Wade Smith, November 19th, Toronto.

Last night with Wade Smith was surprising. (long cranky post warning)

Choice quotes and reflections:

1. “England, that small island, never set out to rule the world, but ended up doing so… And with such a flair.”

Now I do love Rudyard Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills like everyone else, but wasn’t that a particularly callous, murderous flair? Also: what part of the name The British EMPIRE tells you it was *unintentional*?

2. “England was really what held India together.” I guess since The British Empire practiced Divide and Conquer, that counts as holding it together.

3. Wade has unresolved homosexual urges. Poor man. “This will make you laugh. Sandy Irving was said to have had a homosexual encounter -people thought at the time why else would he have gotten such a great book deal- but there is no evidence for that and my research showed that there hadn’t been a Oxford boy whose mother hadn’t been bedded by Sandy.”

Logical fallacies -who doesn’t love them.

4. “These were men not threatened in their virility and could paint a water colour, chase butterflies at breakfast and read Shakespeare after lunch before doing preparations to climb the mountain.”

5. “Outward Bound is so important for boys […] It reflects initiating rites in other cultures […] where any signs of fear or pain brings shame on the family.”

6. Wade had four anecdotes of how women fit in mountaineering history. Every time he set it up as a funny.

– A woman’s infidelity after her man’s absence for 8 days. 8 days! (audience laughs).
– Same woman breaks her wedding vows after 8 weeks.
– Same woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child. Wade tells us the first child is a cuckold child, second one is his.
– Same woman is forced to divorce her man because he let himself be caught publicly in the act of adultery. “That is how men in those times got rid of their wives.”

Hilarious, right?

Why is this woman mentioned at all? Wade is speculating why one of the greatest English mountaineers of that time looked out of sorts on a particular day and was not deemed fit enough for the Mount Everest expedition. He had girl trouble… That’s why!

Was there anything to redeem Wade last night?



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