Favorite passage from The Shadow Over Innsmouth, so far:
Just what foreign blood was in him I could not even guess. His oddities certainly did not look Asiatic, Polynesian, Levantine, or negroid, yet I could see why people found him alien. I myself would have thought of biological degeneration rather than alienage.
"Alienage"! "Levantine"! It’s like I’m back in Ohio, trapped with Jimmy and Robbie, wondering who in this room is insane. Why isn’t "negroid" capitalized? What are the rules for this?
It struck me right away that H.P. ignored Mark Twain and Poe, and held tight to Stoker’s brand of Miscegenation Horror. Every bit about people turning into squid has them stopping first at "Inuit" or "Chinaman" or "Mulatto."
It’s really distracting. Less because the Evils of Racism, than X decade’s panic doesn’t carry well.* Lovecraft seems to think Central Asians were inspiring, and enlightened. Like the white people, Tibetan "sensitives" go mad when faced with the evil that happens every Tuesday in Lovecraft’s Iceland. Among the Savages.
That’s as good as random. I don’t trust a French Canadian as far as I can smell him. Him, because they don’t have women. Possum, mostly.
But who knows what my grandkids will think, when I stick a flashlight under my chin and conclude "the thing was almost upon me … and in final dread I caught the scent of back-bacon."
They’ll wheel me into my Pod and turn on the Kittenworld! sim, hopefully. Or the Hendricksplane. Depending on what fell off first. Then they’ll try to be less bored, talking about how Sara Dunkle is so lame, she can only date Samoans.
What I’m saying is, it takes you out of the story. But is funny.
Update: AAAAH! SHIT! AAAAAAH!! SHIT! AAH!!!
Make your time …
Update 2: Read eight more stories. Of those, two featured protagonists with black cats named Nigger.**
Another has, as it’s central motivation, the fact that New York is full of dirty foreigners speaking dirty foreign languages and ruining the city with their foreigner ugliness.
You know, for a guy who was also fascinated by navel-gazing Patrician families from towns sized "small," "rustic" and "gene pool crisis" … Lovecraft had some issues.
*Which says a lot about the Stupidity of Racism, but there you go.
**True to American horror stories, neither cat survives …