What did you say?

Susan EspirituOur Town Neighbors

My friend Janie recently copied one of the funniest posts from the website English Literature: A Community concerning the English language. The post recounts how we now insult others with four letter words or coined phrases such as our own Southern, “Bless your heart,” but at one time our English language was used quite cleverly indeed to provide some of the most direct slights.

I am sharing some quotes from that particular post, but also some from others I found as well, but just know that good old Mark Twain is wrong about newspapers, at least KnoxTNToday! Keep reading it!

Mark Twain was also attributed to have said of an acquaintance’s funeral: “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”

Of another acquaintance: “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?”

George Bernard Shaw once said to Winston Churchill, “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; Bring a friend, if you have one.”
In response, Winston Churchill replied: “Cannot possibly attend first night, I will attend the second…If there is one.”

Churchill was also known to have said of another: “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”

Clarence Darrow once said, “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”

William Faulkner said of Ernest Hemingway: “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Moses Hadas said to an unknown author: “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.”

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” This quote was attributed to Oscar Wilde.

John Bright said of his acquaintance: He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”

Paul Keating said of another: “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.”

Mae West was known for her quips but this one is a doozy: “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”

Groucho Marx was known for humor, but he obviously could zinger an insult as well: “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”
He also said, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns it on, I go into the other room and read a book.”

Albert Einstein said: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

Voltaire in a letter to a fellow writer: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”

Lesson: So, when there is a need to respond to someone who has insulted in some way, and the turn the other cheek, and a good old “Bless your heart,” won’t cut it, summon up an inner Mark Twain, Winston Churchill or Mae West for a clever unexpected but profound retort!

All of us have a story and I want to tell yours or sometimes I make them up! Send them to susan@knoxtntoday.com


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