The conundrum of the witty retort

January 12th, 2010

I wanted to hold up a comment made by occhiblu in response to my Sunday column, in which I suggested “confessing” to one’s barista that you’ve been seeing other coffee shops. occhiblu wrote:

I think most people think of “witty retort” as one that puts down the other person; it’s nice to see one suggested that lets the other person in on the joke.

Yes! This is exactly it. Long-time readers know my frustration with the request for a “witty retort” to shut someone down. (You know who was really good at witty comebacks? Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde. Check out how life ended up for them sometime.) But of course I do recommend humor, and often. Thanks, occhiblu, for finally putting that distinction into words for me.

2 Responses to “The conundrum of the witty retort”

  1. Chris on January 12, 2010 6:21 pm

    I’m astounded. You have expressed distaste for rudeness by attacking a man because was persecuted for being openly gay? And are you blaming Parker for her husband’s suicide, or for being the target of the Red Scare blacklist?

    Shockingly poor form.

  2. occhiblu on January 12, 2010 11:35 pm

    Hee. You’re welcome.

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