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Pills And Politics
by [?]

My attention has been called by several disgusted doctors to one Jay Jay Lawrence who tacks A.M., M.D. to his patronymic, evidently as an anchor to hold it to the earth. Jay Jay and his vestibule-train title are conducting a sickly concern at St. Louis, sporting the euphonious cognomen of The Medical Brief, a monthly devoted to patent medicine and politics, blue ointment and economics, vermifuge and philosophy. Although Jay Jay finds it necessary to mix display ads with his reading matter to make the latter palatable, he declares that his painful monthly emission has “the largest circulation of any medical magazine in the world”–thereby indicating that while his mentality may be atrophied, his imagination is intumescent. I have long noticed that journals having large bonafide circulations do little tooting of their own horns on the house-tops–they don’t have to. It is a species of journalistic quackery which every thorough-bred publisher regards with contemptuous pity. Brains win, in the journalistic world as elsewhere, and “blowing” a circulation were equivalent to employing a brass band to call attention to the abnormal size of the editorial encephalon. Still I wouldn’t be without Jay Jay’s truly remarkable magazine for ten times the money. I haven’t a very high opinion of it as a medical authority, as it has “Cagliostro” written on it from cover to cover; but as a humorous journal it is ‘way ahead of anything since the “Wax Wurx” of Artemus Ward. When I weary of the professional fun-makers, when I tire of laughing at Brer. Rockefeller’s heroic attempt to suppress the ICONOCLAST by excluding it from his little gate-system railroad; when the senatorial candidacy of Chollie-Boy Culberson becomes a weariness to the spirit, and the Texas Baptist convention, with its stage accessories of snuffles and snot develops into nux vomica, I can turn to Jay Jay’s flamboyant cyclopedia of misinformation and observe with ever increasing interest the attempts of ye able editor to diagnose the disease of the body politic and steer it clear of the funeral director. Jay Jay is evidently not a progressive practitioner, for he is trying to save the country exactly as Gulliver’s Lagado Galen tried to cure a dog of wind-colic. I note with unalloyed pleasure that the Brief has contributors to its medical department, at Purdon, Cove and Dilworth, Texas, Jones, Switch and Burnsville, Ala., Nassawadox, Va., Salt Springs, Mo., Claypool, Ky. and other great centers of therapeutical information indicating that it spares no pains to give its patrons the worth of their money without adding any tea-store chromos or electric belly-bands by way of rebate. But it is not the startling discoveries of these doctors, not the sophomoric essays of new-fledged Hippocrati now struggling manfully with buck-ague, snake bite and new babies at Nassawadox, Jones’ Switch and elsewhere that constitute the chief charm of Jay Jay’s versatile journal. The feature of most interest to the lay reader is the political homilies of the editor himself. Not only are they deeply interesting to the hoi polloi, but invaluable from a therapeutical standpoint, being successfully employed in cases of itch, smallpox, etc. as a counter irritant. I opine that one of these read in a loud voice to an Egyptian mummy would result in its immediate resurrection. If it had the faintest conception of humor it would wake up long enough to laugh, and if it hadn’t it would come to life for the express purpose of hitting Jay Jay Lawrence, A.M., M.D., across the sterno cleidomastoidens with a well-seasoned obelisk. It is impossible to reproduce the flavor of this intellectual hippocampus’ politico-economic emulsions, they being evidently compounded with thaumaturgis incantations while he is surrounded with jars of jalap, pile remedies, aphrodisiacs and patent liver pills. They should be labelled allopathic purgatives and kept tightly corked. In the copy before me Jay Jay assured his readers–who are supposed to be numerous as the sands of the sea, but are probably confined to himself and his country contributors–that there is a Russo-Franco-Germanic alliance against England and that it is the sacred duty of America to come to the rescue of her muchly-beloved “mother country,” lest the ‘orrid bawbawians make ‘way with the old woman, overturn the civilization of all the centuries and rip human liberty up by the roots. What my contemporary seems to need is a mild cathartic that will move his brain–say about a tablespoonful of Theodorus’ Anticyrian hellebore. The continental powers will not harm England so long as the old harlot behaves herself, but there’s no denying that they are becoming dead-tired of her predacity and impudence. If the senescent old British lion attempts any funny business with the Russian bear it is liable to lose its umbilicus, and the surgical operation will be performed without the use of anaesthetics. If John Bull gets his proboscis ingloriously bumped it will be none of Uncle Sam’s business–unless the gentleman in the Star-spangled cut-a-way happens to be the party of the first part in the bumping business. Just why we should expend blood and treasure fighting the battles of the old buccaneer only an Anglomaniacal doctor enervated by his own dope could possibly imagine. Russia has ever been our friend, England our foe. The sympathies of Russia are with Republican France, with Republican America–the hand of England has ever been against the world. She has ruthlessly despoiled wherever and whenever she possessed the power, while slavishly obsequious when confronted by equal force. “Human liberty,” your gran-dam! How long has it been since England repealed the Test Act?–since she granted political equality to Jews?–to Catholics? In this respect she even legged behind the Ottoman Empire. She is the only “Christian” nation on earth to-day that sanctions human slavery. There are still fools extant who imagine that all the liberties enjoyed by Americans were inherited from “dear old England”; while the fact remains that in the matter of liberty England has been following 50 to 75 years behind the United States ever since the Flag o’ Freedom first adorned the atmosphere. But it is when Jay Jay ribs himself up with a powerful nervine and tackles government by injunction that he really rises into the realm of pure humor–becomes serious, so to speak. He inadvertently leaks the information that labor organizations “are animated by anarchistic impulses, their chief desire is to force property owners to divide with them or lose their property”; and naively adds: “the injunction is really a guarantee of individual liberty.” Sure! It guarantees to employers the right to combine to lower wages below the starvation point, while preventing those who are thus despoiled seeking the cooperation of their fellows in an attempt to right the wrong by the simple expedient of taking leave of their tools. It guarantees to workmen the liberty to be shot down like dogs for peaceably assembling and walking unarmed on the public highway–for asking other men to cease work until there is a better adjustment of wages. Of course a man who isn’t willing to work in a coal mine for 90 cents a day, who lays down his pick and asks better pay, is an anarchist who is trying to drive other people to divide with him their property. Jay Jay is so much wiser than all the labor organizations in the land, than the framers of our fundamental law, than a majority of the American judiciary, a–veritable Daniel come to judgment. Give him a crown as large as that of King Midas, which was designed to hide the ears of an ass. It is, however, when he assails W. J. Bryan that he becomes intensely interesting. According to this learned Theban, Bryan is a Populist and Populists are people who do not pay their doctor bills. They call the M.D. out of his comfortable bed at 2 g.m., and after he has frozen his nose and toes to puke or purge ’em they refuse to even haul him a cord o’ slippery-elm firewood or a load o’ pumpkins in payment, but, accuse him of incompetence! ‘Ow ‘orrible! Jay Jay must have obtained his information f
rom those forks of the creek medicos who constitute the chief contributors to his columns–and who would probably encounter fewer charges of incompetence if they expended less time in scribbling “rot” and more in careful reading. Still I can scarce refrain from weeping over such a tale o’ woe. In the terse vernacular of the “mother country,” hit touches me ‘eart–so much so that I hereby authorize anybody to whom W. J. Bryan owes a doctor bill to draw on me for the amount. If he doesn’t owe anybody a doctor bill it follows, according to Jay Jay’s diagnosis, that he is not a Populist–may be a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. Classing Bryan and his followers as Populists, then denouncing all Populists as chronic dead-beats, must be very soothing to a majority of the medical men of the West and South, but it is about what might be expected of a man so infamously ignorant that he calls England our mother country, so idiotic that he would have us take up arms for the international pirate in the name of human liberty. The best thing Jay Jay Lawrence, A.M., M.D., can do is to apply a ten-horse power poultice to his head and see if he cannot draw a few brains into that resounding hollow. In the meantime he should eschew politics and confine himself to the publication of essays by village doctors and the exploitation of patent medicines. When he next feels an impulse creeping on to invade the realm of economics he should chloroform it, or hit it with a club.