Kinda wish you'd given me a call before you weighed in on Santorum's Google Problem. I'm not a hard guy to reach—there are tons of folks at the NYT who have my home, work, and cell numbers, email addresses, Twitter handle, etc. Because this shit is bullshit, Noam:
In what has been a long-running burden for Mr. Santorum, his online identity has been pranked—given a meaning involving bodily fluids, meant to ridicule him for his strong criticism of same-sex marriage. The prank was conceived by the editor and commentator Dan Savage in 2003, and in that time the links have become quite ensconced in the Internet. Even today, a Google search for “Santorum” has a first result of Mr. Savage’s definition.
You know who once criticized gay marriage in strong terms? Barack Obama. When he was running for president in 2008, Obama said that marriage should be reserved for opposite-sex couples because "God is in the mix" when people with crazy, mix-up genitals get opposite-married. (Makes you wonder who exactly is in the mix when a gay couple marries—Perez Hilton? Chi Chi LaRue? Satan?) Not only did I refrain from redefining "Obama" to mean something awful like "Kenyan anti-colonialist Nazi fascist foreigner dictator," despite his clearly bigoted remarks, I sent the dude a check, I voted for him, I encouraged my readers to vote for him.
My readers and I did not redefine Santorum because he disagrees with us strongly about gay marriage. We redefined his name after he compared gay relationships to dog fucking and child rape—"man on dog, man on child"—in an sprawling interview with a freaked-out AP reporter. In that interview Santorum insisted that Americans do not have a constitutional right to privacy. Santorum defended sodomy laws that criminalized private, consensual, adult sexual activity—between gay or straight couples. It wasn't Santorum's opposition to same-sex marriage, it was his support for bringing felony charges against gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals for private, consensual, adult sexual conduct that inspired the campaign. Here's an excerpt from the interview that lead to Santorum's Google Problem:
AP: I mean, should we outlaw homosexuality?
SANTORUM: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.
AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?
SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold—Griswold was the contraceptive case—and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you—this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.
Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality—
AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.
Santorum's Google Problem wasn't created because my readers and I strongly disagreed with Santorum about gay marriage, Noam. I strongly disagree with—still—Barack Obama about gay marriage. Santorum's last name was redefined to mean "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometime the byproduct of anal sex" after the sitting US Senator told a reporter that Americans do not enjoy a constitutional right to privacy and agued that the states should be able to arrest, prosecute, and imprison people—Lawrence v. Texas was a case about two men who were arrested after police burst into their bedroom, found them having sex, and arrested them—for private, consensual, adult sexual acts; for performing or obtaining abortions; for supplying women with birth control; for using birth control. And to top it all off Santorum ended the interview by equating loving, same-sex relationships with child rape and dog fucking.
So, Noam, the next time you're going to write about something I've done—the next time you're going to characterize my actions and intentions—give me a call first, okay?
UPDATE: Noam has corrected his piece:
Correction: January 5, 2012 An earlier version of this post misstated the motivation for the prank against Rick Santorum. As Dan Savage, and commenters, have noted, the effort was prompted by Mr. Santorum's comments in an interview comparing homosexuality to "man on dog" sex, not his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Noam also added a link back to Santorum's infamous and insulting 2003 "man on dog" interview.