When Insults Had Class

September 15, 2007 at 4:57 am | Posted in humor, Miscellaneous, social comment | 3 Comments

“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)

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time in reading it.” – Moses Hadas

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln

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

“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’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb

“He is not only dull himself; he i s the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

“There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” – Jack E. Leonard

“He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.” – James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

“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.” – Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts; for support rather than illumination. ” – Andrew Lang

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – unknown



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  1. Simple experience.

    Most of your authors here began with florid expressions similar to the rest of us. It is the experience of being in public life and having your own harsh words trip you up, often in the press, that causes us to avoid plain cussing.

    Then there is the matter of rhetoric, as a course of study. While popular until 40-50 years ago, learning to use words to accomplish your goals seems to be relegated to law school or wherever politicians study. I could wish more of them actually learned to speak the truth, but that is another story.

  2. “There’s just no such thing as truth when it comes to him. He just says whatever sounds good and worries about it after the election.”
    – Bill Clinton, on George Bush I

  3. Haha. I love the one about Mr. Nixon.
    Too bad flamers don’t have the ability to speak like this, because then I would love to hear from them!

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