First of all, I don’t get to say this often, but thank you so much to those of you who have been insulting me this past week. It’s been a true joy logging into Facebook, getting excited about notifications, and then finding out that they are all about me being a vegan twig that never bathes (that was a popular one, and you really couldn’t be more spot on).
Before the contest closes on Saturday, I wanted to reflect on the history of the insult. Did someone invent the insult? Who perfected the insult? I did some Googling, and here’s what I found out:
The Bible invented insulting. I’m just kidding. It was cave men.
But really, there are some truly epic insults of Biblical proportion, and you can find some with this fantastic generator.
My favorite so far has been: “Hear this, O thou son of a Philistine, for you will be as welcome as a fart in the queen’s bedchamber!” I mean, if someone yelled that at you on the street, would your day not be 100% more exciting?
There are records of insult contests being held as early as the 13th century. This involved two gentlemen publicly insulting each other while their friends and neighbors cheered and jeered. I’m assuming it was something quite similar to a rap battle. By the 15th century, the contests got an official name and were called “flytings.”
According to the encyclopedia, those who participated in these shouting matches were considered skillful poets. I’m sure this is true, but I can’t help wondering if “skilled” is another word for “wimpy” and “poet” is another word for “opposite of someone who can sword fight.” Only allowing poets to compete was also probably the reason why women couldn’t participate because women in the 15th century were too busy dying horrifically during childbirth to get to spin any mad rhymes.
By the early 17th century, Shakespeare was basically the Lady Gaga of England and he was using his favorite insults in his plays. Of course, some of his characters weren’t ninnies and used swords, but before silver could clang, there needed to be some sharp words exchanged. I want to go on and on, but instead, I will share this Shakespeare Insult Kit, which is completely relevant and you should use it on a daily basis.
No one insulted another person until 2004, when Anchorman came out. I’m just kidding. During those three hundred years, there were loads of insults, but they were all mumbled and underhanded and about how many servants your family had. Not stuff you can really use these days.
Now, everything is open. It’s hard to even take insulting seriously now that I’ve seen every episode of South Park.
Okay, whew, that’s enough Wikipedia for one day. I hope you learned something. I did (that the Bible used the word “fart”). Flyte away, my little ducklings. You are all equally my least favorite.
P.S. SHAMELESS PLUGGING ALERT.
Please take a moment and press “Recommend” to vote for my short story, The Appointment, in Medium’s Fiction Contest, found HERE. Tell your friends.
Check out the other stories, too; they are fabulous. Yay writers.