Garrison Keillor: Trump’s Problem Is That Jews Run Manhattan

Steve Sailer writes: In the Chicago Tribune, Minnesotan Garrison Keillor, recently retired from his Prairie Home Companion radio show, tries to explain Donald Trump:

When this is over, you will have nothing that you want

Garrison Keillor
Special To The Washington Post

… And The New York Times treats you like the village idiot. This is painful for a Queens boy trying to win respect in Manhattan where the Times is the Supreme Liberal Jewish Anglican Arbiter of Who Has The Smarts and What Goes Where. When you came to Manhattan 40 years ago, you discovered that in entertainment, the press, politics, finance, everywhere you went, you ran into Jews

I don’t actually think that it took Donald Trump until age 30 to learn about Jews.

, and they are not like you: Jews didn’t go in for big yachts

Garrison Keillor evidently doesn’t spend a lot of time in Florida. He probably found War Dogs confusing: Why isn’t this movie about Dick Cheney? What is this movie about anyway?

and a fleet of aircraft — they showed off by way of philanthropy or by raising brilliant offspring. They sympathized with the civil rights movement. In Queens, blacks were a threat to property values — they belonged in the Bronx, not down the street. To the Times, Queens is Cleveland. Bush league. You are Queens.

And clearly no Jews ever lived in Fred Trump’s apartments in Forest Hills, Brighton Beach, or Coney Island. The reason Fred pretend to be Swedish instead of German to his racist tenants who didn’t want their neighborhoods turning black was that he only rented to, uh, Texans.

The casinos were totally Queens, the gold faucets in your triplex, the bragging, the insults, but you wanted to be liked by Those People.

Because there weren’t any of Those People in Queens when Trump grew up there.

Actually, Keillor might be onto an interesting social distinction without knowing enough or having the bravery to follow it up.

Clearly, contra Keillor, Trump’s persona is highly Jewish in affect. But perhaps Keillor isn’t thinking about Jewish-Americans in general, but instead is obsessing about one particular varietal: the old money German-Jewish high society who wouldn’t let Eastern European Jews into their country clubs because of their cruder manners.

There is a reasonable possibility that Trump didn’t encounter until he was an adult many of the more refined German-Jewish Our Crowd elite, like the Sulzbergers. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s an interesting possibility that a better-informed observer than Keillor might be able to do something with.

You wanted Mike Bloomberg to invite you to dinner at his townhouse. You wanted the Times to run a three-part story about you, that you meditate and are a passionate kayaker and collect 14th-century Islamic mosaics. You wish you were that person but you didn’t have the time.

Actually, I don’t think Trump cares at all about being seen as an SWPL.

Trump has an on-the-noseness that’s averse to SWPL irony and pretense. Consider: Kayaking or golf? Which would seem more fashionable for Trump to do?

Clearly, golf is going out of fashion as the public gets poorer and more stressed for time.

Except that the really big guys in Trump’s orbit — the last four presidents, say, or Mike Bloomberg — are fanatical golfers. Heck Bill Clinton is a member of Trump’s golf club. The idea of pretending to care about a sport other than golf so that he would look fashionable in the Times simply doesn’t occur to Trump. Presidents play golf…

…Keillor appears to be projecting some of his own provincial status insecurities onto Trump, which isn’t a good fit. I believe Keillor tried living in New York for a number of years, but then returned to St. Paul where he can be a very big fish in a small pond.

Trump may just not be a good subject for writers, so they wind up projecting a lot onto him.


* According to the Sage of Minnesota, Trump had a Very Bad Month. But he is doing better in the polls at the end of it than he was at the beginning. Two more months this bad would easily make him president.

* Here Keillor proves he really is the folksy bumpkin he’s always pretended to be. His screed is filled with errors only a slow talker could make.

As Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “You are what you pretend to be.”

Where did Garrison learn about New York, I wonder? From watching TV on a fuzzy screen in Minnesota?

Somebody should tell him: A lot of people out here got here from somewhere else because they are at the top of their field…

* Garrison Keillor deigning to explain New York City to Donald Trump is the epitome of chutzpah.

Also, the idea that anyone who looks down on Trump now would respect him if he were elected President — does Keillor think they respected W.?

* Minnesotans, namely urbanites and suburbanites in the Twin Cities, are excruciatingly status-conscious. F. Scott Fitzgerald was the quintessential Minnesotan in that respect.

Does anyone have a theory to explain it?

Keillor is demonstrating typical Minnesota snobbery here, unintentionally telling us more about his own native habitat than about Trump’s.

* Keillor elevates Democrat status to a substitute religion. For him, there are only two kinds of Americans: Dems and Reps, polarized like Europe in the Thirty Years War. Of course both sides are White, because all the NAMS he got on PHC were White-presenting.

Democrianiaty appears to substitute in Keillor’s brain for the Lutheranism he loved to harmlessly insert in PHC, but which he must know in his heart has long gone daft, literally far over the rainbow.

For a guy whose radio plays are entertaining, his prose on a written page in front of me is brutally simplistic – folk Manicheanism. I’ve never been able to finish reading one page of it without revulsion.

* I was taking a quick look into Emma Lazarus, whose poem is getting a lot of play these days as some kind of nostrum against Trumpish borders. When she wasn’t telling us This is Who We Are, i.e. a nation of immigrants taken in without regard to race or creed or rank, she was advocating for a Jewish nation in Palestine without cracking a smile, forming the Society for the Improvement and Colonization of East European Jews, and sticking up for these now elite German Jews, who in 1877 were the arriviste bane of New York hoteliers:

“Judge Henry Hilton, the Grand Union Hotel’s owner, explained he had no objection to the Sephardic elite. Those like Emma Lazarus’ family, who had lived in America since before the Revolution, were the refined, “true Hebrews.” According to Hilton, only the dirty, greedy, German immigrant “Seligman Jews” were unwanted.”

* How depressing. I’d always been a fan of Keillor’s and, after rediscovering him recently, became an even bigger fan. This sneering article doesn’t sound like him at all (although admittedly I’ve hardly ever read his articles). It’s true, political correctness makes you stupid (not to mention nasty), and not even such a brilliant guy as Keillor is immune.

Here’s when Keillor wasn’t politically correct: Nonbelievers, please leave Christmas alone.

* Any time I read something anyone else on the left, especially when they try to analyze someone else, I think of Vox Day’s adage: SJW always project. My guess is that Keillor’s observations about Trump tell you more about Keillor’s experience living in NYC while temporarily basing his show there.

* Nope, there are no loud Jews from Forest Hills, Queens.

* Garrison Keillor is projecting a bit here. Mr. Lake Wobegone lived part-time in Manhattan for decades and likely never quite fit in on the Upper West Side.

* I have never liked Keillor’, but I’d like to read (not hear) his explanation of why Minneapolis (not St. Paul) was for many years “the capital of anti-Semitism in the United States”:

Minneapolis was known for anti-Semitism beginning in the 1880s and through the 1950s.[29] The city was described as “the capital of anti-Semitism in the United States” in 1946 by Carey McWilliams[30] and in 1959 by Gunther Plaut.[31] At that time the city’s Jews were excluded from membership in many organizations, faced employment discrimination, and were considered unwelcome residents in some neighborhoods.[32] Jews in Minneapolis were also not allowed to buy homes in certain neighborhoods of Minneapolis.[33]

An interesting topic, but I’m almost certain he would have nothing interesting to say about it.

* So Keillor’s argument is that in New York everyone is above average.

* Wow, your readers aren’t kidding about the projection Keillor has going on there. Reading it felt like watching one of those scenes on “The Office” where Steve Carrell’s character is embarrassing himself and the other characters just stand around looking nervous while he continues to dig himself in deeper.

* “German” and more properly here “Anglicized” Jews are those Ashkenazi that have been culturally assimilated, speak German or English as their first language, usually for generations, and are mostly ignorant or even disdainful of some of the practices of our bumpkin ancestors and distant relatives in Eastern Europe and Israel. It is not really just “old money high society” that is not fond of their “cruder manners,” but the large respectable majority.

Germanization was a process that extended far outside the borders of modern Germany. All over Eastern Europe, covering modern Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and parts of Ukraine and Romania, the more urban and intelligent Jews moved to the German-speaking cities and adopted increasing amounts of German language and culture.

Just to give an example of this, John von Neumann went to a German-language and style high school in Budapest, run by the Lutheran Church, but with a majority Jewish student body. From there he went to the German University of Berlin and the German-Swiss ETH Zurich before settling in Princeton.

As in greater Germany for several centuries, it really only takes one or two generations raised in secular America to join the larger Anglicized US Jewish population, so there really is no longer meaningful distinction in New York society between the descendants of Jews from Berlin who came in 1852 and Jews from Kiev who came in 1907. Nonetheless, new immigrants from Russia sometimes just can’t fit in a place like the New York Times.

* Wikipedia: Keillor considers himself a loner and prefers not to make eye contact with people. Though not diagnosed, he also considers himself to be on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum.[12] He spoke about his experiences as an autistic person in his keynote address at the 19th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference in 2014.

* I think Anglicized Jewsis the more precise description of the “German Jews” Steve has mentioned a few times who were excluding the new “Russian Jews” from the country club. The Old Country Club Jews were certainly disproportionately from greater Germany, but greater Germany was receiving and assimilating a continuous influx of “Russian Jews” in the 17th to 19th centuries, as well expanding Prussia and Austria into heavily Jewish areas to their east and imposing secularization and germanization policies on them. So it is less an ethnic discrimination at the country clubs than a cultural one. One people had been living well in the West for many generations, the other was arriving poor and with unrefined Russian customs and often took religious customs too seriously.

* The rules of acceptable speech are so confusing. I used to think that only a Jewish writer could pen this kind of article without being an evil anti-semite, but it appears that as long as you’re attacking Donald Trump a Gentile can get away with it too. I still wouldn’t dare to mention Jewish influence under my real name.

* Kareem Abdul Jabbar was on NPR this morning and said, “Ignorance is not something that lends itself to a meaningful discussion. Some of these people really shouldn’t vote because they don’t know what the issues are. And I think people who are voting in the blind are doing a disservice to our country by not being better informed.”

It almost like a literacy test might be in order.

* If Trump was ever motivated by winning the respect of the Times and urbane Jews he would have made a series of different choices in life more to their tastes and probably would have stayed clear of Atlantic City altogether. His style and aesthetic is more reminiscent of what blue collar Italian Americans would do if they came into money. His persona would have been so different that he probably would not have been a household name.

Being so obviously status-conscious, it probably escapes Keillor that the Trump persona is intentionally in opposition to the swells who think they are the gatekeepers and taste-makers.

* “Trump may just not be a good subject for writers, so they wind up projecting a lot onto him.”

That’s too bad because he’s fabulous.

Is it that hard to understand or appreciate that someone can have rare, needed virtues despite being tacky?

And he’s so funny, too! During the primary debates, I accidentally landed on the floor from one particularly hysterical laughing fit. After that, I made sure to have the oversized sofa all to myself to lie on, go crazy on…

Feel so sorry for all the writers and serious people who cannot enjoy such pleasure and, indeed, are in pain!

* Garrison Keillor is a national treasure. But it’s fascinating how he has had to write about his small-town roots to achieve his obvious lifetime goal of repudiating them and becoming a sophisticate— and how he has failed in the process.

In fact, if he’d succeeded in becoming a sophisticate, he would have lost his creative abilities and been kicked out of the sophisticate crowd, which seems to have happened to some extent. But somehow his perceptiveness when it comes to small-town life fails him when it comes to the nuances of Manhattan. It makes for an interesting contrast with Tom Wolfe, who can describe people from any setting, rich or poor. I bet Tom Wolfe, a Ph.D., is more detached and also knows how to do the hard work of researching how people live and think, while Keillor goes entirely on formative personal experiences.

* Blacks are a threat to property values in Manhattan and upscale SWPL Brooklyn too, that’s why they have been, willy-nilly, removed from these locales by public policy directed by the machers of Manhattan.

You know what preserves property values in New York City? An Eruv. Nothing else achieves the same effect, and the neighborhood that Trump grew up in, and neighborhoods adjoining it, have been Eruved for at least 40 years, probably more. Trump grew up in Jamaica estates, cheek by jowl to the ghetto that is now south western queens, but the ghetto will never move into Jamaica Estates and the adjoining upscale neighborhoods because they have been Eruved.

The upper west side of Manhattan, liberal macher heartland, has been Eruved too.

Keilor is such a toady.

* Yes “philanthropy,” many a Jewish conman has pointed to his massive contributions to Jewish orgs to garner sympathy after the SEC comes calling.

* I like a lot of Keillor’s work and support Trump. I don’t particularly like Trump although I bet he’d be fun to play golf with and he seems ok if you can get past the bluster. Like Steve said, too gauche for this east coaster. But I have grown to support the U.S. citizens’ first position after a long time as a WSJ or Ludwig von Mises (so I fancied) free trade uber alles believer.

I may have followed the evolution of a lot of people my age;

Daily News sports page and comics as a kid.
NY Times into teens
Village Voice late teens
WSJ as a young professional
Back to NY Post type to read sports page on way to work on subway, broadsheet too hard to handle in crowd.
Internet stuff, hey, who is this Steve Sailer guy?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in America, Jews. Bookmark the permalink.