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F#@k H.P. Lovecraft

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16 Oct 2018 17:00 #283161 by Michael Barnes

It's time to let Lovecraft go.

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16 Oct 2018 19:15 #283162 by rinelk
Replied by rinelk on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
Bravely written! I’m coming to realize that I change slowly, and it may take me a long time to join you. But, other than the supporting the artist bit in this particular case, because part of the reason it’s so popular is that it’s public domain, I am sympathetic to your reasons and impressed by your integrity.
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16 Oct 2018 19:42 #283164 by Deleted
Replied by Deleted on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
Brave LMAO. It's not brave to point out a cunt is being a cunt. We at the fort have already been down this road. We all recognize he was a talented artist, and also, a giant cunt.

Thanks for sharing your apparent realization that he was a racist. Not sure why you've decided to revisit this after all your defense of "separate the art from the artist", but good on you for pointing out the obvious fact that HP Lovecraft was racist AF.
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16 Oct 2018 19:59 #283165 by Michael Barnes
Replied by Michael Barnes on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
I’m always the first to admit when I’ve got something wrong, and this is one of those cases. I was wrong to use the messed up “separate the art from the artist” argument to defend Lovecraft in the past, and this is me pubically stating that I was wrong.

I think you can still acknowledge and appreciate art made by racist dirtbags. Witness Triumph of the Will or Birth of a Nation. The artistic merit can’t be denied, just like I could not sit here and tell you that Cthulhu Wars or Eldritch Horror are bad games.

But you have to acknowledge that with that artistry, there are politics and agendas that have informed their creation and creators. If you can come to terms with Lovecraft’s racism and you feel comfortable excusing or ignoring it, that is a personal decision I respect. Art does not always have to match up with our personal politics. Sometimes, it shouldn’t. But other times- as is the case here- there comes a point at which we either stop making excuses for it or we are complicit with it.

Before, my position was that I was OK with the subject matter with a clear understanding of the context of it. But now, my feeling is that there is absolutely no reason to engage with anything by Lovecraft or based directly on Lovecraft when better, more highly evolved and refined examples of this kind of horror setting exist. Examples that don’t need the excuses or disclaimers.

This is a blog post- it’s a personal statement of intent. It’s true that it’s not really fresh for those who read our forums and it’s certainly not new to anyone who has been aware of the groundswell of anti-HPL sentiment that has been rumbling around for a few years. What -is- new here is that I am making it clear that I am cutting all ties to further Lovecraft content.
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16 Oct 2018 20:18 #283166 by Black Barney
Replied by Black Barney on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
Can I still watch hentai?
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16 Oct 2018 21:12 - 16 Oct 2018 21:12 #283168 by Sevej
Replied by Sevej on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
To be honest, we at this side of the world are not familiar at all with Lovecraft. A very small number of people do (and mostly to Cthulhu, not actual Lovecraft stories), but for the most of us what we got is just the extremely mainstream end of it. I have never been a big fan (not sure what's so special about it).

But I'm also curious. Both your writing, and the dudette on the other site show no example.

Note, that I'm not asking you to *prove* that Lovecraft is racist. This is just a honest question since Lovecraft is barely known here. It's difficult to put things into frame when almost every article about it only shows a snippet here and there, and mostly just rant (tried Googled it).
Last edit: 16 Oct 2018 21:12 by Sevej.
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16 Oct 2018 21:15 - 16 Oct 2018 22:14 #283169 by boothwah
Replied by boothwah on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft

Black Barney wrote: Can I still watch hentai?


Yes, but you are still a weeb.

So here's the deal. I've never read Lovecraft. Really had no idea what/who/why is Cthulu until I got into the gaming hobby, where it is slapped on a bazillion games as duty free ip. It, as an ip, is no more attractive to me than the nameless horror scenarios in Betrayal at House or something like that.

I can enjoy Eldritch just fine. Thanks for sending it btw, Gary! My wife has surprised the heck out of me and has asked to play it 3 times in the last 2 weeks.

/that said, That was a good read, mb
//if it makes you feel any better, you all made it so I can't enjoy Puerto Rico anymore
///but I still like toilet humor, so my growth curve is slight
Last edit: 16 Oct 2018 22:14 by boothwah.
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16 Oct 2018 21:46 #283170 by jason10mm
Replied by jason10mm on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
I dunno, it's pretty easy to strip out the "fun" stuff from Lovecraft and leave the bad stuff. He is long dead and no estate is profiting off his IP so does it really matter? It's not like he can defend himself or grow as a person. You are arguing with a pile of letters and some stories.


But I agree, there are other writers of weird fiction who merit some time in the limelight and we should find and celebrate them.
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16 Oct 2018 21:46 #283171 by Colorcrayons
Replied by Colorcrayons on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
I'm symapathetic to the overall message, yet I don't understand statements like "We don't need Lovecraft".

Not because I disagree with the statement, but I disagree with the intent.

It's like removing Kevin Spacey from the Usual Suspects.

Sure, he isn't there anymore. But the entire project is no longer the same.

What I'm trying to say is that I can agree that he had bad ideas he communicated, while disagreeing, rather strongly, that ignoring him or his influence is detrimental to what you're trying to accomplish.

Ignoring history never works out well.
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16 Oct 2018 22:13 #283172 by CranBerries
Replied by CranBerries on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
This is definitely worth talking about, but don't we have a politics section for that discussion? Am I misremembering site policy?
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16 Oct 2018 22:21 - 16 Oct 2018 22:22 #283174 by Michael Barnes
Replied by Michael Barnes on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
It’s not possible to eliminate the significance of Lovecraft. He is -profoundly- influential. And yes, even important. Countless writers, illustrators, game designers, musicians, playwrights, sculptors, and other creators have been influenced by Lovecraft, and this means something. However, this does not mean that the Lovecraft canon- which includes pulp fiction stories, poems (such as the “On the Creation of N******s cited in the pic above, and piles of embarrassing correspondence should be given a free pass on their hatefulness.

But it’s not just those letters. The racism is throughout the work. His description of non-whites is consistently repellent and crude. It is true that it is keeping in line with common-at-the-time pulp standards...but we don’t have have to continue accepting those standards.

I’m reminded of something going on in comics, where folks are starting to say “hey, you know what, Robert Crumb’s misogyny, racism, and creepy pedo stuff is not really OK anymore”. Up jump the white dudes to decry erasing Crumb’s importance and influence. But the message that should be coming across is that we simply don’t need to continue to blindly venerate these creators without being bluntly honest about how fucking disgusting they are by modern standards.

I’m just not doing the whole “hey, he was a white dude in Rhode Island, it was the early 20th century, those were the times, he didn’t like shellfish” thing any more. It’s NOT Ok with me any more. But I can still acknowledge and appreciate that “Lovecraftian” is a meaningful and significant descriptor for a valid reason.

Sevej, Google “Lovecraft racism” and you’ll get plenty of direct quotes of HPL directly stating racist viewpoints. You aren’t going to find any evidence of HPL lynching someone or anything like that because the reality of it is that he was very much like today’s ultra right wing internet trolls- strong words from behind a keyboard/typewriter, but too scared and reclusive to go out and publically take action on his hatred. I understand that racism is a very different thing in Indonesia so there may be some cultural differences in how we view all of this.
Last edit: 16 Oct 2018 22:22 by Michael Barnes.
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17 Oct 2018 04:24 #283179 by Matt Thrower
Replied by Matt Thrower on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft

Sevej wrote: But I'm also curious. Both your writing, and the dudette on the other site show no example.


Actually, Barnes does show an example - the poem in the image at the top of the article.

I suggest you don't read the comment thread on the Eurogamer article, but in there the point is made that examples aren't needed because it's commonly known, and a plain fact. But if you're not familiar with his work, here are some.

"Suddenly the leader of the visiting mariners, an Arab with a hatefully negroid mouth, pulled forth a dirty, crumpled paper and handed it to the captain."

"Most of the people, he conjectured, were of Mongoloid stock, originating somewhere in or near Kurdistan—and Malone could not help recalling that Kurdistan is the land of the Yezidis, last survivors of the Persian devil-worshippers."

"He was conscious, as one who united imagination with scientific knowledge, that modern people under lawless conditions tend uncannily to repeat the darkest instinctive patterns of primitive half-ape savagery in their daily life"

- All from The Horror at Red Hook

"Soon after we were married he told me that whenever we have company he would appreciate it if there were Aryans in the majority ... When I protested that I too was one of them, he'd tell me I 'no longer belonged to these mongrels'."

- Quote from his Jewish wife, found in an autobiography

"The organic things—Italo-Semitico-Mongoloid—inhabiting that awful cesspool could not by any stretch of the imagination be call’d human. They were monstrous and nebulous adumbrations of the pithecanthropoid and amoebal;"

- Description of people living on the Lower East Side, from his letters

"The negro had been knocked out, and moment’s examination shewed us that he would permanently remain so. He was a loathsome, gorilla-like thing, with abnormally long arms which I could not help calling fore leg"

- from Re-Animator

Hopefully, that's enough to prove the point. You can find echoes of it in many of his stories which revolve around a white man pf Anglo-Saxon descent uncovering bestial vices among primitive folk of "lesser" races.

As to the article itself, while I applaud the stance, it's a horse that's bolted. The non-racist aspects of Lovecraft's work have essentially become too mainstream to be redacted, and I'm uncertain on the value of attempting to do so. Perhaps it would be better to try and openly confront the underlying racism when we have to inevitably deal with it.

But regardless of Lovecraft's vile political views, I think it's high time gaming moved on from his work simply because it's been done to death. There's nothing new in that seam and it's long past high time we moved on to more creative pastures.
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17 Oct 2018 06:04 #283181 by stoic
Replied by stoic on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
Dibs on the eventual copy of Cthulhu Wars that goes up for sale here. It's tainted with pure Lovecraftian evil, but, I know the proper rituals to dispel that evil since I live in the Louisiana swap. To make sure, I'll also have it blessed by a local African-American Voodoo high priest.

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17 Oct 2018 08:34 #283184 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft

MattDP wrote: As to the article itself, while I applaud the stance, it's a horse that's bolted. The non-racist aspects of Lovecraft's work have essentially become too mainstream to be redacted, and I'm uncertain on the value of attempting to do so. Perhaps it would be better to try and openly confront the underlying racism when we have to inevitably deal with it.

But regardless of Lovecraft's vile political views, I think it's high time gaming moved on from his work simply because it's been done to death. There's nothing new in that seam and it's long past high time we moved on to more creative pastures.


I think Matt is in the right here, on both points. Everyone is free to take what stances they want on others' creative work (there are many who won't listen to Wagner's work because of his rather virulent anti-Semitic perspective, for example), but I think moving on from HPL is perhaps more important simply because there's nothing new in continuing to perpetuate it. I say this as an enthusiastic fan of the mythos that have been built up around him and only an occasional fan of his actual writing. Both of the pieces of fiction that I've had published were in collections of Lovecraftian stories. But, like I told the editor of said works, there's nothing new here. SSDD, as it were.

I will not, however, toss away my copy of Cthulhu Wars just yet, since I haven't even had a chance to play it...
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17 Oct 2018 09:17 - 17 Oct 2018 09:18 #283186 by Hatchling
Replied by Hatchling on topic F#@k H.P. Lovecraft
Thanks, Barnes, for your always thoughtful blog and comments. It is an interesting and important topic.

So much of game inspiration comes from thoughts about the supernatural, unknown, otherworldly, fantastical, and so on. While those ideas and feelings speak to something universal and shared -- our vulnerability to forces beyond our control, our mortality, our superstitions and fears, etc -- they are also bound up with the racism, sexism (witches), anti-semetism, xenophobia and irrational hatred that turns people who are different or marginalized into scapegoats for the evils and dangers in the world and within us.

I bet there is a ton written on this, but one book that i heard about recently and what to read that sort of taps into these issues is Bunk, by Kevin Young.
Bunk, by Kevin Young. . The connection between hoaxes, superstitions and racism is there, and that can easily be extended to provide a window into how tropes about the strange and unusual in fantasy writing can belong to the same history.

I hope these problems spur the creative minds among us to use ideas of fantasy and the otherworldly to pursue a better cultural history.
Last edit: 17 Oct 2018 09:18 by Hatchling.
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