Achtung! Cthulhu to be a movie?

Announced a few days ago by Modiphius:

London-based Modiphius Entertainment has signed script writer Dirk Vandereyken and director Raine McCormack to work on a film adaptation of its award-winning tabletop gaming universe Achtung! Cthulhu.

A scant week after hauling in a prestigious Silver Ennie for best writing and another one for best artwork, the Achtung! Cthulhu gaming line will now be expanded upon with a feature-length movie that will bring many of the characters presented in the roleplaying game and board game to life.

World War II, secret history, Cthulhu-worshiping Nazis – it sounds great, of course, but the people behind the project are completely unknown to me, and I doubt there will be much money involved, even with the inevitable Kickstarter next year. But I’m hopeful!

Now, how about someone also making a movie – or preferable a TV-series – based on the Arkham Horror universe…?

(Via Beasts of War and Graphic Policy.)

Oh, how I wish this could be my final word on Lovecraft’s racism

But mere words cannot express how sick and tired I am of this subject. And I fear the floodgates will yet burst open one day, and the virulent politically correct crowd will not rest until they’ve managed to utterly destroy Lovecraft’s legacy, one way or another.

The pattern is always the same. These people take some of the very worst Lovecraft quotes they manage to find, almost always from his early letters, then blatter on for a while about what a horrible racist he was – and there they stop. And by stop, I mean they don’t go any further in their “analysis.” Lovecraft said some racist things, therefore Lovecraft is more evil, hateful and despicable than Satan and Hitler combined. Case closed. It’s the fashionable opinion, nowadays, so nothing more is needed.

For the politically correcties, it’s always been about one thing and one thing only: their pathological need to show everyone else what great and noble people they are, knights in shining armour, fighting the good fight for all those poor, oppressed, down-trodden (non-white, non-male) victims everywhere, who are apparently utterly incapable of helping themselves. Is this a fair assessment? I’m arguing on the same level as the Lovecraft haters here, so they should recognize and welcome the sophistication.

But this alone is why I simply cannot endure any more of their crap – having had it forced down my throat endlessly for decades now. It’s never about literature, it’s never about the stories, it’s never about the craft of writing – it’s all about politics. And there are few things in this world I hate more than politics, regardless of what end of the full spectrum of shit we’re talking about. But Lovecraft was a white male conservative (though he changed his political stripes late in life), and it’s not exactly difficult to guess the political leanings of most of his detractors. I wish at least some of them would read something like, say, George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant,” and then bitch about that for a while, but that never happens.

Anyway, as I see it, the question boils down to this:

Lovecraft was a racist. There is no need to defend this or justify it or explain it away, it’s simply a fact. However, the reasons for his racism and how and why it manifested itself, and whether this had any bearing on his stories, are very complex questions about which lengthy studies could and maybe should be written – by people without ideological axes to grind.

My personal opinion is that Lovecraft’s racism, while often lurking in the outskirts, had a marginal impact on his stories. Lovecraft was primarily concerned with mood in his writings. Lovecraft truly understood, better than most people, the utter pointlessness and futility of human existence, and what the impact was of fully realizing this, and that is what most of his stories are trying to convey. What is mere racism compared to this cosmic outlook? But it’s exactly this kind of easy, lazy, simplistic arguing that the Lovecraft haters love, probably because it’s so easy, lazy and simplistic. It takes no effort, while at the same time broadcasting loudly in all directions what non-racists they themselves are. (And I can’t help wondering if some of these people aren’t perhaps protesting a bit too much, given the subject.)

In some of Lovecraft’s stories (although nowhere near as many as you think), you can find a detail here, a throwaway line there, that reveals Lovecraft’s racist thinking. But you cannot go from that to arguing that the story as a whole is therefore “about” his racism. That’s like saying that the entire Star Wars saga must be about race-car driving, because of Luke’s landspeeder, and the pod race in the first prequel, and other references here and there, and because we know George Lucas wanted to be a race-car driver.

The fact is, if you read Lovecraft’s stories for pure enjoyment, without knowing anything about his racism, you’d probably never even notice that there’s anything there since the racist references are so few and scattered and marginal (with some very rare exceptions). But some people are determined to see Lovecraft’s racism everywhere because they want to see Lovecraft’s racism everywhere, and they have decided even before they start reading how they are going to judge the story. And if that is not bigotry, I don’t know what is.

To clarify (futile, I know, but still): I’m not saying that Lovecraft’s racism should not be acknowledged. Of course it should, but so should everything else that also informed his stories – but it never is. At least not among his detractors, most of whom, I’m guessing, have never even bothered to try going beneath this superficial surface, to find the real author underneath.

Latest Lovecraft links (August 21, 2014)

And in honour of Lovecraft’s birthday, which was yesterday:

And finally a bunch of Kickstarters: