Knowing how to insult is an art | The press

My column from last Monday about the uneasiness at the Pride Parade1 I got all kinds of comments. I was disliked by a young woman on Facebook who said that the new team had spent a lot of time defending countless claims when it would have been better to take care of the logistics of the event.

Posted at 7:15am

This woman, as anonymous as an abandoned orange cone on Robert Bourrassa Boulevard, called me an “old favorite straight white boomer.”

I don’t mind a crumb being called boomers. Neither preferred the white man. But being called straight away, I don’t take it!

Just kidding, but this comment got me thinking about how some people react to ideas they don’t like. You won’t find anything better to do than toss out an insult or two, often the same ones, without bothering with originality.

I notice that the term boomers has been back in fashion for a while. Also, don’t you find it odd that the most passionate advocates for human rights, racial, social, gender or gender equality are often quick to name “old croutons,” “old monocles,” or “old boomers,” who are they getting down to?

They advocate respect in all its forms by engaging in … ageism. The worst thing is that they don’t even realize it.

In short, I find us lazy in our way of insulting. It lacks work, depth and culture.

You write “idiot” or “asshole” and pretend the job is done. But let’s see, to insult well, you have to make an effort, you have to think.

This week I went back to my library to re-read a booklet that had been sitting on a shelf for many years: The Art of Insult. This delightful little book has been compiled from many of Arthur Schopenhauer’s writings.

This great German philosopher, who died in 1860, gave much thought to this question. He tells us that the right insult, or the insult to be taken, requires preparation. To achieve its purpose, insult must be learned and practiced.

The one who has mastered the art of mockery and insults believes that you must first choose the interlocutors with whom you want to talk. But that is the tragedy of our time. Social networks show us strangers, invisible faces, ephemeral beings.

Hence this laziness and all these “Osti de Moron”, “Big Bitch”, “Big Keller”, “Crisse d’Epais” that abound.

By the way, why do we offend? The magazine philosophy I looked at that a few years ago. According to Aristotle, insult is good and exonerating. The desire to offend is often preceded by anger. By swinging one cowrie to the other, we relax the tension.

Closer to home, William B. Irvine published a book in 2013 entitled A slap in the face: Why insults hurt – and why they shouldn’t. According to the American philosopher, the insult allows one to assert oneself “in a group”. Interesting, isn’t it?

I think we can apply this to small groups that form on social networks. The offenders try to assert themselves by multiplying the insults. You don’t have to go far to find a master: Donald Trump is a pathetic role model.

To insult is to want to be right. And this gesture is often the last resort. However, one does not shine with primary insults. An insult must contain an idea. It is the richness of the formula that K.-O. The opponent.

When Winston Churchill said of Clement Attlee, who defeated him in the first general election after World War II, “He is a humble man with every reason to be,” the formula is at once cruel and hilarious.

Our insults lack wit, but also lack humor.

Far be it from me to encourage insults. We live in a world that is violent enough as it is. Also, Schopenhauer reminds us that we always have the choice to ignore the insults and pretend nothing happened.

“Even in the face of the crudest insults and insults, the wise men did not lose their restraint and maintained their composure,” he writes.

The effect of verbal or written insults should not be underestimated. A study by the University of Utrecht2in the Netherlands, examined the effects of insults on mental health.

This study, published July 18 in the journal limits in communication, shows that the effect of an insult is similar to that of a “mini slap”. Repeated insults create anxiety and self-esteem issues.

Should we return an insult or endure it? That is the question. It all depends on our level of wisdom or our level of intoxication. How many times does it have to be repeated? With the third glass of wine, we leave social networks and have a sequence of MASH Or from me and the other.

For my part, I try to walk the path of humor and friendly arrogance.

This is the “nose tirade” method. When Cyrano de Bergerac is insulted by the Vicomte de Valvert about his appendix, what does he do? He tells her her attack is weak and clumsy. He even encourages them to try harder.

Valvert: “You… you have a nose… um… a nose… very big. »

Cyrano: “Ah! nope ! That’s a bit short, young man! And Cyrano to give him a thousand fabulous examples to insult him.

Destroying an insult with a lesson in the art of insult is the greatest weapon there is.

In short, the next one who dares to call me directly better pay attention!

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