In 1954 the U.S. Senate “Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency” called psychologist Dr. Frederick Wertham to testify that Superman “arouses fantasies of sadistic joy in seeing others punished while you yourself remain immune.” The result was the Comic Book Code of 1954 – 2011 which killed off crime and horror comics forever.
Two years later, the Catholic Church was clutching it’s breast and shrieking ‘Beware Elvis Presley!” while conservatives worldwide hyperventilated at his suggestive pelvic gyrations, shouting how rock and roll would cause an erosion of morals.
Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955) was banned in the US for ten years, then sold 100,000 copies in three weeks upon release despite/because of prurient reviews like the NYT, which denounced it as “digusting highbrow pornography“.
Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971), being “the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven”, was banned for decades because it ‘glorified’ violence. I couldn’t buy the uncut version in Australia until 2000, the year after Kubrick’s death.
Fast-forward to computer games, where there is at least some scientific basis to support the cries to ban violent games. Every mass shooter’s Steam library has been outed since Columbine, as if a journo’s breathless disclosure that “He played Wolfenstein 3D!” explains it all.
Porn, the latest bugbear, is said to be responsible for declining ethical and moral standard, and is to blame for rape, sexual harassment, etc. The number of adult actors who now renounce their calling adds weight to the movement.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of people telling me what I can’t do.
As a sentient being in a democracy, unless I’m harming another I should be free to do what I want. I’ve met enough bad people to know that violent comics, books, computer games and porn are a symptom of evil, not its source.
For example, the same study which found violent computer games correlate with violent behaviour in juveniles ALSO found that the same juveniles grew up in violent or otherwise dysfunctional homes.
So, should we ban bad parents?
If violence in comic books and film is to be abhorred, then why do audiences cheer when a woman punches a man?
Should we ban feminism now, because studies are reporting that women are becoming more physically aggressive than men?
Most porn is god awful, but “victimization rates for rape in the United States demonstrate an inverse relationship between pornography consumption and rape rates” unquote.
Sorry to burst your hysteria-bubble, but what if porn actually prevents rape?
The same might be said for Humbert Humbert.
If only he’d had an outlet for his nympholepsy, he might have led a useful life. Can the same be said for all the harmless pedos out there, too? Get those priests a Pornhub subscription!
Oxymorons aside, what’s worse: a society filled with Helen Lovejoy’s nannying you at every turn, or one that let’s you make your own mistakes?
Speaking for myself, I want to track a middle-course, with laws against the worst excesses of human nature but also laws that protect my freedom to read bad books, watch nasty films, and voice unpopular opinions.