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QAA Podcast

Trickle Down Episode 19: Graphic Corruption (Sample)

QAA Podcast
QAA Podcast
In the 1940s and 50s there was the great American comic book scare. Many serious adults warned that comic books were turning young people into illiterate, criminally violent, sexually deviant political extremists.

There were several editorials in newspapers that argued as much. There were groups who organized literal comic book burnings. Local jurisdictions passed laws to limit the sale of comic books. There was even a televised congressional hearing on comic books by the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.

This was a widespread phenomena that can’t be laid at the feet of any one person. But there is one person who did more than anyone to legitimize this panic: Dr. Fredric Wertham. He was a well-credentialed German-American psychiatrist best known for his anti-comics book Seduction of the Innocent: The Influence of Comic Books on Today’s Youth.

The scientific worthlessness of Wertham’s theories has been clear to historians of comic books and even some of his contemporaries. However, it wasn’t until 2012, three decades after his death, that the full extent of the worthlessness of his anti-comic book work was revealed. After a historian was able to read his raw clinical notes for the first time, it was discovered that many claims in his book Seduction of the Innocent were wholly fabricated. His anti-comic book claims weren’t merely the product of sloppy science, but lies and distortions.

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Theme by Nick Sena (nicksenamusic.com). Additional music by Pontus Berghe. Editing by Corey Klotz.

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