The Onion: Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added to the Curriculum

For Lovecraft fanatics like me, a piece that appears in the current issue of The Onion (March 2, 2009, Issue 45:10) is surely the most hilarious bit of writing to come down the pipeline in years.

Its title is “Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added to the Curriculum.” For obvious (copyright-related) reasons, I can’t reprint the whole thing here. But the following excerpts give the flavor. Be good to yourself and click through to read the whole piece. Oh, how I wish I could have uttered the quoted school board member’s words at a faculty meeting back when I was teaching high school. The final paragraph below strikes me as an especially delicious parody of the endless stream of education-related propaganda about the need for schools to teach students the “21st Century Skills” that are necessary for them to succeed in the “knowledge economy.”

ARKHAM, MA — Arguing that students should return to the fundamentals taught in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon in order to develop the skills they need to be driven to the very edge of sanity, Arkham school board member Charles West continued to advance his pro-madness agenda at the district’s monthly meeting Tuesday.

“Fools!” said West, his clenched fist striking the lectern before him. “We must prepare today’s youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods — not fill their heads with such trivia as math and English. Our graduates need to know about those who lie beneath the earth, waiting until the stars align so they can return to their rightful place as our masters and wage war against the Elder Things and the shoggoths!”

. . . . “Our schools are orderly, sanitary places where students dwell in blissful ignorance of the chaos that awaits,” West said. “Should our facilities be repaired? No, they must be razed to the ground and rebuilt in the image of the Cyclopean dwellings of the Elder Gods, the very geometry of which will drive them to be possessed by visions of the realms beyond.”

. . . . “In the information age, it is easier than ever to gather knowledge about things that should not be but nonetheless are, and such wisdom could prepare our students to be better citizens amid the ruins of sunken cities infested with swarms of ravenous, bloated rats,” West said. “Also, I believe that birth control should not be distributed by the guidance counselor.”

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD and GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES.

Posted on March 3, 2009, in Education and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. EnigmaticWinter

    That is absolutely hilarious! Maybe that’s why the asylum in Batman is called Arkham! He thinks we should preach the Necrinomicon? Is he a total psycho? I mean, i’ve always wanted my own padded room but this guy’s nuts! Since when is Math and English trivia? I think this guy should be in Arkham Asylum.

  2. Wow…it would be one thing if he was talking about financial terrors, housing-market terrors, social/societal terrors, or even doom-and-gloom “God’s lightning will strike this world!” rhetoric. Instead it’s…“We must prepare today’s youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods.” I am tempted to suggest that perhaps HE is the only terror that we need be afraid of.

    I mean, how many “ruins of sunken cities infested with swarms of ravenous, bloated rats” does he think exist, and how many of today’s students does he expect to be creeping through them looking for the Holy Grail or whatever other legendary artifacts they hear tell of? I mean, is this guy for real? Does he think that these rat-infested sunken cities are the United States’ future? If so, then perhaps I would advise that if that is America’s future, there really isn’t a whole lot that we can do right now to prepare for it…except perhaps stock up on ammunition before Mr. Obama triples the taxes on it.

  3. Be advised, my friends, that the whole thing is an overt parody (if you weren’t already hip to that).

    And yes, EnigmaticWinter, Lovecraft is indeed the source of the Arkham in Arkham Asylum. He created the town of Arkham — which is a fictionalized version of Salem, Massachusetts (the town where, interestingly enough, my sister has lived and worked for the past several years) — as a part of his fictional geography of New England. Somebody at DC Comics decided to name a fictional asylum after it in the Batman series in the 1970s. Then, of course, the Arkham Asylum graphic novel appeared in the late 1980s. Now it seems quite a few people today know the word “Arkham” better from DC Comics and Batman-related things than from its origin in the mind of HPL.

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