Welcome to The Valve

Valve Links

The Front Page
Statement of Purpose

John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Advanced Search

RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom

RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom


Powered by Expression Engine
Logo by John Holbo

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.



About Last Night
Academic Splat
Amardeep Singh
Bemsha Swing
Bitch. Ph.D.
Blogging the Renaissance
Butterflies & Wheels
Cahiers de Corey
Category D
Charlotte Street
Cheeky Prof
Chekhov’s Mistress
Chrononautic Log
Cogito, ergo Zoom
Collected Miscellany
Completely Futile
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
Conversational Reading
Critical Mass
Crooked Timber
Culture Cat
Culture Industry
Early Modern Notes
Easily Distracted
fait accompi
Ferule & Fescue
Ghost in the Wire
Giornale Nuovo
God of the Machine
Golden Rule Jones
Grumpy Old Bookman
Ideas of Imperfection
In Favor of Thinking
In Medias Res
Inside Higher Ed
jane dark’s sugarhigh!
John & Belle Have A Blog
John Crowley
Jonathan Goodwin
Kathryn Cramer
Languor Management
Light Reading
Like Anna Karina’s Sweater
Lime Tree
Limited Inc.
Long Pauses
Long Story, Short Pier
Long Sunday
Making Light
Maud Newton
Michael Berube
Motime Like the Present
Narrow Shore
Neil Gaiman
Old Hag
Open University
Pas au-delà
Planned Obsolescence
Quick Study
Rake’s Progress
Reader of depressing books
Reading Room
Reassigned Time
Reeling and Writhing
Return of the Reluctant
Say Something Wonderful
Shaken & Stirred
Silliman’s Blog
Slaves of Academe
Sorrow at Sills Bend
Sounds & Fury
Stochastic Bookmark
Tenured Radical
the Diaries of Franz Kafka
The Elegant Variation
The Home and the World
The Intersection
The Litblog Co-Op
The Literary Saloon
The Literary Thug
The Little Professor
The Midnight Bell
The Mumpsimus
The Pinocchio Theory
The Reading Experience
The Salt-Box
The Weblog
This Public Address
This Space: The Fire’s Blog
Thoughts, Arguments & Rants
Tingle Alley
University Diaries
Unqualified Offerings
What Now?
William Gibson

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ferocious Goat, or the Decline of Political Invective

Posted by Sean McCann on 06/09/05 at 01:13 PM

Ayjay worries about the declining quality of web calumny and asks us to study the masters.  Just came across this passage today, Eugene Debs on Teddy Roosevelt, January 1918:

This political pet of the plutocrats, this bogus reformer, this shreiking charlatan, this raving mountebank, this crazy-horse of Oyster Bay ranch, this blood and thunder prophet, this opera bouffe ghostdancer, this blatant quack hero, this freak of froth and foam and buncombe, this nauseating moralizer, this dysenteric scold, this chattering midwife and meddler and all-around nuisance has buncoed the people long enough and they at last know him for what he is, at least those of them who have mentality above a shell-fish, and who can tell a jibbering fraud after he has exhibited himself to them daily for a score of years.

I particularly liked crazy-horse of Oyster Bay ranch.  O, for a Debs now.


"Thou droning tardy-gaited wagtail!” --Shakespeare

I have no idea what it means—something about a slow-moving dog, I think. But I like thinking that a “wagtail” could be a politician who wags the dog, while simultaneously being a dog.

Another one: “If you spend word for word with me, I shall make your wit bankrupt.” (Two Gentlemen of Verona)

Courtesy of the Shakespearean Insulter.

By Amardeep on 06/09/05 at 04:06 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Australian parliamentarians are renowned in this arena; to paraphrase my favorite such instance:

“Let us observe a moment of silence to honour the loss suffered by our esteemed colleague XXXX, his library having burnt to the ground this past week. Unfortunately he lost both his books ... and one of them wasn’t even coloured in yet.”

By on 06/09/05 at 07:45 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Of course Steve Spurrier used that line more effectively about Auburn.

By Jonathan on 06/09/05 at 07:57 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I am so pleased that my concern is shared. I personally find religious insult-fests more interesting than political ones: think, for instance, of Thomas More’s abuse of Luther: Pestilentissimum scurram! Pediculosus fraterculus! Asinus! Potista! Improbe mendax! He complains that he tries to clean out Luther’s filthy mouth and all he gets for it is fingers covered in shit. I love stuff like that.

By on 06/10/05 at 01:52 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Oh, and my favorite Shakespearean insults come when Prince Hal pretends to be his father and castigates Falstaff as a “stuffed cloak-bag of guts” and a “swollen parcel of dropsies.” Among other things.

By on 06/10/05 at 01:55 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Luther called someone, probably not More, “Merdipoeta”.

The early modern era was the Golden Age of erudite toilet jokes. Rabelais’ humor, for example, tended heavily toward the scatalogical rather than the pornographic.

By John Emerson on 06/10/05 at 08:30 PM | Permanent link to this comment

a wag-tail
is a trollop

By on 04/26/09 at 01:35 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Add a comment:



Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: