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Thursday, August 23, 2018 

Today's SJWs follow the Wertham formula in attacking breasts

Here's a Village Voice article from almost a year ago on the history of Fredric Wertham and his now discredited to all but social justice propagandists book, Seduction of the Innocent, which, as I realize more than ever now, provided the narrative for Orwellian SJWs who despise women's sexuality:
Publishers however understood that there was gold in that acidic pulp and those four-color inks. During World War II, comic books sold upwards of a billion copies annually, both on the home front and in military PXs. After the war editors scrambled to continue attracting readers, including returning GIs, who were no longer interested in muscle-bound beings flying around in long underwear. Some publications predictably headed downmarket, featuring women wearing no more than lingerie, often accessorized with tightly cinched ropes. Adults who had deplored superheroes were now doubly outraged by the growing number of crime and horror titles. (A few even organized comic-book burnings—in a 1948 photo, children in Binghamton, New York, can be seen laughing as they pile up comics for a bonfire.) The November 1953 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal included an article by Dr. Fredric Wertham, which asked the question, “Do Comics Create Child Criminals?” A New York City psychiatrist, Wertham (1895–1981) had grown concerned over the effects comics had on children he saw in his practice. In 1954 he gathered his research into a 400-page polemic, Seduction of the Innocent, which blamed the bulk of America’s social ills on comic books. The book is filled with observation of various genres, such as one that Wertham claimed adolescent boys called “headlight comics,” which specialized in “highly accentuated and protruding breasts in practically every illustration.” With such assertions, Wertham’s minor bestseller came close to destroying the comic-book industry.
Ah, now that is pretty much what's led to the current social justice crisis. I wouldn't be shocked if quite a few SJWs really did research Wertham's writings, and consider his negative takes on sexuality fully valid, selectively or otherwise. The ghost of Wertham's still prevailing, and the worst part is that on one hand, you have SJWs who're actually fine with violence, yet hostile to female sexuality, and cherry-picked the parts they either consider suitable to their visions or not. And censorship, sadly, has never gone away. In fact, it's gotten worse, seeing how today, you couldn't make a movie like 1960's Exodus by Otto Preminger that's favorable to Israel, if at all, and US conservatives fare even worse in Hollywood than before.
Among devoted fans, Seduction can still trigger the incoherent outrage torch-bearing villagers felt toward Frankenstein’s creation, and the book in fact has much in common with Shelley’s monster: clumsy and destructive, but also heartfelt and often misunderstood. Like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which warned of environmental calamity brought on by the overuse of pesticides, or Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, exposing the rapacious cruelties of turn-of-the-century meatpacking cartels, Seduction is the rare book that truly unleashed the power of the written word—a force that becomes most manifest in America when it hits business squarely on the bottom line.
And how! Over the past several years, Marvel took a serious toll artistically as they began dumbing down artwork in a way that would've made Wertham proud, had it not been for the fact that in 1973, he seemed to abandon his earlier stance and argue comics could have educational advantages. And so, they gradually began losing business, as the fanbase started wising up and abandoning them. DC's fared no better by this point.
Wertham “came as close to shutting down the entire comics business as anything I know of,” the renowned comic-book artist Joe Kubert told me during a 2003 interview. Kubert (1926–2012) began working in comics around the age of twelve, just as the industry was exploding with the success of a newfangled hero called Superman. Kubert’s spare, rough ’n’ ready style amped the propulsive thrust of the slyly antiwar stories of his signature character, Sgt. Rock. “If I can give just enough detail so that the reader can finish it off, that reader becomes part of the story,” he told me. In a career that spanned eight decades, Kubert witnessed the birth—and near death—of the comic-book medium. Wertham “was out to make a name and a buck for himself,” Kubert added, his cynicism derived from seeing “a helluva lot of jobs lost” because of Wertham’s anti-comics crusade. (Hadju’s book lists some nine hundred artisans who never worked in the comics field again after the moral backlash SOTI created.)
If Kubert were still alive today, what would he think if he saw how Joe Quesada, Dan DiDio and even Axel Alonso brought down the medium to such an awful level? Speaking of Alonso, I've been wondering for a while: what are the chances Marvel's still got him on the payroll, not unlike the discovery Alamo Drafthouse was still employing the disgraced Devin Faraci for almost a year after he was accused of sexual abuse? If it turns out he's still working for them (suggesting C.B. Cebulski's just a figurehead), then it only enforces the perception of nepotism at the Big Two.

And on that note, I think I'm going to have to address why this article is still a huge disappointment: it stresses the 1950s era. But it doesn't say a word about the modern irony: Marvel's continuing censorship cases. Not even how, during the 1980s, they may have censored some material originally published in the Epic imprint, of all places. And that was meant to be for adults as much as creator-owned products! Even profanity, though prevalent in Marvel and DC comics since the early 1970s, could still be censored while bloodletting was allowed, recalling some stories in the Punisher and Marvel Comics Presents where this peculiar double-standard took place. Don't get me wrong, the stories themselves were good. But if they don't have the courage to present the most vile cuss words uncensored while potentially graphic and gory violence get a full pass, that's honestly a form of hypocrisy. Even Gen13 and a few other Wildstorm creations may have suffered this kind of farce. There's also Joe Quesada's ban on smoking in Marvel's superhero comics in the early 2000s, just shortly after they abandoned the Comics Code Authority, which made a joke out of their departure from what was a bad idea.

So in the end, what good does it do to talk about the damage beginning with Wertham yesterday if they have no interest in where it continues - or even ends - today? There isn't even any concern over the closure of specialty stores, which this year saw at least 15 in the first half, and could easily be double by the time the year ends. If modern affairs are uninteresting to the Village Voice writers, then I can only conclude they're actually in favor of what they allegedly pan in this otherwise half-hearted article.

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"Even profanity, though prevalent in Marvel and DC comics since the early 1970s, could still be censored while bloodletting was allowed, recalling some stories in the Punisher and Marvel Comics Presents where this peculiar double-standard took place."

There was no profanity or cuss words in 1970s Marvels or DCs! Not even in the black and white magazines which were published outside the Comics Code. You would have to wait until Marvel's Max line many years later, which allowed swear words and more brutality and bloodletting. The Code became more liberal (you should excuse the expression) in the 1970s, but never that liberal.

When did female sexuality get reduced to big prominently displayed breasts? You can be pro-sexuality without necessarily cheering for T&A!

Maybe I should've been more specific. There were comics in the 70s/80s (Swamp Thing and Marvel's Super Action, for example) where you could find the words "damn", "crap" and "hell", but the F-curse and S-curse were rarely used, until the MAX line and some Vertigo books came along. And again, as noted, by the late 80s, there were books turning up where harsher bloodletting could be seen, while profanity was still often "bleeped out" by contrast. Not the best way to make progress, if it matters from an artistic perspective.

"And censorship, sadly, has never gone away. In fact, it's gotten worse, seeing how today, you couldn't make a movie like 1960's Exodus by Otto Preminger that's favorable to Israel, if at all, and US conservatives fare even worse in Hollywood than before."

Chris Evans is starring in a film about the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, called The Red Sea Diving Resort; it should open late 2018/early 2019. Netflix is doing a tv series about Israeli spy Eli Cohen. And anyone remember You Don't Mess With the Zohan, from about a decade ago?

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