Monday, October 27, 2014

Lovecraft and the "r" word

Seventy-seven years after Lovecraft's death, lots of finger-wagging over the author's personal viewpoints, which were admittedly racist by today's standards:

Lovecraft was both an old-school New England Anglo-Saxon, as well as a product of his times (the early 20th century). He had views about African-Americans, Jews, Italians, (and probably my own Irish-American ancestors) that were less than enlightened.

There is nothing wrong with noting this, and informing readers that Lovecraft was a flawed human being. (He most certainly was.) 

There is something neurotic about obsessing on it, and endlessly wondering, "Is it still okay to read, 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'?" 

If you read all of Lovecraft's work with a fine-tooth comb, you will occasionally happen upon vaguely racist/xenophobic passages. But 98% of his work is just plain fun. We aren't talking about Mein Kampf or The Birth of a Nation here.

Lovecraft died before World War II began, in the year in which this author's grandfather was a randy sixteen-year-old boy. That was a fairly long time ago. There is no way Lovecraft, now long, long dead, can recant his racial views or make an official apology for them.

So what, really, is the point of constantly kvetching about this?

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