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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  ALL
42574.1 
Lovecraftian horror short. Ratched-up tension betrayed by cheesy denouement.


"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42574.2 In reply to 42574.1 
How short? We were geared up to see the feature film Color Out Of Space (Lovecraft + Cage CHEEEESIEEE  :-O ) at the cinema, but after having just watched The Gentlemen were too exhausted for a double-header.



Love this comment on YT:
 
Quote: 
-"So this one is about a farmer fighting an evil color from space." -"YES!" -"No, Nic we talked about this, you can't just say yes to any script." -"Yes, yes, yes!"
“Video games fan fired air pistol at police before being shot”
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)     
42574.3 In reply to 42574.2 
Around 40 minutes, I reckon.

I wanted to see Colo(u)r in the cinema, but I suspect I've missed my chance.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42574.4 In reply to 42574.3 
My all time favorite book* is Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness. Guillermo Del Toro was to do the movie but alas it was not to be:
 
Quote: 
“It’s very difficult for a studio to take the step of doing an R-rated tentpole movie with a tough ending and no love story, set in period, from a writer, Lovecraft, who has a readership as big as any bestseller but cannot be quantified because his works are in the public domain” -GDT






* unless it's The Collected Short Stories of O. Henry
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)     
42574.5 In reply to 42574.4 
I'm a moderate fan of Lovecraft, but having realised that he is up there with an excellent chance of winning the "most racist, bigoted, xenophobic, all-round-bastard of the C20th, Challenge Cup" and with a fighting chance of being placed in C19th one as well, I find it hard to read anything he wrote now.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42574.6 In reply to 42574.5 
Ok.
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  ALL
42574.7 
Putting the bigotry aside (if one can, and it would appear he could: he was profoundly antisemitic and married a Jewish woman. I think it illustrates that disjunct between generic bigotry and the particular), I absolutely ate Lovecraft up as a teen. Although his writing is verbose and purple, sometimes leaving him nowhere to go when the reaches the climactic moment, he was as expert as any at summoning the uncanny.

The only stories I've re-read with any regularity since those years are AtMoM, and the three key 'Dreamlands' stories, The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, The Silver Key, and Through the Gate of the Silver Key.

I've recently been banging on about the volume of short stories The King in Yellow, published in 1895 by Robert W. Chambers; but I can't remember if I banged on here on Teh. They have a distinctly Lovecraftian vibe, in spots. It's an odd read, because the first story, The Repairer of Reputations, is one of the best pieces of short fiction I've ever read - almost unbelievable in the context of its age - and the rest of the anthology goes progressively downhill.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951

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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42574.8 In reply to 42574.7 
Not simply anti-Semitic, he was also a rabid white supremacist and regarded all non-WASP people as being of lesser races. It's difficult to overstate the extent of his prejudices. It isn't only in his letters, essays and conversations, it is explicitly present in his poetry and surfaces in his fiction. It was far more accepted in his day to be openly racist, but even here his attitudes are at the extreme end. 

I don't know where to draw lines or how to treat writing by despicable people. In some cases we can't even know whether authors were good or not. I know people who can't bear to watch a film by Woody Allen or Roman Polanski. Somebody told me that they wouldn't read Graham Greene because of his attitude to disability and deformity in Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The bomb party. Then there's Roald Dahl with his anti-semitism and general unpleasantness to those he worked with, Jack London, darling of the left (all episodes of Call of the Wild currently available on the BBC) another racist who advocated genocide against the Chinese. Marion Zimmer Bradley would be a giant of women's writing in Science Fiction and Fantasy were it not for the fact that she's now known as a horrendous paedophile, procuring children for her husband and participating in rape etc. herself. And do people still hum along to the Lostprophets? Or the Smiths for that matter since Morrissey has outed himself as a For Britain arsehole? Hands up if you enjoyed the movie Ender's Game? You may have even read the book. Does it bother you that the author, Orson Scott Card, uses his money to fund extreme rightwing anti-LGBTQ groups?

But we all love Dickens, surely? David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and what Christmas would be complete without A Christmas Carol? After all, he was a kind of early socialist, a spokesman for the poor, defender of women, advocate of compassionate mental care. But he was also  an all-round bastard to his wife once he’d got bored of her and their ten children who were, it seems, all her fault. Instead of the publicly passionate social reformer, he emerges as a hypocrite and shit of the first order* with his vicious attempts to get his wife committed, slandering her in print, separating from her within the home and then forcing her out, so that he could pursue alternative liaisons.

So, I don't know and I'm not really looking for answers. Just saying as they say. And in case anybody isn't put off HPL, and fancies relaxing with a G&T to listen to some of his writing, there's a 22 hour long YouTube recording of Ian Gordon reading the entire Cthulhu "mythos". Stories are included in line with the recommendations of HPL expert Lin Carter.

*although, as Simon Callow has pointed out, it appears he repented of his bad behaviour and subsequently provided for his wife with a house, carriage and substantial allowance.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42574.9 In reply to 42574.8 
We live in interesting times.
“Video games fan fired air pistol at police before being shot”
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42574.10 In reply to 42574.8 
It's a vexed question, and any answer is, in part, relative to the beholder, I think.

The equation includes the gravity of the offence or misdemeanour(s), how long ago the artist lived, whether they 'did their time' and/or atoned; and the 'greatness' of their oeuvre. Caravaggio (manslaughter) and Lewis Carroll (sublimated paedophilia) both get away with it, I think. William Burroughs, too.

One who particularly offends me is Eric Gill; and I know it's because I always found his nudes, not just sensual, but actually quite sexy. The revelation in McCarthy's biography that he regularly abused all his children (and the poor bloody dog!) pulled that 'sexy' rug out from under me in the most disconcerting way.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42574.11 In reply to 42574.10 
Emile Nolde a Nazi (when it counted), Paul Gauguin was an asshole, Picasso was a SUPER BIG asshole, yadda.



 
“Video games fan fired air pistol at police before being shot”
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 From:  Manthorp  
 To:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)     
42574.12 In reply to 42574.11 
It works the other way around, too, I think: I maintain that Albert Speer was a genius, despite his leading role in building the Nazi and Hitler brands, because his genius was so incandescent.

"We all have flaws, and mine is being wicked."
James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks 1951
 
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42574.13 In reply to 42574.12 
I'll settle for 'evil genius'.

It's going to take a better psycho-historian than me to tease out WTF was going on their twisted minds, but whatever.
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 From:  Lucy (X3N0PH0N)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42574.14 In reply to 42574.10 
>any answer is, in part, relative to the beholder

w3rd.

So this is just going to be me rambling about how I deal with this.

I think you *have* to separate the art from the artist. Because, aside from anything else, if you don't, you're left with far less good shit. I mean Kant was a big fucking racist but we can't just throw out Kant and, presumably, everything influenced by Kant and everything influenced by *that* stuff and so on.

Exceptions for me being:

- When the enormity is present in the work itself, with a little bit of adjusting for inflation (were they a monster by the standards of their time, like).

- When the enormity operates in the same realm as the art such that it ruins/taints it (as with Gill). (This one's a bit wishy-washy. Thinkers in the sociological/political sphere who owned slaves? Moral philosophers who were racists? etc.).

- When they're living and my 'support' will help them do bad shit (I won't pay for anything where any portion of the money would go to Orson Scott Card, like).

Also it does kinda seem that being a *bit of a twat* is a prerequisite of rising to the top of one's field.

(Only yesterday I was listening to Spotify and a track I liked came on so I followed the artists or liked them or whatever it is on Spotify and then went to look them up. Turns out they're big fucking homophobes. It's always really sad.)





 
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 From:  Lucy (X3N0PH0N)  
 To:  Manthorp     
42574.15 In reply to 42574.12 
Also I think there's something to be said for embracing the imperfection of our 'heroes'. We want them to be saints but that's kinda childish - they were flawed and human.

They can be both gifted visionaries in their field *and* abhorrent monsters. Not one or the other but both, and accepting and processing that is healthy - guides us away from overly elevating them.

 
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 From:  CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  Lucy (X3N0PH0N)     
42574.16 In reply to 42574.15 
Appreciate the gift, deplore the package. A boundless capacity for evil seems to be in our dna. Knowing that, perhaps we can do better (no evidence yet).
“Video games fan fired air pistol at police before being shot”
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  Lucy (X3N0PH0N)     
42574.17 In reply to 42574.14 
There's always the risk when you start looking at German philosophers, mind you. I mean without Hegel there almost certainly would never have been a Marx, but Hegel was up there with Kant. Hegel believed that Africa wasn't even part of history and it's hard to be much more dismissive than that. As a maths teacher Wittgenstein beat small children if they didn't understand him, in one case to the extent that a boy was knocked unconscious. Heidegger has been let off the hook for being a Nazi because "everybody had to join" which doesn't explain why he joined in 1933 which was before "everybody had to join" and why some of his lesser known writing is viciously anti-semitic, even arguing in terms of his philosophy that Jews are incapable of being completely human. Nietzsche was just bonkers so that's probably OK.




 
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  milko  
 To:  ALL
42574.18 
I think about this from time to time as well. I sometimes find that when I've attempted to get over it and continue with the 'art' my enjoyment is still tempered by the knowledge and lessened even though I've logically convinced myself otherwise.

Somewhat relatedly, Nick Cave writes these incredibly thoughtful/moving/funny/interesting responses to letters from fans on his Red Hand Files site, it's a good weekly thing. Anyway this week he's responded to someone asking about old lyrics that are a bit homophobic by today's thinking.
https://www.theredhandfiles.com/do-you-need-to-change-lyrics/

And I read that and I'm like, well that's good for you Nick but you're evidently not sparing much thought for anyone on the receiving end of it here, with this clear annoyance at the current "perpetually pissed off coterie of pearl-clutchers". ANYWAY I don't think that lyric or any others of his are particularly anything to worry about, most of his work is ludicrous caricature and I'm too "normal" to be a target of any of it so it's hard to judge for sure I suppose. I just thought it was interesting at the time and then reminded of it here. "being a *bit of a twat* is a prerequisite of rising to the top of one's field" indeed, at least it helps, I think, there's the occasional exception of course.

 
milko
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 From:  Lucy (X3N0PH0N)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42574.19 In reply to 42574.17 
Yeah, Heidegger's Nazism seems to have been *quite enthusiastic*.

 
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 From:  Lucy (X3N0PH0N)  
 To:  milko     
42574.20 In reply to 42574.18 
>I think about this from time to time as well. I sometimes find that when I've attempted to get over it and continue with the 'art' my enjoyment is still tempered by the knowledge and lessened even though I've logically convinced myself otherwise.

Yeah, that's usually where I end up too.
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