Every now and again an author comes along and drops the PR façade and shows me who they really are. Dean Blake tops that list. Let’s see if you agree.
‘We are all a bunch of a**holes,’ Blake said. ‘And we just need to admit it and be fine with it sometimes. Being an a**hole is a universal language, like mathematics.’
‘We can be so filled with political correctness that our hypocrisy comes shining through, and it’s hilarious,’ Blake said.
I’m Aussie born, more specifically, Redcliffe-born and raised, so not taking myself too seriously is in my DNA. I laughed out loud at most pages in Blake’s book. It starts off with a chapter on True Love with a clear message—we are, all, indeed, hypocrites at one time or another.
Blake’s book has the clever, witty insight that sits you back in your chair for a moment while you absorb the meaning of what he just said. Oh, how I wish I could do that in conversations.
Asked where his inspiration comes, ‘Sometimes it just comes out of me like an untamed Chihuahua, and a lot of the time, an underlying message or theme organically comes out of it. What really motivates me though, is to make people laugh and to stop taking shit so seriously.’
‘I knew I’d touched a chord when a friend and I showed draft versions of book to strangers, or friends who didn’t know I illustrated/wrote the book, and watched them laugh and say it was hilarious,’ Blake said. ‘Seeing their candid expressions reassured me that I was on to something.’
‘My book isn’t for everyone. It can be brash, crude and downright offensive. But if you can handle it, then hopefully it’ll make you shit yourself in public.’
‘Perhaps the Cyanide and Happiness books, and the Book of Onions can be comparable, though it is obvious my book, Everyday A**holes, is clearly greater and more timeless.’
If you’re not into illustrations and would rather read some great fiction, you can also check out Blake’s other book, Surface Children.
Blake says the negative feedback that follows any artist who’s pushing boundaries has to be managed.
‘As my following has grown exponentially this year, I’ve felt the pressures of coming up with something great each time I post. Which is a terrible thing to have as an artist and something I’m working on overcoming. I need to remind myself to still take in the right feedback, but also stick to my artistic instincts.’
‘I recently read a biography about Walt Disney, and there was a section in the book about the evolution of Mickey Mouse. At first Mickey Mouse was this brash, naughty little mouse that got into a lot of trouble — and Americans loved him. But as the Walt Disney company grew, and as more parents wanted to have a say as to what Mickey Mouse should be like and how he should behave, Mickey Mouse gradually evolved to become an overly safe, family friendly, people-pleasing, boring character. Sure, Disney created an amazing family of new characters, but the character of Mickey Mouse faded into the background.’
‘I’d hate to become a Mickey Mouse. Though I wouldn’t mind being a shareholder of Disney. Or Elsa. Elsa has powers.’
Everyday A**holes by Dean Blake is R rated. If you prefer to take yourself seriously, and can’t see humour in clever ridiculousness, do not buy this book.
Ironically, Dean Blake in person is polite, kind, warm. Don’t expect his book to be gentle with your inner hypocrisy.