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Rick Santorum And The Consequences Of Verbal Diarrhea

by Gareth Dimelow
5 January 2012 6 Comments

After Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum voiced his vile opinion on homosexuality, activist Dan Savage set about showing him the power of negative associations by creating the website 'Spreading Santorum' making him famous for all the wrong reasons.

Have you ever Googled yourself? It’s a weird experience, seeing how many times your name pops up on an internet search. Of course, the downside is that you have little or no control over the way you’re represented or perceived.

This is something that Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has learned the hard way, after picking a fight with the wrong minority group. You see, Rick’s one of those old-school ‘fire and brimstone’ evangelicals. In an ideal world, he’d be relegated to those weird cable channels, where he could spend years sermonising and begging for money from gullible pensioners, before being found in a cheap motel with an unwashed hooker and a crack-pipe. Instead, he’s got his heart set on the White House, which makes him more terrifying than Greg Stillson in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone. He’d like to ban birth control, outlaw abortion (even in cases of rape and incest) and assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. But in his apocalyptic ‘bring on The Rapture’ worldview, he reserves his most passionate rhetoric for those gosh darned homosexuals.

In a now-legendary interview with the Associated Press back in 2003, Santorum was asked whether gays simply needed to show a little more restraint when it came to indulging their base urges. His response: “Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality.”

Sadly, where homophobes are concerned, the paedophilia conflations are nothing new. But equating homosexuality with bestiality represented a new low. So activist and writer Dan Savage had a brainwave. He wanted to show Santorum the power of negative associations, and called on his readers to submit suggestions for something that Senator Rick could (unwittingly) lend his memorable name to. The winning neologism was “The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

Never one to renege on a promise, Savage built a website heralding the new term, and called on his followers to Googlebomb it. Within months, the ‘Spreading Santorum’ website was the number one result for anyone who Googled the crazy creationist’s name. Seriously, try it now and see what comes top of the list.

Recently, CNN tried to cover this story, but without explaining the ‘sexual neologism’ in question – inadvertently driving thousands of curious viewers to hit the search engines.

Those who argue that the online world is transient and ever changing, probably didn’t count on the stickiness of Santorum. Nine years later, and Rick is still smarting over his digital defiling, last year telling rollcall.com “The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate. It’s unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak.” Don’t be surprised if the White House wannabe adds ‘limiting freedom of speech’ to his to-do list.

With Santorum’s strong showing in the Iowa caucus this week, his ‘Google problem’ is gaining traction in the media. Interestingly, his campaign managers have done him no favours in cleaning up the mess, by neglecting to actively promote the former senator’s own web presence. According to Danny Sullivan, the editor of SearchEngineLand, “He hasn’t maintained any type of official ‘residence,’ if you will, for himself online, so he can’t build up links to the right place, which in turn would help him rise…”

It probably doesn’t help matters that every time his ‘problem’ gets mentioned in the press, it gets a little worse. Recently, CNN tried to cover this story, but without explaining the ‘sexual neologism’ in question – inadvertently driving thousands of curious viewers to hit the search engines. It’s a little like a policeman shouting ‘Nothing to see here’ through a bullhorn, in front of an enormous pile-up. If you tell someone not to look at something, there’s only one thing they’re going to do.

There are some who believe that Savage’s messy smear campaign has backfired, making him look like the bully and portraying Santorum as the victim. For instance, political advisor David Urban claimed that, “If you’re Rick Santorum and you’re making an argument that there’s certain people that wish you ill, there’s exhibit No. 1. You say: ‘You want to see my battle scars? Google my name. You don’t think I’ve been in the trenches for years? I’ve got the scars to prove it.’” That’s the standard right wing approach – say something discriminatory or offensive, wait for retaliation, and then paint yourself as the victim. And I’m not sure about the wisdom of inviting a bunch of easily-offended potential voters to Google ‘Santorum’, if you want their backing for a Presidential run.

As the contest for the Republican nomination heats up, it’s likely that Santorum is going to be in our faces for a few months yet. Better keep a pack of moist towelettes to hand.

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Barbara Sikes 2:44 pm, 6-Jan-2012

The wrong minority group. Yes, your beliefs are wrong, and YES, you are a minority. I hate to give you the bad news, but Christians are most definitely the minority and are here to stay...we've been here for over 2000 years and will still exist when this 'ole world ends. Instead of spreading all your vicious negativity over the internet, why don't you try concentrating on doing something good & positive & important? Just remember, there is more to this life than where we are existing now. You will be in my prayers.

dave 6:33 pm, 6-Jan-2012

Prayer is for the schizophrenic.

Gregg 9:59 pm, 6-Jan-2012

Santorum constantly voted against the 2nd Amendment but voted repeatedly to give Penn State pedophile Jerry Sandusky the congressional Angels in Adoption award. Newt loves illegals (amnesty) more than Americans (Newt wants to bring back child labor for US kids). Mitt thinks corporations are people (killing his general election chances). Ron Paul is the only candidate with a plan to end the TSA and end the endless wars for Israel, it all started a decade ago after a false flag attack. 9/11, US and Israel: http://www.amazon.com/America-Deceived-II-Possession-interrogation/dp/1450257437

deepo 10:39 pm, 6-Jan-2012

babs ... less time praying and more time studying correct english usage would be a good place to start ... x

kingkerouac 11:27 am, 7-Jan-2012

Can we let John Hinckley out now?

Harry Paterson 7:26 pm, 8-Jan-2012

LOL@Kingkerouac

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