The Half-Dead Poet Review: Or A Few Thoughts On Lovecraft, Writers & Racism ~ Or Maybe Should We Just Move Forward?
So today is HP Lovecraft’s Birthday. Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
The genius writer of the macabre. The master of horror and the inspiration for generations of other horror writers, movie makers, and fantasy, occult fans. The sole creator of Chtulu, a gigantic monster, God and a cosmic entity worshipped by cultists for decades.
But did I mention HP was also a white supremacist?
WHAT?! WAIT! WTF?!
HP was a favorite author of mine since I was in my early teens. The mythos. The books. So in honor of his birthday I published a quote by him on my Instagram. Shortly thereafter another writer attacked the photo post stating that Lovecraft was quote “A Racist Piece of Sh*t!”. So I was confused. Not being aware of the racism controversy I looked up the article he had sent me in reply and then read even more on the subject. But then afterward on Instagram I asked him an important question which is a relevant one which I think we as human beings of all creed’s & colors should all address. And that question is should all authors, writers or poets who have lived in the past or are a part of our past human history be held up to the light and opinion of our current beliefs or our political correctness? Should their lives, wrong considered beliefs and work now be judged or ignored or treated differently? And what about all these writers who have also lived in a different culture, time and place? Should their books be taken off the shelves of libraries because they were less than perfect or they were labeled in their lifetimes as bigots, racists fascists or worse? And in this same spirit or prejudice should all the works of Black writers, Asian writers or other indigenous peoples who’ve written manifestos, poems etc against white people be targeted or considered in the future racist as well?
So in general this is a disturbing question because if you start with one writer you basically find all of the horrible histories of other writers who walked down the same path for centuries. Ezra Pound, Charles Dickens, De Quincey, Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Edith Wharton, Celine. And the list goes on and on including that guy who even wrote that cute little poem about cats T.S. Elliot. Offensive passages, offensive remarks. Which in their own time very few people even noticed unless they were on the receiving end. So what do we as a civilization do about all this? How do we see these voices fitting in our existing time and our world? In my opinion we don’t. We shouldn’t. We’ve presently got enough issues unresolved on our plates in our own living breathing era of a walking orange racist idiot embarrassment and all his actions. We have mass murders happening in our own backyard. Snipers & shooters and all the makings of another civil war. And yes, and let’s not forget that we even have a bunch of assholes still lingering around in the more douchey corners of our society who are white supremacists that need to be imprisoned or somehow dealt with in these frightening times. But that ( at least for me) is the answer to this question. We live in the now. We write in the now. We are what we write and project unto the masses. Prejudice has been the virus of generations and like all viruses there is a cure. We as human beings keep fighting it and those who choose to spread it. And as for all the authors of forlorn and past times? As a free society we have the right to read what we wish and that freedom is the very core of our humanity. If you don’t like it? Don’t read it. We cannot erase the past. We cannot erase genius even if it smacks of other days hate or bigotry. But we can as the human race mature and learn from the lessons of our humanity’s past. The lives and situations of humanity’s past. We don’t have to repeat it. We need to change our country. We need to change our views and the views of others but this may still take even more generations to accomplish. It’s always and forever be an uphill battle and we must all be forever vigilant. We must move forward and beyond all hate.
So what are your thoughts on this topic and what are your views on past authors in history with people race problems? I’d be interested.
Oh. And by the way?
If you think my use of the word “genius” in the article was overstated when it came to Lovecraft?
Then ponder this.
Genius Al Einstein was a racist too.