Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The World Fantasy Awards vs. H.P. Lovecraft

First, I want to apologize because I'm going to insert my opinion about something, instead of generating content.

As some of you might know the World Fantasy Awards have decided to no longer use the image of Howard Phillips Lovecraft for their award because he was racist.  

I'm not disputing wether the man was racist, if you've read his work you have probably come across his repugnant ideas about race.

However, I have a sad theory about this:  What if the leadership of the World Fantasy Awards looked at the press and notoriety the Hugo Awards received earlier this year and thought, "Maybe we need to get grab some of the Hugo's attention by brandishing social justice so that a backlash might ensue?"

I hope I'm wrong, but this is the Year of Being Offended and I'm sure the WFA would like some exposure.  Good or bad.

Further, while I love what Lovecraft started, how many average readers, even fantasy and sci-fi readers, have read his actual works?  I'm betting the numbers are  better than they were twenty years ago, but I'm guessing his work isn't as widespread as many of us would guess.  

Myself?  I was turned onto the Cthulhu Mythos by the Real Ghostbusters cartoon and George R. R. Martin's Wild Card anthology (yes, two decades before Westeros, I was waiting for the man to finish those books).  I mean I read King, Howard, and Lumley before I found my way to Lovecraft.  Cthulhu has been combined with nearly every genre in miniatures games, role playing games, and board games, but were a fairly small niche.

Finally, as someone who read his work, I can honestly say the man's notions of racism were so glaringly ignorant that they helped me to recognize their stupidity and invalidate them immediately.  In other words, his negative views positively helped to inspire me to be a better person.  But I didn't read Lovecraft for his views on race, but the notion that humanity is a lonely and worthless creature in a cosmos that doesn't even know they exist.

I'll add one postscript, you can't hide from or whitewash history.  If we don't learn from it, we are doomed to repeat it.  In fact, its insanity to ignore it, were merely making the same decisions and expecting different outcomes.
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