It must no doubt be very difficult for the editor of a weekly medical paper to find subjects of interest for his leading articles. And when found, men to handle them competently must be still more difficult to secure. For, psychologically, the leading article writer and the successful physician or man of science are usually incompatible. We can understand the real physician after mastering a special subject, giving his professional brethren the benefit of his knowledge in the shape of a condensed and readable abstract. But we never could understand the state of mind of the medical politician, or the medical writer who has to fill up so many columns on any subject he may be called on to write about, from consultations with homoeopaths to the latest medical bill. But so great is the sympathy usually felt for the unfortunate writers of these necessary lucubrations, that without complaint we skip them in reading our weekly papers, with an inward feeling of thankfulness that there are men who can take to uncongenial tasks. It is seldom that their common-places, if they do not instruct, offend any one. As a general rule the high and serious aims of our profession in all its various departments are recognised; the difficulties we have to encounter are taken into account, and a charitable construction is put on well-intentioned professional failures. Professional esprit de corps and comradeship commonly soften the acerbity of the medical critic. Some sense of responsibility generally underlies the fault-finding, and some smattering of knowledge of the subject treated of is usually to be found, even if the logic is halting, the style dull, and the information bald. Utter flippancy, total disregard of the feelings of professional brethren, and crass ignorance, are rare. And most fortunately of all, smartness has not hitherto been cultivated in medical journalism. The innate dignity of medicine in its daily fight with disease and death, has hitherto saved us from that.
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