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Something Smelly in Lake Wobegone

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

by Bossy Boots

Okay, I have been hating Garrison Keillor for YEARS, ever since high school, when I was assigned to read this essay he wrote about how you are a bad person if you fuck up the company softball game by, like, failing to catch a fly ball or something like that. I know this sounds like it makes no sense, but, really, that is actually what the essay is about! I am not joking! That is really what it’s about! Anyway, if you are the (bad) type of person, like me, who was totally traumatized in early childhood by softball Ayatollahs, you should track down this essay and read it because it will totally make you thirsty for smarmy Wobegone blood. (I hear it tastes like Coca Cola!)

(Confidential to Brian: Speaking of softball, I hope you kicked some New Yorker ass last night…)

Anyway, I have never been a Garrison Keillor fan, but today’s essay in Salon really sinks to a level of vileness that I was totally unprepared for in terms of clueless, veiled, liberal aw’ shucks homophobia. Basically it is about an out of towner with orange hair and a pierced navel who shows up at a barbeque in quaint, down-home Mitchell, South Dakota and wows the crowd by being “young, smart and funny,” not to mention “slender,” despite her decidedly alternative and “flamboyant!!” countenance. I am wowed too, and I have not even met this edgy gal!

Mr. Blue’s point, here, is, of course, that:
“There are plenty of old grumblers in Mitchell (and anywhere else) but deep down, we're all in favor of people living their lives as they choose and we are fond of true independents and adventurers and gypsy musicians. Red or blue, we agree that freedom is at the heart of American life and it's a big country and there's room for everybody…”
Well. Optimism is always nice, but give me a hundred fucking breaks. Maybe you haven’t noticed this, Garrison—o bespectacled soothsayer, o chronicler of civic center barbecues and apple pie and star spangled banners and church picnics—but WE DO NOT ALL AGREE on the above point. I could provide the links here to back it up, but I don’t feel like Googling them all, and anyway, I’m sure that everyone except you has heard of, Michelle Malkin, Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, Exodus Ministries, the Heritage Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly, God Hates Fags etc etc vomit vomit etc. Now, I don’t know for sure if these folks’ opinions on “gypsy musicians” has been documented—I wouldn’t be surprised if it has—but I can say with great certainty that they are very clear on their stance re: the grand ol’ crazy quilt of American Diversity and Freedom. They hate it. Yes, that’s right: MICHELLE MALKIN AND ALL OF HER FRIENDS HATE FREEDOM. Just like Those Muslims do!!!

Now those folks are one thing. We expect them to be bigoted assholes because, well, that is their job. And who am I to criticize the grand ol’ crazy quilt of American Enterprise and Hateration? Everybody’s got to make a living. However, it is the fake-o, smarmy, so-called “tolerant” folks such as those folksy folks Garrison and Dear Prudie who really make me furious. Despite their constant posturing as diversity lovin’ Care Bears—Prudie was a flower girl in a sensibly chaste gay wedding, you know—they are incredibly quick to show their true colors:
The good Republicans of Mitchell are not above having fun, and this flamboyant oddball in their midst was Not A Problem. It was a pleasure. One shouldn't generalize, but that is what columnists do, so I will: People enjoy oddity and flamboyance, even if they won't say so (not wanting to encourage their own children), so long as it's amiable and not defensive…
What we don't need is Too Much Information. There really is no need for a unit on Orangeness in the Mitchell public schools -- let's focus on math and English composition and American history and leave Orangism to be discovered later.
Ok, I now give everyone a moment to kill themselves in total disgust.

I had the bad fortune to read this piece right after reading the hilarious and illuminating interview with Paul Lynde’s biographers, which Salon ran yesterday, and the contrast was incredibly ironic.

Paul Lynde, naturally, was the “flamboyant oddball” (read: out-of-control fag) best known for his star turn as Gay Center Square on the classic, pre-Whoopi incarnation of HOLLYWOOD SQUARES. Of course, with his wacky, coded, buttsex jokes and self-loathing, closety rage constantly bubbling just below the surface, Lynde was the toast of good ole folksy American living rooms everywhere. After all, Homosexuals, in all their Flamboyance, can be incredibly funny and colorful just as long as they are not trying to kiss their husbands during their comical gay wedding ceremonies!

Of course, as the article points out, Paul Lynde lived a pretty miserable life, and the reason is clear. Yes, he may have been genuinely hilarious, but his job was to be the butt of the joke for a pre-AIDS, 1970s audience—to whom faggotry amounted to a disgusting, perversion that was just sick enough to be pretty fucking funny, and just funny enough to only be fucking sick if you had to think about it for more than five seconds!

Garrison Keillor’s essay clearly endorses a return to these simpler, more homespun days—when gays and other “flamboyant oddballs” were content to serve as minstrels and court jesters rather than demanding an actual place at the table, or bothering anyone with the kinky, poop-smeared details of their filthy private lives. Ah, the seventies truly were the days. Patty Hearst, Jim Jones, WAYLAND FLOWERS AND MADAME… I wish I had been born around to enjoy it all.

Unfortunately, things have changed. THESE days, Keillor cunningly points out (without actually saying it), fags and other freaks/people you see on TV are outrageously demanding such absurd courtesies as equal treatment in the public school system! It fails to occur to him that “flamboyant oddballs,” might occasionally ATTEND public schools, and therefore have every right to be acknowledged as human beings, not to mention, you know, educated.

But that is probably me being “defensive!” Well guess what: I have tried “amiability” and it is a total trap. Gary Bauer and Dr. James Dobson are not amiable. They are terrorists who hate America, hate freedom, hate me, and probably hate those cute little Gypsy musicians, too! This is no time for messing around, and it’s incredibly offensive for Keillor to command that “flamboyant” folks everywhere shut up and start dancin’ to preserve the congenial, down-home atmosphere of his annual church bake-sale.

Lake Wobegone must be such a fun little hamlet. Despite the political differences of its judicious, God fearing citizens, they are willing to accept just about any old folks who are going to make their town just a little bit more darn COLORFUL! Just be sure that you don’t drop the softball with that limp noodle wrist of yours. Losing is no fun for the community! And, whatever you do, don’t let anyone get wind of where you hang your hot dog at night. After all, that’s not colorful, it’s just sinful and revolting! Note: These small towns can be mighty gossipy, so be sure to cover your sticky, AstroGlide tracks well…

In good ol’ Lake Wobegone, a jester is always welcome as long as he knows he’s not really welcome. HA HA HA!

(note: my Internet BFF, Josh at Fagistan, put it more succinctly than I did...)


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4:43 PM  

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