Field of Science

Garrison Keillor in grumpy old bigot mode

I usually like to listen to Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion. He's got a great voice the perfect looks for radio. And I have noticed his frequent references to "good, decent lutherans" in the show, but I thought that was entirely in jest, and only today did I become aware that he is really a religious nut.

Keillor espouses the not uncommon view in the US that if you aren't a Christian, then you have no business celebrating Christmas:
Christmas is a Christian holiday -- if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.
Well, I do celebrate Yule, as he says, but it's the same thing! The direct translation of Christmas (indeed, the only one) - with all the Christian components - is 'jul' in Danish (weihnachten in German, jól in Icelandic). It is a celebration with roots that aren't Christian in origin, which the Christians then hijacked as a celebration of the birth of the son of himself. If Garrison wants non-Christians to stay clear of celebrating it, then could I ask that he in return stays clear of the parts that are pagan, like the tree? Seems fair to me. His club messed with our celebration first, goddammit, so fuck off Garrison.
Christmas does not need any improvements. It is a common ordinary experience that resists brilliant innovation. Just make some gingerbread persons and light three candles and sing softly in dim light about the poor man gathering winter fu-u-el and the radiant beams and the holly and the ivy, and you've got it. Too many people work too hard to make Christmas perfect, find the perfect gifts, get a turkey that reaches 100 percent of potential. Perfection is a goal of brilliant people and it is unnecessary where Christmas is concerned.
Yeah well, IMO Scandinavia didn't need any improvement a thousand years ago, and, while most of the pre-Christianity traditions have been lost (because they became Christian), I am quite certain that people didn't go around thinking that their Winter Solstice celebration needed divine improvement.

What prompted this tirade from Garrison?
Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism and we Christians have stood for it long enough.
Does anyone feel the burn of the irony? (Here I stop to note that Garrison is an English-major, and very fond of the English language. It is therefore with exquisite delight that I mangle the English language, and I can only hope that he ever stops by and sputters his eggnog all over his keyboard.) On top of that I wonder if this is about a five-year old hoax that Bill O'Reilly fell for, fighting the war against the war on Christmas?


  1. A Christian upset about how everyone but them is doing Christmas wrong!?!

    It's a festivus miracle!

  2. Yeah, saying, "You can't have your own traditions if they derive from ours in any way" is already a hopelessly immature -- dare I say clique-ish? -- attitude. Having that attitude about Christmas... the irony is just astounding.

    Some say Keiller was joking, but it doesn't really sound like it...

  3. It's like no-one else is supposed to be allowed to use December for they've planted their flag on the whole damned month.


  4. If he was joking, then it's my kind of joke. Keep carrying on as if being serious so far that everyone is in doubt. (It's funny the Andy Kaufman way - almost exclusively to himself.)


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