Savage on Santorum on Savage

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In an interview Monday, candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination Rick Santorum criticized advice columnist Dan Savage and said he would pray for him. In return, Savage pointed out Santorum's controversial social conservatism positions. Santorum's disagreement with Savage stems from the santorum neologism coined in Savage's column Savage Love in response to comments made by former Pennsylvania Senator Santorum about homosexuality; Savage's readers voted to define santorum as: "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."

Dan Savage
Dan Savage
Image: Dan Savage (2005).
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum
Image: Gage Skidmore (2011).
The santorum neologism was coined in Dan Savage's column Savage Love in 2003 based on the last name of Rick Santorum.
Cquote1.svg He obviously has some serious issues. Cquote2.svg

Rick Santorum

Former Senator Santorum was interviewed Monday by the RealClearPolitics website RealClearReligion and was asked, "If you happen to run into Dan Savage, what would you say to him?" The Republican presidential nomination candidate replied, "I would tell him that I'm praying for him. He obviously has some serious issues. You look at someone like that who can say and do the things that he's doing and you just pray for him and hopefully he can find peace."

This is not the first instance where Santorum has commented publicly about Dan Savage. ThinkProgress called his most recent comments on Savage an "improvement", and noted that Santorum previously stated Savage is "below the dignity of anybody".

Mother Jones magazine contacted Savage for a response to Santorum's comments. Savage emphasized Santorum's controversial positions on social issues in contrast to his "dirty joke", replying, "Rick Santorum thinks that women who have been raped should be compelled—by force of law—to carry the babies of their rapists to term, he thinks birth control should be illegal, he wants to prosecute pornographers, etc., etc., basically the guy wants to be president so that he can micromanage the sex lives of all Americans...and I'm the one with issues? Because I made a dirty joke at his expense eight or nine years ago and it stuck? I'm the one with issues?"

Cquote1.svg The man who wants to get his hands on the nuclear football so he can micromanage your sex life ... thinks I have issues. That's hilarious. Cquote2.svg

Dan Savage

Savage concluded, "Rick can pray for me. I'll gay for him. And we can call it even."

In a subsequent piece posted to the website of the Seattle, Washington paper The Stranger, Savage elaborated on his response to Santorum. He commented, "The man who wants to get his hands on the nuclear football so he can micromanage your sex life ... thinks I have issues. That's hilarious."

In a 2003 interview with the Associated Press, Rick Santorum compared legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States to supporting bestiality. Readers of the Savage Love advice column selected a new definition for the Senator’s last name, and Savage created a website SpreadingSantorum.com to promulgate the spread of the phenomenon. The term became a prominent result in searches online, and gained dominance on Web search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.

Rick Santorum himself has acknowledged and discussed the existence and prevalence of the santorum neologism phenomenon; he was quoted by The Canadian Press on his assessment of Google's response: "To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can't handle. I suspect that's not true." Santorum criticized the response of the press to the phenomenon in a 2011 radio interview, saying, "It's offensive beyond, you know, anything that any public figure or anybody in America should tolerate, and the mainstream media laughs about it."


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  • Spreading Santorum, website created to promulgate redefinition of Rick Santorum's last name
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