In the latest issue of The Walrus, Andre Alexis argues that Canadian literary criticism is, of all things, too mean-spirited. He blames John Metcalf for the sitation. I wasn’t impressed with Alexis’ arguments and wrote a rebuttal (a very mild Canadian rebuke, of course), which ran in today’s National Post. You can read it here.
Imagine an essay on the global economic crisis that described our dire prospects and then zeroed in on villain Fred Witherspoon, a banker in Winnipeg who is a bit too reluctant to hand out loans. Such an article would be laughed at for its inherent implausibility, but as an argument it would be no different than André Alexis’s essay in the current issue of The Walrus, which starts bemoaning a genuine problem — the sorry state of cultural criticism in Canada— then finger-points in the direction of one man, John Metcalf. “If I had to blame one Canadian writer for this state of affairs, I’d blame novelist and critic John Metcalf,” Alexis writes.