Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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May 3, 2011 |
When listeners write in to say they're offended by something we did on a show, I don't tell them not to feel that way. If you're offended, you're offended. Quite a few were offended by the tornado that appeared in the Guy Noir episode in St. Louis on April 30. Guy was working security at a Cards game and a tornado came up as a streaker was dashing across the field and Guy chased him as the tornado lifted the naked man up and Guy jumped and grabbed him by the ankles and they both flew up in the air and then gently descended in the outfield. People thought this was insensitive, given that the death toll from tornadoes in the South that week was more than 300. They may be right. I'd ask them to consider that we were not telling a joke about tornado victims but simply putting a tornado into a story, which was meant to show the intense devotion of Cards fans ---- they didn't evacuate, they stayed in their seats as the tornado came through, and the game quickly resumed. A tall tale, and if you look up American folk humor, you'll find dozens of tall tales about tornadoes. I grew up hearing stories about the whimsical ways of tornadoes, hopping and skipping around, and I've told half a dozen or so tornado stories over the years, usually about them hitting the righteous and avoiding the wicked. My parents talked for years about the tornado in Anoka around 1938. But we didn't lose anybody and there's a difference. We do stories about madmen, feral dogs, people running around shooting guns, anvils falling on people, cars running off cliffs, and in these stories, as in cartoons, nobody ever dies. The car falls off the cliff and hits the gasoline tanks which explode and somehow the driver is shot into the air and caught by a whale who vomits him onto the beach. If you ever had a loved one who ran his car off a cliff, you might be offended by that. I would be sympathetic.
Other listeners felt that the bridal song for Prince William and Duchess Catherine was in poor taste. They felt the line "It's not bad, it could be worse. It's better than coming to church in a hearse" was a reference to the funeral of Princess Diana at Westminster Abbey. It was not intended to be. Prince William's mother died fourteen years ago and her funeral is not in the forefront of my mind. And it is better to be alive than dead. I do believe that.