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And that's being sued in Lake Woebegone
September 12, 2005 10:50 PM   Subscribe

Liberal comedian sues blogger. Spread the word.
posted by jonson (131 comments total)

 
I'm having a hard time figuring out which is unfunnier: Keillor, or the really dumb t-shirt provoking the lawsuit. If there's any karmic justice, the blogger loses his shirt and Keillor has to spend a ton of money on lawyers.
posted by Rothko at 10:58 PM on September 12, 2005


why should the blogger lose anything? he made a t-shirt; if people don't like it, they're free not to buy it (or even make fun of how much they don't like it).
posted by jonson at 10:59 PM on September 12, 2005


His 15 minutes have started ticking

(Cue monotone nasal voice)

"This week on This American Life, we hear a story about Garrison Keillor and his distain for Hos."
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 11:04 PM on September 12, 2005


Unfortunately, it seems that just about everyone seems to be labelling "liberal" as some kind of negative insult. Personally, I'm about as liberal as you can get, but regardless, I wouldn't be happy being made fun of. Well, unless it was harmless. Can someone explain the joke of the T-shirt to a humourless Brit? I really don't get it. Is it just good fun?
posted by malusmoriendumest at 11:17 PM on September 12, 2005


pread the word.

Um, No.
posted by delmoi at 11:20 PM on September 12, 2005


oops, I mean "Spread". Still no.
posted by delmoi at 11:20 PM on September 12, 2005


I absolutely agree with Rothko.
posted by johngoren at 11:20 PM on September 12, 2005


"Shadows and karma follow one everywhere."

Ahh, the bliss. Can't even go to Barbados to get away from eternal death now....
posted by malusmoriendumest at 11:22 PM on September 12, 2005


I'm in eternal pursuit of the "little death."
posted by sourwookie at 11:25 PM on September 12, 2005


this is dumb.
posted by willns at 11:28 PM on September 12, 2005


Unfortunately, it seems that just about everyone seems to be labelling "liberal" as some kind of negative insult.

I don't think that's what's happening here. The point is that as a liberal, Keillor shouldn't be suing over stuff like this. And as a comedian he shouldn't be suing over stuff like this.
posted by Tlogmer at 11:39 PM on September 12, 2005


And how the hell can anyone agree with Rothko? It's fucking wrong to make a parody, even a bad, unfunny parady, and be told that you've violated the law.
posted by Tlogmer at 11:41 PM on September 12, 2005


shouldn't someone point out that a cease and desist is not a lawsuit?

there, done.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:42 PM on September 12, 2005


Garrison Keillor is supposed to be funny?
posted by eatitlive at 11:43 PM on September 12, 2005


I secretly love the shit out of PHC. There. I said it.

...and this is complicating everything. Oh, Guy Noir, what won't you litigate?
posted by basicchannel at 11:45 PM on September 12, 2005


...and the worse thing is, now I'm having to resist the urge to try and buy one of the stupid shirts out of pure spite. Damn you and your corn-fed myopia, Garrison!
posted by umberto at 11:46 PM on September 12, 2005


Isn't this just a defence of trademark thing?

The lawyer's letter looks like it is all about that. They couldn't care less about the joke, they are just making sure they defend the trademark which they say the t-shirt breaches.
posted by sien at 11:48 PM on September 12, 2005


not that im a lawyer but i understand the law to be something along the lines that if you allow such behavior from, yes, even bloggers,

then when you have a similar situation against a serious threat your case is weakened.

or something.
posted by tsarfan at 11:49 PM on September 12, 2005


Well, it could be just for the sake of the joke, but I think that perhaps this comedian researched the site before he broke out the lawyers. Not liking what he saw, and probably seeing a lot of negative stuff to himself, decided to send them a wake-up call. And who says liberals can't sue over parody? I'll sue, I'll sue all of you! Mwahahaha!
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:04 AM on September 13, 2005


One of my brushes with fame is that I was friends with Keillor's son in grade school.

In addition (can't think of a segue), I dislike Prairie Home Companion. It's cloying, anti-intellectual and sentimental and makes Minnesota seem a lot more culturally monotonous than it actually is. Keillor's politics are good, but he seems like kind of a jerk.
posted by jiawen at 12:04 AM on September 13, 2005


malusmoriendumest: What do you base your accusation that Keilor looked at the sight on? It reads like his lawyer probably advised him that he should defend his trademark.

A quick google came up with a similar story about a Faux news shirt in 2003

Is there a trademark lawyer in the house? It could be that if you start selling things like this you are somehow breaching the trademark. If you just do it as parody you are not.
posted by sien at 12:19 AM on September 13, 2005


I dislike Prairie Home Companion. It's cloying, anti-intellectual and sentimental...

Cloying? Maybe.
Anti-intellectual? I don't see it.
Sentimental? Fuck that noise! Everything should be sarcastic and ironic and shit!
posted by keswick at 12:21 AM on September 13, 2005


a very faux grand canyon
posted by muppetboy at 12:37 AM on September 13, 2005


how about that for a new t-shirt?
posted by muppetboy at 12:39 AM on September 13, 2005


I just can't stand his nasal, soft-peddling voice -
posted by growabrain at 12:40 AM on September 13, 2005


i suppose that could work too...
posted by muppetboy at 12:48 AM on September 13, 2005


wtf people? A bad application of law is a bad application of law, no matter if anyone finds the parody remotely amusing and no matter who is doing the C&D'ing. There's no reason why this person should have to stop making or selling the shirt.

The joke shirt is similar to the trademark but that's the whole point of parody and it's not so confusingly similar that most folks couldn't tell it was supposed to be a joke.

This isn't about liberal=bad or about defending a liberal's right to make money off a mark. This is about stupid over-reaching legal threats that have no basis.
posted by mathowie at 12:53 AM on September 13, 2005


I like the Prairie Home Companion - and my guess is that Keillor is just doing what his lawyer says is the best way to go. Probably like whats happening with House of Cosbys too. They'll take it to court and find that there is no crime being committed. It's small time parody and the lawyers just have a hard time living with it.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:56 AM on September 13, 2005


I much prefer A Prairie Home Companion to the shirt or to the kind of person who would think the shirt is funny. As to trademark law: eh. Who cares? There are bigger things to worry about.
posted by pracowity at 1:04 AM on September 13, 2005


Thanks Haughey.

I'm not really into aesthetic arguments anymore, so I won't try to stick up for the, er, artistic quality of the shirts. But I should give some context for how the shirt designs were chosen: MNspeak is a community (Twin Cities) site with users who proposed and debated different t-shirt ideas. Though I'm certainly to blame for the final choices, this one "tested well," if you will. I think you might have to be from Minnesota to completely get it. (The "Al Franken Hates Hip-Hop" one also tested well -- but you really won't get that one.)

As far as my epithets "liberal comedian," I was trying to say that it's peculiar that a supposedly open-minded occasionally-funny guy would pursue this.
posted by rex at 1:13 AM on September 13, 2005


Parody is a protection against copyright infringement. I'm not sure it has a bearing on trademark infringement. IANAL
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:14 AM on September 13, 2005


A similarly absurd case went to court in 2000. Starbucks sued a cartoonist for selling t-shirts parodying their logo and image.

That case found the cartoonist was NOT infringing on Starbuck's trademark, but he was tarnishing their logo because it said "Consumer Whore." So he was allowed to continue the parody, but not able to profit from it.

I'm just glad I got A Prairie Ho Companion t-shirt before they became collector's items. :-)
posted by Dok Millennium at 1:29 AM on September 13, 2005


Again, this has nothing to do with how funny something is or if you actually like the radio show.

When FOX tries to overstep their trademarks, everyone is rightfully mocking, but a classic liberal radio show host is above ridicule?
posted by mathowie at 1:34 AM on September 13, 2005


Think maybe the fact that there is upcoming MOVIE by that name might have something to do with it?
posted by RavinDave at 1:35 AM on September 13, 2005


sien is probably right, it's a knee-jerk C&D (not an actual suit, nobody has been sued) sent out as to look like they are defending their trademark - something trademark owners are required to do or they loose it.

Personally I wonder why the page is written with expressions like "some blog!" sprinkled throughout, as if blogs are automagically some teeny harmless widdle thang that can't do any harm (because nobody reads them?). On the one hand bloggers beat their chests and change the world because their alternative voice is so big, on the other teeny tiny bloggers are exempt from the regular legal mishaps that apply to everyone else on the intarweb? I don't get that at all. It is possible I'm misreading the tone of that some blog! thing. Anyway, moral of the story don't get yer panties in a twist over a knee-jerk C&D, look on the bright side publishing it will bring in thousands of fresh hits.
posted by dabitch at 1:42 AM on September 13, 2005


... makes Minnesota seem a lot more culturally monotonous than it actually is

Is this actually possible?!?!?
posted by ladd at 1:42 AM on September 13, 2005


What BrotherCaine said.
posted by Ryvar at 1:49 AM on September 13, 2005


Alright, so it's a Cease & Desist. The vast majority of unsupportable C&Ds are followed because nobody wants to interrupt their life and spend hundreds to thousands of dollars in court. (For some people, like Keillor, going to court entails saying "alright, send in someone from Legal"; hence the advantage rich people and corporations have over everyone else.)
posted by Tlogmer at 1:51 AM on September 13, 2005


> Is this actually possible?!?!?

But... but... Prince! Bob Dylan! Uh... Westbrook Pegler!
posted by pracowity at 1:52 AM on September 13, 2005


C&D's arent worth the paper they're written on.
posted by dabitch at 1:53 AM on September 13, 2005


mathowie:
When FOX tries to overstep their trademarks, everyone is rightfully mocking, but a classic liberal radio show host is above ridicule?

I (NAL) think the Prairie Ho Companion shirt is not fair use criticism or parody. Imagine if the shirt had the Apple logo on it and "iHo" on the back, or if it had the McDonald's golden arches "M" as part of "bad ass Motherfucker". Or a drawing of Bart Simpson saying "Eat my shorts, madam prostitute"

Do you think it's saying anything related to PHC or is it merely exploiting the trademark?

I think that the cease and desist was a bad move and somewhat poopy, but I don't think it's overstepping. Maybe this explains the difference in mockery level. Plus the other differences in the two situations: a media juggernaut going after a critic versus a minnesota public radio variety show going after a dumb shirt.
posted by fleacircus at 2:24 AM on September 13, 2005


What is the relevance of him being a blogger anyway? He attracted grief for his role as a T-shirt salesman not for blogging.
posted by biffa at 2:27 AM on September 13, 2005


What is the relevance of him being a blogger anyway?

Logically, not a lot, but mentioning it helps to make him sound more like an underdog for the flow of information and the good cause or something, and less like a T-shirt hawker.

Also, mentioning that he is a blogger is a good way for a blogger to attract bloggers who like to leap to the defense of bloggers. Because they're bloggers. And because, as bloggers, they like to make a blogging project out of their causes. If he were a Harley rider, maybe they'd find a way to make a biker rally out of it.
posted by pracowity at 2:55 AM on September 13, 2005


Did we actually need more evidence that Garrison Keillor has no sense of humor?
posted by psmealey at 3:09 AM on September 13, 2005


Yes. I find it a very enjoyable show. Granted he's woefully deficient in silly face/squeaky voice/fart humor, but PHC fans will have to settle for wit.

You're welcome to keep Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider and Pauley Shore.
posted by RavinDave at 3:16 AM on September 13, 2005


There's probably a little bit of room between Keillor and Rob Schneider, RavinDave.
posted by psmealey at 3:58 AM on September 13, 2005


I didn't notice any logos in use there, pracowity. Perhaps he is just a prairie guy who enjoys the company of ladies of the night? Who is going to say he can't proffer t-shirts to others like him?

Is it possible that GK and his lawyers have failed to notice that "Ho" has a meaning, and is not just this guy lopping off two letters off the official name in the hopes that no one notices?
posted by Hildegarde at 4:14 AM on September 13, 2005


I hope he puts the ordering back online, and I further hope he creates a 2nd series of (funnier) T-shirts, to boot. This is bullshit, and we must drag it out into the light and point at it with our pointed stick and decry, "HERE! Here is bullshit!"

Fuck Garrison Keillor.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:36 AM on September 13, 2005


I'm in eternal pursuit of the "little death."

What you do in your bedroom while listening to Lake Woebegone audiobooks is your own business.
posted by VulcanMike at 4:37 AM on September 13, 2005


but a classic liberal radio show host is above ridicule?

Man: [quietly] Well, sir, it has been an uneventful week in Badger Falls...where the women are robust, the men are pink-cheeked, and the children are pink-cheeked and robust. [Audience laughs loudly]

Homer: What the hell's so funny?

Man: At the Apple Biscuit cafe, where the smiles are free, don't you know, Sven Inqvist studied the menu, and finally he ordered the same thing he has every day. [Audience laughs and applauds]

Bart: Maybe it's the TV.

Homer: Stupid TV. [Hits it] Be more funny!
posted by Otis at 4:42 AM on September 13, 2005


From the lawyers' letter: "...high probability of confusion ..."

Get real.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:44 AM on September 13, 2005


pracowity said:..."If he were a Harley rider, maybe they'd find a way to make a biker rally out of it."
Haa! Too true.
posted by dabitch at 5:00 AM on September 13, 2005


"If there's any karmic justice, the blogger loses his shirt."
did you mean literally, or figuratively?
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 5:11 AM on September 13, 2005


I don't get it? What person attracted to such lame and base humor is going to even get the supposed joke? Does anyone who uses the word "ho" have the intellectual attention span to listen to even 5 minutes of Prairie Home Companion? Can you sue someone for butchering the art of satire?
posted by any major dude at 5:11 AM on September 13, 2005


I thought that this article was going to be about the Cosby v. Fatalbert.org suit, but instead I find this. Not that either guy is very funny anymore or that suing people over fair use and first amendment issues is really particularly liberal in nature either...
posted by Pollomacho at 5:28 AM on September 13, 2005


I'm ambivalent. On the one hand, the shirt is relatively harmless. On the other, when I read "Liberal comedian sues blogger," my knee jerk reaction is to hate the person who wrote it for using "liberal" as a pejorative. I clicked on the link expecting a conservative political blog.

You can try to explain it away, rex, but there's a "liberals are bad" subtext no matter what you intended. That Keillor is liberal is completely irrelevant.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:30 AM on September 13, 2005


You guys are going to love my "All Thongs Considered" shirts...

Not to point out the obvious or anything, but PHC has to actively prevent trademark dilution under current trademark law. My law student wife is asleep right now, but I bet she'd remind me that parody is not necessarily a defense for trademark infringement.

The lawyer's letter mentions it but the blogger does not -- he was selling these shirts at aprariehomecompanion.org.

In other words, the likelyhood of confusion could have indeed been great...
posted by ph00dz at 5:32 AM on September 13, 2005


Did this guy even read the letter? The word "copyright" does not appear in the c+d.
posted by anathema at 5:38 AM on September 13, 2005


I can't find a domain registration record for aprariehomecompanion.org and it doesn't show up in the wayback machine. Is there a place to search for a domain registration history?

I guess if it's true he was selling them at that URL, it would change things in my mind. However, I still think Keillor's lawyer is making too big of a deal about one stupid t-shirt. By the way, I think the "joke" on the t-shirt started because of Lindsay Lohan's role in the film.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:47 AM on September 13, 2005


I thought that this article was going to be about the Cosby v. Fatalbert.org suit...

Who is this Fatal Bert? Is he like Evil Bert, the Sesame Street character and Osama bin Laden accomplice?

PHC has to actively prevent trademark dilution under current trademark law.

I hear Cory Doctorow rumbling somewhere...

The lawyer's letter mentions it but the blogger does not -- he was selling these shirts at aprariehomecompanion.org


Where is that? I can't find it.
posted by pracowity at 5:49 AM on September 13, 2005


Where is that? I can't find it.

It's in the last paragraph of the first page.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:52 AM on September 13, 2005


>Is there a trademark lawyer in the house? It could be that if you start selling things like this you are somehow breaching the trademark. If you just do it as parody you are not.<

You're right. usuing a trademark in a true parody sense will trigger First Amendment rights that will trump trademark law. (Fortunately, we still value free speak slightly more than we value purely commercial ownership rights!) But it is not so easy to get the parody trump card...especially when you are not making a political statement, as this shirt does not appear to be doing, and especially when you are selling the T-shirt for profit. Speaking as a trademark atty, I think that this T-shirt (a not very funny or clever, btw) is a trademark violation.


Artists of all stripe (and all levels of "hipness") defend their trademarks via C&D letters everyday--this is not news. A trademark owner can lose trademark rights for not defending their trademark in the marketplace. Legally, it is a violation of U.S. trademark law to use someone's trademark in a way that is likely to confuse consumers; in a way that "tarnishes" the image of the trademark holder's "goods"; or in a way that "dilutes" the trademark, for example by making the trademark seem like less of a trademark in the public's and instead making it appear that the mark is just a slogan or a saying.

Trademark law is intended to protect consumer expectations. So, the threshold of "will consumers be confused by prairie HOME COMPANION" and prairie HO COMPANION" is probably going to be lower than you may expect it to be.
posted by applemeat at 5:53 AM on September 13, 2005


You know, Jesus has got to be pissed right about now. I mean, look at all the crap he had to do to get some respect as a martyr and nowadays all you have to do is make a shitty t-shirt and bitch on a weblog. Youth was so much more rebellious 2005 years ago.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:01 AM on September 13, 2005


It's almost impossible to imagine any circumstance which could have brought this pathetic T-shirt to my attention, except this one: Mr Keillor instructs his lawyer to attack the manufacturer. If GK didn't deserve to be mocked before, he does now.
posted by MinPin at 6:04 AM on September 13, 2005


It's almost like the guy wanted to get a C & D, because he's making way too big a deal out of it. Also the complaint by Keillor's lawyer is totally baseless, etc etc.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:07 AM on September 13, 2005


I'm having a hard time figuring out which is unfunnier: Keillor, or the really dumb t-shirt

Keillor. he is by definition the most unfunny life form on this planet.
and a brown-noser, too


When FOX tries to overstep their trademarks, everyone is rightfully mocking, but a classic liberal radio show host is above ridicule?

not at all. if anything, he is beneath it.
he is indeed a living punchline. and deserves to lose this fight very, very much.
posted by matteo at 6:13 AM on September 13, 2005


MegoSteve : "On the other, when I read 'Liberal comedian sues blogger,' my knee jerk reaction is to hate the person who wrote it for using 'liberal' as a pejorative...

You can try to explain it away, rex, but there's a 'liberals are bad' subtext no matter what you intended."


Wait, the subtext is there because you misread "liberal" to be a pejorative, even though it wasn't??

Well, I'm offended that you hate me for having read the article. Oh, wait, you hate the person who wrote it, and not the person who read it? Well, you can try to explain it away, MegoSteve, but there's a "people who read the article are bad" subtext no matter what you intended.
posted by Bugbread at 6:35 AM on September 13, 2005


in a way that "tarnishes" the image of the trademark holder's "goods"

Not to get into a trademark attorney pissing match, but...;-)

Tarnishment is a subset of dilution (federal dilution). Whether a mark is "famous" for purposes of dilution under the Lanham Act is dificult and expensive to prove.
posted by anathema at 6:50 AM on September 13, 2005


That shirt is hilarious. I'm going to buy it to replace my well soiled "Ho Farted?" shirt.
posted by any major dude at 6:52 AM on September 13, 2005


A cease & desist letter does not equal a lawsuit. If it comes to it, I am willing to bet the stupid blogger caves, because Keillor, and NPR probably have deeper pockets, and more at stake.

And Megosteve, in this particular post, I'm pretty sure the real pejorative is the word "blogger." At least, that's the way I read it.
posted by crunchland at 6:57 AM on September 13, 2005


I always thought Garrison Keillor was about as funny as a crutch. Now I see I overestimated him.

Honestly, reading that guy's wearisome faux-downhome droning is like listening to your senile granpappy telling his most boring story for the eightieth time. What a tosser.
posted by Decani at 7:26 AM on September 13, 2005


Don't be an idiot, bugbread.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:39 AM on September 13, 2005


I'm going to buy it to replace my well soiled "Ho Farted?" shirt.

Superb!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:41 AM on September 13, 2005


Keillor's not for everyone, I'll grant you, and I can understand why some people are repelled by his persona. But he's a recognized successful performer who has managed to convince millions of people over a thirty-year span that he's worth listening to, as well as a successful comic author (can anybody here who's read WLT tell me they never laughed?).

On the other side, we have this jerkoff whose contribution to American humor is to remove two letters from a trademark to form what may be the laziest "joke" ever and then dare Keillor to sue him so he can cry to all his blogger compatriots and get attention from the likes of Metafilter. All legal issues aside, I have a hard time siding with "The Blogger" here.
posted by soyjoy at 7:43 AM on September 13, 2005


Well put.
posted by dhoyt at 7:50 AM on September 13, 2005


Word Soyjoy.

And to all you other Minnesota Icon haters, we'll take Prince and The Replacements back if you keep this shit up.

Oh wait..
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:50 AM on September 13, 2005


Great, fleacircus: now I want an 'iHo' shirt....
posted by umberto at 7:53 AM on September 13, 2005


If any of you jackasses actually buy one of those t-shirts and support the butthead blogger monetarily, I am SO not speaking to you any more.
posted by crunchland at 8:02 AM on September 13, 2005


Why is this shocking?

Those that proclaim/portray themselves to be "liberal" and are entertainers are only "liberal" until their cash is effected. Same goes for the "conservatives." They are entertainers, after all. They earn a living off of selling their image. Tarnish it or poke fun at their bit, and, amazingly, their ideology is set aside.

Fuck Keillor right in the ear. He is a once-humourous, now sanctimonious, prick.
posted by mrblondemang at 8:09 AM on September 13, 2005


I still have a fond spot in my heart from the easter time show when he stated, "We are not a chistian nation" and proceeded to catalogue the myriad reasons why this is true. Actually thought it took courage to do that on public radio.
posted by pointilist at 8:19 AM on September 13, 2005


so, as I see it, the "use it or lose it" doctrine of trademark law, while IIRC originally meant to protect the passing of trademarks into the general lexicon ("Kleenex"), instead has become yet another way for the legal profession to extract extortionate rents for no value from the economy at large: "Mr. Keillor, if you don't drop $250 on me right now to C&D some pinhead blogger, tomorrow MTV's going to legally start their own Prarie Home Companion and replace you with Pauly Shore, so make with the check."

At what point does the American Bar Association become subject to antitrust law?
posted by Vetinari at 8:19 AM on September 13, 2005


This is nothing. I once got a cease and desist from the devil. Yes, the devil.
posted by wobh at 8:21 AM on September 13, 2005


That shirt is hilarious. I'm going to buy it to replace my well soiled "Ho Farted?" shirt.

"hoof hearted" shirts, genius.

Damn, they beat me to it.
Also a football club, bluegrass band, and kickass dwarf priest. Ho would have thought?
posted by Jawn at 8:23 AM on September 13, 2005


Seriously, I still don't get the relevance of this "liberal" thing. Why would it matter what someone's politics are? I guess if they were anarchist, or even libertarian, then there might be some irony. But what does "liberal" have to do with it? Is it all just code for "secretly communist and therefore advocating that everyone share everything equally?"

Honestly, I don't get it. To judge from the 2004 attacks on John Edwards, I would've thought a lawsuit-happy liberal would be a redundancy rather than an oxymoron.
posted by soyjoy at 8:26 AM on September 13, 2005


soyjoy, it's because "liberal" is frequently associated with being populist, or in favor of the little guy over the big deep pocketed organization.
posted by jonson at 8:41 AM on September 13, 2005


So that's all there is? A dim association? There have certainly been conservative populists. And there's at least as much association of liberals with the nanny state, poking their lawyered-up noses into the affairs of small-business entrepreneurs everywhere.

Still seems like a stretch, but I guess if the T-shirt seems funny to you so will this.
posted by soyjoy at 8:47 AM on September 13, 2005


That shirt is hilarious. I'm going to buy it to replace my well soiled "Ho Farted?" shirt.

posted by any major dude at 9:52 AM EST

Since their seems to be so much interest, I might just launch a Whole Host of Ho clothes:

"Ho Springs Eternal in the Human Breast" Bras
"Ho For The Ho-lidays" Christmas sweaters
"Ho, Sweet Ho" pillows
"Ho on the Range" Cowboy hats
"I Ho, I Ho, It's Off To Work I Go" High Heel Boots
"Ho Brewed" beer
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:51 AM on September 13, 2005


And to all you other Minnesota Icon haters

Minnesota Icon

posted by matteo at 8:52 AM on September 13, 2005


Ho this thread ends soon?
posted by muppetboy at 9:10 AM on September 13, 2005


You guys are going to love my "All Thongs Considered" shirts...

Yes, we would.
Well, I would.
posted by me3dia at 9:15 AM on September 13, 2005


successful comic author.
posted by basicchannel at 9:16 AM on September 13, 2005


What I Do When A Prairie Home Companion Comes On (a play in one act)

NPR: Up next, A Prairie Home Companion.

Me: (turns off radio)

~THE END~
posted by deafmute at 9:21 AM on September 13, 2005


Can't wait for House of Keillors to premeire on channel101. Wait a minute...
Keillor Clones -> Keillor Klones -> Killer Klowns
The truth is revealed!!!!
posted by ericbop at 9:31 AM on September 13, 2005


I think Uncle Garrison is just trying to protect the real victim of this parody: Lindsay Hohan.
posted by Mighty at 9:31 AM on September 13, 2005


Congratulations, deafmute. Care to share your thoughts on broccoli, calves liver or flan? I'm dying to know all your likes and dislikes. I'm creating dossiers on everyone, you know.
posted by crunchland at 9:32 AM on September 13, 2005


I'm not surprised: "liberals" often seek to limit free speech on Metafilter, as they do in the real world with "hate speech" laws and so on. The same "liberals" will holler about limits on free speech when it's things THEY say that are being limited.

There used to be some dim association between "liberal" and "liberty", but not anymore . "Libertarian" in the Ayn Rand sense is even worse: they would leave us in feudal thrall to the big corporations, with no unions and no collective way to defend ourselves and our interests.

I can't speak for any non-American, especially any not in America, but in this American context of warped word maning s it's no longer surprising to find such things as Native American Nazis.

Then too, yes to what mrblondemang said.

By the way, I never once bothered to listen to Keillor's radio show or read any of his books or anything. It seems I wasn't missing anything. Even with people who are my "heroes", a quick way to be dethroned in my esteem is to threaten parodists.
posted by davy at 9:50 AM on September 13, 2005


er, who cares? *yawn*
posted by aether1 at 9:56 AM on September 13, 2005


aether, wouldn't your detached irony be more appropriate on some emo-band web forum?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:02 AM on September 13, 2005


I like Keillor's radio show, but I think this is a terrible, stupid, un-American thing he's doing, and bad for his business (and great for MNspeak.com traffic) besides.

In my perfect universe, trademark law would not require an active defense of active-use marks, and there would be no excuse for these strongarm tactics. There's precious little excuse anyway - one tiny run of T-shirts isn't going to cost Keillor the trademark on a radio show that's still being produced on a regular basis.

davy: I'm not surprised: "liberals" often seek to limit free speech on Metafilter...

ROFL, there is no free speech on Metafilter, especially by conservative strict-constructionist Consitutional interpretation. If you don't own the website, you don't have any right to free speech on it. If you believe you should be awarded this property-related right despite the fact that the site isn't your property, that's called "communism."
posted by Western Infidels at 10:22 AM on September 13, 2005


I'm not surprised: "liberals" often seek to limit free speech on Metafilter[...]

In which case they're about as liberal as "conservatives" who believe passionately in big, intrusive government with police state powers, massive deficit spending and foreign debt and military adventurism and expansionism are conservative. In other words, our labels don't mean a whole fuck of a lot. Any other big news?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:23 AM on September 13, 2005


davy:
I'm not surprised: "liberals" often seek to limit free speech on Metafilter, as they do in the real world with "hate speech" laws and so on ... By the way, I never once bothered to listen to Keillor's radio show or read any of his books or anything.

That's awesome, so you basically have no idea about anything relating to this FPP but the "liberal" thing in the FPP let you jump in with this comment. I can't understand why anyone would ever want to limit your speech.
posted by fleacircus at 10:32 AM on September 13, 2005


What I Do When A Prairie Home Companion Comes On (a play in one act)

NPR: Up next, A Prairie Home Companion.

Me: (turns off radio)

~THE END~


I usually listen to intro theme song and sing along in a really out tune nasally voice, then turn it off.
posted by jefbla at 10:43 AM on September 13, 2005


It has been my experience that Keillor is, in fact, a dick—albeit I'm working off a sample size of 2 meetings. This has always troubled me as old-timey, down-home radio is a good television analog in these TV-free times. PHC is mildly entertaining and I listen to it when not otherwise occupied on a Saturday evening. It is a guilty pleasure though as I hate the man on a personal level.

As for the poor persecuted blogger. He got what he wanted by making MeFi an Attention Ho Companion.
posted by Suck Poppet at 10:52 AM on September 13, 2005


I started wondering if the folksy, self-effacing-sounding Keillor was putting us on when I first heard ('96?) that he was beating up on NPR because he couldn't get his show aired on all the affiliates simultaneously, time zones be damned. I guess he wanted to bring back the Golden Age of Radio singlehanded or something.
posted by alumshubby at 11:11 AM on September 13, 2005


"liberals" often seek to limit free speech on Metafilter

I had no idea Metafilter operated a free speech policy. Every time I hold my nose and steel myself for another look at the grey I see so much prissy protocol-and-content whining I have to remind myself I'm not on a typical conservative board. Fortunately a quick trawl of Mayor Curley and Quonsar's greatest hits usually does the trick.
posted by Decani at 11:20 AM on September 13, 2005


When FOX tries to overstep their trademarks, everyone is rightfully mocking, but a classic liberal radio show host is above ridicule?

Nonsense. Stop being such a party-part. I'm much more familiar with Fox than Keillor, but I'd wager that Fox deserves the mocking more than GK.

"Fair & Balanced" *seems* (in this layman's opinion) a lot less trademarkable than "Prarie Home Companion." IANATL either, but I know that there can't be any confusion between the parody and the real product. This case doesn't seem very strong to me, but do you really equate one man's copyright with a crappy news conglomerate 1000x bigger?

And what tsarfan said. This is America. He has every right to file a cease and desist. I have every right not to care whatsoever. and fleacircus.

I never thought Keillor was funny at all, though I admit I've never been able to listen to more than 5 minutes before fleeing madly. Radio is already boring enough without boring stories that aren't funny.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:09 PM on September 13, 2005


I'm not surprised: "liberals" often seek to limit free speech on Metafilter, as they do in the real world with "hate speech" laws and so on.

Examples, please? Asking someone to STFU is *not* the same as restricting their freedom of speech. (If you're referring to "liberals" who censor posts and comments, I'd need some more info, cuz I might agree with you there ...)

Or perhaps you think that the voluntary moratorium on words like nigger, spic, wop, heeb, etc. count as restrictions of free speech. OOPS!

Is there honestly anything you can't say/write on Metafilter? I can't think of anything.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:13 PM on September 13, 2005


(aside from the same restrictions on free speech that the law already prohibits, e.g. threats, libel, ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:16 PM on September 13, 2005


Is there honestly anything you can't say/write on Metafilter?

If non-spam posts get deleted, it ain't free speech. And non-spam posts do get deleted. But I'm not complaining too much, in spite of my occasional hit-and-runs on the grey. Metafilter's one of the more open boards I've seen.
posted by Decani at 12:22 PM on September 13, 2005


I've known a couple of people who met Keillor. They told me, essentially, that he's a dick. Then proceeded to describe behavior that's consistent with someone who doesn't like to talke to people he doesn't know (i.e. someone like me). So who knows. And who cares.

I do find it pretty odd that so many people are willing to jump down his throat for "bad application of law", when it's clear that the shirt is infringing use. Do I like that fact, generally? No. But it's a fact of life that Keillor stands to lose his trademarks if he doesn't act to defend it. If the guy had just been willing to quietly play chicken (like many ad agencies do), there's a good chance it will just go away. But he had to make a big deal out of it, and so now he will be litigated.

That's how we do things in America. It's life. Complaining about it is like complaining about capitalism. It's just that fundamental.

BTW, unless you're making a pretty radical moral argument, this doesn't really compare to the Fox "fair and balanced" case or to the Bradbury "fahrenheit" flap, for what should be obvious reasons. In the former case, Fox was attempting to appropriate simple descriptive prose; and what's more, there's good evidence that Fox's lawyers knew it was an untenable case to begin with. In the latter, we're talking about a senile old man who's evidently forgotten that there's such a thing as literary allusion. Or that he would have once strenuously defended its use.
posted by lodurr at 1:21 PM on September 13, 2005


For some people, like Keillor, going to court entails saying "alright, send in someone from Legal"; hence the advantage rich people and corporations have over everyone else.

B-b-b-but ... Keillor is a liberal populist ... Right?

**sniff**
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:40 PM on September 13, 2005


I noticed he got a bit free verse this week with the monologue. Maybe his mind is clouded by anger ;)
posted by abcde at 1:43 PM on September 13, 2005


aether, wouldn't your detached irony be more appropriate on some emo-band web forum?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:02 PM EST on September 13 [!]


aether, wouldn't your detached irony be more appropriate on some emo-band web forum?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:02 PM EST on September 13 [!]


aether, wouldn't your detached irony be more appropriate on some emo-band web forum?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:02 PM EST on September 13 [!]


aether, wouldn't your detached irony be more appropriate on some emo-band web forum?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:02 PM EST on September 13 [!]



aether, wouldn't your detached irony be more appropriate on some emo-band web forum?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:02 PM EST on September 13 [!]

posted by Tlogmer at 2:31 PM on September 13, 2005


I don't get it.
posted by jonson at 2:43 PM on September 13, 2005


Spot the bigger tool, Keillor or not-so-clever blogger.
posted by fixedgear at 3:42 PM on September 13, 2005


Said keswick:
Cloying? Maybe.
Anti-intellectual? I don't see it.
Sentimental? Fuck that noise! Everything should be sarcastic and ironic and shit!
Keillor tries to be the epitome of the self-effacing Minnesotan, including never admitting to any kind of worldly knowledge. Nope, just hope to cook walleyes and drill holes for ice-fishin'. This, to me, is anti-intellectualism, insofar as he idealizes this stereotype of good ol' folks who ain't got world-learnin'.

As for sentimentality: I have no great love of irony and sarcasm, either. I just don't like cloying sentimentality. The message of PHC often seems to be something along the lines of "Things are always better when you stick to powdermilk biscuits and tradition." That is simply not true, and to the extent that they are saying that, they're wrong.

The alternative is not, of course, reality TV or celebrity tabloids or other cynical forms of media. There's an excluded middle here. It's possible to have entertainment that neither deludes us about society's foibles nor ignores what's actually good. It's possible, in other words, to have honest media. PHC is not, however, in my view an example of that.

Said ladd:
Is this actually possible?!?!?
I know you were probably joking, but the Twin Cities have one of the largest populations of Hmong people in the US, as well as vibrant communities of Somali and Mexican people. It's not as diverse as, say, New York, but it's far, far better than the stereotypes would indicate.

And if it's not clear: I'm a Minnesotan. I love a lot of things about the state. I love even more things about the Cities. But I try to be honest about it, too.
posted by jiawen at 9:59 PM on September 13, 2005


Keillor tries to be the epitome of the self-effacing Minnesotan, including never admitting to any kind of worldly knowledge. Nope, just hope to cook walleyes and drill holes for ice-fishin'.

I have to seriously question whether you have spent any amount of time listening to this show or have consumed much of Keillor's other materials (back in the day he was a damn sharp short story writer, though I don't think much of his recent prose). Your statements are just flatly innaccurate. Whether you think it is good or bad or funny or not, Keillor's material is always much more multileveled (between loving the "plain folks" ethos of the rural midwest and hating its insularity and limitations); I'd go so far as to say that this dichotomy is the central theme of everything he creates.

Either you don't really know anything about it and you're just talking smack for no good reason, or you are so literal-minded that you shouldn't be allowed to talk about anything.

That being said, this story doesn't surprise me. Whether you love him or hate him, it is an open secret in the public radio community that as an individual, Keillor is basically a complete fucker.
posted by nanojath at 10:30 PM on September 13, 2005


Does this mean that I can't do the National Pubic Radio: Morning Erection shirts?


FWIW I like Garrison Keillor, but if you're thinking of him as a comedian, that's probably where you're confused... he's a humorist and a raconteur, and that's a subtle and different animal.
posted by stenseng at 10:54 PM on September 13, 2005


I've decided to parody Blogumentary before some punkass blogger does. Behold, Crapumentary t-shirts!

Now I just have to C&D myself, toss my head back and laugh as the big buxx roll in. Suckas!
posted by Dok Millennium at 11:45 PM on September 13, 2005


Good point, stenseng. And I'll take 2 of those NPR:ME shirts in an XL, please. Know someone who needs that particular one. *eg*
posted by keptwench at 5:43 AM on September 14, 2005


jiawen : "Keillor tries to be the epitome of the self-effacing Minnesotan, including never admitting to any kind of worldly knowledge."

Huh...That never comes across to me when he talks about his own life (as opposed to the PHC stuff).
posted by Bugbread at 5:59 AM on September 14, 2005


On a website that prides itself as being as full of assholes as is physically possible, I'm stunned at the disdain some of you are showing for an outsider that you've labelled as one. (And forgive us if we don't accept your friend-of-a-friend anecdotes of Keillor's demeanor.)
posted by crunchland at 9:16 AM on September 14, 2005


crunchland, I'm frankly surprised by your position on this one; you own/operate a fairly large web community. What if someone with much deeper pockets threated to illegally come after you, knowing you couldn't afford financially to not comply, even though you had done nothing illegal or out of bounds? To me, never having met anyone who met anyone who knew Garrison Keillor personally, I just disagree violently with the C&D. I mean, what, 20 people would have bought this t-shirt? It certainly didn't threaten his brand in any way...
posted by jonson at 2:00 PM on September 14, 2005


Well, first of all, I probably wouldn't have tried swiping the copyright. And if I did, I'd realize it was a joke. And as such, if I got the c&d, I'd comply. It's not about Davy and Goliath. It's about stealing.

And I don't think Keillor is being an asshole about it. I think he's protecting what belongs to him. Whether or not he's really an asshole -- which I tend to doubt -- is completely irrelevant.

And as for crying because the deep-pocketed legal boogeyman is coming after him, he should have thought of that before he did his joke and stole the mark. Maybe now he's learned a lesson.

You know that if the shoes were on the other feet, he'd be calling his lawyer in a New York minute.
posted by crunchland at 3:54 PM on September 14, 2005


I like Prarie Home Companion, and I find the Prarie Ho Companion joke juvenile, but:

crunchland : "Well, first of all, I probably wouldn't have tried swiping the copyright."

Neither did he. It isn't about copyright.

crunchland : "And if I did, I'd realize it was a joke."

He realizes it's a joke...he made the joke.

crunchland : "It's not about Davy and Goliath. It's about stealing."

He isn't stealing anything.

crunchland : "as for crying because the deep-pocketed legal boogeyman is coming after him, he should have thought of that before he did his joke and stole the mark."

He didn't steal the mark.

crunchland : "You know that if the shoes were on the other feet, he'd be calling his lawyer in a New York minute."

Maybe. And then a lot of people would be calling him an asshole. That doesn't really affect whether Keillor is being an asshole, though.
posted by Bugbread at 4:02 PM on September 14, 2005


Ok, our emphatic proclaimations aside, perhaps we can at least agree that it's debatable. Garrison and his lawyer seem to think it is. He's got as much right to try and stop this blogger as the blogger has to defend himself. And doing so is not being a "humorless asshole."
posted by crunchland at 4:15 PM on September 14, 2005


He didn't steal the mark.

Sayin' it don't make it so.

Of course, IANAL, but it sure looks like infringing use to me. And if it also looks like infringing use to a court, then by definition, it is. I haven't yet heard an argument to the contrary that makes sense. I haven't seen you make any.
posted by lodurr at 4:38 PM on September 14, 2005


Not to beat this dead horse too much more, but I just talked the issue over with a friend of mine who is a patent and trademark lawyer... what it boils down to is that Keillor's lawyers aren't charging the guy with copyright infringement. They're charging him with trademark infringement, and under the law, there's no "parody" or "fair use" defense when it comes to trademarks.
posted by crunchland at 10:36 AM on September 15, 2005


lodurr : "Of course, IANAL, but it sure looks like infringing use to me. And if it also looks like infringing use to a court, then by definition, it is. I haven't yet heard an argument to the contrary that makes sense. I haven't seen you make any."

Infringing use of a trademark is one which is within the same or similar fields (ie. you can have a car repair shop named "McDonalds", but not a hamburger shop named "McDonalds") and is liable to cause confusion with the consumer. Making a shirt called "Prarie Ho Companion" is unlikely to cause confusion with consumers ("Huh, he's such a nice person on the radio, who would have thought he would make shirts about Lake Wobegon whores!").

crunchland : "Ok, our emphatic proclaimations aside, perhaps we can at least agree that it's debatable. Garrison and his lawyer seem to think it is. He's got as much right to try and stop this blogger as the blogger has to defend himself. And doing so is not being a 'humorless asshole.'"

I agree that it's debatable. I agree that he has as much right to try to stop the blogger as the blogger has to defend himself. However, whether or not doing so is being a "humorless asshole"...well, we'll have to perhaps agree that that, too, is debatable.
posted by Bugbread at 3:50 PM on September 15, 2005


Making a shirt called "Prarie Ho Companion" is unlikely to cause confusion with consumers

Riiiiight, because it's not as if there are "Prairie Home Companion" T-shirts or anything...

("Huh, he's such a nice person on the radio, who would have thought he would make shirts about Lake Wobegon whores!").

I'm willing to bet you're not a fan of the annual APHC joke show, which is at times as racy as your morning shock-jock.

And just for good measure, I assert that the notion that "whether Keillor is being a humorless asshole is debatable" is debatable.
posted by soyjoy at 6:53 AM on September 16, 2005


soyjoy : "Riiiiight, because it's not as if there are 'Prairie Home Companion' T-shirts or anything..."

Sure, there are Prarie Home Companion t-shirts. I'm not sure why you think their existence means that people will start thinking "Hey, Prarie Home Companion is a great family radio show that's pleasant and polite, so I'm sure they're involved in this shirt referencing prostitution", unless it's in relation to the annual APHC show, which, I'll admit, I don't know of. If it's as racy as you say, then I may have to recind my argument.

soyjoy : "And just for good measure, I assert that the notion that 'whether Keillor is being a humorless asshole is debatable' is debatable."

That's debatable.
posted by Bugbread at 1:19 AM on September 17, 2005


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