Tag Archives: humor

Oscar Levant on Politicians

“I once said cynically of a politician, ‘He’ll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it.’”

Oscar Levant

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

Devil’s Dictionary: Idiot

“Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot’s activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but ‘pervades and regulates the whole.’ He has the last word on everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions of opinion and taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.”

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

The Algonquin Wits: Heywood Broun

Broun, known for his always unkempt appearance, devoted an article to the topic ‘Best-Dressed Women of the World.’ In it he commented on his own experiences in such contests: ‘While I was running for Best-Dressed Senior in the graduating class of Horace Mann High School, I often spent as much as three or four minutes in the morning deciding which pants I ought to wear. The grey or the blue. The blue or the grey. I generally decided to take the ones which possessed the closest appearance to a crease.’”

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

The Algonquin Wits: Dorothy Parker on Narcissism among the Upper Classes

Margot Asquith, an English countess, published an autobiography which filled four large volumes, a literary endeavor that Dorothy Parker found tedious and over-personalized. Mrs. Parker predicted: ‘The affair between Margot Asquith and Margot Asquith will live as one of the prettiest love stories in all literature.’”

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

Harry S Truman on Politics as a Vocation

“My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.”

Harry S Truman

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

George Will on Football

“Football combines the two worst features of American life: violence and committee meetings.”

George Will

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

Rotten Rejections: Sara Haardt

“Rotten Rejections: “Poem” by Sara Haardt (1923)

“The poem I can’t take. We have 200 or 300 bales of poetry stored in Hoboken, in the old Norddeutscher-Lloyd pier. There are 300,000 poets in America.”

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

The Devil’s Dictionary: Politics

“Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

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

Frank Rich on Starlight Express

“A confusing jamboree of piercing noise, routine roller skating, misogyny and Orwellian special effects, Starlight Express is the perfect gift for the kid who has everything except parents.”

Frank Rich

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

The Algonquin Wits: George S. Kaufman

“Hollywood’s Adolph Zukor was said to have offered a trifling $30,000 for movie rights to a Kaufman play. The playwright sent back a telegram offering Zukor $40,000 for Paramount.”

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