Bit o' Bile - The Art of the Insult

This intersting column by Dick Cavett explores witty put-downs and insults and laments the dying breed of better barbs. See A Better Sort of Insult (my comment is #211!)

Recently, I saw Casablanca on Christmas. Bogart's Birthday was actually the 23rd, but the studios promoted it as the 25th because they thought it made him more sympathetic. TMC was running a marathon of his movies. Saw some I love (Casablanca, Maltese Falcon), others I'd never seen (African Queen).

Forgot how quick and sharp the dialog is in Casablanca, especially Rick in the cafe.

With Peter Lorre's character...

Ugarte: You despise me, don't you?
Rick: If I gave you any thought I probably would. 

The woman he stood up:

Yvonne: Where were you last night?
Rick: That's so long ago, I don't remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick: I never make plans that far ahead. 

IMDB offers some great quotes from Bogey himself including some cutting words between he and Bergman. 

Off the set, he and Ingrid Bergman hardly spoke during the filming of Casablanca (1942). She said later, "I kissed him, but I never knew him." Years later, after Ingrid Bergman had become involved with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, and borne him a child, he bawled her out for it.

"You used to be a great star," he said. "What are you now?"

"A happy woman," she replied. Bogart's coolness towards Bergman was later revealed to have been caused by the violent jealousy of his wife at the time, Mayo Methot, whose fears were realized when Bogart entered an affair with future wife Lauren Bacall.

And speaking of Casablanca, see this piece about Culinary Travel there. It's a cuisine I'd expect us to see more and more of. I wrote about culinary travel here.

What was the name of that Moroccan restaurant Caleb and I went to in NYC Orange and Blue?

Dorothy Parker -  one of my faves...said to be the source of these bon mots:

  • She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B. (said about Hepburn!)
  • This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
  • If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.

David Mamet said "It's only words, unless they're true." That's a part of Cavett's column that is left unexplored. When is a dig or insult funny versus hurtful and mean? I say it has everything to do with power and intent.