Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Profile in Fear : HP Lovecraft.

Progress continues!

I had in mind to post photos of some of my diminutive clay sculptures, but quite frankly I am finding myself reluctant. Oddly nervous about the idea perhaps, because I am acutely aware I am not terribly good at it.

Pondering this dread I was reminded of one of my favorite people to have existed, even while I feel rather bad for them. I speak of course of H.P. Lovecraft, father of Alienist horror.

The rare person who has gone through my blog here knows I am a fan already. Perhaps not of their works directly so much as the humor it has given gruesome birth to. Indeed, I've caught a measure of heat from playing C'thulhu parodies of Christmas Carols over the intercom.

Which I most certainly will not do again. Really such things are why I blame myself for the formation of the Cult of Urmgosh. Or applaud. I still don't know what to think of them myself.

I'm especially uncertain as to whether or not the entire thing is a joke at my expense... Which, if so, I will endure with grace.jerks.

But I digress, I wanted to discuss the man himself.

Born August 20th 1890, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was a sickly child that spent much of his youth home, but put the time to good use reading voraciously. His father was, theoretically, quite insane and eventually died in psychiatric care- which I don't count a certainty as psychiatric care of that period in time was a barbaric farce.

In any case this left li'l HP to be raised by his mother, two aunts and beloved maternal Grandfather Whipple Van Buren Phillips.

I cannot stress strongly enough that their name was Whipple Van Buren Phillips.

Mr. Whipple Van Buren Phillips is credited with introducing li'l HP to Horror Stories, not that they really needed the extra terror given they likely suffered from sleep paralysis and night terrors.

In light of this it's really quite amazing that he was as functional as he was. Nevertheless difficulty with higher mathematics lead him to have a nervous breakdown that prevented him from obtaining a so much as a high school diploma.

I among others can certainly sympathize.

H.P. Lovecraft is controversial in some circles by virtue of the fact that he was a bit of a bigot (though he reputedly adored his cat, named Nigger-Man and in fact had a few gay, jewish and gay jewish friends, though it is unknown if they knew his views or his theirs) There is no rational reason to loath him on this point first off because he is quite dead and beyond caring. Furthermore given the time period he lived in, precious few people weren't- making it rather silly to single him out.

What he does deserve credit for on this point is that his racism and homophobia played nicely into his alienist horror writings providing- I think- a rather novel insight. What I particularly note is that in many of his works there are people who upon 'understanding' alien threats promptly go insane.

Imagine if you grew up being taught to fear foreigners, but then some friends of yours make some foreigner friends! They tell you they're perfectly nice people, really more or less the same as you. But that is visibly false to you. They speak funny, they have different color skin, they do weird butt-stuff, they are ALIEN. What has become of your friend?! THEY MUST HAVE GONE INSANE!

Another reason not to hate H.P. besides the utterly futility of it was that the man's fears rendered him entirely self-punishing. Mr. Lovecraft so feared the unfamiliar that when opportunity knocked- he hid in the closet and pretended not to be at home.

Specifically he was offered the Editorship of Weird Tales, a publication he had submitted his stories to at length and declined because it would have required moving to Chicago. The Editorship was then given to an author whom Mr. Lovecraft had made an enemy of with his criticisms. Unfortunately said enemy, one Mr. Farnsworth Wright, was not above using his position to spite Mr. Lovecraft.

Needless, given the misery Mr. Lovecraft already endured.

Though he ultimately died miserable and poor, a joke and cautionary tale for the most part, there was some good news for Mr. Lovecraft when he was reincarnated as Stephen Colbert.

Also his name will be remembered long after most of ours will, being a legendary author. Personally I think being reincarnated as Stephen Colbert is the better deal, assuming Stephen Colbert is any less miserable personally. I could hardly know, I've never met them. Still, one hopes for the best.

Progress continues!

No comments:

Post a Comment