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A Pictorial Pain Killer
by [?]

Puck is what the erstwhile Artemous Ward would call a “yewmerous” paper, and is published solely for the benefit of bad barbers. When you take your seat in the butcher’s shambles he provides you with a copy of Puck because its jokes are so excruciatingly painful that it pulls your piligerous annex out with a stump-extractor and rubbed aqua fortis into your face with a bath brick, the physical ill would be forgotten in the mental agony. I never saw anybody but a barber purchase a copy of Puck not any son of Adam reading it outside a “tonsorial parlor.” Should the Populists carry the country and barbers be tabooed Puck’s mission on earth would be ended–unless it could persuade dentists to adopts it as an anaesthetic, and sheriffs to read it to condemned criminals to make them yearn for death. The last time I was shaved the razor pulled so dreadfully that I sought refuge in this pictorial pain-killer’s editorial page. I there learned, much to my surprise, that the rise in the price of wheat had killed the silver cause; also that W. J. Bryan had “said, in that pose of easy omniscience for which he became remarkable, that ‘a bushel of wheat and an ounce of silver were ordained by nature to become equal each to the other’–‘wheat cannot rise unless silver rises.’ ” If W. J. Bryan said that, even in his salad days, he’s a hopeless damphool, unfit to be pound-master, much less president; but I’ll pay two-bits for incontestable evidence that he ever made such an idiotic remark. My private opinion is that the malice of Puck’s mendacity is equalled only by its awkwardness. It is possible that its editor mistakes falsehood for fun. Or he may have heard somewhere the statement he parrots and really supposed it true, for a man capable of conducting so jejune a journal might easily believe anything. Another article in his paper says that Cardinal Wolsey managed all “Bluff King Hal” divorce business, while the fact is that his hostility to that feculent old tub of tallow’s matrimonial crimes was the efficient cause of his downfall. As a historian Puck is about as reliable as Mark Twain’s acerbic old sea captain; hence his asservations anent Bryan’s utterances should be taken with considerable chloride of sodium. Every man who knows as much about political economy as a terrapin does of the Talmud is well aware that a rise in the price of one commodity simultaneous with the decline in price of another commodity has nothing whatever to do with the currency question. Those who cackle about a rise in wheat synchronously with the fall of silver make a very indecent exposure of their own ignorance. If I had a ten-year old boy who was such a hopeless idiot I’d drown him as not worth honest grub, then seek a surgeon and make sure that I’d never again inflict the world with progeny cursed with cretinism. Wheat went up and silver down, as Mr. Bryan recently explained to the satisfaction of every man possessing an ounce of brains, simply because the demand for the one was increased by foreign crop failures, the demand for the other decreased by Anglo-Cleveland skull-duggery. “Law of supply and demand,” bawls Puck and all the other journalistic puppets of an impudent plutocracy. You miserable little hiccius doctius, do you expect to deceive an intelligent people with that kind of howl, while the trade in wheat is left untrammeled and the demand for silver arbitrarily limited by law? Suppose that while the world’s wheat fields were producing abundantly the leading nations should prohibit their people purchasing any more of that cereal for food production; would any macrocephalous donkey ascribe the decline in the price of wheat to “the immutable law of supply and demand?” When silver is placed on an equality with all other commodities; when the people are permitted to freely employ it as they please, then will the natural law of supply and demand apply to the white metal, and New York editors cease to jabber financial nonsense with the stupid persistence of a poll-parrot praising its own personal pulchritude. The editor of Puck should avoid political economy as a subject a trifle too large for the knot on the end of his neck, and confine himself to his threadbare specialty, that of belittling the Jews with his watery wit and atribilarious art. The only funny thing I find in his paper is its solemn “notice to publishers” that all its raccous rot is copyrighted, that infringement will be “promptly and vigorously prosecuted.” The editor who would steal from Puck would walk through Stringfellow’s fruit farm to crib a wilted cabbage leaf from a blind cow. The best things in Puck scarce rise to the dignity of Slob Snots’ milk-sick drivel in the Gal-Dal, while Texas has a hundred country editors pulling a Washington hand press and building stallion poster, who could write brighter things if they were drunk–or dead. “Promptly and vigorously prosecuted” O the devil! Why don’t you say that you’ll have any fool who attempts to father your hand-made yermer sent to an insane asylum to be treated for prolapsus of the intellect?