Selfies, Watermarks, Despair.
(This, from 1989 — the second piece I ever published — was a national scandal, causing Saturday Night, Canada’s oldest and most prestigious magazine, to be pulled from newsstands across the Rockies. It went on to win a National Magazine Award.)
Peerless natural beauty? I’ve always found it annoying. If you’re staying at the Banff Springs Hotel or Chateau Lake Louise, there’s no getting away from it: everywhere you look they put a view in front of your nose.
A small movement — initially dismissed with contempt — has now acquired impressive momentum: the drive to have the Electoral College thwart the dangerous presidency of Donald Trump. Millions are now involved; the strategy has been covered in the national media; and the goal, however unlikely, is not impossible. Democrats have learned a brutal lesson in statistical odds, and success here seems hardly less probable than the election of a man like Donald Trump.
Trump can still be stopped. The Founding Fathers foresaw just this catastrophe, and built a fail-safe into the Constitution. It’s called the Electoral College. Alexander Hamilton was explicit: this mechanism was designed to ensure that “the office of president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.
(From Reviews of Amnesia)
“Amnesia (is a) chilly, chilling first novel…. Its elliptical narrative style recalls works by D.M. Thomas, Paul Auster, Sam Shepard and Vladimir Nabokov…. One gradually comes to appreciate Mr. Cooper’s copious gifts: his ability to manufacture odd, cinematic images; his talent for creating a musically patterned narrative out of repeated symbols and motifs; his willingness to tackle ambitious intellectual themes.”
“Douglas Cooper’s Amnesia is a compelling, obsessive nightmare of a debut novel — Catcher in the Rye for a darker, more cynical age… The praises Cooper garnered compare him with cognoscenti favorites — Ondaatje, Atwood, Kundera, Auster, Calvino, Nabokov, Genet, Beckett… and one freely admits there is much truth to the comparisons.”
“Superb… signals the arrival on the scene of a new and important writer… (His) literary antecedents are Italo Calvino and Milan Kundera.”
“Fame On the Way… reminiscent of the curious tales of Paul Auster.”
“The ritual style with its overt symbolism recalls the haunting incantations of Jean Genet.
VOLUME TWO in the Epic Milrose Chronicle Saga in Many Volumes
© Douglas Anthony Cooper
— Photography & Design
(This series on PETA in The Huffington Post was a finalist for the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.)
A celebrity is at her most vulnerable when naked. This is when she is least likely to make sensible decisions. Often she is chilly and nervous. Hence, it is while naked that a famous person — who genuinely loves animals — finds herself shilling for people who are genuinely committed to slaughtering them.
(Initially published in Travel+Leisure Magazine, this feature won the Lowell Thomas Gold Medal from the Society of American Travel Writers, and was republished by Pico Iyer in The Best American Travel Writing 2004.)
I have made a career out of not enjoying Canada. It is one of the few things I do well. My radical malaise, Canada-wise, is associated mainly with Toronto the Good, and my hellish adolescence in that winter-benighted place.
A dog registered as a boxer has killed a woman in Montreal, so the mayor is calling for a ban on pit bulls. This would be amusing, if it weren’t so predictable and depressing: in few areas of public policy do you encounter thinking this routinely deranged. And it all starts with contempt for science.
Consider the National Post’s Barbara Kay, almost certainly Canada’s most prominent enemy of this ill-defined category of dog: the “pit bull.” Kay is one of the saner voices on her side of the debate, and I sense she genuinely believes that she is acting on behalf of dog bite victims.
SHORTLISTED for the WH Smith Award, longlisted for the Commonwealth Prize.
(Because I came clean regarding my fraudulence — a full disclosure, in their own magazine — Food & Wine decided they’d continue to let me write articles for them.)
I have never cooked a meal in my apartment. Okay, let’s be frank: I have never cooked a meal in my life. I have fried the occasional egg, toasted the odd bagel, boiled random pots of water, but this is lilydipping relative to the great canoe trip that is true cuisine.
(I just discovered this essay on an obsolete blog that I’d forgotten I’d ever had. Seems I wrote it on May 20, 2005. I’m proud of this piece. So I’m going to resurrect it.)
In February 2002, President Bush announced that the Geneva Conventions would not apply to prisoners associated with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. In December of that year, an innocent Afghan taxi driver was tortured to death, mostly for the sake of entertainment, in an American detention center.
The Maya never predicted that 2012 would be the Year of the Cigar Box Guitar. They missed the most important story. The end of the world, which ought to be in a couple of hours, is not this year’s crucial event.
Should the world end, it won’t be remembered as vividly as Paul McCartney’s appearance with the surviving members of Nirvana: an incident that produced indifferent music, but introduced the world to the Next Big Thing — an instrument that will change the face of rock and roll.
How does a saint become a butcher?
I am convinced that Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA (“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”) was once a good person. What happened?
The story of Newkirk’s moral awakening — outrage in response to betrayal — is genuinely affecting. In 1972, when she was a young stockbroker in Maryland, Newkirk rescued a group of abandoned kittens and brought them to an animal shelter.