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P. T. Barnum, the great circus impresario, was once accosted by a woman who showed him a scurrilous manuscript about himself, and said that unless he paid her, she would have the book printed.
Barnum rejected the extortion attempt. “Say what you please,” he replied, “but make sure that you mention me in some way. Then come to me and I will estimate the value of your services as a publicity agent.” Barnum obviously felt that adverse criticism was an asset for a public figure. A man who seeks the limelight should not care what is written about him but should be concerned only when they stop writing about him. Barnum’s philosophy suggests that we might do well to review the plethora of publicity given to rabble-rousers and bigots.