It’s been a while since I last posted, and I’d just like to thank everyone who sent in material for the “Call to Arms” I issued last month. I’ve included a few pictures of Mr. Alexander, including a cover shot I’ve lifted from the new LWOT Magazine website (about time that they ventured out here onto the world wide web, don’t you think?). I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far on their site, though I must point out that I have a bit of an issue with their revisionist-history version of events, particularly in relation to his resignation from the magazine’s editorial board. In any case, According to the LWOT News Feed, Mr. Alexander’s lawsuit temporarily shut down their website. I’m not sure whether this action was caused directly by Gradey himself, his lawyers, or by an overloaded (and snail-paced) provincial judicial system, but, whatever the case, the folks at LWOT seemed to have solved their legal differences with the presiding judge, and the site is back up and running. Now, I’d like to share with everyone my reasons for being absent… I was lucky enough, last month, to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to see Gradey Alexander speak at the Independent Press Fair atWestminster
College. I’ve seen him speak on many occasions, but this particular event was special, as it was only his third public appearance since his stroke in February. Listening to him, it was obvious that his speech was somewhat altered, but I’m proud to report that his spirits have been in no way dampened: he was his usual cantankerous, wonderful self.
Riffing on a variety of topics, from Philip Roth’s PEN/Faulkner Award, to the supposed “death of the newspaper book section”, to the present sorry state of Canadian Literature. Always good for a sound-bite, here are some highlights from Mr. Alexander’s address, and from the Q & A session that followed: On Yann Martel’s attempts to “educate” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “A fool’s errand, and I mean that literally. If there’s a writer on the face of the earth more over-praised and self-satisfied than Martel, I haven’t seen him.” On LWOT Magazine’s move to the Internet: “…like a dying man combing his hair.” On George Bush: “I feel…there is no country in the world more tolerant than one that would elect as their leader someone with such an obvious mental disability. Really, a credit to your dedication to human rights.”
And, of course, when Mordecai was inevitably brought up, Gradey answered the inquiring student with a question of his own: “I’m guessing that you’re the type of person who takes great pleasure in discussing your daily bowel movements, aren’t you?” (That one got a great round of laughter and applause). It was an altogether wonderful evening, and I suggest that anyone who has the chance should go see him speak (you can take a look at his tour schedule here). Still eloquent and incisive as ever. PS. Keep sending the pictures and scans…all of them will go up soon.