The Comic Book Panic

The 6 Most Insane Moral Panics in American History | has entertaining and often surprisingly informative humor articles.  This one includes a note on the “Seduction of the Innocent” comic book panic.

Fredic Werthem was a respected psychologist who fought to integrate the mental health care system, refused to serve in a racial-segregated army and was a pioneer in working with troubled youth. Having conquered all of the real world problems, he then decided to devote his life to bullshit.

During his time working with young offenders, Wertham noticed that many of them were fans of comics. Forgetting his education and lifetime of experience as a scientist, Wertham assumed that comics must be somehow responsible for the trouble these kids were in.

His 1954 book, Seduction Of The Innocent, outlined what he saw as the depraved effect of comics on kids. Granted, some comics in the 50s–especially the horror comics published by E.C. Comics–were pretty gruesome.

That’s a bit of an understatement.  In any case, I’d always thought that Wertham was just some weirdo busybody (having seen his book in, of all places, my high school library), until I learned something about him:

Earlier in his career, he was the chief defense witness for Albert Fish.  Don’t click on that link and read about Fish, even on Wikipedia, if you value your lunch.  Think of all the real and fictional serial killers/torturers/rapists you’ve ever heard of.  They were all wannabes; wannabe Albert Fishes.

If Wertham was Fish’s court psychologist, he stared deeply into the face of hell in a way few of us ever will.  If he found it alarming that gruesome and apparently perverse things were growing popular among America’s youth, he of all people should be cut a little slack about that fact.  He earned it.

MacPorts: Everything Else Sucks More

Random Bits and Pieces: MacPorts are Fatally Flawed gives a good list of reasons why MacPorts sucks.  I wanted to upgrade the Gimp to the latest and greatest, and I put the wrong flag into the upgrade command and it’s taken all damn day and upgraded nearly every port I had, so far, except the Gimp itself.  Ports I had forgotten I ever installed.  Compiling, compiling, compiling.

And I didn’t *know* I’d screwed up because sometimes even when you do everything *right* it goes nuts like that.

The big Macports thing is: you compile everything yourself.  This gives you great flexibility if you want some unusual variant of a program.  But the 95% of the time that you don’t, that you want a standard version of the program just like everybody else’s… tough.  You’re compiling it yourself no matter how long it takes.

It’d be nice if you could just download binary packages from a central repository like you can with most Linux package management systems, and not have to compile them all yourself.  It used to be possible to do that with fink, an alternative to macports, but in doing so you only got the “stable” (read: ancient and crusty) versions of the packages.  For the “unstable” (read: created this millennium) versions, you had to compile them yourself, and if you wanted *any* unstable packages, you pretty much had to use all  unstable packages… and fink’s set of packages is smaller and less up-to-date than macports’s, so you were screwed.

Now, when everything goes right with macports, it goes *really* right.  You can install a very up-to-date version of the Gimp, with a proper Mac application bundle, with some of the coolest new plugins (liquid rescale, RAW support via ufraw) and with the ability to access a wide variety of scanners via xsane, all built in.  That’s exquisitely cool.

But when things go wrong, there’s not much you can do about it, and the hassle you have to go through compiling even when things are going right is a complete pain.  This ain’t Gentoo, kids.  It’s a staid operating system for people who don’t want to invest the time and pain that a true open source operating system demands.  Does it have to be this way?

Guess it does.

The Man Has A Point:

I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.

John Cole, on seeing Republican thought processes articulated by Non-Joe the Non-Plumber, Michelle Malkin, and right-wing blogger Instapundit.