October 11, 2019

"Instead of angry politics, we got something more interesting — 90 minutes of Mr. Keillor's muted Minnesota Zen, a comedic art form, contiguous to religion, that he invented a long time ago...."

"... At the microphone, he is the opposite of a 'man of ego, hubris and entitlement.'... Some 35 miles east-northeast of here, in Northampton, Jonathan Edwards preached his fierce sermon, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,' during the First Great Awakening. In the midst of America's Fifth Great Awakening, the Awakening of the Woke, here sat Garrison Keillor, a sinner, bearing witness, though slyly. He paid a steep price for his sins, whatever they were. He said it didn't matter -- it was 'injustice on behalf of a good cause.' The 'good cause' was #MeToo. 'The way you change behavior,' he said, is through fear -- the same point that Jonathan Edwards made. It 'is to whack prominent men with a two-by-four.'"

Writes Lance Morrow in The Wall Street Journal, about Garrison Keillor's appearance at the Meeting House in New Marlborough, Massachusetts (where he was interviewed by Simon Winchester).

Does Morrow take Keillor's remarks at face value? I wish I'd been there and able to look him in the eye and hear the sound — the famous sound — of his voice. He is a humorist. I wouldn't take at face value the notion that the way to change behavior is through fear and that it's fine to whack prominent men with a two-by-four for a good cause. I'm going to take Morrow's "but slyly" to mean that he took it all as satire, even the choice of setting, the New Marlborough Meeting House, which looks like this:



Come on. That's comedy!

35 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Now it’s 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Gaia.” So things haven't changed that much

Hagar said...

Insufferable shmarm.

Mary Beth said...

I had already given up on him before the "MeToo stuff.

I hope he's come back around to being funny again. I stopped listening to his radio show back when Bush was president (W) because there were too many "isn't Bush dumb?" jokes. Keillor was capable of good humor that was insightful about human nature. Instead he was going for the easy laugh that appealed to a certain segment of his listeners. To me, they just sounded mean. They were jarring and jerked me out of the whole Lake Wobegon mood.

What are the odds that he could get through a night without a "Trump is so stupid" joke?

Lawrence Person said...

Keillor's onetime popularity among our chattering set is somewhat puzzling until you realize that he holds all the "proper" liberal opinions about just about everything.

Bob Boyd said...

The problem with using a 2x4 is, sooner or later, someone's going to take that 2x4 away from you and shove it up your ass sideways.

Wince said...

Garrison Keillor, the New Marlborough man?

Fernandinande said...

Keillor taught me that it's OK to not finish a book.

Lars Porsena said...

Shouldn't Simon Winchester be writing another interesting book rather than wasting his
time on this?

Bill Peschel said...

Listening to him was like listening to Martin Short: Every once in awhile, the inner angry child would erupt.

In one of his early books, there was a footnote in which the character -- the author doppleganger as a young sensitive artist -- wrote his 99 theses about the people he grew up with, and he portrayed them as you'd think. Dumb, insensitive hicks living in a stale, dull land that he couldn't wait to escape and mock.

I wonder if the joke's on him. He killed PHC and moved to New York City for awhile, then dumped his wife and married the Danish woman and went overseas for a bit, then came back to Minnesota and revived the show. Does he feel like he failed? And what did he really do that caused MPR to turn on him like that?

Marcus Bressler said...

When Keillor went political, I stopped reading and listening to him

THEOLDMAN

Shut up and tell Lake Wobegon stories.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

Keillor's BDS was a real surprise at the time. I had always assumed that the Wobegonians were, by-and-large, small town Republicans.

daskol said...

Garrison Keillor doing Andy Kaufman doing Garrison Keillor.

Jersey Fled said...

Keiller's remarks about "all the children being above average" have proven to be prophetic. I just read somewhere that everyplace in the world is warming faster than the global average.

Big Mike said...

it's fine to whack prominent men with a two-by-four for a good cause

Question for Keillor. Does the same apply to women? Can we perhaps use two-by-fours to convince Hillary Clinton to eschew her mendacity and corruption? How about Lizzy (“I chose to quit — no, I was improperly fired!”) Warren?

What about women who make false claims against prominent men? Can we use two-by-fours to teach them not ever to do that again?

tim maguire said...

I would take "slyly" as referring to his technique of protesting his innocence while continuing to ingratiate himself with his tormentors.

"I didn't do it, but they are still righteous because what they are doing is too important to bother themselves with bourgeois concerns like guilt or innocence. Please like me again."

tim maguire said...

Fernandistein said...Keillor taught me that it's OK to not finish a book.

+1

Roy Jacobsen said...

Keillor's BDS was a real surprise at the time. I had always assumed that the Wobegonians were, by-and-large, small town Republicans.

He kept the mask on most of the time, but every once in a while, something would slip revealing that deep-down, he really hates them.

wendybar said...

I would MUCH rather be at the Trump rally!

RNB said...

"[H]ere sat Garrison Keillor, a sinner, bearing witness, though slyly. He paid a steep price for his sins, whatever they were." Why, he's practically Jesus!

Oso Negro said...

Stories like this make me think - "what a wonderful world!" Progressive assholes like Garrison Keillor have to grovel before the goddess Angry Vagina here in the United States, while unreconstructed men like me can roam Eastern Europe and Asia carrying on with women just the way nature intended. Gee, I can't wait to get on the road again.

Big Mike said...

Note to the Secret Service — I am not actually proposing to assault the two women. I was merely heightening the ridiculousness of Keillor’s remarks. I am by nature a very peaceful and law-abiding citizen.

tcrosse said...

Back in the '70s Kiellor did the morning drive-time show on KSJN, and it was pretty good. He had a woman sidekick who laughed at everything he said, which was OK because she had such a beautiful laugh.

Narr said...

There's something about the Prof's selections that brings out the Mrs. Grundy in a lot of commenters. He's divorced, you know! He had success, he had failure; he moved here, he moved there; he insulted soandso . . . this is important stuff?

GK's an American original comic genius and impresario. Anyone who watched a live broadcast had to be impressed with the timing and stage-management, and he showcased people and music who couldn't get within five miles of exposure without that show.

American eclecticism at its best, and brilliant radio for decades--that's an impressive achievement. I switched off long before he did (yeah PC smarm, a sad decline to the easy jibe) but I'm not mad about it.

Narr
Funny goes a long way with me

MadTownGuy said...

WSJ said:

"In the midst of America's Fifth Great Awakening, the Awakening of the Woke, here sat Garrison Keillor, a sinner, bearing witness, though slyly. He paid a steep price for his sins, whatever they were. He said it didn't matter -- it was 'injustice on behalf of a good cause.'"

Minnesota Public Radio begs to differ:
For some who lived in it, Keillor's world wasn't funny

RNB said...

"There's something about the Prof's selections that brings out the Mrs. Grundy in a lot of commenters." Nah. I dislike him because he's a dick.

Roughcoat said...

I'm all in favor of whacking him with a two-by-four.

It's one of the few instance in which I'm in agreement with that appallingly arrogant mean-spirited man.

"Un-funny humorist," as someone once said of him.

Sam L. said...

I gave up on Garry yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars ago. Lost his funny, going full leftie.

tim in vermont said...

I despise his politics, but I like Garrison Keillor, and he has a kind of genius for storytelling.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

When I was in my early twenties I was living alone in dreary Kodiak. Friends and family were distant, and I got lonely from time to time. The highlight of my week was listening to A Prairie Home Companion on Sundays. Garrison Keillor's endearing portraits of the people of Lake Woebogone made me feel at home.

Imagine my surprise later in life to find that Keillor didn't love those job-having, church-going, Chrysler-driving, Lutheran Republicans, he hated them. He hated everything they believed, everything they did, and everything they held dear. What a fake.

rcocean said...

"Mrs Gundy" was a narrow minded prude. There's nothing "prudish" in disliking Kellior for being a preening, boring, self-righteous SJW who attacks Conservatives and Republicans. I always find it hilarious when people get angry and upset when you criticize their favorite celebrity. I want to ask them why they have a close personal bond with someone they don't know and wouldn't give them the time of day in real life.
Keillor tells jokes for a living. We don't want to hear his politics.

BTW, some of Keillor's old friends think he's a sellout. He really doesn't like "Lake Wobegon" people, and when younger viciously attacked them. He then found out that good-natured satire of the small town from a safe liberal POV was popular. So, he went with that, and the rest is history. In Real life, he's your typical Left-wing elite.

rcocean said...

Minnesota seems to specialize in ugly men (kellior and Francken) sexually harassing women.

rcocean said...

Many people take the entire world to be one huge Mrs. Grundy, and, upon every act and circumstance of their lives, please, or torment themselves, according to the nature of it, by thinking of what that huge Mrs. Grundy, the World, will say about it".[

Roy Jacobsen said...

rcocean said...
BTW, some of Keillor's old friends think he's a sellout. He really doesn't like "Lake Wobegon" people, and when younger viciously attacked them. He then found out that good-natured satire of the small town from a safe liberal POV was popular. So, he went with that, and the rest is history. In Real life, he's your typical Left-wing elite.

I recall reading somewhere (gotta see if I can find it) that he's warm to people he views as equals, but treats his perceived inferiors like crap.

Roughcoat said...

In other words, he's a phony and a suck-up.

Narr said...

He was a great entertainer; follies and foibles are interesting but not vitally important IMO.

It's not called acting for nothing.

Narr
I hate everybody he hates and everybody he loves anyway, so neener neener to you old bags