My father is a friendly, kind, all-around good guy. We get along well and always have. But I now have to avoid all political discussions with him. He was always a bit socially conservative, but now he gets a lot of batshit crazy and simply dumb ideas from the scourge of our nation today: Fox News. How can we stop the dumbing down of our society by Fox News, Dan? We have to do something about this malady!
“Anonymous is right – Fox News is a malady, one that I’ve often joked is worse than Ebola,” said the documentary filmmaker Jen Senko. “It destroys families and has torn apart the country. That’s pretty powerful.”
Here’s what Senko did about it: She made “The Brainwashing of My Dad,” a terrific documentary exploring how Fox News and other right-wing media turned her mild-mannered, nonpolitical father into a ranting, raving, right-wing fanatic.
“We need to stigmatize ‘Faux News,’” Senko said. “I make it a point when I walk into a restaurant or some other public place and they have on Faux News of politely asking them to turn it off. I write to news outlets when they try to emulate Fox and complain.”
But how do you get your own dad to turn off Fox News?
“Speaking to loved ones is important, but it’s difficult,” Senko said. “You have to approach them in a calm way, starting the conversation on neutral ground. Sometimes just getting them out of the house and away from the TV helps. There is a group called Hear Yourself Think (hearyourselfthink.org) that focuses on deprogramming Fox News viewers. You will find plenty of advice there. But if you can sit down with your loved one and tell them you are concerned about their anger and their worry and you feel that Fox News is helping to generate that, it can be a conversation opener. You can also get them to try to watch our movie!”
Go to thebrainwashingofmydad.com and watch the trailer to learn more about Senko’s terrific film. And you can – and you should – follow Senko on Twitter @Jen_Senko.
I am a trans man and I have no love life. But I did just hook up with a friend two nights ago. It was the first time I’ve had sex in more than a year.
My problem is that it was a “one-time thing.” I was hoping to be FWB at least. I’m furious with myself for giving that away for what amounted to a hookup, and thoroughly sorry for myself for it being a “one-time thing,” because it nearly always is. I feel thoroughly unlovable and dejected right now. I was raised a Boston Irish Catholic, and I have PTSD from my parents being difficult. In a backward way, I hope the issue for others is tied to the fallout from my upbringing – because that’s something everyone has problems with, and those things, while not entirely fixable, are manageable and not so visible. I worry it’s not that, though. I worry my being trans is the first problem a potential partner sees. I am a man with a twat – a forlorn, underused twat at that.
Not Often Picked, Everyone Not Interested Sexually
Buck Angel is a public speaker, a filmmaker, an activist and a trans man, NOPENIS, who famously and fearlessly bills himself as “the man with a pussy.” I passed your letter on to him because who better to answer a question from a man with a twat than the man with a pussy?
“Anyone who hasn’t had sex in more than a year is going to find it scary to get back out there and start again,” said Buck. “And starting again with a body that you might not be 100 percent comfortable with yet? That’s even scarier. The first thing that NOPENIS needs to hear – and really believe – is that he is lovable. And he is, even if he doesn’t know it yet.”
The second order of business: You gotta stop beating yourself up over that one-night stand. Take it from Buck, your fellow trans man, and take it from me, your fellow Irish Catholic queer: You didn’t do anything wrong, you didn’t give anything away – hell, you were doing something right.
“Hookups can be important for understanding your body sexually,” Buck said. “So NOPENIS shouldn’t be mad at himself. We learn and grow from our experiences, even if they’re bad ones. And here’s what I learned from my first experiences in the gay men’s world of sex: Hookups are the way it’s done. I was not prepared for that because I’d had sex only with women before my transition. That was hard for me, too, at first. But what I learned was that I wasn’t being rejected, even if it was only a one-night thing. I was being accepted in a way I wasn’t used to.”
Finally, NOPENIS, you’ve got to stop seeing your body and your twat as problems. It’s the only body you’ll ever have, and it’s a body some will find attractive and some won’t. Some guys will be attracted to your body (and you, ideally) for its differences – not attracted to your body (ditto) despite its differences.
“NOPENIS absolutely shouldn’t count himself out just because he’s trans,” said Buck. “The world is different now, and many people are attracted to trans men sexually. He just needs to learn to love himself and to have sexual confidence, because people find that attractive. And he should continue to experiment and continue to embrace new experiences!”
For more Buck, go to buckangel.com. And you can – and should – follow Buck on Twitter @BuckAngel.
I have a friend who is getting married. She’s cheated on every guy she’s been with, including her last three husbands. This will be her fourth marriage. I’m sure she’s fed the new guy a million reasons why her first three marriages didn’t work out. She’s obviously a sex fiend, but she’s not kinky. And here’s the punch line: I found her fiancé’s profile on Fetlife, and he has some hardcore fetishes – even by my standards! I’m sure his kinks are going unexplored within their relationship/engagement and that they will go unexplored once they’re married, as my friend has been horrified during discussions of my attendance at BDSM events. I know your rule is generally to “stay the [bleep] out of it,” but I have a rule that goes like this: “I would like to know that the person I’m dating is a serial cheater who’s probably after me for my money.” So do I warn the guy?
F—ed Regarding Imperiling Ensuing Nuptials, Dan
Mind your own business, FRIEND, and do so with a clear conscience – because these two sound perfect for each other. He’s on Fetlife looking for someone to diaper him, and she’s probably cheating on him already. If your friend is still a dishonest, lying, heartbreaking cheat – if she’s still making monogamous commitments she cannot keep – why stop her from marrying a man who is already cheating on her or is likely to cheat on her shortly after the wedding? To gently paraphrase William Shakespeare: “Let thee not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.”
Watching these two walk down the aisle will be like watching two drunk drivers speed around a closed racetrack. Maybe they’ll crash, maybe they won’t; maybe they’ll die in a fire, maybe they’ll get out alive. But so long as no one else is gonna get hurt, why risk your own neck trying to pull these [bleep]ers over?
Dan Savage is a nationally syndicated sex advice columnist writing for The Stranger in Seattle. Contact him at [email protected] or @fakedansavage on Twitter and listen to his podcast every week at savagelovecast.com