The way I see it: Dennis Cooper

Does art make a difference?
Sure. My entire life was discovered, organised and defined by the art I liked as a teenager. The difference art makes is personal, and I think the personal is everything.

Should politics and art mix?
Politics and art are the ultimate mixers, so yes.

Does money corrupt an artist?
It tends to, but I can guarantee you that if I had some, it wouldn't.

Is your work for the many or for the few?
That seems to fluctuate.

Which artist do you most admire?
Dead: Robert Bresson. Living: Robert Pollard [ex-singer of Guided by Voices].

Which artist do you least admire?
At this very moment, the actor Jon Voight. A moment ago I was watching a video of his speech at a Republican fundraising dinner where he said Obama was turning America into a communist country and urged some of the most extremist right-wing idiot celebrities in America (Limbaugh, Gingrich, Coulter et al) to help "free this nation from the Obama oppression" and "bring an end to this false prophet Obama". His heinous lunacy simultaneously made my jaw drop and my blood boil.

Which product, if any, would you advertise?
I can't imagine myself saying no to Nintendo.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
When I was a kid, my parents didn't like the fact that I wanted to be a writer, so they made me take a test at a local university to determine what profession would be best suited to me, and the result was "social worker".

If you were world leader, what would be your first law?
I think I would probably go for something really huge that caused complete chaos, albeit for the greater good, and pass a law that made private ownership illegal.

Who would be your top advisers?
Select elementary and high-school students.

What would you censor?
Nothing that I can think of. Censoring something just turns it into catnip.

What would you legalise?
The usual stuff: drugs, prostitution, treason, file-sharing, gay marriage, smoking in airports, public nudity, killing Dick Cheney . . .

Who would you banish?
I would find it very hard not to banish evangelical Christians.

What are the rules that you live by?
Whenever you are given power, you should immediately disperse it.

What would you like your legacy to be?
I honestly would love it if my books stayed in print and mattered a fair amount to a certain number of interesting people for ever.

Do you love your country?
My love is reserved for humans and animals. I find my country alternately fascinating and abhorrent. It's not an emotional attachment.

Are we all doomed?
I'm a diehard optimist.

Dennis Cooper's short story collection "Ugly Man" is out now (Harper Perennial, $13.99)

This article first appeared in the 10 August 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Red Reads