Over the last several weeks an interesting strain of conversation has been building around the blogosphere, Al Harron, Brian Murphy, Michal Wojcik, among many others, it's grown a bit, and spread, and now Leo Grin, formerly of the Cimmerian waded into the fray. The problem is of course I have with this, isn't his ideas about Fantasy literature.. The Problem is that his posting on a Political forum, and liking Robert E. Howard and Tolkien, has lead to stuff like...
"By the way, I get a very similar nihilistic feeling from both Howard and Abercrombie, and that may be a big reason why I don't particularly like either. Also, Howard is openly racist to a degree that's just shocking. Maybe that goes unnoticed in Right Wing American circles, but I find it risible. On the other hand, even though Abercrombie is a modern author, his portrayal of female characters is just awful, to the point of it feeling misogynist. (I could go on, but I don't want to derail the thread too much.) Both authors have plenty of testosterone, though, if that's your thing."
This was followed later by:
"Anyway, why switch to Abercrombie to make a point about misogyny? You were already talking about Robert Howard! "
There are internet forums all over full of this kind of stuff now. Whats worse, genuine loon John C. Wright has written an even more venomous blog post 'In solidarity" with Leo.
I hate to say it, as I am loth to tell some one to curtail their opinions.. but in Robert E. Howard fandom there is a distinct right-wing vein. I dislike that one of the only people who ever seems to talk about Howard in the media is John J. Miller. I say this not as some "College Educated liberal" since I would in no way fit that mold if you were to ever get me to talk politics. But that's just it.. I don't talk politics to the same people I talk about Robert E. Howard.. I compartmentalize.
If I'm trying to sell them Robert E. Howard the Product, which encapsulates the Man and his Writings. It's a hell of a lot harder to do if they are already disinclined to pay any attention because you just got doing telling them some one they dislike is the best president we ever had. Or worse, beyond them simply not likeing Robert E. Howard becuase they don't like you... they conflate Robert E. Howard's views with YOUR views and then spread those ideas. All the fantastic work that the Shield Warriors and Maidens who work tirelessly to improve REH's literary reputation.. it all can come to naught because of something like this.
Those Comments by the way, were on Westeros.org. THE big forum for discussing George R.R. Martin's soon to be on HBO and seen by millions Fantasy series. a Forum thats easily got 4 times as many members as Conan.com Those Comments aren't one-offs either. Those seem to be simply among the most vitriolically stated examples. Being that they are on a Forum with a large reader base, and one centered on a popular and soon to be extremely popular franchise.. They can do a lot more damage than can be quickly undone.
for full disclosure, it's not merely right-wing politics which I dislike.. I ceased posting at Westeros.org and nearly lost interest in Martin's work because of the obnoxious left wing bias that is rife on that forum. where name calling of others who they disagree with is standard. It made their forum look bad and by association made Martin look bad...
I hate to say this sort of thing... but I knew this was going to happen.