MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

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Eibon
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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by Eibon » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:56 pm

I’ve now listened to Bob Price’s speech. I found it innocuous. He was essentially repeating the notion in the first paragraph of “The Call Of Cthulhu”:

“…We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

He does suggest that if “The Islamic State” won the “new dark age” would be the result, and from their actions and a Rationalist perspective, that seems reasonable. Although it is not a certainty that ISIS will win.

I don’t agree on his position about Affirmative Action and Political Correctness. I don’t see dangers coming from this quarter. It is not liberal philosophy that causes people to shoot girls for wanting to be educated, or kill people in a church in the hope of inducing a race war. There is an issue about how to react to an intransigent person/organisation. You can’t negotiate with an intransigent person/organisation, so making concessions will always be one-sided. It is how belligerent people get their own way — they wear reasonable people down.

My position is pretty much that of the comedian Stewart Lee on Political Correctness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IYx4Bc6_eE (note: includes offensive words)

The problem is Price’s use of the phrase “the real life horror of Red Hook” — which produced a knee-jerk reaction, despite the fact that by using the term “real life” he is implying that Lovecraft’s story is not real. The naming of Red Hook is trigger enough.

Bob Price is not a racist, and has done considerable good. A convention based on a fantasy fiction writer might not have been the right forum for these issues, although as a horror writer, it is perhaps more appropriate to address the unpalitable than some other forums.

Lovecraft was a racist, but he is dead and there is nothing we can now do to change that. It's not worth getting heated over. He was raised in a racist culture and did change his attitudes as he matured, but regarding him as toxic for holding races views almost 100 years ago seems unsympathetic to me. It also overlooks the fact that many "good" people made racist statements at some time, consider Lovecraft's contemporaries: Mahatma Gandhi (http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/03/31/ ... ck-people/) and Winston Churchill (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wor ... ld-forget/).
Last edited by Eibon on Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by Nvision » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:59 pm

Very eloquent and informative post, Eibon! I think an important distinction needs to be made in the words Dr. Price chose to use in his speech. He specifically refers to the threat the jihadism poses to western rational society. He doesn't say "Islamism," he is referring specifically to an extremist fringe which is just as large a problem for Muslims in general. In his writings Dr. Price has spoken out numerous times about the rising tide of extremism in all religions, as well as the problems with militant atheism. I think the Red Hook comment is the crux of the problem, as it was readily associated with most of those in attendance with the racist and xenophobic undertones of the story, but not intended to be used thusly.

His assertions on the dangers of political correctness may be hyperbole, but I think this has more to do with a general ignorance on western society's part. There's simply not enough knowledge of non-Christian religions for people to feel comfortable in criticism of religion without fear of sounding bigoted. This has created a dichotomy wherein a large section of the populace engages in fear-mongering and openly racist denouncements of those religions, while the other half poo-poos any criticism whatsoever, so as not to be lumped in with those folk. Political intervention in the rise of extremist groups is almost non-existent, aside from some token military action, mainly because it's a hot-button issue, and it's essentially far removed from home (unless, of course, there are oil interests to be protected).

Racism is clearly alive and well (try playing games online when your gamertag is "Jewlicious," I was so naieve), but I'm not really seeing it in Bob Price's speech.

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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by Mindless-Focus » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:10 pm

I really have to side with Eibon and Nvision. I think people heard words they deemed offensive and did not listen to the message as a whole and took offense. In relation to Red Hook, I see what he is saying. Yeah, it might not have been the best time to say it, however, and that may have been the biggest misstep on his part. I'm really glad that Nvision pointed out Jihadism as the term he used. Most people glossed over that and don't know what that entails. Most people haven't seen the effects of jihadism and call anyone who speaks against it as an islamiphobe which is very ridiculous. what these people do to women and ANYONE who's views differs from theirs is insane. As a former combat arms soldier, I got a good eye opener. Most people haven't seen what they do. I digress though. i think there was much to do about works and people missed the point of his statements in relation to the story reference. Also, Lovecraft was a racist. At the time he was writing, it was part of the culture. No matter where you are, you couldn't throw a stone and not hit a racist no matter where in the states you were.
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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by R.J. MacReady » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:28 pm

PirateLawyer wrote:This episode had some decent stickhandling at the start. Not quite up to Pavel Datsyuk caliber though.

Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference without looking it up.

I do give MUP points for honesty in explaining why they are dodging the Price talk for the time being.
I didn't have to look it up Pirate Lawyer as my Boston Bruins have unfortunately been on the receiving end of that guy's on-ice wizardry with the puck on many occasions.

A pleasure to know there's a fellow hockey/Lovecraft enthusiast on the site.
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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by PirateLawyer » Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:21 am

R.J. MacReady wrote:
PirateLawyer wrote:This episode had some decent stickhandling at the start. Not quite up to Pavel Datsyuk caliber though.

Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference without looking it up.

I do give MUP points for honesty in explaining why they are dodging the Price talk for the time being.
I didn't have to look it up Pirate Lawyer as my Boston Bruins have unfortunately been on the receiving end of that guy's on-ice wizardry with the puck on many occasions.

A pleasure to know there's a fellow hockey/Lovecraft enthusiast on the site.
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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by PirateLawyer » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:36 pm

So I'm not wrong in guessing MUP will never have an actual "on air" discussion of the Price speech at Necronomicon 2015?

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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by Dr. Gerard » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:24 am

Wrong.
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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by Keeper Jon » Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:01 am

Yes, we've been having several off-line conversations on how to cover this topic. Who to cover it with, and how best to do it.

What we don't want to do is just blather about the event itself that sparked this debate. We want to examine the issue at the source to see what we can discern from it.

We really hope the wait will make the conversation worthwhile.

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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by PirateLawyer » Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:41 am

Keeper Jon wrote:Yes, we've been having several off-line conversations on how to cover this topic. Who to cover it with, and how best to do it.

What we don't want to do is just blather about the event itself that sparked this debate. We want to examine the issue at the source to see what we can discern from it.

We really hope the wait will make the conversation worthwhile.
Whilst I feel this topic is now much less "in the news" than it was in the immediate aftermath of the convention, it's still worth having a full and honest discussion on the podcast. So I look forward to listening to what coverage ultimately hits the airwaves, even if I do feel it's very much taken far too long to coalesce.

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Re: MUP 088 - Live, from Providence, it's MUP!

Post by Eibon » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:01 pm

Allowing things to cool down, and to consider the issues is a wise move.

I think we have two issues here. Bob Price's speech and the reaction to it, particularly the reaction from the event organisers.

I've already said that I don't find much harm in Bob's speech when considered carefully. The reaction, I do have some issues with. There seems to be a movement to label Science Fiction is elitist. We've had the World Fantasy Award debate, the cuffufle about Marvin Kaye buying Weird Tales magazine and being more conservative than the previous editor, and the general suggestion that Sci-Fi fandom needs to be less "white".

The problem here is that while I encourage diversity and alternative voices, and would argue that fantasy fiction has always been subversive and appearing to "outsiders", I also acknowledge that it is not to everyone's taste and that like Jazz music, it may have a limited audience regardless of our desire to widen that audience.

I'm aware that I'm a privileged white male and that in the past I have not been as open as I should have been. Back in the 1980s I was at a small convention with a group of friends and an excitable woman attached herself to our group. We were perfectly polite, but we were stand-offish, and today I regret that. This woman had come alone to a convention in the hope of joining a community she associated with, and we were stand-offish -- we failed her. Today I'd invite her into our group and try to engage her in the flow of conversation. But I and the world have grown older, and I'm sure there is tons of Sci-Fi written outside of Europe and America which is just as good. I have several South American anthologies, and people like Borges are important figures, even if these writers are often hidden under the label "magic realism". I think we are moving in the right direction.

I think there is a lot to talk about here, although some of it is not easy.

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