Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Disappearance of Dennis Cooper's Blog




Over two weeks ago, Dennis Cooper's longstanding blog, The Weaklings, disappeared into thin air.  One would want to visualize it as disappearing into the mist, or smoke.  The truth is he opened up his computer and simply couldn't access his account on Google. His G-mail and his blog on Google’s Blogger platform were totally gone.  All he (or we) could see is the sentence: "Sorry, the blog at denniscooper-theweakling.sblogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs."  Like it never existed.  And to this moment, this is the only message from Google regarding the disappearance and perhaps the loss of Dennis Cooper's work on his blog. 

I have been reading it on a daily basis for the past ten years or so.  Not only did his blog exist, but many writers and artists were attached to reading his daily thoughts on all sorts of culture - but all seen through the eyes of Dennis Cooper.  He has a sixth sense, with respect to others who are doing new and fascinating work in various mediums.   There are certain individuals, such as Dennis, who are sign-posts for those who share a taste, or at the very least, an interest in the experimental arts. On this blog, we were invited to make comments, not only about the contents of the blog, but also to Cooper, regarding his work, or taste in music, literature, and cinema. For a long time, his blog was a popular destination for those who write or read the kind of experimental literature that is not always Publisher's Weekly friendly.  The sex and violence in Cooper’s work are often disturbing, but never taken for granted, and always commenting on the culture they arise from.  Dennis used his blog as an on-going canvas to express, think, and offer art in its many forms.  In a way, visiting and reading his blog is like going to a classroom with a very brilliant teacher, except here the teacher listened to his students and their  their thoughts were equally weightedThere are zillions of blogs, but there is only one Dennis Cooper blog, and to say it was (or hopefully "is") unique is putting it mildly. 

Many authors/artist benefited from Cooper's creative work and in-turn, having their work on his blog. That his blog has been zapped out, is an act of cruelty, not only to Dennis Cooper, who has had ten years of his creative work vanish, but also to his readers, who often contribute to this website.   
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram exist because they are private property of sorts.  We, the public, are invited to participate in these platforms for free, but alas, we have to give them something back.  If not our souls exactly, at least our personal information.  It's a pact made with a digital Satan.  Most of us feel that the work we upload on these platforms belong to us, but perhaps that is not the case at all.   They don't use the “material” for their purposes, but also, they really don't have any respect for the content that the viewers and users bring to that platform.  They clearly understand that they need the “content” to attract attention, but in the end of the day, it is their property that we live in, and for some reason we don't pay the rent, or perhaps in this case, post works that are questionable (to a certain viewer or audience) then they have the right to tear it down.   

I grant them that Google is a private company, yet one hopes that as an internet-landlord, they will give you good reason if they terminate your lease.  My feelings are multifaceted: For one, I'm a huge fan of Cooper's work as a writer, and his blog is an incredible portal to his mind. And again, as viewers and participants, we were allowed to show our work on his canvas.   Now all that work is seemly gone with no explanation whatsoever.   The second thing that bothers me is that I too have a Google blog, but now I’m concerned that when I take a nap Google will trash the contents. Like Dennis, my work would simply stop existing.  I think any writer or artist that uses either Facebook, Google, or any other platform would feel the same.  It sends a chilling message that technology giants can stomp on your work just for the sole reason that they can.  

For further updates on the issue of Dennis Cooper's blog - go to Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Dennis-Coopers-Blog-214073142012494/?fref=ts


- Tosh Berman
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