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When Insults had Class

In days past, insults actually required intellect.

For example:

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
- Winston Churchill

"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)


"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."
- Winston Churchill

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
- Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."
- Abraham Lincoln

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
- Groucho Marx

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
- Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
- Oscar Wilde

And finally ...

"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 reply

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."
-- Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
-- John Bright

"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."
-- Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
-- Paul Keating

"He had delusions of adequacy."
-- Walter Kerr

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
-- Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
-- Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge."
-- Thomas Brackett Reed

"He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them."
-- James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."
-- Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
-- Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
-- Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
-- Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
-- Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts ......... for support rather than illumination."
-- Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
-- Billy Wilder