Saturday’s smiles

When Insults Had Class…

These glorious insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words:


The Earl of Sandwich to John Wilkes: “Sir, you are a scoundrel!  You will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”

“That depends, my noble lord, ” replied Wilkes, “on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”


Benjamin Disraeli was asked to articulate the distinction between the words “disaster” and “calamity”.  He replied: “Well, if Mr Gladstone were to fall into the river Thames, that would be a disaster, but if someone were to pull him out, that would be a calamity.


“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 Sir Robert Muldoon


“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 I’m afraid this wasn’t it.” -Groucho Marx

5 Responses to Saturday’s smiles

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

    Muldoon said this long before Keating, of Bill Rowling 🙂

  2. homepaddock says:

    Thanks – I thought Muldoon had said it first but wasn’t 100% sure.

  3. Ha it is even in this 1995 Independent (UK) obituary for Rowling. By the NZPA’s David Barber who predates us in journalism! Though I do remember Muldoon saying it in 1975 🙂

  4. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    An excellent collection of great insults

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