The Original Wastoids of the Wild West

Last summer I interviewed Lee Henderson for Maisonneuve‘s SLS interview series.  I met Lee when I was doing a writing residency at the Banff Centre.  It killed me how he would doodle all over my manuscript, sometimes in lieu of commentary.  If he thought something was funny, he’d draw a guy laughing.  And then he showed up in Montreal to teach creative writing at the Summer Literary Seminar.  We watched Vancouver lose the Stanley Cup (on TV), and then I interviewed him with the riots and the subsequent fallout providing a sort of wastoid backdrop.  It was weirdly perfect, as his novel The Man Game deals almost entirely with masculinity, shiftless testosterone and its potential (for violence, and uh beauty?). Aside from that, he also says some things I like a lot.  So I’m reposting it here, you know, for posterity.

Anna Leventhal: What do you think is next for Vancouver? Is the city just going to disband and relocate its population to Red Deer?

Lee Henderson: I pity the Red Deer of that scenario! Ha ha. Oh my god, Anna, it’s so true, though. One of the most insipid demonstrations of civil disobedience ever witnessed. The last time something this insipid happened on a mob level in the city was the Guns N’ Roses riot. See YouTube video:

I’ve been stuck here in gorgeous Montreal, as you know, because we watched game seven together at Romolo with all the great expat Vancouver fans. And so when I’m not spending time teaching and drinking with the SLS folks, I’m kind of glued to my Facebook updates as I hear from all my friends in Vancouver. Everyone has a story to tell, and the sense of collective shame, I feel it. We didn’t want a riot. We didn’t need one. A riot is a very misunderstood mentality, though, and we are afraid to recognize its power until it happens. And it can happen anywhere. What incites a riot is never political, I don’t think, but the fear of the mob to disobey the most violent individuals in their huddle.

And also I guess it’s obvious that riots are extraordinarily gender biased, and that the media talks its way around that huge issue.

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