I love a sassy comment, especially if they are delivered with the appropriate amount of restraint and, um, not at all directed at me. TV shows and books are full of sardonic comebacks I’d kill to have thought up first. Take, for instance, the exchange below between the always verging on spontaneous combustion Basil Fawlty and the mother of a young man intent on giving him a hard time. (For those who haven’t dedicated hours of their life to this gift from our friends across the pond, Basil = John Cleese, Mrs. Hall = the lady in purple attempting to defend her jerky son.)
Mrs. Hall: [sweetly to Basil] He’s very clever… rather highly strung.
Basil Fawlty: [forcing himself to smile] Yes… Yes, he should be.
Mean, yes. Hilarious? Yes. Imagine how lame it would be if Basil held his tongue and skulked off to a corner to tweet his rage! Thankfully, we viewers can rest assured that he’d never do this because he’s above such a thing. Also because cell phones and Twitter weren’t around when the show was filmed…but mostly because he’s above such things.
Alas, the future is here, and IRL, the preferred mode of venting frustrations seems to be posting a passive aggressive status update/tweet/instagram. There are even guides on how to e-bitch. See here, here, and here. Sure, bitching online can be cathartic. Unlike Mr. Fawlty, we are not characters on TV shows, and an angst-ridden status update allows our network — our audience — if you will, to watch us and chime in. One time a woman basically sat on me on the Green Line, and hearing that FB friends far and wide were also disgusted with public transit in their cities felt pretty damn great.
Still, though, when we get down to brass tacks, real time quick wit > pitching an Internet net. Don’t believe it? Here are some historic figures to back me up c/o www.sadanduseless.com:
Unknown actress vs Ilka Chase
Calvin Coolidge vs. a lady at a White House dinner
Dorothy Parker vs. a drunk
Winston Churchill vs. a Member of Parliament
Posted by Erin K.