Garrison Keillor: End of an Era

People my age tend to become boringly opinionated.  Sadly, I became boringly opinionated at a much earlier age, but far less so than the nut cases now running for President.  I am anticipating a hilarious and entertaining summer and early fall as these two unscrupulous clowns vie for the Presidency. You can’t make this up.

One person of character who is not likely to be watching this slug-fest unfold is Garrison Keillor who called an end to his remarkable story-telling last week in Los Angeles. Garrison didn’t appeal to everyone, but his wry sense of humor and empathy for the common Midwestern man/woman makes him a giant humanist in a country which seems to be careening out of control. I will certainly miss Mr. Keillor entertain us with his nostalgic tales of the people and creatures that inhabit the Lake Wobegon community.

I have written several times about Garrison Keillor and do encourage you to watch Robert Altman’s tribute to Garrison in the appropriately named film “A Prairie Dog’s Companion.” Some may find it painfully hokey, but I still revel in its earthy humor.

Found below is a recent video clip from CBS which frames Garrison’s life as he disappears into the sunset: Good Lord! Another writer?

Farewell

Please Don’t Leave Garrison!

 

I am truly devastated to report that Garrison Keillor will be “stepping down” next year after 42 inspirational years in bringing A Prairie Home Companion to avid listeners of NPR.  Apparently, this landmark in Midwestern radio nostalgia will not die as Garrison is in discussions with Chris Thile, “the one-time child prodigy mandolinist for Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers,” to keep the show alive with perhaps more emphasis on music.

Will devout fans and occasional listeners (like me) support the transition?  I have no idea, but Garrison is an icon of Americana radio theater that probably should have faded into oblivion many years ago:

But is that why listeners tune in week after week? I suspect not. What they want is to hear Keillor’s self-consciously cheesy skits—Guy Noir and the American Duct Tape Council and the old-school radio special-effects gags. And, of course, they want to hear Keillor’s soothing, mellow relation of that week’s news from the fictional Lake Wobegon. What Keillor is offering listeners is a set of comfy, musty, fusty, and dusty Midwestern roots: “The little town that time forgot, and the decades cannot improve.” It’s a place the listeners probably didn’t come from—these are coastal NPR elites, after all—and that never existed anyway, which is the attraction: familiar enough to soothe, fictional enough to be endearing.  Read more in The Atlantic . . .

For those who have not had the pleasure to listen to one of Garrison’s “cheesy skits,” book reviews or humorous banter, I hardily recommend famed director Robert Altman‘s last film which features Garrison and an all-star cast closing down A Prairie Home Companion, which is portrayed as a “dusty” relic that needs to be dropped off at a Goodwill center.

I am truly very sad!