dearest mother, send me immediately a hundred thousand bon bons; criminals, Kantsaywhere, eugenics, & indentification

carissima mamma, mandami subito centomila bon bons se no faccio la cattiva

dearest mother, send me immediately a hundred thousand bon bons if I do not the bad. 

From Writing of a criminal by hypnotic suggestion; Cesare Lombroso.

The above is a google translation and although I know it's not 'correct' I quite prefer it. The bad sums up perfectly the diffuse and unclear boundaries between right and wrong in childhood. The inevitable question to 'don't do that' is 'why?' and often you hear parents saying, 'because it's bad' or simply 'because I said so'. Eugenie is a great little imp. In her desire for bon bons - and with the sense that out of the myriad things that you might feel like doing, some of them are 'bad' and some 'good' and some just go unnoticed (the 'ugly' comes later in this spaghetti western) - she's equating everything that does not lead to bon bons with what she will not do. Bad - no bon bons - won't do it. 

But this is what Nietzsche means when he talks about the 'actual right to make promises' which children don't have because, you can be sure, once those bon bons are in Eugenie's belly and she is oh-so-satisfied and thankyou very much carissima mamma, all bets are off. But we are expected to extend to children the rights (if not the responsibilities) of the adult because they are in potentia - potential full humans. Laws relating to the rights of children are mostly a 19th and 20th century phenomenon and they sprang into being around the same time that laws was being developed to mediate the rights of those considered degenerate, insane, innately criminal, and delinquent. 

Cesare Lombroso was most famous for his book L'uomo delinquente (1878) and was the founder of the Italian School of Positivist Criminology. Lombroso's general theory suggested that criminals are distinguished from noncriminals by multiple physical anomalies. This is where the Ugly comes in. I suggest heading to Sander Gilman's 1995 book, Picturing Health and Illness: Images of Identity and Difference, where he details the correlation of the unhealthy and the ugly in this crucial 19th century. Back to Lombroso, who postulated that criminals represented a reversion to a primitive or subhuman type of man. This earlier type is characterised by physical features reminiscent of apes, lower primates that are to some extent preserved in modern "savages" (his term). The behaviour of these biological "throwbacks" will inevitably be contrary to the rules and expectations of modern civilised society. Lombroso suggested that the discretion of the doctor as to whether a criminal was born (reo nato) or simply a 'criminaloid' (occasional criminals by 'passion') should be used to decide on a legislated course of action in order to propagate the right plants and weed out the others. 

nota bene the pencil additions of defensive conscience, however commendable in itself.

Social darwinism is the name that was eventually given to these tendencies, but whilst Darwin was worried about 'breeding' - and more specifically about the effects of marriage between cousins because he was married to his - it was Francis Galton, another cousin who Darwin was not married to, who really pushed the agenda. He is famous for his composite photographs (more, hither), an article called Africa for the Chinese (intriguing given the heavy investment of Chinese companies in African resources in recent times - read it, hither) but he also wrote a terrible but very intriguing novel called Kantsaywhere, which is Brave New World written by a statistician, i.e. dry, clinical, lacklustre, and slightly gormless. The narrator is actually a fictional professor of vital statistics at Kantsaywhere, which might explain some of its charmlessness, though the more juicy bits were edited out by his niece, Milly who “destroyed all the story, all poor Miss Augusta, the Nonnyson anecdotes, and in fact everything not to the point”. You can read extracts from the rest of it @ UCL Library Services, hither.

Moholy-Nagy's Painting, Photography, Film shows the possibilities of wireless imaging; 1925