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“What pig sties could compare in goings-on with you?”


What are you all up to this lovely Friday night? Going out to dinner with a special someone? Hanging out at the bar with your friends? Putting together syllabi for the semester that starts next week (me)?

Whatever your plans, you need some fresh insults for the evening. For that, I suggest this handy randomizer of Martin Luther’s insults from his corpus of angry writings. From the brief (“There you are, like butter in sunshine.”) to the lengthy (“You say, “What comes out of our mouth must be kept!” I hear it – which mouth do you mean? The one from which the farts come? (You can keep that yourself!)”), impress your friends and colleagues with new heights in spiteful verbal ranting.

Out of these insults came a beautiful religion.

As someone who grew up Lutheran, I think we can all agree that my denuncinatory language and judgmental ways are really just me channeling the founder of my faith (or ex-faith or the various existential crises that define our people, see any Ingmar Bergman film for more). This blog is the church house door, the keyboard is the hammer, and angry, vituperative words are my heritage.

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  • wjts

    Mister, we could use a man like Martin Luther again.

    • As Lindsay Beyerstein said about Luther recently (I stole this link from her facebook page), he’s really the first blogger, just going and nailing his angry thoughts to the door.

      • Sly

        Out of these insults came a beautiful religion.

        Along with bizarre semi-pornographic artwork and virulent antisemitism.

        So… yeah, I guess he really was the spiritual father of blogging.

        • Martin Luther truly understood all internet traditions.

          • NonyNony

            How many cats did Martin Luther own?

        • Luther originally assumed that as soon as the Church cleaned up its act, the Jews would flock to Christianity and be saved. So early on he was very mild and coaxing in relation to them, talking about how wonderful it would be when the whole world was saved, etc..

          As it became clearer and clearer to him through his life that they would remain stubborn, stiff-necked heathens, he became increasingly anti-semitic. It was frustrated personal rage talking as much as anything…”I did all this work to perfect the Church for you and you rissoles didn’t appreciate my heroic efforts on your behalf!” So OF COURSE they deserved to be exterminated. Such ingrates had to be wiped off the face of the earth.

          (Notice that your link goes to a writing from 1543, only 3 years before Luther’s death. He was well and truly nutz by then, running screaming out of his water closet claiming that there was a demon in it, etc.. He suffered terribly from digestive issues and smelly gas, and claimed the devil was behind it… so to speak.)

        • He sure wrote a lot of sht.

  • Vance Maverick

    Does any present-day Lutheran share any of the qualities you admire in old Martin? In my few encounters with the denomination (e.g. ecumenical potlucks back when I was an Episcopalian) folks were mild and polite practically to Canadian extremes.

    • Bill Murray

      were they Missouri Synod or Wisconsin Synod?

      • Vance Maverick

        Norwegian Synod of 1853. Actually I have no idea — this was at some liberal East Coast college, where all distinctions of import were deliquesced into mush.

    • Me.

      • Vance Maverick

        Uh…which quality? Coprolalia? Intolerance?

    • Richard Hershberger

      We’re that way when Episcopalians are in the room. Once y’all leave, the gloves come off!

      • Pestilence

        Well given what Anglicans did to Lutherans, I can see the wisdom of that.

    • Njorl

      Maybe it’s like Christ suffering for all Christians.
      Luther was a bad-tempered, antagonistic loudmouth for all Lutherans.

  • Recommending books isn’t exactly popular on comment threads, but read Lucien Febvre’s bio of Luther if you ever get the chance. It was the first book of this great historian, and it is a hootm, full of enthusiasm for the elan, if not the ideas, of Luther. (Actually, I’ve read another biography of Luther that was a lot of fun; but I’ve long since forgotten the name of the author. I lived in small town with a miniature library, which is how I came to read this book. It was written by a Jesuit who managed to match Luther insult for insult as he represented the reformer as the compleat monster of the 16th Century.)

  • rea

    It just goes to show that careers are possible even for people who drop out of law school . . .

  • Tom Renbarger

    “Are you ignorant of what it means to be ignorant?”

    Looks like we’re going to have to rename the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  • Randy Paul

    This one was something else:

    I was frightened and thought I was dreaming, it was such a thunderclap, such a great horrid fart did you let go here! You certainly pressed with great might to let out such a thunderous fart – it is a wonder that it did not tear your hole and belly apart!

    Downright Rabelaisian.

    • He was obsessed with farts.

      Because he let out so many himself.

      Too much beer, one supposes. And sauerkraut.

  • jeer9

    I prefer my insults Shakespearean:

    Paris: And tell me, noble Diomed, faith, tell me true,
    Even in the soul of sound good-fellowship,
    Who, in your thoughts, merits fair Helen best,
    Myself or Menelaus?

    Diomedes: Both alike:
    He merits well to have her, that doth seek her,
    Not making any scruple of her soilure,
    With such a hell of pain and world of charge,
    And you as well to keep her, that defend her,
    Not palating the taste of her dishonour,
    With such a costly loss of wealth and friends:
    He, like a puling cuckold, would drink up
    The lees and dregs of a flat tamed piece;
    You, like a lecher, out of whorish loins
    Are pleased to breed out your inheritors:
    Both merits poised, each weighs nor less nor more;
    But he as he, the heavier for a whore.

    • Maybe the 16th century was just excellent for insults.

      • The Dark Avenger

        As was the 17th Century, if you went south and east:

        Sultan Mahmud IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks:

        As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians — I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

        –Turkish Sultan Mahmud IV

        The reply was a stream of invective and vulgar rhymes, parodying the Sultan’s titles:

        Version 1

        Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!

        O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are you, that can’t slay a hedgehog with your naked ass? The devil excretes, and your army eats. You will not, you son of a bitch, make subjects of Christian sons; we’ve no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck your mother.

        You Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, Armenian pig, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s ass, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw your own mother!

        So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won’t even be herding Christian pigs. Now we’ll conclude, for we don’t know the date and don’t own a calendar; the moon’s in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day’s the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our ass!

        Koshovyi Otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.

        Version 2

        The Kozaks of the Dnieper to the Sultan of Turkey:

        Thou Turkish Satan, brother and companion to the accursed Devil, and companion to Lucifer himself, Greetings!

        What the hell kind of noble knight art thou? The Devil voids, and thy army devours. Never wilt thou be fit to have the sons of Christ under thee: thy army we fear not, and by land and on sea we will do battle against thee.

        Thou scullion of Babylon, thou wheelwright of Macedonia, thou beer-brewer of Jerusalem, thou goat-flayer of Alexandria, thou swineherd of Egypt, both the Greater and the Lesser, thou sow of Armenia, thou goat of Tartary, thou hangman of Kamenetz, thou evildoer of Podoliansk, thou grandson of the Devil himself, thou great silly oaf of all the world and of the netherworld and, before our God, a blockhead, a swine’s snout, a mare’s ass, a butcher’s cur, an unbaptized brow, May the Devil take thee! That is what the Kozaks have to say to thee, thou basest-born of runts! Unfit art thou to lord it over true Christians!

        The date we write not for no calendar have we got; the moon is in the sky, the year is in a book, and the day is the same with us here as with thee over there, and thou canst kiss us thou knowest where!

        Koshovyi Otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.


        I had a girlfriend in college who was the daughter of a Lutheran minister. We took a playwriting class together, and her reaction to my first effort was, “You were a better writer than I though you’d be.”

        At least I exceeded her expectations.

        • Njorl

          What the devil kind of knight are you, that can’t slay a hedgehog with your naked ass?

          In the Sultan’s defense, if I were a knight who could slay a hedgehog with my naked ass, I’d probably refrain from proving it.

  • My wife, who works as an administrator in an academic department, says that you’re ahead of the game. You’re not supposed to start until Sylabi Sunday.

    • Bill Murray

      We started last week, and I still have one syllabus to finish.

  • Eric

    “Perhaps you want me to die of unrelieved boredom while you keep on talking.”

    • elm

      Yeah, that’s my favorite, too, if only because I can see myself actually saying that to someone.

  • wengler

    “You are the true, chief, and final Antichrist.”

    I feel flattered.

  • Grrg

    This particular insult seems not to have been including in the website:

    “Shame on you, here, there, or wherever you may be, you damned Jews, that you dare to apply this earnest, glorious, comforting word of God so despicably to your mortal, greedy belly, which is doomed to decay, and that you are not ashamed to display your greed so openly. You are not worthy of looking at the outside of the Bible, much less of reading it. You should read only the bible that is found under the sow’s tail, and eat and drink the letters that drop from there. That would be a bible for such prophets, who root about like sows and tear apart like pigs the words of the divine Majesty, which should be heard with all honor, awe, and joy”

    —”On the Jews and Their Lies,” 1543

    • FLRealist

      I grew up in a LCA Lutheran church, and went to a Lutheran college for several years, and yet I was never taught anything about Luther’s anti-semitism. It came as a great shock to me when I found this out in my late twenties. I still haven’t truly reconciled his beliefs with what I was taught, because the congregation I was raised in is a large part of why I’m a liberal now.

      • Njorl

        Wouldn’t pointing out Luther’s antisemitism be like pointing out that he had 10 fingers?

        • stickler

          To be fair, Luther didn’t start out anti-Semitic. Read his _That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew_ from the 1520s – he admired the Jews, their language, and their scriptures.

          Unfortunately, the Jews failed to convert to Protestant Christianity, and Luther didn’t take it too well. His more rabid anti-Semitic stuff came late in life as his movement was beset with problems, including military defeat. There’s some evidence that his assistants tried to suppress the nastiest pamphlets and that they weren’t circulated too widely.

          But centuries later, Goebbels sure made up for that.

        • Hogan

          Luther was one of the great haters in German history, and ain’t that sayin something.

  • Joey Maloney

    And now, Luther vs. Shakespeare:

    Is not what I said before true, that you have eaten and drunk yourself full of devils, and so spew vainglorious devils out of your hellish gorge?

    I make as good use of [thine face] as many a man doth of a death’s-head, or a momento mori.

    You plunge in like a sow to devour pearls, and like a dog tearing holy things to pieces.

    [Thou art] as loathsome as a toad.

    You are a little pious prancer.

    [Thou] villainous abominable misleader of youth!

  • ChrisTS

    Your words are so foolishly and ignorantly composed that I cannot believe you understand them.

    I wish I had the courage to use that on a student paper.

  • On va te dire que ce n’est guère faux !

  • Article follement fascinant !!

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