Final Post – Text

I began my study of Comics Censorship without knowing much about it, that is, without having my mind made up in advance. What I found is that there isn’t a tremendous amount of historical writing on the subject. there is considerable legal writing, and the comic books legal defense fund’s records were an invaluable resource, but they’re firmly on one side of the issue, and not given to cutting their opponents much slack, for perfectly understandable reasons. The result, is the available data is slanted against the censors (and i’m already predisposed to dislike anyone who goes by that descriptor). What I was able to learn was, in broad strokes, follows.
Comics have been treated as “something dirty” for the best part of a century, and only recently have started to be recognized as a legitimate art form that can be enjoyed by adults as well as children, and this is mostly due to life-long readers aging into positions of authority and prestige in the publishing and criticism communities, rather than any great awakening on society’s part. No occasion in Comics history raised more vitriol (without ending in the offending book’s immolation) than TIME placing Watchmen on it’s “100 Greatest Novels List”, but that didn’t happen until 1999 (while Watchmen was originally released as 12 a 12-part limited series, it was released in 1987 and 1995 as a single volume, and a post-Cold War American Public was less sanguine about the burning of bound texts.
Early in comics history, the stories and images depicted were firmly adult, and the sub-genres, comic horror, comic sci-fi, and comic crime, even more so. They were, nevertheless forms of protected speech, that, because of their apparently childish appearance, were denied said protection and were burned with impunity in public spaces.
In order to avoid federal interference in their industry, the comics publishers formed the Comics Code Authority, an example of an industry regulating itself, in some cases much more firmly than the federal government might have. The CCA didn’t have prior restraint authority, but the distributors knew the score, and wouldn’t buy comics that hadn’t received the CCA’s seal of approval. The Comics Code Authority imposed the following regulations, please bear in mind this isn’t a complete list.

Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
No comic magazine shall use the words “horror” or “terror” in its title.
All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.
Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Rape scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.
Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.
Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals.

As time (and the 1960’s counterculture) went on, the underground comics movement successfully undermined the CCA, and in 2011, the CBLDF acquired the intellectual property rights the the CCA’s seal of approval, formalizing the CCA’s slide into impotence (advertizers stopped caring in the mid-’90s), and ending the its authority for good.
Comic Books are the only industry of which I am aware that have any history of successful self-regulation. Regulation, that is, until market forces push out the regulators, but the History of comic books prove that while self-censorship is possible, it’s never pretty.

Post #way too low

Regarding the Rozenweig essay, the assertion that future historians will suffer from an overabundance of information seems shortsighted. Even casual research can be made more difficult by the raw number of hits produced by a slightly too general google search. On such occasions, the user simply employs a more sophisticated search, i.e. more search terms, or tweaked boolean expressions. I expect as the corpus increases, the tools used to search it will become more sophisticated.

The Pitt Project represents an interesting new direction for digital archivists, as it takes the dangers of narrow digitization and makes them part of the project’s parameters. The Project focused on “Records as Evidence” instead of “information”. The example in the essay suggests that a social security number would be archived, while discussions of issues relating to social security numbers would be considered non-vital. Digitization in the absence of pertinent context seems a little bit like writing a new translation of one of the great histories or Julius Caesar or Tacitus (a worthy endeavor), but in the translation, removing all the prepositions. Imagine the difficulty of interpreting even a single chapter, to say nothing of large databases without context.

Post 4

Here’s a news article:

It discusses attempts by the US gov’t to censor early comic books. but only the bad ones, they promise.

Post 3

The argument in To Mark-up or Not To Mark-up is far from balanced, indeed, it screams


Though historians might have greater luck securing further funding for markup projects by demonstrating the ease with which marked-up digital material can be searched, and the contribution such material can make to ongoing projects. Marking up digitized data would still be difficult and expensive, (and in cases of digitizing GIS data, painful) but the demonstrated benefit would attract further funding, leading to more demonstrable benefits, etc….

I admit it, I used wikipedia to familiarize myself with the particulars of Root Canal surgery. of course I’d heard the phrase, like here:
and i hope this embeds properly.
but I had no idea what was involved, and now, enlightened, I don’t think comparing digitization to hollowing out and capping a dying or damaged tooth was at all fair. First, it assumes the analog formats are dying or damaged. Analog formats are only subject to decay at a faster rate than digital forms. Second, whether analog or digital, the users are still human, and are therefore limited by our biology in our ability to perceive the information. This is a harder limit on our comprehension and appreciation than any vagaries of technology. Whether the “tooth” is made of enamel or dental cement, it remains a tooth, not a lip or a tongue.

Post 2

I’m feeling a certain amount of anxiety about the IT components of this course.  Which is a condition in which I do not find myself altogether naturally.  I’m not the youngest member of the class, but I come from an entirely tech-friendly/tech-literate generation, and I’m not sure why, as I type this, the words extend beyond the text field, under the publish and format boxes.  Which I find very odd, but slightly less odd than the fact that I don’t know why it’s happening. I do hope that’s not at all significant.

This vid was very informative, though perhaps I again reveal my ignorance when I say that I can almost never tell the difference between things (TCP/IP, OSI, X.25, etc, and that’s only those that are explicitly mentioned, but my confusion extends beyond this presentation) that are:

  • Technological Standards
  • Commercial software
  • Non-proprietary that’s not necessary only ubiquitous.

Hopefully I’m not thought to be a dreadfully backward luddite, but here’s my list of topics again.

  1. The Effect of Irish-Americans on Modern American culture
  2. Rugby in America
  3. What effect, if any, have Comic Books and Science Fiction had on modern America?


Post 1

For all of American History, power has been drawn (or pushed) outward and downward to a greater pool of “users”.  Over time, the franchise restrictions on race, gender, etc. have been removed.  This “broadcasting” of political power has been mirrored by the dissemination of information, Technology has evolved from oral and musical output to use of mass printed material, to digital, almost instantaneous news, with any number of sources.

RSS.  What an oddly short name for something so powerful. It allows us to, if we consciously or unconsciously choose, to severely limit our access to news that doesn’t suit, flatter or otherwise agree with us.  Limiting what information we expose ourselves to can lead to changes in our decisions, and we might not even be aware of how our decision making process has been affected, in the absence of a more comprehensive view of the available information.

Three Topics: 1) Contributions of Irish-Americans to modern American Society, 2) Rugby in America, 3)The Effect of Science fiction and Comic Books on Modern Culture.