I’ve switched around between reading 4 different books today. “How to cheat in Adobe Flash CS3″ (praised on amazon as a great honest resource of animation and design tricks), “Learning ActionScript 3.0″ (looked straight forward to me so i bought it to balance out the first book, also purchased earlier tonight at Borders), Penny Arcade 3: The Warsun Prophecies” (rented from the library, a fun collection of old strips and commentaries from 2002. it astonishes me how much MORE i appreciate Penny Arcade – the DEEPER i dig into it. those boys were damned talented even 6 years ago), and HP Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness (also rented from the library. I’ve already read the story several times, but I was eager to read this editions lengthy intro and 70 page extra feature: HP’s essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature”).
This last book is what disturbed me forth into writing this brief blog. The introduction by China Mieville deeply disturbed me. China beats around the bush a bit, heaps on the praise, and annoys with a variety of excessively obscure words (it seems everyone does this when surrounding some HPL text. but only HPL manages to avoid annoying. HPL seems to be taking the english language very seriously, whil everyone else is just showing off or imitating).
China ends with a focus on what must have been the real purpose. a huge slam on HPL for his racism and elitism. China points out that the whole book (SPOILERS! …?) is about: elitist fears of the uneducated masses. HPL supposedly converteded to socialism as the great depresssion set in, having given up on the Capitalist experiment. But HPL hoped for some small oligarchy of the intelligent and well bred to take control, and thus avoid any messy revolutions. because revolutions generally destroyed culture. and HPL was deathly afraid of the lesser people that surrounded him. thus the cyclopean cities found in the ice are directly symbolic of themes in some social politics HPL was reading/promoting. cities that out grew themselves, sucked everything out of the surround nature (literally a giant black city in a white void). The protagonists see the heights of this civiliation in the art/carvings, but quickly see this art becoming a self parody. and eventually an embarassment. and the Shoggoth slave class that revolted (and are now, quite revolting in appearance), are still in the skummy depths beneath the city. plus, the “tekeli-li” and giant albino penguins are supposedly direct references to an earlier story by Poe.
this intro blew my mind.
it serves to destroy any chance i’ll ever have of respecting HPL as a person (which makes it hard for me to champion his works. he endorsed hitler for chrissakes), and also serves to explain how his well written but seemingly-silly horror story is actually a careful deep social commentary, mixed with subtle literary references to his heroes that might put tarantino to shame, mixed with a subtle psychological symbolism (drilling beneath the surface, to face the monsters within) that he may or may not have even been aware of it.
it lightly boggles my mind.
So i’m playing the “political history” commentary on the 13 Days DVD (also rented from the library, as i’ve been obsessing about the history/politics of the 60′s this week), and trying to relax.
I can’t seem to get my head around all the nuances of “context” surrounding the society of 1959-79, so i won’t claim to understand the context of HPL’s social times. and thus i won’t seek to judge HPL’s apparent psychological/character problems. And i’ll sit here wondering how well i even understand the context of modern day society. hmmf. (depressing).
uh, the short story: I quit cigarettes a little over two weeks ago, and still haven’t gotten back on track. I’m spending a ton of time on everything BUT relevant work.