Ah. The lurking horrors lurk. Apparently there is a new series on HBO (which means I'll never get to see it) based kind of around 'Lovecraft's Country' (that is the title) and it is a mesh of things, a narrative in which a black couple face ugly racism on their travels (Lovecraft was, according to many sources, extremely and unrepentantly racist) and the monsters from the Lovecraft universe. Which made me think, one more time, about the problem of an artist whose work is undeniably important, seminal but who as a person was a rather unpleasant individual. It has happened to me at a personal level: my most talented pupil of recent years was a young man with extremely dodgy political opinions, someone who idolised Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and had a virulent hate for Ocasio Cortez and Corbyn -but also was dedicated, considerate, helped me quite a few times -in the end he had to go but that was very difficult -in a way it still is. It happens with people in pop culture like Death in June, purveyors of catchy alternative songs and unconscionable nazi opinions. Happens with Richard Wagner, particularly. And, to the point, happens even most of all with Lovecraft. Does the fact that they were unpleasant bigots invalidate their artistic work? And turning this around, does the fact that they produce artistic work of high value and transcendence redeem the fact that they were horrible people? Is it possible to enjoy their work whilst not overlooking the fact that they were, indeed, horrible people?
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