when insults had class

Forwarded to me by my mother:

These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still
valued, before a great portion of 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 give you poison,” and 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

“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).

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” –
Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

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

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

“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

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

“He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.” – Robert Redford

“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human
knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett Reed

“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

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather
than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

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

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


7 Responses to when insults had class

  1. John Petrie says:

    Dr. Johnson had another couple of my favorites:

    “Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good.”

    “Sir, I have found you an explanation, but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.”

  2. neuroklinik says:

    Are any of these apocryphal? Were they said on the spot, or did the clever wit to whom each is attributed have significant time to come up with a real “zinger”?

    I find that wit of this caliber rarely comes when most needed. Hence the feeling of coming up with a wicked and perfect retort hours or even days later… when it’s perfectly useless.

    “Repartee is what you wish you’d said.” – Heywood Broun

  3. Mike says:

    One of my favorites; Mark Twain on Cecil Rhodes:

    “I admire him, I frankly confess it; and when his time comes I shall buy a piece of the rope for a keepsake.” – Following the Equator


  4. The Big Raven says:

    “Up your nose with a rubber hose”Fonzee

  5. Ricky says:

    One of my favorites:

    “I’m seated in the smallest room in the house. Your letter is before me. Soon it will be behind me.” — Voltaire

    I’ll throw in a great bumper sticker, no extra charge:

    “If you don’t like my driving, get off the sidewalk.”

  6. Sorry – “Up your nose with a rubber hose” was said by Barbarino on Welcome Back Kotter. The Fonz did not say it.
    Not only was it NOT funny, but it was wrong.

  7. Mistyfan1969 says:

    How was it wrong? I mean A lot of the Welcome back kotter insults while imature, were funny in their day. I think at some point Opie (can’t think of the actor or the charitor) says hey fonze up your nose with a rubber hose. At least I think he said something like that.

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