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John Cleese, master of insults

RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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11/7/2011 1:50:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
My favorite blog, Richard Nordquist's Grammar & Composition, http://grammar.about.com... has started a series of articles on Monty Python's contributions to figures of speech. I learned that a litany of verbal abuse is called bdelygmia. It's good to know how to classify forum posts.

Nordquist references examples by Cleese:

"Both congeries (the piling up of words or phrases) and synathroesmus (the accumulation of adjectives, often in the spirit of invective) are forms of rhetorical accumulation. John Cleese unleashes these related figures in the "Vocational Guidance Counselor Sketch":

You see, our experts describe you as an appallingly dull fellow, unimaginative, timid, lacking in initiative, spineless, easily dominated, no sense of humour, tedious company and irrepressibly drab and awful. And whereas in most professions these would be considerable drawbacks, in chartered accountancy they are a positive boon.
(Counselor John Cleese addressing Mr. Anchovy [Michael Palin] in episode 10 of Monty Python's Flying Circus)

Cleese, of course, is a master of insulting language, in particular the litanies of verbal abuse known as bdelygmia:

Yes, well, of course, that's just the sort of blinkered philistine pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage. You sit there on your loathsome, spotty behinds squeezing blackheads, not caring a tinker's cuss about the struggling artist. You excrement! You lousy hypocritical whining toadies with your lousy color TV sets and your Tony Jacklin golf clubs and your bleeding masonic secret handshakes! You wouldn't let me join, would you, you blackballing bastards. Well I wouldn't become a freemason now if you went down on your lousy, stinking, purulent knees and begged me.
("The Architects Sketch," episode 17 of Monty Python's Flying Circus)"
vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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11/7/2011 4:46:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
This reminded me of a Richard Dawkins quote on Yahweh.

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent, bully."
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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11/9/2011 10:22:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/7/2011 1:50:04 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
My favorite blog, Richard Nordquist's Grammar & Composition, http://grammar.about.com... has started a series of articles on Monty Python's contributions to figures of speech. I learned that a litany of verbal abuse is called bdelygmia. It's good to know how to classify forum posts.

Nordquist references examples by Cleese:

"Both congeries (the piling up of words or phrases) and synathroesmus (the accumulation of adjectives, often in the spirit of invective) are forms of rhetorical accumulation. John Cleese unleashes these related figures in the "Vocational Guidance Counselor Sketch":

You see, our experts describe you as an appallingly dull fellow, unimaginative, timid, lacking in initiative, spineless, easily dominated, no sense of humour, tedious company and irrepressibly drab and awful. And whereas in most professions these would be considerable drawbacks, in chartered accountancy they are a positive boon.
(Counselor John Cleese addressing Mr. Anchovy [Michael Palin] in episode 10 of Monty Python's Flying Circus)

Cleese, of course, is a master of insulting language, in particular the litanies of verbal abuse known as bdelygmia:

Yes, well, of course, that's just the sort of blinkered philistine pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage. You sit there on your loathsome, spotty behinds squeezing blackheads, not caring a tinker's cuss about the struggling artist. You excrement! You lousy hypocritical whining toadies with your lousy color TV sets and your Tony Jacklin golf clubs and your bleeding masonic secret handshakes! You wouldn't let me join, would you, you blackballing bastards. Well I wouldn't become a freemason now if you went down on your lousy, stinking, purulent knees and begged me.
("The Architects Sketch," episode 17 of Monty Python's Flying Circus)"

I wonder why John Cleese went to all that trouble to insult somebody. He could have easily used words like "f*ck, mofo, f*cking f*ck, c*nt, d*ck" etc.

Is he trying to insult somebody or impress them with his vocabulary? :)
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.