Savage Love

Licking Santorum

Dear Dan:

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 by-product 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 crystal 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, 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 selected that phrase 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, an otherwise distressing news cycle would not have been leavened by such headlines as "Santorum Surges From Behind," "Santorum Runs Hard," and "Romney Squeezes Out Santorum."

Dear Dan:

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. And, gosh, I hope there isn't any santorum on the GOP 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 non-supporters. ... 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. Rick 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.

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. Also tough: seeing your wife deported because the federal government doesn't recognize your marriage.

Dear Dan:

Time to follow through on your threat to redefine "rick."

Matt Via Twitter

Already done: To "rick" is to remove something with your tongue. The "r" is derived from "remove," and the "ick" is from "lick."

Dear Dan:

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, 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 minority that this powerful bigot has repeatedly and viciously attacked.

Third, circling back to Elizabeth Santorum's blowjob on HuffPo: "[Elizabeth] is aware of her father's so-called 'Google problem,' part of a campaign by columnist Dan Savage... 'That just makes me sad. It's disappointing that people can be that mean,' she said."

I'm sorry for giving you a sad, Elizabeth. You know what gave me a sad? Reading about Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond. The women, together 18 years, were vacationing in Florida in 2007 with three of their four children when Pond suffered an aneurysm. Langbehn and the children were barred from Pond's room when they arrived at the hospital. A social worker informed Langbehn — who was distraught — that she wouldn't be able to see her wife because they were in an "anti-gay city and state."

Lisa Pond was not a "policy thing," Elizabeth. She was a human being. And her wife and children were prevented from saying good-bye to her because people who agree with you and your father — people who doubtless felt empowered to act on their bigotry thanks to high-profile bigots like you and your father — persecuted them as Pond lay dying.

By being so mean as to oppose legal protections for gay and lesbian families, Elizabeth, you and your father are trying to make sure that other families headed by same-sex couples will suffer as Langbehn, Pond, and their children were made to suffer.

It is disappointing how mean some people can be, Elizabeth. It really is.

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