Monday, March 16, 2009

Mythos Monday - Better Late Than Never

I meant to have everything put together long before now, but with a damned busy job, four young children, and a myriad of other things going on in my life, I usually can't sit down to start doing anything until around 10pm...but nonetheless, there is plenty to stick up here from the world of politics, entertainment, pop culture, and even here goes:

Paul of Cthulhu, creator of points out The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre (DART). Radio re-creations of four outstanding Lovecraft stories: At The Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow Out of Time, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. You can listen to (or download) the trailers for free, but the programs themselves cost. I normally wouldn't point someone towards something you need to pay for, so I'll say that I'm not affiliated with HPLHS in any way, I can't vouch for what you're going to get and I don't get paid to do any advertising for them. The trailers are cool, and they were all I needed to hear.

Also in entertainment, looks like we may see Lovecraft's work on TV soon. Fangoria reported recently that Herbert West - Reanimator: The Series is currently in development.
What BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was for Gothic storytelling, HERBERT WEST: RE-ANIMATOR will be for sci-fi and horror.
Little secret: I liked Buffy - the movie and the series. If you look at the pictures, however, it looks more like 90210 or The O.C. meets Lovecraft. I'll probably end up watching it anyway. And when I realize that it's too adapted to the youth of today, I'll probably still watch it, using my need to heap unimaginable amounts of scorn upon it as the rationalization...

Earlier this month the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka KS protested at the University of Chicago over some bullshit or other, dragging along their usual gang of fucktards. It turns out the Phelpsian douchebags were met with a ferocious counter-protest from all walks of student and staff life, including this young lady:

Immediate popularity among people who've actually heard the name Cthulhu on various social networks like twitter, flickr, etc. know, I got to give the gal "snaps" for poking fun at Freddie and his gang of hatemongers, but I find the sign sort of lame...Maybe I'm just being a party pooper.

Since I just talked about goings on at a university, the final few links are going to be more "academic" in nature.

Jason Colavito is an anthropologist and journalist who enjoys debunking fringe science and "Ancient Astronaut" theories. On his website he takes some time looking at H.P. Lovecraft as a jumping off point for the whackos who actually believe in this stuff...

Dr. Justin Woodman is another anthropologist who studies the occult extensively and is also a Lovecraft fanatic. Look at his profile on his blog and you'll see what I mean. He apparently did a series of four lectures in 2007 concerning Lovecraft and his influence on the occult; I bookmarked the page on some time ago, but have yet to get around to listening. You know...all that spare time I have.


MRMacrum said...

I saw that image a while ago and saved it to use in a post just for you and Randal. Oh well. Guess I can delete it now.

The sign is kind of lame maybe, but I think HP would approve. He did not seem overly fond of them either. Or am I mistaken?

I'll be damned. The word verification is actually a word - "harsh". First time ever for me.

Chef Cthulhu said...

I can see it both ways...On the science geek side, I think many people take chordates to mean people when it actually means anything with a spine and a spinal, that's tens of thousands of species in the last 500 million years. Humans are phylum chordata, but so are hagfish, iguanas, parakeets and even armor-plated pre-historic fish.

On the Lovecraft side, I don't think Cthulhu or any of the Great Old Ones would view humanity as worth hating. The whole premise is that humanity and creation is simply insignificant compared to the cosmos at large. So the best way to debunk the humanocentric universe is not to have these beings hate humanity as much as twist it to their purposes without really giving a shit about them.

Again, I'm being a party-pooper. It's a funny sign, though perhaps overly general and inaccurate.

Nerdette said...

It is over-general and inaccurate - I made it in mockery of the WSB signs.

My rational was this: If Cthulhu had to represent a clade, mollusks seemed accurate enough. What would a representative of a clade hate more than its sister clade. Sure, deuterostomes would have been more accurate, but that doesn't fit onto a sign very well...

It was just made to be nerdy and amusing - the Phelps woman even yelled over at me to "give up my dark god." You have every right to be disappointed by the lack of depth to the sign, but its intention was for laughter, nothing more.

Chef Cthulhu said...

Ah! Now I see all! Or enough at least to understand and appreciate. Thank you for commenting.

On the contrary, I think your explanation shows depth to the sign and lack of depth to my analysis. I'll be the first to admit my fuzziness on the sign came from overthinking a topic (taxonomy) in which I am entirely slave to Wikipedia for my information. Simply put, I'm not informed enough to figure it out, so instead of digging deeper I tried to take the fun out of true over-40 fashion. That and I needed material.

Do you mean by "represent" that Cthulhu would BE a mollusk, or simply prefer them over chordates? Because, you know, it's scientifically important to point out (or rather assume) that Cthulhu has a spine and probably a spinal chord.

Did you shout back "I will when you let go of yours"?

Unknown Chef Cthulhu trivia - I lived in Topeka for a time, and went to school (6-9th grade) with one of the Phelpsiziz. She seemed so normal (if a little straigh-laced) outwardly and I don't recall any of them going off the deep end between 79-83 (may have just not been paying attention...was too busy grappling with all the hormones that started going wild). Whoda' known? And I hope she was one of the more rational of the younger ones and walked away from Fred's bullshit.

Again, thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Negathle said...

The photographer that took picture has been keeping me updated with its popularity. I never expected it to become viral, and my greatest worry once I saw this trend was if it would be considered bland, or even insulting, to the Lovecraft fans. So while this is the first comment I've made on any blog that's picked it up (aside from Pharyngula), I felt compelled to apologize for its lack of depth :( I'm sure a more versed Lovecraft fan could have done much better, but, alas, little biologist me did what I could.

I choose to have him represent mollusks only because of his association with squid tentacles - in addition, many of the other pop culture references I've noticed (Hellboy, World of Warcraft, etc) draw more on this aspect of Cthulhu than any other feature, so I just ran with that. Whether or not he has a spine column would be interesting - after all, he is a form of alien life. Who's to say that their evolution was built on a central notocord? It's a rather poor structure as is!

A good chunk of my family is also from Topeka, so there was a bit of vendetta in mind when I joined the counter-protest :)

Negathle said...

woops! heh, didn't mean to post that under my blog ID.. oh well, I shouldn't think you'd be too interested in my blog :P


Chef Cthulhu said...

Negathle/Nerdette -

You never know when something done on a lark will take off. Look at it this way - if it was outwardly "deeper" the appeal would have been narrower and you wouldn't be the celeb you are today ;-) And if a Lovecraft fan is insulted by anothers interpretation, whatever it is, that fan needs to get a life. It's like being insulted because someone likes a different pizza topping than you. I'll admit I don't get much of a rise out of someone saying "Cthulhu" every time he/she sees a tentacle, but everyone does it at least once, and yes, tentacles are the primary "pop culture" association with Cthulhu. Call it his brand.

I read what you wrote here and on Pharyngula, I'm willing to withdraw the premature "lame" moniker...and claim that this mediocre page now has something in common with Pharyngula.

As far as the blog goes, I was doing the same stuff 20 years ago, just with paper, pencils and dice. The computer-based stuff then was just too boring and one-dimensional. Enjoy it, I miss it.

AA said...

pic ftw