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Old 04-24-2017   #321
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

I understand that hopfrog read it as an attack on Joshi's character (whether or not it was meant as such is a separate issue entirely). My statement is that if he/she (no offense meant by the pronoun in my original post) objects to someone's saying that Joshi cares too much about awards, he overswings in his defense by saying that Joshi cares not at all about them. This is not uncommon with a reflexive defense of people or ideas in which one is emotionally invested (as hopfrog clearly is in the Lovecraftian universe and legacy). I seem to recall a similar situation where Joshi dismissed unequivocally as an ignoramus anyone who did not appreciate HPL as a stylist. It's like someone takes a roundhouse swing at your head and misses, but instead of simply executing a firm jab behind the ear, you take a roundhouse swing too and miss....

And of course, whether Hidden X's comment was meant as a roundhouse swing, or was merely meant as a piquant nose-tweak is a another conversation.
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Old 04-24-2017   #322
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Quote Originally Posted by Ucasuni View Post
I understand that hopfrog read it as an attack on Joshi's character (whether or not it was meant as such is a separate issue entirely). My statement is that if he/she (no offense meant by the pronoun in my original post) objects to someone's saying that Joshi cares too much about awards, he overswings in his defense by saying that Joshi cares not at all about them. This is not uncommon with a reflexive defense of people or ideas in which one is emotionally invested (as hopfrog clearly is in the Lovecraftian universe and legacy). I seem to recall a similar situation where Joshi dismissed unequivocally as an ignoramus anyone who did not appreciate HPL as a stylist. It's like someone takes a roundhouse swing at your head and misses, but instead of simply executing a firm jab behind the ear, you take a roundhouse swing too and miss....

And of course, whether Hidden X's comment was meant as a roundhouse swing, or was merely meant as a piquant nose-tweak is a another conversation.
Wait a minute. You mean to tell me there are people out there who don't think highly of Lovecraft's prose?! Shame on them (sarcasm, of course).

For the record, I think very highly of Lovecraft's prose.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 04-25-2017   #323
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

I am extremely "touchy" about S. T., who is my hero and my greatest friend, and Lovecraft, who is the reason I became a weird author. Both S. T. and HPL come under attack so often, it seems--online, that is, which seems to breed a desire to post attacks. S. T. has never discuss'd awards with me, & keeps his in a dark corner in his basement, out of sight, rather than on ye living room mantel. Perhaps I am projecting my own sentiments regarding awards onto S. T. -- the one award that I adore is ye Robert Bloch Award--a beautiful sculpture with a glowing red three-lobe burning eye! Ia!

"We work in the dark -- we do what we can -- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
--Henry James (1843-1916)
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Old 04-25-2017   #324
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

S. T. Joshi did suggest himself as the model for the World Fantasy Award but he was being satirical (a fact which seemed to be lost on Daniel Older). See the August 16, 2014 post on Joshi's blog. S. T. Joshi - Blog
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Old 04-25-2017   #325
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
I don't know what it's like to face regular discrimination and the twist in the stomach they talked about. How can one say for sure if someone's overreacting? It seemed most black people (who must be the most uncomfortable with Lovecraft) who talked about it wanted the change. How could I say how they should reasonably feel?
Well, to start with, Lovecraft is now an internationally recognized author who has a popular readership in dozens of languages: if the whole of his fiction was as intrinsically racist as some critics lead on, this universality is rather inexplicable.

In my own case, I started reading Lovecraft as a teenage who was regularly physically assaulted for being Jewish and from a racially mixed, immigrant household (my mother is Polish and the father who raised me was Egyptian Sephardi). My feelings upon reading The Horror at Red Hook was only a sense of disappointment that Lovecraft shared an attitude that I encountered pretty much everyday. I shrugged and moved on to Lovecraft's better work.

I'm not going to bother tangling with issues of subjectivity here - I think people can have unreasonable emotions and responses, but fair enough: the major problem here is individuals invoking the royal we when discussing their own feelings. I can understand someone disliking Lovecraft because of his racism, but treating Lovecraft's work itself or even praise of his literary accomplishments as a racist affront contradicts my own experiences with the racial diversity of his fans.
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Old 04-25-2017   #326
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

I can relate to touchiness at least - I have no personal investment in the WFA myself, but I keep getting drawn back to the issue because I find some of the opinions intellectually exasperating. There was a Strange Horizons editorial on the subject that lectured about reading too much Lovecraft ("literary chocolate") because of his racism, but then had the balls and tone deafness to state that Shakespeare "at least humanized" Shylock. The Merchant of Venice was a conversion story where Shylock's "humanization" was part of him repenting of both his Jewishness and supposedly Jewish traits - and setting aside matters of interpretation, the play itself was historically used as Anti-Jewish propaganda, hence "shylock" becoming a common slur for Jews.

It's the hypocrisy in cases like these that lead me to suspect that much of the controversy over Lovecraft has more to due with protecting the literary canon from pop culture than a genuine concern with racism. Even Daniel Older quickly switches tracks from Lovecraft's racism to umbrage over Lovecraft's prose and apathy towards his characters emotional and domestic life - the latter being exactly why people like myself find Lovecraft original and refreshing.

Last edited by Speaking Mute; 04-25-2017 at 06:52 PM..
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Old 04-25-2017   #327
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

It can be an overused term, but might there be an element of "virtue signalling" in all this anti-Lovecraft talk?

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Old 04-25-2017   #328
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Personally I have become such an elitist wanker that I flat out do not enjoy discussing Lovecraft outside of this group of TLOers. There are so many misconceptions elsewhere that it feels like they're discussing a different writer.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
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Old 04-25-2017   #329
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Staaz View Post
It can be an overused term, but might there be an element of "virtue signalling" in all this anti-Lovecraft talk?
Ya think??

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Old 04-25-2017   #330
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Re: Octavia E. Butler against Lovecraft (World Fantasy Award).

The controversy was playing out differently in different places with different reasons given. It's tricky trying to sum up the main motives of so many different groups, because I doubt many were there to see all of it. There definitely would have been some virtue signalling but there was plenty of sincerity too.
Again, Sofia Samatar was one of the people who started this controversy and she teaches HPL stories and encouraged people to read him but still felt uncomfortable with the statue. She's very intelligent and it seems like she's a very fine writer.

It is possible that there were some people who don't get HPL, are a bit exasperated with his popularity and jumped on the bandwagon with more enthusiasm for that reason.

HPL's reputation probably makes people more apprehensive about the stories and maybe their reading is influenced by that.

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