Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Woe, woe Woebegon

I was a Constant Listener to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show in the mid-to-late 1970s. Still living in northern Illinois, in the same locale of my birth ... and while growing up in the super-boonies of Chicago was not exactly like doing it in Minnesota, I shared then and still do a similar cultural bedrock with Keillor. I read his first book about the same time. Since the move to southern California in 1980 I've lost touch by often painful degrees with that cultural foundation. Tempus fugit! The older I get the more I imagine that I "could" go back there to stay, unless I have to go to Canada...

Treading those buoyant waters of nostalgia lately, I'm delighted to find Garrison Keillor throwing his Woebegon voice about regarding today's political bread and circuses. A new book, AND a more prominent voice in the progressive on-line community. His politics don't matter as much to me as his "voice". I love that voice.

Here's his latest at In These Times. The piece: We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore: How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?

From the article: "In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. “Bipartisanship is another term of date rape,” says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy."

I read most of the reader comments at the end of the piece. You might find them as interesting as I did. And be sure to check out the etch-a-sketch president graphic. I would have snagged it for ASZ, but it's pretty large, and I can get carried away with images if not restrained by straight jacket.

Your due diligence door prize (DDDP) -- a quote from Camus on absurdity:

"...Learning all over again to see, to be attentive, to focus consciousness; it is turning every idea and every image, in the manner of Proust, into a priviledged moment."