Coral Amende •
“If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say . . . Come Sit Next to Me” •
Coral Amende has assembled a vast bouquet of the catty, snarky, pithy, and downright wicked remarks famous people have made about each other, from Plato to Picasso, Bogart to Bonaparte, Milton to Manilow. If you’re afflicted with esprit de l’escalier—the wonderful French term for thinking of witty comebacks only as you’re climbing the stairs to bed—you may want to memorize a few of these zingers to pull out at appropriate moments.
Try substituting the name of an obnoxious coworker, annoying ex, or anybody else who just bugs you to pieces in one of these quotes:
[Ronald Reagan] has done the work of two men—Laurel and Hardy.
There’s no one in the world quite like [W.C. Fields]—thank God.
If [Bowie Kuhn] had a brain in his head, he’d be an idiot.
Every word [Lillian Hellman] writes is a lie, including and and the.
The reason so many people showed up at [Louis B. Mayer’s] funeral was because they wanted to make sure he was dead.
[George Bernard Shaw] has not an enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him.
There! Doesn’t that feel better?
The book’s title is attributed to sharp-tongued Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of president Teddy. Her father, asked why he didn’t keep a tighter rein on her, is said to have replied, “I can either run the country or I can control Alice. I cannot do both.”
And Alice’s assessment of her dad? “When Theodore attends a wedding he wants to be the bride, and when he attends a funeral he wants to be the corpse.”
On it goes for 244 pages.