For over fifty years, people took his science seriously. As of yesterday, it turns out that his allegations were based off of fabricated and stretched research that could not be verified in his documentation of cases. Not only did he make a majority of his “research” up, he just flat out lied about most of it. In 2010 Wertham’s documents were opened by the Library of Congress for academic review, and Professor Carol Tilley of the University of Illinois took them up on that opportunity. She published her findings in late 2012, though the article featuring her work was written yesterday, February 19th, in Information & Culture magazine. The results were pretty instantaneous. In less than two months since it’s publication, Tilley’s work is already headline news in the literary community. Starting from the beginning, Tilley reveals that out of ten years of service at his clinic in Harlem, Dr. Wertham only saw a TOTAL of 500 adolescent patients, NOT 500 a year. What he also failed to mention was that many of his patients were already predisposed to violent and unbecoming environments from birth and most of them already had violent histories prior to even picking up their first comics. Tilley cites several specific examples, including cases Wertham claimed to involve children that supposedly became gay, violent towards men, or sexually active after reading comics that were fabricated. Most of his information, claims Tilley, came from second-hand sources such as other colleagues, and Wertham never even saw these children himself. Not only did he not see some of the patients he claimed he did, Wertham is also revealed as having split several of the patients he did see into multiple people. What I mean is that he made one case into four and studied the same person claiming that the occurrences he recorded actually happened to four different people instead of just the actual one.
Simply put, this guy is a liar and as such, he ought to have all of his accreditation taken away. Such an egregious misuse of not only his medical office but also the abuse of trust that he perpetrated upon the comic community, American families, and even Congress is a serious offense that reflects badly on the scientific and academic communities themselves. I’m sure as it’s continually re-examined this case of “no mas pantalones”(the recent Progressive auto insurance commercial comes to mind here) might make everyone involved in the debate about violence in multimedia rethink and re-examine just how viable their sources really are.