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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

That Folsom Street Fair Poster

posted by on September 26 at 13:38 PM

Some folks in our comment threads think the Folsom Street Fair poster isn’t a story.

But Fox News—part of the media company responsible for this sacrilegious outrage—just invited me to come on the air and debate that raving bigot Bill Donohue tomorrow morning. Donohue is the head of the Catholic League and was last seen in public screaming about Kathy Griffin.

Donohue can detect anti-Catholic bigotry under every rock and is constantly invited on teevee to fume about it. And no one on the teevee ever calls Donohue on his own bigotry. Here’s some classic Bill Donohue: “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular … Hollywood likes anal sex.” Teenage boys raped by Catholic priests? They wanted it, says Donohue.

As much as I’d love to debate Bill—I was raised Catholic, I went to seminary for high school, I thought about being a priest, I would love to have a few words with Bill Donohue—I’m going to have to pass. The interview would take place at 7:45 EST, so 4:45 our time. Uh… that’s awfully early in the morning to be screaming at a Catholic I’m not related to. Which is too bad… because I’d love to ask Bill what he thinks of all the profane last suppers we’ve managed to dig up on Slog.

But what I’d really like to tell Bill is this: A lot of folks are kinky not to annoy Catholics, but because they’re Catholics. We worship a man that was tortured to death two thousand years ago. And what do we call that grisly execution again? Oh, right: The Passion. Catholic children are herded into Churches where we kneel in front of life-sized representations—some more realistic than others—of a hot dude in a diaper nailed to a cross. Catholic teachings are full of stories about gruesomely martyred saints. I was told as a child that suffering was noble, that it brought you closer to God. Nuns told me that Jesus hung on the cross for three hours, that he suffered and died for my sins (the sins of a seven year-old!), and that I should “offer up to the Lord” whatever momentary discomfort I was experiencing.

Catholic children are also told over and over again that our Father in Heaven loves us—but that he’s also designed this place called Hell where we’ll be sent if we’re naughty and where we’ll be subjected to unspeakable physical torments for all eternity. If we’re only sorta bad our loving Father will send us to purgatory where we’ll be subjected to somewhat milder physical torments for a few dozen centuries—just long enough to cleanse us of our sins. Because pain and suffering can do that—it can make things right, it can purify you.

Oh, and what are the biggest sins? They all seem to be sexual ones. Pre-marital sex. Homosexuality. Adultery. Masturbation. God created us horny but God hates sex. Really hates it. Gee, it’s almost like God was setting us up for failure… it’s almost like God was looking for an excuse to punish us…

Confession, contrition, pain, torture, torment, sexual hang-ups—hello, Bill? BDSM perverts aren’t born, they’re made. And your church pumps them out by the hundreds of thousands.

Not everyone exposed to Catholicism during their formative years is going to be into BDSM when they grow up, of course. Not all Catholics are kinksters, just as not all kinksters are Catholic. But a significant number of Catholic children will subconsciously incorporate Catholic religious imagery and Catholic dogma into their erotic imaginations. It can’t be avoided. So if Bill Donohue is looking for someone to blame for this…


…he might want to start with the church that encouraged parents to take their children to see this:


RSS icon Comments


Interesting that they thought of you. ZOMG DOES SOMEONE AT FOX READ THIS

Posted by Lake | September 26, 2007 2:12 PM

So disappointed you're not going to do the show! Seriously, if there's anyone who could give Donohue a good tongue lashing, it's you. Why not just stay up all night, chug a shitload of Red Bull and go for it! I mean, even totally fucked up, you could probably rip him a new one.

Posted by Secret Squirrel | September 26, 2007 2:22 PM

Damn, that's nasty. Almost makes me want to consider veganism.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 26, 2007 2:22 PM

Ugh, can you please pull off that obscene, disgusting, pornographic image?

Posted by Chris in Tampa | September 26, 2007 2:22 PM

Congrats on making this a national issue!

Posted by Peter | September 26, 2007 2:25 PM

yeah I'm with Chris in Tampa- who wants to see bloodied invisible super friends...

sign me: ex-catholic kinkster girl (EKG)

Posted by NELBOT | September 26, 2007 2:26 PM

eeeewww, Christ p0rn

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 26, 2007 2:28 PM

if you could go on, talk about the other specific images and ask where the outrage was, and then confront him... that would be so great.

Posted by infrequent | September 26, 2007 2:30 PM

Damn Dan! That was a fucking marvelous rant. Now if only I can figure out why I love to put a plastic bag over my gf's head while we screw! Maybe that stems from the year I was a member of the LDS.

Posted by rotten666 | September 26, 2007 2:34 PM

Again, though, you're posting this here on Slog to the gayveganatheist masses and turning down a chance to deliver this rant where it will be heard by people with different viewpoints, where it might actually make a difference.

Not that I blame you, that is incredibly early, but still.

Posted by Levislade | September 26, 2007 2:41 PM

I wish I could... I... must... sleep. Clearly I should live in NYC.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 26, 2007 2:47 PM

Just because something is debated on Fox doesn't make it news; in fact, it probably means the exact opposite.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | September 26, 2007 2:49 PM

True, Boomer. You got me there. But just because it's debate on Fox doesn't mean it isn't news. Or something.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 26, 2007 2:52 PM

HaHA! Lovely speech. I am heartily amused. Maybe if I had been raised catholic, I'd be more adventurous in the sack. So sad...

Posted by christopher | September 26, 2007 3:01 PM

"It's too early" is a weak excuse if you really want to do it.

Posted by PA Native | September 26, 2007 3:02 PM

I was raised Catholic and one of my first sex dreams was of Jesus doing me...seriously. And he was hot. Great post, Dan! Summed up my childhood!

Posted by Katie6 | September 26, 2007 3:03 PM

I'd like to know the real reason you are passing on such an opportunity. I really would. This 'sleep' bullshit isn't cutting it.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 26, 2007 3:03 PM

"I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty." - John Waters

Posted by Explorer | September 26, 2007 3:08 PM

>BDSM perverts aren’t born, they’re made.

Do you really think this? I mean I suppose some fetishes are probably formed by childhood experiences, but do you think that's the case all or even most of the time? I'm turned on by being tied up during sex and I wasn't raised with any religion and I can't think of anything related to that that happened in my childhood. I didn't realize at the time that it was in any way sexual, but in retrospect, I'd been laying in bed imagining helpless scenarios since I was around 9 or 10, maybe earlier. I don't think any particular thing caused this. I wonder, really, what does cause or contribute to that sort of thing. When I reached the age where I made the connection that these were sexual fantasies, that I was turned on by the idea of being tied up, I had a little freakout. I swore to myself I wasn't going to think like that, and I certainly wasn't going to ever tell anyone, because it was sick! I imagine its a little like, on a smaller scale, what teenagers go through when they realize they're gay. So what does cause these... I don't know if its strong enough to be called a fetish, but what causes these desires if it isn't catholic church?

Posted by Hmm... | September 26, 2007 3:11 PM

Donohue can detect anti-Catholic bigotry under every rock and is constantly invited on teevee to fume about it.

So, wait, he's like the Catholic john Feit?

Posted by The Baron | September 26, 2007 3:14 PM

I can only parrot others by saying you missed a big opportunity. Too early seems a bit of a cop-out if you feel this strongly. Besides, Bill Donohue needs to have someone tell him he's full of shit on national TV, and I'd rather it be you than not.

Posted by NaFun | September 26, 2007 3:15 PM

Get your ass out of bed on go on this show! Plenty of people get up earlier to do far worse things - like go to work for a living! - and there are many many many people who would be tremendously grateful to hear you rake this guy over the coals. You can azlways take a nap later! Do it for the rest of us!

Posted by Gurldoggie | September 26, 2007 3:17 PM

Come on Dan. You can stay up till 4:35. You are the man... AND YES!!! You Should live in NYC. We need you here! I will even promise to watch FOX news if you do it. I may need a sick bag nearby but i will suffer if you will. Remember, Jesus suffered for you. The least you can do is stay up late to clear his good name with this total douchebag.

Posted by ian | September 26, 2007 3:25 PM

I agree that you should nut up. Set your alarm, get some coffee and take a nap later. Being a little disoriented and cranky will probably work in your favor.

Posted by Clint | September 26, 2007 3:25 PM

@hmm... I had the same thought when I read this. Being gay is by birth but BDSM interest is not? There was a savage lovecast where a woman asked about this very subject and Dan said the jury's still out on that- BDSM interest may be partly genetic. But for the purposes of making this rant more fun, he intentionally forgot to sidetrack into explaining exceptions and alternate theories that didn't fit his thesis. So it seems to me. And it's a fair enough, I guess. He's more nice to you BDSM kids in his Savage Love stuff.

Posted by christopher | September 26, 2007 3:27 PM

total cop out. You rant and rave and yell and scream and bitch and moan against these right-wing zealots. Most of the posts you put here are meant to start a debate with the religious right. Even I will admit that if anyone is sent to debate them, on Fox, it should be you (and I have no doubt you'd agree) and then when you get the opportunity handed to you on a silver platter you blow it off because it's too early in the morning?

This is a prime opportunity for someone who has all the correct beliefs and who is extremely well spoken and media savvy to hand it to the right, and it's being tossed aside because it's too early.

Talk about a let down. Please do move to New York.

Posted by Charlie | September 26, 2007 3:34 PM

A number of Paintings from the Renaissance period show Jesus with an erection.

Posted by Walter | September 26, 2007 3:35 PM

So what, you post all this crap up here on The Slog for readers of the slog to laugh at, comment on and then forget about? I thought you put all this shit up here to get people to see the idiocy of the right and to enrage enough of this choir to speak out and act up.... and then you bail when given the opportunity.

You rant and rave and yell and scream and bitch and moan against these right-wing zealots. Most of the posts you put here are meant to start a debate with the religious right. Even I will admit that if anyone is sent to debate them, on Fox, it should be you (and I have no doubt you'd agree) and then when you get the opportunity handed to you on a silver platter you blow it off because it's too early in the morning?

This is a prime opportunity for someone who has all the correct beliefs and who is extremely well spoken and media savvy to hand it to the right, and it's being tossed aside because it's too early.

Talk about a let down. Please do move to New York.

Posted by Charlie | September 26, 2007 3:36 PM

I went to Catholic school from kindergarden through 12th grade. And church EVERY Sunday. And Catholic day camps all summer. Just sayin'.

Posted by Mistress Matisse | September 26, 2007 3:42 PM

What's funny is that I was reflecting on your earier post from this morning about how it was impiortant to fight and win these arguements and I found myself wondering where Dan Savage fits into the whole gay rights debate. Surely, Dan is not the movement's Martin Luther King, but I think he is better than Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton combined.

But, jeez... Tell me Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton would EVER turn down an opportunity to be on TV, and I have a hard time believing it.

Posted by Clint | September 26, 2007 3:44 PM

Dan has been on CNN, Fox and has several books out he's not copping out of anything.
Good Grief he is such a big mouth and has had a huge impact on the media and all over the United States.
I think Dan's impact goes far beyond Seattle and the slog.
I don't always agree and that has not but I do enjoy hearing him on CNN or wherever...

Posted by mj | September 26, 2007 3:49 PM

@Walter- Back that up! Send links! And faux-boner from loincloth crinklage doesn't apply!

Posted by christopher | September 26, 2007 3:51 PM

Lmao @ Mistress… but I still think the church exists because of the D/s nature of humans, not the other way around.

And I feel a little betrayed that the most articulate, media savvy voice on the kink side of this debate wants to sleep in.

Posted by ouch | September 26, 2007 3:52 PM

Oh, and Matisse, not that you're reading the comments here anyhow, but thanks for showing up. You're the Stranger's real Best Columnist.

Posted by christopher | September 26, 2007 3:53 PM

Here's where I come down on the gay-is-inborn, other stuff comes after. If it's something that gay, straight, or bi people can do, it's not a sexual identity. It's a sex act. People may desire it passionately, and identify with it strongly. But "BDSM" is a act; straight" is a person.

And, sorry, but I have to write "Savage Love" today and write a piece for This American Life and interview people for TAL from 11-1 tomorrow, and edit next week's HUMP issue. If I have to get up at 3 in the morning and go to Fox and talk to Bill Donohue, I won't get the rest of this done.

It's a wonderful opportunity. The folks at Fox said they'll book me with Bill another time - and you know damn well there will be another time.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 26, 2007 4:01 PM

But, yes, power dynamics do seem to be hard-wired. Still a kink, though, when they're brought into the sack. My boyfriend and I may have kinky sex -- and we may not -- but we aren't kinky sex.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 26, 2007 4:05 PM

@27: that is fucking hot!

Posted by duncan | September 26, 2007 4:11 PM

the second picture is worlds more disturbing than the FSF poster.

Posted by icked out. | September 26, 2007 4:16 PM

You should totally do this another time, Dan. Bill Donahue is a total asshole, if he was the same guy that got in the "debate" with the guy that made that chocolate Jesus sculpture. Please tell me you have seen that so that you know what you are in for. I'll try to find a link to that debate.

Posted by Down with Donahue | September 26, 2007 4:16 PM
Posted by Down with Donahue | September 26, 2007 4:20 PM

Re: Dan's last two comments

Oh, I agree that BDSM is not an identity, it is not who people are (at least not most people-- I don't hang out with the ones who actually run dungeons or whatever, so I don't know how they feel about it). I personally am into pretty light bondage. I like to read stories about harder stuff but I've only ever had extremely light bondage sex, the kind where the handcuffs accidentally come off because the safety is too easy to use.

Anyway, I agree with you that being gay is a different category than various kinks like that, but I also sort of thing that's besides the point. I think most rational people at this point agree that being gay is something hardwired into a person before they hit puberty, whether it is because of genetics, chemicals in the womb, whatever. Its not something they choose and its not decided by what TV they watch or their relationship with their parents.

But I don't think that implies anything one way or the other about the causes of other "kinks." I don't know if a liking for bondage is hardwired into a person, is caused by childhood experiences, is a choice, or what. I'm not aware of any research done on the subject. Is there any you can point to? It seems like people haven't really thought about it as much as they have thought about the causes of homosexuality.

I enjoy fantasizing about bondage-- that is definitely not my "identity." Its different than being gay, for sure. But I still wonder what caused it. Its not something I would have sat down and chosen-- I'm ok with it now but it freaked me out quite a bit when I was younger and I started to realize that people actually DID things like that.

Posted by Hmm | September 26, 2007 4:22 PM

Back eons ago, when I taught religion in a Catholic school, I went to a talk Donahue gave in my diocese on Catholicism and the media. I had no idea who he was at the time, and thought it had potential to be an interesting talk. Besides, I got continuing ed hours for going. Anyway, you are absolutely right. He finds anti-Catholic messages in everything he sees, and if he can't find one, he creates one.

Oh, and part of the reason I lost my job as a Catholic youth minister was that I refused to saction a group outing to see Mel Gibson's gore fest masquerading as a religious movie. I didn't believe that those graphic images would help make the story of Christ any more realistic, and I refused to give any money to that whole enterprise.

I'm no longer Catholic, by the way. I still consider myself Christian, though one who believes that God created sex to be a good thing, and one who isn't afraid of a little kink every now and then.

Posted by blank | September 26, 2007 4:51 PM

Charlie @28:

We'd love to have Dan in New York, he's always welcome.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | September 26, 2007 4:54 PM


Your analysis of Catholicism equating sin with sexual acts is spot on. I spent the first 18 years of my life having Catholicism beaten into me by a succession of nuns, priests and brothers and have spent the last 30-some years trying to flush it all out of my system.

Today I'm an almost-well-adjusted M2F crossdresser who loves(among other things) to dress up in my Catholic school girl uniform.

And if Mistress Matisse would like to stop over, slip into my nun's habit, and give me the proper paddling I deserve, that'd be ok, too.

Posted by Mary Margaret Elizabeth Cooper | September 26, 2007 6:09 PM

Christianity in all it's vile forms creates perverts and child molesters just like Islam creates terrorists. You should debate on TV Dan and tell the world about the evils of Christianity.

Judaism is a perfect religion of truth and light, and all Jews are divine sparks of celestial light for our dark world. BDSM is allowed in Halaka, especially for the goyim. Pretty much the goyim are allowed all there perversions. Only observant Jews are held to a higher standard because Jews are capable of more morality than goyim.

Posted by Issur | September 26, 2007 6:38 PM

Wondering when you would arrive, Issur.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 26, 2007 6:47 PM

Bashing Christianity is Tikkum Olam Dan, and as one of your biggest fans and a member of Seattle's Jewish community I have to say you've go balls to constantly attack Seattle's toxic Christians. I love your posts.

Did you celebrate Yom Kippur anywhere Dan?

Posted by Issur | September 26, 2007 6:51 PM

good for you for not appearing on fox. They're just trying to use you as prop. No reason to let let them.

Posted by Kevin Erickson | September 26, 2007 6:56 PM

I had a BLT, Issur.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 26, 2007 7:24 PM

Lol! Well goyim are not obliged to keep kosher. Dan I thought you might have joined Josh over at Erica's Yom Kippur dinner, it looked so lovely.

Posted by Issur | September 26, 2007 7:27 PM

Thanks for the links, Dan - now that you've reported that the fundies are actually up in arms, my sadness and anger is free to flow.

All I was saying is that you're the journalist here. I don't read The Stranger so I can go out and investigate leads; I have my own work to do. We readers rely on you to get the news to us and then editorialize, not the other way around. That would be irresponsible, right?

Posted by dbell | September 26, 2007 8:53 PM

Remember, dbell, this is a blog -- freer, faster, blah blah blah. We toss stuff up. It's not all necessarily full developed. We're thinking out loud and reacting and it's less formal -- less responsible, I guess.

Posted by Dan Savage | September 26, 2007 9:05 PM


I actually enjoyed something that Dan Savage wrote!

Oh, wait, I liked that joke he told about the flowers and the vase too.

Two for Two, Dan!

Posted by BallardDan | September 26, 2007 10:26 PM

You are awesome and I loved this rant as I do most of your others. You appeal to more than just the gayveganatheist bunch. I am a straight carnivorous believer and I love Dan Savage. But the point of my comment is to tell you to check out Mr Deity if you haven't already. It is hilarious, apt and touches on the same issues you raise here.

Posted by Amanda | September 27, 2007 7:03 AM

This may be too gross an image, but I wonder if Billy Donohue (no relation) gets a woodie looking at all of the Folsom pics he posted. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

Posted by billydee4 | September 29, 2007 2:43 AM

Gee, you went to high school at a Catholic seminary and considered becoming a priest, yet all you seem to remember from all that religious education are the stories told to you as a child in Sunday school. Amazing. I suppose that is where you have decided as an adult to stop thinking about theology and the Bible since it suits your childlike reasoning why acts of sexual perversion are not an individual's choice, but that they are just a person's "living into" what they have been taught. Now that's some solid logic!

Posted by Laura Funk | September 29, 2007 11:18 AM

Let's see the catholic church; covers up child abuse, stripped Native Americans of their land and culture and gave them bibles instead, was responsible for the Inquisition, don't believe in birth control, would love to strip all rights including health insurance from gay people and I am sure there are a few more ... even Pope John Paul appears to have been euthanized because he could not abide by the torturous beliefs of the church and they have the nerve to compalin about a poster?

Posted by Greg | September 29, 2007 8:00 PM

As I think your comments on the state of Catholic S/M in the Bible is accurate, the real issue against Mo's is Leviticus, and needs a SERIOUS wrestle and death. Someone, SOMEONE, and you're the man, has to tear a new asshole on that trash in public someday. THAT whole book is psycho serial killer CRAP! THAT book is the religious choke hold that can't be escaped if someone would just take hold. When is someone going to break balls on this one? Cumo'n Dan, Red Line kicks Red Bull's ass. Stay up for us bud, we need a saucy cock fighter like you to slam this puppy out of the ball park.

Posted by Just Do It | September 29, 2007 10:13 PM

The man's name is DONAHOE, not Donahue.

Am I the only reader of this post to know this?

Posted by David | September 30, 2007 6:48 AM

As an ex-ex-Catholic, and an out and proud kinky bisexual, total word on your insights, Dan.

Catholicism played a large part in my upbringing, and, let's face it, being innundated with talk of sin and sex and pain makes for some interesting fantasies during our formative years. For heaven's sake (pun entirely intended, and completely reveled in) we spend half of mass on our knees! That's some serious conditioning, right there.

Posted by Sarah | September 30, 2007 2:59 PM

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