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Seduction of the Innocent Hardcover – June 1, 2004
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About the Author
Dr. Reibman teaches litereature and media studies at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. A specialist on law and literature, he has published on legal writings of the Scottish Enlighenment and on Samuel Johnson and his circle. He is the biographer of Fredric Wertham and is co-editor of the forthcoming Fredric Wertham Reader.
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, Dr. Wertham has some interesting theories. He believes, for instance, not only that children can be corrupted by comics, but that this is the main reason for the existence thereof. He points to the similarities between the 'pornographic pottery' reputed to bring about the fall of ancient Rome as 'psychohistorical proof' (love that alliteration) that such things are bad.
Naturally, Batman and Robin was a thinly-veiled psychosexual tale of sodomy and child molestation, since they lived alone together, two isolated males. Similar comments about, oh, Jesus and his Apostles, or Holmes & Watson may be left with the receptionist. Similar sexual imagoes in Salvador Dali's art may be dismissed as 'that Dadaist thing'.
Dr. Wertham has a good deal to say on the effect of graphical violence on children, some of it borne out by later studies (although these studies were focused on cartoons, not still images, we can assume the same principles apply). However, the classic argument remains: you don't need to ban violence (or sex, or religious imagery, or which and what have you), just choose not to see it. Besides, there's far more raciness to be found in a Shakespeare play than your average EC comic of the time.
The problem herein is the classic 'post hoc, ergo propter hoc' fallacy: More kids are juvenile delinquents, and more kids are reading comics, therefore reading comics causes juvenile delinquency.
That said, I would love to be Dr. Wertham.Read more ›
Wertham's ultra-puritanism and poor logic make it clear this was a man with an agenda. Granted, the arguments he made are still applied to the TV, movies, and music of today, but never, I would think, with such enthusiasm as Wertham displayed.
Most of the examples seem absurd today, even tame, but Seduction of the Innocent is a must read for anyone who wants to be well versed in the censorship tactics of those who want to control everything you see and hear. To make you just like them.
In an interesting twist, Wertham came to admire later publications of comics as fantastically created works of art. They were, of course, done by the same kids he was certained would be ruined forever by readig comics.
also, anyone who worked for marvel and DC in the 50s and 60s has no right to blast this work. it's basically what made the "mainstream" comic industry of the past 40 years possible. truly innovative writers and publishers suffered (though EC did have Mad magazine, so how much they "suffered" may be suspect), allowing two dimensional kiddie fare to take the mainstage. comics "not just being for kids" would not really come back in to the public eye until the 70s (undergrounders like R. Crumb et al notwithstanding).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've waited nearly 40 years to read this book, and now that Amazon has made a copy available at a reasonable price... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Dave Lathrop
Good book, makes a wonderful case for the corruption of youth by reading comics. If you look at people today who read comics, you know why. Bravo.Published 16 months ago by Bartok Kinski
One of the great books of the century when it comes to the examination of the influence of media on children. A serious must read for anyone in social sciences or media.Published 22 months ago by Steven G. Smith
This book is a must read that proves liberals never change. "Doctor" Wertham was a well known communist progressive (he helped defend the communist spy Ethel Rosenberg and... Read morePublished 23 months ago by A. Christian
If you are a comic book/graphic novel enthusiast, this is a must read. Both entertaining and informative, It gives a historic look at how comics were first viewed by the American... Read morePublished on February 7, 2014 by Cateyes
I had wanted this book for years. I know the original copy is pretty expensive. I was more than glad to be able to get a reprint of this book. Read morePublished on December 17, 2013 by Randy Owens
Wertham is truly a character... the way he describes comic books and other social entertainment is somewhat funny, gruesome, and arrogant. Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by Daniel
I only give this book a high rating because of its historic significance. Otherwise, Wertham is merely saying the same thing the NRA is saying fifty years later: its not the guns... Read morePublished on December 25, 2012 by Joe Fiacco
I remember reading a first edition of the book back in the early 1970s. It is amazing that back in the 1950s the worst youth could have as bad influences were rock & roll and... Read morePublished on September 13, 2012 by Bobby L