Keillor in Salon

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Keillor in Salon

Postby OperaTenor » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:46 pm

The livin' is easy

In the sweetness of July, nothing seems to matter -- not high gas prices, the dumb New Yorker cover, nor the Fannie and Freddie bailout.

By Garrison Keillor

July 16, 2008

Summer nights! The fragrant dark descends, the night creatures chitter and chirrup, and we linger on the porch, a little wine in the glass, children coming and going, and we inhale the sweetness of life. In Pasadena, people are lined up outside a bank, hoping to get their money out before it goes belly-up, and Mr. McCain's friend Mr. Gramm says we are a nation of whiners complaining about a recession that is only mental, but we are engulfed in summer and don't notice. We're sitting on the porch, inhaling the breeze from the trees, and we are American optimists.

We grew up with cheapo gasoline and our children won't and anything you hear about rolling back prices at the pump is just election-year blather. Supply is not rising to meet demand, what with China and India booming, and that drives the price up: You learned about this in the seventh grade. So our kids will have to deal with new realities, which they can manage better than we can, and when gas goes to $7 and $8 and $10 a gallon, they'll roll with it.

A fellow father on the porch says he's taking his girls to Guatemala in July on a church mission though it isn't the Guatemalans he wants to minister to -- he wants his children to spend a week in a village whose inhabitants live on a fraction of what we do and aren't messing around with Facebook and YouTube so much because they have gardens to tend and chickens to butcher. He simply wants his girls to see this and know how privileged we Americans are. We got cheap bananas and coffee out of Guatemala by supporting a vicious regime that suppressed dissent, and for Chiquita Banana, brave people were tortured and shot, which is something that Adams and Jefferson didn't foresee, and yet a band of Lutherans is welcome to visit a rural village and sleep on mats for a week and eat what the locals eat. What a beautiful world!

In the sweetness of July, the dumb cover of the New Yorker showing Barack in Muslim garb doesn't matter, nor does Mr. McCain's sweet moment when he was asked if it is fair that insurance will pay for Viagra and not for birth control pills and he stammered like a schoolboy. Politicians have powerful response reflexes that pick up on a key word in the question and play back a practiced response, but Mr. McCain blushed and winced, a lovely vulnerable moment that in the languors of July went unappreciated.

On a lovely summer morning you read about the secretary of the Treasury's plan to rescue Fannie and Freddie to the tune of $300 billion in federal loans. A classic Republican story -- lax regulation, lavish salaries to executives, financial bungling, and rescue by the taxpayers. (Note to myself: If McCain is elected, buy gold ingots and install bars on the windows.) A whiner might wonder where was the Current Occupant? Does the gentleman still come to the office on a regular basis? Does anybody tell him what's going on or is he still looking at picture books? Don't matter. It's July.


Same with the growling and grumbling on the left about Barack tacking to the center, adjusting positions, giving tough-love speeches to African-American audiences -- what some people decry as cynical politics, some of us welcome as a sign of seriousness. Barack making overtures to evangelicals? It's about time! Barack expressing his support of the Second Amendment? Bravo. I want to see my man excited by the prospect of victory and not shrink from it as so many Democrats do. They've read too many books about heroic dissenters and it makes them nervous about being in too big a crowd.

The huge crowds that Barack draws are stunned by the fact that someone like him, with that interesting name, is -- hang on now -- a mainstream candidate for president of the United States and that he is, on close examination, One of Us. An earnest striver with a sense of humor. He is so much more One of Us than the privileged ne'er-do-well son in the White House or poor Rush Limbaugh living alone with his cat in his Palm Beach compound with the cherubs on the ceiling just like at Versailles and the life-size oil portrait of himself. Imagine having to look at that as you come down to breakfast.
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:20 am

OperaTenor wrote: (Note to myself: If McCain is elected, buy gold ingots and install bars on the windows.)



November 15, 2004

Following University President Don Randel’s warm introduction, the famed author, host, and wry wit of A Prairie Home Companion, started by commenting on election results.

I am a Democrat, it’s no secret. I am a museum-quality Democrat, Keillor said. “Last night I spent my time crouched in a fetal position, rolling around and moaning in the dark.”


Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Keillor proposed a solution to what he deemed a fundamental problem with U.S. elections.

I’m trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to born-again Christians, Keillor smirked. “I feel if your citizenship is in Heaven, like a born again Christian’s is, you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If born again Christians are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?”


I wonder what he's going to say this November when McCain wins? That kind of hatred can't be good for his blood pressure.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby jamiebk » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:28 am

Haggis@wk wrote:I wonder what he's going to say this November when McCain wins? That kind of hatred can't be good for his blood pressure.


First...It won't happen....second, I think you forget that Keilor is a sharp witted humorist. Let's not take these commnets for anything other than what they were intended...sharp satire and political humor
Jamie

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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby piqaboo » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:21 pm

haggis, i think the only person Garrison K hates is himself.

but just for the sake of argument:
where do you get 'hatred' from gold ingots and barred windows? I get 'fear'.
If Shap wrote that about Obama being elected, I dont think you'd have called it hatred, or even given it a second thought.
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby Shapley » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:11 pm

piqaboo wrote:If Shap wrote that about Obama being elected, I dont think you'd have called it hatred, or even given it a second thought.


Perhaps, but I don't live in fear of who gets elected. The world ends in 2012, not even Obama can screw things up too much in the remaining four years.... :)
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby BigJon@Work » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:16 pm

jamiebk wrote:
Haggis@wk wrote:I wonder what he's going to say this November when McCain wins? That kind of hatred can't be good for his blood pressure.


First...It won't happen....second, I think you forget that Keilor is a sharp witted humorist. Let's not take these commnets for anything other than what they were intended...sharp satire and political humor

It's a sick mind that makes jokes like that.
"I am a 12 foot lizard." GCR Jan 31, 2006
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:18 pm

But it's okay for the New Yorker to, in some minds, combine the sum of all their fears and publish it as cover art?

From Leonard Pitts:

COMMENTARY

Pitts: The problem with satire
Leonard Pitts Jr., THE MIAMI HERALD
Thursday, July 17, 2008

'I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...'

— Jonathan Swift, 'A Modest Proposal, 1729'


Satire is tricky.

It makes its point by exaggerating wildly with a straight face. In inflating a thing beyond all common sense or propriety, it seeks to render inconsistencies and hypocrisies glaringly apparent. Satire seeks truth in the ridiculous. For illustration, see any given episode of "The Colbert Report."

What makes satire difficult is that sometimes, people don't realize they are being had. Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal," for instance, had some convinced he wanted to eat babies; they didn't realize he was actually attacking people's blithe unconcern with the plight of the poor. For that matter, when "All in the Family" came along two and a half centuries later, some folks saw Archie as the soul of reason.

I have experience in this. Some years back, I satirized a study that said many Americans think news media routinely get the facts wrong. In a column "defending" media accuracy, I made misstatements so grandiose — Bob Hope was host of the "Tonight Show"; Quincy Jones was his bandleader — I thought no one could miss my point.

Silly me. I got hundreds of e-mails "correcting" my supposed errors.

So I feel the New Yorker's pain. The magazine is under fire for a cover illustration depicting Barack Obama in the Oval Office wearing a turban, bumping fists with his wife Michelle, who wears an Afro, fatigues and has an assault rifle slung over her shoulder. Osama bin Laden watches from a portrait on the wall. An American flag burns in the fireplace.

The Obama and McCain campaigns have pronounced the cover offensive. There have been calls for a boycott.

Me, I like the cover. It strikes me as an incisive comment on the fear mongering that has attended Obama's run for the presidency. Still, I understand why it is incendiary: Some of us will take it seriously.

To be effective, satire needs a situation it can inflate into ridiculousness. But the hysteria surrounding Obama has nowhere to go; it is already ridiculous. In just the last few days, we've had Jesse Jackson threatening to castrate him and John McLaughlin calling him an "Oreo."

Add to that the whispers about Obama's supposed Muslim heritage (not that there's anything wrong with that), the "terrorist" implications of bumping fists, and Michelle Obama's purported use of the term "whitey" (a word no black person has uttered since "The Jeffersons" went off the air in 1985) and it's clear that "ridiculous" has become our default status. What once were punch lines now are headlines.

So, as absurd, as over the top, as utterly outlandish as the New Yorker image strikes the more sophisticated among us, there is a large fringe out there for whom it will represent nothing more or less than the sum of their fears.

Indeed, as I sat down to write these words, there beeped into my mailbox an e-mail with this subject line: "WOW, The New Yorker got it exactly right, for once." Said without a trace of irony.

But increasingly, that's who we are in this country: ignorant, irony-impaired and petrified. So maybe we should just cancel the campaign and ask that the last intelligent person turn off the lights when he or she leaves. And bring the last book with you. Nobody here will need it.

Somewhere between the stained blue dress and the vice president shooting a guy in the face, between Swift Boat lies and "war on terra" alibis, the absurd became the ordinary, facts became optional and satire became superfluous.

We are beyond satire, my friends. These days, there's nothing more ridiculous than the truth.

lpitts@miamiherald.com
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:34 pm

piqaboo wrote:haggis, i think the only person Garrison K hates is himself.

but just for the sake of argument:
where do you get 'hatred' from gold ingots and barred windows? I get 'fear'.
If Shap wrote that about Obama being elected, I dont think you'd have called it hatred, or even given it a second thought.


Actually, that's insightful.

I guess I thought Keillor's ongoing hatred of Bush, Republicans and anyone who doesn't vote the straight Democrat ticket was known to all. Everything from calls for impeachment to dissing vetrans during the Rolling Thunder parade in DC. I actually use to like PHC but then it just got unfunny and too liberal for me.

To me, he's just a bitter old unfunny man who wishes Republican, conservatives, etc would die.

Cutting out healthcare for one-third of the population -- the folks with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers, who still believe the man is doing a heckuva job -- will save enough money to pay off the national debt, not a bad legacy for Republicans. As Scrooge said, let them die and reduce the surplus population. In return, we can offer them a reduction in the estate tax. All in favor, blow your nose.


Comments like that from him are fairly frequent and predictable.

He very much reminds me of my father whose hatred of Clinton led to a premature death.
Last edited by Haggis@wk on Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby Shapley » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:37 pm

I don't think his hatred of Republicans manifest itself until they threatened to cut off the free ride, Via NPR, of his programme. He is old enough, and he show successful enough, that he could be weaned, but he prefers to continue to feed at the teat.
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:52 pm

But...but... I wanna go live in Lake Wobegon, where all the women are beautiful, all the men are handsome, and all the children are above average... :whine:
>^..^<
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:59 pm

Selma in Sandy Eggo wrote:But...but... I wanna go live in Lake Wobegon, where all the women are beautiful, all the men are handsome, and all the children are above average... :whine:


:rofl: :rofl:
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Re: Keillor in Salon

Postby analog » Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:20 pm

piqaboo wrote:haggis, i think the only person Garrison K hates is himself. ......


might be... his stories have frequent references to guilt, regrets, mistakes ...
"Lake Woebegone Boy", if autobiographical, would make one wonder.
Cogito ergo doleo.
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