Understanding insults

When I was growing up in New Jersey, trading insults was part of making your way through the middle school: “If they put your brain on the edge of a razor blade, it would look like a BB rolling down
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When I was growing up in New Jersey, trading insults was part of making your way through the middle school: “If they put your brain on the edge of a razor blade, it would look like a BB rolling down a four-lane highway.” “His parents used to put a pork chop around his neck to get the dog to play with him.” “If you could teach him to stand still, you could use him for a doorstop.” It was wordplay, imagery, and linguistic sparring—a show for an audience. Later, I learned about Shakespearean insults (“Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile”), along with those of Winston Churchill (who described Clement Atlee as “A modest man, who has much to be modest about”), Oscar Wilde (who said of Henry James that he “writes fiction as if it were a painful duty”) and Dorothy Parker (who described the novice actress Katharine Hepburn as running “the gamut of emotions from A to B”). I learned about the tradition of flyting, about the dozens and roasting, and about trash talking in sports. At the. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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