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jaynova

I love Grant Morrison, but...

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jaynova    1

Morrison book spoilers follow...

 

Here's the link to the interview I'm referencing.

 

Rolling Stone interviewed Grant Morrison, and in the interview, Grant makes some valid points about Alan Moore. In fact, the title of this post isn't quite fair because I don't really take issue with what he said about Moore; what I take issue with is this:

 

"We know Alan Moore isn't a misogynist but fuck, he's obsessed with rape. I managed to do thirty years in comics without any rape!"

 

So that wasn't an implied rape scene in Hellblazer when the father and his friends invade the daughter's room? And I supposed Lord Fanny's rape, shown twice in the Invisibles, doesn't count? You could make the case that Ragged Robbin's rape doesn't count because it was a false memory. However, you can't write off the Crazy Jane was raped by her father off panel, and then by a stranger in a church on-panel.

 

Maybe I'm being nit-picky because I've read a lot of Morrison in the past year,so it's all fresh, but still...that's a lot of rape for someone who doesn't put rape in comics.

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Lou K    1,054

You have a point there, JNova.

 

So does GM to an extent, Alan Moore seems to always have something like that in his comics.

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Christian    735

It doesn't sound like you actually have a problem with Morrison's comment about Moore, but that you have a problem with Morrison wearing blinders and taking the moral high ground.

But, his comments about Moore are spot-on. It's gotten pretty bad with Moore.

I don't think of a Grant Morrison comic and have a rape scene come to mind. More and more, I've been finding that rape scenes have made an appearance in a large chunk of Moore's comics.

We've even had a conversation right here on this site during Neonomicon about the subject. A lot of people are noticing a trend.

It's certainly not helping Moore's creative reputation, at this point, at the very least.

 

It's like Chris Claremont's "strong women getting mind-controlled by villains" trope that has ended up making people roll their eyes at a lot of Claremont's work by this point.

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jaynova    1

It doesn't sound like you actually have a problem with Morrison's comment about Moore, but that you have a problem with Morrison wearing blinders and taking the moral high ground.

But, his comments about Moore are spot-on. It's gotten pretty bad with Moore.

I don't think of a Grant Morrison comic and have a rape scene come to mind. More and more, I've been finding that rape scenes have made an appearance in a large chunk of Moore's comics.

We've even had a conversation right here on this site during Neonomicon about the subject. A lot of people are noticing a trend.

It's certainly not helping Moore's creative reputation, at this point, at the very least.

 

It's like Chris Claremont's "strong women getting mind-controlled by villains" trope that has ended up making people roll their eyes at a lot of Claremont's work by this point.

Oh, don't get me wrong...Alan Moore's stuff these days is like if it's not League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I'm not interested. I looked at the Neonomicon a few weeks ago, and it was disgusting. I couldn't find any reason for the extended group rape scene, and I think it's a misunderstanding of what makes the Lovecraft Mythos scary. And I can't think of anything in the last ten years that Morrison has done that has had any sort of rape (Though that might be because he switched places with Kind Mob and KM is writing comics now...)

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TimC    43

And I can't think of anything in the last ten years that Morrison has done that has had any sort of rape

Batman.

 

Drugged and raped by Talia.

 

 

And Neonomicon is deserving of a more thoughtful reading, to put it mildly.

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Christian    735

No, I really don't think it is.

The ending of the book saved it from being worthless, but it's certainly not near Moore's best work.

He wrote it because he needed the money, and it shows. I'm not saying he was playing the "hack" either, as I understand he actually faced real pressure to pay the tax-man. Sometimes the real world does truly interfere with the creative process, as Kafka so brilliantly expressed in some of his fiction, and I understand that.

Jay's points are valid about Lovecraft though. Yes, he was full of neuroses, including a fear of sex, but those neuroses are what makes Lovecraft's horror work for so many. It was "unspeakable" and "blasphemous" for a reason. That's the point of Lovecraft. To take away the neuroses is to, basically, invalidate Lovecraft's horror.

Besides, isn't everyone tired of the Lovecraft pastiches by this point?

It's been going on, fullblown, since the 1970s (at least), and nearly every horror writer has dipped into it at some point in their career now.

Look, I'm a fan of Lovecraft. I'm one of the people who actually thinks he was a good writer. But, the fact remains that the people who say that he was a terrible writer do have some merit, and yet we have people literally building cults around Lovecraft's cobbled together mythos, all these years later.

The Courtyard was, at least, superior to Neonomicon.

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Cunning Man    1

Animal Man's wife almost gets raped too, but I only mention that for the sake of completeness. Morrison is an interesting writer, but a bad bullshitter. He is wearing blinders about his own work in this case, I'd agree. I can't agree about having had enough Lovecraft pastiches. The way they're done, sure. I'd take another Evil Dead 2- a Necronomicon, reanimated corpses, spirit visitation, over the top gore, dimensional vortex, insanity, invocation, giant hair-whitening monster; whether you want to call these elements alone or combined Lovecraftian -over another Neonomicon any day. 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.

Rape in Moore's work does not seem obsessive to me. Some reactions to it certainly are, and I could guess they're made for various reasons. This subject is maybe ironic on the heels of his most recent tirade about how he counts on the strong moral fiber of his fans to decide what to do where Watchmen prequels are concerned. I'll still read what he writes unless he seriously goes off the deep end because he's one of the most aware and intelligent artists working today. And he did address the rape in his work thoughtfully in that webchat I linked to in another thread.

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Avaunt    274

Batman.

 

Drugged and raped by Talia.

 

 

 

Personally I am also against rape, without worring particularly who does it to whom. And if a person sets out to disagree with someone like Morrison does with Moores recent behaviour. while it does look a little rich if they themselves have recently done same, it doesn't make their message any less correct.

 

Something that makes me really angry is Terry Moore et al with with their "Women who are laughed at may assault and murder at will, but rape is the unforgiveable act". It just pretty much rates as a particularly brutal assault to me, no different except in degree to many another assault brutes make on innocents. There is never any excuse to brutalise people, and weighing the one kind against the other is abhorrent to me. Or, you know, I could make a case that you can't compare a woman changing her mind after she gets into bed with a bloke, to , say, three guys kicking a gay man into a coma.

 

In a related topic, I was astonished to read that many feminists mounted a campaign against Karsa Orlong, because he raped women as he came down out of the mountains. What part of barbarian savage did they miss?. Did they just gloss over his intent to "Kill thousands of ( lowland adult males ) Children" so they could fixate on a couple of rapes?. Is rape worse than being stabbed to death with a sword?.

 

But they seriously said it was his raping that was reason that he should never have been written. The mind boggles at enthusiasts.

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Christian    735

I suppose there's always the case to be made that one might rather wish to be killed than to be raped.

You have to live with the memories and feelings that go with rape, while with murder, it's all over.

It's always been the case in war, where people are blowing each other up with big machines, that you shouldn't be raping people, so it's arguable that it's been an inherent code within warfare.

A lot of older cultures saw rape as the ultimate indingnity, when tribal blood was so important. You can come in and try to slaughter my village, but you better not be leaving your foreigner's seed with my kinsmen.

Remember in Celtic countries (just as one example), the female warriors wished to be killed by the invading soldiers instead of being taken as sex slaves. The dominance elements were far worse, being owned by this strange person in the most intimate way, over simply being granted death.

You can just apply it to comic books. If Superman and Luthor are fighting over the fate of the Earth, if Superman accidentally kills Luthor, he's going to feel bad about it, but it's what had to happen to save Earth...yet, imagine if Superman beat Luthor and bent him over and went at him.

Yeah, people might accept that Superman did what he was forced to do by having Luthor die, but no one is going to accept Superman raping Luthor.

Me, personally? I'm against both.

But, if someone's coming at me with a knife, saying they're going to spill my entrails, and I'm holding a gun, I'm really going to have to use that gun.

You can, at least, make a case for murder, you can't ever make a case for rape.

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Cunning Man    1

Hyde rapes the Invisible Man to death. So... I don't know what.

Hyde's an extreme, unhinged personality and Moore's been determined all along to make his characters sexually alive or active. Who would complain about that? I don't mean did Griffin have it coming for what he'd done. I mean, are we supposed to be upset when books don't tell us how to act, or don't omit behaviors we shouldn't adopt? Such an event be read as a warning toward moderation. What does it mean about us if we don't see it that way?

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Christian    735

If you're replying to my comment about Superman and Luthor, it's a totally different scenario.

Hyde was unbalanced and visceral.

Superman represents high ideals.

Regardless of my giving Mark Millar ideas for his next DC project, showing Superman raping Luthor after beating him...while, I admit, I do find it a little bit amusing thinking of this scenario...is just morally objectionable.

 

I don't think this topic is an argument against the legitimate use of rape in a comic book. Regardless of what Morrison's drug-addled brain lets him remember, he obvioulsy has used rape as a plot point too.

If an author feels the need to use rape (or murder, or etc.) that's at their behest.

It's more of a question about Moore's over-using rape.

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Cunning Man    1

If you're replying to my comment about Superman and Luthor, it's a totally different scenario.

 

No, I didn't mean that. In the Hyde example I found an instance of both rape and murder indistinguishable as violence. It was in response to the distinction of rape and murder that you drew, and the conceivable consequences or lack thereof determining to some extent the nature of each. Just a technical point, and not extremely relevant, but a lead-in to my ideas about reader reaction.

 

 

I don't think this topic is an argument against the legitimate use of rape in a comic book. Regardless of what Morrison's drug-addled brain lets him remember, he obvioulsy has used rape as a plot point too.

If an author feels the need to use rape (or murder, or etc.) that's at their behest.

It's more of a question about Moore's over-using rape.

 

Legitimate use and over-use must be the same discussion, right? It's a question of degree: zero is right, or some, or a lot. Maybe it depends on the story's events and character motivations, but here we drift into moral relativism. I was just saying it's an opportunity to acknowledge that as we read we can consciously create our attitudes to what we're presented.

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Avaunt    274

I suppose there's always the case to be made that one might rather wish to be killed than to be raped.

You have to live with the memories and feelings that go with rape, while with murder, it's all over.

 

 

You make some cogent points. Especially the one about having to live with the effects. Many people who have suffered a savage beating which left them crippled might say immediately afterward, they had rather been killed.

 

 

I just think that someone living without the sight in one eye, and a massive dent in their forehead and scar from their hairline down to their chin, inflicted with a sustained beating, has a lot more to live with, including the dominence aspect, than a woman who decides she doesn't want sex after getting in bed with a guy does. ( the guy I am thinking of as my example was crawling along on his hands and knees asking the three guys who beat him with their fists and a brick in the first place, "Help me, I can't see, I am blind" and they laughed, pushed him over onto his back and spat in his face. We know this because they bragged about it and were caught because someone told the police they were doing so, shades of how rapes are compounded by rapists then bragging about it. He came close to dying, and if people lift their hand quickly anywhere near him, he cringes, something like seventeen years later. )

 

 

Rape is rape, and I will make clear that I feel ( that it is obvious ) it ought to be prosecuted just as harshly anytime, and if the one has added assaults or beating, then there should be the two crimes prosecuted. I hate to hear someone charged with "Aggravated rape" that is bullshit, what they mean is a charge of rape, and and another of assault. We can have no quibbles on the topic and men controlling their actions so all women, always feel at least as easy at the idea of saying "Please stop" as they feel saying "Please start" has to be one of the aims for men.

 

I just don't like it being granted sacred status. I am against anything being granted sacred status, because it is always a slight of hand motivated by a lobby group, everything can stand on its own merits, when everyone is honest.

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Christian    735

 

 

I don't think this topic is an argument against the legitimate use of rape in a comic book. Regardless of what Morrison's drug-addled brain lets him remember, he obvioulsy has used rape as a plot point too.

If an author feels the need to use rape (or murder, or etc.) that's at their behest.

It's more of a question about Moore's over-using rape.

 

Legitimate use and over-use must be the same discussion, right? It's a question of degree: zero is right, or some, or a lot. Maybe it depends on the story's events and character motivations, but here we drift into moral relativism. I was just saying it's an opportunity to acknowledge that as we read we can consciously create our attitudes to what we're presented.

 

True enough.

I found the usage of rape in Neonomicon to not be effectively used.

Over-use of any trope by an author is eventually going to dilute the author's creative intent.

Look at the eye-rolling over Ellis using nano-technology from a few years ago. People made jokes about his next story would mention nano-technlogy, and in every instance, they were right. Ellis seems to have, thanfully, moved on (or I think he finally has).

Or, my example of Claremont using the "strong woman mind-controled by villain" plot ad nauseam.

It ends up where the author finds himself being made fun of by readers. It's no longer effective.

Compare that to Claremont's usage of the trope in "Dark Phoenix Saga", which most routinely consider a classic of comics. He hadn't over-used it by that point.

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Christian    735

Avaunt-Your point about the effects of extreme violence or attempted murder are true.

The victims also have to live with the memories of what some fellow human being did to them.

I was thinking of making allowances for that in my point, but felt the message was long enough.

It's another case where someone may feel that dying is a more humane option.

 

It really ends up being a subjective view though, in the end. Humans tend to be highly resilient animals.

I remember seeing a woman who was a model who got acid thrown in her face by some psycho stalker.

Her face is beyond repair. It's basically melted. It's so fucking awful.

Yet, she was on the talk show talking about the miracle of life and how much she cherishes every day.

And, this is a model. Someone who was used to attention and getting by on her physical appearance. It was all taken away from her, and yet she seems to be grateful that she isn't dead.

 

As far as "sacred status", people tend to be concerned about the things closest to their own experience. A rape victim or someone who knows a rape victim will probably feel there's much more of a problem with showing rape, while someone whose child was killed may feel the same about child violence.

The conversation was never meant to be about "censorship".

It was always meant to be about Moore's creativity, and whether Morrison is a hypocrite.

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Avaunt    274

I suspect it is more that Morrison was a drug-crazed hippy, and we can't blame him if his memory is full of holes. :(

 

Though, seriously, how did he form the accusation, given his own history of rape work?.

 

That is humans for you.

 

Talking about drugs, I was sent to clean an apartment yesterday. Someones younger brother had been staying in their apartment, apartment sitting. With the idea of keeping their tropical fish and houseplants alive for three weeks, while elder brother took a trip through Aspen and other Northern winter wonderlands.

 

Younger brother not only let both fish and plants die, he seemed to have used every surface in the entire house as a surface to sniff cocaine off. It was positively everywhere, including all over the dishes in the un-used dishwasher for some reason. I suspect the guy flung a bag or two straight up in the air, to get the ROOM in the mood or something equally strange. And I kid not, he had hookers in for orgies*, and many of the surfaces had sweaty buttock imprints smearing the cocaine around. The windows facing the driveway had a perfect impression of a naked short womans face, make-up smeared, and large breasts, the whole oily outline having collected cocaine out of the air. More than a dozen small plastic bags littered the floor, with, I guess, an aggregate level tea-spoon of coke that could have been collected by someone who wanted to. He also had the key for the elder brothers boat down at Orakei Marina, and did the same in the boat.

 

Elder brother let me into the apartment and casually said "You can take any of the coke you find with you, as a tip, mate". He treated it as a run of the mill thing!. Far more angry about the fish and plants!.

 

* this came to light because, meeting one of the other apartment dwellers in the stairwell, and finding out it was this neighbours 17th birthday, he invited him in for a "birthday treat" of hookers. No drink or coke though, because, you know, that would be wrong.

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dogpoet    443

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.

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Christian    735

I'm not sure if it's really a misunderstanding of Lovecraft on these guys part, so much as their attempting to sell a wholly elitist and openly fascist mentality to a bunch of people whose political views otherwise tend to lean towards the Left.

The fact that Lovecraft felt that the breaking down of hierarchy under a liberal society was opening the door to a lot of "scary things"...like free love or non-white races!

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dogpoet    443

The liberal society was more of a postwar thing, long after Lovecraft had croaked.

I'm not sure that occultniks are automatically and inherently left leaning, either. Elitism and feelings of superiority are probably a big part of the appeal for a lot of people, and a few flavours (the Astaru pagan thing springs to mind for a start) tend to take the ideology into downright toxic territory. Whatever you can say about Moore, at least he isn't that obnoxious about his magickal posturing.

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Christian    735

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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dogpoet    443

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...

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Cunning Man    1

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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dogpoet    443

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

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Christian    735

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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