The Lost Art of Insult

What a bunch of crybabies we've become! You have many inherent rights, but the right not to be insulted isn't one of them. I frequently remind people that the Constitution does not require other people to live their lives in a way that makes you happy. Get over it!

Recently a video of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry went viral, showing her insulting a woman who worked at a towing impound lot where Ms. McHenry was attempting to retrieve her towed car. Ms. McHenry was suspended for a week for her comments, and many responses on social media were demanding that she be fired. I imagined a vulgar tirade laced with frequent use of the F-bomb. When they finally showed me the incriminating video I was unimpressed. She tells the woman that she has "no education, no skill set" and "So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing". She end her tirade with "Lose some weight Baby Girl".

I was shocked that this civil interaction was the cause of so many people's ire. Are some people over sensitive, or what? Britt never raises her voice. She never utters a vulgar word, and at least one of her statements is simple fact. Namely, that a college dropout could work at a towing impound lot. Her final statement about losing weight has certainly been uttered between girlfriends exchanging beauty tips, so Britt's comments can hardly be considered worthy of suspension.

JFK is reported to have said, "If you make peaceful revolution impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable". In a similar vein, one of the reasons we see so many murders and violent attacks in the news is because we've made it socially unacceptable to insult someone. We mustn't hurt anyone's feelings, now. Is it possible you've never heard "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Would you rather be beaten and sent to the hospital, or insulted by someone who wasn't happy with you for some reason? (Fergetaboudit! It's a rhetorical question.)

Some of the best verbal exchanges have been insults. Winston Churchill participated in three that are world famous.
Mr. Churchill, you are drunk.
Madame, you are ugly.
Mr. Churchill, you are extremely drunk!
And you, Madame, are extremely ugly. But tomorrow, I shall be sober.

The second was an exchange between Lady Nancy Astor.and Churchill:
If you were my husband, I'd poison your tea,
Madam, if you were my wife, I'd drink it!

The third was in response to an invitation sent by George Bernard Shaw:
I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend ... if you have one.
Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one.

My favorite talk show host of all time is Dick Cavett. He had an incredibly sarcastic wit, and he could insult you with a smile, and it might take several seconds before you realized you had been skewered. Mr. Cavett says, "I haven't ever found any great writing on that wonderful and often unappreciated art form, the insult. There are two kinds of insult. 'I was bored by your book' is one kind. 'Your book? Once I put it down, I couldn’t pick it up,' is the other." I wish I were personal friends with Dick Cavett so he could help me hone my talent for telling the uncomfortable truth. Here are some quotes by Mr. Cavett. If you find any of them offensive, it may be due to the fact that you believe it to be true of yourself. "If the shoe fits..." the saying goes.

* Every time I nostalgically try to regain my liking of John McCain, he reaches into his sleaze bag and pulls out something malodorous.
* I felt bad when George Bush was booed. But only briefly. My sympathy for that man has a half-life of about four seconds.
* My IQ is somewhere between Spiro Agnew's and Albert Einstein's.
* Do freshman philosophy classes nowadays debate updated versions of the age-old questions? Like, how could a merciful God allow AIDS, childhood cancers, tsunamis and Dick Cheney?
** [Dick Cheney once quipped, "Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion."]
* I have yet to see one of those Comedy Central shows with multiple standup comics that doesn't include someone the size of the Hindenberg.
* I confess, I do have to remind myself almost daily that there are people on this earth capable of reading, writing, eating and dressing themselves who believe their lives are ruled from billions of miles away, by the stars - and, of course, the planets.
* Every time someone says, 'You know, we really ought to get together,' if I were really honest, I would ask 'Why?'
* Lawyers work hard and, like us, they're human, many of them.
* As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it.

Another person famous for his rapier wit is Mark Twain. Here are some of his more famous utterances"

* I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
* He was endowed with a stupidity which by the least little stretch would go around the globe four times and tie.
* Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass.
* One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity there ain't nothing can beat teamwork.
* If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
* The trouble is that the stupid people -- who constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations -- do believe and are molded and convinced by what they get out of a newspaper.
* He wasn't a very heavy weight, intellectually. His head was an hour-glass; it could stow an idea, but it had to do it a grain at a time, not the whole idea at once.
* Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out. Of all the creatures ever made man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.

I don't insult people often because it generally alienates the very people I'm trying to teach. Most of my insults are directed toward those individuals who are "not living up to their intellectual potential". From time to time you'll hear me utter:
You've got the brains of a virus.
I've eaten pieces of broccoli smarter than you are.
My friend, you're swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool.

My point is this. Everyone is going to disagree with someone else sooner or later. Isn't it better to use the intellectual approach and sling insults, rather than engage in physical combat that will result in one person going to the hospital, and the other person going to jail? Intelligent insults are far more sophisticated than primitive violence. So here's your chance to practice! Leave a comment expressing your favorite insult. You are welcome to use me as a target if you want to avoid hurting someone else's feelings. I am trying to raise the intellectual level of our discord. Therefore, all insults risk being critiqued by me, and any vulgar comments will simply not get published. Anyone leaving an excellent insult that I hope to use in the future will get a free copy of Secret to Sovereignty.

insult from the movie Arthur

One of my favorite insults in a movie.  In Arthur, John Gielgud says to Liza Minelli,
"Thank you for a memorable afternoon, usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature."

Favorite insult

I bet that your mother sometimes wishes that your father invented the condom.

Reply to Shotglass on "I bet that your mother sometimes......"

I agree with that only when I look in the mirror and see her resemblence.

 She's/He's as ugly as a bag

 She's/He's as ugly as a bag of hammers.

My 13 year old daughter

My 13 year old daughter told me about a class she has in which she has to sit at a table with 3 other boys.  She told me they started making fun of her & calling her names that weren't nice.  She let them finish their tirade, then she replied, "You boys can say all you want about me, but I really don't care what you say because I am the only one at this table making an 'A' in this class & it clearly shows."  They shut up & haven't bothered her since.

[mjb: Bravo! That's a very mature reaction. Give your daughter a proud hug for me.]

 I don't know what makes you

 I don't know what makes you so stupid, but it really works. 

 "Do you remember me?""

"Do you remember me?"
"How can I forget?...seriously, how?"

[mjb: I like this one. Subtle.]

Hope you are well


The insult I am confronted with lately is an 'exercise' touted to "Master the Human Domain"...

I do like "asshat". (grins)

Keep breathing, Buddy.


Insults may be free speech BUT

I don't know what preciptated the tirade of insults.
I don't know if the clerk said something to spark the insults.

I understand that people can get angry at towing companies for taking off with their cars.
That is too bad.
If they don't want to get their cars towed then they shouldn't park their cars where they are not supposed to.

If you park your car in a tow away zone then you lose your fight to complain since you were forewarned.

Being that as it may, if I were the clerk of the towing company and since the insults were directed at me personally, I would have held on the car keys FOREVER, until that lady apologized to me to my face.

[mjb: First of all, the woman at the impound lot doesn't have the legal authority to hold her keys "forever". That is tantamount to theft. She may have been insulted, but using your words, "Too bad." More importantly, it misses the point of this post. People are quick to violence, and quick to retaliate in some physical way (eg. keeping the car keys) instead of reacting intellectually with a serious discussion, or an even more clever retort.]


The first key to the subject is my saying: "you have a right to be offended! I have a right to offend! We do not have the right to omit the truth.

[mjb: Are you sure? The Supreme Court ruled that the New York Times was not required to print the truth. That decision came after one of their reporters invented information to print an "expose" on some issue.]

Battle of Wits

I refuse to engage in a battle of wits, because, you, sir, are unarmed. 

battle of wits

This has always been one of my favorites; thanks for posting it. 


 You are a special kind of stupid, arn't you...

 A bureaucrat is the most

A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble.

I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

[mjb: Extra points for quoting this Roman philosopher. Well done.]

Common sense has become a new super power; fortunately for our enemies, the federal government, is not in possession of this power! ~ An Arizonian

 Two things are infinite,

 Two things are infinite,  The universe and human stupidity. 

Are you dense?

Does your family tree fork?

Were your parents brother and sister?


One of my favorites...."I wish I was stupid. I think we'd like a lot more of the same things"

insult to ignorant/ arrogant pharmaceutical-based doctors

 I am not interested in the USUAL treatment...... because I am not interested in the USUAL OUTCOME.


Although a bit racy I also like...."Do you and your wife ever mix it up with a little roleplay. Like you pretend to be a man."


"Does your wife ever roll over in the morning and say " aw hell, he's still here"

Good insults

 "If you're going to be a SMARTASS, first you have to be SMART, or else you're just an ASS."

"YOU'R MY FAVORITE  Pain in the ASS."



One of my favorites is reserved only for basketball refs and baseball umpires:
"If he had another eye he'd be a cyclops!"

Best wishes, Brother Michael, and keep fighting the good fight.

[mjb: I like it. A necessary "softball" insult that I'm sure the refs and umpires are used to.
When skydiving, the jumpmaster must "spot" the airplane, giving the pilot last minute directions so it flies directly over the landing area. When done very poorly, skydivers are littered over the countryside, and must be fetched with pickup trucks. That jumpmaster is said to have given us a "Stevie Wonder spot".]


Your book for an insult? Sure. I'll send you my copy.

[mjb: (laughing) You're going to send my book back?! I'm sorry. Were the three syllable words too big for you?]

One more dig

 I guess commen sense isn't so common anymore. 


From my junior high days back in the early 70's:  If your brains were gas, there wouldn't be enough to power a piss-ant's motorcycle around the inside track of a Cheerio!

[mjb: So far, this is the most elaborate insult. My Dad used to tell us, "IF BS were music, you'd be a brass band."]


Asked of me by one of my college professors:  Have your parents ever forgiven each other?

"I've got a few minutes to spare, tell me everything you know...."
[mjb: This is the kind of insult I've been hoping for. Subtle. The insult is implied by the assumption that "everything you know" can be expressed in just a few minutes. Often the person doesn't realize they've been insulted. This type of insult requires sophistication that blatant ad hominem attacks do not have.]

I'm willing to bet you've never met Will Rogers, have you?

I've heard a lot about trade relations, and I think I'd like to.

If I ask you how stupid can you be, don't take it as a personal challenge.
[mjb: This one is clever, too.]

What's the difference between a smart ass and a dumb ass?  The smart ass knows he's a smart ass.

A smart ass chooses to be a smart ass.

A smart ass is a smart ass when he wants to be. 

Favorite jab

If you ever had an intelligent thought, it died of loneliness.  

Self centered people

You are so self-absorbed, your favorite music is the sound of your own voice and your Mona Lisa is your face in the mirror. 


Of all my previous wives you make the best sandwiches...

[mjb: An insult disguised as a compliment. Always a good choice.]


Someone told me you weren't fit to eat with pigs. I stood up for you and said you were too!
[mjb: My mother used to scold my brothers and me, telling us we ate like pigs. After working 18 months on a ranch and having to feed the pigs every day... I'm embarrassed to say that Mom wasn't exaggerating by very much. It has taken 60 years, but I think I'm finally house broken.]

One day, while working in the wordprocessing department of the company, a man with nothing better to do and had no business with our department came in. In those days women had to wear skirts and high heeled shoes. He was looking up the skirts with relish and smiling. I was receptionist for that day. I politely asked him his name and what job he wanted information on. He said to me, "Don't you think that a woman's place is in the home?"  I replied, "Yes sir, a woman's place in is the home and she should go there directly after work! My supervisor was looking on. I was called into the office and got into trouble. But it felt good anyway.

By the way, I took your class in Medford, Oregon and enjoyed it very much.
[mjb: Thank you. I remember the class. I also remember being exhausted at the end of the day. I hope all is well in Medford.]

Your ignorance...

Your ignorance does not change the facts.

From the movie...

"The Long Kiss Goodnight" Brian Cox (a fantastic actor in my view)  says to Samuel Jackson
"There may be many reasons not to kill you, but among them is not the that you'll be missed by NASA."

[mjb: I like it.]

incident at work

When I  told a rep that what she wanted me to do was against policy, she argued with me. I had to dumb it down for her so she told her supervisor that I'd "insulted her intelligence."

In my defense, I told my supervisor, "I didn't *mean* to insult her intelligence. I didn't even know she had any intelligence."

[Said with a conspiratorial smirk. He laughed and made the problem go away.]

[mjb: Wonderful. The best part about this one is that you invented the quip on the spot. Well done.]

Some insults I've read online

Somewhere there is a tree working really hard to produce oxygen so you can breathe. I think you should go apologize to it.

Was my deep thought too much for you? Here, let me help you back to the shallow end where you're more comfortable.

Just stop talking. I'm sure whatever you want to say can wait until you're smarter.

[mjb: I like these. They are not vicious, but they get the message across.]

Heard another one today

Half his brain must have been sucked out in a freak vacuuming accident. 

The Lost Art of Insult

My defination of Stupidity.Dumb is when a person doesn't have the intelligence to make good decisions.Stupid is when a person has the intelligence and doesn't use it!One of George Carlin's quips. Some People Are As Boring As A Second Coat Of Paint!FYI - I've got both the Original Spiral Bound and the Large Paper Bound copies of "Good To Be King." It's great material and one of my favorite books! Thanks Michael!Bruce

 Life is tough..

 Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. ~ John Wayne  



1. She's so ugly she'd make a train take a dirt road

2. Her family is so in-bred, the family tree doesn't fork. 


Don't think, you don't have the equipment for it. "I had an idea."    --  Did it hurt? "I have an idea!"   --  Ok, sit down and rest now. From my father to my childless aunt on the 2nd Sunday of May:  "I just called to wish you a Happy Mother's Day, I saw the litter of pups under your trailer." If you had a brain, you would be dangerous. He is the epitome of jerkdom. Response to those who insult Marines saying they are Sea-going bellhops: The only bell I ever hopped was your mother. (This is especially effective when a Woman Marine retorts thus)

In front of many varied ranks of Marines, a senior sergeant hands a bag of trash to me,a junior NCO, "Here don't say I never gave you anything."  --  I hand it back to him and say,  "Don't say I never returned a favor." and walked out.

Stupid Person: Are you in his

Stupid Person: Are you in his group? I feel sorry for you (talking about a friend of mine).
Me: You sir are in no position to feel sorry for anyone.


Were I a fool we could see eye to eye; however...

Another for the list

My favorite insult:  "Too stupid to pour sand out of a boot when the directions are on the heel." 

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