I know several clever people who think Garrison Keillor is funny. Many fell in love with his “A Prairie Home Companion” in the late 1970s and 1980s. Now he’s like Lawrence Welk for aging yuppies. They are devastated by yesterday’s news.
Minnesota Public Radio announced it was terminating all contracts with Garrison Keillor and his media companies on account of sex harassment accusations.
Gary Edward “Garrison” Keillor, 75, calls himself “an American author, storyteller, humorist, voice actor, and radio personality.” His long-running show featured Lake Wobegon, a Minnesota small town, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” Okay, it was a good line — charming even — but decades later, it is dreadfully overused, especially by Garrison Keillor faithful.
Keillor was once an entertaining, thoughtful radio host. He remains NPR’s strongest brand, and his franchise has recently drawn some 3 million on-air listeners daily. But along the way something went wrong. Garrison Keillor became a pompous left-wing gasbag.
At some point Keillor turned into another dreary snob pandering to middlebrow liberal culture. R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., once called such people “public nuisances.” Such figures can famously toil far past their shelf date. Career longevity is their strong suit, like barnacles. As a side note to the Keillor affair, MPR might want to get out of business agreements that don’t add up going forward.
When was the last time Keillor said something funny?
Read Keillor’s incoherent defense of Sen. Al Franken, fellow Minnesotan, ace Democratic fundraiser, and would-be President. Published the day before he got canned, Keillor called sex-harassment charges against Franken “absurd,” which they well might be. His selective outrage — Trump is the real sex criminal, you know, and they are picking on Al — is puzzling to the laity.
I encountered Keillor’s rollicking political wit just after the 2016 election. Trump’s America, he announced in the Washington Post, is eager to “maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls.”
Isn’t that fresh and amusing?
“The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts.”
Ha ha ha.
“It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by ‘us,’ I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch,” he wrote. “Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers.”
I am in stitches.
Many NPR loyalists and Post readers, I assume, agree that raising heirloom tomatoes and reading Jane Austen is indisputable evidence of the life fulfilled. Yet no wonder other Americans, reading this, would go running for the door or think twice about NPR federal funding.
As institutional sex harassment charges escalate, the nation is entering a moment of hearsay, witch-hunts and purges, not a good thing. Yet some guilty pleasure might come from the collateral damage of pious, preening leftists getting the hook, hoisted on their own petards, along with Bill O’Reilly.
Maybe, at 75, Keillor — like the others — imagines he’s a sex magnet or has droits du seigneur. The offended women might have long ago wanted to upchuck or obtain a favor. Now they want attention or revenge.
Keillor’s apparently finished, another virtuecrat exposed as a fraud, and there’s more to come. Sic transit gloria mundi.