The Washington Post yesterday ran an article about radio personality and sentient pair of jowls Garrison Keillor and his desire to surface from Lake Goawaybegone. You’ll recall that in 2017, the former Prairie Home Companion host was roundly canceled for “dozens” of improper sexual allegations including “unwanted sexual touching.” A subsequent investigation by his employer, Minnesota Public Radio, found that there were many female employees who felt “‘mistreated, sexualized or belittled’ by him, including a college student inspired by a class he taught only to have him proclaim his attraction to her when she inquired about an internship with his production company.”
Naturally, Keillor has denied these accusations, saying he was the victim of a conspiracy (UFOs made him do it), and that all he did was write in an email to his main accuser that he wanted to “lie in a hammock” with her, which is just a bizarre thing to say to anyone.
After four years of cancellation, Keillor is back. In a new show he’s doing in Sellersville, PA, he is happy to offer a parade of false equivalencies to describe his predicament:
“It’s unjust,” he continues, “but compared to what? I’m living most of the time in New York City. Every day, there’s something in the paper that breaks your heart. Kids finding used needles in the park, getting stuck and contracting HIV. A van carrying migrants crashes and kills innocent people. . . . What is my injustice compared to these things? Nothing.”
Alright man. Here’s the thing: Garrison Keillor is 79 years old. It’s not rude to say that he is approaching the end of his life. He could easily recede into a nice life in New York City, where he lives for some reason, going to Fairway on the weekends, catching a movie at Lincoln Center, and maybe writing in a journal, whatever pretentious men do. But no. He needs to be redeemed.
It’s interesting that Keillor described whatever rendezvous he had with the hammock woman as an “adolescent fantasy,” because I believe the same thing can be applied to the concept of a heroic third-act redemption. It’s immature, uncouth, and sad. You’re old! Why do you need this? Your obituary may be shot to shit, but you’re lucky to be getting an obituary in the first place. Just go away! It’s so easy.
All these crusty fossils are always like, “Whatever I did — which by the way, I didn’t do — was not THAT bad.” If you even have to say that, you’re done. Al Franken is another one. Seventy years old. A dirty bastard. Media describes him as “in exile” which is really very kind. Thinks he can run for office and win. Pathetic.
Sixty should be the cutoff year. You’re done. Maybe before 60 you can still do some quiet reflection and meaningful apologies. But after 60 there’s no hope. (There is one exception to this rule, which is Louis CK, who is 54.)
Here’s my false equivalency: Is it worse to get a boner for a subordinate or random college student or for the idea that you can “work so hard.. to be beloved,” as Chrissy Teigen would say? Well, one is illegal, but both are disgusting. Please quietly recede. See you in Hell.