Dynamist Blog

Creeping Censorship and the Superpowered Elite

I'm reading The Ten-Cent Plague, a history of the 1950s campaign against comic books (excerpt here, NYTBR review here). It's a bit sober--not as passionate or psychologically insightful as Gerard Jones's Men of Tomorrow--but author David Hajdu's account does create a sense of dread as you go. Again and again, would-be censors mount campaigns to ban comic books, only to fizzle out. But the reader knows that they'll eventually succeed. The book ends with 14 pages of names of "artists, writers, and others who never again worked on comics after the purge of the 1950s."

It's hard now to imagine how seriously mid-century intellectual elites took anti-comics arguments, but the NYTBR's Dwight Garner has dug up a great artifact to prove the point: a glowing review of Seduction of the Innocent, published in the NYTBR and written by none other than heavy-hitting sociologist C. Wright Mills, one of left's leading intellectual lights.

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