Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Prairie Home Asshole

Fuck Garrison Keillor | Slog | The Stranger's Blog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper

I am beyond incensed to see Garrison Keillor's column in Salon today. Titled "Stating the Obvious," it starts out a paean to the olden days, like much of Keillor's writing, but quickly turns into a screed against gay parenting and gay marriage that plays on several stereotypes while managing to be incredibly hypocritical coming from Keillor, whose romantic history is not, shall we say, one of steady monogamy. Fortunately, Dan Savage has already posted a thorough--and thoroughly furious--reaction, linked above. Read it and I'm sure you'll agree with him that "What Keillor wrote today on Salon is every bit as offensive as Ann Coulter's 'faggot' joke about John Edwards and relies on the same set of cultural prejudices."

As for me, I'm considering cooking dinner tonight over the flames produced by my copy of Lake Wobegon Days. Where all the children are no doubt straight, right?


Paul Allen said...

I didn't read the linked article, but I'm full of opinions on the column itself.

For one, he is not directly condemning gay marriage. He's being stereotypical, but his actual words are short of that.

For two, the essay is poorly written. How does the opening paragraph, besides being mildly clever, relate to the rest of it?

Three, you'd think Keillor would be smart enough, even in his codgerhood, to not fall into a "good old days" mindset. When he was a kid, there were still bullies, still alcoholics, still infidelity, still murder, still wife and child beaters, still racists, still polio. AND, guess what, the kids in his generation are the ones that got divorced and created the current generation. I suppose loveless commitment is worth it for the kids.

Finally, Richard, even if you are angry, don't burn any books. It will be bad for your lungs to breathe that in.

Richard said...


I agree with you that this is a bad example of Keillor's writing. It almost seems like a caricature of his style, turned against the very liberal, NPR-listening audience that has been his bread and butter.

I also agree, with Keillor this time, that parents today are selfish and think too much of their own happiness and pleasure and not enough about that of their children. But as you point out, the parents who are raising their kids this way today are a product of the self-abnegating parents Keillor lionizes, so maybe his way doesn't work so well, either.

I think that what he says about gay people and marriage and parenting goes beyond stereotypes to something worse, though. In one paragraph he paints us all as selfish, self-absorbed, star-of-the-show types who could never fade into the background the way he says parents must. Many gay parents would be glad to do so--is it their fault that people like Keillor make their raising of a child into an issue?

Again, I think Dan Savage gets to the heart of the many problems with what Keillor has said. I encourage you, and anyone else who has read this far, to read his response.

And don't worry, Paul. I won't really burn the book. But I won't read it anytime soon, either.