Funding humour in a changing landscapeWestern News book reviewer Kane Faucher recently sat with Rayner to discuss humour, blogging, the future of reading and preparations for the singularity.
Mark Rayner is hilarious. But channeling that personal humour – apparent to many in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) professor’s classroom – onto the page requires more skill than many may realize.
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Kane Faucher: In all of your books, you employ humour and satire. Do you consider that vehicle a kind of tool or a weapon?
Mark Rayner: Any tool can be turned into a weapon. (Ask me someday how to turn an innocuous sponge into an IED.) That said, I see humour and satire as story-delivery vehicles more than armaments.
Humour, especially, is a nice way to keep people reading if the underlying subject matter is serious, or even dire. When it comes to satire, I follow the Vonnegut school, which makes fun of our fellow humans – particularly as we project our flaws into our institutions and power structures – but has, at its core, compassion for how darned perplexing this life thing can be for a barely sapient bipedal ape. I appreciate the satire of Swift and Voltaire, but I find I can’t bring myself to be that hard-hearted.