merely a new version of Disneyland,nwhere alienated modern tourists cannglimpse briefly a purportedly “authentic”ntradition before returning to theirnsterile institutional lives.nThis debate among folklorists comesndown to the practical question ofnwhether anything can be done in ancommunity like Grassy Narrows.nOnce traditions die at the hands ofnmodernity, can they be revived? If so,nthen what sort of public policy wouldnempower the community to pursuenthis new vision of “community development,”none committed not to modernizationnbut to the recovery of whatnit means to be Ojibwa? If not, if GrassynNarrows is lost forever, then what shallnwe learn from this tragedy that willnhelp us avoid the Grassy Narrows dis­nSmall-Town Schizophrenian”I see the rural virtues leave the land. “n—Oliver GoldsmithnLake Wobegon Days by GarrisonnKeillor, New York: Viking Press.nGarrison Keillor, the writer, hasnfinally made it big. Five yearsnago a regional cult figure and occasionalncontributor to the New Yorker,nKeillor has now vaulted on to thencover of Time and to the top of thenNew York Times best-seller hst. Hisndevout followers range from professorsnweaned on the Weavers and Pete Seegernwho plan their Saturday eveningsnaround his A Prairie Home Companionnradio show to the Jesse Helms aidenfnfn%nn281 CHRONICLESntn•M-‘V’ i .’ .- l^-n-jr*^.!*”’-n’ f –‘n•r-^-^sf^” t t’ .•n’nt ..-••'”n/nA- /Snby Allan C. Carlsonnwho labeled Keillor the most hopefulncultural sign of the decade. For annation still bearing the scars left by thenconflicts of the I960’s and 70’s, henseems to be the promised balm ofnGilead.nWhat accounts for his appeal? LakenWobegon Days, Keillor’s fictional accountnof growing up in a mythicalnMinnesota small town, provides answers.nPartly, it lies in his wry Midwesternnhumor. Keillor’s chapterlengthnhistory of his town, a gentie,nbarely exaggerated spoof of the standardnchronicle often thousand Americannhamlets, begins with the story ofn^n’n 1-nn/n1nin” ‘S’.- ‘n’ •••.iOctiSs»’£iennnasters no doubt already in the making?nShkilnyk’s book offers chilling witnessnto the view that the survival of traditionsnis not only a human right, it is anhuman necessity. We must sort outnthe puzzling dilemmas the collision ofntradition and modernity forces uponnus, certainly for the sake of the membersnof those future Grassy Narrows,nbut for our own sakes as well.nccnUnitarian missionary Prudence Alcottn(“She had a vision of a man in hairynclothing who told her to go west andnconvert the Indians to Christianity bynthe means of interpretive dance”). Itnpasses through the town’s era as NewnAlbion, the Boston of the Westn(“Home of New Albion Gollege,nWorld Revered Seat of Learning Set innThis Mecca of Commerce and Agriculture”),nand concludes with a portrayalnof late-19th-century LakenWobegon as the quintessentiallynAmerican offspring of religious devotionnbound to hucksterism andnspeculation.nKeillor also taps the corporate memory,nrecounting the common experiencesnof a child growing up in mid-n20th-century America. He relates thenagony of waiting to be chosen during anschool baseball game, as the captainsn—a natural elite—finally get down tonthe scrubs, the “near-handicapped.”nHe describes the humiliation of wearingnblack Keds (“Mother said blacknwouldn’t show dirt”) when white onesnwere popular. He recalls the subtlenterror of a bitter Midwestern winter asn”the cold swallows up sound except fornyour feet crunching and your heartnpounding.”nThe author has a keen eye for thendetails of small-town life: the seedncaps, low belts, and big bellies on thenmen; the deep purple pant suit, purplenpumps, and jet black wig of a desperatelynaging, incompletely citifiedngrandmother; the literary society featuringnlectures on World Federalism,nEsperanto, and unicameralnlegislatures.nFinally, Keillor can tell an anecdotenAllan C. Carlson is executive vicenpresident of The Rockford Institute.n