On my Facebook page, where I have a large number of Zimbabwean followers, I often have a problem with people who find it difficult to disagree without using profanity or name-calling; in other words, they haven’t learned to disagree without being disagreeable. I have, unfortunately, had to block a few who simply refuse to abide by my rules of the house on such behavior, something I’d really like not to have to do.
Recently, I came across an interesting article on the use of Shakespeare to insult people – a humorous little piece that suggests combining words and phrases from the Bard, preceded by ‘Thou,’ as a way of insulting people in a way that leaves them stunned and impressed with your erudition, and pierced with your sharp wit. I recommend it if you simply can’t resist verbal barbs from time to time.
Here’s how it works; you combine phrases like, ‘drooling,’ ‘beef-witted,’ and ‘laggard,’ preceded by ‘thou’ and followed by what bothers you. For instance, “Thou drooling, beef-witted laggard, how cans’t thou hold such views?” See how witty that makes you sound? How about this one, “Thou artless, motley minded codpiece, thou knowest nothing whereof thou speaketh.” Now, that’s classic. If you want to be thought of as sharp-tongued, but classy, you can’t beat Shakespeare for combinations of words that fairly sing with rebuke and disdain, but from a decidedly upper (class) berth.
So, while I strongly recommend that you foreswear verbal outbursts and ad hominem attacks, if you simply must, do it with a bit of taste and class. For writers this can come in really handy if the review of your last book left a lot to be desired; you put the dastardly varlet in his place, and demonstrate at the same time that you are in fact one hell of a great writer.