|By City Pulse Staff|
Below are letters both in support and against City Pulse's new advice columnist, Dan Savage. If you would like to add your thoughts, feel free to comment below or, if you would like it considered for our print edition, email managing editor Andy Balaskovitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A big B for Bravery in giving Savage a test run; back in Buffalo, NYa NYC gal would graciously ship me the Village Voice interoffice when I confessed to occasionally paying $2.50/copy. Now brace yourselves alla you proud Mommas n Poppas because this will sting a LOT..
How 'bout y'all take all your cutesy-wootsey kiddie widdie BRATS stuff 'em in one of them extended plastic shopping cart/amusement rides ( blame the overinventive McCue Corp for that stroke of non genius ) and go to another goddam planet already? Or at least Antarctica cuz I hear it's always really cool down there, duuuude. But ya might hafta put down your lil e-toy and do some WORK to keep from freezing starving ( or at present, overheating ) like some people along the River Trail wrestle with daily.I sympathize w/them, not you whiny sacks of snuburban (sic) shite, capiche?
— “The (Cranky) Cosmic Codger”
I was surprised to see the backlash in this issue's letters against the switch from Advice Goddess to Savage Love. I'm pleased that you have dropped Amy Alkon. Dan Savage's subject matter may be more explicitly sexual, but I feel like his column is more "appropriate" for CityPulse's wide range of readers because he treats the people who solicit his advice with respect instead of taking cheap shots at their problems (and making bad puns.) Please keep Savage in the paper.
— Kate Brattin
Thank you for adding "Savage Love" this week. I've been a long-time reader of Savage (and now his podcast) and have looked up to him through my formative college years, his "It Gets Better" campaign and now as a 30 year old single woman.
— Britta Urness
Words cannot describe my reaction to the news that the so-called “Advice Goddess” had been replaced by Dan Savage … But I will try anyway. As an avid City Pulse enthusiast and as a “This American Life” devotee, I was over-over-overjoyed to discover that one of my favorite NPR contributors had joined your ranks. His frankness, open-mindedness, and wit has always delighted me to no end, and the fact that is refreshing perspectives will be featured in your already delightful publication — right about my favorite crossword, no less — is almost too much to bear. I would keep rambling about how happy this advice column switcheroo of yours has made me, but my allotted 15 minutes for break (I’m at work right now) is, alas, almost up.
So … thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you …
— Elizabeth Scheffel
I am amused that people are "Shocked! Shocked! Round up the usual suspects!" when it comes to the anti-family content of City Pulse.
A cover story on Marijuana; throughout the issue ‘grown-your-own’ advertisements. Turn It Down often features artist that hardly reflect ‘family values.’ Do you still run the Gentlemen's club ads?.
Your articles are often dense (the drainage district election) and I suspect the lip
movers probably ignore them.
You have no movie listings, you have no comics, so why are children (“Please protect children...”) picking up City Pulse? Because it’s free!
“I’ve been offended at your advertising on the back of your paper” but not one word about the lingerie ads in section one of The State Journal or of glossy underwear inserts! Oh!, that’s right, you have to pay for the Journal!
— Thomas Pollack
Savage Love, all the way. Advice Goddess was one of my least favorite parts of the Pulse. Alkon tries too hard to be funny or quirky, and her column usually falls flat. I’ve occasionally sought out Savage Love online over the years, and will be happy to read it weekly in lieu of Advice Goddess. Good luck with the “controversy.”
I was in Lansing, Michigan a few weeks ago to visit my daughter and wanted to find out what is going on in Lansing (wanted to find some theatre) and by reading the spots off from City Pulse, I was totally offended, appauled, etc at the SAVAGE LOVE column and then read back a week on Sept 12th on your defense of carrying such crap in your weekly. Actually, if this is a reflection of Lansing, it MUST be going down hill.
Actually the play we attended, Vigil with Timothy Busfield was well worth while so I am happy to have picked up the CITY PULSE.
However I feel that since this is a freebee paper, widely distributed in your area and totally available to young folks, what a terrible column to distribute. That type of an article belongs in the porn (how to do it) type magazines, not under the guise of info for Lansing.
I would wish you would reconsider carrying that trash , however I can see where it flies out of the mall with the folks wanting some titilation, however I do feel this should NOT BE for that type of information, not a class in sex ed.
Having said this (and I showed the paper to several friends and since they had not read the PULSE in depth, had missed it (thank goodness) but they all agreed that it DOES NOT belong in CITY PULSE. If I had any clout with any of your advertisers, you would be HISTORY.
— Mary Jayne HallifaxMunising
Okay I've given Dan a couple of weeks but I have to say....this is a real mistake. I am afraid that eventually you'll be loosing some of your accounts with places like Meridain Twp., Sparrow Hospital etc. who may feel less than comfortable (like I am) with the content of Dan's column. I also continue to have conerns about how this column may affect the very real credability that the City Pulse has with issues of real public interest among new readers who may be more middle of the road. Why not put Dan online where people who are interested can read his column and spare the rest of the general public. I used to be a fan of the Pulse. Now I cannot in good
I am disgusted by the addition of "Savage Love" to the City Pulse. I
read the column in the August 15-21, 2012 publication. The topics and,
even more, the language were unnecessarily graphic. I will not read or
bring into our home the City Pulse unless and until you drop this
Since you only got a couple dozen letters objecting to the new Savage Love column, let me add one. I opened the paper the other day expecting to find Amy's always amusing column only to find someone asking how he could deal with the inability to come without something up his ass. And the answer? Shove something up your ass. Really? This is what you want your readers to see when they open the paper? Talk about lowered expectations.
Two dozen wrote to complain, so how many wrote to say oh gosh how wonderful? No doubt in my mind you ditched AMy because she dared to differentiate between feminism and FEMINISM. Wasn't deferential enough, so out the door. You are right, you can;t edit a paper by consensus, especially when you ask about things most readers have not experienced. You want to add a new item? Run a couple samples and THEN ask us what we think.
I am not offended, I can write "fuck" and "shit" and so on with the best of them. Oh boy, teehee, he wrote actual cuss words right there in real print. WHo cares? But I find it disappointing you would simply pander to your choir. If you just want to be an alternative lifestyle paper, then go ahead and be one. Drop the self-conscious community stuff like Eyesore, and political coverage. That will free up space for a giant three-part comparison of various brands of anal-lube.
So Savage is in a whole list of free papers. Good for him, that is a lot more than I am in (none at this point, and not likely to increase). But how many of those papers do people have to PAY for to read him? They hand out free samples of Velveeta at the grocery store, but I sure as hell wouldn't BUY the stuff. You say there is an audience for him in this 400,000 size community. I am sure there is. If you look, there is also an audience for people who like to go skeet shooting while nude, or who love to rub cow manure over themselves. WHo is your larger audience, people looking for butt plugs? Or people struggling with relationships? How many of your readers need help with a relationship going sour versus those requiring butt plug advice? And why not a whole section on Bondage? I KNOW there are folks into that around here. Maybe even sponsor and organize the annual Old Town Bukkake Festival. Hell, we'll even let that guy bring his butt plug.
And why leave out the beastiality folks? I bet we could work up a promotion with the MSU sheep department and...
Dear Dan Savage: what is the worst part about fucking a cow? Ans: You have to walk ALL the way around front to kiss them when you are done.
"Relationships are relationships." You know, GLBT may have the additional problem of public acceptance of PDA, I am sure that is an extra burden, but it doesn;t alter the fact that gay or straight, the biggest problems any couple faces is communication within the relationship and within the immediate family/peergroup. And advice to a straight person about breaking up applies just as well to a gay couple. And for the record, I don;t want to watch straight couples sucking face at the shopping mall either.
Just as a naive straight guy, I could have sworn it was LGBT, but now GLBT? I don;t care, pick one, but am I confused? Sorry for the tangent...
SO fuck the profanity and explicit message, nothing there to overcome other than the giant lack of interest or appeal it generates...or fails to generate. Except for the issues bulked up by insert pages for some Old Town event, the paper is not very large to begin with. It is disappointing I now have one less page to bother to read. Well other than the crossword puzzle. Maybe you could screw up the puzzle too? "Cock" and "cunt" both four letter words starting with C. Perfect for the upper left corner.
It isn't interesting, it isn;t funny, screw it, it is a waste of time, and I'll take your advice and just turn the page. Too bad.
I hope these thoughts are of interest.
— Douglas "Enzo" McCallum
I have put this aside for a while and now come back to it to read our exchange. I appreciate your patience. I was angry at the time I sent the first email. That has not completely gone away but I can see this more clearly, now.
More clearly -- but not really any different.
I am very disappointed that you chose to drop Amy Alkon's column and fill it with Dan Savage's column. The two letters that he answered this week; the responses to them were so ridiculous, to say the least, and had no redeeming value whatsoever.
It fills me with sadness that, two weeks after some woman’s libber writes in about how “sexist” Amy is, her column is dropped. Is this the new policy that the paper holds, that if ONE person finds fault with something the paper is doing, it is dropped entirely? Stand your ground, Citypulse...Amy’s part in the paper was the ONE thing that I looked for when I picked up your copy every week. This new guy is the pits...
— D. Beswick
Savage Love? A column about fucking?
I finally got a free moment to read the weekly print edition ofCity Pulse, only to find via your Feedback page that Amy Alkon’s “Advice Goddess” column has been replaced, in your printedCity Pulse, by Dan Savage’s graphic and vulgar “Savage Love.” I don’t think I will subject myself to the online, full version of Savage’s advice column, for the printed version (edited for length) was more than enough.
Frankly, I’m puzzled at the letters from two supporters. One person claims that Savage treats his readers “…with respect…” when his answers are riddled with crude, locker-room language better suited for cable TV. The second writer was “delighted” with Savage’s so-called wit, although I don’t see anything witty about using the word motherf***er in his answers to his readers. I agree with William Rowan and Hedlun Walton. Amy Alkon possesses insight and style in her answers. She always leave me laughing! Savage’s responses ARE pornographic, to the point that he left me Fifty Shades of Nauseous.
The front cover of the printedCity Pulsestill proudly touts its perennial claim of being “a newspaper for the rest of us.” What “rest of us” are you referring to; the NC-17 crowd? Well, Mr. Savage got it half correct when he entitled his column. It is “Savage” but it has nothing to do with love.
— Amy Krycinski
As both a fan of amy alkon and dan savage, I must say Id rather have amy there. Dan savage is good from a writers stand point, but he seems very discriminatory in what he decides to reply to in the mail. I'm not a sexual prude and am a advid gay rights supporter, but I think that he seems to focus more in the "savage love" collum on things that makes a shocking headline for it or will at least get your attention if you glance at the question or answer for even a second. I realize he's trying to help those with sexual and relationship issues, but he seems to focus more on not only more sexual issues, but ones that no matter where you are on the scale of sexual freedom that make you go "am I really reading this?" My issue is not so much children reading this, but it seeming like amys collum, a more relatable advice collum, being replaced with one that seems to favor more...esoteric issues. Not everyone wants to read about other peoples sexual issues. Gay or straight. Amy at least had the decency to post relationship issues for both straight and gay people. Besides, parents have enough of a hard time explaining sex to their kids as is. Showing a story where a teenager asks what to do about having the hots toward his best friends mom, in which the given answer is to pleasure himself to her. Just because its true, does not mean it needs to be said out in the open. It is kinda awkward for anyone to read...
— Howard Tyrone Smith II
Recently I opened the City Pulse and – as has been the custom for years – turned to Amy Alkon’s column. In its place was “Savage Love,” which counseled one reader seeking advice to “go ahead and feel the shit out of your pissed-and-hurt feelings.” Mr. Savage then enjoined the fellow not to “go to war with your exes,” “trash them on Facebook,” or reveal himself to be “an angry and vindictive psycho” to mutual friends. I read the letter prompting this advice several times; there was absolutely nothing to indicate that the fellow seeking help was contemplating going “to war” or was vindictive, let alone “psycho.”
One hopes an advice columnist would possess a couple of key attributes; insight and style (see Amy Alkon’s column). Mr. Savage may be a great friend and full of good advice on a personal level, but solving non-problems and expressing himself with the style and class of an 8th grader trying to impress friends with “colorful language” won’t cut it for most readers.
And what’s wrong with the editorial board of the City Pulse? You are publishing in a city with a major university right next door. What about your younger readers? Is this the image of Lansing you want to project? I hope that the City Pulse is not taking a nose-dive in quality. If so, I will have no choice but to feel the shit out my feelings of disappointment and find something else to read.
— William Rowan
When my wife told me she wrote to the City Pulse to complain about the replacement of Amy Alkon with columnist Dan Savage, I rolled my eyes and wondered why she was making a big deal. I knew the Advice Godess is the first thing she reads each week, and I enjoy it myself, but I also know Savage is a popular columnist. I pointed out that the City Pulse suggested Amy's column could still be accessed on her website. After reading the first Lansing installment of Savage Love, though, I have to throw my full support behind my wife. I don't consider myself a prude, but the questions posed and Savage's responses are practically pornographic. No, not practically, they WERE pornographic. I like to leave the City Pulse out so guests might pick it up and look through it, but if the rest of his columns are like this, I'll probably be hiding it. Seems to me like that sort of content is what should be left to internet, and give us Amy back to spark conversation about relationships.
— Hedlun Walton
Please bringback the Advice Goddess column.Advice Goddess column was generalized for the Lansing public audience.The City Pulse is distributed at many locations throughout Lansing where children have free access to the Lansing City Pulse such as many public libraries.The new Savage Love column is more appropriatein adult onlypublication,not the Lansing City Pulse weekly publication distributed throught the Lansing area at libraries, grocery stores, etc.The 1st Savage Love article is not appropriate for children who have easy access to the Lansing City Pulse.As a47 year old woman who is a wife and mother, I thought the Savage Love subject matter was for adult only and not for general public.Please keep in mindvery young minds are reading the Lansing City Pulse since available at public libraries.Savage Love column is not appropriate for your publication's general audience.Please protect children andremove the Savage Love column because not appropriate for all ages reading.
— Beth Bechtel
I'm writing to let you know how disappointed I am in the Pulse for choosing to run Dan Savage's syndicated column “Savage Love.” As a regular reader, I’m requesting that you reconsider this decision and replace the column with something more beneficial to the community.
I am one of your weekly readers that often turned to quickly read the Ask Amy (The Advice Goddess) before getting to other articles. I was very sad to see that she was no longer in the paper, and Savage Love from my perspective is a waste of space. Not impressed by the writing, remarks or even questions. At times I've been offended at your advertising on the back of your paper, having to explain to my kids, why there are half dressed, oddly positioned women advertising clothing--but Amy's column, was witty, smart and offered a female perspective that was balanced, humorous and insightful. If my 8 year old daughter chose to read it, then I'm guessing there would be some explaining to do, but it would be thought provoking.
I have been a politically active person in the lansing area for many years; you may not remember me but you have interviewed me several years ago on a locally significant political issue. I have been supportive vocally and financially of virtually all issues usually referred to as leftist positions, certainly including LGBT for longer than City Pulse has been in existence.
Amy Alkorn was not ideal but I did enjoy the humor and generally, it was not attacking the writer. i also enjoyed that she wrote with an adults command of the English language, creatively humorous and with either a significant understanding of the literature and research about the relationship issue or a willingness to do some research.
The eighth grade writing about issues I have no problem allowing people their freedom to explore but have no support for finding them in print is a big problem for me. I don't censor it at all but i don't want to be around it.
Since I have depended on the City Pulse for being the only critique of significant issues for Lansing people who care about their government, IT IS WITH A DEEP SENSE OF LOSS THAT I STOP READING THE CITY PULSE. I could read everything else and avoid this trash writing but I look at the cover of your paper and i see and feel ugliness. I do not need to do that to myself.
Apparently the loss of the Advice Goddess has generated some ongoing dialogue and letters to the editor both in favor and in strong opposition to Dan Savage's column.
My husband shared with me the podcast that he listened to on This American Life regarding Dan's Catholic upbringing and his mother's acceptance or him as well as ongoing Catholicism. It sounds like other readers have previously heard Dan Savage and like you, appreciate the other efforts he has made nationally with "It Gets Better Project" campaign and his promotion and definition of Santorum. I can appreciate their interest in Dan Savage and they have always had access to him via the internet, podcasts, etc and your publication of his column does not change that. However taking away Ask Amy has changed my recent experience in reading The City Pulse.
I saw that you had published my letter to the editor two weeks ago, when I picked up a copy at our local library, with my children. I read about another reader's concern with Savage Love's content and placement at all the CADL libraries--that resonated with me as well. I laughed out loud this week in reading another reader's revelation that he might have to "fill the shit out of my feelings of disappointment and find something else to read." I had not read Savage Dan's (that is how I've begun to refer to him) article last week but appreciated the reader's critique of his column and his perspective that Amy's column offered insight and style.
This morning a friend stopped over and was talking about my husband's letter to the editor published this week, and then they made a joke about referencing a sleeping disorder. I asked what they were talking about and Hedlun asked me if I had read Savage's recent column,--I had not--so he indicated I would miss the reference. Well,I then READ Savage Dan--and was instantly appalled again--which perhaps is the desired outcome. Looking up savage in the dictionary "1. fierce; cruel 2. wild; primitive 3. member of a primitive tribe 4. cruel or barbarous person 5. attack", so it seems reasonable to believe his placement in your paper is primarily for shock value.
When he writes, "In fact, there have been severalhigh profile rape and child abuse cases involving sexsomnia"--WHAT is he talking about? Is it a reference to Sandusky's defense, the war on women--is this the same "facts" that Akin was referring to with "legitimate rape" --this is shocking and not what I want to expose myself to. There is enough hyped up, fear based negative discourse out there, I have always thought the City Pulse offered so much more.
So yes, you've gotten a reaction, but unfortunately what I want to do is pick up a City Pulse each week and RIP OUT his column leaving it where I took it and just bring the rest of the paper home. My less reactionary husband suggested this would not be helpful to the library, Meijer or other establishments and make it more likely that a young person may find and read it. And this of course is not my desired outcome either. When City Pulse asked me to write and call Meijer to keep your publication recently, I did. Years ago, when my husband suggestedI take a child welfare case to your paper, I did. I've been impressed with your local coverage of politics, community as well as global issues, and of course the weekly dose of Amy's wit and humor.
I found out during professional developmentthis week that customers who are unhappy with the service provided by a business will complain to 18 other people and not necessarily the business itself. If you are exceptionally happy about someone's service, you'll let 8 people know. So it is fortunate that you've received feedback recently both positive and negative about your paper's service. One of the key indicators of a customer's dissatisfaction, which many places of business do not recognize is when a customer asks "Why?" So I'm going to askagain, "Why did you replace Ask Amy with Savage Love?" Why can't you have a link to your online publication to Savage Dan and keep Amy's column for the "rest of us"? Why when you are celebrating 11 years of connection to the community and the LSJ is floundering, you are risking alienating many of your regular readers?
It was noted at the top of Savage Love, that it was edited for length and the full version can be found on the internet. I would recommend you edit the whole thing right out ofyour paper and BRING AMY BACK. I'll be very glad to tell more than 18 people if you do that--think my husband will too--as it will make for a more harmonious home and from my perspective an exceptional Lansing paper.
— Stephanie Hirchert-Walton
I have been waiting to write to let you know how infrequently I pick up the City Pulse since the addition of the Savage column.
Ordinarily I pick up the City Pulse to learn what’s going on in the area, or to get some additional details about city projects or issues impacting my community. I rarely read Ask Amy, but I thought she had a place in the newspaper “for the rest of us.” Edgier than Dear Abby, and entertaining.
Since the addition of the Savage column, I find that I am now on high alert when I see the City Pulse because now instead of a paper that I feel I can easily pass along to my children to read (ages 16, 14, 11) to find more information about a topic, I find it to be a paper that I want to scan to see if there is some topic in the Savage column more suited for an adult pornography magazine.
You can kid yourselves and say that it’s a progressive column, and it’s hip, but I can tell you that the ease and which I pick it up is now gone – it’s porn.
Similar to what other readers have told you, I feel I should add, “I am not a prude, but..” this really doesn’t fit in a paper billed as being for the rest of us.
— Yvette Collins
I used to look forward to getting my copy of City Pulse each week. Its a great publication for learning what is going on in Lansing, and the crossword isn't too shabby either.I also used to enjoy reading the advice column.
But after reading the last issue, I was very disappointed when I read the column by Mr. Savage. I thought I would give it one more try this week. I'm sorry I wasted my time. I am college educated, andI like to think I am open-minded. At first I thought, "ok, good- an alternative perspective". But I am also a mother and a grandmother, and I find his column extremely offensive. There is no place in your newspaper for vile language and graphic descriptions of sexual acts. This latest paperMr. Savageused, and you PRINTED, the word motherf*****.
I am thoroughly disgusted, and I will no longer read your publication until this column, or a much less offensive version of it, is gone. Just because you have the freedom of speech to print whatever you want does not mean you SHOULD. This is just another harbinger of a failed society. I willrecommend to everyone I speak to that no one else read your publication until this changes.
— Kimberly Phillips
I wanted to thank you for yourreply to my letter regarding Dan Savage. The list of "major" newspapers and publications is certainly "impressive". I was also impressed by your statement that "other people aren't bothered at all" by his column. Especially since your last two issues contain letters from other citizens who are equally disgusted with this column. Everywhere I go in this cityImeet people who aredisgusted. I picked up one last paper in the hope that the column would at least be "toned down". Unfortunately, it just contained even more profanity and blatant sexual references. This is not New York City, this is Lansing, Michigan. This is a family community. It is not even technically legal to SPEAK those words in public, yet you choose to print them in a free public paper for all, including children, to see. You do not need to reply to this letter. It would be deleted and not read anyway. There is nothing you can say in a semi-form letter that could easethe shame that the City Pulse should feel.
— Kimberly Phillips
Dan Savage's column does not belong in City Pulse. 1) There are many good local columnists (on various topics) that have been displaced (from Noiseand the Lansing State Journal)in the past several years that might very well speak to a broader more local base. 2) It could very well be used as cause for distribution outlets not to carry the paper; and high school teachers, say, who might want to ask their students to readCity Pulseor follow a particular topic in it could get in a lot of hot water needlessly (you don't want to recommend people notread the paper). 3) It's just too explicit and too crude.
I'd like to suggest instead that you have a column perhaps titled "Pulse of the City" in which letters are circulated via e-mail to public figures or identifiable groups (or just to anybody who's interested in reading and replying), and the best of the letters and responses (selected by a column coordinator or editor) be published. This could result in "The Lansing City Council Advises on Love", or "Lansing Area Firefighters Advise on Food Shopping and Cooking", etc.
Keep it local, keep it clean, keep it witty, and get more people involved.
— Helene Solheim
After picking up the latest issue of City Pulse, and seeing the "Savage Love" filth on the pages 3& 21,I'm not certain I want to continue reading your publication. Please stick to what you do best - analysis of the local political situation, interesting mid-Michigan business and history, and reviews of theater and restaurants / food. Leave out the sleezy porn.
— Larry Doyle
How unfortunate that the City Pulse feels it necessary to hire columnist Dan Savage. His response certainly borders on pornographic and offered no helpful information.
Your editorial board certainly needs to take a good look at who they are hiring: Is this truly the image the City Pulse would like to project?
— Fran Calkins