by Dan Savage
on Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Stand there and do nothing while you watch your kid die? You'll go to jail. Stand there and pray while you watch your kid die? It's all good:
As members of the Church of the First Born, the Swezeys believe in faith healing. They were accused of failing to call a doctor while their 17-year-old son died of a ruptured appendix, and they prayed for him to get better.... The Swezeys were acquitted of second-degree murder after a four-day trial in mid-May, but the jury could not agree on whether the Carlton couple should be convicted of second-degree manslaughter. On Thursday, rather than face a retrial on manslaughter charges, JaLea Swezey pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal mistreatment on Thursday, and Greg Swezey signed papers agreeing to plead guilty to the same crime after two years, if he follows court orders and commits no felonies during that time.
by Dan Savage
on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 12:42 PM
If you're a male/female couple, you're legally married, and you have Femdom relationship, I want to profile you in an upcoming issue of the Stranger. We don't have to use your real names, and we're not doing pictures of any couples in the package, so you can remain anonymous, if you prefer. Email me if you're interested.
by Dan Savage
on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM
When bigots search wildly for a "rationale" to deny same sex couples basic human rights they usually claim that children need both a mother and a father to succeed.
My father died when I was very young leaving my mother single and needing to care for four children. She never remarried. Of the four children in our family two have grown up to be medical doctors, one is a college professor, and the youngest will soon have a PhD. We are all in healthy, long-term relationships and my mother now has grandchildren. Both of the male children (of which I am one) are rather stereotypical guys. We somehow managed to figure out what being a guy was without a father at home explaining it to us. It's almost like there are other sources for this information.
So, on behalf of the offspring of single mothers I want to say fuck you to people who say I can't be healthy because I was raised without a father. It's important to note that there is one factor that confounds the bullshit bigots use to malign single parents, nontraditional families, etc. Single parent families are highly correlated with poverty. For this reason, we were lucky. My mother is a medical doctor who was able to provide for a five person family by herself. So I am aware that my experiences are not typical, but they do speak to the arguments that "every child needs a mother and a father" to succeed and be healthy. We can succeed just fine.
P.S. I am aware that this isn't the most important point. But this argument about needing a mother and a father is a slap to my mother's face. And it pisses me off every time I see it.
by Dan Savage
on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM
The woman, 26-year-old Estrella Carrera, was found at her home in a suburb of Chicago, dead in her bathtub. Carrera was reportedly stabbed to death, still wearing a sequined dress she likely wore to her own wedding reception. Her husband of just hours, Arnoldo Jimenez, is now being hunted by more than 30 law enforcement agencies... Carerra's two children, aged 2 and 9, were staying with her father while she celebrated her wedding. Her body was found after she failed to pick up her kids on Sunday, and her relatives became concerned. Jimenez is the father of her two-year-old son.
by Dan Savage
on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM
A Florida mother who fatally shot her four children before killing herself Tuesday called three of the kids who had sought help from a neighbor back to the house before firing the fatal shots, authorities said.... Three of the children had gone to a neighbor's front door before dawn to say their mother had shot them. The mother then called the children back to the house and killed them.
by Dan Savage
on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Yesterday Obama said that listening to his kids talk about their friends with same-sex parents helped bring him around on the issue of marriage equality. Parenting expert Bristol Palin weighs in:
While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads. In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that—as great as her friends may be—we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home.
Studies don't show that kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Studies show that kids generally do better growing up in two-parent homes—you know, the kind of home that Bristol Palin isn't providing for her child.
by Dan Savage
on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM
A Strongsville man walked into a restaurant Thursday night and shot to death his wife and a daughter, who was celebrating her 10th birthday, police Chief Scott Mielke said Friday morning. A second daughter was injured in the attack, but survived.
by Dan Savage
on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 9:47 AM
Some rightwing religious homophobes—who are probably gay themselves (SCIENCE says so!)—are trying to popularize the term "sodomy-based marriage." They want their fellow haters and to use it in place of "gay marriage."
On a recent flight to New York, I was delighted when a stewardess came over and gave me a bottle of champagne. ‘This is from the captain — he wants to welcome you on board and hopes you have a great flight today,’ she explained. You’re probably thinking ‘what a lovely surprise’. But while it was lovely, it wasn’t a surprise. At least, not for me.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve regularly had bottles of bubbly or wine sent to my restaurant table by men I don’t know. Once, a well-dressed chap bought my train ticket when I was standing behind him in the queue, while there was another occasion when a charming gentleman paid my fare as I stepped out of a cab in Paris. Another time, as I was walking through London’s Portobello Road market, I was tapped on the shoulder and presented with a beautiful bunch of flowers. Even bar tenders frequently shoo my credit card away when I try to settle my bill.
And whenever I’ve asked what I’ve done to deserve such treatment, the donors of these gifts have always said the same thing: my pleasing appearance and pretty smile made their day.
Here for your eyes (but not only) is her day-making beauty.
by Dan Savage
on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Alice Dreger, a regular "Savage Love" guest expert (oh, and a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, la de da), is writing for the the Atlantic now (a big step down from the escort-ad packed back pages of the Stranger, of course, but a girl's gotta eat), and today Alice attempts to answer one of the most difficult questions that confronts modern sex researchers and writers: Straight people? WTF?
Developmental studies by researchers like the University of Utah's Lisa Diamond suggest that women may demonstrate a fair bit of flexibility over the course of their lives in terms of their sexual attractions, relations, and identities, and laboratory studies by people like Chivers and Bailey seem to back up the hypothesis that females are, on average, less rigidly oriented when it comes to sex. At least when you measure their vaginal response, straight-identified women can be aroused by a wide variety of sexual stimuli.
Nevertheless, let's just say, for purposes of argument, that we're willing to accept the existence of some straight females and males as defined above, even if they are not always perfectly straight arrows in the lab. Were they born that way?
And while—spoiler alert!—the jury is still out on how the hell straight people get that way, Alice come down firmly on the side of marriage equality:
Personally, I think it makes sense to let straight-identified people marry, not because they were necessarily born that way, but because it seems silly, in this day and age, to get in the way of their desire to marry and/or to have sex with whatever consenting adults they wish. Given the challenges of attempting a lifetime partnership with a person who will be, on average, fundamentally sexually different from oneself, it seems the least we can do for straight people is to let them get married if they want.
by Dan Savage
on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM
When Michael Lajun Green met up with his ex-girlfriend—and the mother of his two young children—at a room in the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, they were attempting to reconcile after a period of discord and estrangement, Los Angeles police said. But early Monday, the couple began to argue. The confrontation turned physical, investigators said, and shortly before 5 a.m. Green pulled out a handgun and shot his ex-girlfriend in the head before fleeing with the children.
The first installment of Sherman Alexie's new column begins:
I thought the Bar Method, an upscale exercise gym, was doomed to failure because I never saw anybody exercising. But recently, predawn, I walked past the place and through the large picture windows saw a couple dozen women lying on the floor violently thrusting their pelvises into the air.
by Dan Savage
on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 10:03 AM
A Madison man and his wife have been arrested for allegedly torturing and starving the man's 15-year-old daughter, who told authorities she was forced to live in the basement of their home on the city's Southeast Side for years. The girl, who weighs about 70 pounds, told authorities she was forced to drink her urine and eat her feces, according to a police affidavit.... [The] girl was forced to spend most of her time in the basement without a bathroom and was given little to eat, and an alarm would sound if she went upstairs. According to the affidavit, Drabek-Chritton was home-schooling the girl.
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 7:25 AM
Yesterday in Pierce County:
The 2-year-old mystery surrounding the disappearance of Susan Powell might forever lack answers after police said her long-investigated husband, Josh Powell, set his house on fire Sunday afternoon, killing himself and his two young boys moments after a caseworker brought them for a supervised visitation.... Three bodies, believed to be those of Powell and his sons, Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, were found in the same room in the house, authorities said.
For the second time in as many days, Rick Santorum waded into the issue of gay marriage, suggesting it was so important for children to have both a father and mother that an imprisoned father was preferable to a same-sex parent. Citing the work of one anti-poverty expert, Santorum said, "He found that even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids were still better than no father at all to have in their children's lives." At a private boarding school Friday, the Republican presidential candidate's voice grew emotional as he argued that only a man and woman should be able to marry... [Three] students in the audience had gay parents.
Thank goodness those boys had a father. Lesbian moms—or lesbian foster parents—would've been tragic.
by Dan Savage
on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM
In fact, I believe it was still illegal for gay couples to adopt back when this straight 48-year-old millionaire adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend:
The multimillionaire trust-fund heir adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend Heather Laruso Hutchins last fall, after being accused of drunk driving in a 2010 accident that left 23-year-old Scott Wilson dead. Goodman is being sued by Wilson’s parents for wrongful death. According to police reports, Goodman ran a stop sign on February 10, 2010 in Wellington, Florida and smashed into Wilson, sending his car into a canal.
Scott Wilson, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Central Florida, was killed in 2010 Circuit Judge Glenn Kelly had previously ruled that the trust funds set up for his two biological children were off-limits in the lawsuit, according to the Palm Beach Post. Court papers show that Goodman adopted Ms Hutchins in October of last year, CBS12.com reported. ‘My reaction was that it was both awful and brilliant,’ Belray Beach adoption attorney Charlotte Danciu told CBS12.com. The adoption papers state that Hutchins, now a legal child of Goodman, is immediately entitled to at least a third of his trust.
Is incest against the law in Florida? (Thanks to Slog tipper Tim.)
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM
...err on the side of overreacting. Err on the side of doing something drastic. Err on the side of turning your own life inside out. Because you don't want to find out the abuse was more than your kid could bear when it's too fucking late to do anything about it:
A Gordonsville, Tennessee, boy's parents say bullying caused their son to take his own life. Phillip Parker, 14, died this week. His parents said he was constantly bullied for being gay.... "He was fun, he was energetic, he was happy," said Gena Parker, Phillip's mother. To his many friends, Phillip was known as the boy who told everyone they're beautiful. "He kept telling me he had a rock on his chest," said Ruby Harris, Phillip's grandmother. "He just wanted to take the rock off where he could breathe."
Phillip's family said they reported their concerns over their son's bullying to Gordonsville High School on multiple occasions, but the bullying by a group of students just got worse... "That's my son," said Phillip Parker, Phillip's father. "I love him. I miss him. He shouldn't have had to kill himself to be brought to life."
Straight parents: If you know your gay kid is being brutalized in his school and you've complained and it's gotten worse, get him the fuck out of there. Homeschool him. Homeschool him and sue the school. Move away. Move someplace more tolerant. Move someplace better. If you can't move away—or if you can't move right away—send your son to live with relatives in another city, a better city. Send him to live with relatives in a state where the elected officials aren't bullying kids like yoursfrom the fucking statehouse. (Maybe a state where elected officials are working to make things better.)
And straight parents? Once you realize your kid is gay—which parents of gay kids usually realize long before their gay kids realize it themselves—take a long, hard look at the community in which you live. Take a long, hard look at the church where you worship. Take a long, hard look at the schools your kid will be forced to attend.
Then decide if staying put is worth your child's life.
[Santorum] does not believe that you have the right to adult, consensual sex in your own bedroom, if the government decides it's bad for society as a whole. That includes masturbation and contraception on exactly the same grounds as homosexual acts. All of them are sodomy and subject to government regulation. Santorum can say he is just referring to the role of the courts, not backing substantive legislation to criminalize private adult consensual sex. But it's clear he believes that such sex is a serious threat to civilization, and only prudential grounds should restrain the government's decision to enforce that morality.... Santorum's slogan is "Faith, Family, Freedom." But it is more accurately described as Faith Family and Freedom That Doesn't Violate The Tenets of Faith and Family as defined by Santorum.
And while we’re at it, can the media please stop referring to politicians like Santorum as running on a platform of “family values”? How is it “family values” to refuse gay people the right to form families? Represent his platform for what it is—homophobia. Don’t accept the labels these bigots want you to use.
It was the French philosopher Foucault who noted that the West as a whole didn't have something like the ars erotica of the Near and Far East...
The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife by Hosukai
If one has this in mind, they will see this recent Turkish ad campaign for jeans not as evidence of how the West is continually corrupting the morals of the East but as the continuation of a tradition that has all of its roots firmly and deeply planted in the East.
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 12:45 PM
"Minnesota for Marriage is now posting Google ads asking if marriage should be between one man and one woman," writes Slog tipper Emily. "But when you click the poll link it brings you to this survey."
The folks behind Minnesota for [Some Marriages, Not for Others] don't seem to think much of fathers:
By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. Whenever a child is born, her mother will almost always be nearby. But the same cannot always be said of her father. Men, especially, are encouraged to take responsibility for their children through the institution of marriage.
Straight women, who are usually nearby during birth, don't need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their children. Straight men, on the other hand, are assholes and cads who could give a shit about their children—but, hey, toss in a bachelor party, a wedding registry, and some cake and straight men are much likelier to stick around for the decade or two it takes to raise those kids. (And you thought they just hated gay people.)
Remember: marriage is about children... which is why marriage licenses are denied to the elderly, infertile, and childless-by-choice.
Fiedler walked out of her home and saw her next-door neighbor Sara McMeen standing over a baby on the ground. “I asked her, ‘Is everything all right?’” Fiedler recalled Saturday. “She said: ‘No, everything is not all right.’” Then McMeen did the unthinkable, Fiedler said. “She put the gun to the baby and she shot it.” Those chilling details echoed through the quiet streets of a rural community 90 miles southwest of Chicago that woke up Saturday still grappling with the aftermath of what police said was a murder-suicide the day before that left five people dead. McMeen, 30, was killed. So was her boyfriend, Daniel Warren, 29, and their daughter Maggie Warren, 10 months. McMeen’s other two children Skyler Lemke, 8, and Ian Lemke, 7, were also dead, according to Livingston County Coroner Michael Burke.
This image was fabricated by a Parisian ad agency, Fred & Farid, for the purpose of marketing Wrangler jeans.
My thoughts upon seeing it: Mud is erotic; dust is not. With mud, something can happen; with dust, nothing can happen. However, Lisa Wade, a culture critic at Socialogical Image, saw the image as promoting violence against women in two ways: one, by associating women with wild animals that need to be tamed, and two, by eroticizing the corpse of a woman who has been murdered and dumped in a lake.
Here is the video for the ad campaign...
The fetishization of violence against women? I will not dispute that. But allow me to add that there's also the fetishization of the savage, the human in a state of nature. Indeed, the video instantly brought to my mind a passage near the end of Darwin's magnificent The Voyage of the Beagle:
Of individual objects, perhaps nothing is more certain to create astonishment than the first sight in his native haunt of a barbarian — of man in his lowest and most savage state. One's mind hurries back over past centuries, and then asks, could our progenitors have been men like these? — men, whose very signs and expressions are less intelligible to us than those of the domesticated animals; men, who do not possess the instinct of those animals, nor yet appear to boast of human reason, or at least of arts consequent on that reason. I do not believe it is possible to describe or paint the difference between savage and civilized man. It is the difference between a wild and tame animal: and part of the interest in beholding a savage, is the same which would lead every one to desire to see the lion in his desert, the tiger tearing his prey in the jungle, or the rhinoceros wandering over the wild plains of Africa.