Sure, but we also need to come to terms with that. Also, we probably need to move away from him and stop, well, putting him as part of the advertising.
I think a lot of people have come to terms with that. I also appreciate Van Gough even though he was deeply troubled and certainly someone that today we'd label toxic, even abusive. Coming to terms with an artist being flawed doesn't mean you have to stop appreciating their work or appreciate it differently. It just means you need to understand that about them. I mean I would love it if Lovecraft was a more laudable person and didn't have so many off-putting views on race. On the other hand, maybe to get Lovecraft that had to be there. I don't know. I do know I find the work compelling and genius, even though at times I sense his pen is directed with some hostility towards myself.
I don't think we need to move away from him, anymore than we need to move away from any of the people who contributed to literature, the arts, film, etc. I mean I love Kubrick movies but the more I learn about some of his behavior on set, the less I like him as a person. I don't feel any need to move away from the works of art he made though.
With advertising: why hide from it? His fingerprint is in so much stuff in gaming. You can sidestep that by pointing to other contributors to the Lovecraft Mythos, or by just embracing the content but refusing to mention his name. I think that is not an honest way to handle the lineage of ideas that went into things like D&D and RPGs more broadly. And if I am buying a book about the mythos in particular, I expect some mention of Lovecraft's name. He had horrible views but he is a very important part of the New England horror canon.
Yeah, I don't think him not liking me as a Catholic Frenchman is worth as much as some of his other views, either. I think we need to recognize that all of his racism is more pronounced than others. We don't share the same sort of burden that minorities might in that regard.
And that is fair, you don't have to be bothered by his views on French Catholics. I am troubled by some of the things he said about Jews, Italians and the Irish. He definitely saw the latter two at best as primitive and his views on the Jews were troubling though admittedly complicated. He seemed to be more at ease with Jewish people he felt had assimilated. And clearly Jewish people have had a heavy burden. I grew up in New England and am familiar with this kind of thinking.
Sure, but we're don't live in the Star Wars universe where tossing one guy into the power core can forgive you for destroying a planet full of people. While he may have shown some clarity in his own racism, I don't know that it really does enough.
Sure, but he didn't destroy a planet full of people. He wrote books, and he expressed some repugnant views in those books and in his personal letters to people. A lot of it was thinking that was very much of the time and place he lived. I don't think we need to say he is completely absolved, but I also don't feel the need to condemn him endlessly either. And ultimately my view is, I don't know what state his heart and mind were in when he died. Again, people change their thinking. His views seemed to have softened. I think that is an important detail about the man. But I also think it is something people can still discuss and debate.
Sure, but the point would be that Lovecraft's works are set, our future works based on his are not. People move away from his racist themes and focus on the cosmic horror, adapt and kind of mock his bad views in their new works. That's what helps make these things more acceptable: it's not Lovecraft, but the people using his work as a stepping stone to do better works that remove those things, move on from those things, or actively oppose them.
Again I think this gets at an original sin and infectious trope kind of thinking. Where simply re-using his ideas, even if the writers using them and the audience they are written for don't really associate them with anything bad racially, somehow perpetuates racism. I just don't think it does. In fact, I think a lot of our current obsession with media tropes and race is a bit of a distraction, that takes us away from fixing things in the real world. The past ten years we've devoted so much energy fighting over things like The Last Jedi. I don't think that has really helped anything. Movies play a role in our lives but much more significant are things like policy, whether housing is affordable, whether people have enough to eat, etc. I am happy to turn off my brain when I play RPGs and not think too deeply on the tropes. I just don't think they are having as big an impact on the world as folks like to think they do.
Ultimately for me, whether a trope is included in a game I play, my judgement of it is based on whether it adds to the fun, whether it is evocative and captivating and how gameable it is. Slaverly on Dark Sun is highly gaemaeble and adds a good deal of excitement to the setting. The Cthulhu Mythos and Lovecraft's writings (and his specific monsters and plots) are all some of the most gameable stuff out there. If people were repeating his thoughts on race in the process, sure that might be a problem. But I don't have an issue with including Deep Ones in a game and including some of the approaches to horror Lovecraft employed.
People can do what they want in terms of mocking his stuff. I sometimes think that isn't the best approach personally (it is very easy to mock a writer from an earlier period with outdated views, and you aren't really changing anything by doing so-----Lovecraft isn't going to change and people who hold his racist views aren't going to change). I'd much rather see people use that energy to debate actual living racists, or just use that energy to make good horror. In the end I think people should build on the mythos however they want, but I think the focus should be good storytelling. If there is room for commentary on him, fair enough. But the trouble I have with a lot of media that has come out lately is it begins with the commentary, which I think is a mistake.
Now ask: is that what people want done with Dark Sun? Are we moving on from the problematic parts but keeping the themes and aspects that are still powerful?
Again, I think if you are taking out Slavery and taking out the brutality and the whole "You must adapt and be strong to survive" the setting loses a lot of its power.