Thursday, November 8, 2012

stay in the safety zone


First of all, this article. Read it. It's about theatre, but it's good for everyone in the arts to be reminded that they can work at their own pace, and that it's okay to try big and fail.

In other news, I read Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat towards the end of the recent presidential election, and I came away from it not liking Keillor as much as I did. He wrote Homegrown Democrat in an attempt to get people to vote for John Kerry instead of George Bush, and more generally to extol the virtues of the Democratic Party: decency, modesty, charity, and an overall appreciation for the common good. Republicans, he argues, are paranoid racist soreheads with an Oedipal hatred of government.

I can't disagree with his assessment of Republicans, but there are times when his Baby Boomer smugness exposes itself. Women, for example. His narration spends the better part of one chapter ogling young girls at a cafe (while patting himself on the back for spending an afternoon among the commoners), and declaring that the gender gap is closed thanks to his generation's Democrats, so anyone who still sees problems with the system is a pisspants malcontent who needs to get over it. Given the past few months of baffling pre-election rapechat, not to mention the constant unpleasantness surrounding the issues of abortion and birth control, I think GK's self-congratulations were a bit premature.

And of course, given his marital history, statements like "a world that is perfectly safe from sexual harassment is a world without flirtation" sound way creepier than they otherwise would.

He also takes a moment to slander former MN governor Jesse Ventura for the unpardonable sin of being a professional wrestler 20 years ago (as opposed to a lawyer or an ex-lobbyist or Stewart Smalley), and compares Grover Norquist to Sid Vicious, declaring that Norquist was an example of "pure punk politics." One gets the idea that Keillor's political beliefs aren't much more than a reflexive dislike of anything that makes him uncomfortable. As he adds more things to that list, he's bound to get a lot crankier and even more absorbed in his own myopic sense of averageness, so I hope Obama doesn't inspire him to write another book like this.

Speaking of books, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year because I am a stupid idiot who is now trying to write two novels at once. Someone stop me before I hurt myself.