The successful have always been eyed with suspicion by the plain, decent old folk over at NPR, except for the once or twice a year when the alms cup comes out for a rattle or two. So it was a little astonishing to hear Garrison Keillor, the Clem Kadiddlehopper of the pubic airwaves, sing this smug little ditty, “Forever Dumb,” last Saturday night during NPR’s pledge week:

May you always be important

And cool and stylish too.

And be admired by others

And have people wait on you.

May the members of your fan club

Fill a great big stadium

May you stay forever dumb.

May you grow up to be beautiful

And very rich and slim

May God give you everything you want

Though you don’t believe in Him.

My you ever be successful

As you follow your own drum

May you stay forever dumb.

May your hands always be skillful

May your cars always swift

Oh a big red Maserati

With an automatic shift.

May you stick you finger in the pie

And always find the plum

May you stay forever dumb.

If you’d felt any inclination to reach for the phone and pledge, you probably had to at least stop and wonder why NPR would treat with derision those who are in the best position to give. Yes, the network’s thank you gift included the choice of a subscription to Newsweek or the NewYorker, but couldn’t decide. Too dumb, I guess.

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