It’s always interesting reading those few grumpy one-star Net comments on products and services, and those emotional discussions on every news issue or announcement, which often degenerate into the crudest kinds of name calling and vicious put-downs.
We’ve always had put-downs, of course, but in those much-lauded good old days they were more civilized, more intelligent and clever. Classier.
A few examples:
From Beethoven after listening to a rival improvising on the piano for a half hour: “Will it be long before you begin?”
Theodore Roosevelt about President McKinley after he refused to declare war on Spain: “No more backbone than a chocolate eclair.”
Abraham Lincoln on the ideas of his political opponent Stephen Douglas: “As thin as the soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.”
H.G. Wells on a literary work by Henry James: “A magnificent but painful hippopotamus.”
Winston Churchill on Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain after he supposedly convinced Hitler to leave England alone in exchange for Britain’s noninterference: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”
Winston again on Clement Atlee: “A modest man, who has much to be modest about.”
Prince on a rival’s new album: “Michael Jackson’s album was called ‘Bad’ because there wasn’t enough room on the jacket for Pathetic.”
But my favorite is one from radio and TV host Arthur Smith to a rude heckler. I think it can be applied equally well to most of those mean-spirited losers out there who cruise the Net giving one-star reviews to everything they come across: “Sorry, I can’t hear what you’re saying. I’m wearing a moron filter.”