When insults had class

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by S.A.M., Aug 6, 2007.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    The lighter side of linguistics

    There really was a time when insults had class.

    “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” –
    Winston Churchill

    “A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” –

    Winston Churchill

    “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” –

    Clarence Darrow

    “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” –
    William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

    “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time in reading it.” –

    Moses Hadas

    “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” –

    Abraham Lincoln

    “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” –

    Groucho Marx

    “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” –

    Mark Twain

    “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” –

    Oscar Wilde

    “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play. Bring a friend… if you have one.” –
    George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.” –

    Winston Churchill, in response

    “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” –
    Irvin S. Cobb

    “He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” –

    Samuel Johnson

    “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” –
    Paul Keating

    “He had delusions of adequacy.” –

    Walter Kerr

    “There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” –

    Jack E. Leonard

    “He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.” –

    James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

    “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” –
    Mark Twain

    “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” –

    Mae West

    “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever…” –

    Oscar Wilde

    “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts… for support rather than illumination. ” –

    Andrew Lang

    “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” –

    Billy Wilder

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  3. Enmos Staff Member

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    Hehe funny stuff Sam

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    Im not sure this one is an insult though, sounds more like a compliment to me:
    “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” –
    William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)
     
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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  7. Enmos Staff Member

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    Ok, it depends on the readers then

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  8. Lord Hillyer Banned Banned

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    I'm afraid I'll have decline your invitation, due to a subsequent engagement.
     
  9. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    "You're depriving a village somewhere of its idiot"
    -unknown

    "Your gene pool is in dire need of some chlorine additive"
    -me
     
  10. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    "May the fleas of a thousand vermin infest your garments..."
    -Some game developer.
     
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I prefer the earlier version I heard in elementary school, Nietzchefan: "May the spiders of the desert hold their annual parade in your undershorts."

    While looking for one of my favorite insults, I came across this nugget in a TimesOnline article:

    The very earliest recorded insult, as far as I can ascertain, was painted some 4,300 years ago on the walls of the tomb of Ti in Saqqara, Egypt. It depicts one fisherman saying to another: “Come here, you copulator”, or hieroglyphs to that effect. It is not Oscar Wilde, admittedly, but it was start.

    There is an apocryphal exchange between Disraeli and Gladstone--attributed in the comments to the above-cited article to two lesser politicians, that is perhaps my favorite insult in history (and the one I was looking for):

    "Your end will either come from the gallows, or of venereal disease."

    "That, my dear sir, depends on whether I embrace your principles, or your mistress."​
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2007

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