The best H.P. Lovecraft collection?

I own several HP Lovecraft collections, but this one is my favorite: The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre . This volume was published in 1987.

I’ve bought it twice: Once in 1988 (that copy is long since gone); and I bought a replacement copy about two years ago. 

This collection has all the stories that the newcomer to Lovecraft really needs, including “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and “The Dunwich Horror”.

Another feature of this collection is the excellent introductory essay by Robert Bloch.

Marvel’s Trinh Tran: ideology before story

Marvel executive producer Trinh Tran announces that Marvel will continue to place ideology before story:

“This is the first step to more diverse characters and franchises. I am hoping for more down the line. We have so many characters in the Marvel Universe, it’s a matter of picking which one makes sense to the MCU.”

Trinh Tran

Many of these self-appointed mavens of diversity seem to believe that they discovered the concept.

Let us not forget that Wonder Woman dates back to the 1940s. There were numerous black and female characters on the original Battlestar Galactica of the 1970s.

Diversity is all fine and good when it’s a natural outgrowth of story. Organic diversity, in other words. 

But when diversity (or any purely ideological goal) becomes the focus, then story descends into agitprop.

Agitprop seems to be what Ms. Tran plans for Marvel.

Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’

In honor of the approaching Halloween holiday, and the 1980s (two of my favorite areas of culture), I present Michael Jackson’s old music video, Thriller

Thriller was released in December 1983 on MTV. Watch the thing, and you’ll see that it is really more of a short film than a traditional music video. Many music videos of the golden age of MTV told little stories, but Michael Jackson’s Thriller set a new standard.

This is an example of what is possible in the realm of short-form storytelling. In a little less than fourteen minutes, Thriller tells several nested stories, and casts a spell on the viewer.

As with most any cultural artifact more than a decade old, it is tempting to look at Thriller with a jaundiced eye, and describe it as campy, trite, and overrated. 

Those arguments are yours to make. I prefer to see this as an interesting artifact from a time when creative artists were still more interested in creativity than mouthing off about politics. Thriller is also a relic of a time when the late Michael Jackson was relatively “normal”—an era when his more extreme eccentricities were either subdued, or not yet metastasized. 

Oh, and this is also a video from a time when MTV was much, much better. You kids today, you don’t know what you missed out on…in so many aspects of our culture. 

Kylie Rae Harris, and our celebrity obsessions

Yes, but what about her innocent victim?

Yahoo! News reports that Kylie Rae Harris, who had a history of drinking and driving, was driving recklessly when she caused the accident that took her life, and the life of 16 year-old Maria Elena Cruz:

New details are emerging about the tragic accident that claimed the lives of singer-songwriter, Kylie Rae Harris, and a 16-year-old girl. Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe confirms to Yahoo Entertainment that Harris, 30, is considered to be responsible for the fatal three-car collision. (The third driver was unharmed.) Maria Elena Cruz, a Taos High School sophomore, has been identified as the teenager killed.

“At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris,” Sheriff Hogrefe tells Yahoo Entertainment in a statement.

Speed appears to be a contributing factor in the collision while alcohol is suspected. Investigators are waiting on a toxicology report from the Office of the Medical Investigator. “As you know this is a non-chargeable case due to death of the at fault person (Harris) so the toxicology report is likely to be several months up to a year because of no urgency for criminal charges,” Sheriff Hogrefe notes.

Yahoo! News

In other words, by the time we know conclusively if Ms. Harris was drinking and driving, public attention will have moved on to other matters. But Ms. Harris almost certainly was drinking and driving. 

The media and the Internet will remember the life, and self-inflicted death, of Kylie Rae Harris. There will be memes and online tributes to her, as well as tributes and memorials in real life, by people who never even knew her.

Meanwhile, the life and death of Maria Elena Cruz, the innocent victim, will be all too quickly forgotten by anyone outside her immediate circle.

Here is another point to consider: If a driver with an hispanic last name, with a history of DWI, had killed Harris while drinking and driving, you can imagine some of the discussions we’d be having right now.

But because Harris was pretty, young, blonde, and famous, she’ll be judged in the court of public opinion by a different set of rules.