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In Defense of Garrison Keillor

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(Updated version)
First, my favorite George Bush joke of the week:

Q: What is Bush’s position on Roe vs.Wade?
A: He really doesn’t care how people get out of New Orleans.

OK, now let’s get down to business.

I’ve noticed a bad habit of bloggers to jump to conclusions, be it quoting extremists from one side in order to feel more comfortable believing their own opinions.. or not letting facts get in the way of spreading a fun rumor or meme.

And so it is with Garrison Keiller.

Now he’s a bit too folksy and old school for me but I do confess to listening to his program when I’m driving and it’s on and he can be pretty hilarious at times. But it’s subtle, G-rated humor.

So when this guy announced that he had received essentially a cease and desist order from Keillor’s attorney lots of people – including bloggers – had fun with the issue.

Sample blogs including this one and this one
And the t-shirt guy laughed his way to the bank with all the free publicity he has received.

But people are overlooking an important issue:

There is actually an important reason why Keillor, regardless of his taste for humor or the stupidity of his program OR the shirt, had to take that action,

It was explained well here, on shirt guy’s own site.

“A holder of a trademark is required by law to defend it. While your operation is small and poses no threat to Keillor’s brand, if they didn’t pursue legal action it would open them up to trouble down the road. I don’t have the legal source handy, but it is possible for another entity to cite lack of diligence defending a trademark in the past as a reason that they too should be allowed to profit from Keillor’s IP.

“I don’t much care for this arrangement, but the guy has spent 30 years making A Prairie Home Companion a household phrase, at least among English majors. His lawyer is less worried about your minor infringement than he is worried about creating an opening for the big offender. Don’t take it too personally.”

Now I know this comment goes against the meme but someone has to say it.

This post originally appeared at my blog.
Pub:NB

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    That joke is pretty funny, but otherwise, eh to the main point :)

    That is all.

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    Hmm, where did you see that joke? 😉

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    BTW, if you want to go off on bloggers jumping to conclusions, you should quote me here rather than my Blogcritics piece. What I wrote for BC was filed under News because it was just the facts with no editorializing. The other article fits better with what you’re complaining about.

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    I didn’t see your site or blog until just now so I didn’t know your joke was there or that you had a more opinionated piece.
    I stand corrected.

    I got the joke by email.

    Does that make me an email ho?:)

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    I was thinking about this post and thread tonite while listening to Prarie Home Companion and recalled what I like most about his show: Guy Noir, private eye. It’s folksy but hilarious.

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    Scott, I won’t weigh in on exactly what kind of ho you are, ;-P

    I agree about Guy Noir. Best thing on the show. Funny thing about the original blogger who’s getting threatened with legal action: On his site he was wondering at what he saw as Keillor’s vast overreaction and wrote: Gosh, it’s not like I shot Guy Noir.

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    Well, to be clear, in cases like this the lawyer could possibly have acted before Keillor even knew about it… although surely he’s heard about it by know.

    I’ve not heard Keillor make any public comments about the matter.

    Love live Guy Noir!