February 02, 2018

Blue Check Marks: The Early Years

Hey: Lets see what Wikipedia says about the CCA at 10:00 pm on the first of February! 
The Comics Code Authority (CCA) was formed in 1954 by the Comics Magazine Association of America as an alternative to government regulation, to allow the comic publishers to self-regulate the content of comic books in the United States. Its code, commonly called "the Comics Code," lasted until the early 21st century. Many have linked the CCA's formation to a series of Senate hearings and the publication of psychiatrist Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent.
Members submitted comics to the CCA, which screened them for adherence to its Code, then authorized the use of their seal on the cover if the book was found to be in compliance. At the height of its influence, it was a de facto censor for the U.S. comic book industry....

That's pretty much right, though it should be re-emphasized that this was not a government thing and that it was, in fact, the industry policing itself.

There was a time when a surprising number of the people I knew were involved in various aspects of the entertainment industry, Writing, Gaming, Comics, Art, Video Games, Film, though mostly the retail and the convention circuit which constituted the bulk of my involvement in such matters.

To a person, whenever it came up they regarded the Comics Code Authority as an odious thing. All had harsh words for the people that allowed it to happen since it was beyond obvious that only cowards or knaves would go along with such a travesty. The Comics code's pernicious effects had to be as completely obvious to anyone at the time as the lack of any merit in its premise.

Several of my friends had effusive praise for Gaines, and his opposition to the formation of the CCA and whose stand on principal nearly ruined him. The fact that Bill Gaines was an abrasive and obnoxious eccentric considered quite gauche by the society of the day only raised his esteem in their eyes.

Everyone of us assumes that that's the role we'll play when the darkness comes. We'll stand up for first principles, even for those who are not particularly likable or popular. We'll never be the rock, bird dogging those the mob is after and crying out in glee "No hiding place!" We know that when blacklists are drawn up, we will oppose them vociferously and crusade against the darkness whenever it rears it's head. 

Apparently, when it's head is raised it will be easily identifiable as it will be abrasive, obnoxious, eccentric and just plain gauche. 

And the good guys will be the ones who decide to muzzle such disgraciousness.... 

...and it's totes OK 'cause it's not like the government's doing it so it isn't really censorship

Now some smartass troll will, no doubt, try to draw some facetious parallel between the Comics Code Authority and things like Twitter, Facebook, and political correctness. That's just silly. The Comics Code Authority had firm rules that were available to everyone, and any infractions were explicitly pointed out. 

"So wait, was that bitterness, sarcasm, or dread?"


It's good to look to the past for lessons, because sometimes people have no real grasp of how far we've come...or haven't.

One of the most important lessons from history is that the worst villains, the greatest mistakes, and the paths that lead societies to the darkest places are most reliably detected with 20/20 hindsight...
...or perhaps a smidgen of self awareness.

Today, almost none of my old IRL friends speak to me anymore,  To be fair, I don't have the opportunity to interact with them as much, being banned from Facebook and all.


Good night and good luck.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 12:03 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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