Tag Archives: humor

Walter Page Hines on Woodrow Wilson

“The air currents of the world never ventilated his mind.”

Walter Page Hines on Woodrow Wilson

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

The Devil’s Dictionary: Abstruseness

“Abstruseness, n. The bait of a bare hook.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

Rotten Reviews: Castle to Castle by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

“…quite a tedious book.”

John Weightman, New York Review of Books 

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.    

Denis Diderot on Moral Precepts

“There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it.”

Denis Diderot

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert Benchley Vacations in Venice

“On a summer vacation trip Benchley arrived in Venice and immediately wired a friend: ‘STREETS FLOODED. PLEASE ADVISE.’”

Robert Benchley

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

The Devil’s Dictionary: Abridgement

“Abridgement, n. A brief summary of some person’s literary work, in which those parts that tell against the convictions of the abridger are omitted for want of space.” 

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

Lenny Bruce on Communism

“Communism is like one big phone company.”

Lenny Bruce

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992

The Algonquin Wits: Alexander Woollcott Defends Harpo Marx

“Struggling to pacify the ‘head of protocol’ at a Paris casino, after his companion Harpo Marx had distressed the gentleman with a few good-natured antics, Aleck turned to Harpo and asked, ‘How can I explain you?… There’s no French word for boob.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Jonathan Swift, Famously, on a Confederacy of Dunces

“When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in confederacy against him.”

Jonathan Swift

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

A Rotten Reviews Omnibus: Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

“It’s hard to believe that a lady from Kansas City with a house in the best residential section, one full-time maid, one mink coat and a Lincoln for her very own, should finish up as timorous and ephemeral as a lunar moth on the outside of a window.”

Florence Crowther, New York Times Book Review

“It is hard to imagine a creep like Bridge ever lived. If he did, so what? Connell fails to show that he has any relevance to what’s happening in America, 1969.”

Cleveland Press

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.