Sunday, August 9, 2015

HP Lovecraft's "helpful monsters" : how the Slime saved more kids than Civilization bombed or gassed

In 1937, the world's most honoured cultural hero was invariably some sort of a medical researcher.

Probably someone with a German accent, gained from years of study at the world's best research universities ---- someone who researched on children's illnesses, someone invariably photographed giving candy to kiddies.

Someone rather like Dr Josef Mengele in fact.

In that same year, the world's scariest monster was usually a foul smelling shapeless giant blob of slime, terror on the the classic HP Lovecraft model.

A blob that was always less than a real object than rather a metaphor representing the horrific dissolving of Progress's reassuring certitudes ("science's terrible simplicities").

Certitudes that a huge number of us need to daily get through a messy actual world of instability, uncertainty and change.

(Insert here links to research on the 'conservative brain'.)

Yet by 1946 and The Doctors' Trial, Dr Mengele's medical research on children had become the last word in evil and horror.

And the child-saving albeit foul smelly penicillium slime was the surprise medical hero of the hour, the only truly Good News Story to ever come out of WWII's Bad News War.

HP himself had died back in 1937 and so never got to live long enough to see his expectations confounded.

And upended...

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