Persiflage: Intelligent Insults
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."
"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."
"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
"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."
"He had delusions of adequacy."
"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
—Jack E. Leonard
"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
"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."
"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination."
"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
"Forgive me for shaking your hand with my left; I eat with the other one."
"As I walk away, please note the mistletoe on my coattail."
(When the death of Calvin Coolidge was announced) "How would they know?"
There is only one thing you mustn't miss when you are in [Philadelphia]—the plane.
If you want me to read your mind, give me more to work with.
—One of Eric Slinn's coworkers
He was so narrow-minded, he could look through a keyhole with both eyes.
—Jeff Abbott (Courtesy of J. Frimpter)