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Puffery Of The Press
by [?]

The “able editor” is perhaps the only quack doctor extant who greedily swallows his own medicine and foolishly imagines that it does him good.

Puffery is the “able editor’s” invariable prescription, no matter whether the patient be a moss-grown town, a broken-down political roue–the victim of early indiscretions–or a Cheap-John merchant suffering the first paroxysms of financial dissolution. Although he knows how his medicine is made,–knows that it is a nauseous compound of rank hypocrisy and brazen mendacity–he actually believes that, if taken in liberal doses, it is potent to cure commercial paralysis or put new life into a political corpse. When the first experiment fails to prove satisfactory, instead of changing the treatment he doubles the dose.

One would suppose that, like most Cagliostros who pick up a precarious livelihood by pumping the bellies of their betters full of the east wind, the “able editor” would laugh in his sleeve at his dupes; but not so. He is more in earnest than the Lagado doctor, described by Gulliver, who had discovered a short-cut for the cure of colic,–as little discouraged when a patient bursts under the somewhat peculiar treatment. So greedy is he for his own medicine, so fond of working the bellows for the expansion of his own bowels, that he can scarce find time to attend to his patients. Pick up any newspaper, big or little, “great daily,” with fake voting contest annex, or country weekly shot full of ads. of city swindling concerns and note what the “able editor” thinks of himself; how he twists and turns to find some pretext for parading his own transcendent greatness! See how he greedily seizes upon every little chunk of “taffy” and rolls it as a sweet morsel under his tongue; how he places in his cap every foolish feather which the idle wind of puffery wafts within his clutch, and then struts in the face of Heaven, a sight to provoke the contempt of men, the pity of the gods! Let the Boomerville Broadaxe but intimate that the Bungtown Boomer knows a thing or two, and forthwith the latter transfers the saccharine slug to its own columns, and perchance, “points to it with pride,”–bids the Bungtown world behold what the world of Boomerville thinks of it! Then the Bungtown Boomer intimates that the Boomerville Broadaxe likewise knows a thing or two, and the latter, which has been eagerly watching for this Roland for its Oliver, swoops hungrily down upon this delectable morsel and cries ha! ha! It has obtained value received, has tickled and been tickled in return! Then the editors of these two great “public educators” begin a cross-fire of sugar-plums, much to the edification of the world and their own mutual satisfaction!

What would we think of that lawyer, doctor or merchant who went about assiduously proclaiming with sound of trumpet what his fellows said about him? Would we not vote him a fool? at best a conceited prig, lacking in taste and good manners?

Commendation is sweet to all; but it is just as permissible for a belle to boast her conquests in the ballroom; the lawyer to inform judge and jury what his fellow-disciples of Blackstone think of him; the scholar to parade his erudition or the merchant his integrity, as for an editor to reproduce in his own paper fulsome compliments paid him for no other purpose under Heaven than to get a puff in return.