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46when I see people letting the tools do the work. If I'm working with aresearcher that comes in with an unmediated box of stuff,compliments of the Internet and the printer, I say "What the fuck'sthat all about? I could have done that... except I wouldn't. I wouldhave been looking for what I need." I don't need to know everything inthe world about x, y, and z. I'm telling a story; something badhappened to this person, because of this situation, and this person isaccountable. That's the story... that's every story. So Internet tools aregreat, but you've got to know what you're looking for and why you'relooking for it.C: Your novel, The Bishop's Man, won the 2009 Giller Prize. How hasthat changed your life?LM: The part that I like with the Giller is that it moves a book into aspotlight, and gives a good book an opportunity to become asuccessful book. Not all good books are successful books, so becauseof the few spotlights that are available, a handful of lucky writers willfind their book in the spotlight for a given time. It had a remarkableimpact on the book. I've been going to a lot of public events speaking,not so much about the book, but about the issues raised by the book.People still want to talk about the moral dilemmas raised in TheBishop's Man. That's a success for me.C: I read that you'll be going to British Columbia to speak about sexualabuse in the media.LM: Well, I try not to be the go-to guy on sexual abuse. I don't thinkspeeches help. If someone is inclined to be an exploiter of children,they should be treated clinically. If institutions tolerate it, in order toprotect their image, as the Church and the Scouts did, they toleratewhat they consider to be a lesser evil than the evil of disgrace. That'sa different issue. I talk about institutional morality, and it's about allkinds of things. It's about the way people use the cloak of institutionalinterest to justify doing awful things; things that offend their ownpersonal morality. You can start with the big scale of Germany in the`30s, where a whole lot of otherwise decent people said, "Well, I hadno choice. The state requires this of me," the state being the ultimateinstitution. Or the Catholic Church, where bishops tolerated awfulbehaviour by priests because it was determined to be of lesser evilthan the evil of diminishing the reputation of the Church. Or anewspaper that gives an ethical young person a job, and then requireshim to do sleazy things, and he says, "In the interest of my career inwhich I'll do good things, I'll go along with this." How many people atMurdoch's papers, tapping into private messages, were sick to theirstomach but said "I'll get past this. I'll learn from this"? Expediencecan be an awful thing.C: Then you weren't surprised from what we've learned about Penn State.LM: No, and it's not what the man does to the boy in the shower. It'sabout what the person who discovers it does. Joe Paterno's responsewas probably more diligent than most. He held his breath for acouple days, and then went to university officials. A lot of peoplewould have just said, "Oh, Jesus, I've known him all my life. I'll talkto him. I'll wait for an opportunity and find out, is he drinking toomuch? Is he having trouble at home? Is he under stress? That's outof character." You just talk yourself out of calling the cops because theconsequences are a lost friendship, a scandal, a criminal proceeding.It's the same thing. Bishops are told that Father So and So has justdone something awful to an altar boy. Well, the bishop may haveknown that guy since he was a student. He ordained him, knows hisfamily, and if he calls the cops, he's going to create a mess.Protestants will be celebrating, the masons will have a cocktail tocelebrate the downfall of a priest. This is the way they think. "We bestkeep that in the family. We'll deal with it. What do you think is wrongwith him? Well, he's been drinking a lot. Oh, that's the problem."Maybe he's been drinking a lot out of a sense of shame, but they'll saythat because he's drinking, his guard was down and some kid came onto him, or he was put into a situation where he couldn't help himself.There was a bishop in Nova Scotia who actually said, "Let's have somesympathy for the poor men who are being seduced by these wickedchildren." He said it publically! So nothing surprises me about humanbehaviour. What surprises me is how other humans respond when theyfind out that other humans are behaving badly.C: What can we expect from Why Men Lie?LM: It's a story about men and how they behave, and why they behavethe way they behave, told through the experience of a middle-agedwoman who's known a lot of men. She's had a troubled relationshipwith her father, she's had an odd relationship with her brother, twohusbands, and a series of flings. She reaches middle age after havingone last disastrous betrayal, and she reaches that point where shetakes stock and says "I don't need this." But she forgets the fact thatmen need something from her. Once middle age sets in, men needcomplicated things from women, more than women need from men. Itgoes against the notion that some vulnerable women have about beingover the hill and not sexy anymore. Well, rethink that. Maybe they'renot all trying to jump you, but they need far more important things,and they will do anything to get them.C: What advice do you have for the burgeoning writers and journalistsin our audience?LM: Always think about who you're writing for, and about what theyneed and want. I suppose some just want titillation, but most readbooks looking for some insight into human nature. So, first think aboutsomething that you passionately want to tell, and then think aboutwhat the consumer will want to get out of it. A lot of books that areconceived are vanities. Some are successful, some move the goalposts of literature, but the vast majority have failed. For most of us,it's a matter of writing a story that will engage the audience, and leavethem thinking after they've finished reading. That's what the missionshould be and that's the challenge. It's a daunting challenge.People still want to talkabout the moral dilemmasraised in The Bishop's Man.That's a success for me.For more information on Why Men Lie and other works by Linden MacIntyre, please visit randomhouse.ca