More Satire of Doctors and Medicine:"So What's Wrong with a Little Fun?"
A 2004 talk at Notre Dame by William J. Cashore, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Brown
University about satire of the professions including medicine is available as a pdf file entitled "So What's Wrong with a Little
Fun?" at the Ethics Center of Notre Dame University. Dr.Cashore had visited my blog when I first started the satire thread on Friday May 6, 2005 and made some worth noting comments to that posting about other satirical writings directed at medicine. Here is an excerpt he selected from his Notre Dame talk to post here. ..Maurice.
Mel Brooks said recently that, "Laughter is a scream of protest against
death. When the truth is too grim to face, we turn to comedy." (NPR
interview, August, 2004)
What's it all for? As we read satire and comedy for pleasure, we also
use humor to display cleverness, expose folly, challenge authority,
sublimate envy, and express truth too painful to face. Humor can
function as non-violent subversion when our direct criticism of someone
more powerful threatens both parties. Successful satire on the
professions also depends on shared ideals between writer and reader as
to what these professions ought to represent and how their practitioners
In today's medicine, materialism, others' perceptions of success, and
various unacknowledged conflicts of interest can subtly undermine the
altruism and high professional ideals which we try to uphold. Humor can
be a very good way to highlight inconsistencies between what we think of
ourselves and what we actually do.