Monday, September 15, 2014

A Rant About Lovecraft, Racism, and Opinions

Critical literary analysis beyond the obvious is often matter of opinion. Believing that Lovecraft's racism cannot be separated from the more creative aspects of his work is a matter of opinion. Believing that the Cthulhu Mythos and the Dreamlands are inextricably intertwined with Lovecraft's racism and cannot be appreciated without dwelling on that less savoury aspect of the man and his works is a matter of opinion. It may be an opinion currently in vogue in certain corners of the genre community, but it is still an opinion. Others do not have to share that opinion. It is presumptuous to assume that others must share that opinions. It is presumptuous to assume that others must cross that threshold.

I gather that I am supposed to struggle with Lovecraft's racism, though I'm not exactly sure what form that struggle is supposed to take. I also gather that the fact that I don't struggle overly much with Lovecraft's racism in the way that others want me to puts me in the category of "them", whatever "them" might be. I do notice it, and I do find it rather repugnant, but I can look past it and see Lovecraft's creative genius.

It has been pointed out to me that my opinions regarding Lovecraft and his racism simply repeat things said by S.T. Joshi and other so-called "Lovecraft defenders", as if implying that I am incapable of forming my own opinions on the subject. What rot! I happen to be a very opinionated person, and I am quite capable of forming my own opinions, thank you very much!

If my opinions regarding Lovecraft are indeed shared by S.T. Joshi and other so-called Lovecraft defenders, I could probably provide plenty of links to articles and blog entries echoing those opinions. What would that prove? Nothing, except that others share my opinions.

Lovecraft was racist. His racism is reflected in his works. That doesn't mean his fans are racists, too.

I spent the whole weekend in an argument over whether or not you can separate H. P. Lovecraft's racism from the more creative and imaginative aspects of his works. It was a complete waste of time. It has become obvious to me that some people in the genre community feel that one cannot make such a separation. They also feel everyone must think the way they do. Poppycock!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I truly believe some people in the genre community don’t really want a discussion about issues, they just want to act the part of drama queens and raise big stinks!

I have publicly acknowledged that Lovecraft was a racist and that his works do, at times, reflect his racist beliefs. However, that doesn't seem to be enough for some people, but I don't know what else they want of me. It is as if they want me to come out and say it is impossible to separate Lovecraft's racism from his imaginative creativity, but I will not do that because I do not believe it is true. It is as if they want me to change my opinion to match their own, and I refuse to go that far.

In that waste-of-time discussion I mention above, I almost got the feeling that I was being accused of being an apologist for racism (a so-called "Lovecraft defender") because I happen to be a fan of H. P. Lovecraft's works. Here is what I say to that:

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