Literary and Philosophical Insults – The Thinking Person’s Humor


Today in the era of text messages, too often a clever put-down is about as classy as “OMFG U SUX”. But Angry 365 Days a Year (if I was Australian, I would be too) has put together a list (actually mostly copied it from somewhere else, but that is the mark of a good blogger) called When Insults Had Class. These are some of the true classics in the sarcastic retort genre. Here are a few that I especially liked:

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

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

“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

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever…”
Oscar Wilde

And let me just add:

“I’m for New Zealand, or any team that is playing against Australia”
Sean’s favorite T-Shirt

And for clever “yo mama” jokes if philosophers had said them, see Jamie VanEaton’s post Smart Talking with the Philosophers. Here are a few of my favorites:

Rousseau: In man’s natural state, man is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. But then he saw your mama and decided inherently ugly.

Camus: Sisyphus said, “I thought I was going to have to push this rock up a hill forever. And then I found out it was your mama.”

Kierkegaard: To have faith is to have doubt. So to have faith in God means you have to have some doubt that God exists. And that may be so, because I’ve seen your mama.

Nietzsche: Your mama is dead.

~Susan Mellott

Becky Carleton, a librarian at the Johnson County Library in Kansas challenged me to name ten pieces

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