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Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Dexterward (IP Logged)
Date: 15 October, 2012 06:11PM
For anyone interested, the topic for this Friday's (10-19) Coast to Coast radio show is going to be HP Lovecraft! Of course, Coast to Coast is rather silly, but it can be fun from time to time--especially if you're working graveyard shift. Anyhow, I'm sure it won't be anything terribly new or exciting, but it is amusing to imagine what HPL would have thought about being discussed on a show that takes seriously such things as "Nazi alien technology," Roswell, and the Hollow Earth Therory!

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 October, 2012 05:09PM
Is it available online?

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Dexterward (IP Logged)
Date: 16 October, 2012 05:46PM
Sorry, English Assassin, I don't know the answer to that. However, they often have the shows up on Youtube after a few days. Not always, but a lot of the time. Of course, it will likely amount to complete fluff and nonsense! But for all that, it is pretty cool that HPL is the topic of discussion on a show that has 20 million listeners!

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: weorcstan (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 12:13AM
You can listen to it live online here: www.iheart.com/#/live/297/

It might also be broadcast via radio on a station in your area. Check the c2c web site to find out: http://www.coasttocoastam.com/

It is broadcast from 10:00pm to 2:00am Pacific Time (1:00am to 5:00am Eastern). Some of the stations listed probably also have free downloadable archives of their programming for a few days after it is aired.

I used to listen to Coast to Coast nightly before my schedule changed and I had to start keeping normal hours. The show is often annoying and sometimes unlistenable (besides being ridiculous), but it is still more entertaining than anything else on during these hours.

The author that will be interviewed wrote A Haunted Mind: Inside the Dark, Twisted World of H.P. Lovecraft. I haven’t read it, but the amazon.com reviews make it sound horrid: http://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Mind-Inside-Twisted-Lovecraft/dp/1601632193/ctoc. It sounds like a book that was written shortly after Lovecraft’s death which repeats the rumors and falsehoods that were in wide circulation then.

It is fairly easy to call in to this show and get on the air, so I hope that one or more people familiar with Lovecraft do so.

If you would like to make sarcastic remarks during or after the interview, here is a great forum for that:
http://www.coastgab.com/index.php



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 17 Oct 12 | 12:23AM by weorcstan.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Dexterward (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 01:34AM
Egad--what a shame that this bloke seems to be so ignorant! Sounds like he has just swallowed and regurgitated all the early falsehoods and cliches surrounding HPL. It really makes you wonder why in the hell someone would bother to write a biography in the first place, without having first turned over half a library of original source material--and everything else pertaining to one's subject. Good grief, a biography of someone like Lovecraft should be the fruit of at least twenty or thirty years of diligent research!

Anyhow, perhaps someone with a good Yankee accent and high-pitched voice can call in to complain about being so horribly misrepresented?!

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 01:20PM
Yes, the bloke being interviewed is BobCurran, and his book is wretchedly awful. Its first paragraph overflows with lies about Lovecraft, and then he says things like Lovecraft used to haunt the night muttering to himself and peering into lighted windows so as to frighten children! He says that Lovecraft's friendship with 15 year old Robert Barlow led to a suspicion that Lovecraft was a perverted sexual predator of young boys! I know of no one who made any such suggestion. He says that Farnsworth Wright rejected Lovecraft's stories because they were not up to par with the high literary standards of WEIRD TALES!!! And on and on and on. He has been posing as a Lovecraft expert on many such shows, and people believe his pathetic portrait of Lovecraft. Bloggers have said things like, "I'm now totally turned off by Lovecraft after having read A HAUNTED MIND." The book seems to be selling well, and Curran continues to publicize it, and so this may be doing real damage to Lovecraft's hard-won reputation. Or perhaps it is only in the odd blog-o-sphere that such damage is being done. I mean, there are plenty of reviews on Amazon that bewail what an "awful writer" Lovecraft is.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 17 Oct 12 | 01:26PM by wilum pugmire.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Dexterward (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 02:34PM
Well, I think the only solution to this, Mr. Pugmire, is for you to call in yourself when he's on the air, and open a can of "No Holds Barred, Queen of Eldritch Horror Whoop Ass" on him! Yes, that would be great fun!

On a more serious note, these "expert" mountebanks seem to be all over the Internet these days. Especially in the world of "alternative thinking." Basically, if someone has an adequate measure of pushiness, crudely-assertive ego, and a dash or two of charisma, they are pretty much guaranteed to attract a substantial following--especially among women. But then again, this is true for virtually every form of modern media: Television, popular fiction, radio, and all the rest of it: The most self-promoting and narcissistic always seem to come out on top. Whereas the talented people generally work in quiet obscurity, and don't care two damns what the world thinks of them!

However, even though this sounds like a travesty in the making, I suppose I'll still listen just out of perverse curiosity!

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 02:39PM
The idea that the personal reputation of one's favorite author needs to be "protected" is something one occasionally encounters in fan circles (notably in Robert E Howard fandom, where it poses a real problem since the subject was basically a nutcase), but never anywhere else. Authors are generally judged by what they wrote, not how they behaved in their private lives. In fact, it is not clear to me why we should be interested in what Lovecraft was like as a person at all, except insofar as he deals with it himself in his very interesting letters.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Dexterward (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 03:34PM
There's some merit to that, Jojo. I guess in the final analysis, I simply don't take myself seriously enough to suppose that I could affect the debate about HPL's posthumous reputation ONE IOTA. So I agree with you to that extent....

On the other hand, HPL himself was not averse to tilting at the occasional windmill. His fervent support of FDR and the New Deal had, I am sure, precisely NO EFFECT on the election, or on FDR's policies. But my guess is that he still went out to the ballot box and cast his vote. (Actually, I don't know this for a fact--it would be an interesting piece of trivia!) In the same way, "standing up for HPL not being a pedophile" is equally absurd and meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But by the same token, the equal meaninglessness of EVERYTHING in the grand scheme of things, is just as much a call to action as to inaction. It's all a matter of personal preference, no?

So on a mundane level, taking this guy down a peg or two for making such egregious claims (the pedophile thing really does stick in my craw!), would be roughly akin to HPL voting for FDR--or writing a ten page letter about why he was going to vote for FDR! Meaningless, yes, I'll grant you that. But fun!

Not that I intend to do anything personally. But I kind of wish someone else would.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 17 Oct 12 | 04:25PM by Dexterward.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 03:52PM
I have to admit I am not entirely immune to this sort of thing myself. For instance, I found Michel Houellebecq's idiotic book about Lovecraft really offensive. But I am able to recognize the irrationality of my instinctive response.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 05:12PM
No, I have no intention of listening. Curran posted blog after blog where he said a bunch of lies about myself, and then he deleted them all. The man is a waste of time, as is his atrocious book. Lovecraft's fascinating life is now well documented, in Joshi's books and in Lovecraft's published correspondence. The study of his life enhances the interest of, the understanding of, his magnificent oeuvre.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 17 October, 2012 11:00PM
The reasons for correcting false information, however, are numerous, whether it is one's favorite author, or the soundness of the concept of evolution, or that the earth is an oblate spheroid rather than a (relatively) flat circle.

Frankly, I don't give a hoot in hell what a bunch of half-literate nits think about HPL or any other author, as such. And as for Curran spreading such bilge... well, we still hear regurgitations of the nonsense Griswold spread about Poe even today, despite it having been exploded long since.

Yes, a writer's work should be judged on its own merits, I agree; but there are perfectly valid reasons for being interested in the life and thought of the person behind the work, including how it informs that work (and vice versa). Sometimes the person is of interest in themselves, as a complex human being. HPL apparently had this quality for no few who disliked the work itself, such as Edmund Wilson, or who found it seriously lacking, as Colin Wilson, or even some of HPL's amateur colleagues, who found themselves greatly taken with the man while finding the work not at all to their taste. And, of course, the more eloquent the person is in expressing themselves (especially on paper) when they have that sort of complexity, the more likely they are to be of interest when it comes to a number of readers. In Lovecraft's case, this is all the more so because his entire life was, in a sense, a work of art, and his letters are themselves fascinating literary documents, not only for the biographical information they hold but quite often for their qualities as literary documents, with all the rhetorical flourishes, complex structures, and brilliant turns of phrase of such. They are as consciously "written" as are many of the letters by Robert E. Howard, or those of Lord Chesterfield (where those of Hawthone, for instance, often are not).

For myself, chiefly I find such a book a pity, as an honest personal view of such a writer (positive or negative), based on fact and genuine thought, can be very insightful and informative, again beyond simple biographical data, and can add new layers of experience to the reading of that person's work. But when something is full of either deliberate falsehoods or just the result of lazy or half-assed research, then it becomes a lost opportunity to add to a body of work often interesting in itself; and yes, I find a fair amount of Lovecraftian criticism to be both thought-provoking, insightful, and at times quite well-written as well. Nothing strange in that, as much of the criticism that Poe wrote, for instance, is fascinating reading which goes far beyond the mere "review" level, and often adds insight into some of his work. Having gone through a huge amount of Poe material a little over a year ago, including as much of his criticism and letters as I could find, the way this added to my enjoyment of his work, even bringing pleasure to works which I had previously found lacking interest. It also sharply brought out the flaws in Poe's character, as well as presenting many strengths I had not known of before. In any event, it made me appreciate him as both a person and a literary artist even more than I had previously. But when someone simply lazily buys into the long-exploded myths, they cheapen the experience by making it cartoonish, hackneyed, and hypocritical, and I've little patience with that sort of thing in any field, just as (to return to an earlier analogy) I have little patience for the teaching of "intelligent design" and the like in science classes. Honest mistakes are one thing, but promulgating lies in the name of truth is something I don't tolerate well, wherever I come across it.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: weorcstan (IP Logged)
Date: 20 October, 2012 01:17PM
Here is c2c's official summary of the show:

In the first half of Friday's show, Dr. Bob Curran discussed the haunted mind of writer H.P. Lovecraft and his impact on the modern horror scene, as well as other mysteries, including the American vampire. Curran said he spent his early boyhood years reading Lovecraft and became fascinated by the scope and dark vision of his world, populated by ancient gods and supernatural forces which pre-existed Christianity. Lovecraft was a tormented individual who lacked social graces and considered himself an outsider from the rest of society, he continued. Most of his relationships were actually through correspondence, Curran noted. It is this 'apartness' that gives his work force and which has inspired other writers, he added.

Curran spoke about various vampire legends brought to America by the numerous cultures throughout history that made their way to this land. Tales of the Dutch nachtmerrie, or night visitors, can be found in New York, he revealed. In South Carolina there are vampires that can remove their skins and be driven out only by the color blue, Curran said. The Scotch-Irish of North Carolina brought with them folktales of famine wells and in Tennessee there are stories of a vampiric chair which can draw energy from those who sit in it, he reported. According to Curran, in addition to blood vampires can feed on sweat, other bodily fluids, and energy. In New Mexico, vampires appear as balls of light that can attach and draw energy from people, he cited. Curran also spoke about his upcoming expedition to a vampire's grave in Ireland.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 21 October, 2012 12:58AM
weorcstan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Here is c2c's official summary of the show:
>
> In the first half of Friday's show, Dr. Bob Curran
> discussed the haunted mind of writer H.P.
> Lovecraft and his impact on the modern horror
> scene, as well as other mysteries, including the
> American vampire. Curran said he spent his early
> boyhood years reading Lovecraft and became
> fascinated by the scope and dark vision of his
> world, populated by ancient gods and supernatural
> forces which pre-existed Christianity. Lovecraft
> was a tormented individual who lacked social
> graces and considered himself an outsider from the
> rest of society, he continued. Most of his
> relationships were actually through
> correspondence, Curran noted. It is this
> 'apartness' that gives his work force and which
> has inspired other writers, he added.

All of which shows an extremely shallow bit of research (if any). Even de Camp didn't make this sort of ridiculous mistake. Some parts of this could be said to be true in his earlier years, but even there such a view would have to be strongly qualified, as he had a number of friends in his childhood, some of whom stayed in touch with him for many years thereafter, such as Harold Munroe. As for the bit about correspondence... again, a grain of truth there, but by 1919 even that grain of truth was quickly being replaced by a growing number of social activities such as going to various amateur meetings, visiting various correspondents (as well as receiving numerous visits from them)... and by the very early 1920s he was traveling all over the place and meeting all sorts of people. That he was at times awkward with that (at least early on) does snow up in some memoirs; but that, too, faded relatively quickly, and he often became (as Edith Miniter noted) almost the life of the party on several occasions. The number of glowing reminiscences of him by people who knew him is really quite enviable; and of those who met him, with extremely few exceptions (Hart Crane for one), people were quickly charmed. Doesn't exactly sound like someone who was either "tormented" or "lacked social graces". And the misconceptions (to phrase it politely) just keep coming.

What galls me about this sort of thing is that it wouldn't even take THAT much effort to research and correct such a false image. Simply pick up Lovecraft Remembered, for example, and you can get a wide variety of views of HPL, including a hefty selection by people who met him and knew him for years or even decades. Even that one volume would quickly knock the bottom out of his claims, and it is scarcely the only such source. The main point he has reasonably right is Lovecraft's own view of himself as an outsider, but even that may be questioned, especially during his last decade, when he was constantly receiving invitations for long visits by people from all over the eastern portion of the country (at least). In an early letter he remarks to one of his correspondents how surprized he was at how many people genuinely seemed to like him; it rather took him aback, albeit pleasantly.

If someone is going to claim any sort of authority on any subject, it behooves them to actually do the work and familiarize themselves with it; otherwise they are at best lazy and at worst charlatans or liars. As I said before, honest mistakes are one thing, and can be forgiven. But deliberate obscuration or outright falsification of facts is something which deserves nothing but condemnation and ridicule. Unfortunately, when it comes to just about any subject, the majority of people are so woefully ignorant not only of the subject itself, but of how to critically assess any statements on it, that such charlatans are all too often able to get by with such hijinks, at least for a very long time....

>
> Curran spoke about various vampire legends brought
> to America by the numerous cultures throughout
> history that made their way to this land. Tales of
> the Dutch nachtmerrie, or night visitors, can be
> found in New York, he revealed. In South Carolina
> there are vampires that can remove their skins and
> be driven out only by the color blue, Curran said.
> The Scotch-Irish of North Carolina brought with
> them folktales of famine wells and in Tennessee
> there are stories of a vampiric chair which can
> draw energy from those who sit in it, he reported.
> According to Curran, in addition to blood vampires
> can feed on sweat, other bodily fluids, and
> energy. In New Mexico, vampires appear as balls of
> light that can attach and draw energy from people,
> he cited. Curran also spoke about his upcoming
> expedition to a vampire's grave in Ireland.

Re: Grandpa on Coast to Coast
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 21 October, 2012 03:44AM
Although only having read about a fourth of the way into the book, I can affirm that Lovecraft Remembered gives several wonderful first-hand statements of H. P. Lovecraft the man. Run and buy it folks!

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