HE'S SICK. Now that every major media player in the country has expressed its pious outrage over Dan Savage's caucus shenanigans, we can all agree that licking pens is bad. The call-in radio sex show host has surely received all the publicity he hoped to garner with such calculated misbehavior, even if the online publication Salon is now furiously distancing itself from the man it mistakenly hired to conduct professional journalism.
What's been lost in the uproar, however, is a long-view epidemiological analysis of Savage's past whereabouts and activities. Now, in an exclusive Seattle Weekly investigation based on exhaustive research at the NIH and CDC archives in Atlanta, a remarkable pattern has emerged. Across the nation, wherever swelling, itching, and burning are prevalent, Dan Savage was there. Around the globe, wherever contagion, fever, and nausea are commonplace, Dan Savage was there, too. In a series of data correlations too similar to be coincidental, Dan Savage has been conclusively linked to headaches, vomiting, and diarrhea on every continent he has ever visited.
When contacted for comment at the rural cabin where he's presently in hiding, the always uncontrite Savage explained the political message behind these maladies. Below, we present an overview of our findings:
Ebola: The first trans-species outbreak of this highly contagious virus occurred in central Zaire one week after Savage's 1995 safari to photograph chimps at a local tourist haunt. "Those bigoted baboons [sic] had it coming to them," Savage retorts. "Their intolerant attitudes towards same-sex intercourse got me riled, so I drooled on the peanuts we fed them. It's just that kind of primate homophobia that makes the zoo such a traumatic place for our queer youth to visit."
Legionnaires' Disease: Named for the 1976 American Legion convention where it first struck down its unsuspecting victims, this airborne pathogen has now been traced to the very same room at the fateful Philadelphia Ramada Inn where Dan Savage had stayed just one day before the convention began. "Those fat old Shriners were making all sorts of snide comments about 'sissy boys' and 'fairies' in the hotel bar that night," he explains. "And have you seen what they wear, for god's sake—those little tassled caps? So I spent the rest of the night coughing through their keyholes. They had it coming to them!"
Mad Cow Disease: On vacation in rural England during the mid-1980s, Savage was forced to endure the small-town banter of his bed-and-breakfast proprietors. "I didn't like the tone of their reactionary, Thatcherite attitudes. The insinuations about 'bangers and mash' were definitely meant as some kind of fag-bashing slur," Savage declares. Immediately thereafter, he set out into the pastures to spread bovine spongiform encephalopathy by mouth-breathing directly into the nostrils of startled cows.
Lyme Disease: Now widespread on the East Coast with a few isolated cases recently reported in our own state, this tick-borne illness has its origins in Savage's mid-'80s experiences in Connecticut, as he explains: "I got invited to this dreadful Greenwich cocktail party with all these Republican assholes in their polo shirts and Topsiders. They pretended to be so polite, but you just know they all voted for Reagan. So I brushed a few of my own ticks onto the local deer."
Swine Flu Vaccine: Of the ill-fated 1976 federal inoculation program that backfired so disastrously, Savage explains: "That bald Republican ingrate Gerald Ford didn't even thank the brave gay man [Oliver Sipple—Eds.] who saved him from an assassin [Sara Jane Moore—Eds.] in San Francisco in 1975. I decided that the best way to expose his queer-unfriendly administration was to systematically rub every government inoculation syringe in my armpit."
E. coli: Savage recounts how his rage at the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant chain led to our local 1993 outbreak of this deadly bacteria. "Look at their name and you can see what it clearly means: 'Jack, stay in the closet where you and your pervert buddies belong!' It's so obvious! So I spent a few weeks rolling naked on the frozen raw meat patties in their warehouse. Afterwards, I took a bath in the fruit juice vats at the Odwalla plant."
Hantavirus: The early '90s outbreak of this rodent-borne illness in the Southwest corresponds precisely to Savage's desert driving tour during that period. "My boyfriend and I were snapping some photos at a pueblo when I overheard someone saying something about a 'squaw-man,' which shows how even indigenous peoples aren't above casual homophobia. So I spent the next few weeks spitting down rat holes to stand up for gay rights."
Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Doctors agree that this highly contagious psychiatric condition is increasingly afflicting people exposed to Dan Savage (directly or by media). As one medical specialist explains, "The host carries with him the classic symptoms of megalomaniacal delusions of grandeur, a solipsistic world view, and extreme self-centeredness. He literally believes that the world revolves around him and his every word. The tragedy is that this illness is so easily avoided. Simply stop reading or listening to the disease carrier—ignore him, in other words—and you'll be safe."