10.28.2008

The Art of the Political Insult


As a wee lass I read an article in the Smithsonian Magazine (my parents subscribed, okay? It was either that, National Geographic or Consumer Reports. Any wonder as to my reading habits now?) about the art of the political insult. There was one in particular that made me laugh out loud and I've never forgotten it:
"Like rotten mackerel by moonlight, he shines and stinks."
John Randolph, American politician, on Edward Livingstone (1764-1836), American politician
I started thinking about insults, especially the truly, deeply terrifically creative -- and therefore wonderful -- ones as the countdown to the presidential election starts thundering even louder on CNN. I'm a bit worn out and wish voting was tomorrow so we could get started (fingers crossed) on a better path for this country. All of which led me to think about what would make the last week of campaigning interesting...which led me to political insults and the Smithsonian Magazine. See, there is a method to my madness.

"How can they tell?"
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) on hearing that American President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) had died

Anywho, even though you're supposed to find anything on the internets, I couldn't find the article. But I did find an awesome compendium of some deliciously dishy humdingers, some of which are as relevant today as they were when first uttered. Who knows, maybe one of the candidates will go off script and use one of these:

"… as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death."
Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)

"As an intellectual he bestowed upon the games of golf and bridge all the enthusiasm and perseverance that he withheld from books and ideas."
Emmet Hughes, American writer, on Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969), 34th American president

"Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone of an angleworm."
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85), 18th American president, on James A. Garfield (1831-81), 20th American president

"He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened."
Winston Churchill on Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947)


Now that would be interesting.

3 comments:

Angel said...

These are fabulous!

I like the Parker one best. That's my style of insult. I imagine it delivered deliciously deadpan.

What fun, indeed! :)

persuede said...

I know! I've actually repeated the Parker one to several people. Though for some reason, the stinkin' fish has stayed with me...

Mostly, reminds me how much more there is to say when not relying on swear words as a short cut.

Tania said...

lol! good times good times. Cannot wait for next tuesday to be over.