"Stead was impossible as a colleague: he had to work single-handed because he was incapable of keeping faith when excited; and as his hyperaesthesia was chronic he generally was excited. Nobody ever trusted him after the discovery that the case of Eliza Armstrong in the Maiden Tribute was a put-up job, and that he himself had put it up. We all felt that if ever a man deserved six months' imprisonment Stead deserved it for such a betrayal of our confidence in him. And it was always like that, though the other cases were not police cases. He meant well: all his indignations did him credit; but he was so stupendously ignorant that he never played the game. The truth is that he seldom knew that there was any game to play, and was delivered up to a complete infatuation with his own emotions which prevented him from noticing or remembering or even conceiving that other people were otherwise preoccupied. He had, as far as I could see, no general knowledge of art or history, philosophy or science, with which to co-ordinate his journalistic discoveries; and it was consequently impossible for cultured minds to get into any sort of effective contact with his except on the crudest common ground. This is the explanation of his ineffectiveness for anything wider and deeper than a journalistic stunt. He was so extraordinarily incapable of learning anything even from daily experience, that when he attempted to edit a new daily paper years after his retirement from the old Pall Mall, his secretary wrote to me as one of his old reviewing staff, and informed me that she proposed to send me a batch of books for review on the old terms (two guineas a thousand) precisely as if I were a young journalist still in my thirties. And he himself resumed his articles on Home Rule just where they had left off in the 'eighties..."
George Bernard Shaw
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