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whitechapel essay
Posted by: Lopf (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2005 03:16AM
boy did that essay make me uncomfortable.

okay. i love HPL and CAS. i also accept that they were sickeningly racist, and i do not apologize for that racism as does herr whitechapel (apt name, whitechapel).

1. to begin, i find it extremely odious that "liberal" has become such a dirty word that it can be used to justify racism. herr whtechapel seems to be saying that, since liberals are so offended by racism, it can't be all that bad, because we all know how rotten liberals are. shame on you herr whitechapel.

2. herr whitechapel throws out a couple of naked statistics and uses them to make sweeping generalizations about an entire race of people. 3% of americans are jews, 30% of american billionaires are jews; therefore, the stereotype about jews and money must be true. but that's just one interpretation of this stark datum. you could just as easily interperet it to mean that jews have no special affinity for money but gentiles are simply very stupid when it comes to financial matters.

and: most of the russian oligarchs are jews, therefore the jew/money stereotype is true? come on. get real. 100% of russian oligarchs were russian, so that must mean russians are even more greedy than jews--according to herr weisskapel's reasoning, that is.

3. the "all stereotypes are based in truth" argument is simply repulsive and ignorant and can be dismissed out of hand.

4. the most mind-bending twist of logic comes near the end, when herr whitechapel justifies the stereotype that jews are ugly by saying a). postmodern prose is jewish prose; b). postmodern prose is ugly; therefore c). jews are indeed ugly. wow.

herr whitechapel's syllogism is invalid, because: a). since when does postmodern prose belong strictly to jews? are pynchon, coover, and borges jews? barthleme? b). postmodern prose is not ugly. again, i cite pynchon, coover, borges, and barthleme, who have written some of the most beautiful postmodern fiction in the canon. c). even if "jewish" postmodern prose were ugly, ugly prose does not an ugly people make.

seriously. let's get real. we're just going to have to come to terms with the fact that some of our favorite artists of the past were flaming racists. it sucks, but let's deal with it rather than apologize for it.

let's also remember who put whom into the ovens at auschwitz, and cut the jews a little slack even if one of their number did try to screw CAS out of some cash.

--mike

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2005 01:36PM
Two or three anti-Semitic references in personal (i.e., private) letters, as is the case with Ashton Smith, do not, in my opinion, a "sickening racist" make. Such sloppy, emotion-driven hyperbole is precisely what provides fuel for such comments as Whitechapel makes in his apologia. I also think that we have to allow for the possibility that Whitechapel is simply trying to be provocative here. Also, based upon your repeated references to him as "Herr Whitechapel", I would respectfully suggest that you are not exactly taking the rhetorical high road, either.

What I find most absurd about Whitechapel's latest critical offering is his claim that Ashton Smith is not a "poet pur sang" (whatever that means). It appears that, like so many decadent moderns, Whitechapel is ill-equipped intellectually to grapple with formal verse. Therefore, his strategy is to mask this deficiency and to pretend that the fault lies with Ashton Smith, instead. Whitechapel accomplishes this by dismissing Ashton Smith's poetry as "versification", and then concocting a contorted rationale for his prejudice; viz., that it is more diffcult to write poetic prose--never mind the fact that such prose has been with us since the era of the Bible--than it is to write poetry in verse.

The simple fact is that, as a young person, Whitechapel appears to have been besotted by Ashton Smith's fantasy tales--not a bad thing, by any means. That fact becomes ridiculous only when the author goes to extremes to rationalize his subjective preferences.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 1 May 05 | 01:38PM by Kyberean.

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2005 03:46PM

Mr. Whitechapel's article is indeed worthy of criticism on several counts -
The comments in CAS correspondence about "Jews" was very much in the same tenor as was that of Old Joseph Kennedy, and other Irishmen who had emerged from potato famine emigre status to Robber Baron in a couple of generations - resentment against treatment by the apparantly "moneyed" classes of the early 19th century persisted for a long time - however, Clark was no anti-semite when I knew him -- quite the contrary indeed --

additionally (and I confess to giving up attempting to read the article seriously)
where WC at once labels Clark an anti-semite and a necrophiliac in the same sentence,
only to immediately modify the remark, gives evidence of the sophomoric level of his work -

Perhaps these are papers he is doing in a Freshman English class somewhere?

Not worth being too concerned about.
Dr. F

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Lopf (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2005 03:36AM
<Two or three anti-Semitic references in personal (i.e., private) letters, as is the case with Ashton Smith, do not, in my opinion, a "sickening racist" make.>

sorry. i just find racism sickening. didn't at least one of the CAS's anti-semitic references (private or not) quoted in the essay at least turn your stomach?

<Such sloppy, emotion-driven hyperbole is precisely what provides fuel for such comments as Whitechapel makes in his apologia.>

i don't see it as sloppy, emotion-driven hyperbole. you're getting a little hyperbolic yourself. like i said, i just find racism sickening. calm down. i love CAS, despite his racism (which i find sickening).

okay, maybe i exaggerated a little. how about let's use "somewhat nauseating racism" and call it even? i'll even buy you a beer to make it up to you.

but when we have that beer, please, don't under any context use the word "apologia."

<I also think that we have to allow for the possibility that Whitechapel is simply trying to be provocative here.>

sure. he does provoke.

<Also, based upon your repeated references to him as "Herr Whitechapel", I would respectfully suggest that you are not exactly taking the rhetorical high road, either.>

you're right, and, obviously, it wasn't my intention to take any rhetorical high road. it was straight-out racist bashing, no question about it. this is an internet forum, not a doctoral thesis. but thanks for being respectful.

(at one point i substituted "herr weisskapel," which i think was a nice touch. maybe kapel has two p's, but i nearly flunked german so who knows. but you didn't mention it, so i wanted to make sure it wasn't overlooked).

actually, i was making a point. the same mere "provocative" justifications for anti-semitism allow regular folks (like the german population in the 1930's & 40's) to consent to atrocities committed by their government against whole races of people--dehumanize them, turn them into The Other, and you can do what you want to them.

i'm not saying this kid doesn't have the right to express his opinions. he has his beliefs, and god bless him for it. but come on! jews are, in fact, greedy because 5 of 7 russian oligarchs were jews? if you're going to talk like a nazi, be prepared to get treated like one. herr whitechapel, indeed.

--mike

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Lopf (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2005 03:49AM
<What I find most absurd about Whitechapel's latest critical offering is his claim that Ashton Smith is not a "poet pur sang" (whatever that means)[...etc]>

i dig. i too found the convoluted lit crit a little hard to follow.

but this brings me to the more general criticism of CAS's poetry. there seems to be a lot of negative criticism, and much of it based on the formal nature of his poems. it kind of all boils down to, "tsk, tsk, didn't CAS realize he was writing in the twentieth century?" funny, because you don't see such criticism aimed at robert frost, or any of the myriad other formal modern poets.

i, for one, am a great admirer of formal poetry, and it was one of the things that attracted me to CAS's work when i first discovered him. bring on that iambic pentameter, baby.

--mike

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2005 10:23PM
Quote:
<Such sloppy, emotion-driven hyperbole is precisely what provides fuel for such comments as Whitechapel makes in his apologia.>
i don't see it as sloppy, emotion-driven hyperbole. you're getting a little hyperbolic yourself. like i said, i just find racism sickening. calm down. i love CAS, despite his racism (which i find sickening).

We'll just have to agree to disagree here. I think that it is both sloppy and hyperbolic to label CAS a "sickening racist" on the basis of a handful of private remarks. I'm also not sure that I'm the one who needs calming!

Quote:
okay, maybe i exaggerated a little. how about let's use "somewhat nauseating racism" and call it even? i'll even buy you a beer to make it up to you

Fair enough! I would actually have had no quarrel with your comments if you had referred to CAS's statements as "sickeningly racist" (although, again, I may not have taken matters quite that far). The way your first sentence reads, though, you're calling CAS himself by that epithet; that's where I had difficulty. Anyway, no need to make anything up to me; I'm certainly not offended!

Quote:
but when we have that beer, please, don't under any context use the word "apologia."

I can't make any promises. Lol. I speak pretty much the way I write....


Quote:
i'm not saying this kid doesn't have the right to express his opinions.

It's interesting that both you and calonlan imply that Whitechapel is a callow youngster. Whatever else he may be, he is not that. I've been occasionally reading, but mostly ignoring, his writings for some time now. Whitechapel has written fiction and critical essays for"transgressive" and "extreme" publications such as the British magazine Headpress (now defunct, I think? Perhaps not.). Given the interests he has expressed in these and other writings (his surname pseudonym is something of a giveaway), I've always thought of him more as a sort of Oxbridge version of Peter Sotos than as someone who would take a vivid interest in the writings of Clark Ashton Smith. Therefore, his interest in both CAS and this Web site has surprised me, to say the least. (He does seem to avoid this forum, though, I've noticed, unless he posts here under yet another pseudonym, which I rather doubt). I know nothing of his politics, although his dislike for liberalism shines through clearly enough in the article that you mention. Based, however, on other things I know or believe about him and his works--which, I'm sorry to say, I cannot repeat here for fear of libel--I would not necessarily assume that he is sincere or serious in any of his published opinions, and his musings on the subject of CAS are to be taken "with a salutary pinch of saline seasoning", to quote, or at least paraphrase, CAS.


I've nothing to add to your remarks about the poetry, except to say that I agree completely.




Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Mikey_C (IP Logged)
Date: 4 May, 2005 10:33AM
It's really quite sad, isn't it, that a couple of unfortunate, exasperated comments in CAS's private corespondence can be made public in this manner and turned into a full-blown apology, indeed justification for and celebration of the most unashamed and vicious anti-semitism.

Look at the way Whitechapel tries to draw us in and seductively sell his vile ideas. Does it tell us anything about CAS? No. Should it be on this site? No.

As we all know, Robert E Howard wrote worse - but would his fans (of which I am one) want to read a 21st Century celebration of the lynch mob? I think not. The internet, unfortunately, is full of sites where you can go to read hate speech, if that's what turns you on. I suggest that Whitechapel be asked to up sticks and go where he'll be appreciated.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 4 May 05 | 10:35AM by Mikey_C.

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: L. Stearns Newburg (IP Logged)
Date: 6 May, 2005 07:25PM
I think I would have to concur with Mikey_C's take on the unfortunate essay by Mr. Simon Whitechapel.

The essay starts out more or less reasonably, with an apparent thesis that I was at least willing to entertain for its duration (although I didn't agree with most of it). Then, it took a bizarre turn into the twilight zone...

I can only theorize that Mr. Whitechapel was taking a deliberately revisionist / contrarian / transgressive stance -- presumably to be provocative -- and that the essay got away from him. The alternative, that he genuinely means what he wrote, would excite contemptuous hilarity, were it not so vile.

That www.eldritchdark.com gave a soapbox to Mr. Whitechapel in this instance seems regrettable.

Mes 10 centimes.

LSN

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 7 May, 2005 08:05AM
Mikey_C Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's really quite sad, isn't it, that a couple of
> unfortunate, exasperated comments in CAS's private
> corespondence can be made public in this manner
> and turned into a full-blown apology, indeed
> justification for and celebration of the most
> unashamed and vicious anti-semitism.
>
> Look at the way Whitechapel tries to draw us in
> and seductively sell his vile ideas. Does it tell
> us anything about CAS? No. Should it be on this
> site? No.

I tend to agree that Mr. Whitechapel is using CAS as a stalking horse for the promulgation of his ideas, regardless of what merit they may or may not possess. You correctly observe that we learn little about Smith, but much about Mr. Whitechapel.
>
> As we all know, Robert E Howard wrote worse - but
> would his fans (of which I am one) want to read a
> 21st Century celebration of the lynch mob? I
> think not. The internet, unfortunately, is full
> of sites where you can go to read hate speech, if
> that's what turns you on. I suggest that
> Whitechapel be asked to up sticks and go where
> he'll be appreciated.

Regarding REH, I suggest you read my essay "Twilight of the Gods: Howard and the Volkstumbewegung" in THE BARBARIC TRIUMPH, ed. Don Herron (Wildside Press, 2004), for a discussion of just this issue.
>
Best,
Scott Connors

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: L. Stearns Newburg (IP Logged)
Date: 9 May, 2005 01:19PM

Examining Whitechapel's site, it is clear that he believes what he wrote. Go take a look, and note the links.

So the people who manage this site have permitted it to be associated with anti-semitic hate, and even provided them a forum. This tars Eldritch Dark with the same brush, and by extension, anyone who posts to this site.

Very, very bad, not to say irresponsible. :-[

LSN

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 9 May, 2005 05:59PM
Here is the URL for the only Web site that I can find for Simon Whitechapel:

[www.geocities.com] .

There, I see only two sections: One that deals with mathematical oddities, and another that contains links to unpublished stories by Saki. Neither of these sections contains any invidious content that I can see. On the other hand, I use a Macintosh computer, and it is entirely possible that the site does not display correctly in my Web browser. There may also be another site of his that I missed. Please provide more information regarding the site and the material that you mention.

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: L. Stearns Newburg (IP Logged)
Date: 9 May, 2005 07:51PM

Take a look here: [web.onetel.com] and note in particular the links to the White Aryan Resistance, among other unsavory sites.

I'm not looking at this site very often, and I'm now very reluctant to post here (even with a pseudonym), as I expect it to start showing up on google when people do random searches for things like anti-semitism and W.A.R.

LSN

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 9 May, 2005 07:58PM
L. Stearns Newburg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > Examining Whitechapel's site, it is clear that
> he believes what he wrote. Go take a look, and
> note the links.
>
> So the people who manage this site have permitted
> it to be associated with anti-semitic hate, and
> even provided them a forum. This tars Eldritch
> Dark with the same brush, and by extension, anyone
> who posts to this site.
>
> Very, very bad, not to say irresponsible. :-[
>
> LSN

Insomuch as I am pretty much an absolutist when it comes to Free Speech issues, I must object to the suggestion that Boyd's allowing Whitechapel's essay to be published here tars the site with his views. They pretty well speak for themselves, and are not going to convince anyone of the validity of his position who is not already so predisposed. I fully support the marketplace of ideas, and have no fear that his views are going to make me start whistling the Horst Wessel Lied in the shower. Frankly, matters of political correctness tend to excite a streak of contrariness in me.
I would, however, suggest that Mr. Whitechapel's essay is not really about Smith, but is rather about using Smith to promote the validity of his position, in much the same way that the Nazis used Tibetan folklore and the legend of Atlantis to promote their idea of Aryan supremacy. As such, I would hope that Boyd would exercise a little more editorial discretion in excluding material that is only, and I emphasize _only_, tangently connected to Smith.
Scott Connors


Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: voleboy (IP Logged)
Date: 9 May, 2005 10:58PM
I don't know what Simon believes, nor do I profess to. In our correspondence, white supremacy has never reared itself, nor has racism; he has expressed a dislike of criticism which, though I understand why from his emails, I don't share. We're comfortable, I feel, in disagreeing on that.

I am aware of his site, and his links made to various groups I don't agree with. If I expected him to agree totally with me, I wouldn't consider him a friend (albeit not as close as some, I consider hima friend at least).

I don't care for or about his linking to National Alliance, or White Aryan Resistance, but I recognise that he may do so for reasons other than confessed allegiance. But what I do care about is looking only at those links disagreed with, and not looking holistically at his collected links, as indicative of the inherently beautiful complexity of himself, as a man and human being.

If you curse him, for his links to the far right, you curse also the British Library, the common swift, cave art, art, Richard Dawkins, and Esperanto. That idea is absurd, inanely ludicrous.

I accept Simon as a friend, and in doing so I accept that he displays interests at variance, and sometimes in discord to my own. I accept that, and I support that. I might not like what he has to say, and I have the right to respond to that, but I will not acceed to any calls to muzzle him because he said something that got me in a tizzy. I would rather have him, than someone with the integrity of a masticated tardigrade.

My 10c.

*Author of Strange Gardens [www.lulu.com]


*Editor of Calenture: a Journal of Studies in Speculative Verse [calenture.fcpages.com]

*Visit my homepage: [voleboy.freewebpages.org]

Re: whitechapel essay
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 10 May, 2005 12:50AM
Quote:
If you curse him, for his links to the far right, you curse also the British Library, the common swift, cave art, art, Richard Dawkins, and Esperanto. That idea is absurd, inanely ludicrous.

Agreed. I see these links as being far more indicative of an interest in the extremes of human behavior than I do as a manifesto of personal allegiance. I also agree, however, that the Ashton Smith essay under discussion takes Ashton Smith's views as a starting-point for a discussion that is ultimately tangential to the author himself.

[Hypocritically Tangential Aside: Myself, I do curse Richard Dawkins, though. ;-) Suggest to this mechanical-minded twit that science is not necessarily the measure of all things, and then see how many shades of apoplectic red his face registers! I imagine that CAS's views on the subject would induce an infarction....]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10 May 05 | 12:54AM by Kyberean.

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