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Mind Over Madder

Started by Upsiditus, February 12, 2017, 08:39:46 pm

Previous topic - Next topic

Upsiditus

  I have been reading Archie's Giant Comics 75th Anniversary Book recently.  In this book, there are story called "Mind Over Madder" from 1952.  This story is very homophobic.  In the story Archie and Reggie are bashing Jughead for not liking girls.  Archie says at one point "I think any guy that doesn't like gals should run, not walk to a psychologist."  In another panel Archie says "If our ancestors were like you they would never have married our ancestorettes! Nobody would ever have been born!  Reggie later says "Can y'imagine that guy!?! Trying to wipe out the whole human race!"  It is quite shocking to hear Archie rip apart his best friend like that.  That dialogue doesn't sound spontaneous-it sounds like something that would have taken a lot of planning.  Also, the premise seems wrong.  It doesn't seem to me that Archie and Reggie were planning to impregnate their dates that evening, so how were they helping the propagation of the species?
    One could easily excuse the story's original publication as simply sharing the bigotry common at the time of it's written but the decision to reprint it (when other much better stories would have worked perfectly) is deplorable. 


JonInIowaCity

It's interesting to see some of the reprinted stories from the 40s and 50s. There's stuff like that story, but also lots of racially questionable imagery and characters that never would be tolerated now.

DeCarlo Rules

February 13, 2017, 12:10:18 am #2 Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 12:51:20 am by DeCarlo Rules
You could make the argument that the 'cultural insensitivity' of the older stories, in particular, has a lot to do with what makes them funny, especially in light of how society has changed since those stories were written. Then again, they were funny when they originally appeared, in the context of those times. A lot of humor is derived from the reflection of how teenagers actually think and behave, and a lot of teenagers ARE culturally insensitive, because they're immature. An observant adult writer like Frank Doyle can find the germ of a funny story by tuning into how teenagers react to various situations, and of course the characters themselves have predefined traits that predict that behavior as well.

Quote from: Upsiditus on February 12, 2017, 08:39:46 pm
In the story Archie and Reggie are bashing Jughead for not liking girls.  Archie says at one point "I think any guy that doesn't like gals should run, not walk to a psychologist."  In another panel Archie says "If our ancestors were like you they would never have married our ancestorettes! Nobody would ever have been born!  Reggie later says "Can y'imagine that guy!?! Trying to wipe out the whole human race!"  It is quite shocking to hear Archie rip apart his best friend like that.



Is it really so surprising that Archie is going to agree with Reggie as opposed to Jughead on the subject of girls? Trying to look at the logic of what Archie and Reggie are saying here from a different perspective, the same applies to why the U.G.A.J. (United Girls Against Jughead) exists. These girls are banded together to fight against the ideology of "Jugheadism" -- they're afraid that tolerating the mere existence of an individual like Jughead might lead to a threat to their accepted social dating way of life. It's a ridiculous extrapolation, of course, but it's simply a fact that the world is predominantly composed of heterosexuals, and accommodations aren't always going to be made (especially when it comes to the subculture of the teenage social world) for the minority of homosexuals and asexuals. To the degree that there was any awareness of these things decades ago, it wasn't considered a socially acceptable topic for discussion, especially for inclusion in an all-ages comic book.

The other thing to keep in mind here is that not only are they immature teenagers, but neither Reggie nor Archie are role models to be held up as worthy of emulation. They are both flawed individuals, which is where the humor of the stories primarily derives from. You could arguably say that the story holds Archie and Reggie up to ridicule as incredibly over-reactive, and the same thing applies to the female members of the U.G.A.J.

Upsiditus

IMO, the UGAJ stories are all terrible and should be banished to the dustbin of history.  BTW, my use of the bold type was in the original stories. 

DeCarlo Rules

February 14, 2017, 01:44:13 pm #4 Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 02:31:43 pm by DeCarlo Rules
You're entitled to your opinion, but in my view it seems like you're over-reacting.

Much like in the stories mentioned, where Archie & Reggie and the U.G.A.J. have comically exaggerated responses to small things that are not within the purview of their control (like Jughead's lifestyle choices, which really shouldn't affect them). It doesn't mean they have to like it or agree with it, but instead of just ignoring it and letting it go, they make mountains out of molehills. Refraining from doing so, it occurs to me upon reflection, is a lot like "mind over madder".

VintageJon

How about the comic where Jughead dresses in drag to beat the summer heat and ends up in jail? Certainly not PC, but funny though.  Which is what comics are all about.  It is really impossible to look at these 50-60 year old comics through 21st century eyes critically.  The world was a different place, especially from the standards of acceptability.  Growing up in the 70's and 80's cultural and sexual sensitivity was really not something that was spoken about.  I just  enjoy the old stories and try not to analyze them too much. 


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