Tag Archives: racism

William Pickens

Our Blindness

“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.”

William Pickens


A lot has been on my mind over the last three days. The hate on display in Charlottesville is the antithesis of the America I was raised to believe in, and it sickens me. In the aftermath of an event like this, a lackluster response those from those in power can resonate. It doesn’t take a decent person three days to solidify their opinion on racism, bigotry, and hate.

It can be disheartening to see failures in leadership, and that can bring about cycles of depression and despair. If you find yourself in those places, I would encourage you to stay strong. Do not lose hope. Get active. Be a help to the helpless, be a voice for the voiceless, and defend the defenseless. As I said in November last year: despair isn’t how you defeat evil. Action is.

 

Advertisements
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Defending the Defenseless

Over the last week, America has seen an uptick of hateful intimidation and harassment towards minority people and groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported over two-hundred cases alone, it’s been on the news, Jim C. Hines has a collection of incidents on his site, and activists like Shaun King have been keeping a running tally of reports.

This has become immediately personal to me. It’s happening to my friends. I’ve seen cars vandalized. I’ve heard former coworkers tell stories about being verbally harassed. I’ve seen people get hateful emails and Facebook messages because they happen to be married to someone who isn’t white. It’s appalling.

Sadly, on some level, none of this is too surprising. Racial division has split America for a long time, and it’s not strictly an American problem. Similar harassment happened in the UK aftermath of Brexit (another campaign fueled by anti-immigrant/minority sentiment.) Hateful bigots get empowered by rhetoric, so it’s not shocking to witness it going on here in America. (Disappointing, yes. Surprising, no.) This sort of behavior puts everyone on edge and emotions run hot. But we can stand up to this.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are, be a good one,” and I plan on being a good one. There are many things we can do to help defend those who need it most right now. So I figured it’d be handy to present some options for those who are interested in helping.


Donate

Many folks out there won’t witness this sort of activity. (Seriously, consider yourself lucky.) But you’re going to read about it, and you’re going to want to help. Consider giving to organizations that defend those who can’t defend themselves. Here are four good ones.

Note: This is just a small list focusing on a subset of groups. There are so many other charities and activist organizations that need you help. The important thing is to give. Most organizations have options to do monthly or one-time payments. Any amount helps. Give what you can.


Act

If you see harassment happen, get involved. Don’t wait for the victim to turn to you and ask for help. Alert the authorities if you see vandalism. Step in if you witness abuse. I posted an excellent quote from Desmond Tutu last week about the danger of remaining neutral during situations of injustice. Go read it.

The illustrator and artist Maeril put together a handy comic on how to diffuse a harassment situation and how you can help. The comic focuses on Islamophobia, but it serves as an excellent guide to stopping most harassers. Again, if this doesn’t work, alert the authorities.

What to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment


Engage Locally

Take a stand against hate. Look for local ways to help out minority communities in your neighborhood. Volunteer at or donate to your local homeless shelter. Many churches have groups that offer help to the needy and work to welcome immigrants into communities. Work with your local food bank. Get involved in groups that welcome refugees and work with minorities.

For example, during the upcoming holidays, Kari-Lise and I are working with the International Rescue Committee to sponsor a local refugee family and provide them Christmas presents. We want them to feel welcome in our city, and little acts of kindness like this can go a long way to making an immigrant family feel welcome.


Hate groups are empowered right now, so don’t expect this sort of behavior to go away. (They’ve been on the rise all year.) Even if it lessens over the next few weeks, it’s clear that the animosity is there, bubbling under the surface. We have a long way to go before America, and humanity in general, is past its deep-set racism, bigotry, and hate.

Despair isn’t how you defeat evil. Action is.

Friday Link Pack 11/27/2015

Friday Link Pack 11/27/2015

It’s (Black) Friday (if you live in the US)! That means it’s time to either charge headlong into a frothing sales wasteland or kick back and enjoy my Friday Link Pack, the weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

American Dread: Alan Moore And The Racism Of H. P. Lovecraft
In the past, it was easy for me to dismiss Alan Moore as an eccentric, but lately I have come around to respecting him. He’s gotten more succinct in his stances, and I appreciate his approach to topics that would be considered taboo, subjects like racism, sexism, misogyny, and more. I think fiction is the perfect vehicle to explore these issues and allow readers confront their ugly realities. In this article, Bobby Derie examines all of this in relation to Alan Moore’s Lovecraftian series.

Hunter S. Thompson On Outlaws
The PBS Digital Studio (a fine example of why you need to be supporting PBS and your local PBS station) production Blank on Blank has been taking old interviews and animated them. This round it is gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson discussing his time with the Hells Angels.

#Writing More Than Ten Books In A Series And Staying Fresh
Thriller author Toby Neal has written more than ten books in her Lei Crime series and offers some practical advice for those looking to do the same and keeping things both engaging and fresh for readers and themselves.

Loved Girl on a Train? You May Have Read the Wrong Book
Another story about two novels with very similar names. Remember this recently happened with Emily Schultz’s literary fiction novel Joyland and Stephen King’s crime thriller Joyland, and it sparked the blog Spending Stephen Kings Money.

ART:

The Crusades And Lovecraft’s Monsters
In this series, fantasy cartographer and illustrator Robert Altbauer takes Lovecraftian horrors and applies them to a familiar medieval painting aesthetic. It’s hilarious and utterly charming. (I used one of these for today’s header image, but be sure to check out the rest.)

A Giant LED Star Pierces The Floors Of A 4-Story Building In Malaysia
I love neon and LED lights (Bell Forging readers can confirm this) so when I saw this awesome project from artist Jun Hao Ong I had to share it. There’s something about this project that is just so perfect.

Sticks and Stones (2014-Present)
Donna Pinckley takes pictures of interracial couples and places them alongside hateful racist things that had been said to them. The tenderness captured in this photos, combined with the juxtaposed vitriol forces us, the viewer, to confront the hate while facing couples that clearly love one other. As a result, this series serves as the perfect reminder of how far we have to go in society.

RANDOM:

The Hunt for Red October Gifs
Last Thursday I lamented the shortage of gifs from the film, The Hunt for Red October. Thankfully my friend Miguel stepped up, and now the internet is saved with not one… but six high-quality gifs for your use!

Law Enforcement Took More Stuff Than Burglars Did Last Year
Hmmm… who watches the watchmen?

Veronica Belmont On Being Overtaken By A Meme
Nobody knows what it is like when your persona is hijacked by a meme like Veronica Belmont. In this talk at this year’s XOXO Festival Belmont discusses her story, how time means nothing on the internet, and how it can quickly removes context leaving the viewer with a half understood story and little or no explanation. Very much worth a watch.

How Americans Changed The Meaning Of ‘Dream’
My favorite blog, Atlas Obscura, was sponsored by a mattress maker this week, and while that sounds odd… it’s actually produced some great articles centered around sleep. This one in particular, explores how a single idea can shift the definition of a single word.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

List Of Unexplained Sounds
“The following is a list of unidentified, or formerly unidentified, sounds. All of the sound files in this article have been sped up by at least a factor of 16 to increase intelligibility by condensing them and raising the frequency from infrasound to a more audible and reproducible range.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Out Of The Aeons
A strange mummy is discovered on a mysterious island and put on display in a museum in Boston, but after several attempts are made to rob the corpse some bizarre things begin to happen.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

This Island Vincent

125 Years Of Weird

Today marks the 125th birthday of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, grandfather of the weird fiction genre. If you’re a regular reader of this blog or my books then it’s no secret that the Lovecraft’s mythos was a major influence on me and my Bell Forging Cycle. I’m not alone, there is a growing subculture of weird fiction aficionados and writers and it’s awesome to see.

There’s a lot that has been said about the man. So, instead of waxing poetic about Lovecraft, his work, the controversy around his personal beliefs, and his influences on horror, I figured I’d link to some of my favorite articles that help paint the picture of the man, expand on his influence, or delves into the legacy he left behind.


H.P. Lovecraft: Fear Of The Unknown

This 2008 documentary by director Frank H. Woodward is the perfect primer on everything Lovecraft. Using interviews with prominent writers, directors, and artists the documentary explores Lovecraft’s life and how his experience help shaped his beliefs and ultimately his work. It doesn’t shy away from anything and everything is presented in an open and candid way. I’ve mentioned it before, but for this post I figured it’d be a good starting point.


It’s OK To Admit That H.P. Lovecraft Was Racist

Using Lovecraft as the example, author Lauren Miller asks the question, can we appreciate a writer’s work while disdaining their offensive beliefs? It’s something every fan of Lovecraft reader must confront and it’s something the Lovecraftian fan community cannot ignore. It’s important that we reflect on the negative aspects of the man and allow ourselves to analyze why Lovecraft was a racist and how it ended up influencing his work.


H.P. Lovecraft And His Lasting Impact On Cinema

From Directors like Guillermo del Toro and John Carpenter, to screen writer’s like Dan O’Bannon. It’s clear that Lovecraft’s influence has impacted the silver screen. In this post from 2011, Den of Geek explores some of those connections and  celebrates Lovecraft’s lasting influence.


H. P. Lovecraft: The Science of HorrorPart 1 & Part 2

In this extended essay, CDK explores Lovecraft’s origins. Starting with the events around World War I and how they influenced him and shaped his reality. Then moving onto the man himself and how his work would go on to influence others, extending from short stories into books, film, comics and beyond. It’s a long essay, but worth the time if you’re interested in a deep exploration of Lovecraft’s influences.


Jason Thompson’s Illustrated Lovecraft

A while back I stumbled across the detailed work of San Francisco-based illustrator Jason Thompson. His work is highly detailed and amazingly rendered. I feel like I could spend hours exploring each page. I highly recommend checking out his illustrated take on some of Lovecraft’s stories:


The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Since we’re reflecting on Lovecraft’s weird fiction today, I wanted to pick my favorite Lovecraft tale. For me, that’s easy: The Shadows over Innsmouth has action, adventure, a strange sea-god worshiping cult, and a pretty intense final sequence. It’s a fun read. If you’re so inclined to listen to the story I’d recommend checking out the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre’s production.


Cthulhu The Wimp

Earlier this year I wrote a lighthearted guest post for Michael G. Munz poking a bit of fun at Cthulhu, Lovecraft’s most famous creation. He’s the de facto and beloved mascot for the mythos. But, what if all this love and terror is based on false presumptions? What if I was to tell you that Cthulhu wasn’t all that terrifying. That he’s more a product of good marketing and overzealous rumormongering? What if Cthulhu is, in fact, a wimp?


There’s a lot happening to celebrate the 125th birthday of grandpa weird. Today marks the kickoff for the NecronomiCon in Providence, RI and there are discussions happening all over the internet. One of my favorite sites, Art of the Title, even did a feature for the opening credits of the 1970s Lovecraft B-movie The Dunwich Horror.

How about you? Is there any Lovecraft related link you love? Is there an artist you adore working in the weird? What’s your favorite Lovecraft story? Has Lovecraft impacted any of your favorite authors? Why not leave a comment and let me know!

H. P. Lovecraft

Friday Link Pack 09/19/2014

Friday has arrived! That means it’s time to share a few interesting links I’ve found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!

Writing:

It’s OK To Admit That H.P. Lovecraft Was Racist
Can we appreciate a writer’s work while disdaining their offensive beliefs?  Laura Miller examines. (Thanks to Josh for this one.)

5 Things You Should Know About Working With Beta Readers
It’s always good to get insight as you work on your manuscript. Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas offer some simple advice on working with beta readers.

The New Kindle Voyage e-Reader Is Shockingly Good
I love my Kindle. Love. It. It’s revolutionized the way I read. However, after reading this review on the latest offering from Amazon… it might be time for an upgrade.

Your Paper Brain And Your Kindle Brain Aren’t The Same Thing
Study’s show our brains approach reading on digital devices differently from reading physical books. Are we losing something because of our bi-literate brains?

Writer’s Toolkit: Old Maps Online
My post from Wednesday highlights a handy resource for your research.

Art:

Sergey Kolesov
Digging this work. Amazing colors, incredible lights, and a loose fresh style. (Thanks to Bryan for sharing it with me.)

Byronic Series By Boris Pelcer
I am a sucker for limited palettes, so when I saw this work by Boris Pelcer it wasn’t hard for me to fall in love.

Random:

Amazing Map Shows Every Tree In The United States
This tree density map shows the location of forests throughout America. See the larger version here.

Famous Paintings Of Jacob Wrestling With The Angel, Ranked By How Much Their Actions Resemble Slow-Dancing
I love the internet. (Thanks to Gus for sharing this.)

5 Little-Known Pirate Stories
It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day today. In celebration Neatorama has compiled a list of interesting and a bit strange pirate facts.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Mound
A strange mound in Oklahoma hides a gateway to a subterranean civilization. Fun fact: this is the story from which the title Red Litten World was taken.

Gif of the Week:

Screamin'