Smart comebacks are like the cherry on top in a debate. Moreover, they can actually end the discussion if told at the right moment. Sadly, for most of us, sad comebacks are what we think of way after the initial discussion has ended. “God, I wish I said that” – doesn’t this sound all familiar? The thing is, to say the right thing, at the right moment, to know the exact dose of wit and sarcasm which should be poured in your words is really hard. Still, the likes of Mozart and Churchill or Gandhi really did have that presence and that courage and intelligence to say the right words at the right time and shut the haters up. This is why their words pervaded through history and myth to us, nowadays, to read, be amused and stay inspired.
Read below and find your idols at their most honest and witty moments. Great historical personalities stay in our minds for a reason and this is just a tiny part of why these 11 people are remembered through the vicissitudes of time. Enjoy!
1. Mozart to an admirer who had asked him how to write a symphony
Admirer: Herr Mozart, I am thinking of writing symphonies. Can you give me any suggestions as to how to get started?
Mozart: A symphony is a very complex musical form. Perhaps you should begin with some simple lieder and work your way up to a symphony.
Admirer: But Herr Mozart, you were writing symphonies when you were 8 years old.
Mozart: Yes, but I never asked anybody how.
2.Edna Ferber to Noël Coward
Edna was an American writer who used to wear tailor suits long before they were deemed fashionable. Coward was an English playwright, actor, director and singer.
Coward: You look almost like a man.
Ferber: So do you
3.Mahatma Gandhi about Western civilization
“I think it would be a good idea”
4. Winston Churchill to a member of parliament
Member of Parliament: Mr Churchill, must you fall asleep while I’m speaking?
Churchill: No, it’s purely voluntary.
5. Miriam Hopkins to an anonymous singer
Singer: You know, my dear, I insured my voice for fifty thousand dollars
Miriam Hopkins: That’s wonderful. And what did you do with the money?
6. Robert Benchley to a rear admiral of the United States Navy
Robert Benchley is a famous American comedian.
Benchley: My good man, would you please get me a taxi?
United States rear admiral: I’m not a doorman. I happen to be a rear admiral in the United States Navy.
Benchley: All right then; get me a battleship
7. Pope John XXIII to the press
Press: How many people work in the Vatican
Pope John XXIII: About half
8. Winston Churchill to Lady Astor
Lady Astor: “If I was your wife, sir, I would poison your coffee.”
Churchill: “If I was your husband, I would drink it
9. Abraham Lincoln on the haters
Lincoln, after being called two-faced: “I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”
10. Elizabeth Taylor on her fellow leading men
Taylor: Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.
11. Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner
Faulkner: He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.
Hemingway: Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?