Douglas Coupland has called himself the world’s worst worrier, and apparently the thing he’s been fretting about lately is an inaccuracy that appeared in the National Post. In the article in question, crime novelist William Deverell draws on a recent op-ed penned by Coupland to bolster his argument that Canadian readers suffer from what he describes as a “national snobbery disorder.” From Deverell’s article:
The New York Times recently ran Douglas Coupland’s scathing critique of Canadian literary pretentiousness: “There is a grimness about CanLit,” he wrote, in which typically authors are supported by the government “to write about small towns and/or the immigrant experience.” Coupland refuses to accept Canada Council money.
Coupland wants to set the record straight: whatever his feelings about the state of CanLit, he happily supports the Canada Council. Earlier today, he sent out a mass e-mail correcting the misperception. The complete missive is below:
Hi everyone. Sorry for the mass email but it’s important to me. Here’s a letter I wrote to the National Post an hour ago.
A puzzled friend forwarded to me your September 14 piece on publishing in Canada that I hadn’t read. Glitch! Fact is, I really do support the Canada Council “ and have done well by them throughout the years. The Council helps creative people at all phases of their careers and is also critical in helping artists and writers and performers abroad as well as domestically. Could you publish this for me? I’d been wondering why certain people were being weird to me in some situations and now I know the reason. Otherwise all is well, and thank you for your support over the years. And please keep writing about publishing. It’s an interesting moment in its history.
That should do it. In case you’re wondering, here is what Coupland actually said about the Canada Council in The New York Times:
I’m a big fan of subsidization of the arts. Without subsidization, CanLit couldn’t exist for 10 minutes. Canada is an extravagantly huge and underpopulated country with no economy of scale. Maintaining an identity is expensive, period ” thus the need for money in the arts. And I think the Canadian government ought to be hurling 10 times as much cash at literary arts in general, CanLit as much as anything else.