An open letter to Garrison Keillor, smug prick

"I quickly regretted reading about your petrified phallus so soon after I had eaten, and also felt the need to take an acid shower."

"I quickly regretted reading about your petrified phallus so soon after I had eaten, and also felt the need to take an acid shower."

Dear Garrison,

You've been in the news recently, and I just want to clear the air about the MPR's recent investigation of you and some, ahem, alleged sexual misconduct on your part.

You had told KARE 11's Jana Shortal that "Whatever flirtation occurred between the complainant and me was mutual, believe me," while also unwisely adding, "She enjoyed flirtation, as many people do."

If your name had not been in bold print at the top of the article, I would have thought for sure that those words were said by Donald Trump, which, frankly, should be more insulting to Donald Trump than to you, since Trump had the sense to also not pen creepy limericks that go something like this:

A beauty who goes to Macalester —

O, her face, her limbs, her ballast, her

Tiny blue kilt

And the way she is built

Could make a petrified phallus stir.

I quickly regretted reading about your petrified phallus so soon after I had eaten, and also felt the need to take an acid shower. Because, Garrison, when you write things such as “If I am guilty of harassment, then every employee who stole a pencil is guilty of embezzlement," and “If I had a dollar for every woman who asked to take a selfie with me and who slipped an arm around me and let it drift down below the beltline, I’d have at least a hundred dollars," you seem to be justifying your actions. actions, which you may recall are louder than words.

You may or may not recall sending a woman a check for $16,000 and an agreement to not spill the beans on your affair. Or perhaps the one where you fired a woman under the pretense of a "re-org" then replaced her with a younger woman, and you had to settle that suit. Or maybe the woman who wanted to do an internship, to which you so readily agreed, although you admitted to her that you would "have to suppress your intense attraction" for her. 

Without even the teeniest sense of guilt, remorse, or any other feelings that aren't complete selfishness, you are complicit in reinforcing the white male, misogynist power structure that suffocates women. Makes women scared, silent, and disempowered. When you say things like "she enjoyed the flirtation," all I hear is: She liked it. She wanted it. Because that's pretty much what serial rapists say when asked why they did it. She wanted it, I could tell. She liked it. She had that look in her eye.

The thing is, your sexual misconduct, like rape, isn't completely about lust, is it? No, it's about power. You had power. Your petrified phallus had power. And you used it to belittle women, to make them feel sad, afraid for their jobs, creeped out, and disgusted.

I gotta be honest, I used to be somewhat of a fan of yours. I read your book Homegrown Democrat in 2004 after I read a book review in the Star Tribune. I was 17, and your common sense and clever, humorous style of writing convinced me that you were the smartest, funniest, most introspective and "right" person. Your books helped shape my political beliefs.

I can't say I was ever a fan of A Prairie Home Companion though, and now just hearing the words "Lake Wobegon" make me want to vomit.

Alas, here I am, writing to you on a Friday afternoon, where I am typing all of my stream-of-consciousness garbage into Word instead of concentrating on work, a place where I am one of very few female engineers at a male-dominated software company. The irony is not lost upon me.

But, as I read the news today, an article popped up: "Keillor pushes back on investigation; says one accuser 'enjoyed flirtation." Good for you, Garrison. I'm glad you decided to push back. Now everyone, even the doubters and apologists, can see for themselves the disgusting, selfish, smug prick you really are.

Did I say prick? I meant "petrified phallus."


Jackie Jafari, woman, Minnesotan, nauseous