All my adult life I've had the misfortune of being a reasonable soul in the midst of highly unreasonable crowds. It is regrettable, sometimes downright bewildering, how many profoundly irrational individuals gravitate toward interests I share, so that any serious effort at discussing (say) principles of roleplaying game design or science fiction or the psychology of popular fads bogs down in superstition of the most venal and ignorant kind. I have, I believe, earned much of my reputation as a curmudgeon for those times when I fail to maintain self-discipline and respond with honest anger to some particularly stupid "insight".
Over the years I've been accused repeatedly of failing to understand or appreciate the sources of these alleged inspirations. Indeed, it's true that I customarily have little patience for wading through mounds of cretinous raving merely because someone else mistook it for precious ideological ore. In my scholarly work I have tried to focus primarily on work that actually contains some literary or other merit to offset its conceptual folly; little of what passes for enlightenment among my peers and co-hobbyists has any such merit discernible to the naked eye.
I am not precisely at Dante's "middle passage of life", but I do have some time free for self-gratifying study at the moment. I've finished the revisions on my current manuscript, and my next grant doesn't begin until the spring. Apart from the occasional article or one-shot venture, I have little to occupy my attention. I have therefore decided that it is time to...
...drum roll please...
...read the crap.
Over the next few months, I will, in the company of a few friends and interested associates, undertake to evaluate the sources of "wisdom" that I've found most often cited by the most annoying of our peers. I will not set aside my native skepticism, but I will provide here an honest account of my readings and thoughts; where I find merit, I will credit it, and where I find fault, I will delineate it as clearly as possible.
I will begin with the work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. I am not altogether unacquainted with H.P.L., having read some of his work in my adolescent years. I am disheartened at how many people I encounter who seem to find his juvenile nihilism profound, and who endorse his technophobia as insightful. Nor need I mention here the ghastly consequences of his wretched prose on impressionable minds. One measures a circle beginning anywhere. I shall measure horror and the fantastic beginning with this puerile Grand Old Man.
May the best critic win.
The name "anagnosts" came to me in a felicitious moment. In traditional monastic arrangements, the anagnost would read from Scripture at mealtimes and public gatherings, acting against forgetting. So with this venture. Together we shall remember both what is good and what isn't about what we read, and this site shall preserve a record of the experience.