I spent a few minutes the other day perusing the world’s most comprehensive resource for crude insults or, as it’s more commonly known, Points in Case reader feedback. Most of the reader feedback is positive, but as you may have noticed, a good portion is intended to bash someone’s character. Readers disparage writers, readers disparage other readers, and – as is often the case – readers unwittingly disparage themselves. Never ones to sit silent, writers will often chime in to belittle those who publicly disapprove of their work. (We only throw insults in response to others’ insults. It doesn’t make sense to pre-emptively bash our readers1.) While sifting through this mess of inflammatory remarks, I had an epiphany.
Insults have a formula. At least good ones do. More specifically, good insults are usually a combination of a swear (like fuck) and a noun (like fuck). Okay, bad example.
I thought about it a bit further, and decided that most nouns don’t really work for insults. Pairing a curse word with an inanimate object or an intangible concept doesn’t have much sting to it. For instance, emotional damage is minimal if you call someone a cocktree or a cuntsocialism. “What kinds of nouns best tie together a vulgar insult?” I ask myself as a segue.
1) Places of storage or production
2) Professions or ranks
Places of storage or production are especially poignant because they imply mass quantities of the preceding swear. Professions and ranks work well because they imply a mastery of the particular field. To help you get a better idea of what I mean, I’ve provided examples of swears (required), places of storage or production (optional), and professions or ranks (also optional).
And to pick up where George Carlin2 left off…
2 I omitted cocksucker and mother fucker from Carlin’s list because those are already fully realized insults using the swear-noun formula.
Place of Storage or Production
Profession or Rank
My New Favorite Insult
Feel free to apply this formula (patent pending) (patent submission also pending) (indefinitely) and come up with your own insults to use on friends and enemies alike. By no means should you limit yourself to the swears and nouns provided, but they make a good starting point for your soon-to-be encyclopedic insult repertoire. Happy humiliating.