There's something extremely satisfying in reading a well-worded put down, even when you don't know much about the person being destroyed. The late Christopher Hitchens was a master of this particular art form. Among the numerous examples re-quoted in the week following his death: On George Bush:
“[George W. Bush] is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.”
On Michael Moore:
“The laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious, and ignorant and so on. And they’ve taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities,”
In Hitchens' honor, I wanted to highlight this almost zen-like insult from one of his heroes, George Orwell, who in "The Lion and the Unicorn" surveyed Britain's pre-World War II leadership and found it wanting:
"...somehow the ruling class decayed, lost its ability, its daring, finally even its ruthlessness, until a time came when stuffed shirts like Eden or Halifax could stand out as men of exceptional talent. As for Baldwin, one could not even dignify him with the name of stuffed shirt. He was simply a hole in the air."
Pipe-smoking Stanley, you've been zinged!