Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist. Best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she came to critical and commercial success in 2006 with her graphic memoir Fun Home, subsequently adapted as a musical and won a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2015. In 2012, she released her second graphic memoir Are You My Mother? She's a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award, she is known for the Bechdel test. Bechdel was born in Pennsylvania, she is the daughter of Bruce Allen Bechdel. Her family was Roman Catholic, her father was an army veteran, stationed in West Germany. He was a high school English teacher, working full-time and operated a funeral home part-time, her mother was an teacher. Both of her parents contributed to her career as a cartoonist, she has two brothers, Bruce "Christian" Bechdel II and John Bechdel, a keyboard player who has worked with many bands including Fear Factory, Ministry and Killing Joke. She left high school a year early and attended Simon's Rock College from 1977 to 1979.
Soon after, Bechdel transferred to Oberlin College, graduated with a degree in studio arts and art history in 1981. After her father passed away in 1980, her mother sold the family house, in Beech Creek, the small town where Bechdel grew up, moved to Bellefonte, a less provincial small town, near State College with her longtime partner, Bob Fenichel, he is a retired psychiatrist. Bechdel moved to Manhattan during the summer of 1981 and applied to several art schools, but was rejected and worked in many office jobs in the publishing industry, she began Dykes to Watch Out For as a single drawing labeled "Marianne, dissatisfied with the morning brew: Dykes to Watch Out For, plate no. 27". An acquaintance recommended she send her work to WomaNews, a feminist newspaper, which published her first work in its June 1983 issue. Bechdel moved from her early single-panel drawings to multi-paneled strips. Dykes to Watch Out For began this process, developing into a series of posters and postcards, allowing for people to have a look into the urban lesbian community.
After a year, other outlets began running the strip. In the first years, Dykes to Watch Out For consisted of unconnected strips without a regular cast or serialized storyline. However, its structure evolved into a focus on following a set group of lesbian characters. In 1986, Firebrand Books published a collection of the strips to date. In 1987, Bechdel introduced her regular characters, Mo and her friends, while living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dykes to Watch Out For is the origin of the "Bechdel test", which has become a used metric in cultural discussion of film. In 1988, she began a short-lived page-length strip about the staff of a queer newspaper, titled "Servants to the Cause", for The Advocate. Bechdel has written and drawn autobiographical strips and has done illustrations for magazines and websites, she became a full-time cartoonist in 1990 and moved near Burlington, Vermont. In 2012, Bechdel was a Mellon Residential Fellow for Arts and Practice at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center at the University of Chicago and co-taught "Lines of Transmission: Comics & Autobiography" with Professor Hillary Chute.
In November 2006, Bechdel was invited to sit on the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. On April 6, 2017, Bechdel was appointed as Vermont's third Cartoonist Laureate, she resides in Bolton and works with Seven Days, located in Vermont. She has posted three different single comic strips for her Dykes to Watch Out For series: Pièce de Résistance, Tackles the Ides of Trump, Ponders How to Unify a Divided Country. In 2014, she posted a comic strip based on her Fun Home! The Musical! Time Magazine listed Fun Home as one of its 10 Best Books of the Year for 2006 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work in 2007 Stonewall Book Awards – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award in 2007. Guggenheim Fellowship, 2012 The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle in 2012; the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education Distinguished Educator Award in 2013 A MacArthur Fellowship in 2014. Lambda Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Literature in 2014; the Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media in 2015.
For her outstanding contributions to the comic art form, Comics Alliance listed Bechdel as one of twelve women cartoonists deserving of lifetime achievement recognition. In 2006, Bechdel published Fun Home, an autobiographical "tragicomic" chronicling her childhood and the years before and after her father's suicide, it follows both the past and present regarding the relationship she shares with her parents her father. Additionally, this graphic memoir helps show the hardships individuals face. Fun Home has received more widespread mainstream attention than Bechdel's earlier work, with reviews in Entertainment Weekly and several features in The New York Times. Fun Home spent two weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Nonfiction. Fun Home was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by numerous sources, including The New York Times, amazon.com, The Times of London, Publishers Weekly, salon.com, New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly. Time magazine named Alison Bechdel's Fun Home number one of its "10 Best Books of the Year."
Lev Grossman and Richard LeCayo described Fun Home as "the unlikeliest literary success of 2006," and called it "a stunning memoir about a girl growing up in a small town with her cryptic, perfectionist dad and realizing that a) she is gay and b) he is too.... Bechdel's breathtakingly smart commentary duets with eloq
William F. Buckley Jr.
William Frank Buckley Jr. was an American public intellectual and conservative author and commentator. In 1955, Buckley founded National Review, a magazine that stimulated the conservative movement in the late-20th century United States. Buckley hosted 1,429 episodes of the public affairs television show Firing Line, the longest-running public affairs show in television history with a single host, where he became known for his transatlantic accent and wide vocabulary. Buckley wrote God and Man at Yale and more than fifty other books on diverse topics, including writing, history and sailing. Buckley's works include a series of novels featuring fictitious CIA agent Blackford Oakes, he penned a nationally syndicated newspaper column. Buckley referred to himself as either conservative. George H. Nash, a historian of the modern American conservative movement, said Buckley was "arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century. For an entire generation, he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure."
Buckley's primary contribution to politics was a fusion of traditionalist conservatism and classical liberalism. Buckley was born November 24, 1925, in New York City, the son of Aloise Josephine Antonia and William Frank Buckley Sr. a Texas-born lawyer and oil developer. His mother, from New Orleans, was of Swiss-German and Irish descent, while his paternal grandparents, from Hamilton, Canada, were of Irish ancestry; the sixth of ten children, Buckley moved as a boy with his family to Mexico, to Sharon, before beginning his formal schooling in Paris, where he attended first grade. By age seven, he received his first formal training in English at a day school in London; as a boy, Buckley developed a love for music, horses and skiing. All of these interests would be reflected in his writings. Buckley was homeschooled through the eighth grade using the Calvert School of Baltimore's Homeschool Curriculum. Just before World War II, at age 12–13, he attended the Jesuit preparatory school St John's Beaumont in England.
During the war, Buckley's family took in the future British historian Alistair Horne as a child war evacuee. He and Horne remained lifelong friends. Buckley and Horne both attended the Millbrook School in Millbrook, New York, graduating as members of the class of 1943. Buckley was a member of the American Boys' Club for the Defense of Errol Flynn during Flynn's trial for statutory rape in 1943. At Millbrook, Buckley edited the school's yearbook, The Tamarack; when Buckley was a young man, his father was an acquaintance of libertarian author Albert Jay Nock. William F. Buckley Sr. encouraged his son to read Nock's works. As a youth, Buckley developed many musical talents, he played the harpsichord well calling it "the instrument I love beyond all others". He was an accomplished pianist and appeared once on Marian McPartland's National Public Radio show Piano Jazz. A great admirer of Johann Sebastian Bach, Buckley said that he wanted Bach's music played at his funeral. Buckley attended the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1943.
The following year, upon his graduation from the US Army Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. In his book, Miles Gone By, he recounts being a member of Franklin Roosevelt's honor guard upon the President's death, he served stateside throughout the war at Georgia. At the end of World War II in 1945, Buckley enrolled in Yale University, where he became a member of the secret Skull and Bones society and was a masterful debater, he was an active member of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union, served as Chairman of the Yale Daily News and as an informer for the FBI. Buckley studied political science and economics at Yale, graduating with honors in 1950. Buckley excelled on the Yale Debate Team. In 1951, along with many other Ivy League alumni, Buckley was recruited into the Central Intelligence Agency; the two officers remained lifelong friends. In a November 1, 2005, column for National Review, Buckley recounted that while he worked for the CIA, the only employee of the organization that he knew was Hunt, his immediate boss.
While in Mexico, Buckley edited The Road to a book by Peruvian author Eudocio Ravines. William F. Buckley Jr. had nine siblings, including sister Maureen Buckley-O'Reilly who married Gerald A. O'Reilly, the CEO of Richardson-Vicks Drugs. S. Senator from New York and was a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit. Buckley co-authored a book, McCarthy and His Enemies, with his brother-in-law, attorney L. Brent Bozell Jr. (Patric
Linguistic prescription, or prescriptive grammar, is the attempt to lay down rules defining preferred or "correct" use of language. These rules may address such linguistic aspects as spelling, vocabulary and semantics. Sometimes informed by linguistic purism, such normative practices may suggest that some usages are incorrect, lack communicative effect, or are of low aesthetic value, they may include judgments on proper and politically correct language use. Linguistic prescriptivism may aim to establish a standard language, teach what a particular society perceives as a correct form, or advise on effective and stylistically felicitous communication. If usage preferences are conservative, prescription might appear resistant to language change. Prescriptive approaches to language are contrasted with the descriptive approach, employed in academic linguistics, which observes and records how language is used; the basis of linguistic research is text analysis and field study, both of which are descriptive activities.
Description, may include researchers' observations of their own language usage. In the Eastern European linguistic tradition, the discipline dealing with standard language cultivation and prescription is known as "language culture" or "speech culture". Despite being apparent opposites and description are considered complementary, as comprehensive descriptive accounts must take existing speaker preferences into account, an understanding of how language is used is necessary for prescription to be effective. Since the mid-20th century some dictionaries and style guides, which are prescriptive works by nature, have integrated descriptive material and approaches. Examples of guides updated to add more descriptive and evidence-based material include Webster's Third New International Dictionary and the third edition Garner's Modern English Usage in English, or the Nouveau Petit Robert in French. A descriptive approach can be useful when approaching topics of ongoing conflict between authorities, or in different dialects, styles, or registers.
Other guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style, are designed to impose a single style and thus remain prescriptive. Some authors define "prescriptivism" as the concept where a certain language variety is promoted as linguistically superior to others, thus recognizing the standard language ideology as a constitutive element of prescriptivism or identifying prescriptivism with this system of views. Others, use this term in relation to any attempts to recommend or mandate a particular way of language usage, however, implying that these practices must involve propagating the standard language ideology. According to another understanding, the prescriptive attitude is an approach to norm-formulating and codification that involves imposing arbitrary rulings upon a speech community, as opposed to more liberal approaches that draw from descriptive surveys. Mate Kapović makes a distinction between "prescription" and "prescriptivism", defining the former as "process of codification of a certain variety of language for some sort of official use", the latter as "an unscientific tendency to mystify linguistic prescription".
Linguistic prescription is categorized as the final stage in a language standardization process. It is politically motivated, it can be included in the cultivation of a culture. As culture is seen to be a major force in the development of standard language, multilingual countries promote standardization and advocate adherence to prescriptive norms; the chief aim of linguistic prescription is to specify preferred language forms in a way, taught and learned. Prescription may apply to most aspects of language, including spelling, vocabulary and semantics. Prescription is useful for facilitating inter-regional communication, allowing speakers of divergent dialects to understand a standardized idiom used in broadcasting, for example, more than each other's dialects. While such a lingua franca may evolve by itself, the desire to formally codify and promote it is widespread in most parts of the world. Writers or communicators adhere to prescriptive rules to make their communication clearer and more understood.
Stability of a language over time helps one to understand writings from the past. Foreign language instruction is considered a form of prescription, since it involves instructing learners how to speak, based on usage documentation laid down by others. Linguistic prescription may be used to advance a social or political ideology. During the second half of the 20th century, efforts driven by various advocacy groups had considerable influence on language use under the broad banner of "political correctness", to promote special rules for anti-sexist, anti-racist, or generically anti-discriminatory language. George Orwell criticized the use of euphemisms and convoluted phrasing as a means of hiding insincerity in Politics and the English Language, his fictional "Newspeak" is a parody of ideologically motivated linguistic prescriptivism. Prescription presupposes authorities whose judgments may come to be followed by many other speakers and writers. For English, these authorities tend to be books. H. W. Fowler's Mo
Etymology is the study of the history of words. By extension, the term "the etymology" means the origin of the particular word and for place names, there is a specific term, toponymy. For Greek—with a long written history—etymologists make use of texts, texts about the language, to gather knowledge about how words were used during earlier periods and when they entered the language. Etymologists apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct information to be available. By analyzing related languages with a technique known as the comparative method, linguists can make inferences about their shared parent language and its vocabulary. In this way, word roots have been found that can be traced all the way back to the origin of, for instance, the Indo-European language family. Though etymological research grew from the philological tradition, much current etymological research is done on language families where little or no early documentation is available, such as Uralic and Austronesian.
The word etymology derives from the Greek word ἐτυμολογία, itself from ἔτυμον, meaning "true sense", the suffix -logia, denoting "the study of". In linguistics, the term etymon refers to a word or morpheme from which a word derives. For example, the Latin word candidus, which means "white", is the etymon of English candid. Etymologists apply a number of methods to study the origins of words, some of which are: Philological research. Changes in the form and meaning of the word can be traced with the aid of older texts, if such are available. Making use of dialectological data; the form or meaning of the word might show variations between dialects, which may yield clues about its earlier history. The comparative method. By a systematic comparison of related languages, etymologists may be able to detect which words derive from their common ancestor language and which were instead borrowed from another language; the study of semantic change. Etymologists must make hypotheses about changes in the meaning of particular words.
Such hypotheses are tested against the general knowledge of semantic shifts. For example, the assumption of a particular change of meaning may be substantiated by showing that the same type of change has occurred in other languages as well. Etymological theory recognizes that words originate through a limited number of basic mechanisms, the most important of which are language change, borrowing. While the origin of newly emerged words is more or less transparent, it tends to become obscured through time due to sound change or semantic change. Due to sound change, it is not obvious that the English word set is related to the word sit, it is less obvious that bless is related to blood. Semantic change may occur. For example, the English word bead meant "prayer", it acquired its modern meaning through the practice of counting the recitation of prayers by using beads. English derives from Old English, a West Germanic variety, although its current vocabulary includes words from many languages; the Old English roots may be seen in the similarity of numbers in English and German seven/sieben, eight/acht, nine/neun, ten/zehn.
Pronouns are cognate: I/mine/me and ich/mein/mich. However, language change has eroded many grammatical elements, such as the noun case system, simplified in modern English, certain elements of vocabulary, some of which are borrowed from French. Although many of the words in the English lexicon come from Romance languages, most of the common words used in English are of Germanic origin; when the Normans conquered England in 1066, they brought their Norman language with them. During the Anglo-Norman period, which united insular and continental territories, the ruling class spoke Anglo-Norman, while the peasants spoke the vernacular English of the time. Anglo-Norman was the conduit for the introduction of French into England, aided by the circulation of Langue d'oïl literature from France; this led to many paired words of English origin. For example, beef is related, through borrowing, to modern French bœuf, veal to veau, pork to porc, poultry to poulet. All these words and English, refer to the meat rather than to the animal.
Words that refer to farm animals, on the other hand, tend to be cognates of words in other Germanic languages. For example, swine/Schwein, cow/Kuh, calf/Kalb, sheep/Schaf; the variant usage has been explained by the proposition that it was the Norman rulers who ate meat and the Anglo-Saxons who farmed the animals. This explanation has been disputed. English has proved accommodating to words from many languages. Scientific terminology, for example, relies on words of Latin and Greek origin, but there are a great many non-scientific examples. Spanish has contributed many words in the southwestern United States. Examples include buckaroo, rodeo and states' names such as Colorado and Florida. Albino, lingo and coconut from Portuguese. Modern French has contributed café, naive and many more. Smorgasbord, slalom
An idiom is a phrase or an expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms, occurring in all languages, it is estimated that there are at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language. Many idiomatic expressions, in their original use, had literal meaning. Sometimes the attribution of a literal meaning can change as the phrase becomes disconnected from its original roots, leading to a folk etymology. For instance, spill the beans has been said to originate from an ancient method of democratic voting, wherein a voter would put a bean into one of several cups to indicate which candidate he wanted to cast his vote for. If the jars were spilled before the counting of votes was complete, anyone would be able to see which jar had more beans, therefore which candidate was the winner. Over time, the practice was discontinued and the idiom became figurative.
However, this etymology for spill the beans has been questioned by linguists. The earliest known written accounts come from the USA and involve horse racing around 1902–1903, the one who "spilled the beans" was an unlikely horse who won a race, thus causing the favorites to lose. By 1907 the term was being used in baseball, but the subject who "spilled the beans" shifted to players who made mistakes, allowing the other team to win. By 1908 the term was starting to be applied to politics, in the sense that crossing the floor in a vote was "spilling the beans". However, in all these early usages the term "spill" was used in the sense of "upset" rather than "divulge". A Stack Exchange discussion provided a large number of links to historic newspapers covering the usage of the term from 1902 onwards. Other idioms are deliberately figurative. Break a leg, used as an ironic way of wishing good luck in a performance or presentation, may have arisen from the belief that one ought not to utter the words "good luck" to an actor.
By wishing someone bad luck, it is supposed. In linguistics, idioms are presumed to be figures of speech contradicting the principle of compositionality; that compositionality is the key notion for the analysis of idioms is emphasized in most accounts of idioms. This principle states that the meaning of a whole should be constructed from the meanings of the parts that make up the whole. In other words, one should be in a position to understand the whole if one understands the meanings of each of the parts that make up the whole; the following example is employed to illustrate the point: Fred kicked the bucket. Understood compositionally, Fred has kicked an actual, physical bucket; the much more idiomatic reading, however, is non-compositional: Fred is understood to have died. Arriving at the idiomatic reading from the literal reading is unlikely for most speakers. What this means is that the idiomatic reading is, stored as a single lexical item, now independent of the literal reading. In phraseology, idioms are defined as a sub-type of phraseme, the meaning of, not the regular sum of the meanings of its component parts.
John Saeed defines an idiom as collocated words that became affixed to each other until metamorphosing into a fossilised term. This collocation of words redefines each component word in the word-group and becomes an idiomatic expression. Idioms do not translate well; when two or three words are used together in a particular sequence, the words are said to be irreversible binomials, or Siamese twins. Usage will prevent the words from being rearranged. For example, a person may be left "high and dry" but never "dry and high"; this idiom in turn means that the person is left in their former condition rather than being assisted so that their condition improves. Not all Siamese twins are idioms, however. "Chips and dip" is an irreversible binomial, but it refers to literal food items, not idiomatic ones. Idioms possess varying degrees of mobility. While some idioms are used only in a routine form, others can undergo syntactic modifications such as passivization, raising constructions, clefting, demonstrating separable constituencies within the idiom.
Mobile idioms, allowing such movement, maintain their idiomatic meaning where fixed idioms do not: Mobile I spilled the beans on our project. → The beans were spilled on our project. Fixed The old man kicked the bucket. → The bucket was kicked. Many fixed idioms lack semantic composition, meaning that the idiom contains the semantic role of a verb, but not of any object; this is true of kick the bucket. By contrast, the semantically composite idiom spill the beans, meaning reveal a secret, contains both a semantic verb and object and secret. Semantically composite idioms have a syntactic similarity between their semantic forms; the types of movement allowed for certain idiom relate to the degree to which the literal reading of the idiom has a connection to its idiomatic meaning. This is referred to as transparency. While most idioms that do not display semantic composition do not allow non-adjectival modification, those that are motivated allow lexical substitution. For example, oil the wheels and grease the wheels allow variation for nouns that elicit a similar literal meaning.
These types of changes can occur only when speakers c
Webster's Third New International Dictionary
Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged was published in September 1961. It was edited by Philip Babcock Gove and a team of lexicographers who spent 757 editor-years and $3.5 million. It contained more than 450,000 entries, including more than 100,000 new entries and as many new senses for entries carried over from previous editions; the final definition, was written on October 17, 1960. The final copy went to the typesetters, RR Donnelley, on December 2; the book was printed by the Riverside Press in Massachusetts. The first edition had 2,726 pages, weighed 13½ lb, sold for $47.50. The changes were the most radical in the history of the Unabridged. Although it was an unprecedented masterwork of scholarship, it was met with considerable criticism for its descriptive approach, it told. Prior to Webster's Third the Unabridged had been expanded with each new edition, with minimal deletion. To make room for 100,000 new words, Gove now made sweeping deletions, he eliminated the "nonlexical matter" that more properly belongs to an encyclopedia, including all names of people and places.
There were no more mythological and fictional names, nor the names of buildings, historical events, or art works. Thirty picture plates were dropped; the rationale was that, while useful, these are not about language. Gove justified the change by the company's publication of Webster's Biographical Dictionary in 1943 and Webster's Geographical Dictionary in 1949, the fact that the topics removed could be found in encyclopedias. Removed were words, out of use for more than two hundred years, rare variants, reformed spellings, self-explanatory combination words, other items considered of little value to the general reader; the number of small text illustrations was reduced, page size increased, print size reduced by one-twelfth, from six point to agate type. All this was considered necessary because of the large amount of new material, Webster's Second had reached the limits of mechanical bookbinding; the fact that the new book had about 700 fewer pages was justified by the need to allow room for future additions.
In style and method, the dictionary bore little resemblance to earlier editions. Headwords were not capitalized. Instead of capitalizing "American", for example, the dictionary had labels next to the entries reading cap and usu cap; this allowed informative distinctions to be drawn: "gallic" is usu cap while "gallicism" is cap and "gallicize" is sometimes cap. The reviews of the Third edition were favorable in Britain. Robert Chapman, a lexicographer, canvassed fellow lexicographers at Funk & Wagnalls, who had used the new edition daily for three years; the consensus held that the Third was a "marvelous achievement, a monument of scholarship and accuracy". They did come up including typographic unattractiveness. Chapman concluded that the "cranks and intransigents who advise us to hang on to the NID 2 are plain fools who deny themselves the riches of a great book"; this dictionary became preferred as a backup source by two influential style guides in the United States, although each one directs writers to go first to other, shorter dictionaries.
The Chicago Manual of Style, followed by many book publishers and magazines in the United States, recommends Webster's Third, along with Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for "general matters of spelling", the style book "normally opts for" the first spelling listed. The Associated Press Stylebook, used by most newspapers in the United States, refers readers to W3 "if there is no listing in either this book or Webster's New World". In the early 1960s, Webster's Third came under attack for its "permissiveness" and its failure to tell people what proper English was, it was the opening shot in the culture wars, as conservatives detected yet another symbol of the permissiveness of society as a whole and the decline of authority, as represented by the Second Edition. As historian Herbert Morton explained, "Webster's Second was more than respected, it was accepted as the ultimate authority on meaning and usage and its preeminence was unchallenged in the United States. It did not provoke controversies, it settled them."
Critics charged that the dictionary was reluctant to defend standard English, for example eliminating the labels "colloquial", "correct", "incorrect", "proper", "improper", "erroneous", "humorous", "jocular", "poetic", "contemptuous", among others. Gove's stance was an exemplar of descriptivist linguistics: describing language as it is or has been used; as David M. Glixon put it in the Saturday Review: "Having descended from God's throne of supreme authority, the Merriam folks are now seated around the
Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor is an American author, humorist, voice actor, radio personality. He is best known as the creator of the Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion, which he hosted from 1974 to 2016. Keillor created the fictional Minnesota town Lake Wobegon, the setting of many of his books, including Lake Wobegon Days and Leaving Home: A Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories. Other creations include Guy Noir, a detective voiced by Keillor who appeared in A Prairie Home Companion comic skits. Keillor is the creator of the five-minute daily radio/podcast program The Writer's Almanac, which pairs one or two poems of his choice with a script about important literary and scientific events that coincided with that date in history. In November 2017, Minnesota Public Radio cut all business ties with Keillor after an allegation of inappropriate behavior with a freelance writer for A Prairie Home Companion. On April 13, 2018, MPR and Keillor announced a settlement that allows archives of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer's Almanac to be publicly available again, soon thereafter, Keillor began publishing new episodes of The Writer's Almanac on his website.
Keillor was born in Anoka, the son of Grace Ruth and John Philip Keillor. His father was a carpenter and postal worker, half-Canadian with English ancestry, his maternal grandparents were Scottish emigrants from Glasgow. Keillor's family belonged to the Plymouth Brethren, an Evangelical Christian movement that he has since left. In 2006, he told Christianity Today that he was attending the St. John the Evangelist Episcopal church in Saint Paul, after attending a Lutheran church in New York. Keillor graduated from Anoka High School in 1960 and from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in English in 1966. During college, he began his broadcasting career on the student-operated radio station known today as Radio K. In his 2004 book Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America, Keillor mentions some of his noteworthy ancestors, including Joseph Crandall, an associate of Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island and the first American Baptist church. Garrison Keillor started his professional radio career in November 1969 with Minnesota Educational Radio Minnesota Public Radio, which today distributes programs under the American Public Media brand.
He hosted a weekday drive-time broadcast called A Prairie Home Entertainment, on KSJR FM at St. John's University in Collegeville; the show's eclectic music was a major divergence from the station's usual classical fare. During this time he submitted fiction to The New Yorker magazine, where his first story for that publication, "Local Family Keeps Son Happy," appeared in September 1970. Keillor resigned from The Morning Program in February 1971 in protest of what he considered interference with his musical programming; when he returned to the station in October, the show was dubbed A Prairie Home Companion. Keillor has attributed the idea for the live Saturday night radio program to his 1973 assignment to write about the Grand Ole Opry for The New Yorker, but he had begun showcasing local musicians on the morning show, despite limited studio space. In August 1973, MER announced plans to broadcast a Saturday night version of A Prairie Home Companion with live musicians. A Prairie Home Companion debuted as an old-style variety show before a live audience on July 6, 1974.
The show is punctuated by spoof commercial spots for PHC fictitious sponsors such as Powdermilk Biscuits, the Ketchup Advisory Board, the Professional Organization of English Majors. Keillor voices Noir, the cowboy Lefty, other recurring characters, provides lead or backup vocals for some of the show's musical numbers; the show airs from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. After the show's intermission, Keillor reads clever and humorous greetings to friends and family at home submitted by members of the theater audience in exchange for an honorarium. In the second half of the show, Keillor delivers a monologue called The News from Lake Wobegon, a fictitious town based in part on Keillor's own hometown of Anoka, on Freeport and other small towns in Stearns County, where he lived in the early 1970s. Lake Wobegon is a quintessentially Minnesota small town characterized by the narrator as a place "... where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, all the children are above average."
The original PHC ran until 1987. In 1989, he launched a new live radio program from New York City, The American Radio Company of the Air, which had the same format as PHC. In 1992, he moved ARC back to St. Paul, a year changed the name back to A Prairie Home Companion. On a typical broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, Keillor's name is not mentioned unless a guest addresses him by name, although some sketches feature Keillor as his alter ego, Carson Wyler. In the closing credits, which Keillor reads, he gives himself no billing or credit except "written by Sarah Bellum,"