Aug 13, 2016

Saturday Data: The Cause of Teen Crime: Comics!

In October 1954, Gallup found 70% of Americans saying the blame for teenage crimes could be placed on the reading of comic books, including 26% who assigned a great deal of blame to comic books.

Testimony from the Senate Hearing:

This is a picture showing the cover or title page of this comic. Now, 
one story in this comic is entitled "Sanctuary," and the cover shots 
relate to this particular story. 

You will note that this shot shows certain inhabitants of this sanctu- 
ary which is really a sort of sanitarium for freaks where freaks can be 
isolated from other persons in society. 

You will note 1 man in the picture has 2 heads and 4 arms, another 
body extends only to the bottom of his rib. But the greatest horror 
of all the freaks m the sanctuary is the attractive looking girl in the 
center of the picture who disguises her grotesque body in a suit of 
foam rubber. 

The final picture shows a young doctor in the sanitarium as he sees 
the girl he loves without her disguise. 

The story closes as the doctor fires bullet after bullet into the girl's 
misshapen body. 

Now, that is an example of a comic of the horror variety. 

 The committee warned publishers to self-regulate or face government mandates. So they did. Here a sample of their proposed restrictions:

Marriage and sex
(1) Divorce shall not be treated humorously nor represented as desirable.
(2) Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
(3) Respect for parents, the moral code, and for honorable behavior shall be fostered. A sympathetic understanding of the problems of love is not a license for morbid distortion.
(4) The treatment of live-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.
(5) Passion or romantic interest shall never be treated in such a way as to stimulate the lower and baser emotions.
(6) Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.
(7) Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.

    The committee members repeatedly said they were not worried about the vast majority of comics, only those focusing 
 on crime and horror. Nonetheless, we read about the hearing with 2016 eyes and see

TV was right around the corner, another target in the battle against media influencing teens. And movies were already everywhere. How did they ever end up focusing on comics?

HERE's the full Gallup data from 1954. 

[Saturday Data is a regular feature of]

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