Geek toy in inconspicuous wrapper

At metroactive, Annalee Newitz is giving an inside account of her rite of passage into Wikipedia editing, and witnesses an odd occurence, Lovecraft-impingent, as it were –

And then, while I was at it, I re-created another entry recently deleted for not being “notable” enough—that of Sonia Greene, a pulp–fiction writer and publisher of the 1920s who was briefly married to H.P. Lovecraft. Of all the insulting things to have happen, her entry had been erased and people searching for her were redirected to an entry on H.P. Lovecraft. How’s that for you, future scholars? Looking for information about a minor pulp fiction writer? Too bad she’s not notable—but we can redirect you to an entry on a guy she married for two years. (A guy, I might add, who pissed her off so much that she burned all his letters when they divorced.) Yuck.

Her working promise notwithstanding – I’m not so sure Wikipedia is the only or even the most efficient tool we have for creating cultural memories – she has a point when she is drawing reference to that case of digital cannibalism. Nevertheless, I might add that Lovecraft is some prominently shelved on Wikipedia exactly because there are legions of nerds and fans out there who find it important to have an available online reference to the Cthulhu mythos: you will never know when these creatures will go wrecking and messing through your town and garden, but when they finally do – you might as well put a name tag and a history to them. Hell, even I use it once in a while to not mix up alien invader species.

These nerds help lift the burden of obscurantism –

I am genuinely offended by the notion that obscure authors, technologies, ideas and events should be deleted from what’s supposed to be a vast compendium of knowledge.

off an author whose posthumous existence ranges somewhere between geek toy and occult master of ceremonies – democratizing the experience of his work and thought in a way that makes it hard to over-emphasize the importance of online publishing to reach Lovecraft out to a wider, non-segmentalized, non-nerdy audience, which will ultimately also help his fortune in academe – from geek toy to mainstream phenomenon to object of academic inquiry.


Meanwhile, in another shelter of the academic sphere of subsistence, I am considering how I move my class in some broad sweep from Melville’s acerbic-humorous exercise in cynicism, The Confidence Man, into the 20th century and also to Lovecraft: thus it is that Melville has, for the time being, turned into a co-resident, and I shall poke him with some more questions while he is here. To quote Melville, or rather: his way of opening, as he does in The Confidence Man, his chapters with these 19th-century-ish header summaries that become part of the narrative when they jibe at it – to quote him freely –

Upon the heel of the last scene, Melville and Lovecraft enter the blog, mutual benedictions on their lips.


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