Saturday, September 17, 2016

W.P. Kinsella, RIP

W.P. Kinsella died yesterday, having chosen "doctor-assisted suicide" under Canada's new laws permitting the same. RIP.

Mr Kinsella was a Canadian author and curmudgeon -- nice combination, that -- best known outside the Great Not-so-white North for His 1982 magic-realist novel Shoeless Joe, about a farmer who hears a voice telling him to build a baseball field. Readers -- those who actually read books, a rare breed nowadays -- will recognize that as the plot of the popular Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. "If you build it, he will come."

In his home and native land, particularly in the west, Mr Kinsella is fondly (mostly) remembered for Dance Me Outside (1977), Moccasin Telegraph (1983), The Miss Hobbema Pageant (1989) and other collections of short stories set in and around the Hobbema Indian ["First Nations", please. Ed.] Reserve in central Alberta. The obit on CBC Radio this morning actually called Hobbema "fictional", which shows how much the CBC knows about anything outside of Toronto.

His stories about the Cree people and life on the "rez" aroused the ire of the liberals and SJWs, who accused Mr Kinsella of "cultural appropriation", since he was a paleface, therefore not entitled to speak/write with the voice of the indigenous people. Such is the stultifyingly political correct atmosphere of 21st-century Canada.

Carolyn Swayze, Mr Kinsella's agent, issued a statement calling the writer "a unique, creative and outrageously opinionated man. He was a dedicated storyteller, performer, curmudgeon and irascible and difficult man.... Not a week has passed in the last 22 years, without [my] receiving a note of appreciation for Bill's stories. His contribution will endure."

The notes of appreciation of which Ms Swayze spoke probably came from the USA. I say that remembering an interview in which Mr Kinsella said, "Americans are the kind of people who, if they like something, will send you a note to say 'I liked that.' Canadians won't send a note. They'll say 'I liked that. There must be something wrong with it.'"

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