Forever Under Construction

When insults had class

Posted in Fun by homeyra on August 29, 2009

This morning, while still in bed, I thought of this Iranian saying beshin, befarma, betamarg (“sit down”, “please sit down” and “get your ass down”), expressing the same content by different manners.

I thought of writing a post and illustrating this with a few examples. For instance you don’t agree with something like… let’s say … the outcome of some election. You might get a whole range of answers to your reactions. It might be: “Oh my! Why would you think such a nonsense?“, or “Oh dear! I have no time for that but come over and let’s check it together” or “F&#$ off you lousy bastard or I’ll kick you f*&#ing ass” et ceteras and even darker et ceteras.

Later, I found this series of classy insults in the inbox. Instead of elaborating on the above let’s just post it as it is.

These glorious insults are from an era before 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.” 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 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
  • He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker
  • 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
  • He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder
  • I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

12 Responses

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  1. peyman said, on August 29, 2009 at 11:28 am

    It’s amazing and may be a full house!!
    I mean in our culture,when we decide to show our disagree with something, only show our violence and the worse explanations and we didn’t learn to talking in some polite way but show our opinion…
    Thanks Dear Homeira

  2. علی گنجه ای said, on August 29, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I liked it!
    really liked it! 🙂

  3. Pedestrian said, on August 29, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    “F&#$ off you lousy bastard or I’ll kick you f*&#ing ass”

    That sounds like me! 😉

    This was an awesome piece!

  4. 99 said, on August 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.” He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

    That one somehow just does it for me the most of any of them, but I’m kind of amazed Dorothy Parker’s “She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B,” about Katharine Hepburn didn’t make the cut…. 😛

  5. بوگي said, on August 30, 2009 at 12:05 pm


  6. homeyra said, on September 1, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Welcom Peyman, علی, P and boogi:)
    lol 99, didn’t know that one!

  7. پیمان said, on September 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Peyman is commomn name for Yasnababa!

  8. homeyra said, on September 1, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    midoonam baba-ye princess Yasna 🙂

  9. Michael Greenwell said, on September 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” – Oscar Wilde

    “Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket” – George Orwell

  10. naj said, on October 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    🙂 Thanks for the heart-felt laughter! aaah that was good!

    I liked Shaw/Churchill exchange best!

  11. Bamboo Guy said, on October 21, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Hah…like the one about Churchill -“if you were my wife, I’d drink it” Good stuff

  12. Sean Paul Kelley said, on March 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I love the post and thank you. One other thing I think modern English lacks are elegant and eloquent single word insults, like guttersnipe. I have searched high and low for an archaic insult list but none are comprehensive. It’s a shame.

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