Novelist/poet/performance artist/ blogger Dennis Cooper’s work is definitely not for everyone, and it’s not meant to be. The openly gay Cooper explores the darker, less mainstream-friendly sides of queer and queered lives – including sex work, the intersections violence and sexuality, and the ways underground or alternative cultures and their art (film, music, literature) help shape unapologetically left-of-center identities. His artistic voice is in many ways very old-school: he’s a son of great privilege whose familial wealth provided him the education and opportunities denied many of his characters, affording him a solid foundation from which to explore lives often caught in freefall without himself accruing any of the scars. That’s not a slam on him or the work. As said, that simply makes him – ironically – a stock, conventional literary figure.
His 14-year-old blog, DC’s Blog, which host Google controversially pulled without warning on June 27th, was a continuation of his work – but also so much more. Mazin Sidahmed, writing recently for the Guardian, noted that, “Cooper updated DC’s blog six times a week, highlighting film, fiction and music he enjoyed. He had a featured post, twice a month, where he would take ads by escorts and highlight their literary qualities.”
The Change.org petition that has been started to get Google to reinstate the blog reads:
In addition to Dennis’s writing, and his curation of posts highlighting thousands of remarkable artists and writers, the blog hosted guest-posts from hundreds of others writers. It was a place of exchange, conversation, and deep collaboration. Not only was the blog an ongoing work of art, it was a community, a home. For many it represented the best of the Internet, a continuation of some of the earliest and most utopian notions of what the Internet might be: a non-commercial space of intellectual, personal, and artistic exchange, a community in which there was no bar to membership—to join was as simple as leaving a comment.
In the context of what is happening around the world right now, as religious fundamentalists and political leaders with fascistic leanings all angle for power with various tools of violence and intimidation, even the silencing of a cult writer is chilling. PEN America, ArtNet, and The Guardian have all denounced the action (which also took down his email account), and you can add your voice to the protest by clicking here to sign the Change.org petition.