Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
July 10, 2008 |
Dear Mr. Keillor,
I guess after some 25 years as a loyal listener (and of course, consumer of your books and disks) one is bound to hear material on a PHC airing that would feel very un Lake Wobegon.
Maybe it's especially that the past two days, like all gays, i've been suffering the too-frequent newscaster exaltation of Jesse Helms, but i could not believe my ears this eve when one of your Noir actors said, "You look like a fruitcake!"
Mr. Keillor, surely you know that is a degrading slur to countless numbers of your fans. This also puts you in the company of Focus on the Family's James Dobson, who just last week used the word 'fruitcake' referring to Obama's Bible.
As you know professionally, once a word has been broadcast, it's transferred to the universe, reinforcing a truth—or, sadly, ugly prejudice.
Over the years, I have written you thanks for your extraordinarily beautiful body of work and will continue to site you as a key reason for renewing my WNYC membership.
Never, ever could i have imagined that i'd need to write this note to you.
With great respect,
The character who says, "It makes you look like a fruitcake" is a Chicago street character, a tough guy, and the word is part of his idiom. But he doesn't mean he thinks Guy Noir is gay. He just means that he looks nutty. Where I come from, "fruitcake" doesn't have such a specific connotation. "Nuttier than a fruitcake" has been around forever, and the term can be applied in various ways, and not implying effeminacy or swishiness or anything of the sort. So I do not "know that it is a degrading slur to countless numbers" of PHC fans. I am not in that business. I don't keep track of Mr. Dobson or Jesse Helms, and I don't plan to. Sorry this caused you distress.