Saturday, May 9, 2009

Abusing without Swearing

These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language was taken over by American slang and curse words and got boiled down to 4-letter words, not to mention waving middle fingers*.

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.'

Benjamin Disraeli - Prime Minster of UK 1874-1880

'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).

'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

'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. Leonard

'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

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 (1844-1912)

*From an email forward

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