National Public Radio’s All Things Considered broadcast a segment titled “Horror of Horrors: Is H. P. Lovecraft’s Legacy Tainted?” on October 4, prompted by Laura Miller’s article for Salon.com about the controversy surrounding the World Fantasy Award.
NPR noted the physical award is a bust of H.P. Lovecraft and, echoing Miller, explained:
Lovecraft, famous for his horror writing, was also known for his highly racist opinions, and this has created some controversy regarding the award that bears his likeness.
The NPR story affirms that the Lovecraft-shaped awards will be presented again at this year’s World Fantasy Con – they “were ordered back in March, as normal” — reported as if it trumped any other possibility.
However, the story also states:
But the WFA board of directors said they will have discussions about the situation at a series of meetings at this year’s World Fantasy Convention, where the awards are presented.
How did NPR decide this is a story it should cover? A search of the NPR site shows four previous mentions of the World Fantasy Award (the earliest occasion being 2008), all in connection with a story about an author. This may be the first time NPR has deemed the award itself to be newsworthy, leading me to conclude that NPR’s editors are not above a little kerfuffle hunting to hype the ratings.
If I had remembered that Gahan Wilson had designed the Lovecraft award statuette, I never would have complained — seeing his work realized in three dimensions was unusual enough that I didn’t recognize what I would have been amused by and approved of as a two dimensional work. Knowing who the artist is and the artist’s intent does make a difference in evaluating some pieces of art.
My apologies to Mr. Wilson if he reads this weblog.