Keillor in online generational spat

The passing of the generational torch is often uncomfortable, but Garrison Keillor’s rapid exit from the stage when Minnesota Public Radio cut busines ties with the man who built the operation is going to leave wounds beyond the allegations leveled against him.

A younger generation has been waiting for its opportunity, Nora McInerny wrote in a column on Thursday that Keillor’s time is in the past, criticizing him for a Washington Post column of Keillor’s (the Post subsequently canceled the writer’s column) that dismissed, for example, efforts to rename Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Well, duh, dude. We know how time machines work, and we know how words work. Changing a name on a lake doesn’t change the past. It changes our present. It’s a course correction that says, “Hey, hmmm, this is pretty messed up to use the name of a terrible person on a beautiful lake we stole from the Dakota people!”

No woman who speaks up gets to change her past. And in many cases, speaking up doesn’t exactly change her world for the better. Again, I refer you to Internet comments.

Calling out an offender for who he is and changing the name of a lake are not pointless just because they inconvenience the status quo. Neither of these actions change the past, but they have the potential to change the world we live in now.

“It’s been 50 years, dude,” said McInerny, who hosts a podcast — Terrible, Thanks for Asking — for the same company for which Keillor once toiled she wrote. “Let the rest of us have a turn.”

Responding via Twitter and Facebook, Keillor rejected the suggestion.

There aren’t a lot of people who can match Keillor for linguistic weaponry. McInerny is one of them, however, and isn’t backing down.

Keillor has now locked down his Twitter page.