From Salon today, at the bottom of his weekly column….
Garrison Keillor responds to his readers: The readership gave me a good whack upside the head over last week’s column, hundreds of them in fact. The column was meant to be witty, but two sentences about gay people aroused some readers to a high pitch of indignation, and I now know the meaning of the word “scorched.” Oh well. You shouldn’t write a column if you’re afraid to be compared to weasels, sociopaths, Ann Coulter or Vlad the Impaler.
I live in a small world — the world of entertainment, musicians, writers — in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes. Ever since I was in college, gay men and women have been friends, bosses, associates, heroes, adversaries, and in that small world, we talk openly and we kid each other a lot. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial. In almost every state, gay marriage would be voted down if put on a ballot. Gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing and so gay people feel besieged to some degree and rightly so. In the small world I live in, they are accepted and cherished as individuals. My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding. And for that, I am sorry. Gay people who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybody else, and they know that, and so do I.
A man stood outside the theater where I did a show Saturday night and handed out angry pamphlets calling on the audience to protest my homophobia. A gay writer friend was at the show and got a big kick out of the pamphlets and had me autograph some for his partner and his partner’s mother. I asked him what I had done wrong and he said, “You mentioned us.” I looked at him quizzically. He said, “I’ll handle gay parenting and you stick to the Norwegians.” It’s a deal.
Can we forgive him now?