Friday, May 15, 2009

Liking Stuff and Loyalty

My brother and his wife gave me a wonderful birthday present: tickets to an Evening with Garrison Keillor. On the card, my brother joked that the NoDoz was to follow. My mother tells me she thinks Garrison Keillor is unbearably sentimental.

I love Garrison Keillor.

Which gets me to thinking that maybe there's another reason why we care when people disparage the stuff we like: loyalty.

I love Garrison Keillor. I love his warmth and kindness. I love that he never indulges himself in cynicism or hopelessness or nihilism. I love how he's carved a hugely successful life out of his weird, retrograde passions. I love that he makes books and podcasts of poetry with the aim of exposing poetry as a vehicle for solace or for joy thus doing his part to ease the damage that tens of thousands of high school teachers inflicted on their students by forcing them to memorize Wordsworth.

His words sound on my ear like the words of a friend.

Garrison Keillor is like Augustus McCrae or Lin Brehmer or Dorothea Brooke. I'll never meet any of these people (a couple of them don't even exist). But they feel like friends. And when you scorn or belittle them, I feel compelled to defense. And, seriously, I will NEVER meet any of these people. The whole thing is kind of weird.

My friend, Adrian, commented on my last post that "...the things we profess to like say something about the way we want other people to perceive us." Totally true. But wouldn't it be great to be so secure that you see another person's disparagement of the stuff you love as THAT person's damage, and not your own? I wonder how many people are.

Regardless, even if I did get to be that kind of person, I'd still fiercely defend Garrison Keillor.