Thought I would post these - since I'm in a bit of a grumpy, soggy kind of mood during these rainy & windy days.
These insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.
From David Spiselman
The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison," and 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."
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."
"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). [Side note from JaxPop - I've never been a Faulkner fan but have enjoyed Hemingway]
"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner) [You tell 'im Ernie]
"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
Moses Hadas [Sounds a bit like a literary agent]
"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."
Abraham Lincoln [2nd favorite]
"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
Mark Twain [My favorite]
"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
"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."
"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
"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."
"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
Jack E. Leonard
"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination."
"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."