Monday, August 30, 2004

A Savage Home Companion

The gentle, tax subsidized bard of the Prairie, Garrison Keillor has another temper tantrum published, this time in something called In These Times. New adjectives to include to the burgeoning list of hate rhetoric include:

... paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element.

... a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics

And this breathless chunk of a catharsis:

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and dangerous.

I assume this Keillor screed is officially comedic hyperbole, exaggeration for humorous affect. No doubt it's based in his darkest, worst case suspicions, but he doesn't really believe it, does he? In particular, his weird preoccupation with the alleged financial status of Republicans, is that really who he thinks we are?

I met dozens of folks at the Fair this weekend, both at the Patriot Broadcast center and at the Taxpayer's League booth (in the lower grandstand), and none of them fit these descriptions. They're just good hearted, middle class people, seeking to get greater control over their destinies as they pass through this world. People, by the way, who would be thrilled to make in a year what Keillor pulls down in a week. His Public Radio salary, by the way, paid by those same, good hearted middle class folks he now calls brownshirts in pinstripes, Lamborghini libertarians, and corporate shills. Corporate shills, this coming from a guy whose entire career and decadent lifestyle is based on taking people's money via the force of government.

His littany of insults, from an objective distance, read like a nervous breakdown. As a long time, occasionally chagrined, but usually entertained listener to Prairie Home Companion, this is just sad. The man is desperately flailing about trying to hurt people, trying to draw blood, no longer even attempting to use his considerable talents to entertain or persuade. He's turned into an elitist Don Rickles, but without the basis of self deprecation. Rickles act was as a throbbing blood blister of a human being, his hateful persona built up to a point that it had to be spewed in all directions, tainting everything he saw. It was undeniably funny, but only because you knew Rickles didn't believe he was better than anybody else.

But Keillor's using the same insulting approach, in hyper-erudite fashion, in an attempt to show his superiority to those he insults and to affect an negative consequence on those same people. It's pathetic and also the definition of hate rhetoric.

By the way, you'll hear nothing like it from conservative radio hosts, like Rush, Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, or any of the regulars on AM1280 the Patriot. OK, you might occasionally hear something similar like that from Michael Savage. That tells you the level Keillor is now operating on. But at least Savage isn't on government run radio.

No comments:

Post a Comment