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November 13, 2006 |
Hello Mr. Keillor:
I was disappointed with the jab you threw at deer hunters describing opening day of Minnesota deer season as "the day we dress all of our drunks up in blaze orange (etc.)". A few bad apples can ruin the image of any group, and this is true of hunters. Most of us are decent, hard-working people who obey the law and pay our taxes. You never take cheap shots, which is why I was rather stunned to hear that line. I don't appreciate being labeled a "drunk" because I participate in an activity I find rewarding and fun, and I suspect the many thousands of your fellow Minnesotans who hunt don't either. We get enough grief as it is, and I hope I can tune in to your show without hearing more of it there.
Yes, the objects of jokes tend to be sensitive about this. I speak as a liberal, and I have friends who are lawyers. Was that a cheap shot? Maybe so. Maybe it should have been put in the mouth of a character in Lake Wobegon, perhaps the acerbic Dorothy at the Chatterbox Cafe. That's exactly the sort of thing she'd say. She considers hunting pretty ridiculous and doesn't mince words about it. That most hunters are decent, law-abiding folk is not in question. That there is a LOT of drinking going on is also beyond doubt, according to what my hunter friends have told me. Maybe that is folklore, but sometimes comedy works with folklore and with stereotypes. The over-armed city hunter crashing through the woods, two sheets to the wind a comic stereotype, but it must come from someplace, it wasn't just dreamed up out of thin air. Likewise, the cheating conniving Philadelphia lawyer. Most Philadelphia lawyers, surely, are quiet, ethical, devoted to the cause of human rights, and yet the cartoon figure persists. Likewise, the blithering latte liberal who loves the oppressed and downtrodden at a great distance: there's truth in that, my friend.
In my old age, I am more and more in favor of plain speech. I think that we midwesterners try much too hard to be inoffensive and it's bad for us and bad for comedy. And I hope you get your deer.