When a writer published a scathing and premature death notice about Marquis de Sade, the latter penned the withering dismissal below. This gem came to me via the invaluable Letters of Note and the incomparable Stephen Fry. (Passage transcribed below.) I think I’ll keep a copy of the last paragraph in a keystroke macro so I can deploy it when necessary.
No, I am not dead, and I would like to implement proof of my unequivocal existence on your shoulders with a very vigorous stick. I would do so, in fact, did I not fear the plague me miasma of your mephitic corpse. But when all is said and done, scorn is the only weapon that a decent man need use to repel the banalities of a blockhead like yourself.
It is not true that I am the author of Justine. To any other than adult such as I might take the trouble to prove this, but what emerges from your stinking mouth is so stupid that refutation would dishonor more than accusation.
A sensible man, when barked at by curs of your type, spits on them and continues on his way.
So bark away, bray, howl, brew your poison; your inability, like that of the toad, to spit beyond your own nose, causing it to fall back on yourself, will succeed in covering but yourself with the poison you would like to sully others with.