Hello, I'm Not the Enemy


Wow, out of all the topics covered on Slog, this is the one that garners hundreds upon hundreds of responses? I guess that pays the bills, but holy crap is this a boring non-issue.
Dan, you are brilliant. And honestly, the "shame" stuff doesn't have to be "shaming," it can be motivating! When my doctor tells me I'm obese, I get the FUCK to the gym. Tough love is a great motivator, as long as it's not cruel!
Remember how Dan Savage doubled down on his dumb Iraq war cheerleading? He really thought he was right about that. Wouldn't listen to anybody. But eventually there wasn't hardly nobody left who could deny that invading Iraq was dumb, dumb, dumb.

And Savage finally admitted he didn't know what he was talking about, and not only that, he realized advice on which countries we ought to invade was not exactly one of his core competencies. So he decided to shut up about regime change, if, whether and where to do it. And nothing bad happened. Nothing bad happened to Savage's reputation, I should say. In fact, after he shut up about happy fun invasion time, it got better. People respected him all the more for what he had to say about things he was a real expert on.

Which country to invade next (or not) is still a vital question. Just like the fat epidemic, if it exists and what caused it and what it means and whether we should nag fat people about it. And like the question of whom and whether to invade, the fat epidemic question can get along just fine without that one guy who poisoned the air one or two or ten too many times.

Really, Dan. You've done enough here. Rest easy, somebody will talk about fat without you, uh, "helping."
I'm (mostly) with you Dan, but the claim that "rolls of exposed flesh are unsightly", even in the context it was written in, does deserve some criticism.

Rolls aren't inherently unattractive. Some people are definitely into them as I'm sure you've learned by reading letters from fat-fetish folks.

Still... I think your post was pretty much right on. Hope you and Lindy(and apparently the majority of the staff) are able to reconcile. Maybe a dance off as suggested by TVdinner could help?
You're...you're an asshole, Dan.

Didn't know that the auction winner's dad was on again...
Hey Matt from Denver,

I am really sorry that you felt I was putting words in your mouth. I've always thought surprises could be pleasing or disappointing. I didn't interpret pleasure from your comment. I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth.

I'll confess that I'm stressed. My first set of test results have come and it appears that I need another proceedure and more biopsies. I'm scared and the thought that I might not get the priviledge of watching me kids grow up maybe more than a thought.

I hope you and your's are happy, healthy and things are less "tight" then they were in December.

Take care.
Dan, I don't think you can win this argument. I really liked your two blog posts quoting past columns in which you answered fat questions with compassion. I think you should have added that you are sorry about how the quote Lindy used her post sounds out of context, that you are planning to avoid saying things like that in the future, allowed comments, and left it at that.

Lindy's post was really impressive because it was funny and pithy (and the "boss of me part" was clearly present to allow her to amusingly twist a cliche, not because the boss part was that important), but this post of yours ended up being long and defensive.

You can't argue away the fat shaming that other people see in your posts, whether that fat shaming is just in the eye of the beholder or not. Being offended, reasonably or not, can't be argued away. You don't mean to fat shame, so apologize and move on.
Lindy accused Dan of being a bigot and Dan defended himself by showing evidence to the contrary. Aside from that, he agreed with her that shaming fat people doesn't help them. He also acknowledged that she is brilliant and beautiful.

So ... why are people still hating on Dan?
I've always enjoyed your style of argumentation. You've never claimed tact or sweetness. That being said, you've often shown forbearance in sticky situations. Occasionally I've thought (particularly listening to the podcast), "Wow, he's being mean!" but far more often, "Yes! That nails it!" And I love that you don't equivocate, in a city that embraces equivocation.

Oh, and for the record? I'm also 20-ish pounds overweight & think you're absolutely right-on and -- dare I say -- tactful on the issue. People want what they want in a partner. Bully for all of us if we like who we are and how we look, but we've got to deal with the fact that our plumpness affects others. It particularly affects potential and actual partners, WHICH IS WHAT YOU WRITE ABOUT. You show compassion and pragmatism in the views your express.

So, I wish Lindy would work out her issues with her therapist and friends and stop attributing views to you which you clearly don't hold.

Happy VD, Dan. I'm glad you have the love of a good man. And please know that many of us out here in blogland feel great warmth and affection for you and would give you little construction paper hearts with doilies pasted on 'em if we could.
I think a good dance-off might be at a venue chosen by Lindy with music chosen, well, not by Dan, of course, but by Terry (sleazy Italo disco if possible), dance-off presided over by Riz. NOT open to the public, but with the dancers able to invite guests, and video'ed by Kelly O.

We Slog commenters to cover the open bar by building up a pot on the Strangercrombie PayPal machine, any leftover to go to next year's beneficiary.
Here's a picture of my arms, if you're curious. (Full disclosure: I was a bit lighter there. This is about the size I am now.)

It's really sad that still, after all these years, you listen to people saying, "Look, you have said a bunch of fucked-up, nasty shit that hurts people," and your only response is to tell those critics they're lying, distorting your words, and/or externalizing their own shame. At what point do you consider the possibility that maybe all these people aren't crazy or making excuses or attacking you because they can't stand up to their daddies or some shit?

It's really simple, Dan: Talk about the obesity epidemic--and your fascination with it--all you want, but if you want people to stop calling you a bigot, you need to quit making fun of fat people for being fat. You're a smart guy. You're not failing to get this, you're refusing to.
Dan, I love your perspectives on love, sex, society, relationships, intimacy, family, show tunes, hot young-looking guys, etc. - You're really good at expressing yourself on those topics. But talking about being fat? You're really bad at it.

You were bad at it in "The Kid" and you've been bad at it in your column and here on Slog.

As a former fat kid, you should know (and behave) better.
Oops, sorry, couldn't post live links the first time I commented, apparently. Arms 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/77367764@N0…

Arms 2: http://kateharding.info/2009/09/25/impos…
Dan-you're right.
I just finished reading both posts and I gotta say, I come down firmly on Dan's side here. I've read every column back to 2000 (I had time on my hands after I got laid off last year) and I listen to the podcast all the time and I've never come away thinking that Dan hates fat people (or any of the other groups that love to claim the same). If you pay attention to what he's actually saying, it just isn't there.
Allow me to amend the record: "I am thoroughly annoyed at having my tame statements of fact—being heavy is a health risk; the rolls of exposed flesh created by low-rise jeans/high-rise tops are unsightly—characterized as 'hate speech.'"

We're still having a bit of trouble with fact vs. opinion it seems.

(By the by, I still see muffin-tops every day working with teenagers; the kids seem to be pretty into them. Now if you want talk about the shit these kids put into their bodies every day - fat and thin, Monster drinks to McDs - well, that's another matter. A matter that people like Michelle Obama are taking on in a much more productive way.)

It's true that Lindy's anger seems to be "liberating and self motivating." Just like your anger around homophobia is "liberating and self motivating." Sometimes you have to yell when you are angry just because... You do that too, Dan (you didn't really think that licking that Iowa doorknow was going to win anyone an election, did you?). Lindy did it in this piece. Did you get caught in the crossfire or do you honestly deserve the criticism? I really don't know. The Savage haters were probably already Savage haters. You are a provacateur, you know that.

For me, Lindy's piece was never about you. You were the locus for a piece about being fat in the world - how it can be hard, how sometimes people around you aren't kind. The outpouring of comments shows how many connect on self loathing. The fascinating thing to me is how every single woman and gay man I know has been touched by this body stuff - how there seem to be a hell of a lot of people still walking around angry and hurt in a world that tells them how to be, how to look, how to love... Lindy wrote about that. She wrote about the naked underbelly of shame and hurt and we admire her for it and it makes us realize how rare it is for people to really speak openly about how hurt they are.

She's a hero, like you are. I think you are both great.
Good work, Dan. This was a comprehensive and well-considered rebuttal. I am so glad you didn't take this debate down into emotionalismland like so many commenters want. I also laud you for not backing down, even though this will probably invite waves of hate-mail from anecdotal evidence-waving FA activists.

That being said, I do think you will regret this line: "I could probably get her fired, I suppose." That's the epitome of passive-aggressive Seattle.
I think this underscores the evolutionary advantage of asexuality. The sex-drive creates a counter-productive pressure against weight-loss -- or any regimen of self-improvement. That last observation of Lindy's post about the drop in shame leading to a loss in weight? That shame only has any meaning in regard to (not) fulfilling a sex-drive. It was the sex-drive that undid Junot Diaz's Oscar Wao. Asexuals of the world divi^H^H^H^H unite.
Thanks, Kim, they're a little better. My wife has a good prospect (hopefully she'll get a job offer next week), family has come through with help, and because so much was withheld from her severance, we're getting a lot of our taxes back.

It pains me to share this news in light of yours, however - I wasn't aware of your health issues (either I skipped that comment or it was on a thread I didn't read), and just lately it seems like I know a lot of people facing similar (or the same) problems. So I sincerely hope everything turns out well for you. The world needs you.
@27 and @35 has got it for me.

Dan:Fat People::Fox news:Gays">News:Gays

They say that they're "just reporting the news" and "just bringing up facts" but it is obviously spun in a completely biased way.

Dan, I dunno why you refuse to own your bias. This whole post reads more like an apologetic justification than a "yeah, OK, you caught me." You own every other bias you have (religion, pitbulls, etc)...why not own up to Fat?
Dan, you rock, you skinny son of a bitch!
@117 Nice photo, but if it is physical beauty that is your objective, you fail. Not everyone is physically beautiful.

Thankfully, there is inner beauty, and that is what is important. You may want to work on that.

You ask: "At what point do you consider the possibility that maybe all these people aren't crazy..."

Ez to answer: When 'all these people' stop thinking that everything Dan says is about them, or directed to people that are like them.

Fucking narcissists.
You can't argue away the fat shaming that other people see in your posts, whether that fat shaming is just in the eye of the beholder or not. Being offended, reasonably or not, can't be argued away. You don't mean to fat shame, so apologize and move on.

Wait, say huh? Dan is supposed to apologize for comments that cause offense when the offense is entirely in the head of the offended? Ultimately, being offended is always a choice. You have to care about the opinion of whoever's talking shit at you to be opinion.
@125 OK, that was some fucked up unintentional linkage there...

Umm. Asexuality would probably bring evolution to a halt in fairly short order, were a large enough portion of the population so disposed; sex being requisite for reproduction and all. And the desire to get laid is actually a very effective tool for motivating self-improvement.
And you know what, Kate, you and I are far more at risk of joint damage when we do Crow Pose than we would be if we lost 20 or 30 pounds. You're strong. I'm strong. But there are definite disadvantages (in addition to, in your case, self-righteous defensiveness) to your -- and my -- variety of plumpness.

Your grudge-holding ill becomes you, as does your nasty response to his comment about you above, in which he explains that he crossed a line with his comment about you in the past. And if you are so appalled by him, STOP READING him. And don't talk shit about someone who's said nothing unkind about you. But I suppose that you legitimize your holier-than-thou attitude because you're, well, holier-than-thou.

So watch your wrists when you do crow and chaturanga, Kate. And go away.
@91 Hmpf, yeah! Wait, you come to Slog for "intelligent commentary?"
Great response Dan.
Oh come on people if Dan is not snarky, sarcastic, funny or brutally honest few people would seek his advice or read his writings. So please Dan don't be so apologetic and lose your style.
Holy Jebus, this is so obvious.

Some people will find you unattractive. Some people will be bad-mannered enough to say so. If you have effed-up teeth, you might feel bad when someone says something about ugly teeth and how oral hygiene is good for your overall health. "But my crooked teeth are genetic! It's not my fault!" Who fucking cares. If you don't like being unattractive to the general population, fix it. If you don't care, by all means STOP CARING. No one is making you care. Your feelings are up to you. Take some responsibility for them.

You have a right to live as you like. Other people have a right to dislike it and you. You don't have a right to be unconditionally accepted by society! Until someone tries to make laws against fatties, don't *even* compare yourself to gays.
Kim, a lot of atheists are wishing they could pray for your ass right now. Well, at least this atheist is. Let us know, 'cause we'll be worried.
That was a great response. Period. There is a certain percentage of commenters for whom any response other than full, naked flagellation will be insufficient, but I think you did a great job of explaining your side. Some information is just hard to hear, and it's easier to shoot the messenger. Please buy a teflon shirt.
Dan, I am on your side with this. I like the way Lindy looks, but I feel that she is responsible for her own feelings.


Seriously, why is any of this stuff on Slog at all? Can't you and Lindy just take a long walk somewhere and hash it out? It ain't exactly news, is it?
Kim @110, all my best wishes to you. I will keep you in my thoughts.

Hugs to you and your family.
Man, Dan got thrown over the flames. I can't really give substantial evidence, but I've always felt, through subtext, that you had a certain disdain for fat people. You've cleared your name concerning her quotation, but still...

I'd say Dan is 40% right, Lindy is 60% right.
So glad you responded to this, Dan. Gotta say the only thing I got from Lindy's post was 'does she read what you write?' That and 'she thinks she's fat? she looks fine'. Anyway, I think this is the best part of your response:
I am not, however, responsible for your shame (RIP). You arrived at my posts with your shame, my posts didn't create it, and you managed to conquer your shame despite my posts. Good for you. (No snark intended in that "good for you." Seriously, Lindy, good for you.) If you don't want to read my posts about this subject—about any subject—just skip 'em.
I thought it was really lame of Lindy to blame you for her issues.

I say that as someone who up until 5 years ago lived a life based almost entirely on feelings of shame and repulsion. I didn't lose the weight, fix the disability or change much of anything physically - if anything I'm going downhill in the appearance department. I just changed the way I look at things. It's made a remarkable change in the way people see me. I decided that this is me like it or lump it. I'm never going to look like Angelina Jolie and that doesn't matter. People no longer have the power to make me feel worthless. And they only had that power in the first place because I gave it to them.

Dan, your words are often brutal but I find what you say empowering. You're a weird mix of kindness and cruelty. I think you're the wake up call a lot of people need. I don't see where coddling addicts or depressed people or anyone with issues is helping. "There, there, poor you" doesn't work. All it does is reinforce bad behaviour. Shaming doesn't work either. But you saying 'this is the situation, here's what can be done about it' does.
TL,DR. I gained two pounds reading the first two paras.
Did we learn nothing from the Dickwolves? Jesus CHRIST, Dan. Let this go.
@ 122 - + Dan: I agree, the line about you could get Lindy fired, you suppose, doesn't prove you're not her boss.

I am one of the biggest contributors to Lindy's thread, & I think her essential point - shaming is not helpful to fat people - is a good one. There's times your tone, Dan, has outweighed whatever good you were trying to say.

Now to folks who say that Dan is just a fat-hater, as I've pointed out in other threads, I challenge you to give a balanced reading of his past writing on the subject. Yes, I think he has gone too far w/ the snark sometimes. Fat folks get picked on all the time so they get oversensitive to it. But I read every single post I could get my hands on by Dan about obesity, advice he has given to fat fetishists , & there was even a post about how fat people sometimes have a tough time getting quality medical care.

I dunno.

Dan, I do think because you are exasperated & tired of hearing about this issue, you have a blind spot to your tone when you talk about it. But Dan-bashers, who are accusing him basically of being a bigot, I dunno how you could have gotten that out of the same writing I have read.

I hope Dan & Lindy are good. I was pretty surprised by how many Slog staff members chimed in on her post.

@ 110, Kim in Portland - I don't pray, but my thoughts are with you! Hope you are as well as you can be.
Right on Dan. You call everyone else out, why should unhealthy people get a free pass? You're a bit of a dick and everyone knows it; anyone who expects differently on the subject of body weight is deluding themselves.

The entire FA movement reminds me of newly-out queers. They're so excited that they can be themselves that the littlest perceived slight against them throws their entire worldview out of whack. We all did it to some degree and I think it's common in the FA circles too.
girls girls your both pretty
Here's the thing about reinforcement: if you tell someone they aren't doing enough, they'll eventually believe that there isn't enough for them to do. That's the problem with fat shaming, it's another way to say "you aren't skinny yet, so why are you 'proud' of yourself shitbag". It's the same with any shaming on things we can change, and it's hardly different from shame for things we can't.

When you outline not-so-novel ways of weight loss, or gory photos of someone's heart exploding (okay, not really), you're doing just as much damage as the above. You're saying "the goal is to have this not happen".

No, the goal of any self-improvement, of any life, is to love yourself, and that's where Dan as an advice columnist has to tread lightly -- he's basically a helping hand. If he starts slapping fat butts and joking about banning fat marriage, his station as an advice columnist -- a job he chose, by the way -- amplifies that into a place it shouldn't be.

Lindy is a comedy writer, first and foremost, and if she takes something too seriously, her bad.
Dan is an advice columnist, first and foremost, and if he is read as being insensitive, his bad.

How are you going to fix it? "Okay, I'm a dick". Because you both are. Lindy for lack of subtlety and sharing her rage, Dan for digging downward from the bottom of his hole.

So say it: you're dicks.
@ 116, Dan's bad at talking about it, I think, because he once WAS fat, & struggles with never becoming so again.

Hi Eva. It's Dan. (Not Savage)
I think the most common bigoted act in American Culture today (and Seattle LOVES doing it), is slapping the "bigot" label on anyone and everyone you'd like to silence or shame. Ironic.
Clearly the only REAL way to settle this is with a special Stranger contest for charity that will shame EVERYONE. Dan and Lindy both pick a charity. We add their weights together for an average. Take donations based on pounds like those "walkathons". Get a sports doctor and a nutritionist to volunteer to supervise for charity. Whoever ends up closer to the average after say 6 months -- Dan gaining weight, Lindy losing it -- wins. A vague lesson is learned by all.
No, Dan, you said Tim's song was "almost bullying," and while you may not have created this particular woman's body shame, by spreading shit like that around and defending it and your bullshit double standard in sex advice regarding heavy people (because a handful of columns where you got it right may balance the ones where you got it wrong, but they don't undo them) you are contributing to the creation of the body shame of a whole new generation.

But hey, your personal fascination with the obesity epidemic totally excuses any harm you're doing, am I right? And as long as you keep on ignoring and shouting down people who belong to a community when they tell you you've fucked up with regard to their community, you never have to take any responsibility or actually learn anything.
Some people say "Fat is the new smoking."

And it is.

It is unhealthy and widespread and responsible for tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths each year, it runs in families, it is more common among the poor and the lower classes, it is incredibly hard to change, and some people never can. And every one of those previous statements applied to smoking as of 1960. (Eg. in 1960, some 65% of the adult population smoked).

And why has the percentage of people who smoke gone down drastically? Health fears and social shunning. (Remember, "Why would I kiss a smoker, it's like licking a dirty ashtray!" )

I have no problem not shaming fat people, it's rude and nasty. I, as a non-smoker do not harangue smokers. I have no problem with not discriminating against fat people, as discrimination is bad.

But . . .

People attracted to whom they are attracted to. And there simply aren't that many people attracted to obesity. That's not an opinion about current society, that's a fact. And unlike opinions, which can be ignored, facts cannot be.

And to all you ignorant shitheads calling Dan a bigot, a racist, filled with hate, and the equivalent of a fundy-nut who thinks queers should be executed, kindly Fuck Off, with Walnuts, Twice on Sundays.

I demand make-up sex betwixt the both of you.
What is lost on me is why everyone loves Lindy so much. She's unpleasant and hysterical, and clearly has entitlement issues.

I also love how everyone these days is quick to compare their plight to the gays, as if the fight for gay rights was already over.
Agh. It's like Mom and Dad are fighting. And yes, everybody should love their body. For sure. But let's not kid ourselves. There are ways to treat ourselves and our bodies well, and we don't always do them. And we should feel guilty when we smoke, or drink too much, or eat too much, or don't exercise, or eat fucking meat, or fuck a stranger without protection. Because that shit's fucking stupid. And we know better. And getting defensive about it doesn't help anyone.

We need to love each other (a little love on Valentine's day, anyone?) regardless of their body composition and regardless of their choices because they're fucking people, and hey, so are we. But we also need to get real about things as a country. And those things include America's food system, obesity, sexual health (abstinence only "education" didn't help Bristol Palin not get pregnant), the decimation of the middle class. And not being willing to talk about them, even if it's painful, isn't going to help solve them.

Dan, Lindy, hug each other's icky selves and let's get moving. There's too much important shit to do.
@148 Baconcat: What if we weren't talking about fat, what if we were talking about smoking? Would it be unfair to let people know that they have an increased chance of getting lung cancer or heart disease if they smoke? Or would that damage their self-esteem and capacity to love themselves? Why are people not supposed to have a conversation about this? Because it's difficult to hear? Because Cinnabons taste so damn good, it's just unfair?

I wouldn't let someone smoke in our house around my kids. I wouldn't let my kids drink pop when they were little. I never let them ride in anyone's car if they weren't wearing seatbelts. Because I'm a jerk? (well, possibly...) But I'm pretty sure it was because I care about them, I'm concerned for their welfare. If they, as adults, choose to eat crap and smoke, well, I'll be disappointed, but that will be their choice to make. But you can be sure that in my home, on my watch, they will get all the information they need to make healthy choices, whether it's eating their broccoli or using condoms. I don't see that what Dan does, albeit on a much larger scale, is any different.
I kinda feel indifferent to this argument. I do think Dan has something subconscious going on with the fats and it probably has some roots in his childhood. I've read and listened to everything of Dan's since I was in elementary school and there is a definite thing going on with the fats.

But I saw Lindy's post as a response to Dan's previous posts asking for proof of his fat hatred, she supplied and the sheer number of comments should tell dan that there is something wrong with his snark.

MEH!! Mom and Dad are fighting!!!!
Dan - your incredulity about how a fair-minded person could conceivably take offense to your comments on the issue over the years is EXACTLY what people take offense to. Every time you trot out some variation of "I have no problem with fat people but let's be honest about the facts, if they eat a little better and get more active, they can be healthier," you're reinforcing the extent to which you truly don't understand.

Poverty is an appropriate analogy. Fair-minded, compassionate people understand that the issue is complex - some shitty mix of bad luck, lack of educational opportunity, family, historical injustice, self-reinforcing class structures and a million other factors. We take offense when some privileged right-wing blowhard gets on TV and says if people just worked a little harder they wouldn't have to be poor, so let's lower taxes, cut welfare, and stop supporting their lazy lifestyle choices. And hey, look at this rags-to-riches story - it really happens! And hey, my family had nothing growing up, but I worked hard, put myself through school, and look at me now!

We reject those arguments because we recognize how simplistic they are, and we reject the policies behind the arguments because we recognize that implementing them will only make the cycle that much tougher to break, digging the hole even deeper.

For all the reasons Lindy wrote about, there are parallels in the struggles people have with their weight. We live in a culture that casually reinforces the cycle of shame that tens of millions of people in this country are forced to confront every time they leave their house. But the problem is vastly more complex than "I think I'll sit on my couch all day and eat fast food".

No fat person wants to be fat, and every fat person has tried to be less fat. But for a million different reasons, it's not necessarily that easy. People have deep-seated issues with food, different genetics, and if it wasn't blatantly obvious, exercise gets harder the more you weigh. So maybe fair-minded, compassionate people can understand that hearing "if you eat better and work out, you don't have to be fat" over and over again gets a little obnoxious. Because of course you already know that, and that's easy for them to say. And then maybe the shame starts to kick in, and you think "everyone says it's easy, but it's not for me, and no matter what I do, I'll always be fat" - and around that point you remember how much better you feel when you eat.

I don't believe that there's hate behind your words, and I've never taken personal offense to the substance of what you write, because I know none is intended. But the fact that you're apparently incapable of recognizing how it might be hurtful - that your reaction when called out on that is to get hyper-defensive and say the same things again - shows how completely you're missing the point, and is offensive in its narrow mindedness. Your facts don't have to be wrong for you to be wrong overall.

I'm sure the guy telling a homeless person to get a job actually thinks he's giving helpful advice too.
The guy gets personally attacked on a semi-regular basis by this chick and you guys take the attacker's side? Why? Because he's a confident, outspoken, gay man and she's a delicate little lady-flower? Most of the comments here made me want to puke.

"Yawn. Your feelings being hurt bores me Dan Savage. Dance for me monkey, dance."

No big deal, he just listens to your shit stories and turns them into entertainment gold every week. Lets crap all over him harder if he doesn't do it in a way we like.
Now I want to see a fat picture of Dan. Every image of him, he's rail thin.
@ 153

Where are the ones where he got it wrong?
This is better than Biggie and Tupac.
@148 Baconcat

What if you were talking about being gay? Showing pictures of ruptured anuses and AIDs patients. Fat and Gay shaming are very similar and destructive things. But I've never known a single person who was shamed into being skinny, it's always with helpful hands and ideas that support that persons emotional construction.
I'm not even going to wade through all this -- I've spent the last couple hours setting up a new website and project, my down comforter is still in the queue for the dryer so I can't get to bed yet (said project kept me away from home & laundry queue till now) which makes me cranky and impatient. *However*.

The one thing I have to say is this. I read the objections (from Lindy/Kate) over the fat marriage thing earlier today in twitter etc, and you know what? My very first thought was, well, they would have figured Swift *really* meant to *eat* *babies* in his A Modest Proposal. Which, of course would have missed his point entirely. As they did the point being made in the gay/fat marriage post.

158 posts, huh? Oh boy *facepalm*

I saw him at the Cuff, he's kinda tiny.
Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like they're on a long car trip with two really good friends who just kinda got into it?

I LOVED Lindy West's post just because I like seeing people I respect continuously prove their respect in respectable ways AND I liked Dan's reply. Even if it was a little dismissive, it was smart and appropriately humorous (it seems we all lean a little Lindy Westish when it comes to cultural criticism.)

The thing I can't get over is how close I feel to these two complete strangers. (Strangers! HA!) It's like the internet is ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Or something.

The moral of my comment to the comment to the comment is I wish Dan and Lindy would come hang out with me, even though it'll never happen. It kind of feels like when I realized I wasn't going to grow up and marry Clarissa from that kids show. Sad.
Kim @ 110: what TVDinner @ 137 and despicable @ 140 said. Big time.
Internet Office Fight!
Savage is a better writer than West.
@168 FTW That's exactly how this feels! Like two people I love, having a disagreement, it's not pretty, it gets ugly, and then they make up! It reminds me of a college spring break trip one year. LOVED each other. Then had huge fight at Six Flags. Then LOVED each other again soon afterward.
@ 150 - Memorex - are you a Dan I know? Feel free to drop me a hello via FB if so. Hiya back..! My world gets smaller all the time 'cause I post w/ my name.

Somewhere past all the yelling at each other over the past couple of days is a really good discussion about obesity. Of course, the other 70% is just crap. Which is how I feel about food in this country. Mostly too processed, too salted, bad stuff too heavily marketed & good stuff too pricey. But if you dig hard & long enough, maybe you can afford to eat well.

Kim, been there, done that, it's some scary nasty shit. I think about you often, and look for your comments. You are always the voice of reason, and I think pretty much everybody on Slog would agree. If this whole kerfuffle ends up being resolved by a dance off (something I devoutly hope will be the case) you should be the judge.
I rarely say anything on here anymore since I've been working, and HULU'ing GLEE while I still can, so let me be blunt.
There are times I've never agreed with Mr. Savage and others times I've laughed my ass off.
I have tried to be friendly towards Ms. West; it didn't work. For obvious reasons.
So, what I can say is this: despite what everyone on here thinks, regardless of what's been posted by either party, it's their war.
Lindy wrote something that may have garnered a lot of commentary from followers but it's inflammatory; Dan has every right to volley back in response about the mistreatment in his regard. Overall I believe what he's posted has helped to balance out whatever new power struggle is playing out at the Stranger these days.
Who knows, maybe this will help people uncover the crap that's been going on there and bring some modicum of reality to the Stranger.
Here's to whoever is left standing in the rubble!
@Piminowcheez @128
Yes, Dan should apologize for comments that cause offense no matter where the offense is. I like apologies. I think they show that you value the person you are apologizing to. I don't think there is a right or wrong here: there is just perception and intention, and perception is just as important as intention. Arguments are fun and interesting, but they don't make an aggrieved party feel better, while apologies do.

Michael Wells @121 said it better than I did, even though eir post was not about what Dan should or shouldn't have done in this post.
Mommy and Daddy are fighting! (PS, I love you both).
Dan Savage, We all love you, so stop being so defensive. Lindy has a point and You just happened to be her noteworthy example. If I were you, I would just take your comments used in her piece as a recognizable departure point, and nothing else. I see that this situational usage caused you some pause per your looooong rebuttal. Check this out: My dad was a white Vietnam vet era guy. He used, what I would call, coarse language and bigotry in a kind of off-hand, macho way, although he deeply loved all of his friends of color. Hate speech? Maybe. Distasteful? Totally. A way I would like to speak myself? Hell no. But people throw words around all of the time without thinking about how they impact the generalized groups of people they refer to. Middle school kids say Justin Bieber music is "gay" all the time. Distasteful? Yeah. People write essays about it. Do the middle school kids who use cocky, sloppy speech to describe how they see the world deserve any less love? No. Same goes for you, Dan. You're smart. You're not ignorant. But you have a world view that includes opinions about people with extra weight. Sometimes your worldview seems cocky and distasteful to those of us who are "thick". Your obesity phenomenon/health concerns may be of sincere interest to you but ring false to all of us living in the framework of the government's "obesity" charts. I weigh 187 pounds, am 5'4, and can run 3 miles daily. I do. I hike, bike, do yoga, etc regularly. I may be obese by government standards, but I am crazy active and there is something that feels shitty about being lumped into all of the stereotypes that are thrown around in the conversation about obese people in this country. Lindy brought it up.I'm sorry it got personal for you, but aside from your feelings, it *really* needed to be said for the rest of us who live with being treated like crap for being the size we are. Maybe, after the hurt wears off, you can think of your small role in sparking this conversation as taking one for the team? Love you, Dan.
I'm with you, Enjua. You've earned this swoon, Michael Wells.

FROM: Stranger Advertising Department
TO: Tim Keck
RE: Enhanced Revenue Possibilities
DATE: Feb. 14, 2011


Not sure if you have checked Slog recently, but we would like to call your attention to something.

On Friday afternoon at 3:53 PM Stranger staff writer Lindy West made a post on Slog directed at Dan Savage. As of 9:53 PM Monday that post has generated 1256 responses. We repeat: 1256 comments. Over a weekend. Not only is this the most commented on post since Slog began, but, again, it occurred over a weekend when Slog is typically slow to borderline dead. Seriously, 50 to 1000 comments a weekend is a good week.

At 6:18 PM this evening Dan posted a response to Lindy. As of 10:18 PM his post has generated 176 comments. On a Monday evening. And not just any Monday, but Valentine's Day.

Clearly what motivates the commentariat is a really good catfight.

We would suggest that you instruct Stranger staffers to think of fights that they could have and have one of them begin the fight late on Fridays.

The revenue potentials here are huge.


Ads R Us
Get better Kim. You just trumped this lame thread. As always - love and perspective.
The man...is...A SEX COLUMNIST. A sex columnist BELOVED for his acidic tone and not beating around the bush. If you get butthurt by wry comments GO READ JUDITH BUTLER and use the pronoun ze and leave the rest of us in peace. You are all ridiculous. Calm the fuck down and worry about real problems.
@125/129. That WAS weird.
I think he's just trying to capitalize on the thousand+ (!!!) comments on Lindy's page. (kidding, of course)

Anyway, I've said before that Dan comes off as very fat-phobic and white and male and privileged in all respects other than his sexual orientation. But that doesn't mean this fat bitch won't continue reading his column.
Aww, thanks, Gus. What a nice way to end Valentine's Day.
get over yourself and leave seattle tia
Love you, Dan. What a great conversation. Huge Stranger moment!

And kudos for hiring Lindy, she's a voice!

Dan, grownups just apologize. I don't feel like I see the world similarly to you any longer. Your response was sad, and your brother's anecdote proves nothing except that everyone loves to generalize from their personal experience and discount others'.

I hope you were nicer to Lindy in person than this would indicate. She's the one who has actually thought about this issue.
@43 (TVDinner) holy crap, I just almost peed myself, that was funny.

Totally what 168 said. Dan and Lindy, I love you both and I just want you to DANCE IT OFF and then HUG IT OUT.
A quick question-
Did LW ever try talking to DS privately about this before embarrassing him publicly?
I'm going to voice my support for you Dan. You said everything you needed and frankly you did it with as much cool as anyone in your position could.

Above all PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not change. Sure there are aspects to your methods that irk people (at times myself included) but I honestly cannot think of a single thing that you should change that wouldn't ruin what makes your work so great.

So please stay strong, know that not EVERYONE is harping from the rooftops about the wonders of Lindy's emotional, powerful, well-written-but-sadly-mis-directed-projection.

I love Lindy- but that was some pretty juvenile shit she just pulled for very little reason. I just wish she had let it simmer for the weekend before responding. Perhaps she would have been thinking a bit clearer.

ALSO: for those of you ragging on Dan's typos- he said right in this very article he's writing this from an airplane. He has no access to editors so give it a fucking rest already. God DAMN, people.
I don't mind Lindy speaking up the way she did, but I think when comments got out hand as they did, I think she might have stepped in to stop the slide. Dominic said it earlier in this thread--Dan is polite and gracious to everyone in the office. The comments got out of hand. People yelling bigot and misogyny is different than a snarky debate. There are so many testimonies of people saying how much he has helped them in so many ways--he advocates for women all of the time. He doesn't deserve this. Slapping each other around a litte--that's the tone on slog. But went too far, and I'm glad DOminic had the integrity to step up and say something. Anything from the rest of the staff now?
This isn't about not liking Dan. It's about him not taking accountability for some shit he said that was, yes, bigoted (I don't get how no one understands its bigoted to say its NOT bigoted to rag on fat people) and to just say sorry, lesson learned. We don't get to just say shit that is NOT OK and then say (no less write WAY TO MANY WORDS), hey, well I think I should be able to say what I want and here's why. There is a reason people get called out when they say bigoted shit. Because it's not ok. You can either get all defensive white male privilege about it or learn from it. Jesus. It doesn't have to be so fucking dramatic guys.
Mr. Savage: You missed the point. Context or not, you've made hurtful remarks. You've done it consistently and never apologized for it.

You trade in words. You can choose them better.
I hate it when mommy and daddy argue. Please stop screaming so Mr.Teddy and I can get back to sleep...
I think this is awesome. No other American blog that I know of is hosting this kind of conversation about this issue, and it's such an important issue to discuss.

Michael Wells @121 here really cut to the chase: A few loud commenters are trying to turn this into a death match between two personalities, but it's really a discussion between smart people who have strong feelings. And hooray for that.
Dan, it's not what you said it's how you said it. With disgust. And self righteousness. And for all of that I could hold my tongue but then instead of taking Lindy's point lightly and with humor you get defensive and go after her like a pitbull on course for a baby. I don't get it. Obviously how you said all of this hit a nerve with a lot of people, your coworkers included -- why can't you take that with grace and let it go?

I don't think a lot of people get the point, you especially: that shit you said about your visit at the FA conference was unacceptable, for one and your little digs (no acronym so you called that girl LARDASS? really?) are not funny, they're hurtful. That you got it right sometimes and wrong others, I think you'd agree, if some reverend did that to another disenfranchised group you'd be livid. Why are you so eager to unpack a vicious defense of yourself when if the tables were reversed you would be just as quick to call people on this same behavior otherwise.
i'm with Dan on this. but here's a question i don't see addressed: ARE we repulsed by watching fat people have sex? what makes it so unappealing? because we're conditioned to only like watching "fit people" fuck? or because that's what our primitive brain truly seeks? a "fit" partner.
fat people fuck. yay! or they don't. boo-hoo! it's the same for everyone else. like to watch? then watch. repulsed? don't.
but for the love of god, let the man promote what he thinks is a healthy agenda. let anyone do that. they'll all differ, but isn't that more refreshing than "let's drink and eat and then talk about what we just drank and ate"?
Dan, you are what is called an 'ethical bigot.' So is 99.99999% of the world, with the possible exception of the Dalai Lama and his previous incarnations.

Everyone has at least one blind spot, one human failing that, however serious it may or may not be on its own merits, we are incapable of processing proportionally. You are a human of empathy and erudition, so you can mostly think, see, and operate past this blind spot, the same way most of us can still drive and paint and live life despite our literal blind spots.

But it's there. It colors everything, the way you perceive others, the way you perceive yourself. It distorts perspective. It requires convoluted, Ptolemaic contortions of logic. It destroys your brevity, your wit.

You don't like fat people.

Look, it's okay. You don't have to like everyone. Half the FUN of witty people is listening to them lay a burn on some subgroup or another. And like I said, you're empathetic. You learn the language, you take deep breaths, you look past the rolls, you make friends, you fumble toward objectivity.

But you're still a bigot. Because you look at fat people and see the fat kid you used to be.

You're also going to get called on this bigotry, consistently, for as long as you're a printed advice columnist. Your job, your schtick, your bread and butter is throwing stones at other people's glass houses. But the rest of us have stones, and we're looking to you. You're a public figure.

So what do you do now? Probably not a lot more than you have done, in the short term. In the long term, I'd advise for your own sanity (both as a human and as a busy professional who doesn't want to be derailed by blow-ups like this every few weeks) to learn to study the 'obesity phenomenon,' which you admit you find fascinating, with a little less pathology.

Most people who were fat and became thin talk like you do; they talk about 'getting their fat ass off the couch,' about 'putting the chips down,' about discipline and self-control. They talk like their mind is R. Lee Ermey and their body is Vincent D'Onofrio, only this time there was a happy ending.

As a result, the mind-body conversation is perceived to be 'healthy' when it is one-way. The mind tells the body, the body obeys. Weight is lost or kept off. I would argue that, in profound cases of obesity, a contributing factor is a mind-body conversation that is one-way in the other direction; the mind may be sending signals of 'I feel crummy, I want to run and play, I want vitamins, I want to drink water, I want to sleep more and have more sex and suffer from less depression," but the body isn't listening.

There's a middle way. You can listen to your body, even if it occasionally says things that make the lizard-brain part of you that remembers being a fat kid twinge and go on a drill sergeant rant. You can let the conversation flow both ways. Doing so would a) help you understand the clinical obesity figures and science you're so fascinated by on a different, deeper level, b) further the quest for empathy, the lifelong process of shrinking the blind spots which every ethical bigot must do, and c) prepare you better for raising a child who will be touched by the obesity epidemic in a very different way than you or your husband were.
Right now, being "thin" is the social norm. And the acceptable thing. But as the number of obese people rises, being overweight - and even very overweight - is going to become the norm. And it probably will become accepted too.

And I think that's disturbing. Because being overweight is not like being gay, or black, or any of the other things people have made allusion to. I know that not everyone is the same size and that some people have lower metabolisms, or health issues, that make it hard for them to lose weight, but that doesn't mean that fat people are born fat and will always be fat and that it is totally beyond their control. Even if it is out of some people's control, there is no way it's out of 30% (or more) of the population's control. And the more accepting we become, the more we say that it's okay to be overweight, that you shouldn't be allowed to talk about obesity, the more kids are going to become fat. And unhealthy. Because their parents will think that there isn't anything they can do about it, and that it's normal that all their kids are fat.

And I'm pretty sure that a lot (if not most) overweight people would rather not be overweight.
Jesus Christ. Criticism really gets to you, doesn't it.

"I could probably get her fired"? But you won't because you really love her? What amazing power you have.
"body fascist" ahahahahaha
Is "privilege" the "academic" jargon-babble word that "progressive" libtards use when they don't have any actual facts or logic to use to argue against someone who uses facts and logic to disprove "progressive" emotional histrionic idealistic fantasies?