But true to his growing reputation as one of the country's leading stand-up comics, Lee was more than a match in the put-down
stakes, while treating the non-hecklers to some excellent material, including his joy at being a dad.
The master of the witty put-down was Winston Churchill, whose catalogue of catty comments was far richer than his famous retort to a woman who condemned him for being drunk.
In America during the 1990s, one of the most childish, and entertaining, forms of put-down was created on the streets and then immortalised in scores of teen movies.
Politicians and celebrities alike are keeping catty comments off-the-record, leaving club culture and the next generation to create a new style of put-downs. Kirsty Buchanan reports
PUT-DOWN: "I don't think so, boys, there are enough t**s on display here already."
PUT-DOWN: "Only to a man like you who doesn't measure up."
What emerges from a careful reading is a shrewd woman whose frequent sarcasm and deprecation--directed at herself and at others--seem to be in part a reaction to suffering a lifetime of quiet put-downs
. An example: If you thought "Bar," her nickname, was short for Barbara, you'll be pained to learn that "Bar" is named after a horse.
To guard against this type of put-down, try at all times to listen to your staff members and show that you are interested in them--make an effort particularly when you have a lot of things on your mind that could preoccupy you.
Some laboratory supervisors I have discussed this with acknowledge it is a common weakness, but they don't understand why it is a put-down. They don't realize that a put-down doesn't have to be abusive.
PUT-DOWN: You can't have, my name's not Durex Extra Small.
PUT-DOWN: I thought you were a future lover, until you opened your mouth.
On a percentage-of-content basis, Spy is more fully devoted to the put-down than any other American periodical.
But Spy's enforcement of the meritocratic code dissolves, finally, into an elaborate put-down game meant to signal superior taste to everyone-and most particularly to other members of the meritocracy, who worry greatly that they, too, will be exposed as lacking.
The effects of the put-down
and the pose can be grave.
Bullying takes many forms: gossip, snubbing, put-downs
, threats, and violent attacks.