Or an arguably justifiable fear that a more qualified one that otherwise would have been kept out by racism will replace them. They say less qualified as a egotistical balm, but in talking with them that’s not what they are really afraid of.
To be fair, all children were dressed like this when Lovecraft was a child - at least if they were upper or middle class and respectable. This was not in anyway considered weird.
That doesn’t mean his family wasn’t screwed up, just that this is not evidence of it.
His mother dressed him like that past the “socially acceptable age” and wept when his grandfather made her cut his hair and dress him in boy clothes.
I believe that’s a myth about his early life, actually. It seems like his mother was rather withdrawn after his father’s death and Lovecraft seemed to suffer most from isolation as a child and she died rather early in his life as well:
More details, that he was overprotected (according to this scholar, at least):
Oddly enough, he created a world where “racism made sense”, but in the end he seemed to cast humanity as a whole in the role of the primitive African faced with the reality of British Colonialism. If there is a chosen people, then we, humans of any race, are certainly not them, as even the british-style aristocratic characters end up being stupid and primitive and prone to fall to the corruption of dark forces in comparison to their “betters”.
Also, humans themselves are all eventually killed off and replaced by a superior species of beetle. (who then get killed off by an invasive psychic colonizer that only failed to kill off humanity because we literally weren’t good enough for them)
It very well could be a myth, even though it wasn’t that long ago it’s still hard to verify any information from then. I do believe that there is evidence of an unhealthy, Norman Batesy relationship with his mother though.
Not from the (admittedly limited) scholarship I’ve seen on him. The early 20th century was not that long ago, either. There seems to be a rather health field in Lovecraft studies:
Note, I didn’t deny he had a problematic relationship with his mother, but just that he was not forced to wear dresses past the “acceptable” age. It’s clear from what I read that his mother had real issues (due to his father’s infidelity and death) where she was overprotective of Lovecraft, but also distant.
I don’t think he was forced to wear anything, in fact letters that he wrote he implies that he enjoyed the time he was unbreached and that it helped his self-esteem
Then why post the picture from his childhood dressed in what we’d deem “feminine clothes”? I guess I’m unsure as to what connection that has to the mental illness in his family and how that impacted his work and especially, his racism.
On the racism issue, I don’t think his views were outside of the mainstream thinking on race at that time. There were lots of mainstream views on race that conform with Lovecraft’s racism. Eugenics was a mainstream “science”, employed by all manner of people across the politcal and social spectrum, and it was the absolute nadir of race relations in America. I think maybe the question is how well does Lovecraft’s racism REFLECT his times.
I always thought it was interesting the exact manner in which he was racist as well: He described the English, the Spanish, and the Jews as all being of “superior blood and breeding”, while he seemed to hold those of Irish, German and African descent in contempt.
Because he was adorable.
All babbies are adorable! Except that one kid on Seinfeld! He was a Lovecraftian horror!
The sad thing is that the misconceptions about Affirmative Action are so pervasive that they’ve worked their way up to people in management positions, which lead to it being true to a certain extent. One recent conversation I had was with my brother-in-law who was training a woman to be an industrial electrician. He gets paid well, and it’s because the job is extremely dangerous. The company is so worried about being sued that if an unqualified but “minority” candidate walks in, they’ll probably get the job. As he puts it, she had no aptitude for it, she was going to get someone killed…but the company wouldn’t let her go, citing AA.
The most ridiculous example I can think of is one I witnessed: a company I was working for hired a woman for sales who had been working at a call center. She was good at what she did, she came from a good family, customers liked her. But she also had a lazy streak and knew the people in charge were terrified of Affirmative Action. Never have I seen anyone get away with so much. Elective surgery to reverse a tube tying, during the Christmas season, the busiest time of the year? No problem, just let us know when you’ll be back. Didn’t come to work until 11 a.m. and went home at 1 p.m. to have sex with her boyfriend and made no secret of the fact? Yeah, let’s pretend that didn’t happen. And at the same time, they fired another guy because he didn’t hit goal and everyone else was under pressure to take up the slack.
And the kicker is, as angry as they were at the situation, they never wrote her up. There are procedures for these things: if it’s a closed-door meeting, you have a witness. You put a paper in their file. There’s a company policy in place that makes it perfectly reasonable to let them go. And this happened in a state where your manager can walk up to your desk and say, “You’re fired; clean out your desk,” and that’s it, they don’t have to give you a reason.
I honestly don’t think AA was ever intended to be a bludgeon to be used to force employers to take just any POC who walks in. Hell, I know that people still don’t get hired for racist reasons. Which makes you wonder if at least half of the reason they do this crap is so they can say, “You see? Affirmative Action is bad.”
I think that Colonists, “on the sharp end”, are a study in terror. The colonial narrative is all about “taming” the colonies and keeping the “savages” under control. Reporting of the Mau Mau is full of this sort of thing.
Folks back home, of course, are safe to feel confident in their superiority.
I guess this is part of the difference between British and American experience of Colonial Horror.
The British were safely at home, enjoying the rewards of global slavery (and suffering the effects of uncontrolled capitalism), while the Americans were living the Colonist experience; surrounded by their downtrodden victims. The closest we have to that in the UK would be the Irish, I guess; reviled and feared as a chaotic and chthonic menace.
Any program will result in abuses. Which call of course for correction, not scrapping the whole program.
My experience upon hearing such stories is that they’re almost always exaggerated. Initial suspicion of incompetence often drives a tendency to overlook positive qualities and actions in minority employees while highly emphasizing the negative, while an equally automatic granting of the benefit of the doubt to majority employees often results in the opposite for them.
Bought, because I’ve been reading everything I can find of his since Sewer, GAS & Electric. Which is probably the best comedy novel with serious topics, ever. Mirage was also excellent, showing that the author can be great more then once.
Seriously, read Sewer, GAS & Electric for a great retrofuture story.
increasingly i’ve become wary of positive reviews of books on boing boing. to put it another way, i’ve been burned too many times with dullness and mediocrity clothed in the illusion of cleverness. that being said, this sounds awesome. already purchased, can’t wait for it to arrive.
It’s true that some of the racism in Lovecraft is in the eye of the beholder – as you say, viewing Deep Ones as a metaphor for the horror of mixed marriage is somewhat reaching, much as some people read Oz as a metaphor against the gold standard. But other stories of Lovecraft (eg. The Horror of Red Hook) actually are quite literally about the supposed evils of minorities.
I’m perfectly serious. I was being a little dry but not sarcastic.
Yup, it was indeed a common practice, with the clothing considered gender neutral. Here’s a photo of a very young FDR: