Thursday, May 29, 2008


Garrison Keillor, I pity your sad existence

There's a fine line between healthy cynicism and outright vitriol, and this past Wednesday, author/columnist Garrison Keillor stumbled across it like a teetering drunk. In perhaps the stupidest piece he has ever written, Keillor went after the veterans and troop supporters who rode in the Rolling Thunder rally on Memorial Day. Here are a few jewels of "wisdom" from a sad, pathetic guy who just flat-out doesn't get it:
"A patriotic bike rally is sort of like a patriotic toilet-papering or patriotic graffiti; the patriotism somehow gets lost in the sheer irritation of the thing."

"You don't quite see the connection between that and these fat men with ponytails on Harleys. After hearing a few thousand bikes go by, you think maybe we could airlift these gentlemen to Baghdad to show their support of the troops in a more tangible way."

"...the bikers riding in formation are more interested in being seen than in learning anything. They are grown men playing soldier, making a great hullaballoo without exposing themselves to danger, other than getting drunk and falling off a bike."

"No wonder the Current Occupant welcomed them with open arms at the White House, put on a black leather vest, and gave a manly speech about how he'd just 'choppered in' and saw the horde 'cranking up their machines' and he thanked them for being so patriotic. They are his kind of guys, full of bluster, giving off noxious fumes, and when they leave town, nobody misses them."

I suppose it never occurred to this pseudo-intellectual nancy that many of those so-called "fat men with ponytails" are veterans themselves who've seen the horrors of war firsthand; who've given their hearts, minds, and bodies so guys like Keillor would have the liberty to marginalize and insult them from the comfort of a computer chair.

Moreover, Keillor doesn't seem to've made the historical connection between motorcycles and military service, specifically with regard to how surplus post-WWII bikes became a respite, comfort, and escape for thousands of shell-shocked servicemen who had a difficult time adjusting to civilian life when they got home.

I'm personally no fan of President Bush, and I don't like the debacle we've created in Iraq, but I'm behind servicemen and veterans one hundred percent. Their sacrifice, bravery, and willingness to do what not many of us won't do makes them heroes in my book.

It's a shame that Keillor refuses to tolerate those who show their patriotism in ways he doesn't relate to. He's missing out on a golden opportunity to expand his awareness of the world and meet some truly excellent people along the way. And that, friends, is very sad. I wonder how differently Mr. Keillor would've seen this event had he spent some time walking and talking with those leather-clad vets -- putting his hand on their shoulders and telling them "thank you for your service", instead of demeaning the solidarity and freedom they represent.

Shame on you, Garrison Keillor. Shame on you, indeed.

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