A review of Scorn by Matthew Parris

Reviewed by Carl Delprat

The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History
by Matthew Parris
Profile Books
ISBN: 9781781257302, 2 Nov 2017, 432pages

Scorn is a great user manual full of essential comebacks for today’s Facebook skirmishes and workplace melees. Yes, now is the time to prepare oneself for all those unpleasant nasty Internet social media interactions, how to rule a hostile room, and annihilate all antagonism. With Matthew Parris’ book of Scorn at your disposal, the prospects of perfect rejoinders within your grasp are infinite.

Not only does this book deliver 432 pages of compressed and valuable entertainment, it releases a multitude of ready responses that if rehearsed well, will provide a source of heavy artillery for any form of social intercourse within societies’ boundaries. This is also a vernacular most Australians accept as dinkum. I grew up surrounded with such retorts and they became a vital supplement within the workplace. The work shifts were filled with plebeian poetry, discourteous dictation, impolite insinuations and derogative descriptions. Without such mischievous insults, our place of employment would always remain a tedious prison.

Within these pages lie the world’s best wit and with practice you could possibly contribute your own personal tongue-lashings to this perpetuating living archive. There are thirty-three categories to choose from and surprisingly for a UK publication, Australian Politics (when Paul Keating dominated in the 1980’s/1990’s) is there amongst the list of juicy treasures. Pity Matthew has only chosen material from the recent past, since the beginning of federation; unbroken insults have constantly flooded through both chambers of parliament. The mind boggles whenever I try to imagine where Matthew Parris obtained all this information and then there is the burden of labour required to categorise while avoiding repetition and substantiating authenticity.

I’m not going to quote any of this stuff because that is all for the reader to enjoy and discover, but I guarantee every page will raise a smile, and every smirk will seek out an opportunity to utilise some of these excellent gems of ridicule and jocularity:

“Yes … if only I’d said that to %$^!* when he dropped me off at the bus stop.”

“Now, that’s just what I will need for the next group meeting when $#&@ opens her big mouth again.”

“I’m keeping this one for the next school sports day,”

“Just wait till I see the look on her face when I say this right back at her.”

And as they like to say today: “Who needs books when we have the Internet?”

This is the only book you really need today for the Internet. Do yourself a favour and go out and order one yourself. When people on Facebook and other forms of social media become challenging, this book will arm you with that perfect response = touché!

About the reviewer: Carl Delprat is a prolific storyteller. His home is the Australian coastal city of Newcastle, New South Wales. Find his books at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CarlDelprat