Rudeness Around the Globe

4:00 PM -- Ben Macintyre, writing in the London Times mourns the decline of the British art of invective:

    The Government has decided that young people are rude and must be taught better manners in school. Of all the currish, lily-livered, puke-stocking ideas dreamed up by those odiferous tickle-brained rump-fed codpieces, this must be one of the most addle-pated.

    There, that feels better. Rather than teaching children courtesy (which cannot be taught, only learnt), schools would do far better to instruct their wards on the long and glorious history of the British insult. The ability to give and take offence is a vital part of our national heritage, but it is a tradition of scorn that is fast dying out.
He bemoans the loss of such titans of insult as Winston Churchill and Samuel Johnson (who once, I believe, referred to the Duchess of Kent as a "noisome, fat-kidneyed gudgeon," though I may be wrong about that), and goes on to consider variances in national standards:

    To give offence properly requires careful study of the intended victim and their frailties and vanities, for what one person finds insulting another may regard as entirely benign, and there are crucial geographical variations to bear in mind.

    A recent survey by the Dutch psychologist Boele de Raad found that the Spanish respond most violently to insults related to family members and animals; the Dutch take offence at diseases; the Germans cite bodily functions, and the British, sex and body parts. The mother-insult is a worldwide phenomenon, from Finland (Aitisi nai poroja: “Your mother has sexual relations with a reindeer”) to China (“Nide muchin shr egad a wukwei”: “Your mother is a big turtle”), but we British don’t seem to mind so much when our mothers are insulted: which, come to think of it, is quite an insult to British mothers.
So never suggest to a Dutchman that he may have the pox, and steer clear of reptile references when traveling in China.

Still, for eloquent abuse, it's hard to top Monty Python.

— Larry, Empty-Headed Animal Food-Trough Wiper, Light Reading

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