What is So Google-able About Rick Santorum?

One of my very favorite political photos. That little girl is probably
driving by now. Photo from Wonkette.
You have no doubt heard that former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has a bit of a "Google problem." You've probably even heard that the problem is unwise to research at work. This no doubt has spread (ahem) Santorum's problem even further. But I'm betting it has also scared a few people away from even looking. I mean, you only have to fall for a couple of "whatever you do, don't Google x" before you find out that you really shouldn't sometimes.

Santorum's Google problem really isn't that bad.  Oh, it's bad for him, but it's not so bad to look up. Unless you are a very squeamish or prudish sort, you are more likely to find it funny. If you'd like to see what all the fuss is about, by all means, click this link to find out. Do it from home, just to be safe about it, but honestly, you could air the page on broadcast television, and not be fined by the FCC.  Mmmkay?

Now, a little background. Rick Santorum is a notoriously homophobic politician, who has said some downright awful things about gay people. He's a bible thumper, and has other issues, but it was the gay thing that got this particular ball rolling. One particularly bad thing he said was comparing gay relationships to "man on dog sex." And I tell you, having your relationship compared to bestiality is pretty stinking harsh. Sex advice columnist Dan Savage (later of the "It Gets Better" project) thought it was pretty harsh too, and decided to use his forum to do something about it.

Unrelated image from Tide Detergent.
Savage hit upon the idea to attach an unpleasant "Urban Dictionary"-type definition to the word Santorum. Specifically a sex act, of which there are many with funny names. He had readers send submissions in to him, and people voiced their opinions on the matter. Finally, a definition was chosen, and Savage set up the http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/ web site. And in a rare case of a prank working spectacularly well, the number one result for "Santorum" on Google and other web browsers is almost always Savage's definition.

It's decidedly rare that something like this sticks. It's akin to "tea bagger" being stolen from the Tea Party as an insult of Democrats, and turned around as an insult of the Tea Party itself. It's not just satisfying that it's funny and that it stuck, it's also a good heaping helping of justice. Schadenfreude too.

If you'd like a little more background, here's an excerpt and link to the Wikipedia article.


Santorum (neologism)

The word santorum /sænˈtorəm/ is a neologism promoted by American advice columnist Dan Savage in response to statements regarding the US Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas made by then Republican U.S. Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania. . .

Read more at: Wikipedia