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On hearing that someone had reviled him, he said, “As long as I’m not in his presence, let him flog me as well.”

[ἀκούσας ὑπό τινος λοιδορεῖσθαι, “ἀπόντα με,” ἔφη, “καὶ μαστιγούτω.”]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Mensch (2018)]

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Having heard that he was abused by some one, he said, “He may beat me too, if he likes, in my absence.”
[tr. Yonge (1853), sec. 11]

On hearing that someone abused him, he rejoined, "He may even scourge me so it be in my absence."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 18]

After he heard that he was mocked by someone, he said, “Let him insult me when I am absent.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

Added on 17-Aug-21 | Last updated 17-Aug-21
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People in France have a phrase: “Spirit of the Stairway.” In French: Esprit d’Escalier. It means that moment when you find the answer but it’s too late. So you’re at a party and someone insults you. You have to say something. So, under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something lame. But the moment you leave the party …

As you start down the stairway, then — magic. You come up with the perfect thing you should’ve said. The perfect crippling put down.

That’s the Spirit of the Stairway.

The trouble is, even the French don’t have a phrase for the stupid things you actually do say under pressure. Those stupid, desperate things you actually think or do.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Haunted (2005)
Added on 13-Aug-20 | Last updated 13-Aug-20
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Silence is the unbearable repartee.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Illustrated London News (30 Sep 1933)
Added on 14-Dec-15 | Last updated 14-Dec-15
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I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.

Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) American politician

When asked what he thought of Jerry Falwell's suggestion that every good Christian should be against Sandra Day O'Connor's nomination to the Supreme Court. John Dean later claimed he was there and that the news media "changed the anatomical reference" from "nuts."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Oct-15
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