Saturday, September 27, 2014

Douglas Anthony Cooper

Revised: September 27, 2014; 03:40 GMT
Revised: September 28, 2014; 15:38 GMT
Revised: October 5, 2014; 18:49 GMT
Revised: October 7, 2014; 18:14 GMT

The problem in reading The academic impostor behind the pit bull hysteria, by Douglas Anthony Cooper, is whether or not Mr Cooper sincerely believes what he has written. The alternative is to consider the article as part of his continual self-promotion campaign.

Mr Cooper is one of a handful of pit bull advocates who, once they begin to write are unable to stop. Cooper shares this compulsion with the two bloggers he cites favorably in his article, Joshua Liddy and Brent Toellner; if they can't convince their readers they will bore us into submission. It sometimes appears that these three men are so enamored of their own writing that they are each their own best audience.

Mr Cooper's two-and-a-half-thousand-word article has a simple goal: to defame Merritt Clifton and thereby diminish Clifton's dog attack statistics collected over the last 32 years. Cooper's failure is apparent in his very first sentence:
The most influential advocate for the eradication of pit bulls is an academic fraud.
Mr Cooper's first sentence includes a glaring falsehood: Clifton has never called for the eradication of pit bulls. Simple fact checking would prove it.

* * * * *

On July 12, 2014, Joshua Liddy, assisted by his wing gunners Jeff Theman and Kim Wolf,1 ambushed Merritt Clifton at the Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles. Liddy beleaguered Clifton for 40 minutes, filming the attack without permission and without prior consent for an interview. Liddy's attack occurred after the morning events as the participants (including Clifton) were on the way to lunch. Clifton may not have been aware that he was being accosted by people who wanted to damage him. Clifton managed himself with grace and forbearance under trying circumstances.

The point that Mr Cooper has gone to such lengths to attempt to prove (that Clifton is an academic fraud) is based on an offhand comment Clifton uttered while under attack. Cooper evidently considers Liddy's tactics acceptable and considers Liddy a reputable source.2

Twenty-three seconds into the ambush Kim Wolfe asks Clifton why his work has not been published in peer-reviewed publications; Clifton responds that he has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Both Liddy and Cooper believe this is the Gotcha! moment and pounce on Clifton's answer, believing that Clifton overstated his publishing credentials.

Liddy transcribes the relevant statement as Merritt said that he has “more than 100 peer-reviewed publications.” Cooper alters Liddy's transcription to
"you will see him pronounce: "I have more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications."
Neither of these are correct. Clifton says "I've been included in more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications."

Talking about the number of Clifton's publications is similar to pondering how many angels can dance on the head of a pin: it proves nothing and is a waste of time. When it comes to pit bulls and dog attacks, it's all about the numbers. For what it's worth, Mr Cooper's vaunted fact-checking failed to discover that Clifton's count is accurate.3

* * * * *

Mr Cooper's goal is to discredit Clifton and his data, but it's clear that his fury was ignited by Barbara Kay's review of Galunker, recently published in Clifton's Animals 24-7. It is clear that Cooper will brook no criticism. He claims that Kay's review will contribute to the mass hysteria: bigotry that results in the unnecessary death, yearly, of some million or so innocent creatures. This remarkable charge reflects just how poorly Cooper understands the current euthanasia and sheltering problems in America.4

Mr Cooper tries his best to undermine Clifton's data, but he also takes the time to ridicule those who refer to Clifton's data, most noticeably Ms Kay. Moreover, Mr Cooper neglects to mention the 21 fatal pit bull attacks on humans this year. Mr Cooper gives incomplete, misleading information about Clifton's departure from Animal's Agenda. Mr Cooper withholds vital information from his readers when it suits his purposes.

What is most compelling about Cooper's article are not his arguments, which are subsumed by anger, but the troubled character that emerges from his writing. The voice is at times enraged, arrogant, and disdainful. Mr Cooper's world view is Manichean: all things are either good or evil. Pit bulls are peaceful, playful Galunkers, while those who oppose his own views are worthy only of contempt.

Afterward: I'm Too Sexy

Some readers may experience a strange phenomenon, as we did, when reading Cooper's The Academic Impostor Behind the Pit Bull Hysteria. The mind struggles to withstand the free-floating anger and, in an effort to safely disassociate from the pain, provides an internal soundtrack for relief.

For some readers I'm Too Sexy is the soundtrack playing in the background, which effectively blocks the prevailing anger.

I'm Too Sexy is famous for having made several "worst song" lists, as well as several "best worst song" lists. The Fairbass brothers have made a number of videos to accompany the song; the best of the lot, in this viewer's opinion, is this one.

Richard Fairbass is not a great singer; his voice cracks at inopportune moments, as when changing from one note to the next. But I'm Too Sexy is fall-down funny and the Fairbass brothers are having fun. The Fairbass brothers are effortlessly cool, apparently without caring whether or not they're cool.

Richard and Fred Fairbrass of the group Right Said Fred

Cooper, on the other hand, is humorless; he may believe he's the coolest, hippest dude around but the strain is apparent.

The real Douglas Anthony Cooper ?

* * * * *
1   All three are founders of pit bull advocacy organizations. Liddy is the founder of Swaylove; Wolf is the founder of Beyond Breed; and Theman is a "documentary film maker" who made the pit bull advocacy film Guilty 'Til Proven Innocent.
2   Image of Josh Liddy embedded from his Facebook page.

3   "But Cooper’s accusation is based on blatant disregard for Clifton's more than 100 contributions over the past 20 years to the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases,. . . " (See Pit bull hysteria is based on fact, by Barbara Kay in The Huffington Post)
4   Mr Cooper is a latecomer to the horrors of mass euthanasia, and is apparently concerned ONLY with the euthanasia of pit bulls. Alexandra Semyonova and Merritt Clifton, as well as others, have been alerting the humane community of the needless slaughter of surplus pit bulls for years. A list of articles on the euthanasia and sheltering crises accompanies this post.

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" should be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014
How many other animals did pit bulls kill in 2014?
   Animals 24-7; January 27, 2015

This page may also include information from Dogsbite &Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends

Index: Resources on Euthanasia, Sheltering, and No-kill.

'Pit bull hysteria' is based on fact
   Barbara Kay; Huffington Post,  September 29, 2014
Galunker, by Douglas Anthony Cooper, reviewed by Barbara Kay
   Animals 24-7; July 23, 2014
Kickstarter: Galunker, by D.A. Cooper

Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009), J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013 Dec 15;243(12):1726-36. doi: 10.2460/javma.243.12.1726.

By D.A Cooper:
The Academic Impostor Behind the Pit Bull Hysteria
   Huffington Post, September 24, 2014
Eradicate pit bulls? Not Labrador Retrievers?
   Huffington Post, June 28, 2014
Ignorance kills one million pit bulls per year
   Huffington Post, June 25, 2014
A children's book about a pit bull?
  Huffington Post, June 5, 2014
Children need pit bulls (part two): Galunker, a picture book
  Huffington Post, May 29, 2014
Children need pit bulls; a picture book
  Huffington Post, May 28, 2014
Ken Foster's Dog Vanished on Christmas Eve. He Just Found Her. Perhaps We Should Kill Her?
  Huffington Post, January 6, 2014