The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Garrison Keillor: Don’t Prosecute Torture and Make the Trains Run On Time

Well, pretty close, anyway:

Rather than square off in a bloody battle over war crimes, let’s return decent train service to the Midwest and test out the German maglev (magnetic levitation) system — the 360 mph trains — and connect Chicago and St. Paul-Minneapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Omaha, Kansas City.

Sometimes I do fear that satire, while not dead, might be mortally wounded.  As for Keillor, never understood why everyone loves him, since most of what he writes is pap.


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  1. Bolo

    The most interesting argument I’ve heard for not prosecuting Bush admin. officials or others for torture is that it would allow America (and especially liberals) to say “Well, we’ve taken care of that and restored our virtue and standing in the world. The last eight years were just an aberration.” Yet torture is not the disease, merely a symptom. The disease is something that permeates our culture–its symptoms include (among other things) the military-industrial-congressional complex, the violence of the two-tier justice and prison system, the war on drugs, assault-style ICE immigration raids and deportation, and zero-tolerance schools where students have no rights. Obama and almost everyone in the higher reaches of government are a part of this. You cannot get that far without adapting to it. Heck, most of us are a part of it too.

    The last eight years were not an aberration. They were merely notable because the people in charge were so blatant and swaggering about what is normally done behind closed doors. I think you could make a case that they accelerated certain trends already present, but there was very little they did that was wholly new and outrageous compared to past behaviors of the US government.

    If we prosecute the Bush administration and their lackeys, justice will certainly be served. But it will also let a whole lot of people wash their hands and pretend to be clean–and completely ignore the fact that the same sausage is still being made (to really garble a metaphor).

    Now, I don’t really agree with the stance that we shouldn’t prosecute them because it will give the nation a clear(er) conscience when it is not warranted. I think we should prosecute. But if we do, we must also extend it further and investigate the actions of previous administrations, the congress, etc. But that’ll never happen. So… I’m not sure what I advocate now. I want some sort of justice, but I’m not sure that we’re going to get anything more than show trials.

  2. hapkidokid

    Completely agree on Keillor. I think the Simpson’s nailed it when they had Homer watching Keillor on TV and Homer starts slamming the TV with his fist exclaiming “Stupid TV! Be more funny!”

  3. Tallifer

    Garrison Keillor was deeply humorous and sympathetic on the radio in the 1980s on the Prairie Home Companion. His gentle, off key observations both ennobled the good old days and suggested that the best of them had nothing to do with the fantasies of the right wing.

    Then he had a stupid thought: “People like my humour on this quirky radio variety show… there is a cerebral element to my humour: therefore, people must think I am an incredibly wise man who can apply his wisdom to politics.” No, Garrison: people think their drunken uncle tells good stories and their senescent grandpa is wise as Moses, but they would not vote according to their advice. Not only that but humour is situational: my students think I am hilarious, but none of my colleagues do.

    I listened to an archived broadcast of Prairie Home Companion a few weeks ago: Garrison, get back to your proper calling.

  4. People like pap.

  5. I liked Keillor when he wrote for Salon and I can hardly believe he would think that Bush and Cheney were guarding America. When someone like Keillor is spouting this kind of mythical, wishful-thinking revisionism, then we’re watching the history of the Bush years being whitewashed before our eyes.
    Pretty soon, it will be Clinton who ignored the warnings about Bin Laden Determined to Strike US, and it will be Obama who mismanaged FEMA and let New Orleans drown, and Bush will be just a dedicated and sincere man who tried his very, very best to protect the country he loved and so what if he tortured a few people, his deeds were noble and his heart was true…
    I think I’m going to be sick.

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