By John Grooms
Frontline Press, a new book publisher in the Charleston area, starts off with a bang with this clever, hilarious collection of "Great Political Comebacks, Putdowns & Ripostes" through the ages, snazzily illustrated by artist Steve Stegelin. The book's title comes from a famous remark by Great Britain's Winston Churchill. He had been drinking heartily at a party when he accidentally bumped into a Socialist member of Parliament, Bessie Braddock, who told him, "Mr. Churchill, you are drunk!" Churchill, not too drunk to be witheringly funny, replied, "And Bessie, you are ugly. But I'll be sober in the morning."
That kind of cutting wit fills the book, ranging from fifth century BC orator Pericles being smacked down by his nephew Alcibades for being old-fashioned to Vladimir Putin telling George W. Bush, who urged the Russian President to allow more democracy in his nation, that "We certainly would not have the same kind of democracy as Iraq." In between, classics abound, such as writer Dorothy Parker's tête-à-tête with conservative Congresswoman Claire Booth Luce. When the two political adversaries arrived at the door of a New York restaurant simultaneously. Luce moved aside and cattily said, "Age before beauty," to which Parker replied as she walked past, "And pearls before swine."
Anyone interested in humor and politics ought to get a kick out of I'll Be Sober In The Morning. Anyone who isn't, well, what's wrong with you? Let's end with one more quip from Churchill, who was asked if he was thrilled by the large crowds he was drawing to his speeches. "It is quite flattering," said the Prime Minister. "But whenever I feel this way I remember that if instead of making a political speech, I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big."