For this special report, Keeper Chad, Keeper Jon and Christopher Smith Adair dig in to a topic that has been simmering in the background for a year and a half. The conversation was recorded on July 27, 2016. The airing of this episode was delayed for reasons explained in the introduction, which was recorded on January 7, 2017.
On the opening night of NecronomiCon in August 2015, Mythos scholar and editor Robert M. Price delivered a keynote speech. It included comments that were controversial, provocative, and offensive to many audience members, including the convention organizers.
In Episode 104 of the MU Podcast, Oscar Rios mentioned those comments as part of the inspiration for his Heroes of Red Hook fiction anthology, which focuses on characters from underrepresented backgrounds including people of color, women, LGBTQ people, intellectual disability (among others) in Mythos fiction.
We thought this would be a good opportunity to explain a little more about what Oscar was talking about.
Thank you to those who have been asking for a discussion about this for so many months. There’s no good excuse for taking so long to get around to this, but thank you for your patience. We did try to handle it with sensitivity and depth, and it took us a long time to get there.
Please note that none of us on the show imagine that we have the final word on what Price meant or how it should be taken. Please do share your thoughts on the subject in the forum thread.
Below is a transcript of Robert Price’s comments and a video clip, as well as links to some of the material we discuss during the show.
“If we can manage to look past [Lovecraft’s] racism, we will manage to see something deeper and quite valid. Lovecraft envisioned not only the threat that science posed to our anthropomorphic smugness, but also the ineluctable advance of the hordes on non-western anti-rationalism to consume a decadent, euro-centric west.
“Superstition, barbarism and fanaticism would sooner or later devour us. It appears now that we’re in the midst of this very assault. The blood lust of jihadists threatens Western Civilization and the effete senescent West seems all too eager to go gently into that endless night. Our centers of learning have converted to power politics and an affirmative action epistemology cynically redefining truth as ideology. Logic is undermined by the new axiom of the ad hominem. If white males formulated logic, then logic must be regarded as an instrument of oppression.
“Lovecraft was wrong about many things, but not, I think, this one. It’s the real life horror of Red Hook.”
Three blog posts from Christopher on Lovecraft’s racism:
- Lovecraft in His Grave, Pondering Race
- A Brief Addendum
- Digging Up Lovecraft and Sifting Through His Remains
A 2012 blog post from Robert Price seems to be lay the foundation for his comments in 2015: Rock the Kasbah >>
Here is a round up of various reactions to – and coverage of – Price’s comments at the convention.
Well, NecronomiCon Providence (August 20–23) has come and gone, and it was a tremendous event. I fear, however, that it didn’t get off on a very good start, as the opening ceremonies featured a surprisingly lifeless and mechanical summary by Leslie Klinger of the basic facts of Lovecraft’s biography (do we really need such a recitation at such an event?), followed by a rather windy and confused polemic by Robert M. Price in which he suggested that Lovecraft would by some miracle be aligned with contemporary conservative thought and be opposed to affirmative action and political correctness! Whatever the validity of Price’s remarks (and to my mind they don’t have much validity, given that Lovecraft had become a socialist by the end of his life), this was surely the wrong place and time to air them.
This episode’s theme music is “Spy Glass” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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