News from Lake Woe-is-Me

February 10, 1999|By D.J. Tice

IT SEEMS somebody let on to Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura that another local personality, Garrison Keillor, is writing a book about him, a satire about a professional wrestler named Jimmy "Big Boy" Valente who gets himself elected governor.

Mr. Ventura thinks Mr. Keillor is "cheating," rather like various cartoonists, moviemakers and merchandisers the governor has bad-mouthed for "making money off of me." Mr. Ventura is also, um, writing a book about himself. He probably figures there's some remote chance that Mr. Keillor's book will be better.

For his part, Mr. Keillor can't understand what the governor is "steamed" about. He says any local humorist who ignored Mr. Ventura's story would be "turning down a wonderful gift."

A few folks around town have an idea what Mr. Keillor means. Back in the 1980s, several local newspaper boys couldn't turn down the wonderful opportunity to write about Mr. Keillor's enormous fame. They wrote about his salary and his off-air life, sometimes with a touch of satire.

The way he took all this in stride is legendary. He stormed off to Denmark and New York for several years and wrote some bizarre denunciations of Twin Cities journalism in national magazines.

But he didn't get steamed or anything.

Some people think it's a shame Mr. Ventura and Mr. Keillor can't get along. They deserve each other, folks say. They're different sorts, true, but they also have a lot in common: unique hairstyles, radio stardom, a special talent for making things up. Above all, Mr. Ventura is a lot like Mr. Keillor in resenting the local press for the cruel way it has misused him.

Anyhow, that's the news from Lake Woe-Is-Me, where all the governors are strong, all the writers are good-looking and all the crybabies are above average.

D. J. Tice is an editorial writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

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