MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’


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Daemon Sultan

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:13 pm

MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

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For this special report, Keeper Chad, Keeper Jon and Christopher Smith Adair dig in to a topic that has been simmering in the background for a year and a half. The conversation was recorded on July 27, 2015. The airing of this episode was delayed for reasons explained in the introduction, which was recorded on January 7, 2017.

On the opening night of NecronomiCon in August 2015, Mythos scholar and editor Robert M. Price delivered a keynote speech. It included comments that were controversial, provocative, and offensive to many audience members, including the convention organizers.

In Episode 104 of the MU Podcast, Oscar Rios mentioned those comments as part of the inspiration for his Heroes of Red Hook fiction anthology, which focuses on characters from underrepresented backgrounds including people of color, women, LGBTQ people, intellectual disability (among others) in Mythos fiction.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to explain a little more about what Oscar was talking about.

Thank you to those who have been asking for a discussion about this for so many months. There's no good excuse for taking so long to get around to this, but thank you for your patience. We did try to handle it with sensitivity and depth, and it took us a long time to get there.

Please note that none of us on the show imagine that we have the final word on what Price meant or how it should be taken. Please do share your thoughts on the subject in the forum thread.

Below is a transcript of Robert Price's comments and a video clip, as well as links to some of the material we discuss during the show.
"If we can manage to look past [Lovecraft’s] racism, we will manage to see something deeper and quite valid. Lovecraft envisioned not only the threat that science posed to our anthropomorphic smugness, but also the ineluctable advance of the hordes on non-western anti-rationalism to consume a decadent, euro-centric west.

“Superstition, barbarism and fanaticism would sooner or later devour us. It appears now that we’re in the midst of this very assault. The blood lust of jihadists threatens Western Civilization and the effete senescent West seems all too eager to go gently into that endless night. Our centers of learning have converted to power politics and an affirmative action epistemology cynically redefining truth as ideology. Logic is undermined by the new axiom of the ad hominem. If white males formulated logic, then logic must be regarded as an instrument of oppression.

“Lovecraft was wrong about many things, but not, I think, this one. It’s the real life horror of Red Hook.”


Three blog posts from Christopher on Lovecraft's racism:
A 2012 blog post from Robert Price seems to be lay the foundation for his comments in 2015: Rock the Kasbah >>

A blog post (date unknown) from Price entitled "Affirmative Action Comics" >>

Price writes about creationism and fundamentalist Christians >>


Reactions
Here is a round up of various reactions to - and coverage of - Price's comments at the convention.

Price's Facebook thread >>

RI Future: Lovecraft’s racism a tough issue at NecronomiCon Providence >>

ST Joshi's blog >>

(I'm posting ST's relevant reaction paragraph below, because it's not so easy to find on the archive page)
Well, NecronomiCon Providence (August 20–23) has come and gone, and it was a tremendous event. I fear, however, that it didn’t get off on a very good start, as the opening ceremonies featured a surprisingly lifeless and mechanical summary by Leslie Klinger of the basic facts of Lovecraft’s biography (do we really need such a recitation at such an event?), followed by a rather windy and confused polemic by Robert M. Price in which he suggested that Lovecraft would by some miracle be aligned with contemporary conservative thought and be opposed to affirmative action and political correctness! Whatever the validity of Price’s remarks (and to my mind they don’t have much validity, given that Lovecraft had become a socialist by the end of his life), this was surely the wrong place and time to air them.

Silvia Moreno Garcia >>

Post Scripts to Darkness >>

This episode's theme music is "Spy Glass" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Keeper Dan of the Miskatonic University Podcast
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Post Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:53 am

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

Better late than never gents. Looking forward to listening to the special episode and hopefully having constructive, and civil, forum discussions on this important topic.


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Post Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:41 pm

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

I'm glad to see this make it out. I will doubtlessly have more to say once I have had a chance to listen to this in full.

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Post Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:51 pm

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

I have a minor correction to something I said: The fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson actually happened in 2014, just over a year before Robert M. Price's speech, not weeks.
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Post Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:43 pm

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

Right, thanks for the correction. The shooting and resulting unrest was clearly still very fresh in national discourse. I just noticed that there had been a wave of violence on the anniversary of Michael Brown's death on August 9 and 10. NecronomiCon was August 20-23.

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Post Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:46 pm

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

I know this one was a long time in the making, but I think you've done the topic justice. I think the discussion was insightful, even-handed, and breaking things down sentence by sentence helped parse the issue more critically. With the next Necronomicon Providence just around the corner it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of effects it will have on the panel topics and tone of the convention. I'm also very keen to see who will deliver the opening keynote speech.

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Post Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

I must echo Nvision's remarks. That was my take on the report as well.

Stu

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:27 am

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

Hi guys. Actually signed up for the forums to respond to this one.

First, Christopher, Chad, and Jon, I thought you guys were pretty even-handed in this one, if even a touch too kind to Mr. Price. Chad in particular was clearly hurt by the words of a man he was particularly fond of as a writer.

The only thing I think I could add is that it might have been interesting to hear from a non-white male voice that was in the audience that day. I'm a middle-aged white dude myself, but it would have been interesting to hear the take of somebody who represented one of the many groups that Mr. Price minimized in his railing against the straw man of political correctness. I have to admit, as somebody who is politically active, some of Price's rhetoric set my teeth on edge, and I would have had a much harder time being as generous to him as you were.

The good news, as you say, is that it created Heroes from Red Hook, which I'm going to buy immediately, and I think there's a much greater realization in the community that if we're going to keep the banner of Weird Horror flying high, more non-cis white male writers need to be added to the chorus. If his words spurred that into action, it actually winds up being a net positive.

Anyway, nice job. Very impressed with your podcast in general, and this episode in particular.

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:04 am

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

I am glad that this did turn out to be fairly even handed talk, as someone who tries to keep to Martin Luther King Jr's dictum that people should be judged by their character and not religion/skin color/gender orientation.

Statements like those of Robert Price tend to annoy me, just as much as notions from the other side of politics that speak to the same basic fault, that externals should be used to judge rather than internals.
"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad, you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

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Post Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:41 pm

Re: MUP Special Report – ‘The Real Life Horror of Red Hook’

Well done, fellas. I truly appreciate your efforts on this issue.
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