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American Savage

by Daniel Scheffler
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Tuesday May 28, 2013
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The latest benefaction from the ever-popular Dan Savage, "American Savage: Insights, Slights and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love and Politics" comes roaring into bookstores with such high potential that one can’t help expecting it to fail. But this book, with all its wisdom, ideas and ideals, does exactly the opposite - it supersedes all his previous work.

With poignancy, sensitivity, and a frank, contemporary voice, Savage speaks to America as a whole --┬ánot just the lefty coasts, but the great in-between, as well. He remains in top form throughout, whether discussing his ideas on monogamy (Chapter Two’s "It’s Never Okay to Cheat (Except When It Is)") to leather and Republicans (Chapter Eight, "Folsom Prism Blues") to a hysterical essay on conservative Catholics (Chapter 17’s "Bigot Christmas"), the writer du jour is on top form throughout.

What the world needs more of, and this book is the case in point, are hordes of people like Dan Savage.

Known for his sex column "Savage Love," his organization "It Gets Better," his incredibly big mouth, and some spicy opinions, Savage uses his fame, and of course his superior brain, for more than just stature or money (if there is any in his line of work). The man uses his talents for a greater cause where he attempts to break down bigotry and prejudice. He shows his readers a logical, and sometimes very funny, route to a more open and tolerant way of seeing the world.

In his new book, Savage addresses every hot topic, from homos marrying to sexuality on television, with just such full tilt. Along the way, Savage conveys a weariness of himself, his beliefs, and his ways of being and acting. The eternal critic turns his lens onto himself, but he also takes readers along on his journey of learning to be less intolerant. Readers, too, are forced to face their own illiberality, bias, and partiality.

What the world needs more of -- and this book is the case in point -- are people like Dan Savage: People unafraid to speak their mind, to voice an opinion even in the face of criticism and violence (be it verbal or physical), and to unequivocally stick to their principles and beliefs. Oh, and to write a book about it, or have a radio show, or even to blog or social media about it. It’s with great reach, and then some, that this writer delivers a modern day manifesto for bigots to study again (and again), a way to learn how not to be so judgmental.

by Dan Savage

"American Savage: Insights, Slights and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love and Politics"
Dan Savage
Dutton
$16.43

Based between New York and Cape Town, Daniel Scheffler writes about socio political and travel matters and is working on a memoir. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler.

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