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Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Put the cat back in Catholic

You expect a human whose radio show used to be regularly sponsored by Bertha’s Kitty Boutique to maintain a respectful relationship with persons of the feline persuasion. But Garrison Keillor, in his Sunday column “The Old Scout,” had this to say:

Having been called names, one looks back at one's own angry outbursts over the years, and l recall having once referred to Republicans as "hairy-backed swamp developers, fundamentalist bullies, freelance racists, hobby cops, sweatshop tycoons, line jumpers, marsupial moms and aluminum-siding salesmen, misanthropic frat boys, ninja dittoheads, shrieking midgets, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, pill pushers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, the grand pooh-bahs of Percodan, mouth breathers, testosterone junkies and brownshirts in pinstripes." I look at those words now, and "cat stranglers" seems excessive to me. The number of cat stranglers in the ranks of the Republican party is surely low, and that reference was hurtful to Republicans and to cat owners. I feel sheepish about it.

I wish I could find the original editorial Keillor quotes in this column, because amanuensis tells me that at the time it made her fall over laughing. (Some humans are like that.)

Here's where we disagree, amanuensis and I. I’m putting Mr. Keillor on notice that I, Aloysius Katz, am also offended by the term “cat stranglers.” Even though I’m an Independent, I do have some blogging friends who are quite conservatively bent, probably enough so to consider voting for Republicans from time to time. On the other hand--er, paw--I've got to admit this guy can write. When Darcy Xenophon gets home, I’m going to commission him to go over to Keillor’s house and deliver this message.

The column has been attacked by many bloggers and in letters to the editor of newspapers that carry the column, and I expect that it will continue to be noticed for some time. The critics of Keillor think that cat strangling is not the worst of it; they point out that he actually says some rather unkind things about the Catholic church. I'm not a Catholic--I'm a Catymologist--but I try not to disrespect any religion, even when I'm writing obviously satirical stuff like Keillor. I just wish they'd put the cat back in Catholic.



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