The Use of Ridicule

Sunday, July 2, 2017 – The Use of Ridicule

I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them. ~ Baruch Spinoza

Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool. ~ Charles Simmons

We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects. ~ William Hazlitt

Ridicule dishonors a man more than dishonor does. ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

An Englishman bears with patience any ridicule which foreigners cast upon him. John Bull never laughs so loudly as when he laughs at himself; but the Americans are nationally sensitive and cannot endure that good-humored raillery which jests at their weaknesses and foibles.~ Isabella Bird

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. ~ Edmund Burke

Fear of ridicule begets the worst cowardice. ~ André Gide

I was laughed at by everyone upon every occasion. But no one knew or guessed that if there was a man on this earth who knew better than anyone how ridiculous I was, that man was myself, and that was the thing that I found most exasperating of all, that they did not know it. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule? ~ Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristics: Letter Concerning Enthusiasm

So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats. Rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. ~ Molly Ivins

I have always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: “My God, make our enemies very ridiculous!” God has granted it to me. ~ Voltaire, Letter to M. Damilaville, May 16, 1767

I know that there are things that never have been funny, and never will be. And I know that ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon. ~ Dorothy Parker

Scoff not at the natural defects of any which are not in their power to amend. It is cruel to beat a cripple with his own crutches! ~ Thomas Fuller

Resort is had to ridicule only when reason is against us. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Ridicule is the language of the devil. ~ Thomas Carlyle

Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities. ~ Oscar Wilde

Ridicule has historically proven itself a rickety fence for great ideas. ~ Vanna Bonta

Reason is the test of ridicule, not ridicule the test of truth. ~ William Warburton

Ridicule is a weak weapon when pointed at a strong mind; but common people are cowards and dread an empty laugh. ~ Martin Farquhar Tupper

The greatest height of heroism to which an individual, like a people, can attain is to know how to face ridicule. ~ Miguel de Unamuno

He who brings ridicule to bear against truth finds in his hand a blade without a hilt. ~ Walter Savage Landor

Ridicule has always been the enemy of enthusiasm, and the only worthy opponent to ridicule is success. ~ Oliver Goldsmith

Some men are, in regard to ridicule, like tin-roofed buildings in regard to hail: all that hits them bounds rattling off; not a stone goes through. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

If ridicule were employed to laugh men out of vice and folly, it might be of some use. ~ Joseph Addison

I believe they talked of me, for they laughed consumedly. ~ George Farquhar

The raillery which is consistent with good-breeding is a gentle animadversion of some foible, which, while it raises the laugh in the rest of the company, doth not put the person rallied out of countenance or expose him to shame or contempt. On the contrary, the jest should be so delicate that the object of it should be capable of joining in the mirth it occasions. ~ Henry Fielding

One does not lash what lies at a distance. The foibles that we ridicule must at least be a little bit our own. Only then will the work be a part of our own flesh. The garden must be weeded. ~ Paul Klee

When superior people hear of the Way, they carry it out with diligence. When middling people hear of the Way, it sometimes seems to be there, sometimes not. When lesser people hear of the Way, they ridicule it greatly. If they didn’t laugh at it, it wouldn’t be the Way. ~ Lao Tzu

There is nothing one sees oftener than the ridiculous and magnificent, such close neighbors that they touch. [L’on ne saurait mieux faire voir que le magnifique et le ridicule sont si voisins qu’ils se touchent.] ~ Bernard de Bovier de Fontenelle, Dialogues des Morts

Ridicule more often settles things more thoroughly and better than acrimony. [Ridiculum acri fortius ac melius magnas plerumque secat res.] ~ Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires

“Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,” the Mock Turtle replied, “and then the different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.” ~ Lewis Carroll

Society is a republic. When an individual endeavors to lift himself above his fellows, he is dragged down by the mass, either by means of ridicule or of calumny. No one shall be more virtuous or more intellectually gifted than others. Whoever, by the irresistible force of genius, rises above the common herd is certain to be ostracized by society, which will pursue him with such merciless derision and detraction that at last he will be compelled to retreat into the solitude of his thoughts. ~ Heinrich Heine

To ridicule philosophy is really to philosophize. ~ Blaise Pascal

I avoid talking before the youth of the age as I would avoid dancing before them: for if one’s tongue doesn’t move in the steps of the day, and thinks to please by its old graces, it is only an object of ridicule. ~ Horace Walpole

Mysticism and exaggeration go together. A mystic must not fear ridicule if he is to push all the way to the limits of humility or the limits of delight. ~ Milan Kundera

Of the various forms of government which have prevailed in the world, a hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule. ~ Edward Gibbon

There is no character, howsoever good and fine, but it can be destroyed by ridicule, howsoever poor and witless. Observe the ass, for instance: his character is about perfect, he is the choicest spirit among all the humbler animals, yet see what ridicule has brought him to. Instead of feeling complimented when we are called an ass, we are left in doubt. ~ Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”