Posts Tagged ‘racism’

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Puppies, Politics, and Gay Dinosaur Sex in Space

August 25, 2016

So … this is still going on:

The Hugo Award℠ logo.Watching Hugo voters choose “no award” instead of their nominees did not teach the Puppies Catholic virtues like humility or grace, however. Instead, many became consumed with rage. If they couldn’t take over the Hugos, the next step was to destroy them.

(Marcotte)

Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Shadow Over Lovecraft

November 23, 2015

It is true I hold a soft spot for H. P. Lovecraft; his stories are among those that made me want to write. It is an unfortunate history, then, fraught with caveats; this is the problem:

First, Lovecraft―who wrote “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Colour Out of Space” and other influential tales of madness and “sentient blob[s] of self-shaping gelatinous flesh”―is one of weird fiction’s most celebrated authors. He is enshrined in the Library of America.H. P. Lovecraft Stephen King calls him “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” The author of the novel “Psycho,” Robert Bloch, once wrote, “Poe and Lovecraft are our two American geniuses of fantasy, comparable each to the other, but incomparably superior to all the rest who follow.”

Second, as Lovecraft’s letters―and, to a lesser extent, his stories―reveal, the guy harbored a fierce loathing for almost all non-WASPs. Blacks were “greasy chimpanzees,” in Lovecraft’s words. French-Canadians were a “clamorous plague.” New York’s Chinatown was “a bastard mess of stewing mongrel flesh.” And so on.

Phillip Eil’s explanation, for Salon, of the final distribution of Howards for the World Fantasy Award does, indeed, follow the gravity of the tale. It only goes downhill from there.

We can try making what excuses we want; he was a misanthrope, he was crazy, he was an extreme product of something whatnot whonow … er … right. It’s possible to do the five stages; I recommend skipping tracks to acceptance. Then again, neither do I know how many of the generation that comes after me even bothered with Lovecraft, so maybe my own years of reflecting on the question really are as useless as they have always felt.

Still, though. Sigh.

No, no, I’m not fretting for the trophies. It’s just, you know, it’s just one of those, This is why we can’t have nice things! feeling. Lovecraft, Koestler, Cosby. Sometimes it just hurts to face up to what all goes into the art we love, y’know?

But it’s true, he was a miserable, sickly, repulsive sort of genius.

―bd

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Image note: H. P. Lovecraft in undated photo via Wikimedia.

Eil, Phillip. “The ghost that haunts American literature: The genius & the repugnance of H.P. Lovecraft”. Salon. 21 November 2015.

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I Beg Your Pardon?

April 6, 2015

Huh?At an unfortunate intersection of literature and politics, we find Phillip Sandifer:

The Hugo Award Nominations have just been successfully hijacked by neofascists.

Oh. My.

There is an underlying fundraising appeal, so, you know, something, something, Burt Ward. Still, though: Really?

I mean, it’s one thing to say that’s a heck of a statement, and things only go downhill from there, but the idea that woman suffrage and evolutionary racism still haunt literary awards is at least a little unsettling.

―bd

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Notes:

Sandifer, Phillip. “The Day Fandom Ended”. PhillipSandifer.com. 5 April 2015.

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Psychopathology of proofreading?

April 20, 2010

Penguin Books’ Australian contingent is confused.

“We’re mortified that this has become an issue of any kind,” explained publishing head Bob Sessions, “and why anyone would be offended, we don’t know.”

Of course, what do we expect him to say? Rachel Olding explains for the Sydney Morning Herald:

Penguin Group Australia turns over $120 million a year from printing words but a one-word misprint has cost it dearly.

The publishing company was forced to pulp and reprint 7000 copies of Pasta Bible last week after a recipe called for “salt and freshly ground black people” – instead of pepper – to be added to the spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto.

The exercise will cost Penguin $20,000, the head of publishing, Bob Sessions, said. At $3300 a letter, it’s a pricey typo.

Stock will not be recalled from bookshops because it would be “extremely hard” to do so, Mr Sessions said. Copies remained on the shelves in city bookshops yesterday, selling for $20.

Mr Sessions could not understand why some readers had found the slip offensive.

Really? Is it so hard to understand, Mr. Sessions? Australia is a nation known worldwide, in part, for its racial and ethnic tensions. Many around the world view the island continent as exceptionally racist. So let’s think for a moment, shall we? Or not, because it’s really very simple. Professionally or psychologically, this just doesn’t speak well of Penguin’s Australian proofreaders. Yes, we understand that these things just happen, but some things that just happen have more severe implications than others. And blaming it on the software—

“It’s called the Pasta Bible, almost every recipe has ground black pepper in it, mostly in the same place [on each page].

“In one particular recipe [a] misprint occurs which obviously came from a spell checker. When it comes to the proofreader, of course they should have picked it up, but proofreading a cookbook is an extremely difficult task. I find that quite forgivable.

“We’ve said to bookstores that if anyone is small minded enough to complain about this very … silly mistake then we will happily replace [the book] for them.”

—and then insulting people who might be offended at the suggestion of racist cannibalism in a cookbook doesn’t help, either.

-bd