"Why Didn’t This French Guy Visit Lake Wobegon?"

2006
Mar
10

Who likes Garrison Keillor? Who is like me and used to like Garrison Keillor? Did you see the scathing criticism he made of a French author Bernard-Henri Lévy’s scathing criticism of America? Did you see the following, which I consider one of the best paragraphs Ol’ Prairie Home Guy has written in a long time?

And what’s with the flurries of rhetorical questions? Is this how the French talk or is it something they save for books about America? “What is a Republican? What distinguishes a Republican in the America of today from a Democrat?” Lévy writes, like a student padding out a term paper. “What does this experience tell us?” he writes about the Mall of America. “What do we learn about American civilization from this mausoleum of merchandise, this funeral accumulation of false goods and nondesires in this end-of-the-world setting? What is the effect on the Americans of today of this confined space, this aquarium, where only a semblance of life seems to subsist?” And what is one to make of the series of questions – 20 in a row – about Hillary Clinton, in which Lévy implies she is seeking the White House to erase the shame of the Lewinsky affair? Was Lévy aware of the game 20 Questions, commonly played on long car trips in America? Are we to read this passage as a metaphor of American restlessness? Does he understand how irritating this is? Does he? Do you? May I stop now?

Can you imagine Lévy and Keillor as contestants on “Jeopardy?” Or doing that “Questions Only” game on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” And if so, which one of them would be Colin Mochrie?

And if I keep doing this, will I lose the last three regular readers this blog has?

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AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...