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When Insults Had Class

Tuesday 26 April 2011

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

·    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 (1844-1912)

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