Eugenics- It’s too broad and prickly a subject to tackle in any meaningful way in the short strokes of a blog post frankly. Debatable issues, movements, historical consequences, ethical quandaries, scientific disciplines, philosophical attitudes all stem from or tangle with it like branches of a gnarled millennia old tree. One thing I can say for certain is that as with all Ideologies seeking to convert themselves into some dispassionate, quantifiable (and hence reputable) Science, Eugenics relied heavily on statistics. It follows that, as with all such endeavors, one of the chief concerns was how best to present said statistics in an affecting way. The Eugenics movement, being focussed as it was on issues of race, class, breeding, and illness (all sources of viscerally opinionated reaction in the annals of human discourse) was able to produce some doozies.

So ‘reading sex stories’ causes ‘sexual ignorance’? Well, maybe… all those people on Skinemax rub each other vigorously and never achieve penetration. Thank gawd that’s not how it’s really done.

I like how all the stats are like buldings. Jaime, you live in NYC: ever see mixed-ethnicity burglar teams working all the way up a 7 story apartment building? ‘Cause that wouldn’t surprise me. Is it true the Irish burgle five times better than Nazis? And why is that one Nazi walking like an Egyptian? Would he be able to burgle harder if he would stop walking funny? Anyway, it’s apples and oranges. The Nazis prefer to burgle the whole country at a fell swoop. In your opinion, of what ethnicity is the Hamburglar? Perhaps he’s German, maybe even from Hamburg. Is ‘robble’ a German word?

On a more serious note, the Nazis picked up on eugenics from the country that was then on the forefront: America.

posted on 09.30 at 06:42 PM.

It’s striking that they seem to be fascinated by individual family trees, as though you could possibly extrapolate from a single family in a meaningful way.

Eugenics was quite intellectually respectable at one stage, on both the left and the right. It makes you wonder which of your own beliefs will seem ‘obviously’ flaky in a few decades time.

posted on 09.30 at 06:54 PMHarry

Prickly subject indeed. I remember casually browsing the university homepage of an acquaintance and finding out he was a proponent of modern eugenics. My first instinct was recoiling in horror.

These graphs are so blatant. How recently the veneer of racial sensitivity has arisen…

I’m sorry we sent you so many burglarisers. Fortunately we never had much use for the eugenics craze ourselves, being untroubled by immigrants as we were. Any attempts to remove traits such as alcoholism would have been a severe blow to our population. Plus we were too busy burglarising each other, all the live long day.

(But then I read that Genome book by Matt Ridley a few years ago and he talked how community-driven “genetic screening” has lead to the elimination of cystic fibrosis in the Jewish population in America. So, yeah. Prickly.)

posted on 10.01 at 05:55 AMPierce

wow. wonderful and scary.
thank you

posted on 10.02 at 04:39 AMAchilles Lakes

American Eugenics movement ... well they actually had quite some influence here in pre-nazi Germany. They actually founded some Institutes here which influenced the Nazi ‘Rassenlehre’ and the following laws to protect racial purity here.

But I think overall it was the European spirit of Superiority to blame for all that crap. They took Darwin and transformed his ‘survival’ of the fittest into an political excuse for ‘scientifi’ colonialism.

No Negro left behind so to speak ...

posted on 10.03 at 01:26 PMorangeguru

@Tom: What they fail to mention in that “sex stories” piece is that in that last panel on the right, the woman is looking all miserable and downtrodden because she promised her perpetually pregnant neighbor she’d go next door and babysit the her ten kids. 

As for the Hamburgler… I think you nailed it. But “Robble” is actually spelled “Robles” nudge nudge wink wink.

@Harry: “makes you wonder which of your own beliefs will seem ‘obviously’ flaky in a few decades time.” I assume pretty much all of them. Course, Alzheimer’s awaits many of us, so at least we wont be able to remember what a misguided fools we were.

@Pierce: When I come out your way to “explore my heritage” do you think my distant long-lost relatives will have an heirloom lock-picking set for me or will I have to bring my own? Also, I like to get soused before I break and enter, I was wondering is drinking alcohol frowned upon over there?

posted on 10.04 at 08:04 AMjmorrison

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