Dan Savage may well be a nice guy and a loyal and steadfast friend. Having never met the man, I have no clue about his personal qualities. A while ago, I read his column on occasion, but found it so full of venom against Christians and Republicans and replete with misrepresentations of conservative ideas that I didn’t see much purpose in devoting any time to his thoughts.
I say this because I know that nice guys do from time to time engage in less than civil discourse. I have met some of the readers who defend us in the comments section of this blog. And despite their occasional off-color commentary (okay, more than occasional), they are swell guys, warm and giving in person with pleasant countenances and full-bodied laughs.
I would not use the language they do in taking issue with our critics. As I’ve said before, on this blog and in personal e-mails to and conversations with these readers, they often compromise their own valid points and sensible arguments when they seek to sharpen them with insults.
Many of our critics are right to fault these defenders when they resort to insult and innuendo as a means to respond to liberal criticism. At the same time, those critics regularly ignore the pertinent facts they (i.e., the defenders) present and the solid arguments they make, choosing instead to focus on their manner of address.
I have not followed the extended threads to some of my recent posts, in large measure, because I prefer not to get involved in such shouting matches (but from my e-mail and the comments caught in the spam filter, I know the discussion has become particularly nasty and intense). And I’m on vacation where I find my various niblings’ antics and accomplishments far more engaging.
All that said, I do hope those who fault our defenders for their language will hold Mr. Savage to a similar standard and condemn him for what one of his defenders called a “potty mouth.” At the same time, I wonder why so few leaders in the gay community refuse to take this prominent figure to task for his regular rudeness and his manifest prejudice.
Guess they believe that only right-wingers are capable of narrow-mindedness and hate speech.
No, Dan Savage does not represent most gay Americans, but if often appears that he does because so few prominent gay leaders ever take him to task. While I like many of our defenders personally, at least those I’ve met, I wonder sometimes at their language. They do this blog no favors when they use Savage tactics to address our critics.
NB: Tweaked the post to correct some typographical errors and to improve its flow.