Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland
Douglas Coupland
  • Born: December 30, 1961
  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Profession: Author

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Douglas Coupland OC OBC (born December 30, 1961) is a Canadian novelist and artist. His fiction is complemented by recognized works in design and visual art arising from his early formal training. His first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized terms such as "McJob" and "Generation X". He has published thirteen novels, two collections of short stories, seven non-fiction books, and a number of dramatic works and screenplays for film and television. He is a columnist for Financial Times. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, e-flux journal, Dis, and Vice. His art exhibits include Everywhere is Anywhere is Anything is Everything which was exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and Bit Rot at Rotterdam's Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and the Villa Stuck.

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A bland smile is like a green light at an intersection, it feels good when you get one, but you forget it the moment you're past it.
A man in a bookstore buys a book on loneliness and every woman in the store hits on him. A woman buys a book on loneliness and the store clears out.
A ring is a halo on your finger.
Adventure without risk is Disneyland.
Art was always my main focus; I fell into writing by accident in the 1980s, writing magazine articles to pay for my studio. I have to put myself into the position of writing; sometimes it doesn't work, and sometimes it works great. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Before machines the only form of entertainment people really had was relationships. Relationships
Bespoke tailoring: yes! I found this one pair of pants - they're Canali - and brought them into a tailor and said, 'Clone these, dammit.' They just do all the right things. I've got eight pairs in different colors and I never have to think about pants again. The only look otherwise that suits me is, like, the Professor from 'Gilligan's Island.'
Big companies are like marching bands. Even if half the band is playing random notes, it still sounds kind of like music. The concealment of failure is built into them. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Failure
Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.
Blame is just a lazy person's way of making sense of chaos.
Brain research tells us that only twenty percent of human beings have a sense of irony, which means that eighty percent of the world takes everything at face value.
Canadians can easily 'pass for American' as long as we don't accidentally use metric measurements or apologize when hit by a car.
Christmas makes everything twice as sad.
Data transmission is no longer something scary you don't want in your backyard. Now you want it directly in front of your house.
Depression is when you have lots of love, but no one's taking. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Eagles are seagulls with a good hairdo.
Even when you take a holiday from technology, technology doesn't take a break from you. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Every human being you see in the course of a day has a problem that's sucking up at least 70 percent of his or her radar.
Every single moment is a coincidence.
Everyone should have a tailor. David Wilkes, the guy who does my stuff, is like, 'Well you're a writer - do you want a special pen compartment or something?' Bespoke: That's the term you want to get out there.
Fashion only seems to make sense if it's rooted in some dimension of history or if it feels like a continuation of an idea. History
Fate is for losers.
Feeling unique is no indication of uniqueness.
Florida isn't so much a place where one goes to reinvent oneself, as it is a place where one goes if one no longer wished to be found.
Flying dreams mean that you're doing the right thing with your life. Life
For many people, myself included, the end of the world is happening all the time! It is a form of criticality that paradoxically gives us hope for change and improvement. Time ;Hope
Forget about being world famous, it's hard enough just getting the automatic doors at the supermarket to acknowledge our existence. Fame
Forget sex or politics or religion, loneliness is the subject that clears out a room. Religion & God ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Games I do find interesting for what they say about us, about what we wish for, about the programming. But let it stop there: don't listen to this rubbish about them actually being good for you, helping with hand-eye co-ordination or whatever. They're games. They prepare you for nothing.
Good-looking people with strong, fluoridated teeth get things handed to them on platters.
Handmade presents are scary because they reveal that you have too much free time. Time
Headwise, I always kind of knew that everyone goes grey in our family very early - and I was like, it works for me. I started growing my beard, and it changes the shape of your skull and your face, and I started seeing my mother's side of the family in myself for the first time. Time ;Families, Children & Parenting
I decided at 40 I was wasting entire chunks of my brain and didn't want to blow my one chance on Earth. I'm glad I made that decision. Writing is largely about time, while visual art is largely about space. Sometimes, as with film, you can hybridize, but I think it's basically the space part of my brain wanting equal footing with the time part. Time ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I don't know how anyone gets anything done in cities. How can you live somewhere like London or New York, when there are 81 things to do every night? Awful. Give me solitude and space any time. Time
I don't want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me.
I get verklempt if I see a vintage TI-30 or TI-54 calculator. But I don't think I'd want to use one.
I go to the gym three days a week. You have to or else - I don't want to be the guy that dies shoveling snow.
I had a lot of really terrible advice early in my writing career and I cheesed off people without even knowing it, all the while thinking I was implementing good advice.
I have trouble with seafood because it tastes like a dock.
I keep vampire hours, going to bed at 2 A.M. and waking up at about 10:30-11 A.M.
I know it's not cat food, but what exactly is it that they put inside of tinned ravioli? Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I love working out how things are made, which is why I have so many models of towers. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I think Americans are weirdly puritanistic about psychopharmaceuticals. There are millions of people out there who would otherwise be dead or rocking by themselves in a corner who now lead full and normal lives because of amazing and wonderful scientific advances.
I think money is due for some sort of collapse. People are going to realize that money has a half-life, like radioactive elements. Money, Coins & Minting
I think that in the future, clocks won't say three o'clock anymore. They'll just get right to the point and rename three o'clock 'Pepsi.' Future
I think way back, the '20s or the '30s, when Kodak came out with the Brownie and they put a list of instructions on the box, like how to use this thing, I think someone arbitrarily said, 'Make sure the person in the photograph is smiling.' And we went from that one sort of set of industrial instructions to this whole culture of perkiness.
I was always the youngest person in class, skinny, scrawny, no good at sports. I asserted myself by being smart. But then I got to college and started to get C's and D's. That was fantastic. I no longer had to be the smartest person in the room. Sports & Athletics
I will say that my days are spent solitary and somewhat lost in thought, and every single time I inadvertently wear my shirt inside out in public, I bump into my sister-in-law at the grocery store. Time
I worship teachers. They can't be paid enough. It depresses me that society sees them as somehow expendable. Society
If a building looks better under construction than it does when finished, then it's a failure. Failure
If human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.
If you have a great idea, you should be able to communicate it as well. It's like the sound of one hand clapping. You have a great idea but aren't able to express it - well, how great was the idea?
If you have an impulse to kindness, act on it.
I'm not patient - and I'm getting more impatient as I get older - but I am disciplined about writing, and I want that on my tombstone: 'He wasn't patient, but he was disciplined.'
I'm starting to wonder if pop culture is in its dying days, because everyone is able to customize their own lives with the images they want to see and the words they want to read and the music they listen to. You don't have the broader trends like you used to. Music, Chants & Rapps
I'm suspicious of places that look decorated. I can understand why people do it, but you see too many cushions or a piece of fabric hanging and it's, like, 'Ugh!' A good house with good art will always work, no matter what. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
In a faraway land called 'pre-2000,' what Earthlings now call blogging was called 'keeping a diary.' It's hard work to do well. I tried doing it in the early 1990s but had to stop because I no longer had a life - instead I had this thing that generated anecdotes to go into my diary. The diary took over and I had to stop. Life ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
In Canada, we're happy to provide a safe haven for next-door neighbors in the middle of a marital dispute. And if anyone trips while crossing the border, we're happy to set their broken bones for free.
It feels wistful to imagine a time when people didn't go about their daily routine with the assumption that at any moment another massive media technology will be dumped on us by some geek in California. Time ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
It's difficult to speak with beautiful people. No matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise, you still want them to like you.
It's very strange that most people don't care if their knowledge of their family history only goes back three generations. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;History ;Families, Children & Parenting
I've always felt like an alien trapped in a human form. We all do at some time or other; for me it's a permanent state, and I'm still unsure if Earth is a penance or a reward. Time
I've become a day writer: most people start as night writers, and I used to be, but something happened to my endocrine system. I do miss the 3 A.M. writing jags.
I've never really seen too much difference between writing or making visual art or designing furniture or clothing. It's still my brain - I'm just using different parts of it for different things. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Long lives aren't natural. We forget that senior citizens are as much an invention as toasters or penicillin.
Lottery tickets are a surtax on desperation.
Make your goals big and broad enough so that they never become answered prayers and boomerang to curse you.
Making eye contact with adults while dressed as a clown is risky.
Men won't read any email from a woman that's over 200 words long.
Money is more than a massively consensual IOU note. It is a piece of infrastructure and is as artificial as Interstate 5, NutraSweet or season three of 'Mad Men.' Money, Coins & Minting
Most people have no idea how to politely answer a phone. The English do, and it's been their only major business advantage for the past two centuries. Business, Commerce & Finance
Nature is one great big wood-chipper. Sooner or later, everything shoots out the other end in a spray of blood, bones and hair. Nature
One of the cruelest things you can do to another person is pretend you care about them more than you really do.
Only losers make decisions when things are bad. The time to rejig your life is the time when it's seemingly smooth. Life ;Time
People are pretty forgiving when it comes to other people's families. The only family that ever horrifies you is your own. Families, Children & Parenting
People say if you're doing an art project, that's different from a book, but I honestly don't see it. I try and try, and I just don't. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Remember travel agents? Remember how they just kind of vanished one day? Well, that's where all the other jobs that once made us middle class are going, to that same magical, class-killing, job-sucking wormhole into which travel agency jobs vanished, never to return. Travel
Salad bars are like a restaurant's lungs. They soak up the impurities and bacteria in the environment, leaving you with much cleaner air to enjoy.
Self-delusion is one of the funniest things there is.
Sometimes failure isn't an opportunity in disguise, it's just you. Failure
Sometimes the best lighting of all is a power failure. Power ;Failure
Star Trek characters never go shopping.
Storytelling is ultimately a creative act of pattern recognition. Through characters, plot and setting, a writer creates places where previously invisible truths become visible. Or the storyteller posits a series of dots that the reader can connect.
'Stupidity' defines the mental state wherein we acknowledge that we've never been smarter as individuals and yet somehow we've never felt stupider. We now collectively inhabit a state of stupidity.
The advent of cellphones may, in the end, be no more relevant than the ability of laptops to change our written documents into ones using cool new fonts.
The capacity for not feeling lonely can carry a very real price, that of feeling nothing at all.
The neighborhood I grew up in had this fence that surrounds the watershed. And if you go on the other side of that fence, there's nothing until the North Pole and down to Siberia. It's the absolute cutoff point between man and nature. Nature
The thing with bookshelves, no matter how many you have, you always fill them.
The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Time
The universe hands you opportunities for a while, and if you don't take them, the universe says to itself, 'Oh I see, this person doesn't like opportunities' and stops giving them to you.
The whole point of Gen X was, and continues to be, a negation of being forced into Baby Boomerdom against one's will.
There are three things we cry about in life, things that are lost, things that are found, and things that are magnificent. Life
There used to be a tradition of the loveable rogue who would steal from the honour boxes in churches and buy a round of drinks with the money he snagged. And everyone would find him tremendously good company. But not any more. Money, Coins & Minting
There's much to be said for feeling numb. Time passes more quickly. You eat less, and because numbness encourages laziness, you do fewer things, good or bad, and the world's probably a better place for it. Time
There's nothing cure or funny or lovable about being cheap. It's a total turn-off. Humor
Tofu hot dogs are actually scarier than real hot dogs. It's like wanting the worst possible meat product without even the thrill of it actually being meat.
Too much free time is certainly a monkey's paw in disguise. Most people can't handle a structureless life. Life ;Time
Try not thinking of peeling an orange. Try not imagining the juice running down your fingers, the soft inner part of the peel. The smell. Try and you can't. The brain doesn't process negatives.
TV didn't kill radio, it just added something new to the mix.
Twinkies are more natural than most TV-interview shows.
Unhappiness is something we are never taught about; we are taught to expect happiness, but never a Plan B to use to use when the happiness doesn't arrive. Happiness & Unhappiness
Vancouver is the square root of negative one. Technically it shouldn't exist, but it does. I can't imagine living anywhere else.
We decided that the French could never write user-friendly software because they're so rude.
We live in an era with no historical precedents. History is no longer useful as a tool in helping us understand current changes. History
We want our idols to be dead because it makes death a much less scary place. Death
We're rapidly approaching a world comprised entirely of jail and shopping.
What exactly is it that humans do that is specifically human? There has to be something. How odd it is for billions of people to be alive, yet not one of them is really quite sure of what makes people people.
What if God exists except it turns out he doesn't really like people very much? Religion & God
When Donald Duck traded his wings for arms, was he trading up or trading down?
When I look at my daily schedule, I feel like a trout flopping about on a dock, drowning in the air. Some people are ruthless with their schedules. Not me. I wing it.
When you crop the photo, you tell a lie.
When you think about Twitter and you think what a dumb stupid throwaway technology, and then you have the Iranian elections and it actually saves the day - you can't prejudge technologies now because they have effects you may not have intended. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Who wants to talk on the phone? If you want to talk to me, text me. Or if we must, let's meet in person.
With Google I'm starting to burn out on knowing the answer to everything. People in the year 2020 are going to be nostalgic for the sensation of feeling clueless.
Workshops and seminars are basically financial speed dating for clueless people.
Writing is largely about time, while visual art is largely about space. Time ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
You can never become rich unless you like rich people.
You can only fall in love six times in your life. Choose wisely. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
You can't fake creativity, competence, or sexual arousal.
You can't get mad at weather because weather's not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life. Life
You pretend to be more eccentric than you actually are because you fear you are an interchangeable cog.
You spend a much larger part of your life being old, not young. Life
Your ability to rationalize your own bad deeds makes you believe that the whole world is as amoral as you are.
You're smarter than TV. So what?