03 March 2017

Scorn: The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History by Matthew Parris

RRP $24.99
Published November 2016
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

I don't recall using a highlighter to mark passages in a book since I was at University, but Scorn - The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History by Matthew Parris is that kind of book.

Here are some of my favourite quotes included in the collection:

Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian. Denis Wholey, Page 9

Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowldege of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. Terry Eagleton, Page 27

For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. Winston Churchill, Page 107

His argument is as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death. Abraham Lincoln on Stephen A. Douglas, Page 189

He's so dumb he couldn't tip shit out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. Lyndon Johnson on Gerald Ford, Page 196

That's like saying the veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business because either way you get your dog back. Joseph Lieberman on the suggestion that he shared many of the views of George W. Bush, Page 198

Thank you for the manuscript; I shall lose no time in reading it. Benjamin Disraeli's standard reply to authors who sent him unsolicited copies of their books, Page 227

My favourite poem is the one that starts 'Thirty days hath September' because it actually tells you something. Groucho Marx, Page 259


I loved these quotes, and there are plenty more in the book I couldn't include for obvious reasons, however I took issue with the author's admission that others did the heavy lifting for him. By his own admission, two helpers gathered a 'mountain from which I have assembled this personal molehill of an anthology'. I don't know about you, by why aren't their names on the cover?

He also contrived quotes involving himself; a self indulgence that should have been squashed somewhere along the route to being published.

Consequently, the author's readiness to let others do the majority of the work for him reduced my enjoyment of this collection. In addition to that, his arrogance to include several quotes about himself further diminished my enjoyment. If you can overlook both of these flaws, Scorn
 by Matthew Parris is an enjoyable read and a book you'll want to share with others.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

1 comment:

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