Prairie Homophobic Companion

Categories: Sex

Garrison Keillor pulls an Ann Coulter in his latest homespun column

Garrison Keillor, the host of American Public Media's Prairie Home Companion, has bloggers fuming over a recent edition of his syndicated column The Old Scout, published on Salon.com.

The March 14 article entitled "Stating the Obvious" begins with Keillor's patented folksy, self-deprecating prairie populism on how neat-o it was to come from a family raised by a plain old mom and dad who put up with each other's shit until they were both in the dirt. Keillor bemoans today's "serial monogamy," where the Thanksgiving table expands to make room for mom's third husband and Grandpa's girlfriend.

Then it takes a sharp right turn. Keillor, possibly on a sugar high from too many Powdermilk Biscuits, worries about that the queers will want to go out and get kids. He ponders how those "sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog," would be able to let their children be the stars of the family.

"If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control," Keillor harrumphs.

Keillor's exasperated vision of a Freddie Mercury/Dame Edna-run household raised the ire of gay political blogger John Aravosis of AmericaBlog, who called the MPR star a "bigoted homophobic pig." Sex columnist and gay parent Dan Savage cited Keillor's Wikipedia entry that divulges his three marriages and notes the "serial monogamy" hypocrisy. Political commentator Andrew Sullivan chimed in as well.

Keillor says the column was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. "I did not refer to homosexuals as 'sardonic fellows with fussy hair,' etc. I was referring to a stereotype," he tells City Pages.

UPDATE: Mr. Keillor's response on the Prairie Home Companion site posted earlier this week:

"Ordinarily I don't like to use this space to talk about my newspaper column but the most recent column aroused such angry reactions that I thought I should reply. The column was done tongue-in-cheek, always a risky thing, and was meant to be funny, another risky thing these days, and two sentences about gay people lit a fire in some readers and sent them racing to their computers to fire off some jagged e-mails. That's okay. But the underlying cause of the trouble is rather simple.


"I live in a small world—the world of entertainment, musicians, writers—in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes. Ever since I was in college, gay men and women have been friends, associates, heroes, adversaries, and in that small world, we talk openly and we kid each other and think nothing of it. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial. In almost every state, gay marriage would be voted down if put on a ballot. Gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing as a hot-button issue. And so gay people out in the larger world feel beseiged to some degree. In the small world I live in, they feel accepted and cherished as individuals, but in the larger world they may feel like Types. My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding. And for that, I am sorry. Gay people who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybody else, and they know that, and so do I."


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