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October 15, 2007 | 9 Comments

Dear Garrison Keillor,
As an American publisher of various monographs related to the Nobel Institution(s) and its prizes, I was truly horrified (not at all amused) by this week's comedy segment (conversation between Al Gore and George Bush) which repeated made reference to Sweden. Kindly note (as bachelor from Lake W would surely know) that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in OSLO (like that's Norway) and not Sweden. Furthermore the peace prize award ceremony takes place in Oslo and not in Stockholm. I can now perceive why my many friends at the KVA in Stockholm find your radio broadcast less amusing than I usually do.

Best regards,

Neale W.
Sagamore Beach, MA

The mistake about the Peace Prize was made by a character in the sketch, George W. Bush, and was a deliberate mistake. Have you ever heard of this device being used in comedy? Do you have some sense of humor other than sarcasm? Your letter is a small world into a mind I am truly grateful not to know. If you were "horrified" by the sketch, how do you manage to live in this world of war and suffering and cruelty? Please devote your attention to some other show, my good man. I'd hate to think of you listening, breathing hard, taking everything literally.


You Go Garrison!!!! I wish I had have half your ability in language. Nothing like an English major, that's why I had to marry me one.

That skit gave me the best laugh I'd had all week!

Garrison -- take a deep breath -- look into a mirror -- then re-read what you said here. Does the concept of over-reaction come to mind?

All the poor guy did was not get the joke, after all.

Looks like somebody sure got up on the wrong side of the bed there, don't-cha-know.

You're right, he should have known better.
But then, it could be symptomatic of most Americans inability to distinguish reality from what they see on tv or hear, even on N.P.R..

In fairness to Mr. Neale, Keillor says that the Nobel Prize is given in Sweden in the 'Doris' monologue, too. The Doris sketch doesn't have any 'characters.' The speaker is given as Garrison Keillor. So that's Keillor getting it dead wrong in that part of the program. You can look at the 'Doris' script, and throughout 'Sweden' and 'Swedish' is used. Even the 'foreign accent' is given as Swedish, not Norwegian. Probably Mr. Neale noticed that Keillor got it wrong in 'Doris' and then heard it again later and sent the e-mail about the only part he remembered.
Ever noticed how nasty GK gets when someone else makes a mistake? He could have double-checked himself and answered charitably and privately, instead of turning on his listener and publicly attacking him. Rise above it, GK. Prove you are above your critics, not below them.

Nel, Doris got it right (Nobel prize for literature) and GWB got it wrong (Nobel prize for Peace). Everything except Peace takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. Peace takes place in Oslo, Norway. Still, I am chagrined at how testy GK can get when he is irked. Seems to be happening more and more lately. Sullies the image. If he's this crotchety now, can you picture him at seventy-five? I'll keep listening, however, because he's the best thing on radio.

GK's criticism stands. The Swedish Academy is the body responsible for awarding the Nobel in literature. I had to look it up, but it was a 30-second exercise.
I missed the show this week, but will listen to it soon. I'm glad I read the Doris sketch, because I'd had that vague feeling of guilt all week as I've never read Lessing, nor did I know much about her. Now I know that I can better spend my time elsewhere, in part because ol' Garrison Keillor has proven himself trustworthy. Well done. Life's too short for self-importance.


You have the courage to tell people what
you think. Thank goodness. My dead father
was the same way. He was the most honest
man I've ever known. No, not over-reacting,
but telling it like it is -- our world
is not, and will probably never be ready for
that. Please don't let that stop you...

i loved that little bit between Al G. & "the decider". i didn't catch the subtle reference to Norway/Sweden. i think GK overeacted a wee bit to a missed joke.
on the good side, several years ago i worked in "Bal'more" and there are people who talk like that, quite a hoot hearing that.:)
Great show. thanks

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