The Lost Art of the Insult

GERARD CERLES/AFP

SAY WHAT? Berlusconi's bad joke outraged E.U. parliamentarians and Schröder

Where has the fine art of the insult gone? there was a time in Europe when the cutting gibe was a respected weapon in political discourse. Lady Astor, Winston Churchill's nemesis, once said to him: "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee." Churchill didn't demand an apology or file a human-rights complaint. He just shot back: "And if I were your husband I would drink it." But these days we get the insult without the art, and so we respond with self-righteous outrage. Last week, when a German Member of the European Parliament goaded Silvio Berlusconi...

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