Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Art of the Put Down...From A to B

 Some say that the first Monday back at work after the Christmas and New Year festivities is the most depressing day of the year. For others, it's reputed to be the infamous 'Blue Monday' - the third Monday in January (this year, occurring on January 21st). Whatever you believe, there's no denying that, in the northern hemisphere at least, January is a month of bad weather, dark nights (and even days) and a general feeling of despondency for many people.

Dorothy Parker

So, what better time to kick off your shoes, curl up and indulge yourself in a few giggles, courtesy of some witty critics and their hapless victims. Some are no longer with us, others are still very much alive and kicking. From the witty to the bitchy, from the (relatively) benign to the downright stinging, here are some of my all time favourites and, no, they're not all from the Queen of the Classic Put Down (Dorothy Parker):

Edwina Currie
“Does the Honourable Lady remember that she was an egg herself once: and very many members of all sides of this House regret that it was ever fertilised?” (Sir Nicholas Fairbairn attacking junior Health Minister Edwina Currie over the salmonella crisis)

 “He was so mean it hurt him to go to the bathroom.” (Britt Eklund on ex Rod Stewart)

Nicholas Soames
“Sex with Nicholas was like having a very large wardrobe with a very small key falling on top of you.” (An ex lover of former Tory MP Nicholas Soames)

“She loves nature in spite of what it did to her.” (Bette Midler on Princess Anne)
“So boring, you fall asleep halfway through her name” (Playwright Alan Bennett on Arianna Stassinopoulos)

 “He can’t kick with his left foot, he can’t head, he can’t tackle, and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that, he’s all right.” (Sixties Football legend, George Best on David Beckham)

“He doesn’t dye his hair - he’s just prematurely orange.” (Former US President Gerald Ford on Ronald Reagan)

Bette Davis
 “Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it’s because I’m not a bitch. Maybe that’s why Miss Crawford always plays ladies.” Bette Davis on Joan Crawford

"She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B". (Dorothy Parker on Katharine Hepburn's performance in the 1933 Broadway production of The Lake)

"When I saw her sex tape, all I could think of were Paris Hilton's poor parents. The shame, the shame of the Hilton family. To have your daughter do a porno film... in a Marriott hotel." (Joan Rivers)
Joan Rivers

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." (Dorothy Parker - but on whose book is not known for sure)

Nancy, Lady Astor
Of course, there have been some classic exchanges too. Here are a smattering of my favourites:

Lady Astor to Churchill: “Winston, if you were my husband I would flavour your coffee with poison”
Churchill: “Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it.”

George Bernard Shaw to Churchill: "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." 
Churchill:"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second.... if there is one." 

Labour MP Bessie Braddock to Churchill: “Winston, you’re drunk!”
Bessie Braddock
Churchill: “Bessie, you’re ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober”
Sir Winston Churchill
And I leave the last exchange to the incomparable Oscar Wilde in conversation with the French writer, Marie Anne de Bovet:

Marie Anne de Bovet
Mlle de Bovet: Confess, Mr Wilde, am I not the ugliest woman in all of France?
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde (bowing low and smiling graciously): In the world, Madame, in the world.


  1. Loved this Cat - I think my favorites are the Churchill ones! Thanks for these - they do brighten up the day! :)

  2. Thanks, Marie. Sir Winston certainly had a way with words! Glad I've helped.

  3. As an American, and a slightly left-leaning one at that, especially enjoyed the dig at Regan. But I continue to stand in awe of Churchill. Wish I could think that fast. But if I could, I probably wouldn't be a writer. : - )

  4. Ah, thank you Cat. You've brightened my gray day!

  5. Angela - I know what you mean. Sheila - glad I could help. Thank you both for dropping by

  6. Loved this! LOL Thank you for a delightful post. Wow, Churchill sure got put down by a lot of people.

  7. Thanks, Dawn. And don't worry - Sir Winston always gave as good as he got - and more often than not, better!