Friday, 23 September 2016

The Art Of The Insult

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently described US President Barak Obama as the "son of a whore" .... a move he will likely regret unless Donald Trump becomes US President. However insulting people, only to later regret it, is not uncommon, even amongst world leaders.

President Duterte Has A long history Of Insults And Colourful language ....

A Syrian defence minister, General Mustafa Tlass once described the Palestinian Authorities leader, Yasser Arafat, as the "son of 60,000 whores" .... a row then broke out.

Hugo Chavez, Presidenti of Venezuela (and not a man with regrets) ... went to the UN in September 2006 and talking about his US counterpart said that "The Devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house. And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here. And it smells of sulphur still today. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world." Later, when President Obama was elected Chavez spoke to the UN again and looking around, he said: "It doesn't smell of sulphur any more. No, it smells of something else. It smells of hope, and you have to have hope in your heart."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was also a man of opinions. When addressing German MEP Martin Schulz at the European council he said .... "I know that in Italy there is a man producing a film on Nazi concentration camps. I shall put you forward for the role of Kapo [guard chosen from among the prisoners] - you would be perfect." ... many Greeks would agree with the sentiments.

Boris Johnstone famously took a pop at Hillary Clinton, putative next US president and leader of "the free world", when he described her in 2007 in the terms "She's got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital." .... Not known for her sense of humour, it was unlikely that she would have been amused or forgotten it.

What is it with Venezuelan Presidents? Current incumbent Nicolas Maduro used a string of colourful epithets for the head of the Organization of American States (OAS,) Luis Almagro after Mr Almagro called an emergency meeting over Venezuela's "institutional crisis", a move that could have led to Venezuela's expulsion from the OAS. [deep breath] ... he could "rubbish", a "traitor" and "Mr Almagro, you can take your Democratic Charter, put it into a thin tube, and shove it wherever it fits." ... all this in a Twitter war via post, and counter posts. Mr Almagro responded by calling Mr Maduro a "petty dictator". After all the remarks, the former Uruguayan President (and my favourite South American) Jose Mujica said, President Maduro was "mad as a goat".

Talking of whom .... President Mujica, allegedly referring to Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband, was overheard in a recording in 2013 saying: "This old hag is even worse than the cross-eyed man." (her husband had an eye condition) ... after Argentinian protests he eventually clarified his remarks denying that he had been talking about the Kirchner's. To this day he has failed to explain whom he was referring to.

There are a great many more political insults (and vast numbers if you take figures from public life) ......
here's a few of the masters (excluding professional comedians) at work ......

“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’s response to George Bernard Shaw.

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).
"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?" Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner).

“Winston, if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee!” Lady Astor to Winston Churchill at a dinner party.
“Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it!” Winston Churchill’s response to Lady Astor.

"If William Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune. If anybody pulled him out, that would be a calamity." Benjamin Disraeli.

"You, Mr. Wilkes, will die either of the pox or on the gallows." The Earl of Sandwich to reformer John Wilkes.
"That depends, my lord, whether I embrace your mistress or your principles." John Wilkes's response to The Earl of Sandwich.

Even Donald trump can manage a funny one if you can wade through his stream of (un)conciousness ramblings. At a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump mocked Paul Rand (another republican candidates) height, holding his hand mid-chest and crowing: "Rand, I’ve had you up to here!"

Bob Dole Did A Number On 3 Ex-US Presidents

US politician Bob Dole once called the reunion of ex-presidents Carter, Ford, and Nixon "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Evil."

"George Bush is proof that you can be totally impervious to the effects of a Harvard and Yale education." Barney Frank (former American politician )

And sometimes an entire nation becomes the butt of an insult:

"In Russia a man is called reactionary if he objects to having his property stolen and his wife and children murdered." Winston Churchill.

"Americans always try to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else."  Winston Churchill

"France is a country where the money falls apart but you can't tear the toilet paper." Billy Wilder

"In America, only the successful writer is important, in France all writers are important, in England no writer is important, and in Australia you have to explain what a writer is." Geoffrey Cottrell

Not an insult, but a nice response .....

'Men seldom make passes, at girls who wear glasses.' Dorothy Parker
'You're wrong—we'll make passes, at girls who wear glasses.  As long as they're lasses, with cute, curvy asses.' Joseph S. Salemi


  1. I like the way The Earl of Sandwich placed his distain between two presumptions.John Wilkes though improved on it by adding some relish.

    1. There were plenty more I could have used.


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