Mark Twain
And The Patent Medicine Ad
Dean Edell; Bob Slotta

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: <TWAIN-L@YORKU.CA>
Subject:   Mark Twain And The Patent Medicine Ad
Date: Friday, July 14, 2000 6:03 AM

Does anybody know which piece radio host Dr. Dean Edell refers to here?

Mark Twain And The Patent Medicine Ad

July 13, 2000
Original broadcast date: April 18, 2000

I can get a little ascerbic when talking about bogus health remedies, but I have to hand it to Mark Twain for writing one of the best retorts to an advertisment for a "miracle cure" elixir.

Remember, this was in 1905, when some patent medicines were based on herbs. Twain was in ill health himself when he was pitched the elixir for a life "without disease, death and always in youthful tonic." It also claimed to cure acne, appendicitis, corns, diabetes, dandruff, diptheria, measles, mumps, pneumonia, tapeworm and whooping cough.

In a biting response, Twain wrote: "The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet, also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree and scion of an ancestral profession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link."

Later on, he adds: "A few moments from now my resentment will have faded and passed, and I shall probably even be praying for you; but while there is yet time I hasten to wish that you may take a dose of your own poison by mistake and enter swiftly into the damnation which you and all other patent medicine assassins have so remorselessly gamered and do so richly deserve."

I can't help but wonder what Twain would say today if he saw all the food supplements on the market making unproven claims for almost everything.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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