Say what you want about the Brexit vote and about Donald Trump (and let’s face it, there’s a lot to say about both) but the most important development to arise from the intersection of these two newsmakers was the hilariously inventive invective streamed at Trump during his post-Brexit visit to Scotland.
A quick refresher:
British voters decided in a referendum that they were going to quit the European Union, a decision that deeply divided Britain along political, economic and demographic lines.
The day after the vote, Trump visited a golf course he owns in Scotland and offered this on Twitter:
“Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!”
Just one problem: Scotland voted overwhelmingly to REMAIN with the EU.
And thus it began on Twitter: The most brilliant insults the likes of which the world has not seen since the Insulting Frenchman on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” (Recall: “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”)
Some of these are so superb that I am going to have to incorporate them into my daily swearing vocabulary:
Twitter users referred to Trump as a “mangled apricot hellbeast”; a “weapons-grade plum”; “clueless numpty” and “bloviating flesh bag.”
Scotland hates both Brexit and you, you mangled apricot hellbeast buy a report for college
— Nina B (@queenbernstein) http://www.larchmontlibrary.org/
— Jilly Ballantyne (@JillyBallantyne) June 24, 2016
Then of course, are those super-excellent ones that are the nuclear option for when you really want to call someone out, such as:
But what this underscores to me is something I have long suspected, that is, anything the British, Scottish or Irish say sounds so much smarter and better than Americans.
In fairness, the Brits do have William Shakespeare on their side and he was known to toss off a good insult or two.
Consider: “lump of foul deformity”; “a fusty nut with no kernel” and “beetle-headed, flap-ear’d knave.”
I mean c’mon. The best I could do in matching wits with someone like that would be to go: “Oh yeah?! Well, you’re mother dresses you funny.”
It just doesn’t have the same panache.
But this also reminds me that the Brits, Scots and Irish almost speak the same language as we do.
I have a dear friend who is from Ireland and when we first started to work together she would drop phrases that I often had to ask her to interpret, such as “a month of Sundays,” a “bull’s look” and “wouldn’t touch that with a barge pole.”
My wife, Meg, lived in England for 10 years and often sprinkles Britishisms into conversation that give me pause, such as referring to the car’s “windscreen” or “bonnet” or traveling to “collect” someone.
Meg’s dad was Scottish. A few years ago we met four of her Scottish cousins who came to New York City for a visit. We spent a summer Sunday afternoon exploring Manhattan.
We had a great time. But with their thick burrs, I understood about 40 percent of what they said.
After the way the Scots told off Donald Trump and after Brexit, I’m proposing a referendum to make Scotland our 51st state.