Politeness theories have focussed on how communicative strategies are employed to promote or maintain social harmony in interaction. On the other hand, little work has been done on communicative strategies with the opposite orientation, that of attacking one's interlocutor and causing disharmony. In this paper, I consider the notions of inherent and mock impoliteness, and discuss contextual factors associated with impoliteness. In particular, I attempt to build an impoliteness framework which is parallel but opposite to Brown and Levinson's (1987) theory of politeness. Finally, I demonstrate that in some contexts — specifically that of army training and literary drama — impoliteness behaviour is not a marginal activity, and that we need an appropriate descriptive framework in order to account for it.