Monday, May 9, 2016

Brutal Barbs

     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.”  (So-long Prince.  You were a fine musician.)

     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.”


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