In 2010, while the subject was still in prison, a friend of mine emailed me the above photo and wrote: “I love how the Post puts this in every weekend. I’m never sure if they mean he’s writing something, or that, like Arthur, Lord Black will return to us in our hour of great need.”
If the latter, then it would seem that this is our hour of need. Black has returned to his natural habitat: the spotlight.
Black appears this week in the pages of Toronto’s The Grid—space more often occupied by trendy foods or things to do on the cheap. He recently appeared on the cover of Zoomer, in the pages of Maclean’s (again), and in various other Canadian media.
Like the over-the-top coverage of Black’s trial in 2007, there is an immediate cause for this wave of stories about Black: he’s got a new show on Moses Znaimer’s Vision TV (Znaimer,whom we’ve written about several times, owns ZoomerMedia, including Zoomer magazine). Black is also still hawking his latest book, Flight of the Eagle.
None of these fully explain Black’s followspot. We have other corporate criminals; we have other TV hosts; we have other press barons. The difference is that as much as we love Black, it’s a mere fraction of how much he loves himself.
Black may have seemed like a curmudgeon, unwillingly pushed onto the stage last year when he had two combative interviews on British television, but he relishes the spotlight like no one else. He’s written two memoirs, loudly sued another biographer, expressed his desire to sue the leader of the opposition, attended parties that would have driven Truman Capote into a jealous frenzy and launched a national newspaper at a time when such a move was enough to question one’s sanity.
Black is a great character for a number of reasons, but stories about him are becoming repetitive. The same could be said of most celebrities, but more Canadian ink has been spilled on Black than perhaps anyone else. It’s not likely to stop: Black will keep writing books, unwillingly-but-willingly going on tours to promote them and fighting to get his citizenship back. After a certain point, these stories about his books and legal travails tell us nothing about either Black or ourselves, except that we can’t get enough of him.
Illustration by National Post.