Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Trump and Bush in Need of Remedial Insult Training

Most people think there are too many insults in the campaign for the Republican nomination for president. I disagree. The problem isn't too many insults: The problem is not enough good ones.

I could tolerate Donald Trump's insults if they at least evidenced some rudimentary level of wit. Unfortunately, what we have seen instead is petty schoolyard taunts. And George Bush is even worse. I mean, "Donald Trump is a jerk"? Really? Is that the best we can do?

Give me Carly Fiorina any day. Her razor sharp retorts are far above the blunt rhetorical instruments of the Trumps and Bushes.

Part of the problem is that we are Americans who don't have a very good mastery of our own language. If you doubt it, listen to a British sportscaster working a soccer game. They're actually literate people. They use words that Americans would have to look up (and ought to). None of the pedestrian descriptions you hear from our publicly-schooled color commentators--they're actually witty and creative.
I think some remedial insult training is in order here. 

One thing these people ought to do is to go and look at some of the classic political and literary comebacks. Here are three of which I am particularly fond:

George Bernard Shaw (a playwright, for the culturally illiterate Americans reading this, at a time when Churchill was low in the polls):  "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend ... if you have one."

Winston Churchill: "Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one."

Or this one:

Lady Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee."

Churchill: "Nancy, if you were my wife, I would drink it."

Or, my personal favorite:

Chesterton (upon meeting up with his old friend Shaw, a militant vegetarian who was skinny as a rail, before a speech): "Shaw, looking at you one would think there was a famine in the land."

Shaw (looking the 400 pound Chesterton up and down): "Chesterton, looking at you, one would think you had caused it."

It's too much to hope for I know. So will have to endure Trump's petty tweets and Bushes low-wit retorts. When is this thing over?

1 comment:

Old Rebel said...

And then there was the redoubtable John Randolph, who said of his opponent Edward Livingston: "He is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight."