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Archive for November, 2007

When insults had class

I copied this wholesale from an e-mail forward I recently received. I must say, lawyers today could learn a thing or two from our acid-tongued forebears:
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When insults had class.

These insults are mostly 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, “on 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
  • “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. Leonard
  • “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 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
  • “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx
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