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RIDICULE
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[ Also see Absurdity Caricature Contempt Criticism Insult Irony Jeering Jesting Laughter Levity Praise Sarcasm Satire Scandal Slander Sneer Wit ]

It is easy for a man who sits idle at home, and has nobody to please but himself, to ridicule or censure the common practices of mankind.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Sneering springs out of the wish to deny; and wretched must that state of mind be that wishes to take refuge in doubt.
      - Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Mrs. George MacLean)

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

Ridicule has followed the vestiges of truth, but never usurped her place.
      - Walter Savage Landor

Raillery is more insupportable than wrong; because we have a right to resent injuries, but are ridiculous in being angry at a jest.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Generally the ridiculous touches the sublime.
  [Fr., En general, le ridicule touche au sublime.]
      - Jean Francois Marmontel,
        Oeuvres Complettes (V, 188)

A profound conviction raises a man above the feeling of ridicule.
      - John Stuart Mill

There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.
  [Fr., Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas.]
      - Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I),
        to Abbe du Pradt, at Warsaw

We can learn to read and write, but we cannot learn raillery; that must be a particular gift of nature; and, to tell the truth, I esteem him happy who does not wish to acquire it. The character of sarcasm is dangerous; although this quality makes those laugh whom it does not wound, it, nevertheless, never procures esteem.
      - Count Axel von Oxenstierna (Oxenstjerna or Oxenstiern)

The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.
      - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (pt. II)

Your sayer of smart things has a bad heart.
      - Blaise Pascal

But touch me, and no minister so sore.
  Whoe'er offends, at some unlucky time
    Slides into verse, and hitches in a rhyme,
      Sacred to ridicule his whole life long,
        And the sad burthen of some merry song.
      - Alexander Pope

Ridicule, the weapon of all others most feared by enthusiasts of every description, and which, from its predominance over such minds, often checks what is absurd, and fully as often smothers that which is noble.
      - Sir Walter Scott

How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule?
      - Lord Shaftesbury, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashley Cooper)

Nothing is more ridiculous than ridicule.
      - Lord Shaftesbury, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashley Cooper)

Truth, 'tis supposed, may bear all lights; and on of those bright lights . . . by which things are to be viewed . . . is ridicule itself.
      - Lord Shaftesbury, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashley Cooper)

Betray mean terror of ridicule, thou shalt find fools enough to mock thee; but answer thou their language with contempt, and the scoffers will lick thy feet.
      - Martin Farquhar Tupper

Ridicule is a weak weapon, when levelled at a strong mind;
  But common men are cowards, and dread an empty laugh.
      - Martin Farquhar Tupper

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 (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire),
        Letter to M. Damilaville, May 16, 1767

It is a good plan, with a young person of a character to be much affected by ludicrous and absurd representations, to show him plainly by examples that there is nothing which may not be thus represented. He will hardly need to be told that everything is not a mere joke.
      - Archbishop Richard Whately


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