Robert M. Price annoys me for the 2nd time. I freely admit I am not an expert, but some of his connections sound very tenuous to me. What he said about the people of Insmouth hiding from their sin seems especially to be viewed from the wrong direction.
The interview with Loucks was amazing and I wish it had gone on for another hour...or been the whole show.
Robert Price brought up some interesting points, and as Bulbatron points out there are very many ways to interpret this story. Unfortunately Robert Price got his own interpretation slightly wrong. I'll try to explain.
He had the insight that the Innsmouth folk were attempting to assimilate or synthesize their own faith to what was discovered in the South Sea (Caroline Islands?) by old Captain Marsh, and he points to the spread of Hellenism among the Jews of the Roman period as an example of the back-and-forth that goes on with that. And Lovecraft gives us a very good hint that he is toying with that period by naming the town drunk "Zadok." We sense the same kind of alienation perhaps the ancient Jews felt at seeing their Jewish culture turn Greek in the events of several centuries in Innsmouth.
The Dagon cultists fully embrace the new religion, and the trappings of the old religion, Protestantism of the New England variety, are only used as subterfuge, we assume, historically: they have taken over the church building and now their high priest parades about openly wearing the tiara. They certainly don't seem guided at all by the desire to preserve something of their old faith, judging from the few glimpses we are given. They are a classic cult: they attempt to return the lost tiara by bribery then resort to murder to deal with their own member who betrayed them, the drunk guy who sold it to the historical society in the next town over. This can't really be seen as an attempt to reconcile Christianity and Dagonism, to find common things and then to secretly continue practicing Christianity under the guise of Dagonism.
The only person in the story who seems to fit Robert Price's model is Zadok Allen; he seems to be the only one with any desire to preserve anything at all, if only as memories of what has happened. As the town drunk he's the lone voice in the wilderness tooling around in animal skins and eating bugs. In other words, he's powerless at this point, and has no following but certainly enough enemies whose tolerance only extends so far. So Zadok is the last of his line, at a dead end.
What Robert Price proposes could happen in the future, if Dagonism spread to other towns, but it shows no signs of doing so. Adherents seem to be aware of their status as outsiders in the minority in the culture/society at large, and while they probably seek to subvert that society for their own purposes, it doesn't seem like they're actively proseletyzing now (ca. 1927?) or in the recent past.
It's interesting why Lovecraft hinted at this period by using the name "Zadok." It seems like a brilliant device, very Armageddon, and adds to the sense of the end is nigh. I know Adolphe de Castro sent him A LOT of work to look over, and I know de Castro wrote on the Second Temple period at length in his Jewish Forerunners of Christianity, so I wonder if Lovecraft lifted some inspiration from that book for Shadow over Innsmouth.
Speaking of speculative fiction, the latest media blitz on Libya--you know, the one where they tried to convince Libyans and the world Tripoli had fallen and Khaddafi had fled etc. etc. using "documentary evidence such as al Jazzeera and CNN reports--was called Operation Mermaid Dawn. They allegedly were running insurgents into Tripoli harbor to carry out terrorist attacks inside the city since the insurgents couldn't gain access by land. "They" meaning British and French special forces, who did a large share of the terrorism, not the "freedom fighters" who are actually recycled al Qaeda assets (see the "umad Arab?" thread under General for more on fake al Qaeda/al CIAda). Since the head of American al Qaeda is a KNOWN Lovecraft fanatic, I guess they really wanted to call it Operation Deep Ones, but Langley said that was just too silly. Whereas "Mermaid Dawn" sounds quite...silly, but not as silly. Or at least not as obvious. inb4 SEALs and frogmen.