The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion

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9781598693270: The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion

This book tosses aside fluffy new age sensitivity in favour of embracing your inner wolverine. It explores the subtleties of each topic, including gender differences, word histories, and dangerous double meanings. Chapters include how to teach assertive language to a child, put-downs by and for each gender, put-downs for the office, and how to handle courtship. It is filled with boxes, legal disclaimers, and etymology, it's naughty, but very funny.

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About the Author:

For nearly a decade, linguist and teacher A.C. Kemp has been helping the public understand American slang, both on the Web and in the classroom. In 2002, she created SlangCity.com, a project that draws on her skills in writing, researching, marketing, and Web design. The website has won numerous awards, and has been recommended by such diverse sources as the Daily Mirror, and Writer's Digest.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Your grades have just come in the mail and Chad, your English 101 professor, has given you a D. This comes as a surprise to you because you have just spent the last fifteen weeks sleeping with Chad for the very purpose of avoiding that outcome. At first, you think this is a mistake, but Chad now refuses to take your phone calls and it is becoming apparent that he has played you. As a result, you decide that you will pay him a visit to express your feelings.

Let us examine six possible remarks that may have occurred to you on your way here from the dorm and analyze each for style and effectiveness. Given your level of scholarship, I apologize in advance if this section's resemblance to a multiple choice quiz makes you break out in hives.

*Number 1: I hope you die, crudball!

This is certainly appropriate for your social status as a college student; no one would think less of you for being direct. However, in this situation, it will not work. English instructors hear this insult so often when grades come out that it barely registers.

*Number 2. Marble hearted fiend! Most villainous knave! Spotted snake with double tongue!

This has the benefit of taking your audience into account. Even though his specialization was the Naturalist Movement, 250 years later, Chad will know these insults are Shakespearian. He may not hear them as insults, however. That's because what you are really saying is, "Here are some erudite hostilities that I trust you to recognize and understand based on your massive intelligence and comprehensive liberal arts education."

For this reason, Chad will not be thinking about the meaning of these venomous quotes; rather his brain will be whirring as he tries to remember which plays they came from. "Lear! Othello! And the last one is...uh...A Midsummer Night's Dream! Ha!! How clever I am." Note that up to this point, I have been too polite to mention that if you had remembered any of those quotations for the final, you would not be in this situation.

*Number 3. Me cago en la leche que mamaste.

How canny of you to think of this incredibly base insult from your semester abroad in high school. And why am I not surprised that all the Spanish you remember from that learning experience is an insult that means "I defecate on the milk that you sucked from your mother's breast"? Alas, you have misjudged your audience. Chad does not speak Spanish.

*Number 4. The length of your dissertation title is inversely proportionate to the size of your manhood!

This is much closer to the mark; the title of Chad's dissertation was Trail of Tears: Symbolic Handkerchiefs in the Later Novels of Thomas Hardy, Including an Analysis of Meaningful Monograms and Floral Patterns. He is also still smarting that no one wanted to publish it.

From The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion, copyright © 2008 by A.C. Kemp. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications, Inc. Co. All rights reserved.

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