Posted by: Witch Doctor | December 17, 2011

Eden is burning yet it’s cold outside


Dr No is approaching the festive season with some words that, this time, are not his own.

It seems to The Witch Doctor that a message lies within this recent post at BadMed.

Depending on the interpretation, it is just possible the message could be related to the NHS and the Health and Social Care Bill.

For some reason it prompted The Witch Doctor to think about the first anonymous medical bloggers. She found herself looking back to the modern history of anonymous medical blogging in the UK.

Dr Crippen was the first anonymous medical blogger that The Witch Doctor discovered.

In fact, you might even say:


Me and My Black Cat were great fans of Crippen’s writing style and the subjects he wrote about. His thinking was astute and confrontational and could be insulting. These insults made My Black Cat want to read it all the more. It brought in loads and loads of comments, and many led to arguments. The Witch Doctor has little doubt that he intended this to happen in his corner of the blogosphere.

He wanted to make people think for themselves.

The Witch Doctor is as sure as she can be that this was at least one of the reasons why he blogged.

He was anonymous. He always seemed to be treading where few in medicine dared to go. What he said could well have put his job on the line, although he had also trained as a lawyer and so possibly he knew just where to stop at least most of the time.

Although The Witch Doctor was pretty sure his writing style was intended to cause argument and ensure that medical blogging had a significant place in the media, she was also pretty sure that he did not speak to his patients in his blogging tongue that was carefully designed to conceal himself but reveal his thoughts.

The second anonymous blogger that The Witch Doctor encountered through a link from the Crippen site was Dr Rant. She was never sure whether he was a single blogger scrambling his identity or whether there were indeed a large group of bloggers writing in the same language. It was a new, foul, colourful, and most would say a totally unprofessional language that was now permeating the medical blogosphere. A language where a profanity or two was cleverly inserted into nearly every sentence.

Now, we witches, have been known to say things such as:

“Damn it!”


“It’s bloody cold outside”

But the profanities of the original Dr Rant were in another league altogether. Rant developed a new language where swearing was the norm and furthermore it was embellished in a masterful way.

New words were created but their pedigrees could be traced to some of the worst words in the English language.

Enter the world of “Swear Blogging.”

The Witch Doctor asked herself what kind of person would blog in this way?

So she had a good look around the blog, and she convinced herself that his style of blogging was a means to an end. That end was to make brain-indolent members of The Humankind sit up and pay attention to what was going on around them.

The Witch Doctor, being a benign (but hopefully not brain-indolent) soul herself, wondered if Dr Rant might even be a gentle human being with a big cause.

It was difficult to find gentleness in Rant’s blog, but find it she did.

Sadly it has vanished.

But some time ago, The Witch Doctor posted on it.


She came to the conclusion that his “Swear Blog” was a means of drawing attention to the medical blogosphere in its early days.

And, like Crippen, to alert The Medical Humankind so they began to think for themselves.

If that was his goal, he succeeded.

Nowadays, blogging is changing. Some may say that medical bloggers should not be allowed to be anonymous because this would force them at all times to conduct themselves in a polite manner befitting of their learned profession. They would say that they should blog with the courtesy that they give to their patients.

The Witch Doctor says: “piffle.”

If these daring, early, anonymous bloggers had not made sure they were noticed in their chosen ways, medical blogging would have been so boring in its political correctness that nobody would have noticed that the medical blogosphere existed at all in the UK.

They paved the way for a more measured approach such as that used by another of the founder medical bloggers – Dr Grumble. He has vanished off the face of the blogosphere although for some reason he is now tweeting like a bird. He better make damned (swear!) sure My Black Cat doesn’t start stalking him. We all know what she does with birds. She treats them all the same – nightingales or hawks – she deposits them at The Witch Doctor’s feet, dead or alive, on the floor The Spell Pantry.

Now, My Black Cat is very fond of Dr Grumble and would be beside herself with grief if she mistook him for a bird!

These three anonymous bloggers appeared long before The Witch Doctor and My Black Cat took to voicing our thoughts on the Internet.

The Witch Doctor is pretty sure Dr Rant has gone for ever. Indeed My Black Cat is of the opinion that the recent odd appearance of a Rant-form was that of an imposter. However, My Black Cat is notorious for her conspiracy theories and it is best to ignore her most of the time.

We hope Dr Crippen is still alive and well and enjoying his retirement. He muttered something about buying a scooter before he vanished, so that didn’t sound very terminal. Perhaps he will delight us all by wishing us a Happy Christmas somewhere in the blogosphere. Perhaps he may even metamorphose into somebody else.

And Dr Grumble? Well we hope sometime in the New Year he will fly down form the branches of the trees. It’s cold up there in winter. It’s much easier when there’s ice and snow outside to stop tweeting and to blog cosily from the fireside instead. My Black Cat is so worried that she might mistake him for a flamingo or Christmas robin one day and pounce on him with her lethal claws. Indeed she is so afraid this might happen that at this very moment casting a spell to bring him back to the blogosphere.

So what has all this reminiscing and rambling got to do with Dr No’s recent post?

The Witch Doctor will probably get round to telling you sometime.

The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





© Dlundin |


  1. Merry Christmas Witchdoc and black cat

    I miss the three docs you mention too and sincerely hope they are all alive, happy and well, even though the one we were informed he passed away. I have no idea why, but I’ve never found his Anglo Saxon offensive, and that was because he did have a big heart and pricipal to go with it, remember his role in freeing Scot Junior? I hope he has now changed into something he likes, bit bird, bit tree, bit snow flakes … cos there is no such a thing as death, you know … as for Dr G, I hope he comes back because the
    blogosphere is kinda boring without him, and Crippen too

    As for anonymity, of coarse you stay anonymous if you think it best so that you can speak freely without fearing being hunted for doing good. Only, as I said elsewhere before, one hopes that like yourself or the other docs we mentioned, those prefering anonymity must respect the freedom that comes with it by not launching ‘unreasoned’ attacks on individuals, groups or even organisations when there is no ‘valid’ reason to do so. To my mind, this is cowardly because those who do it hide behind anonymity because they know they wouldn’t get away with it otherwise. I think if that kind of act continues it will eventually lead to regulation, and it would then be those who behaved this way who should be blamed for inviting the regulators in.

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas WD, C and family


  2. Dear WD,

    I hope that we see some more of the bloggers that have ceased. It does sound rather valedictory over on Dr No’s blog. Even if neither he or Dr Crippen are no longer in active practice, I do think that they can continue to contribute usefully.

    Hope Christmas sees you not working too hard over a steaming cauldron, and that your Black Cat gets his claws into a big fat rat. There are plenty out there!

  3. […] The last post referred to the early medical bloggers and to Dr No’s recent post where he quotes Bob Dylan. Some my take it to mean that Dr No is about to join the other three bloggers i.e. vaporise. […]

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