By Steve Rosenstein
I need to apologize. It’s not for a great transgression, nothing serious. I was going to spend my time this month rolling up characters using Classic Traveler rules until I made one who survived character creation. I was going to detail their lives in the service until, inevitably, the hammer fell. It would have been a lot of fun and I could have nostalged my way to hilarity. Alas, this I cannot do presently, as I have been wronged, and I am going to address this instead. So here goes.
S.T. Joshi, you fucking owe me an apology! Why, you ask? Well you slandered me. In reference to the World Fantasy Awards statuette when you said, “The decision seems to me a craven yielding to the worst sort of political correctness and an explicit acceptance of the crude, ignorant, and tendentious slanders against Lovecraft propagated by a small but noisy band of agitators.” You pulled me into this. You pulled me and every other person who reads and enjoys H. P. Lovecraft’s works into your ego driven rant. Yes, I’m not named specifically, because I am the person that helps to prop up you and the authors on both sides of this argument, I am the consumer! I am the final judge and arbiter. I am the one that buys your shit! So first off, when you belittle me by calling me “crude” or “ignorant,” arbitrarily placing me within the category of “Joshi’s great unwashed,” you have slandered me.
The thing is, if you, as you promised, were going to let matters drop after your hissy fit, and yes that’s exactly what it was…I just sent my seven year old daughter to her room because she threw one, then I may have spent my time rolling dice to decide the fate of various scouts and marines to see which one made the cut to be elevated to Player Character. But you didn’t, did you? No you sicced your wife on Dan Clore and basically had her threaten to blackball him from being published by presses friendly to you. A move worthy of Bill O’Reilly, congratulations, that’s some fine company that you keep. Did you stop there? Nope, you certainly did not. You really have no compunctions of trying to drag people through the mud to prop you up, do you? But I am not Dan Clore, nor am I Ellen Datlow, nor am I Laird Barron, nor do I run a small press that publishes Weird fiction, so I don’t have to kiss your ass either.
Like I said, I am the consumer, the class of people to whom you owe an apology. You have hurt the brand more than any lack of a bust ever could. You have called me names and written me off as at best insignificant, a somehow malignant entity, and at worst just another hurdle in the way of your monopoly on Lovecraft. You are not alone, this has been the assumption of your peers, that the fan base is somehow this monolithic mass ready to consume whatever opinions you decide to feed us. Whether we are being told what to think about the “real Horror at Red Hook” or why a huge racist should represent the varied winners of a prestigious award, diluting its significance. You and your peers have underestimated us. You don’t want Weird fiction to evolve. You don’t want differing opinions and tales, you want the same old shit repackaged, so you can bless it, stick the ugly bust of Lovecraft seal of approval on it, and churn out some more derivative crap. But I digress.
I am tired of small-minded people like you denigrating me because of what I believe. I am tired of being called names by you, belittled as a “Social Justice Warrior” over the MOST INSIGNIFICANT SHIT! It’s a shitty caricature of one author. And no matter how much you venerate him, H. P. Lovecraft was not a decent human being. He seemed to be kind of an asshole that got some good press, and the public image of the man (which you help to maintain) and the reality of a man who agreed with Hitler in regard to Jews is somewhat incongruous. So yeah, I enjoy Lovecraft and I certainly do not want his work to be censored or edited down, but fucking call him what he was.
I noticed on your snarky new blog entry (11/19/15), you decided to bring up other authors who were also assholes and have awards named after them as well. All I have to say (again) is, “Really?” That’s the new tactic? That is the best you can come up with? It is little wonder why you fear proper literary criticism by people who have legitimate credentials, they will bury you. Well, in response, there are a plethora of artists that were assholes who’s art people enjoy all of the time: Wagner, Warhol, Lou Reed, Roger Waters, Frank Miller, Alan Moore…it’s a big fucking list that you, yourself may be on.
So anyhow, I’m waiting for my apology, so I can get back to doing things that I enjoy. My name is Steve Rosenstein if you want to personalize it, but I will be satisfied if you simply say you are sorry to us, the readers of Fantasy, Horror and the Weird.