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Robert Madewell

I've always liked listening to The Prairie Home Companion. You know, I find it a shock to imagine hearing those words in Keillors soothing and gentle voice. My wife has such a crush on that voice! (Me too, but that's our little secret!)

I think I've always known that Keillor was a bigot.

Lisa Roth

thanks for this. Wow. Screed is right! One of my pet peeves is being forced fed Christian hymns in the name of good cheer. Silent Night is not a holiday tune, it's religious music and belongs in a church, not the mall. You want holiday hits, stick with "Santa Baby."

Bjorn Watland

This isn't the first ugly bit of writing to come from this St. Paul boy:


How amazingly hypocritical. "Spiritual piracy" indeed, from the religion that has specialized in that since its beginning. Too bad I'm not suprised with Keilor's actions. Unfortunately, that "folksy" persona seems to always cover a hateful bigot.

Cath of Canberra

Inspired by a Facebook commenter:

Silent Night, Ex-mass night
All is fraught, on the right.
On the blogs the bigots are shrill,
calling out for some heathens to kill.
Suck my cock, Garrison Keilor,
Suck my cock Garrison K!


I'm particularly hurt by it, as I'm not only a Keillor fan, but I"m also an atheist Jew. Ouch.

Elliott James


The link didn't post properly



Typical "nothing is pure anymore" whining. Nothing is pure. Nothing is sacred. And I quite like it that way. Never been much of a Keillor fan anyway.

I saw the Salon piece he did.

I have no idea what to make of it. The person from whom I got the link seems to think it might be satire, but I have no idea. I really don't even think he makes a point in it except to say something seemingly derogatory about how because of the gays and because parents are too dramatic these days, family gatherings are really complicated. I'm of the mind that family gatherings have ALWAYS been complicated.

Keillor has officially entered the stereotypical phase of life of the crotchety old white man. He's the guy on the bus who just can't keep his frustrations to himself anymore.


Looks like your website is under attack from supernatural forces...

you really need to add comment moderation to your blasphemy...


I wonder if Keillor was really trying to make some fairly reasonable aesthetic point about giving cheesy "new" words to familiar, traditional old songs -- and the subject rather got away from him.

It's worth noting I think that, for all his ranting about Christmas being for Christians only, his advice on how to celebrate, and his examples of proper celebrations, have no religious content in them at all. Not even a word about the Baby Jesus. I have trouble thinking the inconsistency is accidental.

If he's trying to make some obscure pro-humanism point, though, it's more or less lost in translation. Much like the humor on the Jewish guys trashing up the mall with Rudolph the Reindeer.

Michael Keenan

You're making too much of all this. He doesn't come off well in print. It is ALL satire but he IS getting old and crotchety. Even on the radio show there are days it doesn't work all that well. But, if he were speaking this column, it would have sound like one of his sardonic Lake Woebegon stories and probably no one who knew him and his style would be offended. In print you don't get that sense.

Greta Christina

Michael, if it hadn't been for a history of his writing other pieces like this, I'd be willing to cut him slack and buy the "satirical" angle. But given his history of this sort of thing, I'm unconvinced. It sounds a lot more to me like genuine bigotry and hostility trying to pass itself off as satire. If he sincerely apologizes for his blundering tone-deafness and says he didn't mean any of it, I'll rethink.

Joshua Zelinsky

Just reading the excerpt I thought it was an attempt at satire or parody. But having read the entire piece I no longer think that. Quite disappointing.


Celebrations around the Northern winter solstice pre-date Christianity by many centuries - including the Syrian Sol Invictus, the Roman Saturnalia and of course the Jewish Hannukah, so it's a bit rich when Christians complain about their holiday being usurped!


Wow, what the hell??


Keillor is the new Andy Rooney. Didn't you get the memo?


if Mr. Keilor doesn't "come off well in print", he has no one but himself to blame if people react negatively to his articles. I've read this one and his one about how gay people dare add more "confusion" to the pageant of relatives. As has been said, I and others know real people who really mean such things.

Charles D

When you consider that Christmas is itself a rip-off of the pagan solstice festival, this critique falls flat. I love choral music and great hymns (a remnant from my believing days) and for the most part, I don't mind just shutting out the ridiculous words and going for the music. That works when the music is up to the task, but the maudlin sentimentalism of a lot of Xmas music just isn't worth it.

Yep, if you want to change the lyrics to Silent Night, or Little Town of Bethlehem or Jingle Fucking Bells, then mazeltov! If we non-believers and non-Christians have to be assaulted 24-7 with crappy music at least spare us the dumbass mythology and let us have some fun with it.


Your response to Mr. Keillor's piece was well thought out and articulate. Kudos!

Dave Fitzgerald sent me over here... :-)

Greta Christina

Ingrid made a point about the "It's just satire" angle on this that I think is really valid (it actually put into words something I was thinking but having a hard time saying). And that's that, even if it's true, it's no excuse.

If you're satirizing bigotry, and part of your satire involves pretending to have bigoted attitudes towards people who are traditionally the targets of serious bigotry, contempt, and marginalization... you have a thousand times more responsibility to make sure your satirical intentions are clear. Otherwise, you're just perpetuating the very bigotry you're supposedly satirizing.

Keillor could have done that fairly easily. He could have made any of the points we're all making in satirical form: "Sure, Christmas traditions are mostly stolen from pagan ones -- but that's no excuse for the pagans to steal them back! Two wrongs don't make a right!" That sort of thing.

It's true that there will always be somebody who doesn't get the joke... but if a large group of intelligent people with good senses of humor aren't seeing it, then at best we're looking at a grossly irresponsible, callously cavalier attitude towards bigotry. (Which is kind of hard to distinguish from actual bigotry.) And at worst, we have actual bigotry, trying to cover itself with a veneer of satire.

Nurse Ingrid

Look at it this way: does anyone have to debate whether or not The Onion or Robot Chicken is satire? If smart, funny people really can't tell, you are not doing it right.

Tina St. Sebastian

Actually, Ingrid, I just spent an hour explaining to a Facebook-friend that the video she was freaking out over was in fact satire. Despite people pointing out the Onion logo in the corner, she kept insisting it was real.

As to the Keillor piece, I agree that if you are going to satirize bigotry, it has to be very clear that you are doing so. When I meet bigots I usually join in and then take it too far:

"Those people are taking our jobs!"

"Yeah, and our women and our yams! Have you noticed how little yam there is lately? Damn those vegetarian lesbians! Wait... who were you talking about?"


That's true, I see people often who mistake satire like the Onion for real stuff and freak out over it, but to be fair, Ingrid did say 'smart, funny people' :-)

Dara Dandrea-Giannotti

I have to say I am really upset about this...for years my husband and I were great fans of the lake Wobegon tales ,I was raised Lutheran and he Catholic so we would laugh together at the stories of the people there,his voice was soothing and great to fall asleep husband passed away a few years ago ad I held our lake Wobegon CDs with great reverence........I am agnostic and still celebrate Christmas for the good it represents,for peace and family and charity for me the Christ figure is no different than santa but just as cherished for childhood memories,as an agnostic I have grown accustomed to intollerence toward thinking outside the box but I found this article so deeply offensive...not only toward people like myself but toward Unitarians,Jews basicly anyone who isnt Christian what a load of racist crap this is! Christians arent the only ones celebrating in December yet it has become fashionable for them to act like they own exclusive rights to this time of year and oh they are all so oppressed if you say otherwise!.well Mr Keillor if anyone is ruining Christmas it is you and your ilk.


Right there with you on this one, Greta.

"Merry Christmas, spiritual pirates!"

ARR! Whar's the grog, mate?


In the heart of his article, I can see Keillor wanting Christmas to be a safeguarded celebration of Christian virtue, and not meddled with by the faithless. And while he gets off-track enough about pagans, Jews, Unitarians, and song-changing to the point that I felt the need to write a column about it (linked), I agree with the heart of his point.

Hear me out.

I think Christmas should be about Christ, and shouldn't have its traditions updated to be acceptable to the modern world. I also think Christmas should remain in churches. The problem is, we have this national celebration, so as you point out, of course non-Christians are going to put their own spin on it. If we could just separate religious Christmas (plenty of Christ-filled traditions for church-goers only) from a national winter festival, (crazy songs for a silly multicultural country that also enjoys dressing up in costumes and demanding free candy), things would be better.

I feel the same way about marriage. If we just separated Church-Sanctioned Christ-Joining-Marriage (which should be purely a religious ceremony and carry no more legal status than a baptism or confirmation), from marriages and weddings (wherein persons who presumably hold mutual affection choose to somewhat merge their futures, legal status, etc. of their own volition), it wouldn't be as much of a problem. While we might prefer that certain religious leaders joined the modern age, they would be applying their "religious purity of marriage" restrictions only within their religious Christ-joinings, and actual marriages and weddings would no longer need to be assaulted by rules more properly reserved for the church.

It's a nice idea, anyway.


You can't be guilty of pirating what is in the public domain =)

c. roast

Sure are a lot of bigotted comments decrying a bigotted column.


Like what? I've seen comment threads get out of hand sometimes, but don't see how any of these comments are bigoted, unless you're taking examples of bigotry out of context.


HEY Keillor....... Eat $hit & die, MOFO!!!!!

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