charlatan.jpgDenne ukens eSkeptic minner meg på at når jeg får tid til avbrudd i lesningen av avhandlinger (5 igjen), så er det mulighet for å utfylle sommerlesningen med litt mindre krim. Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam ser nemlig ut til å være en passende blanding av underholdende og opplysende lesning.

It tells the story of John R. Brinkley MD, who transplanted goat glands into people, and of Morris Fishbein MD, the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, who tried to stop him.

Brinkley was a colorful character whose very first job was a scam, selling a patent remedy. He went to medical school but never finished, eventually buying a diploma elsewhere for $100. A bigamist, drunkard, liar, and con man of incredible audacity, he built up an empire of quackery that made him filthy rich. Apart from his medical adventures, he practically invented modern political campaigning techniques, revolutionized advertising, and was almost single-handedly responsible for popularizing country music and the blues with his radio station.

An impotent patient supposedly told Brinkley, «Too bad I don’t have goat nuts.» So Brinkley gave him some.

Kirurgisk. (Forøvrig et kurs Brinkley strøk ut av fordi han var for full til å delta.)

«Behandlingen» ble en populær suksess, men ikke akkurat noen medisinsk:

At least 42 patients entered his hospital vertical and departed horizontal. Others survived surgery long enough to die at home, and others succumbed from using the quack remedies he sold via the radio.

Dette er en skikkelse og en periode jeg gjerne leser mer om.