Daniel Keenan Savage

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Daniel Keenan Savage (born October 7, 1964, although he has claimed to be 34 in a long running inside joke since about 2001) is 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 frank in its discussion of sexuality, often humorous, and frequently 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.

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.

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 3-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.

Savage is also a "Real Time Real Reporter" on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher.


The Savage Lovecast is a weekly podcast based on 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 pleaded 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 column. Later, he sponsored a contest that led to the term santorum being used to refer to "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes 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 an adult video store owner, Savage suggested that the readers send any sex toys that they need to dispose of to Crone.

Personal opinions

Savage often makes surprising or controversial statements:

  • Savage wrote a piece questioning the validity of the gay pride parade as a way to build community.
  • Savage initially supported the Iraq war and advocated military action against other Middle Eastern states, including Iran and Saudi Arabia saying, "Islamo-fascism is a regional problem, like European fascism – and the Middle East [has] to be remade just as Europe was remade." One week before the war began, Savage spoke against it, citing the inability of President George W. Bush to form a convincing case and sway the UN and NATO allies. He now deems the situation "hopeless" and advocates an immediate troop withdrawal.
  • He describes his view towards family as "conservative", and his boyfriend, Terry Miller, is a "stay-at-home dad" for the couple's adopted son. He has, however, expressed skepticism of "simplistic" views of monogamy.
  • He has often clashed with other prominent figures in Seattle's gay community. For example, he has often expressed contempt for the editorial calibre of the Seattle Gay News.
  • In response to a letter asking "Is the AIDS crisis over?" Savage, in his October 22, 1997 column, answered simply, "Yes." Several weeks of columns were devoted in whole or in part to discussion of the issue.
  • In an interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian, Savage stated that then-Green Party Senate candidate Carl Romanelli, who he claimed was partially funded by state Republicans for a spoiler effect against Democrat Bob Casey, "should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there's nothing left but the rope." In the same interview, he stated, "Mr. Romanelli should go fuck himself."For this comment, Savage wrote right after the interview that "I regret using that truck metaphor, and didn't mean it literally, and it was in poor taste, and I regret it."

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."

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."

Family and marriage

Savage's home state of Washington allows gays to adopt, but does not legally recognize gay marriage. In March 2004, Savage engaged in an action intended to push forward gay marriage in Washington; after his co-worker Amy Jenniges was denied a license to marry her girlfriend Sonia, Jenniges and Savage obtained a license to marry one another. He wrote at the time, "We emphasized to the clerk and her manager that Amy and I don't live together, we don't love each other, we don't plan to have kids together, and we're going to go on living and sleeping with our same-sex partners after we get married. So could we still get a marriage license?" According to Savage, the license-department manager replied, "Sure. If you've got $54, you can have a marriage license."

Savage and his partner Terry (since 1994) have one adopted son, and were married in Canada in 2005.

External links


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