There was a time when “your mother wears army boots” hurled like vindictive in the face of some urchin would get you a fight or a kick in the shins. Calling someone a sissy had much the same effect and telling a girl that she had “cooties” would send her crying to the restroom or running as a tattle tale to the teacher or principal. Insult was all around us. There were insults on the marble fields at recess as various styles of marbles were called various mean names. Some marbles, usually called “shooters” to my mind, were works of art, and why anyone would want to loose them in a game where you had to crawl around in the dirt seemed silly. When I remarked upon that fact I was told that I was jealous because I had “lost all my marbles”. The irony of that remark has always stuck with me. The insult is meant to show that if you disagree with someone you are crazy or mentally unbalanced. One of the last great insults I heard was from the political realm about a week ago when a politician said about some other politicians that they were the reason “we have directions on shampoo bottles.”
We are watching this strange kind of theatre in which people insult others and when the others respond they are accused of reducing the civility of the land and even causing violence. I am old enough to remember that horrible things that were said about previous presidents and candidates. They were baby killers in foreign countries and murderers of the homeless at home. The were stupid and suffering from dementia. They were liars and felons and full of subterfuge. They were in reality gentlemen and didn’t respond and they received nothing tangible from their restraint except a nice eulogy from some of the most filthy mouthed human beings in the world. They had to die to get some respect from their political foes. Now those same foes are getting called names and they don’t like it much. Some of us think it is probably time as one of the great insulters said a while back that the chickens are coming home to roost. Calling certain people names instantaneously at the drop of a hat is coming back to haunt some folks. If Joe Biden is considered a racist there is a fundamental conclusion that has to come from that statement if looked at realistically. If Biden is a racist then everyone is, or no one is. All the insults in the world eventually turn back on the ones who make them if they are not true.
There is an art to insulting folks. I want to look at Biblical insults and see why they were effective.