Garrison Keillor: Nutcase or Post-Modern Ironist?

Just read Garrison Keillor’s sinus-clearing editorial, “Nonbelievers, Please Leave Christmas Alone.”  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, just check this out:

If you don’t believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn “Silent Night” and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write “Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we’ll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah”? No, we didn’t.

Christmas is a Christian holiday – if you’re not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don’t mess with the Messiah.

And those are just the milder parts.

What do you think, is this irony or has GK flown off the rails? Folks like blogger Jerry Haber and the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg think it’s the latter; I’m tending toward the former.  If you can lay down your wassal for just a moment, I’d love to hear your thoughts…

7 Replies to “Garrison Keillor: Nutcase or Post-Modern Ironist?”

  1. Mr. Keilor is a columnist and a sort of good entertainer. Why dwell on his words by giving him “16 minutes of fame”. A mild headache, if you just breathe deeply and relax, will go away on its own. But if you perseverate about it, you can give it more of an audience than it really is.

    Fageddaboutit. And concentrate on the kids who need a decent meal, a cure of the illness that takes a life, and a homeless fellow traveler on this earth who needs a kind word.

  2. I think I read it a day or two ago, and although it’s rather extreme, I thought he was just being funny/absurd. I can hardly read into it any subversive ideas about the rest of us. (I love the Seinfeld concept of Festivus). Keillor has a certain style, and I can’t think he’s vicious. Are we so terribly sensitive that we read cruelty into everything?

  3. I’ll go one step further than Shirley. I love Garrison Keillor, I think this piece is very funny and I think his shows are always entertaining and filled with good will and human kindness.

  4. It’s surely irony … but even great humorists fly off the rails every once in a while. My sense is that whoever is messing with our “Silent Night” could do no worse than what we Christians do to these holy days. One of our Christmas prayers speaks of God joining “heaven to earth and earth to heaven”. Not many of us can grasp that either … so we settle for a good shopping trip and the incessant rat tat tat of the Little Drummer Boy.

  5. I’m so jealous! You three seem confident that it’s irony–me, I’m not hearing that from the piece as a whole, or even from the sentence or two about us Jews. Or if it is irony, it’s irony with an edge… Well, anyway, I found it unsettling.

  6. Knowing Keillor just from his popular radio show, irony. If not, I’d simply point to the fact that the United States of America has made Christmas a national holiday. By insisting that Christmas be a national holiday, some if not all of its religious meaning has been relinquished. They can’t have it both ways.

  7. Read Mike Nelson’s Deathrat, and you will see a take on Mr. Keillor that isn’t pleasant, written by a better Minnesota humorist.

    The old boy is an impossible human being who sues his neighbors over crap.

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