Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Folksy, homespun homophobia

I always thought Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion treaded the fine line between whimsy and humor without ever setting foot on either side. In fact, it used to be that I couldn't see or hear him without thinking of the Simpsons bit where Homer, bored by Keillor's allegedly droll musings, banged on his TV set and shouted, "Be funnier!" But thanks to his editorial on Salon today, now I'll always have these bon mots to remember him by:
"I grew up the child of a mixed-gender marriage that lasted until death parted them, and I could tell you about how good that is for children, and you could pay me whatever you think it's worth...

Under the old monogamous system, we didn't have the problem of apportioning Thanksgiving and Christmas among your mother and stepdad, your dad and his third wife, your mother-in-law and her boyfriend Hal, and your father-in-law and his boyfriend Chuck. Today, serial monogamy has stretched the extended family to the breaking point...

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men -- sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That's for the kids. It's their show."
Keillor has some lofty ideals but he's not exactly the poster boy for the "old monogamous system," as Towleroad points out:
"This is from a man known for dumping a Prairie Home Companion producer who had been his longtime lover in order to marry his second wife. That marriage failed when he was discovered to be having an affair with his Danish language teacher."
Dan Savage adds:
"Keillor has been married THREE TIMES. He has children from two of his marriages, children who presumably need a computer program to keep track of their step-siblings, half-siblings, and sprawling extended families, children that have to be apportioned out on Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
So maybe Keillor has deep, unresolved issues around that idyllic mixed-gender marriage he could never quite master himself. But what does he have against gay marriage? An earlier editorial in the Star Tribune, quoted here, provides a clue:
"I favor marriage between people whose body parts are not similar. I’m sorry, but same-sex marriage seems timid, an attempt to save on wardrobe and accessories."
I think I understand now. Why would you want to share with anyone when you're rocking this level of sartorial splendor?