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The Wonderful World of Argument

During this week’s readings, I was most struck by the success of Wertham’s poorly written and researched anti-comic literature. I was shocked that Wertham had committed plagiarism, something we as students have been trained to see as a heinous crime. Furthermore, his sources were poorly researched in generally and very selectively referenced. In Comic Book Nation, Bradford W. Wright surmises that Wertham may have cited characters who were purposely villainous or bigoted as representative of the comics’ overall message.

Also, the argument suggesting that comics led children to be more immoral and violent because of the material they contain has never really faded. In fact, it existed long before the comics themselves. Consider any instance of books being banned and/or burned. The most recent target of this argument seems to be video games, and the latest incarnation of Wertham is Jack Thompson. Fortunately, Thompson’s audience in general seem well aware of the gaps in his arguments and ultimately limit his influence.

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