Evil Hat posts about Lovecraft. Angers trolls.

It doesn’t seem like I am the one that showed up with a beef from the past. Perhaps the next time you accuse someone of that, maybe look inward.

Trust me, you changed my mind on this one.
I don’t think you have it out for anyone in particular any longer. You are just generally like that.

I don’t know what your problem is, but it’s inappropriate.

I am not a weak person. I am not going cow to your insults, your threats, your ridiculous claims of someone not all predisposed into vile views turning into such views due to nothing but a verbal spar, push back or anything else you think is just TOO MUCH. Women, minorities, we’ve been told we’re TOO MUCH for most our lives, ever since we demanded, not were given, but demanded a voice at the table. You see that article up there, there is a writer shouting at an editor, not asking nicely, not meek and bowing down, shouting.

I am participant of this community. I belong here just as much as you do. I am not a cause, and I am not for you to judge. And I am participant in a topic I know more about than you do. This seems to offend you; I’m sure you’ll get over it.

If you’ve got a problem with me in another topic, bring it up in that topic. Leave your shit at the door.

There’s a reason I have certain, um, bucolic posters on ignore.

I never doubted that Lovecraft was racist, just that he was extremely so. Well, that doubt was erased with the letters.
And I simply disagree that his works are entirely racist, I say instead they contain racism but are not defined by it. Seems to me Evil Hat, too, would agree with that.

And about all the rest: I’ll just stop engaging in this with you as it is obviously going nowhere. Just pointing out that I did NOT make any threats. Like… wtf.

People who try to maintain, despite the evidence, that favorite racists authors were just men of their times are not only frequently mistaken, they’re also typically working an agenda.

But anyway, no, Lovecraft wasn’t a “Man of his time” when it came to views on race. Heck, in 1915 when Birth of a Nation came out, it critics and audiences at the time were both mesmerized and horrified by it. The narrative, epic sweep of the film was unlike anything anyone had ever seen in movies. But contemporary audiences and writers called out the inherent horrific racism of the film just the same. Heck, there was much talk of blocking the release of BoaN even while it was still in production due to the racist nature of the film. In fact, the Griffith film essentially “made” the NAACP a major organization, since that group organized nationwide protests against the film’s release and distribution, thus requiring newspapers covering those protests to write about the organization.

You can, of course, also look at contemporary writers of the time. There are so, so, so many misconceptions here regarding Lovecraft. First: writers in the 1920s and 1930s did not write in Lovecraft’s horribly affected, florid style. He was attempting (poorly) to imitate the writing style and voice of gothic romantics of the 19th century. (A style Lovecraft wasn’t really up to the task of trying to imitate; his prose is riddled with the kind of usage, tense, and redundancy errors one normally finds in freshman english comp classes.)

But the other misconception – at least in this thread – is that Lovecraft’s racism, antisemitism and xenophobia were also “of the time”. And that just isn’t true about writing of that period. When a guy born and raised near Oxford, Mississippi like Billy Faulkner can write a story like “Dry September” in 1931, well… (And hey, the most popular, highest-selling novel of the second half of the 19th century – Huckleberry Finn – was an important, pointed anti-racism/anti-slavery narrative.) And as another tangent, even ol’ Abe Lincoln had to get a little religion on racism. Early on, Abe spoke out in mild favor of “repatriation” of freed slaves to Africa – basically, sending men and women who’d been born in the US as slaves to a continent and counties they’d never set foot upon. Abe’s own advisors pulled him aside and said “Uh, ixnay, Linc; that shit is racist as hell. Emancipation and incorporation into society, that’s where you need to land on this.” And so he did, thankfully, because he was a thoughtful man whose moral compass (eventually) led him down the right path most of the time.

Evil Sheep posts about Lovecraft. Angers Nesrie.

This is false. A LOT of cultists in Lovecraft are defined as possessing some “otherness”, mostly related to racial traits. His most prominent work with a lot of cultists (Shadow over Innsmouth) has the cultists as hybrids from another race.

I knew he was racist, but wow!
I had no idea about the cat.

Are we even talking about the same thing here?
The otherness of the cultists is monstrous in nature. Non-human.
Something like this:

Summary

or this:

Summary

That’s not racism as it has nothing to do with race. That is horror at mixing humans with another species. It’s not even speciesism, I’d say.
He’s not describing the offspring of white and colored people and calling that “The Great Other” or any nonsense like that.
You might be throwing “race” and “species” together here.

Or, and I’m going out on a limb here, maybe Lovecraft was the one doing that.

I think you may be missing some American historical context for Lovecraft’s use of metaphor.

This is part of the issue that was the impetus of the other Lovecraft thread. Setting aside death of the author. (Lond dead, in this case. Ha ha.) Once you know that Lovecraft was a horrendous bigot and classist, and you know that his actual real fear wasn’t aliens or fish-people, it was foreigners and the poor, stories like Innsmouth are easy to decode. It’s a miscegenation warning.

But, you say, the text is literally the horror of fish folk. True, but let’s flip the lesson because genre fiction is rarely ever about just the surface thing.

Take a very popular genre piece like classic Star Trek’s “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” for example. It’s a story about aliens fighting forever over which half of their bodies should be black or white. Literally. But no one who watches that episode doesn’t understand the real meaning. It’s about human racism and violence.

Also, Lovecraft included a lot of white Europeans–particularly the poorer ones, often from Catholic countries like Spain or Italy–in his categories of “degenerate” and “subhuman.” Note his use of “Northern people” in the letter Rod quoted. It was a slow process for these ethnic groups to become accepted as “whites” in the United States (unfortunately it was a side effect of the backlash against the civil rights movement for African Americans and Latin Americans, I believe).

It’s worth rereading the descriptions of the Cthulhu cultists in the Call of Cthulhu. I mean, they are literally described as

“…the prisoners all proved to be men of a very low, mixed-blooded, and mentally aberrant type. Most were seamen, and a sprinkling of negroes and mulattoes, largely West Indians or Brava Portuguese from the Cape Verde Islands, gave a coloring of voodooism to the heterogeneous cult. But before many questions were asked, it became manifest that something far deeper and older than negro fetishism was involved. Degraded and ignorant as they were, the creatures held with surprizing consistency to the central idea of their loathsome faith.”

or the description of the district in the Horror at Red Hook.

" The population is a hopeless tangle and enigma; Syrian, Spanish, Italian, and negro elements impinging upon one another, and fragments of Scandinavian and American belts lying not far distant. It is a babel of sound and filth, and sends out strange cries to answer the lapping of oily waves at its grimy piers and the monstrous organ litanies of the harbour whistles. Here long ago a brighter picture dwelt, with clear-eyed mariners on the lower streets and homes of taste and substance where the larger houses line the hill. One can trace the relics of this former happiness in the trim shapes of the buildings, the occasional graceful churches, and the evidences of original art and background in bits of detail here and there—a worn flight of steps, a battered doorway, a wormy pair of decorative columns or pilasters, or a fragment of once green space with bent and rusted iron railing. The houses are generally in solid blocks, and now and then a many-windowed cupola arises to tell of days when the households of captains and ship-owners watched the sea.

From this tangle of material and spiritual putrescence the blasphemies of an hundred dialects assail the sky. Hordes of prowlers reel shouting and singing along the lanes and thoroughfares, occasional furtive hands suddenly extinguish lights and pull down curtains, and swarthy, sin-pitted faces disappear from windows when visitors pick their way through."

the racist loathing subtext is pretty much text.

Yes, many times, Lovecraft just straight up gets racist in his text. But, the real question is what to do about the more subtle stuff like Innsmouth or Mountains? It’s obvious now what these are about.

That’s why Lovecraft Country was such a great book to me. The author, speaking through one of his protagonists, writes about the horror and sadness of learning that the stories he loved as a young boy were really about him and his blackness. His essential being was the alien monstrosities that Lovecraft was writing about. How do you reconcile that? How do you continue to love that story?

More importantly for gaming, how do you base your game on that without immediately alienating a PoC audience?

Well, when running a Pen and Paper Campaign, my personal technique was to include communities/NPCs of immigrant/PoC background/origin That had nothing to do with cults/etc. So then you’re just left with groups of people who are cultists/Cthulhu things and other groups of people who are not.

If you’re looking for the textual equivalent of Soulcutter I heartily second this recommendation.