mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

Oh happy day

Given that I'm working on a cold-- or working on not having a cold, which involves sleep, dope, water, and bowel-tolerance levels of vitamin C-- imagine how happy I was to show up at work and discover three guys away, including the Logistics Baby, and two of the remaining seven acclimatising with their mothers. No need for a fourth body, so the fourth body took herself down Huron for more dumplings and afternoon reading.

(The Logistics Baby is the happy shrieker whose logistics mess up our ratios, since he needs to feed and sleep when he needs to feed and sleep and not a moment later. Otherwise he shrieks unhappily, which actually sounds the same, and sets all the other children off. I love him, but if this were repeated tomorrow, I should not be sorry.)

Gaiman's A Study in Emerald is indeed excellent. If the other ones in the book manage to not-engage with Lovecraft in the same fashion, I will be happy indeed. My problem with Lovecraft's 'horror' is that there's no there there. He uses bumpf words-- 'unspeakable, hideous, abominable, depraved, degraded'-- that mean nothing by themselves. Describe an atrocity, call it abominable, and I'll agree. But without the concrete fact the word has no weight. Lovecraft's horrors are not horrible and his abominations are not abominable, because I've never seen anything beyond a mention of pale white bodies in the dark. Yeah well, fat white worms are yucky, but scarcely abominable.

For me the horror in Lovecraft comes from Lovecraft himself. His bumpf words are also value judgment terms; they're also shitfit words, spluttered by some hysteric who feels his values being threatened. I know what Lovecraft's values were. I know what things he felt were degraded and horrible: anything that wasn't an Anglo-Saxon male. So the stories turn inside out for me: the horror and claustrophobia, the unspeakable thing that writhes in the dark, the heavy threatening doom, is Lovecraft's own racism, misogyny and anti-Semitism: everything unhuman, uncivilized, and savage that led to the real horrors of the 20th century. After that, what's there to get worked up about in a bunch of giant octopi?

(Even in the late 50s and early 60s, when people wrote horror stories, they were as likely to invoke Belsen and Auschwitz as demons and zombies. I'm still surprised that vampires should be considered part of the horror genre. Fantasy, pure fantasy. Horror comes from the fact that it can happen and has happened.)
Tags: reading_13, rl_13, writing
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