Monday, April 14, 2008

Annual Ambrose Bierce Post

Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary" celebrated its centennial of completion in 2006. A lot of what he wrote in the twenty years prior to then still earns a nod or a chuckle today.

AMBASSADOR, n. A wealthy person exiled to an alien land for the purpose of throwing parties, presumably with the hope of extracting government secrets from tipsy natives.

CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

CONSUL, n. In American politics, a person who having failed to secure and office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.

DICTATOR, n. The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy.

DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one's country.

ELECTOR, n. One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man of another man's choice.

HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.

HONORABLE, adj. Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies it is customary to mention all members as honorable; as, "the honorable gentleman is a scurvy cur."

IMMIGRANT, n. An unenlightened person who thinks one country better than another.

KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.

LIBERAL, n. One who tolerates all beliefs and opinions except those with which he disagrees; a benevolent soul who advocates progressive measures for the sake of people with whom he would never associate.

PEACE, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

PHILOSOPHY, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

QUEEN, n. A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is not a king, and through whom it is ruled when there is.

REVOLUTION, n. In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.

ULTIMATUM, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions

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