Enigmatic PETA spokesman Dan Mathews has a new book coming out, called Committed: A Rabble-Rouser’s Memoir. Reviews are mixed, with Denver’s Rocky Mountain News noting this morning that "Mathews doesn’t defend PETA against accusations the organization puts emotion before facts, supports extremist groups, objectifies women … or obstructs medical progress by opposing animal research." But no matter how many copies of Committed are sold, we’re actually more interested in Mathews’ other book. If you have a copy, read on to learn how you can turn it into a gourmet dinner.
In September 1995, a book reviewer for Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post profiled a Mathews book titled From Handcuffs to Cocktails: The Wild World of PETA’s Party-Crasher:
Hong Kong, according to the civil but disobedient Dan Mathews, has the world’s nicest jail. And he should know. As director of international campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Dan has been banged up all over the globe for his involvement in anti-fur protests. "Usually, getting arrested is part of the plan, to attract media attention to the cause," he says. To achieve this Mathews has set fire to fur-filled coffins in Las Vegas, dressed as a cow in Paris and, most infamously, strolled nude down main streets all over Asia bearing the banner: "I’d rather go naked than wear fur."
Such is his experience of the world’s coops, cans and coolers that Mathews’ new book, Handcuffs To Cocktails, contains a lengthy glossary: each cell is given a star rating and a brief description. Chicago (Cook County) Jail gets a measly one-star and a cutting sketch: "Like the Arctic. The guards make fun of vegetarians and they don’t let you primp before your mug shot." Denver gets three stars — "They accept most credit cards for bail" — and so does Paris ("striking police uniforms, fascinating sirens").
But it is only Hong Kong that shines; only Hong Kong that gets the full five stars. "Why Hong Kong’s jails are not in the tourist brochure I will never know. The police were extremely friendly. We were expecting a caning but got spicy bok choy and rice instead. The vegetarian food was better than the hotel, the staff more accommodating and the decor more interesting. If only we had had our camera to snap the fascinating shrine in the holding cell."
Despite this 1995 pre-release review, From Handcuffs to Cocktails wasn’t published until August 1998, whereupon it disappeared completely from the radar screens of the publishing world. You can’t buy a copy at Half.com. The popular used book service BookFinder can’t find it. No one has seen it on eBay. We’re left wondering why.
If you have a copy of From Handcuffs to Cocktails (in any readable condition), we’d like to borrow it. Be the first person to e-mail us at [email protected] with the good news, and you’ll win a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice. Yes, even if it’s a vegetarian restaurant.