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Why blame comics for societal failure?

Comics, much like music, television, and many other forms of media, have at one time or another been blamed for society's downfalls. These accusations often stem from the topics that these forms of entertainment explore, such as sex and violence. The people who hold these views think that, in this case, comics are promoting violence, glorifying crime, making sex seem casual, and putting forth ideas that are the opposite of what was culturally acceptable to do in real life at the time. Then, as soon as children or young adults started to rebel against the culturally accepted way of life, whether actually or just perceived, these people chose a particularly popular form of entertainment at the time to blame for it. In the early 1950s, it was comics. In my opinion, this is completely ridiculous. It is nothing new unfortunately, but people often blame outside forces instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. In these cases, parents, instead of being more involved in their children's lives or adjusting their parenting skills, chose to blame comics for their child's misbehavior. They believed they were easily being influenced by comics to commit crimes and not respect authority. So, to deal with it, they sought to impose restrictions upon what comic book writers could or could not write about or portray in their stories, instead of the obvious solution of not letting their child read comics anymore or monitoring which ones were acceptable for them to read. This is always the solution to these problems: censorship. But not self-censorship, these people always want censorship imposed on everyone, despite the fact that there was nothing inherently wrong with the comics and the fact that they were also popular amongst adults. There was no real reason to blame comics for societal failure, just like there's never been any reason to blame any other form of entertainment for societal failures over the years. The fact is that societal failures are on us, but most people do not want to accept that.


Bill Svitavsky said…
The distinction between censorship and self-censorship can be difficult. Don't forget that the Comics Code was established by the comic book publishers themselves, even if it was in response to outside pressures. Do you think this "self-censorship" was a beneficial approach to the situation?

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