Ben Zoom Strikes Again
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
posted by Leo Grin
Not more than a week after swearing off Howard fandom for the umpteenth time, Ben is back with an all-new online publication chock full of his inimitable, indescribably illiterate ramblings on weird fiction. The name of the project is Calenture: A Journal of Studies in Speculative Verse, wherein one can peruse such certain classics as “”The Clean Shaven Barbarian: A Masculine Reading of Robert E. Howard’s ‘The Gold and the Grey’,” the first paragraph of which reads:
THE POETRY of Texan author Robert E. Howard is known to inherit a sense of barbarism, pure machismo and masculinity, in which the dominating male performs all the desired and necessary roles one is meant to embark upon. However, his work, much like the author, could not always uphold this performance, and shades of constraint and sensitivity became more apparent over the course of his life. Students of gender theory comment that masculinity has evolved into something much different than its literary predecessor; a change brought on upon the gender movements in the latter twentieth century. No longer is it a case of being a gentleman or a brute; it is now a matter of performing the ‘ideal’ subject position. Normative masculinity seeks to merge the two opposing forces together. In the following article, Howard’s “The Gold and the Grey” (a.k.a. “An Echo From the Iron Harp”, will be used to discuss the double-bind inherent in normative masculinity, operating both aggressively as power and repressively as constraint.
Great, great stuff for those of you who can’t get enough of Ben Zoom. Perhaps the best thing about the journal is that it is written using the risible quasi-academic MLA style that is the vogue in weird fiction studies, proving yet again that being MLA approved or having an article with footnotes means absolutely nothing in the real world. Without good writing and half a brain, all the citations and certifications in the world can’t help you. It’s time that fans of REH, CAS, and HPL leave all of that nonsense to real academics and concentrate instead on writing well and accurately for intelligent, general readers.
You can download the whole PDF here. Currently Calenture is soliciting papers for a special Clark Ashton Smith issue. One can only hope that Fate takes pity on poor CAS and renders the journal defunct before that can ever appear.