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Author Topic: The 'racist Lovecraft' thread  (Read 56166 times)
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« on: November 03, 2010, 07:52:57 PM »

H.P. Lovecraft was a charming man, a brilliant writer of horrific and weird fiction, and a big stinking racist. It comes up in his fiction, it comes up in the podcast, and it comes up on this forum, and the discussion always goes the same way:

A: "Hey, check out this horrible racist thing HPL said!"
B: "Yeah, but he was a product of his times. Let's not judge him too harshly."
A: "Agreed. Let us separate the man from his work."
B: "Racism is terrible."

So, in order that more threads don't get derailed into the same endlessly repeating conversation about H.P. Lovecraft's racism, let's put all that stuff here. Post your thoughts on Lovecraft, racism, racism in Lovecraft, quotes, whatever. Just put it here, and not out there.
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Kaelestes
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2010, 11:26:00 PM »

Bless you. <3
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2010, 06:47:06 AM »

I agree upon your point.
Also acknowledge the creator of this thread isn't weighing in on any one particular point but just creating a venue for the topic in and of itself to be covered here.
Not sure I have that much to contribute on the topic.

I would say that his comments, observations, depictions, running themes on this topic are plain.
I suppose we could judge him but I'm not sure where that would put us. 
Something akin to Archie Bunker I suppose.  Something that goes along with the author such that you like the mythos despite some of his otherwise odious opinions from that era a person would tend not to discard the author entirely and move beyond it.

I would also suggest (although I can't speak to Lovecraft's intentions) that those comments might have been reflections of his prejudices without sneaking in a "call to action" against foreigners or other groups he found unsavory. 

Plainly, I don't think Lovecraft is "Mein Kampf-ing" his work in the subtext of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2010, 10:19:02 AM »

This is one of the big problems with the H.P. Lovecraft wikipedia page.  it goes in reverse though, where it's "He was a product of his ties, let's not judge him too harshly, but check out all these horrible racist things HPL said!!!"  and then lists a whole bunch.  It's scholarly and not suitable to a encyclopedia article. 
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2010, 10:48:59 AM »

The good news is, it's Wikipedia, so if it really bothers you, you can edit it. That's what I did with the Wiki page for "The Unnamable" which used to say that the monster was "hinted to be a shoggoth." It bloody well isn't, and now Wikipedia knows it.
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2010, 10:50:27 AM »

It's not something Wikipedia should be concerned with in the first place. I think Chris and Chad do a wonderfull job adressing the racism of Lovecraft and his fellow twenties guys, but on wikipedia it's just weird, like reading about Thomas Jefferson or Abe Lincoln about how progressive they where and then "oh but check out how racist they were compared to our age!"
No. Does not compute.
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2010, 11:33:26 AM »

I get the impression H was xenophobic about groups in which he had no friends, but as soon as he made friends with a Jew, Italian or Eskimo, the fear soon melted away. He probably didn't actually know any black people.
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2010, 05:40:41 PM »

He had an Inuit friend? (Yes, yes, PC for the PC god!) that would be awesome! He... he didn't happen to have an all too familliar tornasuce, did he?
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2010, 08:21:54 AM »

Only an hypothetical Eskimo. Thor-Nasuq not included.
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2010, 06:07:11 AM »

You wanna talk racism folks overlook. Read some of the stuff Ganhdi wrote about the blacks in South Africa.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/17/southafrica.india

The guy did some amazing things, but no one is perfect.

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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2010, 02:24:29 PM »

'...to the level of the "raw kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness".'

To hell with Gandhi, that sounds like my kind of life!!!
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2010, 04:26:00 PM »

You wanna talk racism folks overlook. Read some of the stuff Ganhdi wrote about the blacks in South Africa.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/17/southafrica.india

The guy did some amazing things, but no one is perfect.



Let's not talk about Mother Teresa.  That woman was a lunatic. 
The Missionary Position

As to Ghandi, sure he wanted to feree India...so it could go back to it's wonderfully spiritual and violently class driven society.
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2010, 06:44:23 PM »

And what was up with that Hitler guy, huh? What a dickbag.
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old book
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 08:53:59 AM »

Agreed. If there's a spectrum of racism, or a thermometer, I don't think Lovecraft even comes close to M. Gandhi or Hitler. I never looked into Mother Teresa, I heard somewhere she was Albanian and somewhat of a disciplinarian to her wards and charges in Calcutta. The problem, of course, is that Lovecraft was all talk and the other three were all action (or praxis in Gandhi's sad case), so even if Lovecraft were 100° racist and Gandhi were say 75° and Hitler were relatively lukewarm at 50°, the latter two were not just fanatical racists but men of action. This, to my mind, is to Lovecraft's credit, in any case; his non-action on his racist views is worth more a lot of action by many more modern anti-racists.

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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 12:00:03 PM »

I concur with Old Book.
His comments, odious as they may be, didn't appear to me to be a call to action.
If anything they do serve as a core sample of that era.  My point here is that he wasn't writing for the New York times or editorializing in anything else that would be considered mainstream political press.
I suppose what he could have written allegories with the people he didn't prefer substituted by an alien a la' Cylons or Avatar critters.  Who knows, maybe he has.
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