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Garrison Keillor is a THRONE OF LIES!

Garrison Keillor is not a “great guy”. Which means that he’s quintessentially “Minnesota Nice.” The smugness of his god-awful radio show is really only a symptom of a deep paranoia about what the Upper Midwest ought to be; that is to say, as non-offensive as possible. This is why the NPR-ization of literature-particularly poetry here-is such anathema to a multifaceted, grassroots literary community. It’s why the well-funded arts bureaucracy of the Twin Cities consists largely in doling out money to feckless, hand-wringing, “grandma’s farm burned down in the 30s so now I’m going to write a poem about the prairie oh and by the way here’s what I think about Tibet”-writing hacks; their edgy “alternative,” in terms of the reading public’s consciousness, consists mostly of a kind of Tiger Beat surrealism. Either way it’s a great gig if you can get it.

And this isn’t about imposing one particular view of what writing in a larger community can, and should, be-but rather sucking all of the air out of the room so that only a very specific type of realism and attitude about realism (that it should confirm what you already know about the world) becomes normative. There are a lot of great writers in the Twin Cities, but you really would never know that from MPR or other major opinion-organs of the state.

In 2000, it was the National Organization of Broadcasters and Public Radio that joined together to kill low-powered FM radio:

National Public Radio and the National Association of Broadcasters failed to stop the FCC from implementing its modest Low Power FM service. But after months of intensive lobbying, NPR and the NAB convinced Congress to quietly kill the service, and prevent schools, libraries, community groups and local government from operating low watt stations.

It’s pretty clear where its bread is buttered, and Keillor’s latest actions is only a symptom of that.

Thu, September 15 2005 » Minnesota, Poetry

4 Responses

  1. Dave Schwartz September 15 2005 @ 2:49 pm

    Man, I want to get into a literary shouting match right now, so I can call someone a Tiger Beat surrealist.

  2. Barth September 15 2005 @ 10:59 pm

    I was just saying to Cindra today that if she wanted to get a Minnesota State Art Board grant, she should only submit poems with the words “taconite” or “lutefisk” in them.

  3. Jehovah September 20 2005 @ 9:08 pm

    Please name the Tiger Beat surrealists you are referring to.

  4. Emusing April 3 2007 @ 11:52 pm

    Brilliant essay. I can’t dis everything Keilor does-home spun is not always sticky but in general it does play a sad one note lutefisk.


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