Not long ago, I was insulted. I’ll spare you the details about how, when, where, and by whom, because I’m still a bit touchy, but suffice to say that I’ve thought about the incident repeatedly, as most people with hurt feelings do. And now that I’ve had sufficient time to reflect, the conclusion I’m left with is that today’s insults are entirely without flair.
Most people have only a limited range of nouns and adjectives with which to express their displeasure; why not expand your possibilities? You’re going to encounter all kinds of creatures in your lifetime, and “jerk” just won’t be enough to really capture the tenor of your sentiments. After all, sometimes we’re merely disappointed and other times we’re morally outraged. Sometimes we’re peeved about an apparent character flaw, and other times we’re baffled at stupidity, inconsideration or lack of etiquette. These are different categories of transgression, and warrant different reactions.
So, beef up your put downs, and mystify your foes with insults ranging from classic to obscure. But remember to keep it short and snappy. Brevity is the soul of wit, right?
Here are a few resources, to get you started:
Sticks and Stones: The Philosophy of Insult by Jerome Neu
Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults by Robert Schnackenberg