Search This Blog

31 January 2012

'The Big Book of Being Rude' by Jonathon Green

I recently rediscovered this book in the detritus of my closet.  I had bought it as a gift for someone, can't remember whom and obviously, can't remember when.  So I put it in the best place to peruse this kind of book, the bathroom.  It is an exceptionally long list (7000) of insults covering several centuries, most continents and every type of person or group imaginable; no censorship, no apologies.

Every time I open it at random I have a great laugh.  I am also receiving an education which my mother will argue is redundant, given my own personal history and habits.  Most truly interesting words or phrases I cannot repeat here, but a few, well...  For instance, I just found out that a derogatory term (amongst many) for  psychiatrists is "squirrel", apparently they collect nuts.  That gave something to think about, in the bathroom, if you take my meaning.  Under what circumstances would anyone use this term?
                "My mom needs to see a squirrel to relax."
                "The squirrel yawned while I was talking."
                "Will our insurance cover a squirrel? or would she accept walnuts?"
So forth and so on.

Moreover, there are some insults that only sound beautiful in the accent of origin.  Try getting someone to curse if they are true Cockney's or from Edinburg.  Then we have some wonderful retorts and phrases that work if you are from Perth, Australia.  I should mention in passing that the inhabitants of Australia as a group are creative as well as hilarious in their insults.  Context is important for disparaging effectively but accent, turn of phrase and or attitude makes it unforgettable.  Here is an example: how do you sound if you call someone "Blooming six foot of tripe" with a Texas accent instead of English?  The phrase, if you are curious, is a 19th century term for a large policeman, it means "six feet of nonsense".  It does not work with the wrong accent, if you tried it out loud everyone within hearing thinks you are insane, but I bet you are smiling.

I have not yet read every insult in the book as just the section on "bollocks" was overwhelming but I look forward to going to the bathroom these days, if only to try some words out loud in the only place in the house where I can lock the door.

ISBN: 9780304355143


  1. Anonymous09:28

    hello miriam,
    sounds like a great reference book. i had an eighth grade english teacher who gave me a list of 100 insults. you'll have to tell me about the bollocks someday lol

  2. It is a great reference book as I now gain deeper meaning as to insults in many novels. Even Jane Austen had a naughty side though not wicked. Still enjoying myself.