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Down-home hatred

A lot of people are pretty upset at Garrison Keillor over some comments he's made recently. It seems that the longtime staunch Democrat, with his made-up nostalgia and laid-back persona, has made some awfully homophobic comments about his stance on gay marriage.

Apologists for Keillor are saying that his comments were meant to be satire, but others are drawing comparisons between his comments and Ann Coulter's recent homophobic slur. And they're calling for his head.

I have not read the entire Salon article (I won't click on ads just to be allowed to read an article; Salon can stick their pay-per-click bullshit up their collective asses), but I lived in Minnesota for ten years, and listened to Keillor a few times. I've also seen his movie and a few PBS shows starring him, and read one of his books. I know his shtick pretty well.

It basically all boils down to, "Years ago, we didn't have [thing that makes him vaguely uncomfortable]. Instead we had [list of "down-home" sounding objects], and life was good. But I guess those days are gone. Oh well, life will go on."

That's it. Forty years on the radio, countless lectures, a stack of books, and that's it. He's a curmudgeon who's scared of change, but he's willing to stick his fingers in his ears and pretend the real world doesn't exist.

The question is, is that okay by us?

Keillor's comments are, if they're sincere, deeply discriminatory, and if they're satire, not funny. Either way, they're not exactly likely to make the folks at GLAAD jump for joy. I'm certainly not thrilled about his opinions; I had thought he was more open-minded than that. But is it as bad as the vitriol coming from the neo-cons? Are there degrees of bigotry, and if so, are smaller levels just something you have to live with?

I think so. You're never going to get everyone on the same page. There are plenty of people in the south still angry about the Civil Rights Act. (Hell, there are plenty of them still upset about the Civil War.) I don't get upset when some random fundamentalist tells me I'm going to Hell because I'm an atheist. I get upset when George Bush Sr. tells me I shouldn't be a citizen because of it. You have to pick your battles, and save your strength for the ones that really count.

There are plenty of real villains out there. They're the ones in the pulpits of those megachurches, the ones donating millions of dollars to Republican campaign funds to try to get bullshit like creationism into public schools. They're the talking heads on Fox News turning the "hearts and minds" of this country into a bunch of Orwellian drones. These are the people who deserve every ounce of anger and disdain we can send their way, and they are the ones we need to thwart at every turn.

Garrison Keillor is a bigot. He has made that much clear. He doesn't like atheists, and he doesn't think gays should marry. He has these opinions in common with Cunty McHorseface, it's true. But that's not really important. What's important is that while Ms. Coulter has made it her mission to be our enemy, Mr. Keillor has told us that it doesn't matter to him and he's willing to ignore anything he doesn't agree with.

Our response, instead of a stream of venom, should be, "Thank you. That's all we ask."