Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gay panic in Lake Wobegone

Before uttering the word "shit" on the air in a joke mocking atheists this weekend, Garrison Keillor delivered a Halloween gift to LGBTs — a snide paean to gay panic (at the 34:47 mark here) during one of his special joke shows:
Well Jim and John had to share a room one night in a hotel.
Jim said "I snore so bad I doubt you'll sleep that well."
And John kissed him on the cheek. He said "Sweetheart, it's alright."
Jim went and sat in a chair and he stayed awake all night.
In 2007, Keillor apologized for being "misunderstood" in a monologue containing the following:
     And now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives. In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife’s first husband’s second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin’s in-laws and Bruce’s ex, Mark, and Mark’s current partner, and I suppose we’ll get used to it.
     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.
     Keillor's Lake Wobegone is a place where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, all the children are above average and all the gays are virtually invisible, just like in a Ken Burns documentary (where gay baseball stars and gay jazz legends stay hermetically sealed for eternity in their closets.)
     In Time magazine, Keillor once described Minnestoa Gov. Jesse Ventura, a conservative who has been far friendlier in public to gay people than Keillor has ever been, as a "great big honking bullet-headed shovel-faced mutha who talks in a steroid growl."
     Maybe. But Keillor has never stepped up to the plate and gone to bat for gay people as forcefully as Jesse Ventura has. (He did publicly oppose the effort to ban gay marriage in Minnesota's constitution, but not until after Jesse Ventura and his wife of 37 years made an ad opposing the referendum.)

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