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I love Grant Morrison, but...


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#21 Christian

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:16 PM

No, the Keynesian society was post-war. The liberal society was starting with the Industrial Revolution and the bourgeoisie.
The breakdown of hierarcy was the overthrow of aristocracy and the State church, and the setting up of concepts like democracy and "fluid social mobility".
Yes, there's still hierarcy, but to the the mind-set of a Lovecraft (even though he could do without the Christianity), hierarcy was breaking down and opening the door to all sorts of ideas that he didn't like, like non-white races and free love.

Yeah, it's true there's plenty of New Right influences in the world of magick, but those are pagan revivalists who don't tend to take things like Lovecraft seriously. They're concerned with Odin, Jung, and nationalism.
I'm not saying there aren't all sorts of political views who are into the occult scene.
I was saying that these writers you were speaking about were trying to sell the Left-leaning types on the Lovecraft mythology, when in its original form, it offers reactionary ideologies.

Anyway, you do see a lot of Left-leaning types getting into neo-paganism too.
Starhawk's who philosophy (for one) is blending feminism, anarchism, and paganism. You can't get into her system of magic without being able to stand Left-Wing politics.
Now, Kenneth Grant, I definitely see quite a bit of purposefully misread literalist interpretations of Crowley in a lot of his writing, and his ideas certainly do contain a lot of elitism.
Church of Satan, under LaVey, was originally all about Ayn Rand and Nietzsche.
I'm not denying the "intellectual aristocratic" or Rightist views.
And, I'm not saying that elitism must be a Right-Wing view either...
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#22 dogpoet

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:50 PM

I'd make a distinction between the wiccan thang and most other flavours of neopaganism, as that one was invented from scratch by a chap with a taste for femdom who found the occult lodges of his day far too male for his tastes. On that level, I suspect it actually provides a much needed counterbalance to the other similar groups, simply by being so comparatively new agey and fluffy.

Elitism is one of the basic foundations of any magic(k)al philosophy, and you won't get very far trying to argue that Crowley was an egalitarian who had his work misprisioned by Grant. Just look at Crowley's introduction to "Magick In Theory And Practice", for a start.

As for Lovecraft's rightist agenda, that seems to be something he was growing out of by the end of his career, and it would have been interesting to see how he'd have responded to the war and its aftermath if he'd lived another ten years. Certainly his sheer loathing of the other seems to have eased a lot between The Horror At Red Hook and At The Mountains Of Madness...

#23 Cunning Man

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:30 PM

View Postdogpoet, on 29 April 2012 - 12:22 PM, said:

View PostCunning Man, on 16 March 2012 - 01:45 AM, said:

The latter was much more of a divergence from H.P.'s fiction. [ Spoiler : Cthulhu is not Rosemary's Baby and Leng is not the fucking fourth dimension! ]  It might not deserve more readings, but it could sustain them, particularly in light of some of Kenneth Grant's writing.
Belated but, isn't that the whole point of Neonomicon? Moore's big on his chaos magick since he hit 40 (he can call it whatever the hell he wants, but it's chaos magick), and there's been an increasing movement in that over the last twenty or fifteen years to co-opt Lovecraft's imagery. The whole comic seems to have a lot more to do with Asenath Mason and her predecessors in this foolishness than it does with Lovecraft.


I'm having serious technical issues but here's a brief placeholder response.
Don't agree about Moore's magic being chaosy.  I think it's more the sort Frances Yates describes re Giordano Bruno; astrological imagery used to shift mood.  If that's done in a way that favors chaos, fine.  If it ultimately leads through a rational analysis of all symbols involved to a favor of order, fine.  Saying one ripple of effect better defines overall effect than its predecessor or later is not fine, imo.  Moore works from a certain school of art he's defined himself from identifiable sources, including symbols of all major psychological faculties, and all those factors are in play in the reader in its reception.  Lovecraftesque items may serve the story's intended goal but can't ultimately define it. BBL
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#24 dogpoet

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:38 PM

That's the whole thrust of chaos magic(k) however Phil Hine and Pete Carroll try to dress it up, is it not?

#25 Christian

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:23 PM

View Postdogpoet, on 01 May 2012 - 01:50 PM, said:

I'd make a distinction between the wiccan thang and most other flavours of neopaganism, as that one was invented from scratch by a chap with a taste for femdom who found the occult lodges of his day far too male for his tastes. On that level, I suspect it actually provides a much needed counterbalance to the other similar groups, simply by being so comparatively new agey and fluffy.

Elitism is one of the basic foundations of any magic(k)al philosophy, and you won't get very far trying to argue that Crowley was an egalitarian who had his work misprisioned by Grant. Just look at Crowley's introduction to "Magick In Theory And Practice", for a start.

As for Lovecraft's rightist agenda, that seems to be something he was growing out of by the end of his career, and it would have been interesting to see how he'd have responded to the war and its aftermath if he'd lived another ten years. Certainly his sheer loathing of the other seems to have eased a lot between The Horror At Red Hook and At The Mountains Of Madness...

No, I wasn't trying to say that Crowley wasn't elitist. My wording comes across very misappropriate there, I see. I meant that there're places where Grant reads Crowley talking about "slaves" to be literalist, for example. Crowley is obviously referencing Nietzsche.
The whole point of Crowley's philosophy is to be a member of an elite.
Robert Anton Wilson tried to rehabilitate Crowley, by pointing to his "Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law." to mean that Crowley was really sympathetic to anarchism, but that's just as naive and simplistic a view of Crowley's thought as those who pretend that he was really a Nazi.

As far as Lovecraft, I was never sure about that...wasn't it simply one writer trying to rehabilitate Lovecraft who started promoting the idea that Lovecraft converted to "Social Democracy" towards the end of his life?
Personally, it could as easily be that Lovecraft thought Roosevelt was pursuing a similar course to Hitler...FDR was sticking Japanese-Americans into internment camps, after all.
I've seen far too many rationalizations for Lovecraft's personal beliefs...especially in an essay from Robert Bloch, which I found disturbing.
Yes, Lovecraft's writing softened, but he was turning more towards Dunsany for inspiration also.
I really enjoy Lovecraft's fiction, but I have no respect for Lovecraft the person, and that's how I'll stand with Lovecraft.
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#26 dogpoet

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:29 PM

The Dunsany thing was a much earlier phase in his writing, though.
You can see a few hints that he was beginning to think he was terribly wrong and had been mistaken in some of his later letters as well.
I'm quite possibly giving the guy too much credit, but I prefer to believe that he was starting to abandon that pernicious crap and would have given up on it completely if he'd lasted a bit longer. There's a fair few precedents for American rightists abandoning the dark side when they saw what strength through joy had led to in Germany, after all...

#27 Christian

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:42 PM

View Postdogpoet, on 01 May 2012 - 07:38 PM, said:

That's the whole thrust of chaos magic(k) however Phil Hine and Pete Carroll try to dress it up, is it not?

Yes. Chaos magick doesn't necessarily mean that one favours "chaos", but is a reference to chaos theory in physics.
I'm not sure that Hine or Carroll even try to dress it up in different language than that, honestly.
It's right there on the inside front cover of Carroll's book Psychonaut, where there's a chart marking the history of magic.
LaVey's system, which predates Chaos Magic and isn't labeled as such, prefigures later Chaos Magic with its focus on symbols and use of psychological states (although LaVey concentrated on the negative emotional states).
All the tropes of what would later be called Chaos Magic can be found in LaVey. Hell, the first reference I can find to Lovecraft in a magical ritual even dates directly to LaVey.
Chaos Magic is simply post-modernism meeting the world of the occult, really.
"I wish it were fin du globe," said Dorian with a sigh.
"Life is such a great disappointment."
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#28 Christian

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:55 PM

View Postdogpoet, on 01 May 2012 - 08:29 PM, said:

The Dunsany thing was a much earlier phase in his writing, though.
You can see a few hints that he was beginning to think he was terribly wrong and had been mistaken in some of his later letters as well.
I'm quite possibly giving the guy too much credit, but I prefer to believe that he was starting to abandon that pernicious crap and would have given up on it completely if he'd lasted a bit longer. There's a fair few precedents for American rightists abandoning the dark side when they saw what strength through joy had led to in Germany, after all...

Hmm...There are?
There weren't a huge number of famous Americans who were into fascism and repented. It was mainly German-Americans who felt they shoud support their "fatherland" over their adopted homeland.
There were plenty of people involved with supporting the fascists and Nazis, but they never repented. They basically just hid the fact that they were involved with that at all, and got right along with doing what they did before. Many went on to continue supporting causes which were wrapped up in crypto-fascism, like the whole anti-Communist crusade.
The only case I can think of is Jung, who wasn't American, who initially supported Hitler, but then quickly realized that the Nazis weren't what he thought they were, and started to write anti-authoritarian messages.
T.S. Eliot never specifically came out in favour of fascism, although there's some quasi-fascist elements in his work.
Ezra Pound never recanted. He still thought the fascists were right until his death.
I guess maybe some would include Charles Lindbergh, but honestly, while he came out in support of WWII when FDR entered the war, I believe he was just interested in the fact that he could make a lot of money by taking up the war cause.
I can think of a hell of a lot more on the far Left who jumped ship and became apologists for McCarthyism and the Cold War after World War II.
There was a lot more fascist sympathy in America after World War II than during it, in fact.
The Southern Agrarian movement was slightly more quiet about the pro-Hitler stuff, but they were still writing pro-fascist work well into the 1950s (perhaps even later).
"I wish it were fin du globe," said Dorian with a sigh.
"Life is such a great disappointment."
-Oscar Wilde

#29 dogpoet

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:49 AM

A lot of American Nazi party members wised up when they saw what their fatherland had been doing during the war. They may not have been taken with the "Jew Deal", but genocide wasn't what all of them had in mind.
Charles Lindbergh famously made an ideological u turn on fascism during the course of the war as well.

#30 Christian

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:34 PM

Yeah, that part is true enough. The majority of the American Nazi Party during that period was mainly German-Americans who thought they were being loyal to the "fatherland".
There were quite a few people on the American Right who were trying to downplay the whole "Jew hate" and racialist aspect of the Nazis leading up to the US entering WWII.
Having Ford and Disney being Hitler's most outspoken popularizers over here probably didn't help their cause....
The American Nazis changed quite a bit after WWII.

Like I said, I was always doubtful about Lindbergh's motives...but most of my knowledge of his politics came from Roth, and conservatives attacked him for bias...of course, they aren't exactly unbiased sources either.

EDIT:Hmm...We've gotten about as far removed from Grant Morrison as possible now.
Shall we tie it all back together by mentioning the time that Morrison was accused of having Nazi sympathy because he deigned to write a comic series mocking Hitler?
"I wish it were fin du globe," said Dorian with a sigh.
"Life is such a great disappointment."
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#31 dogpoet

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:01 PM

It wasn't a bad comic, either.
Was that one published before or after Beryl Bainbridge's novel on a similar theme, Young Adolph? They were both late '80s, I think...

#32 Christian

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:16 PM

It was pretty funny, yeah.
Let's see....the internet tells me it was first published in 1989.
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"Life is such a great disappointment."
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#33 A. Heathen

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:13 AM

Nice to see him referred to in Animal Man again.

:-)
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#34 TimC

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:10 AM

Bainbridge's 'Young Adolf' was published in 1978. It'd be kindest to describe Morrison's strip as a postmodern homage to the novel (you could just about get away with that in the late 80s). As well as the basic plot, they share some key dialogue - which may have been taken from Mrs Hitler's 'historical' account, but I'd suspect not.
The Bainbridge book wasn't referenced at the time of the strip's publication in 'Crisis', nor in the pieces I read around the original 'Cut' publication.

#35 Christian

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:49 AM

Hmm...I know that Morrison was influenced by Bridget Dowling in writing the strip, but that's as far as Morrison's citations went.
They were both drawing from the same source material, but I haven't read Young Adolf, so that's as far as I know.
"I wish it were fin du globe," said Dorian with a sigh.
"Life is such a great disappointment."
-Oscar Wilde

#36 dogpoet

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:05 AM

Bainbridge got there first, then.
Naughty Morrison...

#37 Cunning Man

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:09 PM

View Postdogpoet, on 01 May 2012 - 07:38 PM, said:

That's the whole thrust of chaos magic(k) however Phil Hine and Pete Carroll try to dress it up, is it not?

  
  Let me preface by saying I don't use the word magick.  It and prestidigitation are both magic to me, seen from different imaginative heights.  

  Morrison doesn't seem to use art as magic, as Moore does.  Morrison makes sigils in his free time, as far as I know, to force outcomes he prefers.  Moore's stories involve forces he doesn't favor, as though he were by writing it merely performing a ceremony akin to the ancient Greek theater Weston describes in her 'From Ritual to Romance'.  To make a sigil, or to perform  many other types of ritual magic -gathering the right candles, incense, colors- is to try to increase probability of types of things happening by creating a specific mind-frame.  I'm not sure Alan Moore understands quantum physics any better than I do, which isn't really at all, but I think he and I are both subjectivists, and we would agree that anything scientists articulate with regard to the natural world is ultimately only our perception of it, and thus language.  So he can fudge a character like Dr Manhattan with a lot of tonally Taoist speech, and my History of Science professor could explain gravity to a layman like myself with the example of a sweet-smelling room drawing him to it as though he were a clump of inanimate matter sliding into thinning space.  So too, with yellow apparel, a Jovial tone, and a fictional rape, Moore tries to invoke Jupiter.  I used to try to see his types as gods dressed in modern fashion, but I now believe I had the names right and was looking for the wrong type of celestial beings.  As I said in a previous post, he takes a more astrological tack.  

  This power of invocation is the illusion which terrifies the destructive, self-entitled assholes who think they're running the world, and what more than anything else entices them.  On the one hand any runt could do it, and that's chaos in the making; but on the other, if there were some magic word that could turn everyone into mindlessly consuming war drones, I have literally no doubt the swine would flood all existent media with it non-stop, and to the best of their well-funded ability.  But how fucking infantile would that be?  I ask as someone who like every other human being on Earth has secretly craved this power, if even only as a kid playing make-believe, or an adult reciting the Charm of Making from 'Excalibur' just to see if anything would happen.  [I also ask as part of the majority that enjoys the moral superiority of not having destroyed countless lives out of a stupidly pointless, self-aggrandizing wish to rule.]  Okay, everyone's tired of the “power corrupts” trope, but how do you trust your motivations, or the strength of your character in the face of temptation?  That's the point of Veidt's line in 'Watchmen' that runs: “I've saved Earth from Hell.  Next, I'll help her towards Utopia.”  That should send up a red flag in the reader's mind.  All of this is in regard to the claim of elitism in magic.  Yes, it's noble to wish to storm Heaven, to steal the fire and bring it down to your fellow men, but what do you do when you get there?  Crowley in his Confessions said that even when Thelema was established as a global law (any day now) mankind would need guidance.  How do the teachings of the Thule Society aid something like German National Socialism?  How does socialism become fascism?  To sum it up -or at least make an exit from it- while sigil magic may aid chaos (and its nobility may in part be dependent on the fact that most people aren't very effective with it) by making everyone who uses it a valid, relevant force in the universe, beholden to no one and nothing, there exists in it the seed of true elitism, which promises a correct standard, and followers to adopt it, all of whom and one's self make up the Us that opposes Them, they of course being infidels.  

  Just as I see no magick without stage magic, no sigil needs to exist apart from representations of the forces it counters.  When Moore draws a circle, he calls all four Watchtowers: when he invokes Apollo, he also invokes Saturn and Mars, so the former may dispel them.  There is no rule-breaking without rules.  Maybe the oldest con is after all to provide people with options and let them think they're making up their own minds.  It's worked for the American government.  And of course the devil's oldest trick, to once again quote Uncle Al, is to let people rely on their own good nature.  In any case, use of Lovecraftian stuff can't define anything Alan Moore does as strictly chaos-orientated however appropriately that describes Lovecraft, because Moore really is just telling jokes, and that means showing opposite sides of each story he writes.

  BTW, A lot of people fault things I write because I try to provide my own take on things and to some extent define my own terms, and this means my posts may conflict with established dogmas, such as that of chaos, sigils, or whatever.  I only try to express my perspective.  If I seem insensitive or blunt sometimes just ignore me or tell me to fuck off.

  PPS, I haven't heard of any of the neo-pagans mentioned in this thread.
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#38 dogpoet

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 08:06 PM

I'd question that Morrison doesn't use magic in his art. Hasn't he gone on record a few times saying that was the whole point of The Invisibles?
(And the point of Veidt's line in Watchmen, iirc, is that Moore wanted a big bad he could sympathise with, rather than making it one of the right leaning psychopaths like Rorschach and The Comedian...)

#39 Christian

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:12 PM

Oh yeah. Remember The Filth? Morrison said that whole book was one big sigil to ward of some negative events that he felt were in the air at the time, both personally and globally.
He said  the series was meant to serve as a "cleansing ritual", for his own mind and the mind of society.

Well, if one actually knows the background of Thelema, the Thule Society, or National Socialism, it's easy to understand what each and every one of them are about.
None of them were a digression from what they were originally meant to be about.
The Thule Society was always, at heart, an Aryan cult.
National Socialism is what it says, government policies meant to prop up and make the nation (in that case, Germany) strong.
Crowley always meant the law of Thelema to apply to a special elite. He took his whole concept of Thelema from Rebelais. He even used the exact same name as found in Rabelais' most famous book. He also never hid the fact that he was drawing heavily from Nietzsche's philosophy. The term's root can be traced to Plato, where it means "will". Nietzsche never hid his elitist pretensions, he was always writing from the point of view of the aristocrat as against the "rabble", regardless of how some people try to rehabilitate Nietzsche today. He was writing a reforumulation of the work of Max Stirner. While Stirner was speaking to everyone with his elitism (which you can see where he laments the fact that he "alone, as an individual" has no hope of fighting the State), Nietzsche was speaking to an aristocratic minority, solely. Crowley just took the ideal of an intellectual (or spiritual) elite as opposed to Nietzsche's conservative aristocracy.
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#40 Cunning Man

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:10 PM

View Postdogpoet, on 03 May 2012 - 08:06 PM, said:

I'd question that Morrison doesn't use magic in his art. Hasn't he gone on record a few times saying that was the whole point of The Invisibles?
(And the point of Veidt's line in Watchmen, iirc, is that Moore wanted a big bad he could sympathise with, rather than making it one of the right leaning psychopaths like Rorschach and The Comedian...)


What I meant to say was that Morrison and Moore don't use it the same way in most instances.  They have different styles of art one could argue because they proceed from different styles of magic.
Veidt was oversensitive the way Lovecraft was.  It may be a noble trait, or born from a noble impulse, but the imbalance it creates is potentially harmful.  Its moral ambiguity makes sympathy with it an uncertain outcome.
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