Tuesday, August 03, 2010

When Insults Had Class


These glorious insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:
She said, "If you were my husband I'd poison your tea."
He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - 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 reading it." - Moses Hadas

"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 feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"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

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"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 they go." - Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts.. . for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx
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8 comments:

Momma Fargo said...

Very cool and true. Loved them all.

June said...

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

This one put a smile on my face.

Nothingman said...

Old men always insulted with a feel for the thing. Today's generation is not innovative at swearing!

N

Charlene said...

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

I've seen this quote several times and love it best! I was lucky enough to see Henry Fonda play Clarence Darrow in the stage play in Louisville way back. It was wonderful.

Julie said...

Checking in to get caught up on blog reading!!!!!

Miss Em said...

How can the youth [those younger than me] know how to insult anyone with the ability of those who came before them when they have not been taught how to speak and write the English language properly?

Miss Em

Lickety Splitter said...

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


This is amusing to me, because I recently (well within the last two years) read both Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" and Ernest Hemingway's "To Have and Have Not." I really enjoyed both of these writers, but I can can see Mr. Faulkner's point because his work was so "deep" that it was delightfully challenging, while Mr. Hemingway's work was so stark that he was delightfully refreshing -- like being on vacation after The Sound and the Fury.

GunDiva said...

The art of the creative insult has been lost. What a shame, for I really enjoyed your post. It may have inspired me to use my "big girl" vocabulary rather than my "four letter word" vocabulary on occasion.