Friday, February 22, 2013

Seduction of the Innocent and Congressional Testimony Download

I like girls.
I like Batman and Robin. Not the same way, of course.

In the 1960s, if you looked anywhere in the newspapers and magazines archives about the history of comics, it pointed you in one direction: The Seduction of the Innocent, Dr. Fredric Wertham and the congressional hearing he inspired. 

So when I picked up his book, in 1965, which I still have, I surprised to discover that reading Batman and Robin made you like boys in the way I liked girls.  This was rubbish, and I wondered how anyone could get away with it. 

Superman was a Nazi?  He was written and published by Jewish guys. Huh? 

At a time when at least 70% of youngsters were reading comics, Wertham attempted to established a “cause and effect” by watching kids in a prison holding cell.  They read comics!!!!  Of course, many incarcerated kids, then and now, were not highly literate, a possible cause of their problems, but that was not important enough to mention. (Nor the fact that they did not have Moby Dick in a holding cell.)

Dr. Wertham became a celebrity because he found a curable cause for illiteracy, juvenile delinquency, sex crimes and homosexuality: Comic Books. he got a lot of attention, fame and money and he loved it all. It didn't start with his book, published in 1954, (see review below) there were several magazine and newspaper articles that he had written during the past decade

When you read his book, even as a teenager, I even knew that documentation and common sense were missing. I never understand people, to this day, who give him a long leash and say that he was only looking after children and he had a history of that. But he was truly hurting them by not looking for the real causes of crime and literacy: poverty, poor schools, bad parenting and several other factors.  No, it was "get rid of crime comics" and things will be alright.  Well, they did and they weren't.

Now, with his “research” revealed we officially know he fudged the truth, a lot. He flat out lied.

Discover what researcher, Dr. Carol Tilley discovered when she went through Wertham’s documents, newly archived at the Library of Congress:

In "Seduction of the Innocent" Wertham discusses a 7-year-old boy, Edward, who
he says has been having nightmares after reading Blue Beetle comics, about a
hero who supposedly "changes into a beetle." ("Kafka for the kiddies!" Wertham

But, according to Dr. Tilley's research, Wertham wrote in his original case
notes on Edward, "Boy says he does not remember anything about the nightmares."
And the Blue Beetle character does not transform into an insect in the comic.

Elsewhere in the book Wertham argues that the superheroes Batman and Robin
represent "a wish dream of two homosexuals living together," and cited a young
gay man who says that he put himself "in the position of Robin" and "did want to
have relations with Batman."

But in Wertham's original notes, Dr. Tilley writes, these quotations actually
come from two young men, ages 16 and 17, who were in a sexual relationship with
each other, and who told Wertham they were more likely to fantasize about heroes
like Tarzan or the Sub-Mariner, rather than Batman and Robin.

Wertham almost destroyed an industry, putting thousands of people out of work and closing 75% of the comic book publishers. He also hurt the people who were selling comics.  People, such as Charles M. Schultz, creator of Peanuts were approached as enemies of the people. (In his own church!). Wertham was ostracized by the people in his field because they knew the research was wrong.

I have done research on him: newspaper articles, magazines and even some TV appearances. He would change his tune in front of different audiences. Remember in the 1950s we did not have instant news or cameras in telephones. Many people did not even have TV yet.

Wertham, in front of larger audiences, in the Northeast would say he was only against crime comics, which made up about 5% or the market. In smaller towns, and in front of religious groups, he would say that almost all comics are crime comics, after all Batman and Superman were always fighting criminals. Now we all know that Batman was not similar to "Crime Does Not Pay" or "Crime Suspense Stories."

In later years, Wertham would say that he was against censorship and tried to recant his earlier statements.  But he advocated a "higher authority" to review comics before they were published and did ask for a ban on certain comics.

My favorite piece came in the 1970s, when a reporter pushed him into admitting that comics were no longer a problem, TV was. So when the reporter said as a statement, not a question, it's then alright to read comics now, Wertham objected, saying that the lettering in comics would ruin your eyesight! He could never give up.

It starts off with a sampler of my book, complete with audio! And a few pages later, there is even a few words from Mike Vassallo.

I always felt that The Sentinels story from X-Men #14-16, was a “riff” on the Comic Book hearing in Congress. Here, as in real life, Congress puts too much credibility in the hands of one “expert. Read what Stan lee had to say about this in the final caption...Beware the fanatic.....!

The New York Times Review

Nothing To Laugh At
Seduction of the Innocent
By Fredric Wertham, Illustrated. 400 pp.
New York: Rinehart and Co. $4
By C. Wright Mills

From the New York Times, 1955
ALL parents should be grateful to Dr. Fredric Wertham for having written “Seduction of the Innocent.” Most parents have not read the comic books that many of their children, because of guilt and anxiety, often conceal from them. Dr. Wertham ha read these ugly pamphlets with the eye of the psychiatrist; it has made him an angry man, who has good reasons for anger.

He is not angry---at least not in this book—about comic strips in newspapers and Sunday supplements. He is angry about comic hooks, and especially those which deal in violence, crime and sex. Parents are not aware of the recent upsurge of this branch of the comics industry, and the majority of comic books, Dr. Wertham asserts, are not the “harmless” publications parents believe them to be. In 1946-47 only about one-tenth of all comic books were crime comics: by 1949, over half, and by 1954, “the vast majority.”

Dr. Wertham — who has directed several New York clinics and written such books as “Dark Legend” and “The Show of Violence”--examines the contents of comic books, explores the nature of the child’s mind and speculates upon just how the books affect that mind. He gives such facts as are available about an industry, of which it is difficult even to find out who publishes what book, and he gives copious references to the books themselves, including sixteen pages of photographs.
Among other things, he shows how the stories and advertisements in comic books are related: “The stories instill a wish to be a superman, the advertisements promise to supply the means for becoming one. Comic-book heroines have super-figures; the comic-book advertisements promise to develop them. The stories display the wounds; the advertisements supply the knives. The stories feature scantily clad girls; the advertisements outfit Peeping Toms.

ON the basis of years of intensive work with all kinds of children. — normal and delinquent, healthy and troubled, slow and bright—Dr. Wertham concludes that comic books are a profound “anti educational” influence. They are a detriment to good reading and a force for illiteracy. In them “trust, loyalty, confidence, solidarity, sympathy, charity, compassion are ridiculed.” He holds that the stimulate racial prejudice and various sadistic and unhealthy attitudes; that their emphasis upon all sorts of criminal violence, drug addiction and cruelty stimulates children to various forms of juvenile delinquency. “If one were to set out to show children • how to steal, rob, lie, cheat, assault and break into houses, no better method could be devised.”

Dr. Wertham takes issue with the idea that “healthy normal children are not affected by bad things and that for unhealthy abnormal children bad things do not make much difference.” For “nothing that occupies a child for several hours a day over a long period can be entirely without influence on him.”

The role of comic books in delinquency is not the whole nor by any means the worst harm they do to children. It Is just one part of it. Many Children who never become delinquent or conspicuously disturbed have been adversely affected by them. Pouring sordid stories Into the minds of children is not the same as pouring water over a duck’s back.”
Surely any careful reader of this book can only agree with Dr. Wertham when he says: “Whenever

I see a book like this in the hands of a little 7-year old boy, his eyes glued to the printed page, I feel like a fool to have to prove that this kind of thing is not good mental nourishment for children!”
IT does not seem to me that “further studies are needed” before action is taken against comic book manufacturers and purveyors, but further studies are needed, There is needed, first, an accurate tally, on a continuing monthly basis, of the various types of comic book material. That is a big job, but surely with 30,000 foundations now giving away money, an organization to do this job could be set up. It ought to be, forthwith.

There is needed, second, studies of the effects of comic books on children at various age levels, on an adequate statistical basis. This is one of the most difficult types of problems in the whole of social psychology—which is all the more reason to get on with it.

In the meantime, Dr. Wertheim’s cases, his careful observations and his sober reflections about the American child in a world of comic violence and unfunny filth testify to a most commendable use of the professional mind in the service of the public.

Mr. Mills, Associate Professor of Sociology at Columbia is the author of “White Paper”


  1. One thing I noticed, Barry, is that the so-called examples of Wertham supposedly altering case studies could be attributed to similar instances which differed in some details. Therefore, to conclude, as Dr Tilley does, that one was changed into another, seems by no means conclusive.

    Regardless, it seems an inescapable fact that people, especially children, are influenced by a whole range of different factors in their lives, and - depending on content - certain 'comicbooks' are theoretically just as likely to be one of those factors as anything else.

    I know one comicbook contributor who says that comics had a positive influence on him as a boy. I've no reason to doubt it. However, if you accept that they can have a positive influence, then it stands to reason that they must also have the potential (depending on content, remember) to have a negative influence.

    Which is not necessarily to say that any comic has ever been published which HAS had a seriously negative influence, but the possibility that one COULD BE must likewise exist.

    I suppose it depends on a person's definition of positive and negative, eh? One man's meat is another man's poison. I'd agree that a comicbook by itself is unlikely to have a serious or long-term effect on anyone (although I wouldn't be so dogmatic as to rule out the possibility completely), but in conjunction with other factors, it could well be a contributory factor.

    Just think - without Wertham and the comics code, we probably would never have had Marvel Comics.

  2. Hi Kid, I have been thinking about your comment, “Just think - without Wertham and the comics code, we probably would never have had Marvel Comics.” That is true. Maybe.

    Wertham ended the golden age and he certainly ended the EC age of comics. 80% of the comic book publisher shut down. Thousands of talented people left the field and never returned.

    What if they had stayed? What is EC got into super-heroes when they returned and Frazetta and Wood and Ingels were aboard.

    Would there have been another start-up company that could have duplicated Marvel’s success?

    I don’t know. Certainly there would have been no Marvel Age, but I find it difficult to believe that another movement would not have filled that vacuum.

  3. But would it have been as good? Of course, it could have been better - but it's hard to imagine, isn't it? Some of the thousands you mentioned may well have been grateful to Wertham in the long run, perhaps going on to far more rewarding careers in other fields of artistic expression. But life without Marvel in the '60s? It doesn't bear thinking about!

  4. So, Kid, are you saying that without the Marvel Age we'd never have gotten modern-day characters such as the rapists Major Force, Dr. Light and others, killers such as Wolverine and Lobo? Psychotics such as Batman and Rorschach?

    Is that a GOOD thing that we've got the characters we have now? Would we have the lack of sales of comics that we have now?

    It boggles the mind, when you realize the scope of Wertham's evil.

  5. No, I was referring to Marvel Comics of the '60s. Without that, we'd probably have had the characters you mention (or similar ones) a lot sooner. The Comics Code acted as a buffer of sorts, which, as it became more relaxed throughout the '80s, led to the more extreme examples you mention. And I doubt that Wertham was evil, he merely over-reacted to a perceived problem. One thing we should remember is that just because someone presents a point of view badly, doesn't mean that there is no validity to it - at least to some extent.

    Your middle paragraph confuses me. It seems to agree with Wertham's basic point of view. (Or something close to it.)

  6. Kid, of course we just don’t know. But censorship, as severe as this was, has never lead to greater productivity, just less.

    The Westerns and War comics really failed because of the code. Yes, we had Sgt. Fury, but Stan could never tell the stories he wanted.

    The Hulk had to altered from being the monster they wanted and he failed after 6 issues, but came back strong.

    Gone were the really good anthology stores that we saw at EC; Every hero, become Wertham claimed reading comics made you gay, had to have a girlfriend. It really goes on and on.

    I can’t believe when people say things like “Wertham wasn’t evil.” He lied. He distorted data and put thousands of people out of work, so he could be a celebrity and make money. As I said in the piece, he REALLY didn’t go after the real causes of children’s problems, although he knew damn well what there were.

    It is not good, as Gernot, says to have those characters, I guess. BUT, comics today are not for children. They are written for young adults. And characters of those types, to my knowledge, are in movies and TV shows all over the place. Comics are not the innovators, they follow social trends as bad as they are.

  7. Barry, as far as I'm aware, nobody is arguing that censorship has ever led to greater productivity, but it certainly seems to have led to greater creativity, perhaps in order to get around it.

    And I doubt that Western and War comics failed because of the Code. More likely, the reason was that they'd had their time and something else was now in vogue. Timely was called Timely for a reason. And Western and War comics were still produced during the code years; so they had to make the puffs of smoke from gun barrels smaller - are you seriously suggesting that the readers even noticed and stopped buying comics because of it?

    And did Wertham really say that all comics made you gay? He said Batman and Robin living together was homosexual wish-fulfillment, but that's hardly saying ALL comics made you gay. Yes, he was talking rubbish as far as Batman and Robin were concerned, but that doesn't make him evil, just slightly batty. (Oh, look - I made a pun.)

    And I doubt that he was evil - that's far too 'big' a word for such a 'small' man. I also doubt that it was his intention to put thousands of people out of work - that seems to have been more a case of unforseen circumstance. As for 'distorting' data, I'd really have to read his book before I can comment fully, but from what examples I've seen that have been offered, it occurs to me that there may be other explanations. (For example, as I said previously, similar case studies with different details that people are now assuming were altered.)

    And Barry, while comics are certainly not the innovators and merely follow social trends (as you say), social trends are on an ever-declining downward spiral into vulgarity, violence, swearing, overtly-sexual and immoral content. Whether it's in comics, books, movies or whatever, I think I'd prefer children to be spared exposure to that kind of material.

    Wertham may have unwittingly exaggerated the effects that certain content can have on impressionable and susceptible minds, but anyone who claims that it has no effect at all seems to be in danger of being as deluded as Wertham's critics claim he was.

    'Better safe than sorry' is a well-known, old saying. Maybe there's something in that. All I know is that, in the main, I still find '60s Marvel comics far more entertaining than their modern-day counterparts. A phoenix always arises from the ashes. When I look at the events of the '40s and '50s, I can't help but feel that that's what happened in Wertham's case.

    Did Wertham jump on a bandwagon? Seems to me that some of those who are queueing up to blacken his name are in danger of doing likewise. However, for the sake of argument, let's assume that Wertham was a liar and a nutter - that doesn't necessarily mean that the view he expounded (and perhaps corrupted) was wrong at every level. We shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  8. Kid, we disagree, but you are still a good friend and your points are well thought out.

    I actually meant here for “productivity” and “creativity to be synonymous You can’t lose 2,000 people and 25 companies and have the same amount of creativity.

    First off the adoption of the code immediately put virtually all war comics out of business, and several westerns to (Ghost Rider). “so they had to make the puffs of smoke from gun barrels smaller,” Are you kidding? The censors were story editors, the smoke was the least of what they did. The scripts had to be approved before the stories were drawn. Do you think they only censored completed drawn pages? They would NOT allow so many types of stories and censored them. They made artists erase guns and weapons form panels that then looked ridiculous. Stan Lee said on several occasions he could not show the horrors of war. In fact, Sgt. Fury was not a war book, it was an action adventure book. Did you ever read the EC war comics? Yes, they westerns might have petered out, but so did the super-heroes. But they came back, westerns didn’t have much of a chance.

    Wertham said that reading on of the most popular comics could make children want a homosexual lifestyle. It implied, but I don’t recall him stating other comics did. OK, at this point he is just a dangerous liar and may not evil. However the OED defines evil “The antithesis of good in all its principal senses.” This comes close. What the heck do you need to get to this point? You haven’t read it, so you can’t believe he did a lot of this crap.

    I have read his book, a few times by the way. But once was 40 years ago. Take my word for it, he not just greatly distorts data, he ignores and dismisses what he feels doesn’t prove his point. God, I saw this when I was in High School, that scientific and journalistic procedures were not followed.

    “Whether it's in comics, books, movies or whatever, I think I'd prefer children to be spared exposure to that kind of material.” So would I. I never said EC comics were for kids. But I don’t believe in censorship, I can make up my own mind. (Do they rate movies, by ages, in Great Britain like they do here? Comics should have that and I now think they do).

    The Marvel Age was the most interesting and creative era of comics for me. I read none of the new. But the Golden Age and the EC age were also great and neither would have existed with censorship.

    “Did Wertham jump on a bandwagon?” No, he started the parade and got the front seat. You got read the book before you defend the man.

    And the baby could not be thrown out with the bathwater. The censors were never allow it.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Barry, I think when it comes to creativity, you're confusing quantity with quality. With fewer people working in comics, there may not have been as much creativity quantity-wise, but what there was of it was greater quality-wise. The same thing happened in movies, which tended to be more suspenseful when they couldn't show everything and had to suggest rather than spell everything out.

    Wertham, however, is really a distraction in this discussion. Whether he was just sloppy, misguided, evil or bonkers is not the point. My comments about him were made in the light of recent reports which didn't go into any great detail about his alleged misdemeanours. Going on the superficial reports and conclusions I read, I felt there could be another possible (tentative) explanation for the similarities in case studies which didn't rely on him having altered details. By that I mean there could have been similar cases with slightly different details which have been presented as examples of him having altered things when such was not the case. But even if he was the biggest liar on the planet doesn't matter in the long run. That just means he took the easy way out in trying to prove his case. (What his motives were are anybody's guess.) But that doesn't discredit the point of view he espoused, it only discredits the methods he used to try and prove it, not the view itself. Remember, just because someone argues a case badly doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad case.

    In the end, however, he's irrelevant to the main question, which is: Can impressionable and susceptible children be influenced, either positively or negatively, in what they see, read, hear or experience by way of books, lyrics, comics, movies, video games, peer pressure and parental example, etc.?

    I think the obvious answer is yes - they're all factors that have to be considered. That makes the 'better safe than sorry' approach when it comes to the welfare of kids (and what they're exposed or allowed access to) the sensible option for me. After all, it's far too late when the damage has been done.

  11. Barry, I tried clicking on the link in your first sentence - only to find that it isn't a link. Consequently, I can't see the full text and pictures you speak of.

    Incidentally, you say that Wertham 'started the parade', but according to one of your own links (not the one which doesn't exist) '“Seduction of the Innocent” was released to a public already teeming with anti-comics sentiment, and Wertham was embraced by millions of citizens who feared for America’s moral sanctity; he even testified in televised hearings.' It seems, therefore, that he tuned into an already existing attitude, not created it himself.

    Could you fix that link so I can take a look? Ta.

  12. Kid, the link is at the bottom, but I'll put a second one on the top.

    Seduction was released in 1954, but Wertham had started his crusade in Magazine articles and newspapers almost ten years earlier. I'll put some of that up eventually also.

  13. Kid, in many ways you are doing what Wertham was doing, speaking in slogans and not providing any proof or cause or effect, but making wonderful rallying points

    When 2,000 people left comics they took with them a huge amount of quality, maybe those who stayed were the least qualified, they could not find work elsewhere. You are truly to imply that those who stayed were the most talented and mot motivated. Not true. And you can never convince me that comics were better from 1956-1960 than they were from 1950-55.

    And your obvious answer of “yes” is just what Wertham did. No proof, no cause and effect, it just sounds right.

    And for Gosh sakes, why are you lumping all comics in one batch in saying they are for kids. Do you lump all movies together, all books. OF COURSE PARENTS SHOULD MONITOR WHAT THEIR CHILDREN READ, no one is arguing that. Should we stop publishing books for adults because children may see them?

    And, by the, I think that it really a load of garbage to lump everything together. Peer Pressure and Parental guidance supersede “books, lyrics, comics, movies, video games” and should not be given in a list of outside influences. But when you list them together it blurs the argument. And there are good books and lyrics too that balance many things out.

  14. Surely there were others also, Barry? Wertham may now be the most well-known, but he may not have started the 'crusade', merely stepped to the front of the marchers in order to lead the procession.

    However, I can't help but think you're focussing too much on the man himself, instead of the actual subject which he 'adopted'. Even if there's a question mark over his 'research' and the man himself, it doesn't necessarily mean that the basic premise at the root of his thinking is wrong - only the degree to which he applied and perhaps distorted it.

    I should state that, unlike Wertham seems to have believed, I don't think comicbooks by themselves can 'make' criminals or homosexuals, but they're just as likely to have some kind of influence (good or bad, depending on content) on readers as anything else is likely to. However, they're just one more aspect in a wide range of factors which have to be considered, and shouldn't be singled out from the others.

    As I've said before, however, I do think that when it comes to children, caution - even if it means erring on the side of it - is not necessarily such a bad thing.

    Ah, the link. Most people usually make the word 'here' the actual link, which is certainly what I do. I had supposed that you had also. My bad.

  15. Barry, I have to be honest and say in response to your previous comment that you're talking nonsense. You've said Wertham was evil - does that mean I'm evil also? I don't think you always think through the implications of what you're saying. Everything we experience in life has an effect on us. That's a plain and simple fact. What proof is needed? However, I don't think you quite know the enormity of what you're asking. Any kind of anti-social, bad, or evil behaviour, by the time it manifests itself in later life, is often so far removed from what may have been the cause of it, that it's difficult to track it back to the point of origin. (And there may be more than one.)

    Forget Wertham - he's a side issue. You know from our email correspondence that I myself have pointed out obvious flaws in his thinking. However, I suspect there's a desire by some people with an axe to grind over what they think he did to the comicbook business to put the boot in. Even some of those who have reported on the issue seem to recognise this, and are far less brutal in their summation of the man and his character.

    As for lumping all comicbooks together as being for kids, that's because, back in the '50s (which is the time we're discussing, remember), comicbooks were primarily for kids - or at least were perceived to be. You seem to be skipping about in different points in time to try and make your case. However, even today (especially in Britain) comics are still viewed as being simple kiddie-fare, so many a parent would be shocked to find two men kissing or Wolverine disemboweling someone in an X-Men comic.

    I have every Tom & Jerry cartoon-short ever made on DVD. I've never met anyone who didn't like the original T&J cartoons, children or adults. And yet, they're 'all ages' friendly. No sex or bad language or anything to make your granny blush. Violence? Yes, plenty of that, but it's a slapstick, cartoon, unrealistic 'violence' that kids recognise as pure fantasy and not to be imitated. I'll develop this in another comment, Barry, as I'm bound to be cut off.

  16. First, Kid, I have many other articles that will go up eventually, written by other people but I did Not want to stay on this topic forever.

    As someone who grew up with comics, and have only murdered seven or eight people, I wondered the real influence of comics, or movies, if the parents are good and if there is balance of good things being watched. "Everything we experience in life has an effect on us. " I really don't think so, I can tell fact from fiction and I knew that even as a kid.

    Actually in America, in the 1940s, comics were for teenagers and young adults. 10 million comics a month were sold on army bases. But, a failure of the industry was to "mix" up comics on the newstands, I agree to that. I should mention that I really haven't READ MANY COMICS PUBLISHED AFTER 1980.

    Finally, I disagree with one important point you make. Yes, Wertham is now not the issue, but I disagree with some people's perceptions of his motives. Seeing how he ignored the rules of his science, did not document his work, alter facts and made up incidents, I think he was not a good person. Others say he was just looking after kids. I don't believe that at all. He was looking after himself.

  17. As I was saying, Tom & Jerry cartoons are for everyone and loved by everyone. When it comes to superhero comics, that's the way they should be - able to be picked up by anyone with nothing that any reasonable person would be shocked by. Trouble is, adults who couldn't let go of their comics, but were embarrassed by their kiddie-connection, wanted their comics to reflect their adult interests and experiences. As did those who went on to work in comics and were embarrassed by their juvenile origins and sought to turn them into arty-farty 'grown up' magazines which they could be 'proud' of. It's the worst thing that ever happened. Comics should've been left for kids, and for those who kept the spirit of childhood alive in them, not hijacked and transformed into the grim and gritty, dark and dismal, dull and dreary tosh that a bunch of pretentious posers (I'd have spelt it 'poseur', but that would be pretentious) take such delight in.

    As for those who left comics, they may have gone on to far better careers elsewhere. As for some of them not being qualified to do anything else and comics being the only thing they could do, that unwittingly reveals a somewhat lowly view of the comics you seek to defend. Jack Kirby said he stayed in comics because he couldn't do anything else - are you saying that Kirby, Ditko, Lee, etc., were 'only good enough' for comics? I say thank goodness for that. Even without Wertham, comics would probably have trailed off at some point and left some people out of work. That's the nature of the game.

    As for your point about books and movies having separate audiences depending on content, there's one big difference which I've touched on already. Comics, at the time we're talking about, were seen as primarily being for kids, which wasn't the same as far as books and movies were concerned. There was something about comics, with their primary colours and larger than life characters which appealed to kids, which is why they were so ideally suited for them. However, comics are merely sequential art, and 'adult' themes are as open to the medium as anything else. So by all means have stories for adults which are done in the sequential art medium - just don't use 'traditional' superheroes for kids in a comicbook format, on sale on the same shelves that house what once were (and should still be, in my opinion) titles aimed at kids and juveniles.

    So, Barry - where's your 'proof'? (And I'm not referring to Wertham.) I'm still waiting for it.

  18. What? You've only murdered 7 or 8 people?


    1. Keep it up kid and the number will go up.

    2. No chance - the A Team is retired. (At least, that's the official version. Actually, I killed them.)

  19. Regarding this paragraph, Barry...

    "And, by the (by), I think that it really (is) a load of garbage to lump everything together. Peer Pressure and Parental guidance supersede “books, lyrics, comics, movies, video games” and should not be given in a list of outside influences. But when you list them together it blurs the argument. And there are good books and lyrics too that balance many things out."

    That's quite a sweeping statement, but where's your proof for it? Peer pressure and parental guidance supercedes other factors? Since when? It might do in some instances, but is just as likely not to in others. How do you explain those kids who don't do as their parents tell them, and those who don't respond to peer pressure because they're loners? You know, the quiet, introspective kids whose main influences are either books, lyrics, comics, movies, video games, etc. - or any combination of them. Any sensible person will take into consideration ALL possible factors, not dismiss out of hand those ones which don't fit in with a pre-set view. Blurs the argument? No, it addresses the salient factors when it comes to determining what is relevant to the discussion.

    In Britain, comics very often would not show particular actions (especially criminal or dangerous ones) which it was felt that children could or might imitate. Obviously part of that was to avoid the possible legal repercussions if some kid claimed he was inspired by a comic to perform some particular act, but it was more than that. It was a tacit admission that kids can be influenced by what they read. There's no big mystery here, Barry - very often it's simply a case of 'monkey see, monkey do'.

    And I don't think you can have it both ways. You can't, on the one hand, argue that 'books, lyrics, etc., etc., have little or no influence, and on the other hand say that 'good' examples in the same formats 'balance things out' - because that suggests a power to influence. It really is a much more complex situation than the simple black and white way in which you seem to see things.

    "There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

  20. Hi Barry. The above links for the text and pictures are unavailable. Would it be possible to access them somehow?

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