Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Recipe for Insult

Hendrik Hertzberg, in a review of R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr's The Liberal Crack-Up (1984) in The New Republic:
The formula is simple. First, select a person to attack. If possible, refer to him or her as the Hon. insert surname, the Rev. insert surname, or Dr. insert surname. Second, call the person a nasty name, either a heavily sarcastic one (esteemed eminento, sonorous pontificator, distinguished scholar) or simply a jeering one - bellyacher, buffoon, dolt, dunderhead, galoot, gasbag, greenhorn, half-wit, idiot, imbecile, jackass, loony, moron, nincompoop, pinhead, poltroon, popinjay, quack, rube, sap, simpleton, snot, windbag, wretch, yahoo, yokel, or zealot. Third, add an adjective (optional). Brazen, fuliginous, gaseous, gimcrack, maudlin, meretricious, piffling, portentous, sophomoric, puerile - any of these will do. Fourth, accuse the person of engaging in bibble-babble, claptrap, flapdoodle, flumdiddle, hokum, moonshine, pishposh, rumble-bumble, pronunciamentos, or tosh. Finally, work in a reference to the United States as "the Republic." You will soon be writing, or programming your computer to write, sentences such as this one, from page 21: "There have always been whistle-brained pontificators at large in the Republic, all promising a New Age full of wonder and kookery."
Let's give the recipe a try.

There is no need to worry about grammatical purity in the Republic of Blogdom so long as the esteemed eminento and pseudo-scholarly pedant Dr. Gilleland persists in boring us with his pretentious linguistic pronunciamentos.

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