Sunday, October 09, 2005
The same example cited yesterday is true for superintendents of institutions for delinquents. These men have stated their opinions that there is no connection between the behavior of juveniles and crime-comic-book reading. How would they have found out, sitting at their desks far removed both physically and psychologically from the lives of inmates, to whom for years in these institutions crime comic books have been fed as a steady diet? One Lafargue psychiatrist who worked for a time in a big state reformatory for boys has vividly described how many hours these confined children spend on crime comic books (with which the reformatory is filled to the brim) and his dismay at seeing how children who had got into trouble while reading many crime comic books were sentenced to years of incarceration to read even more of them. That is one of the paradoxes of the social problem of crime comic books: that those with the authority over children have for years neglected to pay any attention to this literature, which for many children is practically their only reading, have prescribed it for children in their charge as remedy and recreation, have paid no attention to the consequences, and now state as their professional opinion that comic books do not do any harm. Those are not the ways of science.