The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Nobody Likes Them, a gif story (for Zac)





















































































































































































p.s. Hey ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I don’t know of ‘Lean on Pete’, and I don’t think I know Andrew Haigh’s stuff in general, so I’ll investigate, thanks. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! I’ll ask Gisele what the touring plans are. ‘Crowd’ seems to be wanted all over the place, so maybe your hood is in the mix. How’s your cold today? Mine seems to be the same as it was yesterday, which is good news under the circumstances. I can still kind of do stuff. It’s still cold here, but now it’s raining, so I guess it’s less cold. SCAB is real and out! Yes, two of my friends on Facebook linked excitedly to their pieces in it yesterday! Huzzah! Cool about the post. I’ll get it up asap after I get it. Yay! Everyone, the new issue of Dóra Grőber’s super amazing magazine/site SCAB is live. I’ll be doing a birth post here about it very soon, but, if you can’t wait, and I couldn’t, you can start poring over under sideways down with it right now. This mega. Click this. So exciting! My day was pretty lowkey due to not feeling so hot, but it came and went with a tiny amount of work and so on, none of it interesting, so I’m satisfied given my internal meh. Here’s hoping for today. Speaking of, how and what was yours? ** Steve Erickson, Hi. I think I’ll do 3D re: ‘BP’ if not IMAX. Might as well max it out. But first I want to see ‘Hurricane’ because every disaster movie has my name on it. Don’t know ‘Werewolf’. I’ll obviously do a hunt. Everyone, Should you like or have some kind of interest in the Pet Shop Boys, Mr. Erickson has done a write up on the new reissue of their first three albums, and that seems like a most excellent reason or excuse, if you want one, to escape here today. This is the portal. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B. The Beast’s brunt seems to be locked into the UK. We seem to be getting its cold shoulder. Did you get to drive? Driving in wintery conditions can make a ‘man’ out of anyone. I wish you could go to Seattle. Me too. But I’ll be greedy to get the slide show. ** David S. Estornell, Hi, David. Cool, well, hit me up. I have a head cold, but it will hopefully dry up in a day or two. ** Jamie, Hey hey. The folks made it, very good. Walking in the snow. In presumably good shoes. Feel my envy. My cold is still inside me and bothering my outsides in the exact same way it did yesterday, and I will settle for it briefly settling for no more than that if I have a choice. Yes, there’s even film footage of Hitler being driven around in Paris, stopping at scenic spots, getting out of his car and visibly gazing in wonder at what he sees. Apparently he said to his associates that after the war was over and once the whole world was Germany’s, he was going to live here. Assuming Hannah’s parents are still there today, I hope the day is such that you keep confusing them with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Vegan smothered in cheese love, Dennis. ** Kyle, Hi there. Yeah, he’s still out there ticking like a grandfather clock as of this morning. Oh, that’s fine about the stories. I’m swamped in work to the gills right now anyway. Sites I check on a daily basis? Huh. Mostly music sites: The Wire, Tiny Mix Tapes. I’m not sure about daily but I very often check frequently updating lit sites like Entropy, LitHub, etc. I think I mostly just surf around randomly, it’s weird. ** Sypha, Hi, Nope, not yet, strangely, for absolutely no good reason other than not having it here in my apartment. I’ll use this blab about it to nudge myself. ** Tosh Berman, Hey, I was curious as to whether you were into the Lettrists, and I sort of thought you would be. Yeah, I knew of Lemaitre, but I only got way into his work in an intricate way recently. Forced Exposure is a gift from the gods. Amazing that it has survived and thrived for so long. ** JM, Hi. I liked the ‘Inherent Vice’ movie. I was surprised that I did. I really didn’t expect to. I’m not a gigantic PT Anderson fan, though his skills are unquestionable, I guess. The only PTA films I’ve really liked are ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Punch Drunk Love’. Nice about your imminent, next directorial gig. Cool. I don’t really like Dolan’s films. I thought at the beginning in his early films there was some pizzazz that was promising, but the recent ones just irritate me. Hah, interesting. I never think to rank superhero movies in my worst movie rankings because they’re just superhero-shaped junk, but I think I would put ‘Batman vs. Superman’ near the very top of my worst ever films list nonetheless. So there we go. I can’t think of a superhero movie that interested me beyond being immediately there and doable. Perhaps there was something kind of unusually odd about ‘Antman’, though I really don’t remember. I hope sleep descended or what it does last night assuming there has been a night between when you commented when you read this. (Although your comment was very not incoherent, just so you know.) I haven’t investigated the exact time change situation between you and me, but I do think you live in my ‘tomorrow’ to some degree? ** Okay. So I recently finished a new literary gif book, a collection of ‘stories’ that’ll be published soonish. When I was putting it together, I realised or decided that it needed one more story to become what I wanted it to be, so I made a new one. As always, I launch the new gif works here partly because the blog’s backstage area is the workspace where I make them. Posting my own work here always feels a bit awkward, even though I don’t see why it should feel that way, because, obviously, I launch it at you because I would like responses of some kind, including not liking it or not ‘getting it’ or not knowing what to say, but if you feel more comfortable ignoring it in your comments today for whatever reason, feel free if you feel like you want to be told to feel free. See you tomorrow.


  1. This one’s a beaut. Not mine to comment on, really (Zac’s), but, for what it’s worth, I found it really comforting to read.

    Interesting that Boogie Nights is up there in your PTA-esteem, usually those who aren’t super into him don’t seem to dig that so much. Have you caught Phantom Thread yet? I should get to it soon considering its building reputation but I’m scared it’ll be another menial bore. I like The Master, though, and think that on the whole PTA has been getting better so…. we’ll see. Yeah, no, Dolan is totally one of these contemporary social-realist fellas who doesn’t understand that the key to social-realism is in understanding the fact it is at best base mimicry of reality (note: this is what made Cimino so great, and also the same button that on some level made Coppola one of the most famous filmmakers of all time). Kinda upsetting about Batman v. Superman, but then again, maybe not. I’m kind of just used to it being thrown into the junk pile now and generally find the argument isn’t even worth fighting, but for what it’s worth:

    I think it’s one of the more oddly shaped and nuanced Event Movies in recent memory. Clearly its *craft* is at the very least interesting (the sliding train shot in the opening sequence, Batman-in-the-cave as mythical until it’s a literal dream shattered by the image of superman). In many ways I see the movie as about the manifestation of internal will into external progress/statue/caricature, which is one of the more interesting modes of exploring characters IMO. Still, I can see all this being a problem given that it relies on the audience giving a shit about the iconography in the first place… which, you know, superhero-shaped-junk – a fair call… I do like pieces of Ant-man but it still doesn’t stick out as much as I’d hope something Good would.

    I am in GMT+12, whatever that means to you. New Zealand is probably the furthest-ahead Western country time-clock-wise (I think)? So yes, in some ways I’m in the tomorrow. Weird.


    • David Ehrenstein

      March 2, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      I don’t find Coppola to be a social-realist at all. His best work is highly stylized. On his “Shadowplay” site David Cairns has been examing “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” It not Coppola at his best but a good way of examining his oeuvre.

      Cimono shows that realism is as someone has said (Raymond Durgnat perchance?) “One of the 57 Varieties od Decoration.” There really was Roller Skate Dancing in the Old West, But what we see on screen is Pure Busby Berkeley

      • I agree that he’s not a social-realist, and not even close! However, I do think lots of his work puts up a ‘front,’ which in turn becomes an affront, to social realism. I think this is what I was trying to get at in my above comment, but it may not have come through clearly enough – my mind was in a few places writing it – I dislike Coppola’s ‘Dracula’ strongly, even though I believe that everything Coppola does in it is technically right. My preferred Coppola dracula film is ‘Twixt,’ which is straightup one of the greatest films of all time. Actually, there’s a recommendation to throw out to EVERYONE who likes Dennis’ work: CHECK OUT TWIXT!!! 🙂

        Basically, I don’t care for realism at all, it’s lazy & I will continue to agree with Greenaway that film at its most harmful is mimicking mimeticism. That Heaven’s Gate scene is a goodie. So sad ‘what happened’ to Cimino after that film, considering he clearly had so much more in him to give. I do like Sunchaser, though.


  2. David Ehrenstein

    March 2, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    I wouldn’t call P.T. Anderson’s “Phantom Menace” a “menial bore, but it’s not good. Wanting to be a Great Director doesn’t make you one — as Comino has so spectacularly demonstrated.

    • Should have read this before replying to your above comment, so sorry, now you have two! I feel the PTA comment so hard. Do you like even Thunderbolt and Lightfoot from Cimino? I think that one’s a blast.

  3. Chris Cochrane

    March 2, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    beautiful, rhythmic, asymmetrical, odd, unpredictable, funny, disturbing, unknown, poignant and wanting to watch it over and over again after one quick glance through. Fuck, it’s difficult to be back at work after that adventure. How long , on-going and full it was while we were there, now just bunches of memories, though they will last and linger as such things do. Hope you’re well. Is it cold there? It’s raining and raw here. This sure is not Cambodia or southeast Asia during the dry season. Damn I like your gif stories, I know you feel like you’ve taken them as far as you can, you’ve said that numerous times, yet I don’t feel that, each time new things emerge, dynamics, dimensions, stories etc…hung out with Nayland last night, he says hello

  4. I find your use of imagery like smoke, fire, powder and fading into the air very powerful. Maybe my memory is bad, but this also seems like your first GIF story with a lot of images of cute anime-style boys who’re also amputees.

    Factory 25, who specialize in micro-budget American Indies, are distributing WERWOLF in the US. Their website might have more info.

  5. Dennis, well, I’m one of the “I don’t quite get it” camp when it comes to these GIF novel things but as usual I found some of the juxtapositions quite clever and a few of them verging on the evocative: for example, I liked the two bleeding wrists with the bloody orb in the space between them. Something about that image seemed very totemic/talismanic to my mind. I’m curious as to what Zac makes of all these, seeing as most of them are made for him?

    I wouldn’t call BLEEDING EDGE Pynchon’s greatest work but I enjoyed it… it’s also one of his few novels where I got most of the pop culture references. I think if one is a gamer one can appreciate the book more, because there are a LOT of gaming references in it. I almost cheered when he namedropped Hideo Kojima and DEUS EX.

  6. My brief review of footwork DJ Taye’ STILL TRIPPIN’ is part of the AV Club’s guide to this week’s notable new album releases: https://www.avclub.com/the-breeders-camp-cope-and-more-albums-to-know-about-1823336220. Next Monday, I should find out what I’m reviewing for April.

  7. Hey Dennis!
    I think I might be getting it well wrong, but is this gif work at least partly about gif works and the making of gif works? I kind of thought the title, which I love btw, might be a humorous nod towards this and the opening few sequences made me think about recent things you’ve said about where you’re at with the form. I’ve gone through this about a half dozen times today. I was still in bed and very sleepy when I saw this at first this morning and it was an excellent state to first peruse it. I think I mentioned before how your most recent gif pieces have this kind of really impressive control going on, and I got that with NLT, but there’s a corresponding looseness that seems to only be possible through having that control, if that makes sense. It seems to me like you’re using more and more varied gifs too these days, like less obviously stand-out ones, but that work really perfectly in the context in which their placed. Also more gifs that look like they have no borders, which have a really nice effect – Hannah caught sight of my laptop screen displaying the three borderless gifs of people falling/tumbling/rolling and said, “Oh wow! What’s that?” – I think she didn’t even recognise it as being a gif piece. How do you feel about it? My favourite sequence is either the one I just mentioned or the fox and the bouncing blue ball. Oh, and I stared at that raggedy breathing guy at the end for way too long each time.
    How are you? Has that cold left you in peace?
    Hannah’s folks ignored all travel alerts, got up at 4.30 this morning and walked into town to catch a bus to Skye. They are intrepid travellers.
    Things are finally starting to thaw out here and public transports slowly creaking back into life, and Hannah and I are both feeling a little stir crazy so looking forward to doing some other stuff that’s not sitting in the flat or going for snowy walks this weekend. Do you have plans?
    For the first time in a couple of weeks I’ve got a little stuck with my script, but it doesn’t feel frustrating yet.
    Man, Hitler. What a dick, but at least he appreciated the beauty of Paris. Good that he didn’t get to live there.
    May your weekend be like a burrito designed by Willy Wonka .
    Ultramagnetic love,

  8. Dennis, [døni]!
    I was going to make a ‘gif that keeps on giffing’ pun but held back. Aren’t you glad.
    I do love those! But somehow I keep having to imagine them outside of the digital form to really appreciate them. If all the pairs (well, some are more than 2, but you know what I mean, the little groups) were to be flipped through ‘horizontally’ on real book pages, kinda like a virtual pop-up book, now that would be neat. I know this is taking to vertical scrolling format to its bittersweet end, so of course I can imagine you say ‘but wolfie, scrolling is the Whole Point, you big dummy’, but… I can’t help it!
    In a way, having the ‘pairs+’ displayed in a horizontal ‘flip-through’ sequence would make each pair’s verticality more prominent. Does that make sense? Maybe not.

    Have you been getting snow in Paris? We’ve totally snowed under here, so so great!!! I don’t ever remember getting this type of snow in the UK – fat flakes, very dry, compressing in a lovely grippy surface, takes forever to melt. The perfect snowball material. It helps that the temperature has been staying mostly under freezing for a few days. But alas everything must ends and it looks like we’re hitting the positive celsius area again, much to my sad puppy-eyed dismay… Still t’was fun while it lasted!
    I have just gotten hold of and, shortly after doing so, finished Eileen Myles’ Afterglow that you talked about here a little while back. The Very Best Book! Oh man. I’m sure you’re very much Not Surprised I loved it so much, seeing as it literally is 200 pages of waxing poetic about (a) dog(s). Thanks for the tip, my friend!

  9. Hi!

    Sorry for the little messy letter; I feel pretty slow and drained today. I hope the massive amount of tea and vitamins I’m forcing into myself will cure me by tomorrow!
    Thank you so much for this new GIF treat! I feel like every time you upload one, it’s a little bit more polished than the previous one. I love how all of your “sentences” have intense, yet different, YET very coherent atmospheres (or meanings, in a way, I guess). Thank you, really. I always feel so grateful and happy when I get to read your work!
    Thank you so, so much for advertising SCAB here in the P.S. too! I finally came up with my post-idea and I’m planning to complete it tomorrow. I’ll write you an e-mail about it so that we can discuss if you like the idea at all!
    And. I would absolutely love to see ‘Crowd’ and I would like it if you could come to Budapest even more! That’d be super awesome! I hope it’ll happen!
    How are you today? How was your day? I hope your cold is disappearing! Right now.

  10. Hey Dennis – Always a treat to see a new GIF work. Some of these sequences are so seamless and seem so right together that they almost feel like one GIF. I loved all the imagery of things evanescing, extinguishing, smoking, discorporating. It felt very “light” – in the sense Calvino used that word in his lectures on literary qualities. I loved the psychedelic sequence, the blood flowing down and up simultaneously, the sand sifting through the hands and the weight counting down, the ‘smokestack of a boy’ jumping in the puddle, the rocker shrugging off (emitting?) dollars that drown in blood. What inspired the use of text at the end?

    Excited for the upcoming GIF story collection. This one had a different feel from the other stories, though I’ll have to let it sit for a few days before I can say something intelligent about that. Was there some particular hole in the collection you were looking to fill with this? Some effect that felt missing or that would complement/charge the other surrounding stories?

    Been listening to the new Breeders which is good – feels like a grower like the last few, slow to give up its secrets, full of odd torques and turns, shiny atmospheres that might really be technicolor clouds of nitrous oxide.

  11. These GIF stories are always a pleasure and NLT is an especially pleasurable one. Like Jamie I enjoyed the borderless people falling through space into the mini psychedelic sequence a little further below.

    Today was kind of a write off for me. The Beast from the East is still with us so my driving lesson was sadly cancelled. Then in an effort to cheer myself up I broke my Rupert Murdoch embargo and bought a Sky Sports day pass in order to watch the Leeds game, only for us to get beaten 3-0 by Middlesbrough. Still, tomorrow’s another day and word is the weather might be easing off this weekend.

    On my mission to find a distributor for the Yuck ‘n Yum compendium, I’m getting in touch with Aye-Aye Books at the CCA in Glasgow. They seem to be the type of small independent publisher who could possibly help us out.

  12. Dennis, I’m liking the story. It’s funny, a lot of humor in this one. I still think your use of humor in all things you do is vastly underrated and many times totally unnoticed and unappreciated.

    You’ve probably already answered this before… and no, it’s not about the Harry Styles GIF, hahaha…but do you store GIFs for use later or do you search them out as you start one of these. Or both? Are there particular places you go for them? And last, did you ever keep on trying to create your own GIFs?

    Btw, Harry Styles is great for making GIFs because he does so much goofy shit.

    Well, I think I was a pretty decent fella too, and many of my regrets would be laughed off as nothing, just run-of-mill being-human stuff. But they still bug me, you know?

    The meeting. To make a long story short, he got 45 days of alternative school. I’m pretty sure that was decided before we even walked in the door. It’s funny, I’d planned not to say too much and just let it run its course and all that, but within a minute of the meeting starting -and knowing it was being recorded, which we all agreed to- I found myself in protective uncle mode. I just saw that they were ready to pile on him big time, including shit that made no fucking sense at all, like conflicting witness statements, no evidence at all of certain allegations, etc., so I had to jump in and defend my guy in those instances. Frankly, he and my mom didn’t know what to say or how to say it, so I had to. I think it helped to an extent. They got a lot less abrasive and much more nice after I got involved.

    The main bone of contention was a teacher who said my nephew hit her. She said he hit her in the back of the head. Another teacher said he saw LPS hit the woman right in the face at least once. The security video, which is this very wide panoramic shot, shows that the woman wasn’t even near him at all. When I pointed all this out (the lady running the meeting finally admitted that she did not see him hit the woman on the tape, which included the whole fight and its run-up and aftermath), they dropped that point completely and just dealt with him and the other boy, who, I found out, wasn’t quite as innocent in all this as I thought. But LPS gets the brunt of it for throwing the first punch, so it is what it is.

    Strangely, though, the boy who assaulted his girlfriend a month ago -the incident where LPS intervened and kept him from assaulting her further- was back in school the next week. I brought that up and just commented that domestic violence obviously isn’t as important to the school. I don’t think they liked that, but fuck ’em.

    Anyway, he shouldn’t have been fighting in school at all and now he has to suffer the consequences. One thing, though, that’s interesting is that if he could get his shit together, he could actually graduate from high school next spring. It’d be the year he should graduate. I hope he takes advantage of the opportunity to do it. But we’ll see.

    Of course, the courts could send him to juvie until he’s 21 and then it’s all fucked. I don’t think they will, but hell, anything’s possible. We’re still waiting for the summons to appear in court. This might cost me in the thousands. Fuck.

    Almost finished with my fourth bit of my novel. The federal government in the DC area was closed today because of the wind -gusts up to 70 mph- and the potential for power outages. We’ve lost a bunch of shingles off our roof. My mom’s pissed. I’m pretty sure we’re the only house on the street that’s had any damage. Fucking wind.

  13. Hey Dennis, congrats on the new story – and the collection coming up! As usual, I put it on large screen to watch – but the soundtrack on the radio that happened to be playing was Pearl Jam – I know, not your favorite and I’m sure not your choice, so I turned it off and listened in silence. Nothing could top the live viewing of your gifs with the live music and the big screen. This one had me thinking on a more personal level, which I’m not sure is even appropriate to say, but it made me wonder, what are you trying to say to Zac on a personal level? The final images…this is what I thought of…what’s going on in “real life” that makes you want to express these things. Of course, you don’t have to reveal it…that’s the mystery behind your art, but that’s what was going on in my mind, what inspired you on a deep level. Obviously, it was very inspirational.

  14. Chris Dankland

    March 3, 2018 at 4:53 am

    hi Dennis !!

    I’m always really happy to see new gif works — I’m glad that you share them on the blog because writing responses to them helps me think about the pieces clearer.

    i don’t know if I’ve ever shared the rough outlines I write when I read these, but i’ll do that too for what it’s worth. they’re just shorthand notes that help me think about what’s happening and I’m sure they’re full of oversights and misunderstandings, but maybe it’ll be helpful? i feel sort of embarrassed about it because they’re probably full of misreadings, so feel free to ignore it.
    I think my two favorite sentences were the guy shredding a guitar in outer space, and the genius hat face. I especially loved the genius hat face, i thought it was so clever how you showed the brain, the squiggly mouth, and the swallowing throat.

    One sentence that I was curious about was the one with the gloved hands that are entangled in all sorts of ways, surrounded by colored bars and staticy glitches. Don’t worry about responding if you don’t feel like it, but I was curious to hear what your intention was with that one.

    When I started reading the piece, I imagined that each sentence was about a different person who was unliked by most people. As I kept reading it seemed like something more or different was going on, but at places it was interesting to think about each gif sentence as encapsulating or describing a person in a very abstract way. I started thinking about like how Dickens is really good at writing two or three sentence caricatures of people? And maybe you were doing something similar, but in a very experimental egyptian hieroglyphic way. Or showing their souls, or whatever word you want to use in place of soul. Their essence.

    What do you think about the title, “Nobody Likes Them” — why did you pick that title, if you feel like talking about it?

    Do you think this piece is more of a story that’s tracking one or more characters? Or do you think of it like how i did, as being a bunch of micro-descriptions? Or did you think of it as something else? Does that make any sense? Can you say how you conceptualized it — either as one big whole, or more of a themed collection of smaller pieces?

    Besides that, things are going great with me right now. I’m sorry I’ve been so distant lately, I’m just really busy with hanging with Jennifer and making our literary magazine X-R-A-Y, which i’m really excited about. Thanks for giving us likes on facebook! It’s always a cool thrill for us to see that. I keep saying this, and i don’t want to become an annoying person who gushes about romantic things, but i really am living the happiest part of my life right now. Things are beyond fabulous, better than I ever thought they could be.

    in pennsylvania it’s definitely going to be an indoor weekend because a huge nor’easter blew in and there’s snow everywhere. Jennifer left work early and there was a whiteout on the highways. I’ve never experienced snow or ice or anything like that, I’m from Texas and I’ve only seen snow a handful of times. So i’m slowly but surely getting the hang of how to navigate snow conditions. Luckily it’s been a really mild (even warm at times) atypical February.

    Take care !! i hope you have a great weekend <3

  15. Chris Dankland

    March 3, 2018 at 4:55 am

    what’s new / guy asking anxious question

    shredding guitar in space

    fishing / pink drips

    singer / money going into red block

    (( fingers & bar colors, static ))

    playing card of douche looking musicians / one direction singer

    smoke pillar / jumping in puddles

    fox jumping / at blue dot under the snow

    crumbling fingers / weigh

    3 people falling down and rolling

    creativity always builds on the past / blinking eye guy

    smoke cloud dispersing / fingers closing and opening

    singing / i just wanna get high

    star sparkles / falling sparkles

    genius / web up and down / eyes / curlie mouth / throat?

    black metal mask guy fire / black liquid

    bloody hand dripping / exploding red dot / blood dripping down into open wound arm

    lgbtq / python squeezing guy / middle finger crank

    rising smoke / blurry trees / firefighter / pooling water from hose

    tongue of fire / walking guy / squiggly line / smacks guy and makes him fall, spilling things

    fox throws up / green vomit dripping down

    anime surprised / spot in the woods

    colors and grids / spinning around guy in bed / red energy spike

    pointing finger / fire / dripping blood / voice file

    popping / snoozing girl / music

    pixelated face / ball rolling left and right / opening and closing envelope with note inside

    flashing light above a head / sillhouette jumping through air / rim of moon

    singing woman / failure / woman with no arms and legs

    bars / screaming woman (being raped?) / stripes getting disturbed

    dejected disheveled boy walking / read please: you are awesome / disheveled boy standing still, breathing

  16. Great as always, Dennis. Hope things are awesome for you

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