Where the Censors Are Strong, the Good Looking Women Are Covered Up, and the Above Average Children Kept Away From Poetry

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Via Romenesko comes this story about a Kentucky radio station that felt, in this age of an obscenity-obsessed FCC, it had to pull a potentially offensive radio program. The program? Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. The problem? Well, you can read the offending three poems and see for yourself (or go to the Writers Almanac site and hear Keillor reading them if you poke through the archives). About as anodyne a set of poems as you could dig up without stooping to Kilmer. The station manager was doubtless overreacting—it's hard to imagine even the touchiest listener complaining about this stuff—but is this really what we've come to?

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  1. Is it really newsworthy that a radio station thought it might be offensive and so pulled it?

    But then, I find Garrison Keillor offensively awful, so maybe it’s just hard to get worked up.

  2. Score another one for my home state! Anything that keeps Garrison Keillor from bombarding the world with his “quaint witticisms” is ok in my book.

  3. Be more funny!

  4. Thanks for the link. These days I would have thought there’d be more people offended by Justice’s praise of cigarette smoke in his poem than his use of the word “breast”, but there it is. I have to say, though, the comparison to Kilmer is cold.

  5. I am offended by cigarettes and breasts.

  6. (Sorry about that.)

  7. In a post down below, Julian quotes Atrios:
    One supposes that the suits at the Washington Post Company who OK’ed the partnership with the DoD figured the sentiment of “supporting the troops” is so anodyne as to be wholly uncontroversial…

    In this post above, Julian says:
    About as anodyne a set of poems as you could dig up without stooping to Kilmer.

    Did somebody (besides me) just learn a new word today? Or does this happen to be National Anodyne Day? 🙂

  8. Stevo:

    here’s another word for the day:
    proctalgia…

  9. Well, one guy did say cocky

  10. drf: Ouch!

  11. Stevo Darkly,
    There’s a new day dyning..
    What the fuck?
    There’s also a new day dawning with the tree doing this and that..suckling and spreading.

    smacky,
    Come in here.

  12. Maybe I drank too much today, but did I read that somebody censored a Garrison fucking Keilor poetry reading? We can’t even say the word breast anymore? This rule of the FCC by the most sensitive is great!

  13. Well between the drug and titty references, the blatant affront to family values, and the wise-crack about the ineffective Kenny in his military uniform the ultimate affront to our brave troops overseas, how could anyone support such an abject attempt to undermine our Dear Leader?

  14. Is it really newsworthy that a radio station thought it might be offensive and so pulled it?

    Not ordinarily, except that libertarians have a love/hate relationship with NPR (they’re smart enough to get Keillor’s literary references, and might even guiltily enjoy Prairie Home Companion, but they hate the idea of public broadcasting).

    It’s kind of like the subway: I hate that it’s subsidized, but damn is it convenient (and cheap).

    Incidentally, did anyone see that Robert Altman’s doing his next (last?) movie about Keillor’s show? I can’t wait for the sendup.

  15. David Rollins-

    Yes, being from MN, I’m a guilty PHC fan. Though I’m suspicious of the movie. Lidsay Lohan is in it.

  16. Vicki Hearne, writing about offialdom’s Pit Bull hysteria, touches on the problem poets gave the Soviets

    “Consider this: quite often you will get entire state and county humane societies and animal regulation departments – pounds, in short; these are sort of like orphanages, only with lethal injections instead of Planned Parenthood – establishing a policy of never adopting out any dog that might be a pit bull, just in case this is one of the ones that can jump like the very devil, instead of like an angel, or only like a Basset Hound. Police and Canine Control Departments are sadly understaffed; there simply isn’t enough money or manpower to do the testing involved to find out which ones can jump, and the work would be very dangerous, so they just impound and off anything that might be a pit bull, just like in The Master & Margarita, where anything that might be a poet was instantly impounded and psychiatrized – I don’t know if the Soviets of the day had actual proof that Freud said everyone was a poet, or thought about it, or if it was just their policy to act as though Freud had said that, but it was fairly effective. No jumping in Moscow for a while there, except in secret, or over the wall.”

    – Vicki Hearne, Common Knowledge I:2, p.17, Fall 1992

    James Thurber’s mother managed to misremember Longfellow

    “The cares that infest the day shall fold their tents like Airedales and as silently steal away”

    making it politically acceptabl

  17. It’s kind of like the subway: I hate that it’s subsidized, but damn is it convenient (and cheap).

    Subsidized, yes, but not nearly to the extent that roads are. No libertarian should feel guilty for supporting public transit — it was the norm for many years before the government came in with a giant planning committee and tons of our money to dump into the highway system.

  18. Dagny-

    Subsidized, yes, but not nearly to the extent that roads are.

    I will refuse to buy any product that at any time was transported on a subway if you refuse to buy any product that at any time was transported over a road— deal?

  19. I’m not saying the US public transit system is good, I’m saying the government puts 1,000x more money into roads, and if that were not the case, the public transit system WOULD be good. It’s one of three things Europe has over the United States. The other two are lower drinking ages and higher accountability for people who raise frivolous lawsuits.

  20. And just how much more would it cost to run a commuter train to Southeast Armpit, Nebraska?

  21. Read this and then ask yourself whether the station in question is overreacting to the FCC…

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