Medicine Made Funny

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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I stumbled across this magazine, Ridendo, distributed to French physicians from the 1930s into the 70s, with more than 440 issues published over the course of its 44-year run. Its a humor magazine with cartoons and comics in the tradition of the famous French journals Le Rire (the laugh), L’Assiette au Beurre (the butter dish) and others reaching into the early 19th century. As I researched the origins of the publication, I found William Helfand, expert on all things medical, already wrote about it for DesignObserver in 2010. Rare, rarefied yet really fascinating.


Since you’ll get the skinny from Helfand’s article, suffice this is a magazine of rare good humor. How often does the medical profession or its vendors do anything witty? They surgically remove it as though it were a tumor. These are some ads for French products. Incidentally, in Paris doctors still make house calls. Now that’s funny.

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Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →