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The Madness of Kings and other subjects

Except for a few eccentrics and the odd film-star no one in his right mind believes that leeches–and maggots–stuck to your body can do much good to you or your constitution. The only good thing they can do is test a man’s manliness—but I for one would gladly cry, holler and be called unmanly and worse if any medic now, or in the future, ever prescribes or tries that stuff on me. The thought itself is enough to send me insane.

But there was a time when leeches to suck your fever, leeches to make you hale and hearty were all the rage. Not by raging nuts but by the medical profession. Royals, nobles and the equivalent of today’s superstars were given such treatments.

The madness of a King, King George, who ruled over England and the rest of the United Kingdom, lost America, and could hardly speak the language, has now been ascribed to his ingestion of arsenic. His physicians did not set out to murder him by stealth, but they unknowingly gave him a compound containing arsenic so his madness has some plausible cause. Back then it was also à la mode to use dye on your head and, this being full of mercury, further contributed to poison the good old King. The final twist to his lunacy was when he peed blue urine–and thus proved, I would say to all, that he was not just blue-blooded but also had blue insides.

But all this is neither here nor there. Madness of leaders is as prevalent as madness of people like me and you—yes, you the reader who thinks you are modern and laugh at all things which happened back in the times of the French and American revolution, or before so not at all likely to happen in our so enlightened days.

But are we enlightened? We always think we are but then a new study comes along, a new breed of researchers crops up and bingo your science becomes hokum and past lore.
A few days ago while I was busy doing what I usually do most diligently–nothing–someone sent me a spam-seeming email which made me lose concentration. I was flabbergasted–I mean I do remember when cigarettes and other nefarious stuff were thought of as chic but good for you? And this garbage email had adverts which showed doctors smoking away claiming smoking is healthy.

I delved deeper into this territory and discovered that cocaine was also deemed beneficial to a sane, healthy body. Well, if one goes back in history just very slightly, not to the times of mad George but to the time of Freud himself, he not only used it to cure himself of depression but also advocated its use.

Things, fads, ideas change. Freud himself, long thought of as the be-all and end-all in psychiatry, has ended up not at the top of the list but mainly in the rubbish heap. I still cannot understand how someone who practically starts a science is de-bunked out of his own couch.

What worries me is this–if scientists and doctors of old thought something was beneficial and now research has proved it is all rubbish, what if tomorrow the same, or new, scientists or researchers find that it’s better to be fat, to eat burgers all the time and that yummies like doughnuts, ice-cream, coke, chocolate and all such stuff is good for you? I’m already a tad old in my ways as chocolate has been found to have great powers not just for your happiness quotient but for your heart, your soul and your sex-drive. And in an interesting turn of reality, marijuana will probably be legalised for use as a medicinal.

Things change, absolutes are turned on their heads and management theories, just like any others, are dumped for new ones and new fads come in. Embrace the new I say–embrace whatever suits you and always keep in mind that an expert guru today could be uncovered as a total fraud tomorrow.

Last modified onTuesday, 24 December 2013 08:50
Victor Calleja

Victor Calleja has been involved in publishing, marketing, and anything concerning the written word, for over thirty years. He is now a part-time but very opinionated journalist who delves deeply into a number of subjects.

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