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Twain on Irreverence
"Irreverence is another person's disrespect to your god; there isn't any word that tells what your disrespect to his god is."
-- Mark Twain
Perhaps in Twain’s time the word irreverence had a much more negative connotation.
Today, when most comedians pride themselves on being “politically incorrect” (a term that should have died a decade ago) irreverence is a good thing. I’m guessing it was a less admired quality 100+ years ago.