpose of providing mocking advice to heterosexuals. Yet MTV has entrusted a man with no medical or psychological training to educate adolescents about sex."
It's true: Savage makes no claims about his qualifications. In fact, on the vanity card that precedes every episode, he admits that not only isn't he a licensed therapist, he isn't even a licensed driver. What he is, though, is a intelligent sex-positive adult who, as PTC admits, spent several years doing a humorous sexual advice column for Seattle's The Stranger, and between research for that and what he's picked up along the road that is life, he's clearly more than qualified to answer college students' questions about sex.
And indeed, they are college students. PTC's use of "adolescents" and its inflammatory invocation of the fact that MTV itself gives the show a "TV-14" rating, "meaning that MTV says this content is appropriate for children as young as 14 years old!", is just another sad attempt to rile the typical Fox viewer into dashing off an email (using PTC's handy form letter) of outrage that a grown man on TV would even think about telling post-pubescent people the truth about sex in its myriad forms.
"We’re going to talk to these kids whether the parents want us to or not," they quote Savage as saying—and think how horrible that would be!
And what advice don't they like? Fortunately, they're ready with a handy page of examples, which include such bon mots like:
Caller: "Should I be offended that my boyfriend called out the wrong name during sex last night?"
Savage: "I don't think you should be offended, unless it was your father's name."
Savage: "'What's the best and fastest way to give a woman an orgasm?' Turn into a vibrator."
Savage: "'Do guys jerk off to pictures on Facebook?' …Yeah, wherever there are pictures, someone is jerking off to them. So yeah, guys are jerking off to pictures on Facebook. Guys are jerking off to pictures not on Facebook."
Female Student: "So sometimes I have to settle for really degrading-to-women porn, and I get off, but then right after I'm like I feel so terrible."
Savage: "I recommend you start reading the sex positive female bloggers out there who cover the porn industry. They'll lead you to the free sex-positive porn that isn't being produced in a way that you should feel self-conscious about enjoying."
And several more.
Actually, PTC is only the latest bunch of ignorant yahoos to engage in Savage-bashing. Take the time (last month) when he was asked to address students (you know: aged 14-18) at the National High School Journalism Convention in New Jersey.
"Savage has finally managed to publicly discredit himself as the anti-Christian bigot and bully he’s always been," charged winger attorney and gay-basher Matt Barber. "Never again will this guy be taken seriously as an anti-bullying crusader... [A]t the National High School Journalism Convention, Savage launched into an unhinged anti-Christian diatribe. He advised the teens to 'ignore the bullshit in the Bible' about sexual morality. 'We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things,' he barked. He then walked through a list of the same tired left-wing talking points about the Bible—long ago discredited—covering shellfish, virginity, etc. 'The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document,' he said (anti-Christian trash we've come to expect from the secular left)." [Expletives undeleted.]
Of course, it's nice to see that Barber, however inadvertently, is admitting that the Bible was "long ago discredited," but that's not the point: It's that Savage is too well-informed to take what the Bible and its adherents say seriously, and the so-called "Bible believers" aren't about to let anybody in the national media get away with that!
So whether is taking Savage's claim seriously that he "licked the doorknobs at former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer's campaign office in hopes of giving Mr. Bauer the flu," or that he actually thought Pennsylvania Republican senatorial candidate Carl Romanelli "should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there's nothing left but the rope," the humorless wingers have begun bashing Savage at every turn.
For instance, seminarian Michael Brown tried to mince words about the Bible (specifically, Leviticus 20:13) calling homosexuality an "abomination," but noting that the bans on eating shellfish, wearing two different types of fabric or planting two different types of seeds in your field don't carry that label. But considering that Leviticus 20 is chock full of orders to put to death (usually by stoning) men who sleep with their mothers, their mothers-in-law, their daughters, their daughters-in-law, both their wives and their wives' mothers, and women who sleep with animals, or who are not virgins when they marry, not to mention that guys who see their sisters or step-sisters naked should be banished from civilization, it's obvious that Savage has a much better understanding of the Old Testament than Brown does.
With all that in mind, it's almost humorous that one jackass writing on Brent "Bozo" Bozell's Media Research Center site charged that Savage had one speaker, Peter LaBarbera, banned from participating in Elmhurst College's "It Gets Better" event for no apparent reason. But if one reads right-wing screeds with any regularity, LaBarbera's name pops up frequently as the head of Americans for Truth, a gay-bashing organization that insists that the sexual orientation of gays (but, of course, not of straights) can be changed. Gee, I wonder why Savage wouldn't want him in a show that aims to make teens feel better about their gayness?
And of course, at least one pseudo-feminist is sure she knows Savage's motivations for all this.
"Normal standards of civilized behavior are apparently not required of Savage," wrote Maggie Gallagher of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. "Nothing he has done before, including denouncing norms of monogamy or boasting about spitting on the doorknob of a presidential candidate to make him sick, led the conference organizers to pause before inviting him to speak—none of that has led to anything for Savage but greater acclaim, money, power, prestige and applause."
And of course, she and all Christians are the real victims here:
"Christian moral understanding of sex, gender and marriage will simply have to change, Savage asserts. Why? Because he and others say so. To do otherwise is to be mean to him and other gay people. Our very existence, our identity as both good Christians and good citizens is an offense to him."
"Once it was enough to accept norms of civility—to speak and treat each other with respect in spite of our important moral differences and disagreements," she continued. "That was so 2003. Now gay leaders expect that those who disagree with them will be silent or face a wall of wrath."
Because, after all, Christians never have a bad word to say about gays! And fer sure, they don't want to prevent them from doing good Christian stuff like getting married and all!
But sadly, the United States desperately needs Dan Savage and many more like him. Within the past few days, for instance, there have been calls for the resignation of the principal of Analaska Elementary School in Washington state (who for some reason none of the news stories have named). His crime? During a class which informed 11- and 12-year-old students about HIV and AIDS, one of the kids asked about "other" forms of sex, and the principal actually answered truthfully, noting that some people practice oral and anal sex.
Cue the outrage!
"One of the other parents said it well—they raped the minds of the ten year old, eleven year old kids," parent Curtis Pannkuk told Fox News Radio. "Children were traumatized."
"I was just shocked because I trusted my little country school," parent Kadra Gilliland told Fox. "I didn't think they were going to talk about such things. I trusted by school – that's the bottom line and they crossed the line."
"Basically, how I feel and others that I've talked to, it's just the same as raping somebody, but you're raping their innocence instead of their physical being," husband James explained to KCPQ-TV. "When you hit those levels and the sexual acts, you might as well hand them a Kama Sutra book or something, you know?"
Yeah, because if there's one thing you don't want imminently pubescent kids finding out about, it's that there are other ways people have sex besides the missionary position in bed with the lights out!
But willful ignorance is an equal opportunity lifestyle. Take the Michigan House of Representatives, which this week censured and censored two of their delegates for allegedly "violating the decorum of the House."
Their crime? Well, the legislature was discussing a series of bills aimed at making it much more difficult for women to get abortions: Banning abortion after 20 weeks gestation; requiring doctors to be physically present for the procedure, meaning they couldn't prescribe, for instance, RU-486 over the phone; requiring doctors to investigate to make sure the woman requesting the abortion wasn't "coerced" into it by giving them a questionnaire to let them know coercion is a crime, and asking if they've ever been the victim of domestic abuse; requring doctors to buy million-dollar malpractice insurance policies if they do more than five abortions per month; and requiring any clinic that performs six or more abortions per month to be licensed as a "freestanding surgical outpatient clinic," and requiring it to have a full surgical suite even if the clinic doesn't offer surgical abortions.
Anyway, after listening to that ration of horseshit, Rep. Lisa Brown got up and charged that the bills were all religiously motivated, and she wasn't having any of it.
"Yesterday we heard the representative from Holland speak about religious freedom," she told the House on Wednesday. "I’m Jewish. I keep kosher in my home. I have two sets of dishes, one for meat and one for dairy, and another two sets of dishes on top of that for Passover. Judaism believes that therapeutic abortion, namely abortions performed in order to preserve the life of the mother, are not only permissible but mandatory. The stage of pregnancy does not matter. Wherever there is a question of the life of the mother or that of the unborn child, Jewish law rules in favor of preserving the life of the mother. The status of the fetus as human life does not equal that of the mother. I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. why are you asking me to adopt yours."
"And finally Mr. Speaker," she added, "I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina but 'no' means 'no'."
Well, that was all House Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas had to hear: "Vagina." He promptly banned Brown from speaking on the House floor on Thursday, the last day that chamber was in session until the end of the summer.
Similarly banned was Rep. Barb Byrum, who had the temerity to propose an amendment to one of the bills that would require men seeking a vasectomy to prove that the procedure was necessary to save the man's life before surgery could be performed. She too was banned from speaking in the House chamber, even to give reasons why her amendment should be considered.
And those are only a few of the reasons why America needs as many Dan Savages as it can get!