I recently read Hannah Giorgis’ article (https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/08/lovecraft-country/615259/) on What Lovecraft Country Gets Wrong About Racial Horror. The sub-title goes along the lines that the show “...fails to make its Black heroes compelling”. Ms. Giorgis is quite mistaken.
While her article was extremely well written and entertaining, she clearly missed something in her search for lofty ideals of what it means to be a hero. It’s like saying that Alighieri failed to make the character of Dante (himself) compelling because of his flaws. In this instance, she failed to see the forest for the trees, literally.
We have come to a place in time where the ideal hero, to be properly identified, must have an enormous ‘S’ printed across their chest, wield a magical hammer that only the worthy can pick up, or display superhuman powers. What a sad time! Real heroes do not need these things because they exemplify qualities that seem to be in low demand: integrity, natural intelligence, authenticity.
Lovecraft Country’s magic is subtle, subtle enough that Ms. Giorgis missed it in the depiction of Black heroes owning respectable businesses. Black heroes keeping their chins up in the face of systemically sanctioned cruelty. Black heroes even caring about (Heaven forbid!) literature and the distinctions between what is pulp and what is respectable reading, and making a subtle, but poignant distinction between the white racist H.P. Lovecraft’s poem: On The Creation of Niggers and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, a timeless classic written by a Black man.
There were heroes of all sizes, not just a size 0. Heroes with natural, lovely nappy hair. Perhaps, Ms. Giorgis should go back to the beginning of the first episode and listen with the intent to hear the message imparted to young Atticus when he excused the flaws of a protagonist, who was an ex-Confederate soldier. He is reprimanded and reminded that this officer “...fought for slavery. You don’t get to put an ex in front of that.” Yes, Ms. Giorgis would benefit from a redefinition of what it means to be a hero, a definition that should not come from a Marvel lunchbox.
Again, splendid article, but misses the mark. B-