Nov. 24th, 2015

terabient: P4 Hero majestically riding a penis demon (P4: Mara)
So, the World Fantasy Award will no longer issue H.P. Lovecraft busts as an award and naturally, people are salty about this! Apparently it's the worst kind of political correctness to reconsider giving out a statue of an actual, avowed racist. This is because certain people get very upset and nervous when a dead person's fame and influence is no longer considered a 'trump' to their racism, even when that racism is explicitly expressed through their literature, as it is in the case of Lovecraft's work.

If anything, anyone who considers themselves a mindful literary critic should question why fame/genre influence trumps all other flaws in an author's writing. The objection to no longer rewarding fantasy writers with Lovecraft heads seems to boil down to "He wrote a bunch of stories about this specific idea, some were pretty good, and lots of people over the course of a long period of time liked that idea or his stories and it influenced their writing. Yes, he was a racist, and some of his passages are extremely difficult if not impossible to read if you accept on a basic level that all humans are created equal, but that doesn't mean he's an unacceptable figurehead for a general fantasy award. Have you SEEN all the Cthulhu professional fanfiction out there?"

There's a persistent idea in professional literary criticism that social issues like racism and sexism* ought not be considered when deciding the worthiness of reading or not reading an author. People who say they do not want to read authors whose works express racism or sexism are told 'but the themes/plotting/prose are so great that you should just ignore the ugly parts and take away the good!' And yet it never occurs to these critics that their thesis may be flawed, that racism in a work goes much deeper than the use of racial slurs, mocking descriptions of people of color's appearances, and calling other cultures 'savage' or 'barbaric'; that relatable themes, complex or tight plots, and beautiful or economic turns of phrase do not supercede or 'cancel out' the existence of racism/sexism. It should be acceptable to reject an author, as an award figure or as a person worth reading, based on how they portray (or refuse to portray) people of difference races or sexes--just as it's acceptable to reject them because of their prose or their plots or their themes. But no. Critics gonna cry, because not everyone loves the authors they spent their careers fellating.

Such is the horror of Political Correctness: it cares not for your prolific body of work, your level of fame nor the countless adorers of your tales--it takes all your poorly designed caricature busts away, and lays waste to your reputation! Truly it is the cruelest of the Elder Gods.

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