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In Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Among them: Greed: Gamblers reveal secrets behind outrageous fortune. Lust: "We're swingers!"-you won't believe who's doing it. Anger: Texans In Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Among them: Greed: Gamblers reveal secrets behind outrageous fortune. Lust: "We're swingers!"-you won't believe who's doing it. Anger: Texans shoot off some rounds and then listen to Dan fire off on his own about guns, gun control, and the Second Amendment. Combine a unique history of the Seven Deadly Sins, a new interpretation of the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and enough Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Laura, and Bill O'Reilly bashing to more than make up for their incessant carping, and you've got the most provocative book of the fall.


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In Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Among them: Greed: Gamblers reveal secrets behind outrageous fortune. Lust: "We're swingers!"-you won't believe who's doing it. Anger: Texans In Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Among them: Greed: Gamblers reveal secrets behind outrageous fortune. Lust: "We're swingers!"-you won't believe who's doing it. Anger: Texans shoot off some rounds and then listen to Dan fire off on his own about guns, gun control, and the Second Amendment. Combine a unique history of the Seven Deadly Sins, a new interpretation of the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and enough Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Laura, and Bill O'Reilly bashing to more than make up for their incessant carping, and you've got the most provocative book of the fall.

30 review for Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trin

    Essays on the glory of sin. Savage tackles each sin individually, coming at most of them from interesting and unique angles. For Greed he explores the psychology of gambling, for Lust he talks about swinging; Sloth leads to a discussion of marijuana; Gluttony brings him to a pro-fat conference, Envy to a health spa filled with rich people; Pride becomes an analysis of gay pride; and Anger finds him holding a gun. Each section is full of interesting information and anecdotes, and while Savage doe Essays on the glory of sin. Savage tackles each sin individually, coming at most of them from interesting and unique angles. For Greed he explores the psychology of gambling, for Lust he talks about swinging; Sloth leads to a discussion of marijuana; Gluttony brings him to a pro-fat conference, Envy to a health spa filled with rich people; Pride becomes an analysis of gay pride; and Anger finds him holding a gun. Each section is full of interesting information and anecdotes, and while Savage does not actually find himself glorying in all seven sins (the chapter on gluttony is so scary, mostly because it shows that the way America eats, doesn't eat, treats people who eat too much or eat too little, or even thinks about eating is so incredibly unhealthy and fucked up), he does raise far more than seven important questions about American society, and reveals how it's both better and worse than we think it is. The essential argument of the book—directed mostly, but not entirely, at the religious right—is "if I am not hurting anyone else, please keep the hell out of my personal life," and it's one I agree with. (Of course, what to do when people are hurting themselves is a tougher issue.) I'm not sure if anything Savage says in this book would actually convince anyone on the other side, although that's a near-impossible task, as for the most part, I don't think they'd really listen to him in the first place. However, if everyone put as much thought and consideration into all these issues as Savage does, I think the country would be in much better shape.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Dan Savage, of Savage Love fame, decides he'll check out the Seven Deadly Sins and give you an updated account. It's interesting and often rather scary; he neither tries to glorify sinful behavior nor condemn it in advance. He just wants to find out the facts for himself, and let you know what he discovered. He's quite imaginative about picking a good modern example of each sin. His descriptions of the bizarre people who think that extreme obesity is attractive were fascinatingly disgusting, and Dan Savage, of Savage Love fame, decides he'll check out the Seven Deadly Sins and give you an updated account. It's interesting and often rather scary; he neither tries to glorify sinful behavior nor condemn it in advance. He just wants to find out the facts for himself, and let you know what he discovered. He's quite imaginative about picking a good modern example of each sin. His descriptions of the bizarre people who think that extreme obesity is attractive were fascinatingly disgusting, and I liked his meeting with the very upmarket prostitute and her gay hooker boyfriend. His brushes with gambling and gun culture were also well done, and thought-provoking in a less dramatic way. At the end of the book, you agree that there's a reason why they're called Deadly Sins. A fine piece of journalism.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth O

    "No virtuous man has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading." -H.L. Mencken Actual book: 2 stars Book premise/gimmick: 4 stars Subject matter and subsequent book club discussion: 5+ stars I think the subtitle might should have been "I, Dan Savage, take personal issue with x,y,z conservative pundits and use these pages to attack their points as well as use my publisher to fund a few adventures I'm personally interested in". I was turned "No virtuous man has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading." -H.L. Mencken Actual book: 2 stars Book premise/gimmick: 4 stars Subject matter and subsequent book club discussion: 5+ stars I think the subtitle might should have been "I, Dan Savage, take personal issue with x,y,z conservative pundits and use these pages to attack their points as well as use my publisher to fund a few adventures I'm personally interested in". I was turned off immediately. I'm fairly left-of-center politically so, although I agreed with most of Dan's commentary, his presentation was hideously divisive and inflammatory--- a leftist Ann Coulter if you will. The book was written for only one audience and it could have been so much more interesting and thoughtful if he had broadened his scope and used fewer absolutes. He was repetitive and tangential with misuse of "evidence" and "statistics". Dan has some quite humorous passages, but I hated how he continually attempted being "surprised" in his adventures as a weak form of ironic humor for his readers. He doesn't do any research ahead of time, and never has a cover story prepared as he doesn't want to tell anyone he's writing a book. One example is his "surprise" that an Ashram where wealthy people go to meditate and lose weight isn't actually luxurious-- he even has a roommate for his $500 a night. Okay, like, he couldn't possibly have known this beforehand?! I did like the parts that referred to the history/creation of the 7 deadly sins. I thought the greed portion (Dan goes gambling) had some interesting insights--- the idea that, as a society we see so much drama only in media and live quiet lives ourselves. Gambling is a way to feel BIG EMOTION immediate and deep. "Affluence bring with it boredom." Essentially, "winners" at life gamble to feel a thrill. "Losers" at life gamble for a thrill AND a chance to feel like a winner. A good quote: "Indeed, it has long been my belief that the "bad" are frequently MORE virtuous in their private pursuit of vice than the good are in the public pursuit of compulsory virtue. Sinners, unlike the virtuous, do not attempt to impose their definition of happiness on others. I've never met a gay person who wanted to make a straight person gay, but straight church groups take out full-page ads in newspapers trying to convince gay people to become straight." Similar to a meme I just saw regarding COVID masking and Utahns (largely Mormon-populated) horrendous rising number of cases: "Are all the Utahns yelling about mandated masks being an infringement on their rights going to let me start buying boxed wine in grocery stores? Or is the feigned concern for liberty and government overreach limited to their preferences? The world may never know." As I said, the discussion was GREAT and I loved thinking on both anecdotes from the book and the 7 deadly sins presence or absence in our own personal lives. We discussed which sin we think we embody most, which one we'd like to see less of, which one we want to embrace. AND we all got themed goody bags. Not telling what was in mine though ;) Thanks Jeannie!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lord Beardsley

    I don't really feel like I learned anything in particular from this book. It was entertaining at times and at other times sort of tedious and unsurprising. Most of the time, I felt like I'd already read/seen/heard this about a thousand times before. He had a nice point that we all should stop trying to regulate one another's pleasures and vices and just be. That's a pretty revolutionary thing to say in this day and age (a time of right wingers and left wingers scolding one another while nothing I don't really feel like I learned anything in particular from this book. It was entertaining at times and at other times sort of tedious and unsurprising. Most of the time, I felt like I'd already read/seen/heard this about a thousand times before. He had a nice point that we all should stop trying to regulate one another's pleasures and vices and just be. That's a pretty revolutionary thing to say in this day and age (a time of right wingers and left wingers scolding one another while nothing in the end being accomplished). So I give him that, which is essentially why I gave this book 3 stars. This book made me realize how quickly dated September 11 hysteria is. Many times, Dan Savage states that he feels that the war is "justified". This may have been written before America went into Iraq (if that is the case, and he is just referring to Afganistan then I suppose I can understand where he's coming from). I am very curious to know, at this point, where the author stands on that. That's his beliefs and all and he's entitled to them, but I really am skeptical of anyone who finds this war at all justified at this point and am consequently bored of listening to what I consider, a load of horseshit. I can't really see how any war were a bunch of yokels from Oklahoma and Texas are sent in to capitolize on mass suffering as "justified" so I don't agree with ya there Dan, but otherwise I find your beliefs on the concept of "gay pride" awesome and deserve a strong hallelujah. Bottom line: not super-plused, but I'll gladly read another book by Mr. Savage. We can agree to disagree, which is I think a theme found at the heart of this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Punk

    Non-fiction. Dan Savage heads out to chase down America's seven deadly sins. After a weak start (the first chapter reads like an angry blog entry), he pulls himself together, and the rest of the book is infinitely more focused and professional. It's funny, well researched and, unlike his grouchy responses to the pilgrims of Savage Love, here he treats people with patience and respect while he travels the country indulging in greed (Vegas), lust (wife-swapping), and gluttony (super-size it) -- ju Non-fiction. Dan Savage heads out to chase down America's seven deadly sins. After a weak start (the first chapter reads like an angry blog entry), he pulls himself together, and the rest of the book is infinitely more focused and professional. It's funny, well researched and, unlike his grouchy responses to the pilgrims of Savage Love, here he treats people with patience and respect while he travels the country indulging in greed (Vegas), lust (wife-swapping), and gluttony (super-size it) -- just to name a few. Savage addresses the right-wing virtuecrat scolds and counters their superstitious arguments against such crowd favorites as same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana. He's read what Robert Bork, Patrick J. Buchanan, William J. Bennett, and Dr. Laura have to say, and he neatly pokes holes in their tangled demands for a more moral America. It makes this book more than an angry rant against the right. It makes it a strong argument against the right's push for a more virtuous America. Four stars. My advice is to just skip the introduction and head straight for the sinnin'.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brook

    I highly recommend this book. Dan Savage is the syndicated gay columnist who writes some really funny advice columns. Here, he explores each of the "seven deadly sins" in one of there modern iterations. For example, for "Gluttony," he visits a Fat Admirer (FA) convention in Vegas. It's filled with big, big women, and the men that love them. For "Lust", he interviews a very well-to-do "normal" couple in, I believe, Chicago. They are married, have kids, white-collar jobs, but are involved in the s I highly recommend this book. Dan Savage is the syndicated gay columnist who writes some really funny advice columns. Here, he explores each of the "seven deadly sins" in one of there modern iterations. For example, for "Gluttony," he visits a Fat Admirer (FA) convention in Vegas. It's filled with big, big women, and the men that love them. For "Lust", he interviews a very well-to-do "normal" couple in, I believe, Chicago. They are married, have kids, white-collar jobs, but are involved in the swinging community. This one was the most interesting for me, because he talked about aspects of human physiology that I had learned about in the past, how neither human males nor females being hard-wired for monogamy (not that this is some sort of excuse for multiple partners). The book is really funny and entertaining, and takes you into subcultures (FA, Swinging, other stuff) that you dont hear much or anything about. Entertaining if nothing else.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Naomi V

    This review is for all of Dan Savage's books. Let me just get this out of the way: I love Dan Savage, I love his podcast, I love his columns, and I love his books. Dan Savage mixes good old-fashioned common sense, a progressive view of . . . just about everything, a wry sense of humor, and a wicked use of the English language to tell about his coming-out, his adoption of a child and his subsequent marriage to his partner. His books are full of wit and self-deprecating humor. I read the three boo This review is for all of Dan Savage's books. Let me just get this out of the way: I love Dan Savage, I love his podcast, I love his columns, and I love his books. Dan Savage mixes good old-fashioned common sense, a progressive view of . . . just about everything, a wry sense of humor, and a wicked use of the English language to tell about his coming-out, his adoption of a child and his subsequent marriage to his partner. His books are full of wit and self-deprecating humor. I read the three books that I own in the space of a week, one after the other, and laughed out loud (and cried in public!) Although I don't always agree with Dan (I know; that's a surprise, isn't it?) he always presents his case in a rational, informative way. Okay, usually.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth Barnett

    A fun and thoughtful book. Savage, the syndicated "Savage Love" sex-advice columnist, takes it upon himself to examine and celebrate the "seven deadly sins" as they are manifested in American culture. He looks into gambling, sexual swingers' culture, attends a convention of a fat acceptance group, smokes pot, shoots some guns, attends a gay pride parade, and even rents "escorts" (to interview them, not for sex). Although not every line of this book is a masterpiece, as a whole it is entertaining A fun and thoughtful book. Savage, the syndicated "Savage Love" sex-advice columnist, takes it upon himself to examine and celebrate the "seven deadly sins" as they are manifested in American culture. He looks into gambling, sexual swingers' culture, attends a convention of a fat acceptance group, smokes pot, shoots some guns, attends a gay pride parade, and even rents "escorts" (to interview them, not for sex). Although not every line of this book is a masterpiece, as a whole it is entertaining and thought provoking for sure, and I recommend it for anyone with an open mind and a resentment of those annoying and hypocritical right-wing, conservative "scolds."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nara

    What a fun thing Dan Savage does, here! He does a wee "case study" of each of the seven deadly sins - Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride - exploring a variety of subcultures, from groups of the morbidly obese to riverboat gamblers as he does it. It's a weirdly memorable book; the way he chooses to look at each "sin" is a little random, but the experiences he has are told in his inimitable style, and some of them really stuck with me. Definitely worth a read; it hasn't dated its What a fun thing Dan Savage does, here! He does a wee "case study" of each of the seven deadly sins - Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride - exploring a variety of subcultures, from groups of the morbidly obese to riverboat gamblers as he does it. It's a weirdly memorable book; the way he chooses to look at each "sin" is a little random, but the experiences he has are told in his inimitable style, and some of them really stuck with me. Definitely worth a read; it hasn't dated itself yet, but it will eventually.

  10. 4 out of 5

    JoJo Z

    When I saw him at his reading, the book seemed like it would be more exciting than what it was.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tallis

    I enjoyed the humorous writing and the idea of exploring sins and sinners, but I’m not sure what the overall point of the book was. Some sections also just felt too long and went off on irrelevant tangents. I’m not upset I read it, but I also didn’t feel like I gained a whole lot.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leonora

    This was a funny, original book written by Dan Savage of "Savage Love" fame, the sex column that appears in weekly newspapers like the Village Voice. The title comes from the title of a right-wing pundit's book, "Slouching toward Gomorrah." The author, who I had never heard of, along with other conservative commentators Savage quotes complain that America is on the wrong path and that feminism, homosexuality, pornography, gambling, etc. are responsible. Since Americans are such sinners in the eye This was a funny, original book written by Dan Savage of "Savage Love" fame, the sex column that appears in weekly newspapers like the Village Voice. The title comes from the title of a right-wing pundit's book, "Slouching toward Gomorrah." The author, who I had never heard of, along with other conservative commentators Savage quotes complain that America is on the wrong path and that feminism, homosexuality, pornography, gambling, etc. are responsible. Since Americans are such sinners in the eyes of right-wingers and since 9/11--the book was published in 2002--the eyes of Muslim fundamentalists, Dan Savage decides in his book to take us on a tour of American sinnery and celebrate it. The book is divided into about 10 chapters, 7 of which focus on the 7 deadly sins. Sometimes Savage loses his way a little. For instance, he wants to champion all the sins but he barely holds back biting judgement of the proud-to-be-fat people in the gluttony chapter. This one I thought was the most interesting. Anyone know what a "feeder" is? Yeah, I didn't either. Savage makes good points, sometimes ones you don't want to hear. His chapter on Pride (you guessed it, gay pride) is certainly controversial, like Savage himself. But I found his opinions refreshing. Besides that, this book is pretty much hilarious. It's not quite as good as "The Kid" or "The Commitment" but definitely worth reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Dan Savage sets out to commit each of the Seven Deadly Sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony) and ends up writing an entertaining and mostly thoughtful Think Piece about America. Each chapter is split between political analysis and personal storytelling. The political analysis tended to be dated and a bit repetitive (does anyone really care about Bill Bennett anymore), but the narrative bits were great. With the exception of the chapter on Envy (largely pointless), the stori Dan Savage sets out to commit each of the Seven Deadly Sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony) and ends up writing an entertaining and mostly thoughtful Think Piece about America. Each chapter is split between political analysis and personal storytelling. The political analysis tended to be dated and a bit repetitive (does anyone really care about Bill Bennett anymore), but the narrative bits were great. With the exception of the chapter on Envy (largely pointless), the stories he tells on his personal quest are funny and insightful. The best was the first chapter on green where Dan learns how to play blackjack and has to fight off the lure of the big score. The rest of the stories about swingers, prostitutes, shooting ranges and fat-rights activists were all fascinating and not necessarily what you might expect. The culture war has moved on since the publication of this book, but the personal stories reported here are worth a read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Funny stuff! Savage takes on the moralists...Bennett, Bork, O'Reilly...and deliberately goes out of his way to commit all the Seven Deadly Sins. While he doesn't always succeed, he learns a lot. And his attitude to the people he meets is so respectful and accepting...his heart is good, even when he sins. He learns to shoot a gun, he visits swingers, he spends time at a convention for heavy women. He learns but does not judge. He gambles in Las Vegas and in Iowa! He learns blackjack. But he does n Funny stuff! Savage takes on the moralists...Bennett, Bork, O'Reilly...and deliberately goes out of his way to commit all the Seven Deadly Sins. While he doesn't always succeed, he learns a lot. And his attitude to the people he meets is so respectful and accepting...his heart is good, even when he sins. He learns to shoot a gun, he visits swingers, he spends time at a convention for heavy women. He learns but does not judge. He gambles in Las Vegas and in Iowa! He learns blackjack. But he does not judge. Along the way, he DOES judge the judgers...the sanctimonious talking heads who want their morality to be the law of the land. I laughed out loud often, learned, and was glad I came along on this skipping trip.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily W

    If you've ever read "Savage Love," the author's weekly sex advice column, you already know that Mr. Savage is the patron saint of What Happens Between Consenting Adults Is Nobody Else's Business. In Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Savage extends that principle beyond the bedroom and into the traditional "seven deadly sins." It's a celebration of indulgence, of people doing whatever the hell they want as long as it doesn't hurt anybody. He's probably preaching to the choir, as I can't imagine anyone r If you've ever read "Savage Love," the author's weekly sex advice column, you already know that Mr. Savage is the patron saint of What Happens Between Consenting Adults Is Nobody Else's Business. In Skipping Towards Gomorrah, Savage extends that principle beyond the bedroom and into the traditional "seven deadly sins." It's a celebration of indulgence, of people doing whatever the hell they want as long as it doesn't hurt anybody. He's probably preaching to the choir, as I can't imagine anyone reading this who's not already on his side, but it's still entertaining, interesting, and occasionally educational.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris Herdt

    I accidentally read this book. I picked it up one morning while drinking my coffee and didn't put it down until I'd finished reading it. I enjoyed the chapters on gluttony and greed the most, I think, but it was entirely entertaining and occasionally insightful. I accidentally read this book. I picked it up one morning while drinking my coffee and didn't put it down until I'd finished reading it. I enjoyed the chapters on gluttony and greed the most, I think, but it was entirely entertaining and occasionally insightful.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    Funny attempt to commit all seven deadly sins, Savage realizes they aren’t all fun, but they are all necessary. Good voice, treads the line well between liberal and whiny.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Largely obnoxious reading, but I finally finished it.....

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bryn

    I have a signed copy of this somewhere. Whatever.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    America. Here and now, in the first decade of the 21st century, there are those who say that America is on the decline. It's a nation awash in sin and degradation, vice and immorality. Pot smokers, gamblers, homosexuals, feminists, Liberals - oh, those damned Liberals - they're all conspiring to destroy everything that is good and moral about the United States of America, and you - yes, you are letting them do it! Soon this nation that we all love and cherish will be nothing but an opium orgy de America. Here and now, in the first decade of the 21st century, there are those who say that America is on the decline. It's a nation awash in sin and degradation, vice and immorality. Pot smokers, gamblers, homosexuals, feminists, Liberals - oh, those damned Liberals - they're all conspiring to destroy everything that is good and moral about the United States of America, and you - yes, you are letting them do it! Soon this nation that we all love and cherish will be nothing but an opium orgy den for a bunch of homosexual atheist abortion doctors. This is what they believe, those whom Dan Savage refers to as the Scolds, the Virtuecrats and the Naysayers. We know who they are - usually Republican conservatives, often of the evangelical Christian variety. They are men (and occasionally women) such as Robert Bork, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Pat Buchannan, and of all the things they have in common, the most glaring is that they believe that The United States is in a state of utter moral decay. Americans who choose sex for any function other than making babies, who choose to put drugs into their bodies, who allow themselves to be fat and indolent - SHAME on you! It is your sinning that is destroying America! Jerry Falwell himself said as much after the attacks on 9/11:I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen." And, it would seem - given the naysayers' ubiquity and volume - they are right. Or maybe not. Dan Savage is an acclaimed advice columnist, specializing in relationship and sex advice. He started with a newspaper column nearly twenty years ago, and he's gained international attention, mainly by being very good at his job. He doesn't sugar-coat his advice, often telling people instead to DTMFA (Dump the mother-f*cker already!) if it's clear they're in a bad relationship. He helped coin a new meaning for the word santorum as well as pegging (Google them - I'm trying to keep this clean). He's abrasive, contrarian, direct - and an outspoken advocate of the pursuit of happiness. Most of his advice can be boiled down to a simple question: Are you happy? What Savage is exploring in this book is all the ways people try to make themselves happy, and why those are all the things that the Virtuecrats believe are sinful, immoral and conducive to America's decline in the world. In order to understand the sins, he has to meet the sinners and, as much as possible, indulge. The book is set up around the classic Seven Deadly Sins - greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, envy, pride and anger. In each chapter, Savage tries to understand what it is about these sins that make them so irresistible, and if they're actually deadly at all. For Greed, he indulges in gambling, learning how to play blackjack and win - except when he loses. For Gluttony he visits a convention for the NAAFA (National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance) to find out how fat people feel about being fat. He learns to channel his Anger in a shooting range in Texas, studies Lust in swingers' clubs in Las Vegas, and realizes that maybe we all need a little more Sloth in our lives. He takes great pains to Envy the rich and to determine whether gays really need to bother with Pride anymore. And then he tops it all off with a great attempt to commit all seven deadly sins within a forty-eight hour period in New York City. As provocative as it all sounds, the book isn't really about sinning. It's about human nature and freedom, and how those two things clash and merge. It's about how some humans want to enjoy themselves, while other humans would rather they didn't. They tell us about the horrors of drugs, the terrors of infidelity and the inherent corrosive nature of the very existence of gay people, much less married ones. They tell us that by pursuing our happiness, we are destroying the country. Dan Savage says otherwise, mainly by pointing out what the conservative naysayers don't want to hear: human beings are complex, irreducible characters who are not very good at not doing what they're not supposed to do. We all want to enjoy ourselves. We want to feel pleasure, one way or the other, and we will do everything in our power to make this happen. Whether it's sex or reading, drugs or travel, food or art, going to the gym or gambling, we want to feel good. And for some reason, there are people who have a problem with this. Savage believes that the first principle we should follow is that of freedom: if one isn't harming others, then one should be free to do whatever one wants. In this book, he makes an excellent case for the legalization of marijuana, talks to productive, religious, moral swingers, and meets with sex workers in New York City. He examines the hypocrisy of the moralist movement and the general weakness of their arguments. For example, with gambling long having been one of the most deadly of sins in the Christian catalog, why don't modern conservatives rail against it? Is it because it's an economic boon to so many places? Is it because it makes money for the country? On gambling the conservatives are quiet, though surely cards and dice have broken far more families than gays and lesbians? And if the concept of "personal responsibility" is so sacred that any mention of gun control is considered an immediate attack on our freedoms, why can't that same love of responsibility extend to marijuana use - an activity far, far less deadly than gunplay. Savage's understanding of human nature tells him that while we all want happiness, the happiness of one person is the immorality of another. In America, however, there is room to disagree, room to argue and to grow. American culture evolves and changes whether you like it or not, and it is better to learn to live in that culture than to try and bend it to your will. While you may disagree with how your fellow American leads his or her life, it is not your job to try and change it, just as they have no business trying to change yours. So take heart, sinners! Dan Savage is on your side.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Jank

    This one is one of my April challenge books. The challenge was "longing", which was hard to find given that I wasn't in the mood to read any romance. I'm a fan of his column Savage Love so I figured I'd give it a go. It's old (published in the early '00s) but sadly still appropriate today. The scolds have changed face, but not much else. There's been some progress in terms of the legalization of marijuana (at least for those of us that live in modern states like CA and CO) and gay marriage has no This one is one of my April challenge books. The challenge was "longing", which was hard to find given that I wasn't in the mood to read any romance. I'm a fan of his column Savage Love so I figured I'd give it a go. It's old (published in the early '00s) but sadly still appropriate today. The scolds have changed face, but not much else. There's been some progress in terms of the legalization of marijuana (at least for those of us that live in modern states like CA and CO) and gay marriage has now been legalized, though some scolds are still complaining about it. He has a fun way of writing and had some interesting experiences on his tour of sin. It's a fun read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Evan Kirby

    I think it's mostly pretty good, and has a great gimmick of exploring the seven deadly sins and putting them into context in a modern context as well as spinning out from it to discuss current political and social issues related to each one. But, I feel in the end it was kinda pointless as it didn't really meet to some grand point that made any sense, nor did Savage really come out the other side "changed," not that he had to, but I guess that was kinda the point now that I write this out. I gue I think it's mostly pretty good, and has a great gimmick of exploring the seven deadly sins and putting them into context in a modern context as well as spinning out from it to discuss current political and social issues related to each one. But, I feel in the end it was kinda pointless as it didn't really meet to some grand point that made any sense, nor did Savage really come out the other side "changed," not that he had to, but I guess that was kinda the point now that I write this out. I guess I was just expecting it to be more coalesced to a point at the end.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burniston

    Though slightly dated, this insightful and funny book is a recount of Dan Savage's tour to various American cities in the pursuit of happiness, under the guise of committing all seven deadly sins. A rebuttal to Robert Bork's "Slouching Towards Gomorrah", Savage makes a strong case for liberalism in support of individual freedom in America, while highlighting the hypocrisy of the virtuecrats. Admittedly, I'm a big fan of Savage and his weekly column, so in fairness he was already preaching to my Though slightly dated, this insightful and funny book is a recount of Dan Savage's tour to various American cities in the pursuit of happiness, under the guise of committing all seven deadly sins. A rebuttal to Robert Bork's "Slouching Towards Gomorrah", Savage makes a strong case for liberalism in support of individual freedom in America, while highlighting the hypocrisy of the virtuecrats. Admittedly, I'm a big fan of Savage and his weekly column, so in fairness he was already preaching to my personal choir.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Starr

    From the amusingly entitled introduction, "Well Endowed," concerning life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence: "If we aren't free to pursue our own version of happiness, then the first two items on Jefferson's wish list are without meaning. Life and liberty do us no good if we can't employ them--or waste them--in the pursuit of those things that make us happy." From the amusingly entitled introduction, "Well Endowed," concerning life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence: "If we aren't free to pursue our own version of happiness, then the first two items on Jefferson's wish list are without meaning. Life and liberty do us no good if we can't employ them--or waste them--in the pursuit of those things that make us happy."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Antof9

    I’m very conflicted as I write my review for this book. Dan Savage is an amazing writer, he makes sense, he’s entertaining, he backs up his information with stats and quotes, and I disagree with him on almost every point he makes! This book really is a light-hearted look at Savage’s experiences as he makes a concentrated effort to “sin” each of the traditional 7 deadly sins. However, it’s also filled with comments and arguments (well-written ones) promoting his own personal agenda. I found this p I’m very conflicted as I write my review for this book. Dan Savage is an amazing writer, he makes sense, he’s entertaining, he backs up his information with stats and quotes, and I disagree with him on almost every point he makes! This book really is a light-hearted look at Savage’s experiences as he makes a concentrated effort to “sin” each of the traditional 7 deadly sins. However, it’s also filled with comments and arguments (well-written ones) promoting his own personal agenda. I found this particular point fascinating: “. . .the virtuous in America aren’t satisfied with merely lecturing us. They want to give us orders, and to that end they’ve banded together in what appears to be a never-ending effort to shove their own virtues down all of our throats. They’ve convinced themselves that the pursuit of happiness by less virtuous Americans is both a personal and a political attack. Not content to persuade their fellow Americans to be virtuous – which, again, is their right – they want to amend constitutions and pass laws.” Hard to argue with that logic. As I said, much of what he writes is compelling. A point I can’t agree with is his argument that “. . . much of the harm done by drugs, prostitution, and adultery should be laid at the feet of the virtuous. It’s their meddling that often creates the harm, not the sins in and of themselves. There would be no money, and therefore no gangs or violence, in the drug trade if drugs were legalized and their sale taxed and regulated. When was the last time beer distributors killed each other? Oh, yeah: prohibition. If prostitution were legalized, an American prostitute with a violent client or abusive pimp could turn to the police for protection, just as prostitutes do in the Netherlands. If every couple were encouraged to have a realistic, rational conversation about the near-inevitability of infidelity in long-term relationships, fewer homes would be destroyed by adultery.” OY! I totally disagree on those points. From my own personal experience (married almost 13 years), his point on divorce just makes me sad. The fact that people think that divorce or adultery is inevitable is what makes it happen; not the fact that a marriage or relationship can’t make it without those things happening. See this thread on best advice you’ve ever been given for my very short thought on this. In the chapter on Lust, he carries the adultery message even further, this time without backup data: “Adultery ‘touches’ 80 percent of all marriages; married people lust after people who aren’t their spouses because that’s how our creator made us. We’re wired to cheat, we’re tempted by thoughts of cheating when we’re awake, and we dream about cheating when we’re asleep.” I don’t know where he gets this information, and I am almost offended by the fact that he thinks God made us that way on purpose. An interesting point comes up in this chapter, though. His exposure to adultery and conservatives is “. . .if either slips up – just once – we tell both that the marriage is over.” Although I acknowledge it would be very hard to forgive something like this, this is not my (conservative) philosophy, nor the way I was raised. I’m sad that Savage thinks this is the only solution. I know multiple couples who have survived an affair, and have come out on the other side with an even stronger marriage. One section I really enjoyed (and totally agreed with) was the chapter on Anger. For this chapter, Savage went to Plano, Texas to learn to shoot a gun. He makes some very interesting points about gun owners talking a lot about personal freedoms, but only really fighting for the one personal freedom of owning a gun. HA! He’s right. “So while gun owners are always saying that owning guns is about defending freedom, the only freedom gun owners seem interested in defending with their guns is the freedom to defend their freedom to own guns. For a freedom fan such as myself, this seems a little limited. All that firepower – 200 million guns – dedicated to defending just one freedom?” The chapter on Envy had me laughing out loud – literally – you have to read it for yourself! Savage’s comments in the Pride chapter on Gay Pride parades had me sad for “the youth”. I did enjoy his history lesson on how these parades came into being, though. Imagine how disturbing it was for me to be eating a bowlful of Doritos during the chapter on Gluttony . . . Last, here is the reason I would like meet Mr. Savage, besides the fact that I think he is very smart and funny (two qualities I most admire in people): here are his comments on the September 11, 2001 attacks, after being encouraged by everyone from Senator Schumer to the President of the United States to get back to normal: “I have nothing snide to say about any of this. I’m a patriot. On September 11, I didn’t blame America; I blamed bin Laden. And while I may love this country for different reasons from the scolds and virtuecrats, I do love this country. I love the separation of church and state, for starters; I love the First Amendment; I love that ‘pursuit of happiness’ stuff in the Declaration of Independence – and I’ve always loved New York City.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pablo

    A love letter to liberals masquerading as a fulmination against so-called “virtuecrats” and “conservative scolds,” “Skipping,” though delightful in its puckishness (if you’re a liberal), never rises above its conceit: traveling to different American cities to partake (not really) in the seven deadly sins.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jdetrick

    An interesting read, which probably would have hit harder closer to its original publication date. Still, Savage is a good writer, alternating between being very funny and making some insightful points.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Andersen-Andrade

    Charming, humorous and right on the button about the absurdity of right-wing moralistic scolds. Written in 2002, it's a tiny bit dated, but still very relevant given that the same scolds are still wagging their fingers at us for pursuing our very American right to the pursuit of happiness. Charming, humorous and right on the button about the absurdity of right-wing moralistic scolds. Written in 2002, it's a tiny bit dated, but still very relevant given that the same scolds are still wagging their fingers at us for pursuing our very American right to the pursuit of happiness.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lawanda

    Satirical, irreverent, liberal response to Robert Bork’s charge we are slouching towards Gomorrah.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rhiannon Root

    Content warning: Fatphobia, slurs, Islamophobia I finished Dan Savage’s “Skipping Towards Gomorrah” a little over two weeks ago and the more I think about it the more I dislike it. It’s not that it’s a bad book, but it’s icky. Sex columnist Dan Savage goes on a journey to celebrate the seven deadly sins in the U.S. while blasting religious conservatives and their general nonsense. It could have been a fun book, but alas, not so much. The best parts read like an expansion on his Savage Love column, Content warning: Fatphobia, slurs, Islamophobia I finished Dan Savage’s “Skipping Towards Gomorrah” a little over two weeks ago and the more I think about it the more I dislike it. It’s not that it’s a bad book, but it’s icky. Sex columnist Dan Savage goes on a journey to celebrate the seven deadly sins in the U.S. while blasting religious conservatives and their general nonsense. It could have been a fun book, but alas, not so much. The best parts read like an expansion on his Savage Love column, particularly the Lust, Sloth and Pride chapters. The rest…no. Especially the Gluttony chapter where Savage goes to a fat acceptance conference. Which ew. Unforced error much? Seriously, competitive eating was right there! The whole chapter reads icky and awful and incredibly fatphobic. There are some insightful moments and if you’re looking to get more depth on the politics of the early ‘00s, this could be a good read. Buuuut you have to wade through a lot of fatphobia, Islamophobia and a general tone that reads mean and condescending. I’d go into more detail, but again, it’s been two weeks and I don’t want to open up the book again. I don’t recommend it and I can’t wait to sell my copy.

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