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Old 05-20-2016   #11
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Matt, I've re-read the WSJ article and read VanderMeer's rebuttal. Both of your arguments have the potential to be simultaneously true.

Take Kafka and Lovecraft, for example. Both writers were defiant and radical experimentalists; radical and defiant enough to seemingly guarantee an eternally cult status. Yet they managed to find themselves championed by the mainstream, "Kafkaesque" and "Lovecraftian" even entering the popular colloquial.

However, especially in the case of Lovecraft, the philosophy behind the works is still not in the mainstream. Lovecraft's pessimistic materialism seems to make even a good lot of Western atheists uncomfortable; because, even though the majority of them are materialists, they still retain optimism as, for the most part, self-identified secular humanists. Not even taking into account his racism. Many people living in this neoliberal world would probably also find Kafka's involvement in anarchism and socialism unsavory. His alleged Zionism is a moot point.

This logic could also apply to William S. Burroughs.
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Old 05-21-2016   #12
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Burroughs' impact has been negative rather than positive in my humble opinion. I have seen so many people die of heroin overdoses in the past three years that I just don't enjoy reading most of his work anymore. He glorified heroin without doing it overtly enough to betray what he was really doing.

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― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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Old 05-21-2016   #13
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

I think there is a difference to be made between being part of internet pop culture and the mainstream. I think Lovecraft and Ligotti's online geekdom popularity will only grow and grow from now on to the point perhaps quotes/memes sometimes pop up on non-nerds' social media by proxy, but I find it hard to see either becoming mainstream without a significant populist movie/TV adaptation as happened with George R. R. Martin.

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Old 05-21-2016   #14
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by Prince James Zaleski View Post
I think there is a difference to be made between being part of internet pop culture and the mainstream. I think Lovecraft and Ligotti's online geekdom popularity will only grow and grow from now on to the point perhaps quotes/memes sometimes pop up on non-nerds' social media by proxy, but I find it hard to see either becoming mainstream without a significant populist movie/TV adaptation as happened with George R. R. Martin.
I think Ligotti's best bet for television exposure would be an anthology series based on the stories collected in The Nightmare Factory, seeing as how the anthology format is currently in a revival.
Or appear on Oprah...
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Old 05-21-2016   #15
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by teguififthzeal View Post
Burroughs' impact has been negative rather than positive in my humble opinion. I have seen so many people die of heroin overdoses in the past three years that I just don't enjoy reading most of his work anymore. He glorified heroin without doing it overtly enough to betray what he was really doing.
I'm sorry you had to see that, teguififthzeal. But to be fair to Burroughs, regardless of his health, he did practically revolutionize popular culture in all its forms.
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Old 05-21-2016   #16
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
Take Kafka and Lovecraft, for example. Both writers were defiant and radical experimentalists; radical and defiant enough to seemingly guarantee an eternally cult status. Yet they managed to find themselves championed by the mainstream, "Kafkaesque" and "Lovecraftian" even entering the popular colloquial.
I agree with you and Michael here. When I read the OP question I assumed mainstream meant mainstream recognition as opposed to popularity - mainstream for him would mean a status comparable to Poe, Lovecraft, Schulz et cetera.

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
However, especially in the case of Lovecraft, the philosophy behind the works is still not in the mainstream. Lovecraft's pessimistic materialism seems to make even a good lot of Western atheists uncomfortable; because, even though the majority of them are materialists, they still retain optimism as, for the most part, self-identified secular humanists. Not even taking into account his racism.
This is really a topic for a whole new post but I'm not convinced Lovecraft's philosophy was a form of pessimism or, strictly speaking, a form of nihilism, as opposed to a kind of Nietzschean aestheticism transposed to a civilisational as opposed to individual level as per the influence of Spengler (which of course is how some aspects of his racialism fit in with his over-all philosophy).

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
I think Ramsey Campbell and his fans are close enough to Ligotti. I've certainly seen reviews complaining about his work in such a way.
Fair enough if you want to cherry-pick. I wasn't implying that Campbell's ability as a writer was on the level of those other figures; only that he was one of the individuals participating in the paperback Horror boom who shared some of their less than fortunate thematic occupations e.g. supernaturalising perceived social threats in a really heavy-handed way (pedophile ghosts, psychotically strict parents, fanatical born-again preachers who turn out to be Lovecraftian spider demons).

My own opinion of Campbell is that at his best he's one of the finist urban ghost story writers there is, every bit the equal of James or Leiber, but that he's written way too much, and picked up bad habits from his stint as a pop novelist (for instance there was a period re the novels where every chapter had to end in a horror type way).
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Old 05-21-2016   #17
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
Or appear on Oprah...
Man, if he did that he would totally shut down those idiotic Oprah fans that clap and scream all the damn time. I mean, it would be awesome.

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all is done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 05-22-2016   #18
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

OW: So Thom... there seems to be a lack of women in your work.
TL: Women-protagonists, yes, but most of my stories do contain women and I at least hope I portray them as--
OW: What about MONEY?
TL: You don't know much about writers, do you?
OW: So, were you ever poor?
TL: And you run the largest book club in America!
OW: Let's talk about your philosophy. You say you're a pessimist and an antinatalist. Like the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Why is that?
TL: I've said elsewhere that the VHEM is only a philosophical ally, not necessarily a practical ally. And, well, since I was a teenager I realized that being alive inherently precludes freedom from suffering. And, since one cannot suffer if one is not born--
OW: But people are happy.
TL: I address the issue of optimism in The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, in how optimism is merely a self-induced delusion--
OW: Say what you want, Thom, but you will not insult my viewers.
TL: You could say that being critical of optimism is insulting the entire human race; your viewers just happen to be part of that demographic.
OW: Let's go to viewer questions.
Viewer 1: Mr. Ligotti, if you're so miserable why don't you stop being a hypocrite, kill yourself, and leave us to be happy because you and your followers are just bringing negative energy to the table.
*applause*
TL: Believe me, I've contemplated it seriously, and the only reason I'm here now is that I have a primal fear of death. Ironic, isn't it? But if people choose to commit suicide to escape life I cannot blame them. It is a more courageous act than most of us will ever execute.
*close up of old woman in shock*
Viewer 1: More courageous than leaving here with our high heels up your ass?
*riotous applause*
TL: You're literally threatening to assault an old man in less-than-ideal health and you have the gall to complain about me insulting your optimist faculties?
OW: Next question.
Viewer 2: I'm a mother of two. Having children is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me. I love them with all my heart and how dare you say that I, a daughter of God, am immoral for loving my children. *sobs uncontrollably, garners a few sympathetic coos from the audience*
TL: I dare say, ma'am. And again, I address these concerns in CATHR, so perhaps if we can get to those--
OW: We'll be right back.
*pull out, audience clapping; zoom in, Oprah approaching Thom with finger wagging and pointing to outside the building, much like that time Bill O'Reilly disapproved of the son of a 9/11 victim critical of the military activities of the Bush Administration; security guards escort Thom out of the building as the applause crescendoes; the footage is cut off by an advertisement for Dove shampoo*
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Old 05-22-2016   #19
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Nothing will happen.

The way it is built, mainstream media is too stupid for something like Ligotti, or anything else approaching good literature, just as it is still too stupid for Lovecraft (tentacle porn and RPGs!), Kafka (bug dudes!), Borges (Meta like Deadpool!) and all the rest. For all its glory, True Detective is already a half remembered dream because of Season 2's catastrophic mess, and other than the Penguin tome, the new Vastarien journal and a few pieces here and there, limited for the most part to collectors and connoisseurs, I don't see the good man's name becoming as known as, say, George R. R. Martin's or Rownley, or whatever her name is.

If anything, we'll probably see an increase in chic pessimism, because it is always cool to be a contrarian, and nerds confusing their inhability to get laid with deep philosophy and moral rectitude, calling themselves antinatalists while jerking it to videos of Neil de Grasse Tyson.

Anyway, people die...
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I am simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
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Old 05-22-2016   #20
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Re: Ligotti Entering the Mainstream

Quote Originally Posted by Karnos View Post
If anything, we'll probably see an increase in chic pessimism, because it is always cool to be a contrarian, and nerds confusing their inhability to get laid with deep philosophy and moral rectitude, calling themselves antinatalists while jerking it to videos of Neil de Grasse Tyson.
Nietzche seems to have succumbed to that fate.
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