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The Xenophile Historian

K. U. P.

(Kimball's Unauthorized Perversion)

Classy Insults

Have you noticed that insults used to require a bit of thought? Maybe it's because we expect more from educated people. Nowadays most folks just resort to cuss words. Because children may be reading this, I can't repeat those kind of insults here, except maybe for the quote where Barack Obama commented that in August and September, Washington gets "all wee-weed up." Below are some of the best insults of all time. Note that a lot of them come from members of the US Congress, or Britain's Parliament, places where good speaking skills have always been required.

  1. "I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."--Stephen Bishop (I believe this became the title for a country song later on)
  2. "He is a self-made man and worships his creator."--John Bright
  3. George W. Bush (talking to an east coast reporter): "I don't read half of what you write."
     Reporter: "We don't listen to half of what you say."
     George W. Bush: "That's apparent in the half of what I read."
  4. Lady Astor: "If you were my husband I'd give you poison."
     Winston Churchill: "If I was your husband I'd drink it."
  5. Lady Astor: "Mr. Churchill, you're drunk!"
     Winston Churchill: "And you are ugly. But I shall be sober tomorrow."
  6. Clement Attlee (in a restroom, as Churchill comes in and goes to the urinal farthest away from the one he's standing at): "Feeling standoffish today, Winston?"
     Winston Churchill: "Every time you see something big, you nationalize it."
  7. "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."--Winston Churchill
  8. George Bernard Shaw (in a letter he wrote to Churchill): "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend . . . if you have one."
     Winston Churchill's response: "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second . . . if there is one."
  9. "I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."--Irvin S. Cobb
  10. "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."--Clarence Darrow
  11. A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
     Benjamin Disraeli: "That depends, Sir, on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."
  12. "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."--William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).
  13. Louisiana governor Huey Long: "If there had been a back door at the Alamo, there wouldn't have been a Texas."
     Texas governor James "Pa" Ferguson: "Ah, but there was a back door - and that's why there's a Louisiana."
  14. "Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."--Moses Hadas
  15. Senator Everett M. Dirksen (showing off his new car phone): "I just got a car phone. I thought I'd make my first call to you."
     Lyndon B. Johnson: "Just a minute, Ev, while I answer my other phone."
  16. "He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."--Paul Keating
  17. "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts . . . for support rather than illumination."--Andrew Lang
  18. "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."--Groucho Marx
  19. Groucho Marx (on his game show, "You Bet Your Life"): "I understand you have ten children. Why so many?"
     Contestant: "Well, Groucho, I love my wife."
     Groucho Marx: "I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while."
  20. "He is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. Like a rotten mackerel in the moonlight, he both shines and stinks."--Senator John Randolph of Virginia, commenting on fellow lawmaker Edward Livingston
  21. Tristam Burges, rejoicing that John Randolph is sterile: "But I rejoice that the Father of Lies can never become the Father of Liars. One adversary of God and man is enough for one universe."
     John Randolph: "You pride yourself on an animal faculty, in respect to which the slave is your equal and the jackass infinitely your superior!"
  22. John Randolph, blocking Henry Clay's path on a sidewalk: "I never turn out for scoundrels!"
     Henry Clay: "I always do." (then he stepped around Randolph in mock politeness)
  23. Babe Ruth (answering a reporter who pointed out that in 1931 he made $80,000, $5,000 more than President Hoover): "Maybe so, but I had a better year than he did."
  24. George Bernard Shaw (on the opening night for his play "Arms and the Man," responding to a man in the audience who booed when everyone else applauded): "I quite agree with you, my friend, but what can we two do against a whole houseful of the opposite opinion?"
  25. "In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."--Charles, Count Talleyrand
  26. "He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."--Forrest Tucker
  27. "Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"--Mark Twain
  28. "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."--Mark Twain
  29. "His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."--Mae West
  30. "He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..."--Oscar Wilde
  31. "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."--Oscar Wilde
  32. "He has Van Gogh's ear for music."--Billy Wilder
Waldorf and Statler.
No wonder the characters on "The Muppet Show" known for classy insults were also the oldest.

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