« Home | Elsa Bloodstone fell victim to PC » | Hex Publishers will develop comics based on Random... » | Comics about USA border crisis unable to be advert... » | A festival in Vermont for non-fiction comics » | Black Adam fighting Superman is the whole point of... » | Recent Latina superheroine creations appear to be ... » | The guests and the sales at this year's Western Ma... » | What's become of Joss Whedon, once a director of c... » | Special event held at Austin hospital featuring bo... » | People who either loathe or love GNs » 

Saturday, October 22, 2022 

Wash. Post wants us to think they know better about censorship

The Washington Post wrote a pretentious op-ed about book bans today supposedly mirroring those of the 1950s, when Fredric Wertham was around:
Today there is a rising movement to ban books, especially in schools and libraries where children might access them. This movement comes despite book banning being wildly unpopular nationally, including in red states, and even in a messaging poll designed to test the most effective conservative arguments on education.
Here's the problem. What they seem to be talking about, yet remaining ambiguous about, is all the LGBT propaganda now being distributed in libraries, at schools and public library outfits, marketed at children. It's not that anybody on the right today supports censorship so much as they believe the books in question, comics included, are a bad example for education of children. What's so hard to understand about that?
This was the case in the 1950s when a movement arose to ban comic books. At its center was a respected child psychologist pushing wild accusations about the dangers of illustrated literature for children. His analysis was misguided, his evidence misleading or fabricated, and his concerns about children’s literature overblown, but Americans bought his claims anyway. This history serves as a cautionary tale, as graphic novels once again draw the ire of book banners.

[...] After World War II, America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union drove a nationwide Red Scare that culminated in anti-communist witch hunts at congressional hearings led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) and others. This fear of communism drove what historians have termed “containment culture” — a fear of any sort of deviance or difference from established cultural norms, including stories of forbidden crimes, passions and identities.
We seem to have an oxymoron at play here, when quite a few of Wertham's fellow leftists today actually do buy into any sex-negative positions he went by in his time. And what good does it do to bring up the McCarthy trials, when today's leftists have no serious issue with the communism it built on, Russia's assault on Ukraine notwithstanding?
These fears drove figures like children’s novelist Sterling North and Jesuit priest Robert E. Southard to oppose the proliferation of comic books. And they had an unlikely ally laboring to demonstrate the supposed harm caused by books: the noted child psychologist Fredric Wertham.

[...] But Wertham’s experiences at the Lafargue Clinic also sent him down a book-banning rabbit hole. Surrounded by children with mental health challenges, Wertham soon realized that most of them read comic books. Wertham concluded that these must be the negative environmental stimuli responsible for their disordered mental states — ignoring the fact that the vast majority of healthy children were reading comics, too.

[...] In 1954, Wertham wrote the surprise bestseller “Seduction of the Innocent,” in which he launched a one-man crusade against the comics industry with the shrill alarmism of the recently disgraced McCarthy. “Comic books stimulate children sexually,” Wertham wrote, “a sexual arousal which amounts to seduction.” He claimed that Superman encouraged juvenile delinquency, that Batman and Robin were gay lovers, and that Wonder Woman encouraged lesbianism.
Apparently, the point of this questionable puff piece is to downplay any poor influence of homosexuality, even as these propagandists have no qualms about toning down depictions of heterosexual relations. Mainly because of recent developments, where it's been implied DC's fully willing to sacrifice Bruce Wayne to the alter of LGBT, and what's the use of claiming Superman doesn't encourage delinquency when only so many leftist-run cities around the USA are failing to enforce the law, and enabling violent crime to dominate? Pathetic.
To support such assertions, “Seduction of the Innocent” purported to quote liberally from Wertham’s patients, including a child who told Wertham that when he grew up “I want to be a sex maniac” and a 12-year-old who reported that “I get sexually excited” when comic book villains tie up and beat women. Perhaps Wertham’s most shocking claims were about comic book stores — “obscure” places “where children congregate, often in backrooms, to read and buy secondhand comic books” — which the psychologist labeled “foci of childhood prostitution.” “Evidently,” Wertham wrote, “comic books prepare the little girls well.”

The panic set off by Wertham’s book crushed entire sectors of the comic book industry. The worst part: The anecdotes in the book weren’t even true.

In 2012, Tilley gained access to Wertham’s long-sealed papers and discovered that the psychologist had taken broad liberties in reporting his interviews with children. Some quotes were “composites,” phrases taken from multiple real patients and compiled into a single fictitious case. Other quotes Wertham claimed he had heard directly were in fact reported to him by colleagues. Still others were simply false; the child trafficking ring at the comic book store that Wertham discussed? It was actually a candy store and the trafficking victims were adults.
Yet ever since that revelation, the comics industry and the MSM have virtually buried it all, and over the past decade, embarked on a censorious path far worse than what the 1950s ever brought about. Again, what's the point? Like practically all other entertainment industries, comicdom even barred discussion of Islamic terrorism and anti-American sentiment. Even concerns of sexism these days are selective at worst, if they even discuss it at all (the "war on women" Barack Obama claimed was occurring is no longer mentioned either). As a result, this op-ed doesn't carry much gravity.
But the fearful climate of the era, along with Wertham’s professional authority, meant that many Americans accepted his claims without much scrutiny. In 1954, Wertham repeated his theatrical claims before a rapt Senate subcommittee and, in the face of likely government intervention, the comics industry elected to self-regulate instead. The resulting Comics Code Authority restricted comics content for over 60 years and brought an end to comics’ golden age. Bowing to societal pressure, the code banned openly LGBTQ characters and created content standards so stringent that they eliminated nearly all comics written for teenagers and adults.

Despite this self-regulation, 14 states passed laws restricting the sale of comics within a year after the subcommittee hearings. Between the comics code and the bans, comics readership predictably dried up, never to return to the heights of the early 1950s. Just as with McCarthy’s witch hunts, many Americans were eager to believe that there was an enemy in their midst, and that purging such an enemy could solve the problems of their society.
That could easily describe the situation with liberals-vs-conservatives today, where blacklisting's risen anew, this time leveled against virtually every conservative-leaning comics creator, with very few exceptions. Chuck Dixon, Mike Baron and even Ethan Van Sciver are just a few examples, and if Steve Ditko counts, based on his readership of Ayn Rand, they'd doubtless put him on the blacklist too. And again, today's mainstream has banned only so many challenging subjects, possibly even the focus on drug abuse, which Stan Lee worked hard build a Spider-Man story around in 1971, that as a result, this op-ed once again passes for laughable. It's the following paragraphs, however, that really make clear what this op-ed is all about:
Seventy years on, Wertham’s success at convincing a broad swath of Americans that Superman and Batman were destroying children’s minds is a frightening reminder of how easily people can be “seduced” by fears about literature for young people, even when those fears are not supported by the evidence. Baseless accusations being hurled at librarians and teachers today, suggesting that they are “groomers” who are circulating “pornography,” are an eerie parallel. “There is some hysteria associated with the idea of reading,” Toni Morrison once said about book bans, “that is all out of proportion to what … in fact happens when one reads.” She was right.

The comic book scare resulted in the censorship of minority identities in fiction, ruined the careers of authors and illustrators, and drove many young people away from the stories that spoke to them. Facing a new movement to ban books today, and with the benefit of hindsight, Americans have an opportunity to do better.
This is pretty rich coming from somebody who's downplaying the bad influence of LGBT ideology, which has infiltrated leftist-dominated schools, and by refusing to acknowledge that, the Wash. Post has effectively scuttled their whole argument, revealing it was more of an excuse to justify the propaganda the left's been shoving into the USA school systems, mainly at the expense of women and children. And look how many writers, past and present, are getting their careers ruined by Cancel Culture, even liberals. And how whites are being shunned in favor of POC in an increasing number of comics movies, and even the comics themselves, unless they're already LGBT characters. Again, the Wash. Post has done little more than dish out a hypocritical argument topped off by taking the moral high ground, acting like they know far better than anyone else about this subject. Alas, the article is just an excuse to claim parents are stupid, and don't know what's best for their children. That's why it's such a failure.

Labels: , , , ,

About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
My profile



  • avigreen2002@yahoo.com
  • Fansites I Created

  • Hawkfan
  • The Greatest Thing on Earth!
  • The Outer Observatory
  • Earth's Mightiest Heroines
  • The Co-Stars Primer
  • Realtime Website Traffic

    Comic book websites (open menu)

    Comic book weblogs (open menu)

    Writers and Artists (open menu)

    Video commentators (open menu)

    Miscellanous links (open menu)

  • W3 Counter stats
  • Bio Link page
  • blog directory Bloggeries Blog Directory View My Stats Blog Directory & Search engine eXTReMe Tracker Locations of visitors to this page  
    Flag Counter

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    make money online blogger templates

Older Posts Newer Posts

The Four Color Media Monitor is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Join the Google Adsense program and learn how to make money online.