15
Mar
07

Lake Wobegon Gays

A friend pointed me today to this Slog entry by Dan Savage about a March 14 commentary by Garrison Keillor on Salon.com about taking care of the kids, in which he extols the virtues of heterosexual marriage and simultaneously defames same-sex parenting. Here’s a sampling:

And now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives. In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife’s first husband’s second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin’s in-laws and Bruce’s ex, Mark, and Mark’s current partner, and I suppose we’ll get used to it.

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.

Not sure what “stereotypical gay men,” or America’s supposed acceptance of them, have to do with any of the actually quite lovely things he says about kids and the way life can be. He’s so much smarter than this, little more than a catalog of thoughtless stereotypes. Surely his world travels — and his social circles — must have delivered him a broader, truer view of gay men than he lets on.

It’s a cheap shot. The whole two paragraphs are completely unnecessary. It’s an intellectual and moral disappointment.

And then he throws the gays a bone: “I suppose we’ll get used to it.”

Well, thank you very much for that concession. I hope we don’t inconvenience you too much in the meantime.

Keillor’s comments wouldn’t hurt so much if I didn’t respect him as much as I do. Savage, for one, is fighting mad. There’s not much I can add that he hasn’t already said.

In his misplaced, futile and delusional longing for the Goode Olde Days, I think maybe he’s confusing the whimsical, kitschy, also-stereotypical world of Lake Wobegon with the real world. Billy Joel said it pretty well, I think: “The good old days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”

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