Today I just started reading the Bart Beaty book on Wertham, which contains the ominous phrase "critique of mass culture."
W/o going into detail I will just say that I find all permutations of the Marxist-influenced Frankfurt School theory of popular culture to be intellectually worthless. So I suspect Bart Beaty and I will be on pages so far apart we won't even be in the same library, much less the same book.
But I had to laugh at Beaty's opening sentences:
"A ghostlike figure haunts the history of postwar debates on American popular culture. That ghost is Frederic Wertham..."
Cue that unfunny Marx Brother Karl:
"A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre..."
Evidently Marx's famous opening line so impressed Beaty that though he uses "ghost" for his own opening line, he manages to use the word "specter" on his second page.
Why do I get the feeling that Jerry Siegel's SPECTRE is going to seem profound next to all of this?