A Prairie Home Companion

More Bill Maher than Norman Rockwell, Garrison Keillor can poke fun at liberal institutions (food co-ops, say, or our squeamishness about Christmas) as blithely as he passionately upholds its ideals. Those he calls “the politics of kindness” in his inspiring breviary Homegrown Democrat, copies of which all my nieces and nephews—all inarguably above average—are going to get as they reach voting age. (Two of them are being brought up in Keillor’s hometown, Anoka, Minn., currently represented in Congress by the freakishly paranoid Rep. Michele Bachmann. Go figure.) He may be disdained by the right, but for real Keillor-loathing, you have to look to the amusingly unhinged left, which simply cannot tolerate being satirized. But he’s actually more pointed in “The Old Scout,” his Salon.com column, than on his A Prairie Home Companion radio show (in its 36th season), which begins a two-Saturday stand of live broadcasts from Seattle this afternoon. Brandi Carlile is this week’s musical guest, Nellie McKay next week’s; and they join the usual mix of music, comedy, and news from Lake Wobegon. GAVIN BORCHERT

Sat., March 27, 2:45 p.m.; Sat., April 3, 2:45 p.m., 2010

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