The Curmudgeon Speaks.

Recently I was told that some people identify me as a curmudgeon.
Well, I am going to do what I dislike most in people. I am going to come over all self important. The implication in the naming of me as a curmudgeon was that I am considered important enough to be discussed behind my back. Wonderful.
The other implication was one of criticism. An insult perhaps?
This amuses me as I have often referred to myself as a curmudgeon when warning internet acquaintances that I will not pull my punches if I disagree with what they say.

Well, I have been considering the state of curmudgeonry.

Where better to start than the dictionary? (for the purposes of this exercise, on-line dictionaries):



An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions.
a surly or miserly person

a crusty, irascible, cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas

a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man

a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.

Let’s look at these:

Stubborn? I can be.

Irascible? When there is need.

Full of resentment? Not generally. There are things I resent in life but in the past only.

Cantankerous (ill-natured; quarrelsome; contentious; irritable)? Contentious? Good oh! Irritable? Oh boy… who isn’t at times?  The others? Not really but see stubborn.

Crusty? Well, I’m not a loaf of bread so what else? Giving an effect of surly incivility in address or disposition . Not really. I’m too damn polite for my own good.  And as for “a dirty type of punk or hippy whose lifestyle involves travelling and squatting …” Nooooo! Feisty? Maybe.

Miserly? Oh how I wish I were. I might be more well off and thus more able to do some good.

During my research I came across an interesting take on the Curmudgeon:

What is a Curmudgeon anyway?

A curmudgeon’s reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They’re neither warped nor evil at heart. They don’t hate mankind, just mankind’s absurdities. They’re just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor.  . . . . .   They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment.   . . . . .   Nature, having failed to equip them with a servicable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.
Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can’t compromise their standards and can’t manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.
Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor. – JON WINOKUR


22 Responses to “The Curmudgeon Speaks.”

  1. Maria Says:

    Words have a way of changing their meanings and I think this is true of curmodgeon. Although i do believe people of late are putting the world lovable in front of it as in” He is a loveable old cumodgeon.” I love the explanation by Jon Winokur.

    • magpie11 Says:

      I too enjoyed the Winokur as it says so much about real curmudgeons and yet also in parts describes myself. It gave me pause, I have to admit.

  2. Grannymar Says:

    In my book you are not a Curmudgeon, but I will allow you to be a loveable old curmudgeon for two hours, twice a week!. 😉

  3. bikehikebabe Says:

    Curmudgeons are OK. One should be ones self & be accepted. It takes all kinds to make diversity/variety. Curmudgeons are never boring. To be on guard to be always polite & say the proper thing; that’s boring.

    I wish I could hear your English accent! When I want to hear an Irish accent I find Grannymar telling about her breakfast or her battling Hitler Ellie who’s trying to get her out of bed.

    Ramana is the wise man. Maynard is the funny man. Conrad is the Renaissance man. You’re the curmudgeon man. BE PROUD.

    • magpie11 Says:

      “One should be ones self & be accepted.”

      I would hope so.

      I suspect that there is a post or two in that sentence.

  4. padmum Says:

    Well said–all of us have a little bit or a large chunk of the curmudgeon in us! The word pernickety is another much maligned word!

  5. Ursula Says:

    Sorry, Bike HIke Babe, flattery will get you nowhere, only make you come across as insincere. Ramana has many sides to him; I wouldn’t call him wise. Neither is Conrad Renaissance man. Anything but.Take it from me: I know. And please don’t make pronouncements on what Magpie should be proud of. That’s for him, and him only to decide.

    Oh, Grannymar. Least said the better (on both of your comments 29 Aug). Don’t take it the wrong way: You try to be sweet, in the course of which you will make fluff of everything.

    Will now need to find piece of driftwood to stifle what will be better channeled into coherent thought and its verbal outlet. Magpie, in the interest of your reputation, I might have to take this to my blog. Where I can let rip as I see fit.

    And oh yes,commentators who read this, please do remember: This my commment is MY comment; so all of you don’t mix up the blogger (Magpie) with MY message, ok?


    • magpie11 Says:

      I am proud that people ever comment. 😉

      As for reputations: I seek not the bubble reputation whether in the cannons mouth or no.

      People may say what they will on my watch. I’d prefer there be no foul language and expletives as this only serves to illustrate a paucity of vocabulary… as was recently illustrated in another place by one Russ Chandler (banjoist, supposed Anarchist and pompous Equus africanus asinus ). After all I can mark things as Spam or use some other form of census.

      Ooh! I did enjoy that!

  6. bikehikebabe Says:

    BTW none of us LIKE labels. Or not one of us LIKES labels. (How’s that for proper grammar?)

    I made up labels for Ramana etc, to show my point.
    …which is??? I’m not sure.

    My label bikehikebabe fits. David is Magpie. Sometime run that by us again, why you are Magpie 11.

  7. Ursula Says:

    Now see, what you’ve done, BHB: Magpie at his most curmageous will not show us the way to No 11. There is no ‘about’, there is no ‘search facility’, there is no ‘archive’. His blog is almost as bare as mine.

    One could of course speculate: Maybe the first ten Magpies were taken. Maybe he just loves the number 11. Maybe he lives at number 11. Maybe 11 was just random because he started his blog on the 11th. Maybe he forsaw that some time in the future you and I would ask silly questions.

    I tell you, it always pays to pay attention. Let’s make this into a race, may the rabbit win – and the tortoise not be clever. Blast, I hate challenges, mainly because I rarely shirk them. I also bet you my bottom dollar that any moment now GM will pipe up with the answer.

    Good luck, BHB. Ready, steady, go. Don’t ask which direction. I haven’t got a clue.


  8. Ursula Says:

    Got it: Look no further than 10 Feb 2009:

    “The Eleventh Magpie”.

    And do remember: Always be polite to Magpies or bad luck will be upon you.


    • magpie11 Says:

      That is for lone magpies…”Good morning Captain” or “Hello Mr Magpie. How’s your wife?” or Just plain “Good morning Sir.”

  9. bikehikebabe Says:

    U. How did you find “The 11th Magpie” 10 Feb 2009? I don’t see a way to trace any post.

  10. Ursula Says:

    Tell me about it, BHB aka Watson to my Sherlock, it’s the devil’s own job: Go back to M’s main page (click on top). Then you just need to zoom back month by month on his calendar (right hand side). My reasoning being that an explanation as to M’s blogname to be found pretty much near the time when he started his blog. And what do you know. Here it is:

    Glad to be of service.

  11. magpie11 Says:

    It’s all about learning…. You could click backwards through all of them.

  12. Looney Says:

    Magpie, you are fine. Just need to straighten up your feathers a bit.

  13. Rummuser Says:

    Would you say that the magpie needs a bit of preening of its feathers? I find you perfect.

  14. magpie11 Says:

    Like other birds… think about it….Magpies are more than able to preen their own feathers.

  15. blackwatertown Says:

    Curmudgeonly is a lovely word.
    Stubbornly holding on to notions is not necessarily a bad thing either.

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