Original “comics are bad for you” research declared shoddy. Thank your librarian.

Behavioral problems among teenagers and preteens can be blamed on the violence, sex and gore portrayed in the media marketed to them – that was the topic of televised public hearings held by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 to address the scourge of comic books. The hearings, which resulted in the decimation of what was an enormous comic book industry, had been inspired in large part by the book “Seduction of the Innocent,” by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, based on his own case studies.

Wertham’s personal archives, however, show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.

Here’s a nice interview with Carol Tilley, an assistant professor at the iSchool of Illinois who also presented a talk at the recent ALA Midwinter conference. Her article Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics is available to people with access to that sort of thing. More about Wertham from the Library of Congress and some more information from the library’s in-house newsletter. Here’s the text of the book, online but with different images (some images still NSFW).

my library school sure has changed

Not only is it now an iSchool, and they’re offering an MLIS [among other degrees. I have an MLib] but they’re making information accessible and popular. Enjoy this Lady Gaga sendup. Watch for the Nancy Pearl cameo. Awesome job folks. I really should go back for my PhD. Some discussion and adoration on BoingBoing. [via]

me interviewed for the library school newsletter I used to edit in 1993

When I went to the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Washington, there was a newsletter called the Sojourner. I was the editor my first year. It was a print newsletter. Now the newsletter is online and they interviewed me talking about how the library school (now the iSchool) has changed, what I’ve been up to and what needs fixing in libraries nowadays.

Joe Janes and the iSchool podcast

I sometimes have a hard time talking about technologies I don’t know much about. I can see things like cell phones in a professional context — library policy, kids IM on them, they’re good for updates — as well as in a personal context — I don’t have one, I can’t get service at my house, if I really wanted one, I would have one. I feel this way about podcasts as I’ve said before. I don’t listen much to radio shows, sometimes I feel like the only person of my political persuasion who isn’t an NPR junkie, so podcasting doesn’t appeal. On the other hand, the whole idea of personally created content appeals to me much the same way that zines do. How great is it to be able to produce your own radio show and immediately be able to distribute it internationally? Seems sort of great. With that in mind, I point you to InfoSpeak created by the tech-positive smarties at the University of Washington iSchool (yes I went there, no it wasn’t anything like this when I was there). It’s “student-produced serial media” which, yes, is a podcast, but if you don’t get the whole podcast blah blah blah, you can also just listen to it online, simple. First episode, one of my favorite talkers Joe Janes, iSchool prof and Google pundit talking about how Google is changing the way we work, among other things. Check out the links next to the description, that’s what I’d like to see from more podcasters. Happy inaugural podcast, iSchool! [thanks carolyn]