As many of you are already aware, Late Night’s David Letterman hosted his final show last week. As almost none of you are aware, my Mini Book Club (there are two of us) just finished up Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
I see some serendipity in this because Letterman and Wilde are both masters of the snarky line. Of course, Wilde was doing snark before “snark” was even a thing. He probably called it something with more than one syllable, or more likely an entire paragraph.
At any rate, Dorian Gray is rich with snarky one-liners. What better way to give an homage to both snarkmasters than a Top 10 list? Without further ado, then, I give you the Top 10 snarkiest lines from The Picture of Dorian Gray, given in classic Late Night reverse order:
10. “All art is quite useless.”
9. “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
8. “As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.”
7. “The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror.”
6. “Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”
5. “A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.”
4. “When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”
3. “Men marry because they are tired, women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.”
2. “You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”
And, finally, my No. 1 snarkiest line from The Picture of Dorian Gray:
“I am too fond of reading books to care to write them.”