Jesse Brown starts online war after remarks about Vancouver

“If you like talking to sharp, funny people who might be harmed but are very interesting, you might go to the worst city in the world for it.”

It seems that Jesse Brown, host of Canadaland, is not a big fan of Vancouver.

In a recent episode, the Toronto-based podcaster shared some thoughts on the city with American comedian and podcaster Marc Maron, who is seriously considering moving to Vancouver (to the point of applying for permanent residency). He begins by noting that people who like “extreme sports and wilderness” or “nutrition and wellness, spirituality, real estate” would like Vancouver.

“If you value culture, if you like conversing with artists, makers, authors and comedians, if you like talking to sharp, funny people who might be harmed but are very interesting,” Brown continues, “you might the worst city in the world for it .”

Brown doesn’t stop there.

“Nobody was ever, like, inspired by Vancouver to, like, write a great novel,” Brown continues.

“No one’s ever written a killer rock song about Vancouver. It’s a vacuum.”

On the show, Maron dismisses the idea a bit, noting that for the lifestyle she’s after, along with looking for a less anxiety-inducing location than the US, Vancouver might be good.

“Vancouver is all of those things, but it’s also psychotic; it’s just a different kind of psychotic than you’re used to,” explains Brown.

When Maron asks him to elaborate, Brown notices the homelessness problem in Vancouver, mixed with empty mansions.

“There’s a lot of money parked in Vancouver; people speculating on real estate,” adds Brown.

Maron is not very dissuaded, pointing to the current socio-political climate in the United States.

Vancouverites responded on social media

Vancouver freelance journalist Michelle Cyca shared Brown’s comments on Twitter about Vancouver not being interesting for writers and shared a long list of notable books written by writers in Vancouver, inspired by the city or set in the region, including Son of Trickster by Eden Robinson (which has been adapted for TV), Five Little Indians (which has won numerous awards including the Governor General’s Fiction Literary Award) and Bad Cre (a recently published novel that gets rave reviews).

Others (and fans of) the Vancouver literary scene have joined.

At the same time, on Reddit, locals have pointed out a variety of comedy and rock songs from or inspired by Vancouver, with one noting that four of the past five Juno Award winners for Comedy Album of the Year are from or have spent significant parts of their life in Vancouver.

Vancouver also has a long history in rock music, being home to the likes of Japandroids, DOA, the Pack AD, New Pornographers, Spirit of the West and Dan Mangan (depending on your preferred style) to inspirational bands like Motley Crue ( they mention a strip club in Vancouver Girls, girls, girls), Genesis (they have a song called Vancouver) and They Might Be Giants (who wrote the song about Richards about Richards).

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