Civil Discourse and Polite Insults

Civil Southern Insults

© 2012 Kirby Sanders

Our civil discourse has gotten horribly un-civil. People calling one another “fascists” and “communists” and “sheeple” – using verbal bullying rather than understanding the finesse of a proper insult.

For many who were properly raised in the South or the Southwest there is ingrained  certain sense of decorum – and a proper insult is not honored unless properly delivered. It is quite possible (and respected)  for a gentleman or a lady to deliver an insult without being overly aggressive.

A gentleman can inflect a simple question such as “Sir?” so that it obviously means “look, you low-life son of a bitch” — but never call the guy a “low life son of a bitch”. Call him “sir”.

 One can also preface a response to any insult or unsubstantiated statement by saying “Bless your heart” –- meaning “I can’t believe you are stupid enough to really believe that.”

Then there is the available remark “I beg your pardon?”  Meaning “boy, you just pissed a lot of stupid in the soup bigtime”.

And of course “there’s a crow on your plate” — meaning “get ready to eat some facts, asshole”.

“I beg to differ” – see again “there’s a crow on your plate.”

Among the more aggressive suggestions might be that one’s counterpart in a given discussion is “thinking with the wrong head” – meaning their macho is outstripping their wisdom or perception of a given issue.

And a comment that “that boy ain’t right” – meaning “that is craziest psycho bullshit I have heard in a long time”.

In a pinch, one can explain that “I think I hear the dinner bell” – meaning “this discussion is terminated.” More aggressively but still politely, one may also say “Thank you for the conversation. You are excused from the table”. Notched up, one may also say “You are dismissed, sir. Good day to you.”

As a gentle reminder, one might hear a statement to the effect of “that dog don’t hunt” (irrelevant argument) or “what’s your horse in this race” (what is your agenda in this conversation).

The next time you are in the midst of an internet diatribe or a heated conversation – if you hear a calm and steady voice lightly scented with magnolia or mesquite stating gently “Pardon me – am I speaking too softly?”; know well, please, that a certain limit has been reached and someone at the table is about to be served with a royal flush in spades if the tenor of the discussion does not tone down to a more acceptable decibel level. And if the tone of the conversation does not  ramp down at that point? Well, “Katie bar the door! There’s going to be the devil to pay”.

Thank you for your kind attention.


3 thoughts on “Civil Discourse and Polite Insults

  1. YellerKitty

    My, how you do go on, Sir! We all know buttah wouldn’t melt in mah sweet li’l ol’ mouf! This treatise is very interestin’ and undoubtedly of great use to those with the manners of a feral hog, several of whom I shall be helpfully directin’ it toward with the gentlest of suggestions that they take it to heart.


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