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December 26, 1966

The Medical Commercial

Author Affiliations

Willimani, Canada

JAMA. 1966;198(13):1373-1374. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110260085033

To the Editor:—  Much has been said about medical writing in recent years. Most of the comment is not flattering. "Have you ever picked up a journal," asks Glickman,1 "opened it, read halfway through the first page, then, losing patience, riffed through the summaries of everything else in the book?" The answer, of course, is "Yes!" Medical writing is much too dull (acronym for drab, uninteresting, long, lifeless) to hold the reader's attention.Many remedies have been suggested. Authors and editors are urged to pay more attention to literary style, to reinstate humor, wit, and satire, to reinsert poetry and emotion, even to restore the exclamation mark! All these cures belong in the realm of wishful thinking. How, indeed, can a gaussian curve be made humorous or a statistical tabulation poetic?Why not follow the lead of radio and television? These communication media solved the problem of program tedium