16 Sick Burns From History | Summary and Q&A

February 2, 2022
Mental Floss
YouTube video player
16 Sick Burns From History


This video explores a compilation of the most scathing burns and insults throughout history, ranging from film reviews to literary critiques, showcasing the power of words.

Install to Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Transcripts

Key Insights

  • 😠 Scathing critiques have been a part of film criticism for decades, with Roger Ebert's review of "Mad Dog Time" as a standout example.
  • 💢 Vinegar valentines were a means of insulting and mocking individuals in the Victorian era.
  • 🚚 Famous figures such as Elizabeth Taylor, Truman Capote, and Virginia Woolf delivered memorable burns.
  • 💍 Writers like H.G. Wells, William Faulkner, and Mark Twain engaged in critical assessments of their contemporaries.
  • ✊ Feuds and physical altercations between famous figures like Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer highlight the power of personal insults.
  • 💍 Insults and takedowns were not limited to film and literature, with politicians and journalists also engaging in harsh criticism.
  • 🇨🇫 Even beloved figures like Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez experienced public feuds and disses.


roger ebert skewered dozens of awful movies during his decades as a film critic but his review for larry bishop's 1996 crime comedy mad dog time with a cast that included jeff goldblum and ellen barkin just might be his most creative takedown he wrote that mad dog time is the first movie i have seen that does not improve on the site of a blank scre... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What film did Roger Ebert famously critique, and what was his unique suggestion for it?

Roger Ebert critiqued "Mad Dog Time" and humorously suggested that the film be cut into free ukulele picks for the poor.

Q: What were vinegar valentines, and who did they target?

Vinegar valentines were insulting cards that targeted individuals ranging from unwanted admirers to bad singers or performers.

Q: How did Elizabeth Taylor insult her male co-stars?

Elizabeth Taylor famously commented that many of her leading men were "dogs," indicating her disappointment in their performances.

Q: How did Virginia Woolf criticize James Joyce's novel "Ulysses"?

Virginia Woolf described the first few chapters of "Ulysses" as amusing and charming, but later compared them to the act of scratching pimples.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Film critic Roger Ebert's scathing review of "Mad Dog Time" is hailed as his most creative takedown yet.

  • Vinegar valentines were a popular Victorian tradition, featuring insulting rhymes directed at various individuals.

  • Notable figures like Elizabeth Taylor, Virginia Woolf, and Truman Capote delivered memorable disses.

  • Writers like H.G. Wells, William Faulkner, and Mark Twain also engaged in scathing critiques of their contemporaries.

Share This Summary 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on:

Explore More Summaries from Mental Floss 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on: