Stanley Hornbeck, American Renaissance, May 12, 2020
“The Horror at Red Hook” by H.P. Lovecraft
Part of his ‘”New York series” and framed as a quasi-detective story, this short 1925 tale differs from Lovecraft’s more paranormal and otherworldly stories. Lovecraft depicts a squalid, immigrant-laden Brooklyn landscape of threats of violence and a menacing undercurrent of Asiatic black magic (“From this tangle of material and spiritual putrescence the blasphemies of a hundred dialects assail the sky”). An Irish detective investigates certain strange goings-ons and meets an old Dutch eccentric well ahead of him in this endeavor. The supernatural and occult soon appear, as the detective finds himself in a world of demonology and evil brought over from the alien environs of the Steppes, North Africa, and the Near East.
“Black Canaan” by Robert E. Howard
Published in 1936, “Black Canaan” is one of the few attempts by the Conan-creator to explore America’s Deep South. In the mythical town of Canaan in Louisiana’s swamp country, a black, anti-white uprising is bubbling up. White hero Kirby Bruckner is called back to his hometown from New Orleans to take on the Ju-Ju-man ringleader, Saul Stark. Savage, yet educated, Stark has Voodoo-esque, supernatural powers and when Bruckner meets him, he sends a black witch-seductress who tries to tempt Buckner to his doom.
“The Commercial” by Tom Wolfe
This was Wolfe’s first foray into fiction, in his 1976 book Mauve Gloves. The story follows black baseball slugger Willie Hammer, who’s been cajoled into the then nascent-phenomenon of celebrity TV advertising — for “Charlemagne cologne.” As always, Wolfe captures the soulless white executive class perfectly. New York advertising and marketing men and a film director wine-and-dine Willie, as they try to ingratiate themselves with low humor and promises that “everything’s gonna be perfect.” Willie’s thrown a curve ball when the script for the commercial has him playing a simpleton. He is already trying to live down his slum beginnings, and this will enrage his black nationalist wife, despite the fat paycheck.
“Displacement” by Derek Turner
Young Martin Hacklett has lived all his life in London, where his working-class family has been for generations, but the city offers him nothing but alienation and a haunting sense of past greatness. Intelligent, fit, and a writer of poetry, Martin compensates for his sense of dislocation through parkour or “free running,” the urban sport of climbing up buildings and leaping across rooftops.
After his feats are caught by a professional photographer, Martin finds himself a reluctant minor celebrity. Martin and his unemployed and outspoken father are interviewed by an upper-class journalist from a Guardian-tier newspaper who covers him in a hatchet piece about white animosity in a post-colonial England “they just don’t get.”
“The Mother Hive” by Rudyard Kipling
This is Rudyard Kipling’s most political fable. A moth sneaks into an unguarded beehive and lays her eggs. She manages to stay in the hive even when she is discovered (“Wax-moth only succeed when weak bees let them in. . . That never happens till the stock’s weakened”). The moth ingratiates herself with impressionable young bees who have not “yet seen the winds blow or the flowers nod. . .” A bee “who had all a sound bee’s hereditary hatred” of moths, tries to turn the moth out, but the younger ones ridicule her, claiming that if only bees would trust moths they would reciprocate. Meanwhile, the moth keeps laying eggs . . .