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Curb Your Enthusiasm 

[1]

H. P. Lovecraft with Felis

3,233 words

A thought has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time.

In terms of fiction, and even outside it (with the notable exception of H. P. Lovecraft), were certain authors reflexively embraced as soul mates by white conservatives and racialists, in reality . . . anti-white — out of “principle,” opportunism, or just unconsciously?

Perhaps an outsider was needed to see this. Vietnamese American author Linh Dinh recently made such a case explicitly with respect to Flannery O’Connor: “Flannery O’Connor’s White Trash [2]” (April 19, 2021).

A preliminary word about the Irish-American O’Connor’s literary Catholicism, which Dinh does not mention, but most conservatives do: a University of Illinois English professor with the Irish-sounding name Dan(iel) Curley (a teacher and later close friend of celebrity film critic Roger Ebert), believed that

Her characters are indeed God-ridden but not in a way that appears to be uniquely Catholic. Rather they seem the essence of Protestantism, seeking an individual and immediate relationship with God. . . . Clearly Flannery O’Connor is religious if not clearly Catholic.

After praising her fiction, perhaps excessively in his opening paragraph, Dinh observes, “O’Connor’s liberal usage of the word ‘nigger’ has always made many people uncomfortable.”

He quotes two short passages from her letters suggesting that she was privately anti-black, even though they are frankly tepid, and she also states — sincerely — “I’m an integrationist by principle . . .”

In the body of his essay, he paints a grim picture of the white freaks and grotesques who populate her fiction, the all-too-familiar outlandish exotics associated with so-called “Southern Gothic” literature, perhaps a sly euphemism disguising more than a little anti-white animus. [1] [3]

O’Connor’s [supposed] disdain and condescension towards blacks don’t show up in her fiction. In O’Connor’s stories, blacks are generally dignified and likable, unlike her idiotic, freakish or criminal white trash. . . . The South has been little more than a stinking mudhole of white trash, so down the decades, we’re served with Deliverance, Easy Riders [sic], Honey Boo Boo and, yes, also Flannery O’Connor. As great as she is, O’Connor contributes to that relentless calumny.

The contribution of some other notable “conservative” and “racialist” writers to relentless anti-white calumny is the theme of this essay.

Dinh adds — and this is important: “In 2021, the term ‘white trash’ has been compacted to just ‘whites,’ so it’s not just the South.”

James Dickey, Erskine Caldwell, William Styron

James Dickey’s Deliverance fits Dinh’s thesis perfectly. Many of its white characters are repulsive or disgusting caricatures. Even the local sheriff near the end of the 1972 film, convincingly played by author Dickey himself in a bit part, and the “civilized,” city-bred canoers, are far from role models, with the single exception of Lewis, the masculine, hard-edged survivalist played by Burt Reynolds. And even he is not likable.

Illustrating Wilmot Robertson’s contention that, “Aware or unaware of the [racial] forces working against them,” many white artists become self-destructive, Dickey was an alcoholic. The former United States Poet Laureate and National Book Award winner even turned up drunk on the set, where he got into a fistfight with director John Boorman.

Racially aware blogger Irish Savant [4] said in response to Dinh’s essay, “All of O’Connor’s work (of which I’ve read most) has the same theme. Remarkable that she was woke so very long ago. Obviously even back then it was a good career move.”

Another commenter said, “Don’t forget Erskine Caldwell and the poor white trash of Tobacco Road! First the novel [1932], then the long-running stage play and then the movie.”

Georgia-born Erskine Caldwell wrote salacious, libelous tales of poor rural whites. His play ran continuously on Broadway (New York City, that is!) for more than seven years, the longest-running Broadway play in history up to that time. “As of 2018,” the Establishment tells us [5], “it was still the 19th longest-running Broadway show in history, as well as being the second-longest running non-musical ever on Broadway.”

Zoo City audiences reveled in its depiction of white poverty, degenerate sex, and social crudity. Academics in 1971 noted approvingly that Caldwell’s fiction, including his “equally notorious” God’s Little Acre (1933), shocked “with its picture of the ugliness and decay of American life.” In 1949, 20 million copies of his books were in circulation.

It might be argued that Dickey, fellow alcoholic William Styron (The Confessions of Nat Turner [Pulitzer Prize, 1968] and Sophie’s Choice [1979, pro-Jewish]) who suffered from clinical depression (Truman Capote said: “Styron is accepted [by New York’s “Jewish literary mafia”] because if there was a goy Yid, it’s Bill Styron”), and Erskine Caldwell (“Death of a Scalawag,” Instauration, July 1987, p. 19), were never embraced by the Right.

True, but a pattern emerges of the sort of fiction demanded, published, and promoted by America’s mid-twentieth-century cultural gatekeepers and their white orbiters, to which celebrated conservative- and racialist-favored authors willingly contributed. Moreover, the pro-Communist Caldwell’s Tobacco Road “ultimately argued for the sterilization of Georgia’s poor whites [6],” a eugenic practice (not limited to Georgia) favored by many racialists.

William Faulkner

I read a great deal of Faulkner in my teens. I was fascinated by his modernist prose style, which I greatly preferred to Hemingway’s excessively spare writing. (Today it’s the opposite.)

In an incautious attempt to provide American whites with a usable past, Wilmot Robertson lavished praise upon the Southerner:

The power and sustenance that an artist derives from being part of a racially and culturally homogeneous community helps explain the success of William Faulkner, the one first-rate Majority writer who survived both as an individual and as an artist the nationwide uprooting of his cultural heritage. Faulkner was born, lived, flourished, and is buried in Mississippi, adjudged to be the fourth most illiterate state [according to a 1960 Census Bureau estimate]. (The Dispossessed Majority, 3rd ed., 1981, p. 248)

“Environmentalist logic,” Robertson continued, cannot explain “why a supposedly backward state in the Deep South should produce America’s greatest twentieth-century novelist.”

To further buttress his case, Robertson added that “Much as he liked and respected Negroes [don’t gloss over that statement!], Faulkner said [in 1956] that if antiwhite racial agitation increased he would be forced to join his native state against the United States and shoot Negroes in the street.” (p. 226, n. 29)

Robertson provides his source for this paraphrased bit of braggadocio, but I know of no such militance, even verbal, ever exhibited by the Nobel laureate. Perhaps he was drunk when he said it, because Faulkner, too, was an alcoholic.

I was too young and ill-informed to evaluate Faulkner properly at the time I read him. I now remember very little firsthand about his work. Everyone of course knows (well, did know) his short story “A Rose for Emily,” but it only reinforces Dinh’s thesis. A novel I recall being particularly impressed by was As I Lay Dying (1930).

Faulkner’s exceedingly obscure and complex prose no doubt concealed his worst moral and racial excesses from the American public (it certainly did from me as a youth) while nevertheless being understood by key members of the hostile elite, his texts thus serving both esoteric and exoteric functions.

I strongly believe that revisiting Faulkner today would necessitate a reassessment placing him in the category of the authors mentioned above, Wilmot Robertson’s enthusiasm notwithstanding. Too much miscegenation, too many Snopeses [7] [2] [8] and similar whites, too many noble black or mulatto Lucas Beauchamps and Amerindians.

The probability that this would be the case increased greatly after I read Spencer Quinn’s damning critique of Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses (1942) (“Go Down, William Faulkner [9],” April 1, 2019), written from a white racialist perspective by someone who had just read the book — which Quinn describes as “enemy literature.”

The author calls Faulkner “the prime architect of the Southern Gothic genre,” which is probably correct. He launched the series of novels and stories set in fictional Yoknapatawpha County in northern Mississippi with Sartoris as far back as 1929.

Quinn writes:

I have never understood why Southern-apologist paleoconservative scholars like M. E. Bradford and Clyde Wilson eulogize Faulkner so. Wilson describes [10] Faulkner as “the greatest writer produced by the United States in the 20th century,” and Bradford opined positively on Faulkner here [11]. Why they never showed William Faulkner the same scorn he shows their beloved Southland is perhaps the only thing I find more baffling and incomprehensible than Go Down, Moses itself.

Nothing produced by the Abbeville Institute circle baffles me. Indeed, it is churlish of the Jews not to pat those boys on the head for the yeoman work they do.

“Go Down, William Faulkner” is a milestone in white nationalist literary criticism.

Malcolm Cowley, the New York editor who rescued Faulkner from obscurity and shaped his reputation among America’s ascendant elite by publishing The Portable Faulkner in 1946 (two years earlier he had performed the same favor for Ernest Hemingway), was closely associated with the Communist Party and its innumerable front groups. The editor would never have promoted the work of a genuine white racialist author.

Finally, had Faulkner portrayed race from an uncompromising or even implicitly pro-white standpoint, he would not have enjoyed the remuneration, critical acclaim, screenwriting jobs, two National Book Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, and Nobel Prize for Literature that he did enjoy.

[12]

You can buy Greg Johnson’s White Identity Politics here. [13]

H. P. Lovecraft

From a racial perspective, the twisted fiction of the giant of what might be called “Northern Gothic,” H. P. Lovecraft [14], is similar to that of his “conservative” Southern counterparts.

Lovecraft’s ancestry was entirely English; he was born, lived most of his life, and died in Providence, Rhode Island. Most of his family had been in New England since colonial times; his maternal line went back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631.

A major distinction is that Lovecraft harbored unequivocally racialist views in “private,” that is, outside of his fiction. These beliefs are well-documented; he was quite open about them in his copious correspondence and self-published periodical the Conservative.

The underground magazine Instauration published a favorable cover story about the horror writer in March 1984 called “H. P. Lovecraft: An American Original [15],” which quoted extensively from his letters. The editor joked in a footnote:

Eleven issues [of the Conservative] appeared. We at Instauration can understand his reasons for giving up his project. Putting out a woefully understaffed magazine provides an editor with so many horrible experiences that he is sorely tempted to take full advantage of this rich source of material by quitting his job and concentrating full time on the writing of horror fiction.

The essay’s anonymous author made the following curious statement: “Lovecraft’s vast output of horror fiction does not overly interest Instauration,” adding, “We have read only a few of Lovecraft’s stories.” Lovecraft’s correspondence, in which he expressed his social and racial views, “interests us far more than his fiction.” So that is what the article focused on.

This created an unfortunate thematic bifurcation that left readers unaware of Lovecraft’s near-total negative portrayal of native New Englanders in his fiction.

Numerous extracts from his letters can be found in the Instauration profile, at Counter-Currents (here [16]here [17], and here [18]), and elsewhere. By and large his racial, social, and cultural opinions are refreshing in today’s stifling intellectual atmosphere.

Even so, Lovecraft’s racial views contained some serious misconceptions, many of which were expressed in a November 22, 1934 letter to Natalie H. Wooley not reproduced at any of the above links. Keep in mind that he had been thinking and writing extensively about race since 1915, if not before. He died at age 46 in early 1937, so these are mature convictions.

As usual with whites, Lovecraft could easily “see” — and reject — blacks. Whites should never mix with them, and if admixture did occur, the mulatto offspring should be “rigidly” treated as black, not white: “I am in accord with the most vehement & vociferous Alabaman or Mississippian on that point.” 

But all other racial questions “are wholly different in nature.” Though “it is wise to discourage all mixtures of sharply differentiated races,” “the color-line does not need to be drawn as strictly as in the case of the negro.” A dash of East Asian, Amerindian, “Hindoo,” or other blood “will not actually injure a white stock biologically.” 

Most of the psychological race-differences which strike us so prominently are cultural [i.e., environmental] rather than biological. If one could take a Japanese infant, alter his features to the Anglo-Saxon type through plastic surgery, & place him with an American family in Boston for rearing — without telling him that he is not an American — the chances are that in 20 years the result would be a typical American youth with very few instincts to distinguish him from his pure Nordic college-mates. The same is true of other superior alien races including the Jew — although the Nazis persist in acting on a false biological conception.

Instead of what they were doing, Germans should force Jews to surrender their “separate culture” and biologically absorb them into their population through admixture: “It wouldn’t hurt Germany — or alter its essential physical type — to take in [miscegenate with] all the Jews it now has.” This would not be workable, however, in Poland or New York City, where Jews were too numerous, and “of an inferior strain.” There, Jewish absorption “would essentially modify the [Gentiles’] physical type.” 

Turning to Lovecraft’s fiction, something that immediately put me off was his description of a deserted rural New England with few towns and isolated, widely separated farms — a virtual wilderness in the American Northeast. This geography was not believable, and broke my suspension of disbelief.

It turned out I was wrong. Lovecraft’s demographically desolate countryside was accurately pictured, at least if you eliminate his strongly pejorative attitude toward the landscape and those who dwelt upon it. 

This was the result of a century-long Yankee exodus [19] from the region as its native inhabitants migrated westward across the northern U.S. as far as the Pacific coast and Hawaii. It is vividly portrayed in Robert Frost’s 1947 poem “Directive.” [20] In 1923, critic Carl Van Doren commented on the relic “Yankee community” of New England, “a neighborhood left behind by its more ambitious members” and “overrun by outsiders of another culture.”

The mass of foreigners newly present in America rarely feature in Lovecraft’s fiction, though they are prominent topics of his social commentary.

Two fictional tales that do unflatteringly depict America’s foreigners are “He” (Weird Tales, September 1926) and “The Horror at Red Hook” (Weird Tales, January 1927). Both are set in New York City rather than Lovecraft’s customary New England locales. Today the stories are reviled by members of the anti-White Establishment as “racist.” 

Both tales evoke hidden geographic and population remnants of Old New York tenuously surviving amidst race replacement and a radically altered cityscape. 

In “He,” the focal character is a squire from 1768 who cheated Indians who had occupied the land his house now stands upon to obtain occult tribal secrets, then murdered them. The Indians’ spirits inflict revenge on the colonial squire, still living in 20th-century New York thanks to his magical powers.

The antagonist of “The Horror at Red Hook” is Robert Suydam, an aging, eccentric, socially isolated scion of an Old Dutch family who’d inherited a decaying mansion in the formerly Dutch neighborhood of Flatbush, and owned a waterfront flat in Red Hook (originally founded by the Dutch as Roode Hoek in 1636). Red Hook and Flatbush are both neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

Like the squire, Suydam is a decadent, intimately involved with foreign criminals and a devil-worshipping cult.

These New York tales were the result of Lovecraft’s two-year stay in the slum of Red Hook during his brief marriage to a Jewish woman. (They had no children.) The fact that he married a Jew highlights the weakness of his “anti-Semitism.” Lovecraft hated New York and the foreigners who filled its streets, and soon returned to Rhode Island. But he made a point of seeking out and exploring the hidden Aryan landscape of Old New York during the time he lived there.

Best known are Lovecraft’s scathing stories of New England’s small towns and rural inhabitants.

A prime example is his popular novella “The Dunwich Horror” (Weird Tales, April 1929), set in the remote, fictional Massachusetts village of Dunwich, with its “cluster of rotting roofs,” houses “deserted and falling to ruin,” and “broken-steepled church” harboring “the one slovenly mercantile establishment of the hamlet.” A “faint, malign odour [hovers] about the village street, as of the massed mould and decay of centuries.”

The natives are now repellently decadent, having gone far along that path of retrogression so common in many New England backwaters. They have come to form a race by themselves, with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding. The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incests, and deeds of almost unnamable violence and perversity. The old gentry, representing the two or three armigerous families which came from Salem in 1692, have kept somewhat above the general level of decay; though many branches are sunk into the sordid populace so deeply that only their names remain as a key to the origin they disgrace.

The deformed, monstrous members of the Whateley family are the antagonists of this well-known tale.

I have not cherry-picked the examples selected above; they are representative. Indeed, Lovecraft’s Northerners are frequently (literal) monsters, or the hybrid offspring of depraved whites and extraterrestrial beings now occupying an interstitial space governed by natural or supernatural laws different from our own, ready at any moment to take possession of the planet and exterminate mankind. They can be summoned forth by little-known blasphemous rites that many degenerate, immoral Lovecraftian whites are happy to track down, laboriously study, and put into practice.

There are exceptions to the rule, men who typically serve as the narrative lens through which some of the stories are viewed: the anonymous narrator of “He,” Irish-born New York City police detective Thomas Malone in “The Horror at Red Hook,” and various Yankee Miskatonic University professors who investigate the diabolical doings of the horrifying, dysgenic inhabitants of rural New England. Miskatonic is a prestigious, Harvard-type university in fictional Arkham, Massachusetts.

But such men are incidental to Lovecraft’s demonic Northeastern freaks and monsters.

Even the Massachusetts university town is no beacon of enlightenment, civilization, or normalcy: “the ancient, mouldering, and subtly fearsome town in which we live — witch-cursed, legend-haunted Arkham, whose huddled, sagging gambrel roofs and crumbling Georgian balustrades brood out the centuries beside the darkly muttering Miskatonic” River (“The Thing on the Doorstep,” Weird Tales, January 1937).

“Herbert West–Reanimator” (of corpses) is a medical student at Miskatonic. (Home Brew, February-July 1922.)

The paradox of H. P. Lovecraft’s fantastic representations of repellent Northern whites is that they fly directly in the face of his clearly expressed and strongly held racial views. 

Notes

[1] [21] Maybe the term “Southern Gothic” should be dispensed with, even in its “classic” form, inasmuch as it tends to obscure rather than clarify. Furthermore, it is being repurposed by Left-wing academics to promote extraneous new racist and sexist tropes and stereotypes.

[2] [22] “Snopes family, recurring characters in the Yoknapatawpha novels and stories, notably The Hamlet (1940), The Town (1957), and The Mansion (1959). Snopes family members also appear in Sartoris (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), and The Unvanquished (1938). Through treachery and corruption, Flem Snopes gathers power in Frenchman’s Bend, Miss. His cousins are emblems of depravity, including murderous Mink, pedophile Wesley, bigamist I.O., mentally disabled Ike, who lusts after a cow, and Launcelot (“Lump”), who sells tickets to view Ike’s perverted scenes. The next generation includes a pornographer, a venal politician, a thief, and the uniquely honest Wallstreet Panic Snopes.”