Bethlehem Moms Claim Famed Author Co-opting Their Kids and Town
By Pug Ransom
Published November 1st, 2015
BETHLEHEM — A group of Bethlehem moms has filed suit against National Public Radio personality Garrison Keillor, claiming Keillor’s famous Lake Wobegon is actually based on their stuffy and unwelcoming Albany County town.
Keillor — known widely for spinning yarns of the fictional Minnesota town during NPR’s popular program, A Prairie Home Companion — describes Lake Wobegon in each and every broadcast as a place where “all the children are above average” and in which “decades cannot improve.”
“Um, hello?” said Kitty Flowers, a housewife and mother of three. “Bethlehem is known for its naturally gifted children. My kids, for example, are extraordinary. Our schools are the best, our kids eventually intern for the state Senate, and most of our children go on to attend law school. So, that tag line: ‘all the children are above average…’ You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out who Garrison Keillor is really talking about.”
Bunny Summer, whose two naturally gifted twins attend Cornell, said it’s obvious too that Keillor is speaking of Bethlehem when he declares Lake Wobegon a place that “decades cannot improve.”
“Bethlehem is exceptional — not just its children, but also the town itself,” said Summer. “It cannot be improved, by time or anything else, because it does not need to be improved. You cannot make something that’s already perfect more perfect.”
Told that Keillor also describes Lake Wobegon as a place “time forgot,” Trixie Peoples — whose daughter is first chair violin in the high school orchestra and will attend Julliard upon graduation — said the NPR host was simply trying to “deflect” the town’s true identity.
“He says that to throw us off,” said Peoples. “Put it this way: If you put on a television show with the cast of Seinfeld, but base it in Cohoes instead of Manhattan, it’s still Seinfeld.”
Gump Worsley, Keillor’s attorney, called the lawsuit “frivolous.”
“These Bethlehem ladies have too much time on their hands and their sense of entitlement and self-worth border on the delusional,” Worsley said. “I hope, too, that one day, all their children get the shit beat out of them by some kids from Troy.”