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the great american insult machine

Match the Matt Taibbi Insult to the Public Figure

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi is very good at some things, like ending interviews with flair and explaining credit default swaps to dudes who live in their mom’s basements. But what he is perhaps best known for is his willingness to say Bad Things about Important People in a Colorful Way. This talent is on copious display in his new book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, which is ostensibly about how America is becoming "a vast ghetto in which all of us ... are being bled dry by a relatively tiny oligarchy of extremely clever financial criminals and their castrato henchmen in government" but mostly serves as a 252-page delivery mechanism for ad hominem insults. Below, we've put together a quiz using some of his most vivid descriptions of public figures. See how many you can figure out!

Shameless TV douchewad.”

[A] bloviating, arbitrary, self-important pseudo-intellectual who recalls the gibberish-spewing academic twits in Woody Allen spoofs like ‘No Kaddish for Weinstein’ and ‘My Speech to the Graduates’”

A personage almost guaranteed to make all of America recoil in disgust, as from rotting cheese, once introduced to him.”

A beetle-browed, balding type in glasses”

Looks like a chief flight attendant on a Piedmont flight from Winston-Salem to Cleveland, with only the bag of almonds and the polyester kerchief missing from the picture.”

[A] junior-Goebbels-in-heels”

A face that seemed permanently frozen just short of an apology for being so much smarter than you.”

An overconfident and immensely unlikeable neo-Svengali”

Gnomish bug-eyed party crasher”


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