The phrase ‘discriminating wit’ is passed about quite frequently in the PL. Usually, in a bad connotation, too. I’ll give you a few examples of how it could be used.
“Dear sir, your discriminating wit is magnificent!” You may have guessed that this was said by one of the Ladies to Mr. Ratherquite.
Two more examples with:
“His lack of discriminating wit causes many problems for many people all over the land.” ~ Mr. Magi.
“Ah, discriminating wit; the aspect that binds us, the aspect that unbinds us, the aspect of wit.” ~ Merlin. And as usual with Merlin, the sense in his statement is lacking.
Anyway, I hope that you have a relative idea about discriminating wit now.
The professor would like to give you an example of a few people who lack discriminating wit to an appalling degree.
I was in a particularly friendly mood one day not too long ago, when the professor was suddenly approached by an acquaintance, Mr. Leopold. (Names have been coded for fear of retaliation.)
Mr. Leopold was immediately in my face—much too close—and grasped my hand.
“You know,” he said, “I’d like you to do something for me.”
“You would?” I began, trying to back up a little and gain space. It wasn’t working.
“Yes, yes,” he said hurriedly. “It’s very important, and I’ll tell you what it is.”
“But I haven’t even agreed,” I protested. “But you seem to think I have.”
“Oh,” Mr. Leopold said. “You’ll agree.” He smiled and leaned closer. “Or, I won’t be your friend anymore.” He said it as a joke, and he laughed. But the professor was really thinking about how nice it would be to lose Mr. Leopold as a friend.
Before the bother could say anything else, another man—tall, thin, and slight, and very grave—walked up. He looked at me for a second, smiled warily, and mumbled, “Hi, VJ,” then he immediately began to speak with Mr. Leopold.
Now, any respectable gentlemen would have done something, for it was pure rudeness of Mr. Goats (the other fellow) to interrupt, and pure rudeness of Mr. Leopold to engage him.
But this professor didn’t want to speak with Mr. Leopold in the first place, so it was time for a hasty retreat.
Unfortunately, that’s when Mr. Spruce walked up. Mr. Spruce has a very interesting smile. It’s usually plastered from cheek to cheek. Whether it’s genuine or not, I’m not sure, though I’d probably—if given a choice—go with the latter.
“Hi!” he said loudly, embracing me forcibly.
I believe I smiled and nodded.
“So how have you been?” The smile was still present—as it always is—which is a wonder to this professor.
“Well,” I began, “rather well, rather well.”
At that exact moment, Mr. Leopold stepped in front of me and began speaking with Mr. Spruce. That’s when I made my getaway.
All three dadblameries are supreme examples of people who lack discriminating wit.
As usual, an intriguing photo:
(I may have posted this before, but the professor really connects with this fellow.)