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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not Satisfied with Merely Whacking Meiko, Garrison Keillor Then Struts on Stage in Order to Shed a Bucketful of Crocodile Tears and to Denigrate the Entire Species

Garrison Keillor

"And then this delicate creature
Of an affectionate nature
Had to be carried outside
And taken for a short melancholy ride
To the vet's office where with gentle affection
She was given a merciful injection."
-- Garrison Keillor

It is morally repulsive enough in its own right that myriads of cats are killed off each year by their owners once they have become either sickly, aged, or simply unwanted, but those individuals who are unable to pass up the temptation in order to capitalize upon their dastardly deeds are by far and away the worst of a bad set or rotters. Heading the list of these totally unconscionable feline murderers is none other than seventy-year-old Garrison Keillor, the host of National Public Radio's longtime running variety show, A Prairie Home Companion.

During a June 7th show (air date June 8th) that emanated from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles's Griffith Park, he proudly disclosed to the world that he recently had whacked his seventeen-year-old cat, Meiko. In a long and rambling poem entitled "Meiko Tribute," Keillor deliberately omits all the pertinent facts while simultaneously shedding enough self-serving crocodile tears to have inundated the Hollywood Bowl.

As to the former, all that he conveniently reveals is that on an unspecified Friday Meiko "was not herself at all." By the next day she had lost her appetite and by Sunday she had exhausted her usefulness to him because she "did not brush our leg or purr."

It was at this point that he apparently decided to get rid of her for good. In the aftermath of doing so he clumsily has attempted to justify his heinous crime by cloaking it in the same old familiar malarkey that is routinely employed by all of those who cruelly dispose of their unwanted cats in a similar fashion:

"And then this delicate creature
Of an affectionate nature
Had to be carried outside
And taken for a short melancholy ride
To the vet's office where with gentle affection
She was given a merciful injection."

After defenseless Meiko had so obligingly gone along with his and his designated assassin's diabolical plan, Keillor had nothing but praise for her. "Good cat. Good cat," he caroled in obvious relief at finally having gotten shed of her.

Her calm acquiescence also furnished him with a golden opportunity in order to indulge in yet still even more of his outrageous lies and sophistry:

"And she lay down her head
On our lap
And took her nap."

During each and every one of his broadcasts, Keillor boasts practically nonstop of having been an English major at the University of Minnesota and as such he is sans doute acutely aware that there is a huge difference between premeditated murder and euthanasia. The same holds true for such disingenuous terms as "nap" and "sleep" which he liberally bandies about as synonyms for the already shamelessly misconstrued term euthanasia.

This is anything but a trivial matter of semantics. Murder is murder and absolutely no one should be allowed to get away with claiming otherwise simply by corrupting language.

Totally unwilling to admit so much as an inkling of the truth to either himself or his listeners, Keillor stubbornly persisted in that same vein right up to the bitter end:

"Lullaby little cat, wherever you're at
May you lie in the sun and be loved by someone
May you curl up and rest, with a quilt for a nest
May you run, may you leap, and be young in your sleep."

It goes almost without saying that Keillor, old and worn-out himself, knows better than anyone else that Meiko's days of youthful gamboling are, sadly, at an end. If he truly had cared about her, he would have taken drastic measures in order to have extended her life; even an old cat is, after all, far more valuable than a dead one.

Being the clever chap that he is, Keillor goes to great lengths in order to conceal not only exactly what was ailing Meiko but any previous maladies that she might have had as well. Based upon the tidbits of information that the does divulge, it would not appear that she was either in terribly bad shape or horrific pain.

Consequently, it is entirely conceivable that her life could have been extended indefinitely if only he had been willing to care for her and to pony up for her veterinary care. Whereas financial considerations often impose severe limitations on the compassion of the impecunious, that most definitely is not the case with Keillor who, on the contrary, has money to burn. Moreover, even if Meiko had been beyond the assistance of all veterinary intervention she at the very least deserved no less than to have been allowed to die at her own sweet time and in the familiar surroundings of the place that she called home.

Owing to the fact that cats are cruelly condemned to such terribly brief existences, it is crime of epic proportions to shorten their sojourns upon this earth by even so much as a split second. This odious practice nonetheless persists because callous, uncaring owners like Keillor want rid of them as quickly as possible and most veterinarians are so unscrupulous that they are willing to commit almost any crime for the sake of a lousy buck. (See Cat Defender post of December 22, 2011 entitled "Rogue TNR Practitioner and Three Unscrupulous Veterinarians Kill at Least Sixty-Two Cats with the Complicity of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.")

Keillor also categorically refuses to inform his audience as to the disposal of Meiko's remains. That omission leaves open the distinct possibility that they either were burned or thrown out in the trash.

The denouement was far different recently at the home of forty-eight-year-old Karen Jones in Ashford, Kent, after she had retrieved from the street what she thought to have been the lifeless body of her two-year-old black tom, Norman. Not only did her son devote two hours to preparing a final resting place for him in the garden, but that was followed by an hourlong memorial service and interment with his favorite toy. He additionally was provided with a tombstone.

Fortunately for him, he had been a victim of mistaken identity and accordingly returned home to a hero's welcome shortly after his obsequies. (See Cat Defender post of June 12, 2013 entitled "Pronounced Dead, Eulogized, an d Then Relegated to the Underworld, Norman Astounds His Guardian by Turning Up Hungry and Grumpy for Breakfast the Very Next Morning.")

Keillor's decision to have Meiko done away with can perhaps be best understood as a logical extension of his deep-seated antipathy for the species. Even in his so-called tribute to her, he cannot resist the temptation to denigrate the species:

"A cat has not much utility
But beauty is beauty: that's
Why the Lord created cats."

Those patently ailurophobic sentiments echo those that he uttered sometime back when he declared that "cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose." Since he so obviously feels that way about cats, it is hard to imagine that he has much more regard for either anyone or anything that is not reflected back to him in his shaving mirror.

Perhaps most astounding of all, he seems to begrudge feeling even so much as a twinge of sorrow over Meiko's passing:

"It's childish, to feel such grief
For an animal whose life is brief.
And if it is foolish, so it be."

Even the little sadness that he is able to screw up in his calloused heart for her is rather narrowly circumscribed:

"She was good company,
And we miss that gift
Of cat affection while she lived."

At no time does Keillor ever explicitly acknowledge that Meiko possessed so much as a scintilla of intrinsic worth as a fellow sentient being. He accordingly looked upon her solely through the prism of what she was able to do for him.

His perverse mindset is by no means limited to cats. For example, during his broadcasts he quite often goes to extravagant lengths in order to extol the barbarities associated with both hunting and ice fishing.

He also demonstrates his extreme selfishness time and time again by the way in which he not only hogs center stage throughout his shows but practically straight-arms every female guest vocalist into singing duets with him. Given his rather limited vocal range, it is difficult to imagine that these collaborations could be anything other than pure torture for them.

All of this calls into question the type and quality or life that he provided for Meiko. Given that he is on the road practically fifty-two weeks a year, he quite obviously spent precious little time with her.

It has not been disclosed whether she resided at his home in St. Paul or at his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Since he was not attending to her daily needs, that task fell by default to his third wife, violinist Jenny Lind Nilsson, and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Maia Grace. Given that they likely accompany him on many of his rambles, Meiko's care during those intervals probably was fobbed off on servants.

If, on the other hand, he had been willing to have spent considerably more time at home with her it is remotely conceivable that even someone was prejudiced as him might eventually have gained some insight and appreciation into not only her intrinsic worth but that of all cats as well. Doing so also would have provided him with the leisure in order to have produced better broadcasts instead of simply recycling the same old material that he has been fobbing off on his undiscriminating listeners for the past four decades.

Much more to the point, his aberrant behavior also paints a disturbingly negative portrait of a man who does not have any business pontificating about cats in the first place, let alone going to such outlandish lengths in order to denigrate them. It is even debatable if someone as irresponsible as him should be allowed to own one.

All of Keillor's transgressions against the species pale in comparison, however, with his naked exploitation of Meiko in order to fill air time on his radio show. His "Meiko Tribute" not only reeks of dishonesty and bad taste but establishes a simply horrible precedent as to how cats should be valued and treated.

Worst of all, listeners to his show are left with the totally spurious impression that is morally permissible to kill off sick and elderly cats instead of providing them with prompt and effective veterinary care. That is in addition to Keillor's crude attempt to elevate feline neglect and disparagement to something akin to a new art form.

Unfortunately, in that regard he seems to have been preeminently successful in that apparently no one in the audience at Griffith Park was sufficiently offended by his remarks to either have voiced their displeasure or to have gotten up and left. The same can be said for the total lack of criticism that they failed to provoke from both his radio audience and so-called feline protection groups as well.

In spite of his thinking and behavior being both morally repugnant and just plain wrongheaded, Keillor is far from being alone in his total lack of respect for the inalienable right of all cats to live. (See Cat Defender posts of January 2, 2013, October 23, 2012, March 12, 2009, October 27, 2008, and December 7, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Alley Cat Allies Demonstrates Its Utter Contempt for the Sanctity of Life by Unconscionably Killing Off Its Office Cat, Jared," "A Supposedly No-Kill Operation in Marblehead Betrays Sally and Snuffs Out Her Life Instead of Providing Her with a Home and Veterinary Care," "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned," "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill," and "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books.")

Despite widespread public approval for the premature killing off of cats and other companion animals, it nevertheless is possible to conceive of a world where an entirely different morality would hold sway. That world was briefly glimpsed during a February 18, 1946 broadcast of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. (There also may have been an earlier 1943 broadcast as well.)

In an episode entitled "The Case of the Camberwell Poisoner," which was scripted by Anthony Boucher and Denis Green as opposed to Arthur Conan Doyle, the great detective and Dr. John Watson are summoned to Camberwell in south London in order to prevent a murder. As things eventually turned out, they arrived too late in order to stop twenty-year-old Gilly Lovelace from murdering his forty-five-year-old cousin, Edmund, in order to save the life of his beloved dog, Gladstone.

Gilly was forced into bludgeoning Edmund with a poker and then injecting him with cyanide after the latter had brought home the deadly drug with the intention of using it to kill off elderly and infirm Gladstone. "Of course I do, more than anything or anybody," Gilly proudly declared his love for Gladstone to Holmes.

As per usual, Holmes eventually was able to unravel the mystery. "Then he'd be dead and he couldn't hurt my Gladstone ever," Gilly later told the detective after describing how he had done away with his evil cousin.

In addition to loving Gladstone with all his heart, Gilly quite obviously had not only a deep and abiding respect for his intrinsic value as a dog but, just as importantly, his right to live out his life to the very end. That type of morality and steadfast devotion is completely alien to most cat and dog owners of today but not even the atrocities committed by a trillion Keillors ever will be able to supplant it as the gold standard of what all pet owners owe to their faithful companions.

Photo: National Public Radio (Keillor).