Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why is Salon Running a Bigoted Anti-Gay Column by Garrison Keillor?

In a column called "Stating the Obvious" no less, Keillor spouts:

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men -- sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That's for the kids. It's their show.

Does Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva who fought and was wounded in Iraq fit this stereotype? Does John Amaechi, a retired NBA player? Keillor is just vomiting up his own homophobic impressions.

Write Salon and ask why they're giving bigotry a platform.


Barry said...

damned, that's some bigotry right there. does take much to go from down-home-folksiness to down-home-bigotry does it?

Like your blog, btw - just recently started reading it. (Your commentary on the fashion commentary of the Oscars was great.)

ronia said...

I read somewhere that someone once asked GK why there were no gay or lesbian characters on his radio show, and he said that they were all in the closet.

Which just goes to show...

Aaron Hoover said...

A translation for the irony illiterate:

The government wastes a lot of money studying things we all know. I think this is dumb. I’m a homegrown liberal.

I come from a “traditional family”. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Tradition isn’t all that appealing, if you think about it. The world is livelier now. It makes me feel old. Because I am.

Traditional marriage hamstrings adults and spawns self-centered, narcissistic children who are unprepared for the responsibilities their reckless behavior incurs.

This is natural – which is not to say that it is good. (Humans are supposed to be better than nature.)

Life is more complicated and interesting than it used to be, with the variety of family structures we have.

And gay marriage promises to make things more interesting.

But for that to be possible/accepted we’ve got to start seeing gay men as people of substance, not the caricatures we see on TV. I’m not saying they need to be like traditional couples – I implied that was bad earlier, if you recall.

I love humans in all their diversity, especially children.

I’m a writer and entertainer.

Some people appreciate that. I’m not sure what it’s worth. Maybe $500 and a lunch.

Cameron said...

Since it's my blog Aaron, I'm going to tell you that I have a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from an Ivy League school, and an M.A. in Creative Writing. Does that *and* being gay qualify me to talk about that star of high literature, Garrison Keillor? How about the fact that everyone gay is on one side? Does that prompt you to rethink? Or are you that comfortable telling gay people how to feel about gay issues?

sturmeyarcher said...

i'm happy that GK is out there with his feelings - 'let it be know, i'm this kind of man' - good. paint yourself how you like and let it relfect the true feelings that get you in your guts! he is looking out for the kids! he doesn't want their dads to get beat up for being sissy gays - just shut up and be tough gay dads so GK can feel comfortable enough to ask you just what your sexual orientation is - and then he'll turn into something he's comfortable with - a 50's schlockery character who's closet misery is too fucking real to laugh at, oh, so forget that idea for the fun old timey show. hitler?

the time for irony is short - let the truths be know - gay, straight, or miserable radio show personality with peanut butter mouth smackery. let's kick his old ass - b/c americans like to fight about their differences and that's the kind of keen misunderstaning that's leading the USA ass first around the globe - look at GK - he is a frowning face-trap with a shitty sense of humor who has the gaul to present his carbon-copy of a show that makes stomachs turn foul all around the dial.(TM) and he's getting paid$ and isn't even the worst offender!!!!!!
anyway, this is how the discussion evolves - roll up your sleeves and fight for the evolution of our species.

Aaron Hoover said...

Well, I think you're wrong that all gay people agree with you. You may not be hearing enough voices. I've read several posts in other places saying, "I'm gay and I get this".

And as someone with a PhD (wherever from) you must acknowledge that people with advanced degrees frequently make errors in judgment, especially regarding topics that are close to their hearts.

What, please, with your PhD, is your anaylsis of this piece? How do you interpret Keillor's statement about how "good" his traditional upbringing was for him in light of the fact that we all know what a mess his adult life (especially in terms of relationships) has been?

And if he's employing some irony there, isn't it just possible that the piece (like so much of what he writes) is fraught with irony?

I won't defer to a PhD on this. The degree only means you should be able to do a better job of making your case.

Justify your reading of the text. Particularly in light of what we know about Keillor's political views, his strong liberal track record, his history in showbusiness, and his long history as a skilled writer of satirical prose.

And if you're going to try to diminish his literary accomplishments, you'd better bring some of your own to the table. Keillor is an established writer, an accomplished artist and a supporter of the art of writing. He'd go to bat for you, and you're kicking him hard on a weak case.

Look, I'm not trying to be pissy. I just think this treatment is unfair and undeserved. This guy is on our side. He loves all kinds of people.

Aaron Hoover said...

Last bit and I'm done. I'm sorry to be a pest. I really just want you to understand Mr. Keillor, who is a truly good man and a real progressive. I offer a quotation from his own (non-satirical) writing:

"Over the years [writing an advice column at Salon], [my] strongest advice has come down on the side of freedom in our personal lives, freedom from crushing obligation and overwork and family expectations and the freedom to walk our own walk and be who we are."

The original article is at:

Salon's Archives

Barry said...

And as someone with a PhD (wherever from) you must acknowledge that people with advanced degrees frequently make errors in judgment, especially regarding topics that are close to their hearts.

ah, no. that's just anti-intellectual claptrap. if we made frequent errors of judgment (by whose standards, anyway?) we wouldn't be academics. we'd be dropouts, or journalists.

re: the irony comment - if the majority of people who read the article are outraged and upset because of its reliance on hateful stereotypes, that's a clear sign that you are not a good ironist.

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