Thursday, May 24, 2012

The most historical insults

1. Winston Churchill

The extremely witty and much-loved British Prime Minister Winston Churchill tops the list with his verbal spat with Lady Astor. The conservative dame forever admonished Churchill for his cigars and alcohol habits, and Churchill was not one to take the insults lying down. Of their famous squabbles, the most memorable is when Astor commented, “If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.” Churchill’s riposte? “Madame, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.

2. Gandhi

His advocation of non-violence doesn’t mean Gandhi wasn’t lethal with his wit. One such incident was when Gandhi traveled to London and a reporter asked him what he thought of Western civilization. Gandhi replied with this scathing remark: “I think it would be a good idea.

3. Abraham Lincoln

During a debate, the popular but not so attractive Abraham Lincoln was accused of being two-faced. Lincoln’s rebuttal proved more self-effacing than insulting, but people still felt the sting around the room. He retorted: “If I had two faces, do you think I’d be wearing this one?

4. Babe Ruth

In the 1920s, the prolific Yankee batsman Babe Ruth was having such a great run that he soon scored a $80,000 salary. But when the financial crisis hit home in the early 1930s, Yankees officials asked Ruth to slash his pay by $5000—a request Ruth declined. At a later press conference an intrepid reporter commented that Ruth had a higher salary than current President Hoover and received a cutting remark: “Maybe so,” Ruth retaliated, “but I had a better year than he did.

5. John Wilkes

When unconcerned with being diplomatically correct, politicians spew the best insults of all time. Such was the case between the 18th century political rivals, John Montagu and John Wilkes. During one of their verbal sparring matches, Montagu spat at Wilkes and said, “Upon my soul, Wilkes, I don’t know whether you’ll die upon the gallows, or of syphilis.” Wilkes retorted, “That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles, or your mistress.

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