Michael Savage is an ass. I looked for another word to put there but that is, in fact, the kindest one I can find. He's one of those people who's so consistently hateful, abrasive, ignorant, and just plain foul that it really makes you scratch your head in wonderment. Being generally without redeeming characteristics isn't a crime (if it was, he'd be in prison) but the thing that is criminal is that this buffoon preaches to an army of similar thinking conservanauts.
One of Mr. Savage's favorite targets is LGBT people. His most recent tirade has been triggered by the fact that a detective on the San Francisco Police Department is apparently transitioning on the job and, as happens in workplaces across the country, co-workers are being provided training on the unique challenges involved. I have no idea why Mr. Savage would or should have an opinion that matters to anyone on the issue but apparently he does and he wants to make sure everyone knows what it is.
Earlier this week Mr. Savage used a segment of his radio show to share his thoughts. An overview of his comments are provided on the MediaMatters website:
Radio host Michael Savage continued his attacks on transgender people during the January 7 broadcast of The Savage Nation, declaring that a sensitivity training program for San Francisco police detectives on transgender issues is "sort of like toilet training for adults" and describing the program as a "class ... to teach normal men how to have sensitivity to a psychopathic sex-change operative who should be in a mental hospital." Savage also published a "memorandum" about the sensitivity training program -- which he claimed was "sent to me anonymously by ... someone in the [San Francisco] police department" -- on his website under the headline: "Exclusive: SFPD forcing detectives to undergo brainwashing by transgendered dick."
Previous attacks by Mr. Savage on transgender people are well documented. It should come as no surprise to anyone that gays and lesbians are not held in high esteem by Mr. Savage, either.
This leaves me with some questions.
First, where is the outrage? How can a man who's show is carried by 300+ radio stations across this country and who's audience is estimated at over 4 million people consistently get away with this kind of blatant hate-mongering? Others have been held accountable for far less. For example, Don Imus was eviscerated for making far, far less inflammatory remarks about a member of the Rutgers University women's basketball team in 2007.
Early last year Mr. Savage caused quite the uproar by attacking autistic kids as "brats" who are simply fakers needing tougher parenting. Did he get spanked? No. He got media attention. He got headlines. And, I'm sure, he got advertisers.
Second, where is the accountability? Each of us is held accountable for the things we do and say. Apparently, some are given extra privilege in that regard.
I, of course, know the answer to my own question about why Savage gets away with his outrageous remarks. One reason is because it sells. Just as importantly, though, is because we don't have the power to hold him accountable. I've been watching the GLAAD website this morning to see if they have anything to say about it. Nothing yet. HRC issued a statement when the pope opened his big mouth before Christmas but hasn't said anything about this yet either. We'll see.
Is this buffoon spouting his ignorant sludge any different than the Pope saying that men not being manly enough or women not being womanly enough is a threat to all of mankind? No. It's made from the same cloth. It all emboldens people to dehumanize, mistreat, and victimize others. The consequences of these kinds of things manifest themselves as harassment, discrimination and violence in workplaces, schools, and all across society each and every day.
I take small solace knowing that Mr. Savage will have lots to talk about over the next 4 years. In a twisted kind of way the fact that he's even singling us out for attack is a sign of progress. I can't wait to hear what he has to say when a fully-inclusive ENDA passes, when "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is repealed, when hateful violence against us is prosecuted for what it is, and when our marriages are finally recognized as fully legitimate and equal. I expect we'll be providing quit a bit for Mr. Savage to spew about in the coming weeks and months. And for that, I couldn't be happier.