Insults as art, and no shortage of sarcasm

Modern insults can be so crass and in your face. Cheap insults are so common that they are as predictable as a country song.

For those that yearn for the good ol’days when insults were well thought out and full of sarcasm, my friend Bill Case offers the following classics:

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

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