We knew we were taking a chance, back in the July 19, 2006, issue of Creative Loafing, when we asked readers to vote on whether to allow Dan Savage to become part of the CL family.
Savage had been the sex columnist for Seattle's alternative weekly The Stranger since 1991, and his column, Savage Love, had been running in dozens of newspapers across the nation. And, as we wrote in that issue, "But as [Charlotte] continues its evolution from Old Stifled South to New Progressive South, we figured we'd take a chance and see if we've become collectively more open-minded and accepting over the years." To that end, we asked readers to vote on whether to begin running Savage Love in our pages ... and then braced for a potential backlash over the fact that we would even ask such a question.
The results floored us. It was a landslide, with an overwhelming majority of readers voting to add the column. (To measure it by political standards, the results were akin to Ronald Reagan pulverizing Walter Mondale 49 states to one.) Here's a sampling of the comments received with the "Yes" votes:
• "Please, please, please run Savage Love. Dying cities like Cincinnati don't run Savage Love for fear of its 'adult' nature, but then, they can't attract and keep young professionals and a 'creative class.' Plus, Dan Savage is not just a sex columnist, but also a political columnist/activist."
• "Absolutely, you should regularly run Savage Love. I had almost stopped checking out Creative Loafing until today, when I was leaving an establishment at lunch, saw the great cover and started browsing. Hey, I like Creative Loafing again -- going to take it home and share it with the wife!!! Thanks, guys!"
• "Yes, please run Savage Love in future CLs. He is providing great advice, with a very wry sense of humor, which fits the pages of CL perfectly!"
• "I vote 'YES' for Mr. Savage!!! Frank, no BS and to the point. Folks need to hear the truth for a change without the watered down version."
• "Yes! Dan Savage would be an amazing addition to Creative Loafing."
So Dan Savage was greeted by us with open arms, and that should have been that. But, anything as controversial as Savage Love isn't going to be allowed to settle in for a comfortable ride. And sure enough, every few months, we hear from some offended reader or advertiser arguing for its removal. So 20 months after its addition, it's time to ask ourselves -- and our loyal readers -- if this city was really prepared to handle Dan the Man after all.
It's up to you to let us know. Simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org voting "Yes" or "No" on whether to keep Savage Love. And it would also be helpful to leave a reason as to why you feel he should stay or go (e.g. "He should stay because he's so funny" or "He should go because I'm offended when he uses naughty words"). We'll keep ya posted on the outcome.