Sunday, December 17, 2017

Arthur Black misses the mark in new book

September 1, 2015 by Matt O’Connor, contributing writer

Arthur Black’s Paint the Town Black (Harbour Publishing) is a stream-of-consciousness series of opinion column pieces written by a 71-year-old white Canadian male who is an ex-CBC host and comes across as very anti-technology.

This book’s content comes as no surprise but will still keep you shaking your head all the way through.

I’ve never read anything quite like it. Black has a brainbox full of information, not all of which is completely useless. Some things he talks about, or starts talking about, could actually be interesting if he didn’t veer off topic, stringing through barely related news or facts, and finishing off in space.

This book is pure Canadian culture and reads as something you might find in Maclean’s or Readers Digest: straightforward and easy to get through. Each entry is roughly 500 words in length; when you’ve had your fill of “good old days” or “kids today” blather you’re thrown into a whole new story.

I quickly tired of Black’s holier-than-thou attitude, which comes out in almost every piece he writes. He makes fun of steampunk attire and the size of a hunter’s penis; he offhandedly boasts about his life; he discusses queer struggles in an offensive and uneducated way in an attempt to appear as an ally. His subject matter is weak and, frankly, disappointing coming from someone who has been in the business for as long as he has.

As a member of the generation that he consistently shames and depicts as zombies aimlessly wandering with faces pressed to our phones updating Twitter pages with blasé content, I must say Black needs to get with the times, even if that just means dropping the computer-free nostalgia and anti-cellphone dialogue. That’s old news. And my generation won’t be publishing it for much longer.

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