Poor 1920’s America, destroyed from within by the yellow peril. It’s hard to imagine what the soul-crushing experience of watching an influx of delicious food, new cultural ideals, and assistance building the railroads was like. Thankfully, horror writers like Robert E. Howard and HP Lovecraft help us relive the terrifying experience that was their daily lives with vivid clarity.

We are all indebted to them.

Well, white supremacists everywhere probably owe them a lot more.

For the record, I’m being sarcastic. Extremely sarcastic.

Racism is a bigger part of literature (and even some mythology) than most people would like to admit. The beginnings of globalization in the early 1900’s lead to some pretty awkward moments in writing history. Over the last few weeks, people have been talking about the racially charged language of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn (which is absolutely ridiculous), but there are bigger fish to fry. Love him or hate him, most people know the name HP Lovecraft. While his writing style is, sometimes, marvelous, there are elements to his work that aren’t often discussed, namely the xenophobic bits that tend to pin everything together. While the guy never wrote essays in major publications condemning people different from himself, most of his stories feature an undercurrent of mindless fear toward other cultures. There is actually a tale that reads very similarly to the strip above. The lurking horror in town? Asians. Someone call the police.

He really is the master of horror.

It’s pretty obvious from his correspondence with other writers like Robert E. Howard, that Lovecraft was worried about the fabric of American society being torn apart by what he thought of as inferior races. It’s all sort of sad and strange. The hell of it is (for him anyway) that the really xenophobic stuff both of these men wrote were easily the worst writing they ever did. Not only has it not aged well due to cultural shifts, but the writing itself doesn’t stand up very well either. I guess that’s what you get for employing hacky tricks to instill fear, rather than exercising your writing skills and creativity.

With the Cthulhu mythos and the Necronomicon, Lovecraft was building a rather interesting modern mythology that has, strangely, had a bit of a revival in recent years. The man was capable of writing some truly intense and horrifying scenes. Unfortunately for him (fortunately for the rest of us), the things he cared about in his actual life (exclusion of other people, especially Asians) never lasted.

Cultural norms shift with time and the ridiculous and hurtful things that people sometimes think really matter are soon forgotten and looked back on with shame. The same sort of fear mongering is still taking place today with gay couples. It’s nice to know that sometime soon even that will be at an end. It makes me wonder what the hell people are going to hate on next. Racism still exists but it’s far less noticeable today and definitely less acceptable to engage in. You’d think that, by now, hatred against people for superficial things they didn’t choose would be at an end, especially in the United States. It should be painfully obvious by now that the influx of other cultures and different beliefs across this country have made us stronger rather than weaker.

Without Asian immigrants we’d have no railroads, no pad thai, and (gasp) no manga.

Who the hell would want to live in a world like that? Certainly not me.