The Art Of The Insult (2019)

insults

We are losing the art of the insult, and I, for one, will mourn its loss.  The problem is, in the 21st century, we’re under the delusion that tolerance is such an admirable quality that it takes precedence over everything else – up to and including common sense.  The result is we’re forced to publically accept all manner of idiot ideas and opinions — even though, inside our heads, we’re screaming WTF?  In a more civilized time, people were allowed to disagree with or even dislike all kinds of opinions and people without being branded a racist, a sexist, an alt-right extremist or the all-purpose “hater.”  But that’s what we do in the 21st century – like inarticulate school children — we call each other names.  It’s the best we got!  That’s why I mourn the loss of the insult.  Good insults take a high-velocity intelligence that we just don’t practice anymore, and like all language skills, it’s the canary in our society’s mineshaft.  Fortunately, it’s not over yet, and here are some examples of wonderful insults that demonstrate the high level of intelligence and skill it takes to call somebody a dumbass.  Enjoy!

I do desire we may be better strangers – William Shakespeare (As You Like It)

You are a sad little man, and you have my pity. – Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)

I’ve known sheep that could outwit you.  I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs. – Wanda (A Fish Called Wanda)

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends. – Oscar Wilde

He has Van Gogh’s ear for music. – Billy Wilder

If you gave [him] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. – Christopher Hitchens

He has delusions of adequacy. – Walter Kerr

I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.

Just because you have one doesn’t mean you have to act like one.

If I had a gun with two bullets and was locked in a room with Hitler, Jack the Ripper and you, I’d shoot youtwice.

He’s always lost in thought.  It’s unfamiliar territory

You’re not pretty enough to be that stupid.

I have neither the time, nor the crayons to explain this to you.

Whoever told you to “be yourself” gave you bad advice.

I’m glad to see you’re not letting your education get in the way of your ignorance.

I can feel my personality turning a dull shade of grey when I talk to you.

You’re so dense, light must bend around you.

He has a lot to be modest about.

But my favourite is:

He is simply a hole in the air. – George Orwell (The Lion and the Unicorn)

I Wish I’d Said That!

ideaAs I get older, I realize a ton of people are a lot smarter than I am.  When I look at the world (even wearing my rose-coloured glasses) mostly all I see is benign chaos.  However, some people can look through all that and see where the little bits of truth are hiding.  These are the folks who instantly grasp an idea, distill it down to a single sentence, flip it onto their tongues and then effortlessly blend it into the conversation.  I know envy is one of the 7 Deadly Sins, but, for all the world, I envy these people ’cause on the rare occasions when I do that, I spend the rest of the day walking just a little taller.  Here are some examples and each one, when read carefully, demonstrates some serious understanding of the world we live in.

Journalism largely consists of saying “Lord Jones is dead,” to people who didn’t know he was alive.
G.K. Chesterton

The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4:00 am.
Charles Pierce

Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other.
Ann Landers

It’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
Voltaire

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks for a funeral.
H.L. Mencken

The trouble with her is she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.
George Bernard Shaw

A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car.
Kenneth Tynan

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing — and then marry him.
Cher

An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.
Dylan Thomas

It was as stupid as taking a cauldron and a broom to a witch hunt.
Najira Olsen

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.
A.H. Miller

Do you realize that, if it weren’t for Edison, we’d be watching television by candlelight?
Al Boliska

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.
Jean Rostand

Love thy neighbour as thyself, but choose your neighbourhood.
Louise Beal

The average person thinks he isn’t.
L. Lorenzoni

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.
Hansell Duckett

We’re all in this alone.
Lily Tomlin

Where did I find the time to not read so many books?
Karl Krause

A fair fight is the one you win.
French Foreign Legion

And that greatest philosopher of them all — Anonymous

Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.

If it wasn’t for the last minute, nobody would get anything done.

Whoever said “money can’t buy happiness,” didn’t know where to shop.

No one ever bets enough money on a winning horse.

If you talk to God, you’re praying.  If God talks to you, you’re nuts.

Stupid Is As Stupid Was

quotesIt’s generally agreed that we’re living in an age of extraordinary stupidity.  Our role models are celebrities whose careers consist of wardrobe malfunctions, the highest ambitions of our children don’t reach higher than the stars of Reality TV, and our vision of the future is Season 8 of The Walking Dead.  Let’s face it, folks: Einstein, Newton, Archimedes and Copernicus are all spinning in their graves — even though most of us don’t know who the hell those people are!  However, here’s a thought: I don’t actually believe the human race is any stupider now, than it’s ever been. It’s just that, these days, our technology makes us aware of it.  Here are a few quotes from the past which illustrate my point.  First of all:

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”  Charles H Duell, Commissioner of US Office of Patents — 1899

Telephone

“It is impossible to transmit speech electrically. The ‘telephone’ is as mythical as the unicorn.”  Johan Poggendorrf, German physicist — 1860

“This telephone has too any shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.”  Western Union internal memo — 1876

Film

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”  H.W. Warner (Warner Brothers Studio) — 1927

“I have determined that there is no market for talking pictures.”  Thomas Edison — 1926

Television

“Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility — a development which we should waste little time dreaming about.” Lee de Forest, inventor of the cathode ray — 1926

“Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Darryl Zanuck, movie producer — 1946

“Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.”
Mary Somerville, radio personality — 1948

Computers

“There’s no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”  Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corporation — 1977

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”  Thomas J. Watson, Chairman IBM — 1943

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”  Bill Gates — 1981

“The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper.” Cliff Stoll, Newsweek — 1995

Flight

“Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible,”  Simon Newcomb, mathematician — 1902 (two weeks before the Wright brothers proved him wrong.)

“Airplanes are interesting toys, but they have no military value.”  Marshal Ferdinand Foch — 1911

Odds and Ends

“It will be years – not in my time – before a woman will become Prime Minister.”  Margaret Thatcher — 1974

“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology — 1872

“No audience will ever be able to take more than ten minutes of animation.”
Walt Disney executive, considering Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — 1930s

“That ‘rainbow’ song is no good. It slows the picture down.” an MGM producer, after first screening of The Wizard of Oz — 1939

But this is my favourite:

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
Decca Recording Company, rejecting the Beatles — 1962

I rest my case.