The World's Greatest, Gayest Insults

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com August 13 2014 7:00 AM ET

Are the gays meaner than our straight friends? Bisexuals bitchier? Lash-tongued lesbians? There are the rainbows and unicorns gays and then there is Gore Vidal. Of course Vidal said he wasn't gay, he just did gay things. That may be, but he certainly was a gimlet-tongued, evil queen. And very entertaining. We present below some of the more deliciously crusty insults by and about our kind of people.

HOLLYWOOD
Well, of course we included Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in a list of gay quotes. How could you possibly think we wouldn't?

"She has a cult, and what the hell is a cult except a gang of rebels without a cause. I have fans. There's a big difference."
— Joan Crawford on Bette Davis

"I wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire."
— Bette Davis on Joan Crawford

"He needed willowy or boyish girls like Katharine Hepburn to make him look what they now call macho. If I'd co-starred with Grant or if Crawford had, we'd have eaten him for breakfast."
—Bette Davis on Cary Grant

"Mr. Dean appears to be wearing my last year's wardrobe and using my last year's talent."
— Marlon Brando on James Dean

"Ingrid Bergman speaks five languages and can't act in any of them."
— John Gielgud on Ingrid Bergman

"When I get hold of her, I'll tear out every hair of her mustache!"
— Talullah Bankhead about Bette Davis

"Darling, they've absolutlely ruined your perfectly dreadful play."
Talullah Bankhead to Tennessee Williams after seeing the film version of one of his
plays.

BRITS
For this article, Madonna counts as British. She certainly sounds that way.

"Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington is so boring, you fall asleep halfway through her name."
— Alan Bennett

"The easiest way for you to lose 10 pounds is just to take off your wig."
— Madonna to Elton John

"She looks like a fucking fairground stripper."
— Elton on Madonna

"I see her as one great stampede of lips directed at the nearest derriere."
— Noël Coward

"Nature played a cruel trick on her by giving her a waxed mustache."
— Alan Bennett

"She had much in common with Hitler, only no mustache."
— Noël Coward

"Nature not content with denying him the ability to think, has endowed him with the ability to write."
— A. E. Housman

"She plunged into a sea of platitudes, and with the powerful breast stroke of a channel swimmer, made her confident way towards the white cliffs of the obvious."
— W. Somerset Maugham

"She proceeds to dip her little fountain-pen filler into pots of oily venom and to squirt the mixture at all her friends."
— Harold Nicholson

"You were born with your legs apart. They'll send you to the grave in a Y-shaped coffin."
— Joe Orton

"He's completely unspoiled by failure."
— Noël Coward


TRUMAN CAPOTE
Truman was great at both saying mean things and inspiring the enmity of others. It's a special talent.

"That isn't writing at all, it's typing."
— Truman Capote about Jack Kerouac's On the Road

"I always said little Truman had a voice so high it could only be detected by bats."
— Tennessee Williams on Truman Capote

"It was a good career move."
— Gore Vidal on Truman Capote's death

MEAN GIRLS
Yes, we are stretching the boundaries of this category a bit here. So what? This is really hard. Have you ever done one of these damn things?

"Tell me, is there anything you wish you hadn't eaten?
— Dame Enda to Roseanne

"The male chromosome is an incomplete female chromosome. In other words the male is a walking abortion; aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples."
— Valerie Solanos

"Teflon brain (nothing sticks)."
— Lily Tomlin

"If you ever become a mother, can I have one of the puppies?"
— Charles Pierce

LIT BITCHERY
My mother used to tell me, "If you spent half as much time on your homework as you did thinking up all those nasty things to say about your friends, you'd have a scholarship to Harvard." Tell that to Gore Vidal, Mom.

"He is the same old sausage, fizzing and sputtering in his own grease."
— Henry James

"She was like a sinking ship firing on the rescuers."
— Alexander Woollcott

"Reading Proust is like bathing is someone else's dirty water."
— Alexander Woolcott on Marcel Proust

"No one reads him, they hear of him."
— Gore Vidal on Norman Mailer

"In her last days she resembled a spoiled pear."
— Gore Vidal on Gertrude Stein

"The only genius with an IQ of sixty."
— Gore Vidal on Andy Warhol

"Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the."
— Mary McCarthy, in a statement about Hellman in a 1979 interview on The Dick Cavett Show; this prompted a defamation suit against McCarthy which was dropped after Hellman's death. Later McCarthy said "If someone had told me, don't say anything about Lillian Hellman because she'll sue you, it wouldn't have stopped me. It might have spurred me on."

WILDE CHILD
Oscar Wilde was the king of the epigram, bon mot, scathing remark, and witty double entendre.

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."

"Of course, America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up."

"I don't recognize you — I've changed a lot."

"America is one long expectoration."

"She is a peacock in everything but beauty."

"He would stab his best friend for the sake of writing an epigram on his tombstone."

"A monstrous orchid."
— Oscar Wilde on Aubrey Beardsley

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