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What We Lose When We Eliminate Controversial Content

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Well, there you see what we lose when controversial content is eliminated out of fear of moral panic and things are watered down instead.
There's moral panic, and there's also matters of tastefulness. It's a bit hard to make a brothel be tastefully appropriate for a game marketed to kids and teenagers.
 

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Minion X

Explorer
First, background:
1) A pre-Civil War black person was subject to potential enslavement; and postwar, ostracism, redlining, denial of housing/job opportunities, etc.

2) by the “one drop“ rule, one black ancestor made you black.

3) some people with black ancestry LOOK white.

4) a white-looking person with black ancestry living as a whiter person is “passing” for white.

Which brings us to Deep Ones.

The horrifying transformation from normal looking human to disgusting Deep Ones parallels the social transformation of a normal looking white person revealed instead to being a vilified black person who was passing for white.
As I said, that sounds extremely far-fetched for a man from an old colonial family with what I assume must have been a well-documented family tree living in Rhode Island which was 99% white back in those days, but whose parents both died in mental institutions.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Lovecraft seems more popular in bookstores than he has ever been, at least in the US. Collections are in prominent locations in the store. I've seen a hardback Lovecraft collection in the Costco book section. I doubt that's down to his position as the inspiration of other writers.
Maybe it's because of the Lovecraft County show?

And honestly, it could be because of how he inspired others. Other things become popular--I pointed out two works which I know are very popular right now--and then the people who read or listen to them then want to find out what inspired their creators.
 

Minion X

Explorer
Nobody was talking about the opinions of the majority of white people in pre-Civil War America. We were only talking about the opinions of the racists. That greatly affects the percentages and absolute numbers of who thought blacks were nonhuman.
Then there was/is likely a similar number of people in medieval Prussia, India, Japan and so on who thought that the people on the other hand of the divide were not human. I don't see why this relative minority in the US with said extreme opinion would make slavery there unique.
 

Minion X

Explorer
There's moral panic, and there's also matters of tastefulness. It's a bit hard to make a brothel be tastefully appropriate for a game marketed to kids and teenagers.
My first roleplaying game featured a giant fantasy metropolis where all the traditional fantasy races and then some were crammed within the city walls and the elves looked down on everyone from their loft spires, the dwarfs lived in a walled enclave and hated outsiders, the humans were suspicious of everyone, the orcs, goblins and trolls were brutal, smelly and exploited as slave labour, and the ghouls worked as street cleaners. One of the main attractions of the city was the Street of a Thousand Pleasures, which as the name imples was a sprawl of bars, brothels and drug dens. It was called Chronopia and it was the then current edition and campaign world of Sweden's premier roleplaying game, Drakar och Demoner (or Dragonbane), the one you can see ads for on this very site, and it was marketed to the usual age category of fantasy roleplayers, though it wasn't available in ordinary toy stores at that point after Kult had caused a stir a few years back. My parents bought it for me and my father ran games for me and my friends. I don't know if some things can be tasteful, but the game was honest about slavery, prostitution, poverty, xenophobia, corruption, violence and so on.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
As I said, that sounds extremely far-fetched for a man from an old colonial family with what I assume must have been a well-documented family tree living in Rhode Island which was 99% white back in those days, but whose parents both died in mental institutions.
Again, lying about ancestry- for all ethnicities- is AT LEAST as old as America. Documents get falsified; information withheld; oral histories were incorrect. HPL wasn’t stupid, just extremely bigoted. He knew that a past ancestor might not have told the truth about their origins.

And that would be a palpable fear for someone like him. We see this in his ideological successors today. DNA wouldn’t have been the bearer of bad news, more likely a falsified birth certificate, or an omission of important information. When I traced my lineage, I found 5 unrelated ancestors of who sailed out of England…and that’s all we know about them. They could have been from England or anywhere else in the world. Being Dutch or German or French or whatever doesn’t necessarily mean you’re white.
 

Minion X

Explorer
Again, lying about ancestry- for all ethnicities- is AT LEAST as old as America. Documents get falsified; information withheld; oral histories were incorrect. HPL wasn’t stupid, just extremely bigoted. He knew that a past ancestor might not have told the truth about their origins.

And that would be a palpable fear for someone like him. We see this in his ideological successors today. DNA wouldn’t have been the bearer of bad news, more likely a falsified birth certificate, or an omission of important information. When I traced my lineage, I found 5 unrelated ancestors of who sailed out of England…and that’s all we know about them. They could have been from England or anywhere else in the world. Being Dutch or German or French or whatever doesn’t necessarily mean you’re white.
Some kind fan has been good enough to put together Lovecraft's family tree. It's not very complicated and it's quite clearly WASP. I won't comment on your lineage, but if you are a dirt-common sod like me, it likely includes any number of bastards and people who slept around, but then again we are not from a line of wealthy New Englanders who trace their roots back to Hengist and Horsa. We are both reading things into the writings of a dead man, but I find that possibility of Lovecraft being overly concerned about his ancestry very remote compared to the immediate and painfully life-shattering trauma of his parents' mental illness, which also hews closer to stories about old families with a streak of monstrosity or madness like Rats in the Walls and Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family.
 

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
I contend that Lovecraft's works are unique because he channeled his anxieties, his fears, his phobias and his prejudices into his writing and created something raw and powerful that later authors who pay homage to him cannot imitate.
So, um, I’ve got Thomas Ligotti right here. I don’t know if you’ve read any of his work? (This is emphatically not any kind of trolling. Most people, even among horror fans, haven’t.). His work does the same, channeling the intense personal horror of finding himself in which every speck of order is only a transitory illusion over primal chaos, in which “there is no one to be, nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to know”. His stories are filled with dangerous, revealing mirrors and mannequins, because they are the truth of our own selves that we can seldom bring ourselves to acknowledge except in symbols and nightmares. We are puppets of unseen forces, and we would all be better off if we’d never been born. And he means it.



(This story picks up more weight the more the reader asks just who or what the professor is, who the students are, and just what holiday they celebrate.)

Meanwhile, the morbid man keeps putting his time on earth to no good use, until in the end—amidst mad winds, wan moonlight, and pasty specters—he uses his exactly like everyone else uses theirs: all up.

I find his stories so powerful partly because he is in so many ways a better person than a Lovecraft. He doesn’t have any of Lovecraft’s fears of others’ ethnicity, gender, orientation, or social class; his despair achieves a universal scale because no hatred for any group of us. We are all in the same boat, with the same origin and fate.

And he’s brilliantly inventive, and weaves a great humor through the darkness. Nobody, I think, ever wrote a story in the form of an essay by an imaginary writer about how to write horror, who is consumed in a distinctive way by horror himself. But Ligotti did.

 



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