Jared Corner (turnthecorner) wrote in anagnosts,
Jared Corner

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Operator-Assisted Call of C'thulhu

Lovecraft's prose unjustly maligned? Indeed. Why, I understand that there are those who have even gone so far as to call it "wretched," with "ghastly consequences" to "impressionable minds." If Lovecraft's prose might be considered turgid by some, it is only because the reading standard has fallen over the decades. People are in the habit of taking shortcuts.

As for the narrative framework, I have to confess that it is the one part of these stories I find to be exceedingly believable. Have you never yourself experienced something that affected you so profoundly that you had a need to obtain catharsis by writing it all down? While I have never been face to tentacle with C'thulhu, or had a Mi-Go amigo, I have had the occasional bad day that I have only been able to put behind me after setting down in words. Accepting, for the moment, that the Lovecraftian protagonists were driven half-crazy by what they experienced, perhaps writing it all down was the only way they could regain some peace of mind. I know that I have written things in my offline journal, my "snailjournal" as it were, that I would never show to other people, but feel better simply for having gotten out of my system.

At least these protagonists, having managed to escape from whatever situation they were in, were in a believable position to be writing it all down afterward. I have no patience for "train of thought" narratives, whose endings give their protagonists no opportunity to record what happened to them. For example, consider the ending of this story, though I almost hesitate to inflict it on so august a person as yourself. Such an ending may have been an amusing rhetorical device the first half-dozen times it was used, but it has clearly lost whatever shock value that might once have justified it. If there is one thing I respect in the Lovecraftien milieu, it is his adherence to keeping his stories and anecdotes believable--at least in the sense that someone could have written them down.

As for your feelings about "dedicated hoaxters" such as myself...come, come, Mr. Emory. Have you never actually looked at these magazines, perhaps as you buy groceries yourself? Any rational man would recognize them as pure fantasy. Save for the occasional clipping from a "news of the strange" service, all the stories are clearly and obviously fictitious. I am constantly amused by seeing what my colleagues have come up with each week as I pass through the lines. Some of the stories are so hilarious that I cannot help but have my day brightened simply by reading the headlines. Some of the gaffes are amusing, as well; someone pointed out to me the alleged "morgue photos" of one of the monsters of our age that graced the cover of one of the magazines--weeks before his perpetually-delayed execution at last took place. How can any sane person look at this and continue to give the paper any shred of credibility?

Since, as I have said, any rational man would recognize them as pure fantasy, it should thus follow that the only people who actually believe them are those feeble-minded folk who want to believe them. (Though I have no doubt that many people, such as myself, are occasionally tickled enough by such headlines as "I was Bigfoot's love slave!" to buy the issue simply for amusement value.) And, thus, those who deserve to believe them. I consider myself to be providing the world with a valuable service, letting them avoid facing reality. They would probably make the world even more of a mess than it is now if they took an active interest in it.

This is turning into quite an interesting discussion. Until the next time, then!
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