The friggin National Post. How torn can one man be? On one hand, it’s a ridiculous right wing vanity project started by deluded businessmen who forgot that the majority of Conservative voters can barely parse out the prose of the Sun, but on the otherhand it has the best books/arts coverage going in a national paper. What the hell? Can I vote that MOST of the paper die and the arts coverage slink away like a majority of worm to live again? But I digresss. Here is my co-founding Ninja, Pete Darbyshire, in all his sexed-up glory, talking about his fantastic new book The Warhol Gang, which you should all run out and buy right now. It really is as good as it sounds.
“I don’t like the sort of capitalist consumer world we live in, but I’ve got to operate in it — which is the same thing with the characters in the book,” he says. “I’d prefer to maybe live in a nice commune-village-type setting, where you’ve got multiple people to look after your kids, and you share your meals and you grow your food. That’s not possible. I mean, it is if you go live with some crazy hippies on Vancouver Island but … to live the kind of life I want to live I’ve got to work within the terms society has given me. I recognize sometimes that’s absurd, but I’m trapped in it, too.”
Consumerism is just one of several targets Darbyshire takes aim at in the book. He is also hostile to media culture. In The Warhol Gang, the top-rated show is a newscast-reality TV hybrid titled Panoptical, hosted by a vapid anchorwoman named Paris, on which car crashes, murderous rampages, police chases, disasters, dead bodies, accidents and other grisly footage are endlessly replayed.
It’s somewhat surprising, then, to learn that Darbyshire is the weekend news editor of The Province in Vancouver.
“It’s always been, if it bleeds, it leads … but now it’s like, if it bleeds or it’s American Idol, it leads,” he says. “There’s an interest in the spectacle, but it’s always at the expense of somebody else. And I don’t think we’re engaging with issues any more. The media and the consumers have moved from the news to the spectacle. We’re no longer interested in the issues.” Then, presciently, given that this is a full week before the G20: “Who could actually tell you what the G20 issues are going to be about if you went out and did a streeter? But everybody is looking forward to the confrontation and the clashes and the tear gas and the helicopters.”
The elements of fiction are: character, plot, setting, theme, and style. Of these five elements, character is the who, plot is the what, setting is the where and when, and style is the how of a story.