Jesurgislac’s Journal

January 15, 2009

Savage Saddlebacking

Mocking Rick Warren:

My life’s purpose over the last week was reading thousands of proposed new definitions for “saddlebacking” sent in by my readers. As with the new definition of santorum crafted by Savage Love readers (“the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes a byproduct of anal sex”), the new definition of “saddlebacking” has to be some act that (1) needs a name but doesn’t already have one (we can’t just rename “reverse cowgirl,” people) and (2) is naughty enough to discomfort, say, a Reverend Warren, but something that actual people might actually do because that’s the only way the actual word will actually get used.

If you click on the link, you can find what definitions 2 to 7 are, but for my money, the best definition is number one:

Saddleback: “Logically, if ‘barebacking’ means having butt sex with no condom, then ‘saddlebacking’ should mean having butt sex with a condom.” Dan Savage notes: (1) I like the idea that “sex” is understood to include condoms and that sex without condoms—bareback sex—needs a special term. But tons of people suggested that “saddlebacking” should be the opposite of “barebacking,” so here it is.

I like this especially for mocking Rick Warren, because Warren’s much touted global AIDS work is on evangelical Christian lines. Warren doesn’t promote saddlebacking, so his church should be made to – by name, if not by tithing.

It is worth noting that during the 2000 campaign, Bush, a born-again Christian, promised to provide more federal funding to faith-based groups working on various social problems. Thus it may be no coincidence that some of the same people who once treated the issue of AIDS with indifference suddenly seemed so concerned about it. Do evangelical Christian groups have a role to play in fighting the AIDS epidemic? Maybe they do, but at the moment they are engaged in an unseemly battle with secular AIDS organizations over US government contracts that could derail what little progress there has been in combating the epidemic.

Most of the $15 billion in the AIDS plan is to be spent on treatment and care for people with AIDS, but $1 billion is earmarked for HIV prevention through abstinence-only-until-marriage education. Since 1996, the US government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on similar programs in American schools. These programs teach children that heterosexual intercourse within marriage is the only safe and acceptable form of sexual behavior. Teachers in those programs are barred from mentioning condoms and birth control—except their failure rates. (God and the Fight Against AIDS, Helen Epstein)

Some of the other definitions are highly ingenious, but none have the poetic appropriateness of definition 1, so I would like you to vote for that definition from the list of nominees by sending an e-mail to saddleback@savagelove.net, including “saddleback: 1” in your subject line. Or, if you must, vote for another definition, one you like better (put the number of your preferred definition in the subject line to have your vote count – “saddleback: 1,” “saddleback: 2,” etc.) But vote now!


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