Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Savage Fandom (in which I recommend podcasts)

A few years ago I finally broke down and got an iPod nano. It wasn't my first mp3 player, but I had gone a long time without one and I was working at a job where sometimes you needed the music playing in your head to help focus. (Later I learned that that is a classic ADD behavior...but that's a different point).

Through the iPod I was exposed to iTunes and through iTunes, podcasts. I now rarely listen to music on my nano, or my iPhone. It's all about the podcasts.

My listening range goes from the podcasts of Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann to fanboy podcasts for Fringe, Lost (two favorites), Joss Whedon to Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me and This American Life. Other favorites include Polyamory Weekly and I Want Your Sex and more.

One of my big favorites is Dan Savage's The Savage Lovecast, which is the audio version of his sex advice column. I've been reading him for years in The Village Voice and Time Out Magazine and watch him whenever I hear he is going to be on some show or another.

Savage is the kind of writer that I wish had been around when I was a teenager. We are about the same age so I assume part of why he does what he does is because he was aware of the same vacuum.

Dan has a great mix of humor, patience, outrage, compassion and tough love. He's not afraid to tell a caller that they are being selfish, or stupid or some general ass...but he is filled with understanding no matter the situation. He's also snarky as hell, and I love snark. But his advice, I have found is 99% spot on. There's no dogmatic approach to anything. His only agenda is to get the best information and most helpful advice and resources out there. Invariably my mind and heart will be changed by the points he makes. Without revealing details left by a caller he will research resources in the areas they are calling from and give them hints...sometimes he will even call someone back and broadcast the actual conversation on the cast.

We are where we are in life and generally I tend to believe that "the universe unfolds as it should". But for so long I was flying blind when it came to sex and relationships and at the less than tender age of now 48 I cannot tell you how many "aHA" moments I have listening to this podcast. I don't dwell on it but I am keenly aware of the very different choices I would have made in my life had there been someone like Dan to read and listen to 30 years ago. Oh sure there were resources, but you had to go to them..and the things I was thinking about were less obvious.

Having gone to the High School of Performing Arts I experienced many friends "coming out" during that time. But I'm not gay, my thoughts and "theories" and ponderings were different. My desires were different and I was too shy to express them or explore them at that point and I wasn't learning from watching my gay friends as they braved the waters of a more public life. (Remember that 30 years ago, even in "Liberal" New York, coming out as gay could get your ass killed or at the very least seriously beaten. Yes it still happens, but not nearly with the kind of frequency or general acceptance as it did then.)

My daughter's generation is so much more aware of what is out there and in there than mine was. They're more informed, in general, than we were. Oddly in this "post AIDS" environment, I think that people coming of age have more understanding, more education and more awareness of sex, sexuality, it's rewards and dangers than human beings have had in a long time. They aren't perfect, there's plenty of mistakes going on. But it all stems from ignorance (cough, Bristol Palin, cough cough). Dan's on the frontline of that war.

He is fun, funny, forthright and clear. He begins every cast with a rant of one kind or another, generally at Right Wing hypocrisy, and that is always massively enjoyable. And lest you think he's a partisan hack, you should hear how he lays into President Obama on Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Listen to it, tell your teenager to listen to it , tell your friends to listen to it. Spread the word.

As an addendum, when I tweeted about writing this entry yesterday I was tweeted by someone recommending Dear Redhead. I'll check her out. Apparently she's been described as Dan Savage with a vagina. The more the merrier I say...I'll let you know.

Sex is who we are and how we got here. We need to embrace it, own it and feel good about it. And that's why I listen to Dan.


Dangerous Lilly said...

i've never gotten into the podcast because for my ADD, it can be really hard to focus on what someone is saying if I can't see them....and of course there's more room for me to hone in on a pet peeve that I might pick up on and be too annoyed to finish listening.

Dear Redhead is great, one of the few writers I thoroughly enjoy at Toy With Me.

(yay another Fringe and Lost fan, we must have fanboy/girl chats about them some time. i also fully stand behind my threat that if Lost ends and they've not explained *everything* with charts and graphs if need be, i'll go hold JJ hostage till they do)

Opinionated Gifts said...

You better get ready to do that then because Damon and Carlton have already said they aren't going to explain everything.

I am LOVING this season.