ChiZine publications has established a name and reputation in the horror writing community, but it appears that not all is well. According to various sources, ChiZine has problems paying their authors. Now, I totally understand that mistakes will be made from time-to-time, but apparently when authors approach them about a lack of payment ChiZine brushes them off. That’s never a good thing.
I’ve reached out to ChiZine to ask for their side of the story and have yet to hear anything. I consider myself neutral in this in that all I want is for the parties involved to come to mutual terms and for the publishing house to do better.
Now, other authors have come out to accuse ChiZine, either directly or by proxy, of racism, sexual harassment, and petty behavior. Before you jump to conclusions, please watch the video where I go through the other accusations.
What do you think about this? I’m not a fan of #CancelCulture and do not want people to go after ChiZine. What I would like is for use to calm and rational about this, approach the situation objectively and with redemption as a goal.
When exploring the works of classic literary icons, it would not be uncommon for the reader to awe at the craftsmanship. It would also not be uncommon for the reader to experience an emotional response, and then to even begin idolizing the author. But then comes the discovery that the author behind the beautiful prose and the emotional resonance was a racist, misogynist, anti-Semite, or a homophobe.
What happens then? Does the reader pretend that the novel, poem, or story she read did not affect her? Does the reader discredit the work that she found impressive because the author is, surprise-surprise, flawed? Possessing an ability to write, to express in ways that others admire, does not mean anything as far as one’s political views, ideology, or world-view.
So, I present the question can we divorce the author from the work?
The opposite would suggest that the reader would be required to know about the author to even enjoy his or her work. However, one does not need to know anything about T. S. Eliot to be engrossed and impacted by its overpowering sense of despair. One does not need to know anything about Roald Dahl to enjoy James and the Giant Peach. The connection to the author is not crucial at all. With that said, knowing about the authors life does offer further insight and a deeper understanding, but is not a requirement.
If you were moved by Ernest Hemingway and admired his work, then what difference does it make that he may or may not have been racist or a misogynist? I understand that people may not like that aspect of his character, but that aspect is only one part of the mind that was responsible for some of the most influential works in the 20th century. People are complicated creatures with multiple layers, and Hemingway is no different. Why wouldn’t he be? He’s human. Enjoying Hemingway’s work give readers a glimpse to only a part of him. It would be foolish of anyone to think that just because someone can write well and inspire millions that they’re somehow flawless or virtuous in character.
My answer to the question is why does it even matter. If it’s not a requirement for me to know the author to enjoy the work, then why would it be a requirement for me to agree with the author’s political views, world view, or ideology? If the work was influential based on its own merits, then why would it even matter? If you say that it does, then what’s the next step with that logic? Ban the work? Burn the books? Pretend that the work doesn’t have value? Sounds like fascism.
The truth is beautiful works can emerge from even the most vile of minds.
H. P. Lovecraft was born on August 20th, 1890 and died on March 15th, 1937. He was born in a country that two decades ago was coming out of a Reconstruction, a country that three decades ago still had stated that exercised slavery. A country where half of it practiced Jim Crow laws because black and whites sharing the same space was seen as abhorrent. A country in the midst of a massive political change that required military intervention. Which is why I’m not surprised that H. P. Lovecraft was a bigot.
But Lovecraft was born in Rhode Island, a state that abolished segregation in 1866. A state that was open to the inflow of blacks during the Great Migration. He should’ve known better. That I do agree with, but even though the North was much more tolerant and accepting of blacks do not pretend that they did not face discrimination. In 1920’s, Rhode Island experienced a surge of Ku Klux Klan memberships in reaction to the migrants. The Klan is believed to be responsible for the Watchman Institute burning, a school that was opened to African-American students. The racism and bigotry was still present and strong in the America that Lovecraft was born in. I wonder if he would’ve been such a narrow-minded racist if he had been born in a different time. Under this consideration I would say that Lovecraft was a product of the time and political climate he lived in. He held ideals that were popular but were on the wrong side of history. He bought into the racism and bigotry. But remember, this is the same country that did not ban racial discrimination in the workplace until 1963 with the Civil Rights Act.
Because of this, it’s really not surprising that H. P. Lovecraft wrote a poem in 1912 titled On The Creation of Niggers, a poem that claims that blacks are not human but beasts.
Does that bother me? Honestly, judging based on what I’ve read about him, Lovecraft seems like a bitter jaded figure that would’ve been annoying to be around. He’s also a person that holds views that I would agree with or even support. With that said, I do very much enjoy his work. The Rats in the Walls, The Re-Animator, Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow Over Innsmouth are still interesting stories and have inspired a lot of notable talent.
Do we throw away the art because the artist of then holds views that are not tolerated today? Do I have to like the guy or even agree with his political views to like his work?
With the growing hysteria off people claiming racism in various media and the rise of the PC culture, let’s take a moment to point out that it is way too easy to “find” racism in just about everything. But that does not mean that perceived racism is real, has merit, or is of purpose. In short, not everything is racist.
Take Go Dog Go, for example, the children’s book has a page that teaches the distinction between black and white. A dishonest SJW would squeeze a “that’s racist” comment for attention. Even worse, the page shows only three black dog. A social studies major would interpret that as a statement of our society, when they have no fucking clue why there is only three dogs. Worse than that, the page shows the black dogs working for a white dog, doing tricks for a white dog, and running away from a cop dog.
Super racist, right? No. Somethings are just what they are and have no meaning or interpretive value whatsoever. Go Dog Go could have a cryptic message about Satanism and the worshiping of the great dark lord, but racism just isn’t there.
Book of Horrors II Might be Racist is what some fragile, uber-sensitive snowflakes might say after reading The Valley of Sex by Joseph Rubas – a Lovecraftian horror tale that does more than embrace the archaic and labored prose, the story embraces the prejudice and racism H.P. Lovecraft is infamous for.
The Valley of Sex follows a crew of investigators as they explore a strange underworld and attempt to understand the primitive savage natives, but they were not expecting to encounter an active sex crazed tribe.
Every horror film fanatic knows before getting into a horror film that couples that fuck are doomed to die and that black guy (sometimes girl) is most likely going to be first to die. The trope is so pervasive that one doesn’t even need to be a horror fanatic to know of it. But why is it that it’s the black blood that’s spilt first?
Is horror racist? After all, one would be hard press to find at least a dozen of horror films where black person survives to the end, and even harder to double that with a black lead role.
To honestly tackle this question, we first need to understand why white people dominate the horror scene. Writers work best when they write from what they know, from experience, and in the event they do not know, then from the research that they’ve done. Even the writers featured on this site rarely write about something that they have no clue about, or don’t feel comfortable tackling. As a white male and as a writer, I’m wouldn’t feel comfortable writing from a black man’s perspective, because I don’t honestly know the nuance of his life to really flesh out a compelling and believable narrative.
Though not exclusive to the horror genre, one could argue that the writers are simply stemming from what they know and understand. Most of the writers in horror are white, which explains why most horror films feature white lead roles. And let’s face it, if you’re not a lead role in a horror film, you’re probably going to die, which explains why the black man is often one of the firsts to go, and is hardly ever standing in one piece at the end. If the order in which the characters die is racist, then well, we’re talking about the order in which fictional characters die in a story that was most likely written by a white male without much of any thought of “is this racist”.
Perhaps there are the exceptional few, the few writers that get off on killing the black man first, but to believe that writers have some sort cabal against blacks in horror is insane, right? It’s not like there is some grand conspiracy to keep the black man out from horror, and to make that assumption without evidence of secret backroom meetings where whites secretly vow to systematically ban the black man would be insane.
George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead has a black lead role. Se7en has a black lead role. Halloween H20 has a black lead role. Blade has a black lead role. Event Horizon has a black lead role. Candyman has a black lead role. The white man is not systematically keeping the black man from entering horror.
So back to the question, is horror racist? No. White lead roles out number black lead roles, sure. But, that’s not a product of racism, not on face value alone. A studio would be engaging in racist behavior if they wrote OUT black characters or black lead roles because of racial preference alone.
The kill order in horror is not even racist. That’s right. I’ll even go as far as to say that the black guy dies first stereotype isn’t even racist. Jason and Michael Myers aren’t going out of their way to ONLY kill black people. These two murderous psychos kill everything that crosses their path: black, white, gay, lesbian, Jew, Muslim. These two iconic psychos are equal opportunity killing machines.
But, perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps, I’m missing something. Maybe Jason and Michael are the result of deep seeded racism, but that allegation would need some evidence other than they killed off a black character.
What does a zombie know about race? Uh, he knows that at the end of it all we all decay and bloat the same. Black, Asian, Jew, or Dragon-kin the afterlife is nothing but a rotting hell for our mortal bodies.