Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dan Savage on Ted Haggard and Rick Santorum

I'm just the news summary guy today.

Dan Savage has some good things to say about Ted Haggard (the Colorado anti-gay minister who turns out to be gay himself) and Rick Santorum (the now ex-Pennsylvania senator who thinks being anti-gay marriage is being pro-homeland security; Savage helped create the use of santorum in another sense) in his column today:

Re, Haggard: 'Arguing with religious people about the futility of giving your heart to Jesus—at least where "cures" for homosexual orientation are concerned—can be maddening. As with evolution, they're not moved by science, data, or irksome facts.'

Re, Santorum, a letter-writer wrote: 'I can't help feeling that it's wrong for me to feel a sense of schadenfreude watching his stuffy kids cry onstage.' Dan replied in part: 'As for Santorum's kids, well, once again we're put in the position of having to feel sorry for the offspring of a delusional bigot. But just how bad should we feel? I remember listening to the radio when Santorum said something obnoxious about gay couples: An anti-gay-marriage amendment was a homeland-security measure, Santorum said, which makes gay couples terrorists. My son, who happens to be the same age as Santorum's younger daughter (the one weeping and clutching a doll in that widely circulated photo), was in the room at the time and he got pretty upset. So, yeah, we should all feel bad for Santorum's kids, but let's also feel bad for all the other kids that Santorum hurt.'

More Savage on Santorum is available: 'It would have been a lot easier to be a total dick about Santorum’s defeat if he hadn’t made such a gracious—and apparently sincere—concession speech. I almost fell off the couch when Santorum asked the crowd to give a round of applause to Bob Casey. // Where was this graciousness and respect for political differences while Rick Santorum was in the U.S. Senate? And where was this graciousness during the actual campaign? Santorum stopped just short of accusing Casey of flying off to Pakistan twice a week to rim Osama bin Laden. If Santorum had spent the last 12 years in the Senate being the person he was for 12 minutes during his concession speech, well, he might not have made so many enemies in Pennsylvania and all over the country.'


Donald Brown said...

Well, I don't know anything about Dan Savage, or about Santorum either, but I do know a thing or two about human nature, and if Savage is really surprised that a man, in defeat, tries to appeal to his audience's sympathies, making it maybe regret his departure a little (as Savage almost seems ready to do, paying tribute to the redeemable qualities that Santorum "suddenly" manifests), whereas in power he was an SOB of the first magnitude, then I have to suggest that Savage can look forward to constantly being surprised by life and by what is generally referred to as "political manipulation."

Andrew Shields said...

Rabid radical attack dog turns out to be a gracious loser: surely one is allowed to be surprised (or at least take note of the irony). Imagine if Bush had lost Ohio in 2004, making Kerry the winner. Would he have been a gracious loser? If he had, wouldn't it have been a bit of a surprise?

Donald Brown said...

Well, surprised, sure. That question reminds me of a line spoken by Charleton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu in "The Three Musketeers": "That would be remarkable; I would remark on people." So, yes, by all means register surprise (but, as I said, you may find yourself being easily surprised--which for all I know may be the best way to go through life). But what I found surprising was this:

'If Santorum had spent the last 12 years in the Senate being the person he was for 12 minutes during his concession speech, well, he might not have made so many enemies in Pennsylvania and all over the country.'

If/then ... If Santorum were not mine enemy (whose name I have smeared, as it were, with an unspeakable substance), but had been rather the pitiable figure I for 12 minutes beheld, then perhaps ... alas, for these deeply entrenched positions that do keep us apart, unable even to properly show mercy to his sorrowing children, nor to a man brought to defeat through pride of discourse!

In other words, I find the "magnanimous" public gesture on Savage's part to be on a par with the "heartfelt" congratulations to the winner. I remain unmoved on both counts.

Andrew Shields said...

I like that Heston quote. Maybe one could define a "wag" as the person who makes it his job to produce such remarks about remarkable things.

When I was first in Germany, I used the German word "merkwürdig" to mean "remarkable." At some point, Andrea corrected me: "merkwürdig" means "remarkable," but it is only used for things that one finds odd. The more neutral term is "bemerkenswert."

I just decided to put this comment on the blog, too, as it began to be ... remarkable?

Donald Brown said...

Yes, a good take on the "wag" -- though usually the wag takes a somewhat critical tone about the
"remarkable": in other words, the wag must voice a response, which is usually voiced "as we see it." Those On the Town pieces in the old New Yorker were perhaps the epitome of "wagdom." I think most of those who indulge in the sport, whether online in blogs or in publications, have some such ideal in the back of their minds.

As to "the Germans have a word for it": I didn't know that other term either, but I knew "merkwurdig" was more in the nature of the French saying "tres bizarre." Which isn't at all how I think of "our" remarkable -- i.e., "something to make remarks about."

And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving behind: me, wag.
--Berryman, Dream Song #14

Andrew Shields said...

I never read all the Dream Songs, but when I read them (at your urging, 16 or 17 years ago, if I remember correctly), the two things that stuck were the wag and "Rilke was a jerk."

Donald Brown said...

A circle lower than the level where the vile settle and lurk, Rilke's -- like I said...

apparently having or not having inner resources also stuck.

but who can forget:

what wonders is she sitting on, over there?