An enjoyable piece by the affable George Weigel on the lost art of rough critique. Here's a taste:
"One of the (many) signs of our cultural decline is that verbal insults, these days, are almost invariably scatological or sexual, provoking a blizzard of asterisks whenever A wants to put the smackdown on B. Once upon a time, it was not so. Once, the ability to come up with a clever insult that could be repeated in polite society was thought an important, if not necessarily essential, component of being a gentleman.
... Told over dinner by Lady Astor, the American-born female member of the House of Commons, that, “If you were my husband, Winston, I’d poison your soup,” Churchill immediately replied, “And if you were my wife, Nancy, I’d drink it.” And then there was the great man’s take-down of the austere Labor minister, Sir Stafford Cripps: “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”