‘Murdered By Words’: 50 Epic Comebacks That Immediately Put Jerks In Their Place (New Pics)
Welcome to the internet, a place to find like-minded people no matter what your background is. Sounds fun, right? Sadly, it can become quite toxic. And we're the ones to blame for it. Racism, misogyny, classism; all of society's wounds fester online just as much as they do in real life.
However, being insulting and mean often comes right back to bite you. Amongst the most impressive ways to fight internet trolls is by using the epic art of the comeback. Fierce, well-constructed, and piercingly accurate arguments end up in the subreddit called Murdered By Words. This community with over 2.6M members is the place where verbal assassins cut right through the BS and share some of the best burns.
A while back, Bored Panda talked to the mods of r/MurderedByWords who said that "a murder should (but doesn't always have to) be more than a quick response or retort. The best murders are well-constructed, thought-out responses that leave the opening argument completely without any ability to reply.“
And there's more than one way to crush your opponent verbally. A burn or “a quick rapier thrust or stab to the heart (a short, swift reply) can be just as deadly as a drawn-out murder, and you'll frequently see both types in this sub," the moderator explained. And as you can guess, put-downs shared in this group might be some of the most enjoyable one-liners in human history.
But when you end up in the middle of a heated argument, emotions can take over. Especially if the person you're disagreeing with is sticking to an opinion that's just nonsense. So having in mind the rise in the number of flat earthers and anti-vaxxers, staying civil on the internet these past years can seem like an impossible task.
And while ruthless put-downs seem entertaining in the online world, other principles apply when you're arguing with someone in real life. To find out more about how to deal with those who mock you, Bored Panda reached out to Neel Burton, M.D., a psychiatrist, philosopher and author of Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions.
Burton is doubtful that throwing put-downs to the mockers actually make us feel better. "Someone who's insulting you is already in a weak position—or why would they be insulting you—so it would be unkind to shatter them completely. If you respond with compassionate silence, the message will be both stronger and kinder,“ he advised.
Clinical psychotherapist Eva Jajonie agrees with this line of thinking, and offers this explanation as to why the desire to offend someone is a sign of vulnerability: "When suppressed concerns and feelings, such as lack of self-esteem; self-defeating thoughts and behaviors; guilt; and anger, for example, are not treated or dealt with, the person uses insults to unleash anger, to escape dealing with the pain or trauma experienced.”
Now that we know someone who is taking a cheap shot at you isn't that much of a threat, another thing to consider is status. According to Burton, we should try to keep our integrity: "If you engage the insulter on their own level, you are bringing yourself down and giving their insult far too much legitimacy.“ Staying levelheaded during an argument is not easy, but can be learned with practice. Like, try to notice when the adrenaline starts kicking in stopping it. Or take some deep breaths to remain calm, whatever method works for you.
But when you hear ignorant slurs, it's often difficult to just stand by. Here's where using humor can be extremely effective. "A good comeback is one that the insulter can also laugh at. It should not be too devastating. Ideally, it should be tangential, maybe even absurd,“ Burton explained. If your reply is funny, well-timed and well delivered, it can diffuse the tension of the situation and undercut the mockery.
To make the web a kinder and safer place, do an ethical 'gut test' before sharing, commenting, or posting. Just remember, the Murdered By Words community is always watching and no insults or cruel comments get past their sharp eyes.