About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#16 - Skipping Toward Gomorrah

Skipping Toward Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness, by Dan Savage (New York: Dutton, 2002).

Summary: "Bill Bennett. Robert Bork. Pat Buchanan. Dr. Laura. Bill O'Reilly. They have written bestseller after bestseller condemning the sins and liberal views of America. It's time for someone to speak up for the sinners.

"Dan Savage is irreverent, irrepressible, opinionated, and he's had it up to here with the moral, conservative scolds who proclaim America is slouching towards Gomorrah (to use Robert Bork's phrase). Are we really that bad?

"Yes, we are! And in Skipping Toward Gomorrah, Dan Savage eviscerates those cynical screeds as he takes readers on a wickedly funny tour celebrating America's sinners. He commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Among them:
  • Greed: Gamblers in Vegas, who reveal surprising secrets behind outrageous fortune.
  • Lust: 'We're swingers!' -- you won't believe who's doing it.
  • Gluttony: Dan attends a fat-acceptance conference that highlights gluttons with an attitude.
  • Sloth: Not the most difficult of sins to celebrate, but leave it to Dan to find a way that will get him in trouble with his mother.
  • Anger: Texans shoot off some rounds and then listen to Dan fire off his own about guns, gun control, and the Second Amendment.
  • Envy: Meet the rich and beautiful at an ultra-exclusive spa -- then be glad you're not one of them.
  • Pride: You'll never look at another gay pride parade the same way again.
"Come along for the ride and learn a unique history of the Seven Deadly Sins, discover a new interpretation of the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and read enough Bork-, Bennett-, Buchanan-, et al-bashing to more than make up for their incessant carping. If America is headed for the biblical bad-boy city of Gomorrah, Dan plans on skipping all the way."

Table of Contents:
  • Well Endowed
  • Greed: The Thrill of Losing Money
  • Lust: The Erotic Rites of David and Bridget
  • Sloth: I Am Not a Pothead
  • Gluttony: Eating Out with Teresa and Tim
  • Envy: Meet the Rich
  • Pride: Jake and Kevin and the Queen of Sin
  • Anger: My Piece, My Unit
  • Welcome to Gomorrah
My Take: I'm a huge fan of Dan Savage and so far, the introduction is promising. I especially love the line on page 2 about how "[t]he virtuecrats haven't succeeded in halting the sale of rap CDs, the giving of blow jobs, or the getting of high." Should be a good read.

Well, it was. May or may not get to write more later, but this was both an interesting take on some of the hypocrisy of some of the aforementioned right-wing pundits' positions ... and, being by Dan Savage, laugh-out-loud funny in many places. Definitely one of his earlier works, and you can see how his style and some of his positions have evolved over the years, but very entertaining nonetheless.

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