Another anniversary!

Today I learned from webcomic that yesterday was the anniversary of the death of HP Lovecraft in 1937.

That all caps subhead, “WROTE ABOUT ASTRONOMY,” cracks me up, although apparently it was true, he wrote a regular column for a newspaper. I guess “WROTE WEIRDLY RACIST AND NIHILISTIC COSMIC HORROR” didn’t fit the column width.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    Weirdly racist… so he would fit right in into today’s society.
    As I mentioned previously, two quite celebrated persons had their 90th birthdays yesterday.
    The fossil guano found in Oregon will be at least 66 million years, thus being contemporary with conservative ideology.

  2. numerobis says

    They do mention “weird writing” — but somehow I suspect they didn’t consider the racism to be the weird part.

  3. gijoel says

    I find Lovecraft to be hysterical, and not in the Ha-Ha way. The man was afraid of his own shadow, and he’d hate modern, multicultural life.

  4. outis says

    Truthfully, I had a decent time reading his stuff: it turns out I am a bit of a sucker for cosmic horror and such.
    As for the racism, well… it’s quite regrettably visible, with all that stuff about “mongrel races” and similar.
    He would get sniffy even about Italians (too close to Africa for comfort maybe?), which I found quite amusing. In The Haunter of the Dark there are numerous passages describing the oh-so-ramshackle Italian quarter, and the local priest is named as Father Merluzzo, that is, Father Cod. Now that really got a hearty laugh out of me, a fishy story indeed.

  5. imthegenieicandoanything says

    “Ha-ha-ha! That old racist guy from way long ago! We can piss on his gravestone and feel good about ourselves!”

    HPL – and may the Fungi from Yuggoth feed forever upon it – wasn’t “weirdly”* racist, but typically and unremarkably racist. That he moved from being the Republican voter of his youth and culture to voting for FDR and even stronger socialism (though opposed to the Marxism of that day) gets no points from the pure-at-heart non-compromisers here, I see. Use the n-word even once and the shoggoth must be thrown into the cosmic void with the iridescent ooze.

    After now decades of reading Lovecraft, I still am entertained by much of his work and act made thoughtful by some – even though the writing is clearly often ridiculous. His influence on culture is now enormous and incredibly pervasive. And the man in his letters and poetry show not some crack, dumb racist but a very caring and reasonable man, far better than most.

    Point out and reject his open racism; uncover and discuss his latent idiocy (even – especially? – when it is an active part in his stories). That’s all that’s necessary. Why pretend you’re somehow superior for such facts, though?

    Bob Newhart (and plenty of other comedians) were making a range of poisonous, gay jokes into the seventies, and MP&tFC were in blackface, not in some progressive way at all (unlike their absurd, exaggerated gay characters). At least be consistent in your puerility.

    Don’t sound like “Republicans.”

    *Except that, somehow, even in his most pedestrian moments, there’s some weird,,, odor,,, to everything HPL has ever written or been recorded as saying or doing – such is the depth of his mythos, now.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    From the obit scan: Burial will be in the family plot at Swan Point Cemetery.

    Amazingly, to me, his remains apparently remain there, unmoved and unmoving:

    Fans of the cult horror writer bought him a tombstone so that they could hang around it and leave cryptic totems.

  7. says

    He would get sniffy even about Italians (too close to Africa for comfort maybe?)…

    I’m guessing too close to the Mediterranean and to the swarthy heathens of the Arab world. Also Italian cities have lots of very very OLD buildings, which speak of very very old cultures, with dark recesses that (one could imagine) have never been plumbed by civilized men for thousands of years, and may thus be believed to contain ageless horrors beyond the ken of proper (English upperclass) society.

  8. ilr1950 says

    Given when he was born, virtually everyone of his generation would be considered ‘racist’ to one extent or another, by contemporary standards. I think that’s an odd, and essentially pointless aspect of his writings to focus on now.

  9. logicalcat says

    @8 ilr1950

    Actually he was uniquely racist even for his time. There are writings you can find of him virtue signaling progressive shit and then being confronted by his peers who know that hes racist. He himself used to remark in private to his friends and wife that he was born in the wrong time, wishing he could have been born in the past where his views on jews, minority and women were more common. Its true that at the time everyone is racist but what surprised me about learning about Lovecraft is that he was racist even for his time. Its wild.

    Still love his writings tho. Lovecraftian stuff is legend. I like how some people of color like Guillermo Del Toro are using his horror themes without the bigoted baggage but even without that I believe in separating the art from the artist.