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The racism in H.P Lovecraft stories is more easily adaptable because the large majority of his plots deal with unlikeable characters going insane, so it's not hard to make it a story about a racist rather than a racist story.
Yeah Lovecraft's self-loathing can be pretty prevalent even in the stories he wrote before finding out he was part Welsh and therefore "racially tainted" (fun fact, this discovery was the inspiration for Shadow Over Innsmouth's twist ending, where the casually-racist protagonist learns that he's distantly related to the fish-man hybrids of Innsmouth, starts to transform, and decides to embrace it and join his Dagon-worshiping cousins in the sea).
Edited by Dirtyblue929 on Jan 25th 2020 at 3:59:37 AM
HPL was, for whatever reason, utterly obsessed with England. He basically regarded England as a utopia, America as okay but still a pale imitation of England, and everyone else as gutter trash. How did he come by these views? No idea.
To his very slight credit he was quite nonviolent as well. He was certainly a bigot, but he also wasn't like the Turner Diaries guy, advocating going out and slaughtering "lesser people."
I really wonder what side he'd have taken in WWII if he'd lived long enough.
Edited by HamburgerTime on Jan 25th 2020 at 8:01:49 AM
Wasn't Lovecraft's racism the fault of his aunts, anyway?
But yes, there's only a few Lovecraft stories where the racism is an essential part of the plot. Probably the worst is The Horror at Red Hook, which isn't even part of the Cthulhu Mythos anyway.
I recall that he mentioned in his letters that he admired Adolf Hitler's vision of a racially pure Europe, but found it too optimistic, believing that it would be impossible to achieve even with the extreme measures proposed in Mein Kampf.
Edited by Dirtyblue929 on Jan 25th 2020 at 7:52:10 AM
Plenty of mentally ill people who manage to not be racist. According to biographies like The Writings and Philosophy of H. P. Lovecraft and H. P. Lovecraft and the Literature of the fantastic, his extreme prejudices were really not that uncommon in 1890s New England.
I realize I phrased that wrong. Please accept my apology.
Understood, apology accepted.
Anyone else see Annihilation? I really liked that one, and it was basically Color out of Space in reverse.
All I know about it is the terrifying bear monster.
Annihilation was pretty great, and quite surreal.
I am amused though by the joke theory that the bear was just trying to help.
Lovecraft racism and is efect(or rather no efect) is intersting in that it look like a quite fluke of history, most people feel his influence and yet his work barely got adapted, so he is a respected author but nobody deal with the problematic influence because they have being kept out of large so far.
is weird as hell in general.
The fact that he's dead, and in fact died before he got famous, probably has a lot to do with it. As good as his work is, I don't think I could support him if he had the same views but was alive today.
Edited by HamburgerTime on Jan 26th 2020 at 11:30:51 AM
Is the fact he was very quiet and in his own circle, have being alive today he probably will be tweeting racism tweets over and over and over.
Is also the fact is life was something of a mess that make his racism somewhat pitable, more than cruelty we see in many racism like trump suporters, it look like a sort of neurosis.
I think if he was alive today, he wouldn’t be famous because racism is frowned upon in most communities.
Eh, American Dirt got a seven figure advance and movie just this week. Racism in published literature has changed its forms but is still very much alive.
Edited by Tuckerscreator on Jan 26th 2020 at 3:22:04 AM
If he was alive today, he'd be 130. He was born and raised in a time period where racism was significantly more common. Like, it sucks, but he wasnt an exception.
He actually kinda was, he was extremely racist even by the standards of the time.
Wikipedia cites five separate sources on this claim on his page:
He wasn't rare as a racist in the early 1900s, he just got to write about it more than most. Like every person, he was shaped by the beliefs of the society he was raised by. Had he lived today, he would've been shaped by the present's ideologies, maybe differently, maybe more similarly than we think.
Edited by Tuckerscreator on Jan 26th 2020 at 6:36:23 AM
I recall buying the James Bond novel Dr. No out of curiosity of the origin of the character. The book starts off elaborating on the unusual ethnicity of Dr. No's henchmen, part Asian and part African, otherwise called "chigroes." In comparison the Values Dissonance of the movies are positively tame.
Oh man, if there's any writer that beats you over the head with bigotry more than Lovecraft it's Fleming, and unlike HPL he was quite reactionary even for his time - there's one point where he, through Bond, says he wishes women were never given the vote, for instance. This happened in Britain when Fleming was a little kid.
Probably the most WTF moment, though, is in From Russia With Love, where at one point the plot grinds to a halt to that a "sympathetic" character can give a several-pages-long speech about how women secretly enjoy being raped, and describes a rape he himself committed in extremely lurid, almost Marquis de Sade-like detail. This is supposed to make him seem like a charming Lovable Rogue at worst.
Edited by HamburgerTime on Jan 26th 2020 at 9:32:38 AM
Yeah, Flemming was pretty bad.
RE Lovecraft, I haven't exactly made a study of "people from the past with horrible views", but I'd think that the level of revulsion Lovecraft felt towards non-WASP people was probably extreme as were his comments about how he'd like to see (as I understand it Jewish) immigrant neighborhoods killed with poison gas. Because my impression (or maybe my hope) was that while a lot of people bought into white supremacy, it was not the norm to want other groups to be genocided.
And I can look for it, but there was this interesting thing Charles Phipps had linked to where Robert E. Howard was criticizing Lovecraft for his racism and support of Mussolini. Which made me feel warmly towards Howard - it's possible that he was actually progressive for his class, but I think of him as a good example of condescension towards other races but not Lovecraft's level of hatred.
Although honestly, the fact that all of these writers (Howard, Smith, Bloch, Leiber, etc.) were good friends of Lovecraft makes me wonder about their judgment and views.
Edited by Hodor2 on Jan 26th 2020 at 10:18:01 AM
I will say that support for Hitler and Mussolini in the US and other countries was depressingly common during the Depression as well. Plenty admired how quickly they were able to turn the crisis around in their countries. Still more knew they were bad but still felt they were a necessary buffer against a greater threat, namely Stalin. It was only Pearl Harbor that (mostly) put these ideas to bed.
Edited by HamburgerTime on Jan 26th 2020 at 10:19:31 AM
Yeah, no argument there. Incidentally, I found at least part of the Lovecraft/Howard exchange.
I'm actually somewhat surprised that Howard apparently (judging from the letter) despised Mussolini and Hitler, although I do find it interesting that he understands them in terms of a "civilization is corrupting" idea which was pretty much the Central Theme of his Conan stories.
Because I feel like a lot of Facist rhetoric was more in the way of "returning man to his natural state", which probably rang uncomfortably familiar to REH.
Edit- Also, for Lovecraft, Howard, and anyone else, I think "not being a Nazi" is about the lowest possible bar for decency.
Edited by Hodor2 on Jan 26th 2020 at 10:26:03 AM
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