In my opinion, any country that needs a magazine about "its place in the world" so its citizens feel good about themselves and where they live has to be a pretty mediocre place.

Or maybe they're just trying to avoid "Canadian erasure".
Very happy you're talking to a lawyer. As a Canadian, and as a former journalist and editor (who left the profession due to a noticeable decline in ethical practices in all corners), I say ... SUE.

What always burns me in these circumstances is somehow a tiny apology in the back of a newspaper/magazine, read by no one, somehow negates a greater lie that was read by everyone. It would be more meaningful for this publication to suffer time-consuming, lawyer-enrichening, financial damages than to run a two-bit apology. The practice of printing something negligently and apologizing later only facilitates further lapses of ethics.

The online version of this story doesn't need a correction and apology -- it requires a wholesale deletion of the quote. Don't settle for less than that!
Oh you don't like it when it's done to you eh? Maybe the stranger should stop pulling similar shit. #strangerprivilege
That doesn't even seem to be an accurate quote. Someone talking during an interview is unlikely to include the appositive "Sex columnist" in referring to someone. You'd just say "Dan Savage," not "Sex columnist Dan Savage."
@1 - Kinda like The New Yorker and American Spectator right?
I have dutifully added my voice to those in their comment thread. Awaiting further orders.
I also put a comment down and while I was doing it about 4 or 5 came in at the same time all saying the same thing and asking the Walrus to amend the article. What a weird thing to have attributed to you, Dan.
Chill. It may not be accurate. But as presented, it is protected speech (in the U.S., at least).

Use your platform (as you are doing) to make your position clear, and advocate for correction. But don't seek redress through the legal system. It is not warranted (and makes you look bad).
@ 5 - I did say "any country", yes. What exactly is your point?
@ 8 if you sign "Esq.", you should know that "protected speech (in the U.S. at least)" means absolutely nothing in another country. And in case you didn't know, Canada is not part of the U.S.
@8, it's called libel, and it is not protected speech. Dan has every right to sue.
@ 3, notice that you give zero examples? I did. #strangertrollprivilege
me me me
-the skate board article a couple weeks ago where the writer clams amazon employees are calling the cops on him
- the slog piece Ansel posted about the shooting at the light rail, when the video was released that clearly showed the person pointing a gun at the officer, Ansel didn't retract any of his early statements or even state what the video showed
- and a Dan classic, the time he sent his flying monkeys after an innocent dude who happened to look like another dude whose gf wrote something mean on a bill.

The Walrus has a promotional podcast interview with the author up on the site at…. I listened to see if he goes into any detail on his understanding of what Dan's meant by "GGG," but no.

However, about 5/8 of the way through he is asked about Dan's concept of "monogamish," and I get the sense that, to the extent he's read Dan's work, he's not engaged with it particularly. Or perhaps he's relied on third-party descriptions of Dan's thinking. Micah declares "monogamish" not worth thinking about for anybody who wants a monogamous relationship, which seems to me the most point-missing way to describe it ever.

Links and specific examples? Dan identified the specific line that he found objectionable; what are the equivalent examples? Like, did Dom quote Officer Marion as saying, "I'm going to come to your workplace and shoot you"--something that would be clearly false.
@ 15, I had to go find that skateboarding editorial (NOT article - that's key) and that was nonspecific bellyaching. Hardly comparable at all, but I will read your reasons for thinking it is.

The light rail shooting is a little closer in terms of irresponsibility in journalism, but it wasn't libelous. Premature, yes, but it was a developing story and errors do happen. Such errors are why people still think Columbine was a couple of outcast kids getting revenge for bullying. (I remember The Stranger running some opinion piece to the effect of "if Columbine suprised you, you weren't paying attention.")

The last bit I only have the vaguest memory of. I think the time he started calling some Seattle TV newscaster a slut or something was probably a better example than any of the ones you came up with, especially since it was clear that they had to back down from the threat of legal action there.
Look what has been added online!

* Dan Savage has taken offence to this line. On Thursday, August 21, The Walrus invited him to offer additional context here and in the Letters page of our next print issue. He declined, but readers may take a look here.

Dan, further to what 19 said, would be interesting to hear your take on that. Declining to have your say in the letters page? Doesn't sound like you.
@19, translated that means "We refused to print our own clarification, but invited him to add bylined content for zero compensation."
The Walrus should correct this.. It is just sloppy writing on the writer/reporter's part. It is also important for a correction, as a reprimand to the writer...
@21, they also put their asterisk statement in tiny grey font. Saying "Dan Savage has taken offence" and providing a link is pretty far from an apology or a clarification, although I suppose it's better than nothing. But would it kill them to at least say why Dan Savage takes offense? The complaint isn't a complicated one, so they could easily sum it up in a sentence.
@1 I'm not sure you realize how much "Canadian erasure" (I wouldn't use that term, but whatever) is a real thing. Canada doesn't exercise widespread cultural hegemony over the rest of the world, like the US. I happen to think Canadian nationalism is bullshit. (What does Newfoundland have in common with BC? Not much.) But seriously, we get so much US media here that Canadian issues are often drowned out. Also, the CBC, one of our main sources for national news, is being dismantled by our right-wing government, and that's not helping.
I think why the Walrus is keeping the line, is that it is a quote from "Leah", who stated the defamatory line. not from the reporter as a matter of fact. I think the Walrus should do more, then put a blurb that Dan Savage took "offence" (heh!)

Mr. Toub should had put an addendum that this is not what Dan Savage has stated for years about "GGG"(I am guessing I need to pay a license for using that trademark) Mr. Toub or his editor should had fine tune the paragraph to state this isn't exactly what Dan has stated in the past...
It's readily apparent that Dan has a severe, narcissistic personality disorder.
What Leah said should have been a huge red flag to the reporter. I can't imagine that anyone educated in journalism wouldn't realize that statement should be checked out before going to print. Is The Walrus a blog or an online magazine?
done, Dan. You are right - not just libelous,but potentially dangerous by giving one partner motivation to bully another.
done, Dan. You are right - not just libelous,but potentially dangerous by falsely saying a respected mainstream source of information says one partner should enslave themselves to the sexual desires of another. Thereby encouraging bullying, etc. Not good.
504 Error. It seems the added bandwidth has crashed their enterprise!
Sex columnist Dan Savage is always advising you to do whatever your partner wants, regardless of your own boundaries.

The "always" is hyperbolic, but I think there's actually some truth to this. This is my main quibble with Dan, who I mostly feel gives good advice. Case in point: his somewhat disturbing response to this letter.

Also, I find that Dan rarely acknowledges the fact that a partner's demands can be coercive in certain contexts. Sometimes, "if you can't live with [whatever it is your partner wants], break up with them" isn't a sufficient answer, since breaking up may not be a very practical or desirable option (e.g. if there are kids involved), and the emotional investment a person has in their long-term partner may very well push them to do something they're not comfortable with.
Typical Canadians can't even spell 'offense' right. Jeez.
@32 Back in the early 20th Century, the US went through this huge spelling reform, (because all those immigrants wouldn't spell properly, and just fester on our Social Services... Benghazi!!! USA!! USA!! Love it or Leave it!!!)

Anyway, the spelling reform was to make words sound phonetic, like "Center" instead of "Centre", "Jail" instead of "Gaol", "Favorite" instead of "Favourite" etc. etc.

Canada like rest of the Commonwealth didn't need the Americans to tell them what to do, so they continue with spelling many English words and French loan words as they always do...

How in the hell is his response disturbing? The LW gave three options that she was considering and Dan helped analyze all of them. Then he went on to say that a monogamish might be the better choice since all three had emotional turmoil. He then ends it with a warning about the husband's thinking and the lines between consensual sex and assault.
Quotes that contain facts are fact-checked. (Quotes that contain opinions do not need to be fact-checked, but often a publication will offer clarification or context to strong opinions). That's just Journalism 101. The Walrus is wrong not to clarify or correct the woman's quote.

That might have been the response to some TV journalist and her station's deliberately inflammatory reports about sex being part of something or other. And then this is what happened.

The addendum tries to turn it into a he said/she said rather than a correction.
This is how The Guardian responded when Noam Chomsky's views were misrepresented in its pages: they removed the article from their website, apologized, and explained their error:…
@38, in that case, the article was actually about Noam Chomsky, so it made sense for them to remove it from their site and provide that level of analysis. This piece isn't about Dan at all - honestly, the quote didn't add anything so I can't even see why it was included - so all that's needed is a precise clarification of why that statement is incorrect, which is really very simple, and an apology. They really don't need to expend much effort on this to right the wrong, which is why it's bewildering that they don't just do it. Why risk a lawsuit over a throwaway quote that added nothing to the story?
@ 24 - I am very much aware how much Canadian erasure is a real thing, having spent several years in that country. But I would tell Canadians that if they don't want to be erased, they a) shouldn't vote for a party that wants Canada to be just like the most retrograde parts of the U.S., b) should have watched a lot more Canadian content over the last 30 years, thereby not giving the aforementioned party a rationale for eliminating the CBC, c) shouldn't be so quick to Americanize themselves as soon as they get a measure of success, and d) should do like the Quebecois and fight to preserve their culture...

Because the irony of it all is that nowadays, when people around the world think about Canadian culture, they mostly think about Quebec culture... which is, quite frankly, rather distinct from the rest of the country's culture.


1. He's not interested in dominating someone who consents to it and draws the boundaries; he's interested in hurting someone without their consent. ("...he wasn't having satisfying sex because he was exercising so much control in order to ensure he didn't cross any lines or hurt me"). That's not a D/s scene, that's abuse. Exercising control to ensure that he doesn't cross any lines is a basic requirement for being a good dom, a good sex partner, or even a decent human being. The fact that she feels guilty because he has to RESTRAIN HIMSELF FROM HURTING HER IN WAYS SHE DOESN'T WANT suggests that he's doing a pretty good job of manipulating her psychologically, or she has serious self-esteem issues, or something.

2. She's making an effort to please him; he's not making any effort whatsoever to please her. He's not being GGG for her. There's nothing in the deal for her if they go monogamish. He's not offering to indulge her in exchange. That's not being GGG, that's being a doormat.

3. Given this information, Dan says "Tell your husband he has your blessing to explore his sadistic side with actual masochists." That is his main response. I think this is a bad response. "Actual masochists" implies that he's looking to hurt someone in particular ways that they are okay with, albeit more extreme ways, but it doesn't sound like what he wants at all. And then Dan adds as a footnote that, oh, by the way, your husband might turn out to be irresponsible and potentially dangerous. No, he's already proven himself to be those things. Plus, he's being an inconsiderate asshole to his wife. He isn't a loving and kind husband who has needs that his wife can't fulfill, he's a crappy husband who makes unreasonable demands. Advising her to consent to a monogamish relationship, instead of facing the fact that her husband is a huge asshole, seems irresponsible.

4. Maybe, just maybe, her husband is simply naive about D/s relationships and doesn't understand that he can play pretend at pushing someone's boundaries without actually pushing their boundaries. But that's a pretty big maybe.

That's a long response, but I hope it clarifies the reasons behind my opinion.

@40 Well, in regard to some of the Canadian population, you have a point. Personally, I sure as hell didn't vote for the current government. Actually, while the Conservatives have a majority in the house, they got less than 40% of the popular vote.

"Americanization" (by which we usually mean taking on the worst , not the best aspects of American politics and identity) is the subject of a divisive political battle and by no means a universal tendency here.

The "nobody watches/listens to it" rationale for eliminating the CBC is bullshit. They're doing this for political reasons. They want to replace the CBC with something more along the lines of Fox News - specifically Sun News Network, with whom the Conservative party has close political ties.
Dear Canadians. We in same/ similar situation. I think our PMs have met and kissed.
And our boys want to cut down our ABC, a very important Australian public broadcasting voice. Very bloody scary.
@ 36, I remember the incident, and also thinking that Dan would either have to walk it back fast or regret it. He chose the former, doubtless under legal duress. Those posts were scrubbed from Slog.

It's not the first poor choice he's made. I remember some near bullying (teasing that was clearly over the line) of an unnamed straight male intern in the late 90s through his column, which suddenly ended - I think an apology was issued? Can't remember. Anyway, when I found that the Stranger's online archives only go back to 1999, and have never gone back further, I have wondered if keeping those old columns off the internet was the reason for that.

None of this is to give j2patter's claimes undue credit, or to criticize Dan and say he'a a hypocrite here. He is being grossly misquoted and is righteously pissed IMO. But let's not pretend all his actions are thoughtful.
Whoops, should have clicked on the link first. They didn't remove those posts, they censored them instead to make it not libelous. Mea culpa.

I think my overall point still stands, however.
@ 42 - Of course, the Conservative's reasons for eliminating the CBC are solely in their own interest (and you forgot to mention that they'd also be very happy to eliminate the SRC, which has always been seen as pro-Quebec independence). But unfortunately, decades of low ratings are a good argument for them to use. And those low ratings, indicative of a general lack of interest in Canadian content, have been decried since the early Eighties (the competition consistently got a lot higher ratings by broadcasting American shows). So in the end, it is the Canadian population's own doing. (Full disclosure: I worked in television in Canada, and I still get regular updates from my TV-industry friends over there. I know what I'm talking about.)

As far as the percentage of popular vote is concerned, by its very nature, the Canadian electoral system is such that the party that wins rarely has a majority of the vote. It is therefore crucial that people who are opposed to it go out and vote massively against it, so as to at least keep it to a minority government. That wasn't the case. And for once, it wasn't even Quebec's fault, as they mostly voted NDP. Once again, it is the Canadian population's own doing.

Finally, who goes to see Canadian movies? Apart from Quebec movies, none of them are very successful. Yet, Quebec movies are usually made on a shoestring budget, so you can't use the argument that Canadian filmmakers don't have Hollywood-level resources and cannot compete -neither do Quebec filmmakers, yet they manage to make hits, win prizes in Cannes, occasionally win Oscars, etc. That hasn't happened to Anglo-Canadian directors who identify as such since the Eighties, except for Egoyan, perhaps, who almost got there in the Nineties with The Sweet Hereafter. I mean, who is even aware that James Cameron is Canadian?

You can't protect your culture if, on every level, you always chose American cultural products over your own. And if you always chose American products over you own, you end up being Americanized... through your own doing. And I'm sorry to say this, but from my point of view, yes, it is a near-universal tendency in the English speaking parts of Canada.

Probably it's just that no one wants to go back and and upload all that stuff.
@39, you are correct, my example with the Guardian wasn't a direct parallel with this situation. I suppose my broad point, which I didn't make clear, is that newspapers and magazines shouldn't be afraid to lose face by editing or withdrawing material when they recognize their error. All journalists make mistakes in their careers, but the brave ones own up to them; they don't dig in their heels.
@Matt, the strangers examples may not be as clear cut as the walrus, but for a paper that often doesn't care what they say or posting corrections when they fuck up, I'd expect a little less outrage from them when another paper fucks up. All I'm saying is it would be great if the stranger staff held themselves to the same bar they so gleefully hold everyone else to.
Oh here's the link to tip-gate, Dan did a non-apology but some innocent dude got his fb profile attacked by Dans flying monkeys...…
@43 I didn't know that, and I'm sorry to hear it.

Now I have the unsettling image in my head of Harper and Abbott kissing.
Oh and let's not forget Paul Constants minute to minute reporting of what anyone on twitter was saying about the boston bombing, which was also followed with a non apology…
@33. Yes. And we have taken on lots of American spelling. Though I'll never, never ever spell centre as center.
@ 50, you're early seeing what you want to see. And you're failing to distinguish between Slog and The Stranger.
@48, Honestly, I figured you weren't directly comparing them, but I took it as an opportunity to point out how trivial the quote was to the article in the first place and what a tiny effort it would take to fix it, especially in comparison to the amount of effort the Guardian had to put into their Chomsky correction. However, I wasn't especially clear, and I did make the point slightly at the expense of your intelligence, so mea culpa.
@54 Slog is the Stranger and the Stranger is slog. If you don't believe that then look at how many articles start out as slog posts and make it into the stranger, sometimes verbatim. Why is it wrong to want what's written on slog/the stranger held to the same account that Dan want's other newspapers/websites held to? Both Dan and Paul Constant accused the wrong people of doing shit they didn't do on slog. Dan and Paul should've apologized, but they didn't, instead they gave the same bs "Well it was other places on the net so shrug".

Look I like the stranger/slog 80% of the time and agree with them about that, I just want them to hold themselves accountable for when they fuck up, especially if they're going to send their flying monkeys at others who fuck up in the same way. How is that not reasonable?
As a Canadian, let me tell you Dan, Canadians don't read Canadian magazines.
@57 but what about Macleans!?!? :P
@58 It's used for igloo isolation.
For whatever it's worth, The Warlus has now added a little asterisk and a footnote addendum:

* Dan Savage has taken offence to this line. On Thursday, August 21, The Walrus invited him to offer additional context here and in the Letters page of our next print issue. He declined, but readers may take a look here.

(the link goes to a 2012 Savage Love letter of the day column outlining the meaning of GGG).

So I'm left wondering, what is it that Dan apparently "declined" to do?
Ironically, the fact that Dan Savage posted a link to the article in which he claims he was defamed in would actually render his case an exercise in futility. The act of spreading the defamatory comments to his 200k followers on twitter (and beyond) proves the shallowness of his actual concern for his reputation. He'd have absolutely no case as a result. Defamation in the best of circumstances is extremely difficult to prove. Good luck with that.
@ 61 - Canada's libel laws are closer to British ones, so Dan definitely has a case. Just to give you an idea, Liberace won a defamation case against England's Daily Mirror in 1956 for implying that he was a homosexual. Implying, not stating.
@60 Give the Walrus free bylined content.
@60 Their job for them.
Hi Dan - I love you AND I love the Walrus, so disappointed to see this. Why don't you send them a letter as they suggest and give them the chance to print it next month, plus post it online.

The Walrus is actually a very intelligent publication so I was surprised to read this toss-off comment. Having said that, if this person is your friend and colleague, isn't she the one who should watch her commentary when speaking on the record?

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.