February 01, 2006

How Can We Not Hate Garrison Keillor?

As you may well imagine from the very title of this humble “weblog,” we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” loathe a great number of people, places, and things. We’re not just talking about your obvious targets of obloquy: Mussolini, Detroit, women. Rather, we mean the sorts of things that most people don’t even have the time to scorn.

Every once in a blue moon, however, a figure we completely detest does something so uncharacteristic that he makes us begrudgingly rethink our contumely. It’s a painful experience to undergo, dear reader, and, quite frankly, it rarely happens. But this doesn’t make it any easier when it occurs.

For example, dear reader, like any God-fearing human beings with ears, we despise Billy Joel. That saccharine tunesmith makes us wretch uncontrollably upon taking in the sounds of his dismal warbling.

And yet, a recent interview Mr. Joel had with feculent Newsweek magazine was actually—surprisingly—endearing. In said piece, Mr. Joel makes clear that his new box set is an unnecessary waste, a means for his record company to reap even more profits. Mr. Joel admits that he has a contractual obligation with his record company, and, if they want to offer this piffle, then he must go along.

Asked specifically if the world requires four versions of his horrid ditty “I Go to Extremes,” Mr. Joel reasonably replies: “I don’t think so.” That, we must admit, is a darn good answer. We just wish he would admit that the world doesn’t need any version of “I Go to Extremes.” In fact, we’re willing to bet that the planet would be far better off without that piece of crap.

Regardless, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” couldn’t help but feel a bit of respect for Mr. Joel. This didn’t oblige us to like “Piano Man” and kindred examples of classic Joel tripe, but it forced us to reconsider our position on him all the same.

This is also true of Garrison Keillor. Naturally, we simply detest this self-important moron, whose NPR shenanigans are pretty much the best argument against public funding for radio. We have long harbored the suspicion that “A Prairie Home Companion,” his noxiously soporific program, was so dull that it caused more vehicular deaths each year than drunk driving.

That said, we were naturally surprised to find that Mr. Keillor penned a delicious hatchet job in the latest number of The New York Times Book Review. The target of Mr. Keillor’s wit is none other than Bernard-Henri Levy, the dimwit whose unbuttoned shirt makes very clear that he didn’t get the You’re Not Sexy memo.

Mr. Keillor lays into this self-impressed nincompoop’s new book, American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville. It’s a heck of a demolition, offering such gems as “Bernard-Henry Levy is a French writer with a spatter-paint prose style and the grandiosity of a college sophomore.”

Okay, so we’re prepared to admit that Garrison Keillor isn’t all bad. Anyone who rips on pompous frogs has something to recommend him.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll be blithely clutching “Prairie Home Companion” tote bags. After all, unlike all those NPR chuckleheads, we didn’t vote for Dukakis.

Posted at February 1, 2006 01:01 AM | TrackBack