Today marks the 113th anniversary of the nativity of my favorite author — Robert E. Howard.
In, what is arguably his finest work, Beyond the Black River, he wrote, “Barbarism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.”
In a letter to his friend, Tevis Clyde Smith, he asked, “When a nation forgets her skill in war, when her religion becomes a mockery, when the whole nation becomes a nation of money-grabbers, then the wild tribes, the barbarians drive in… Who will our invaders be? From whence will they come?”
I wonder what Howard would think of what we have become? I suppose he would consider us soft and ripe to be overrun. A society built on keyboard posturing, where extremists on both sides of the fence froth at the mouth — close-minded, insecure — desperate to curry the favor of their peers by spewing as much hated as they can muster, the glow of their computer monitors and cell phone screens illuminating the enraged faces of unrecognizable monstrosities.
Howard saw the truth of it.
Robert E. Howard wrote with a fiery imagination, thundering out kinetic and visceral prose that spoke to the human condition, that evoked raw, unbridled emotion.
He left us far too soon, but on his own terms, I suppose.
Regardless, today we raise a horn in his honor.
Happy Birthday, Two-Gun.