Created By: DennisDunjinman on July 19, 2013 Last Edited By: DennisDunjinman on August 2, 2013
Nuked

Intolerable Tolerance

Supertrope: Tolerance is a virtue, so you should tolerate everything I do.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Tolerance is a relatively modern idea. Those with tolerance are able to accept and respect those who are different from themselves. This is unambiguously a good thing, right?

Well, not necessarily.

Some people use "tolerance" to take advantage of basic decency and give themselves free reign to act like jerks, or to make themselves blameless for acting like jerks because that's something they're entitled to or it supposedly isn't their fault for whatever reason. And if someone tells them that they're being a jerk, they can deftly turn the tables by saying The Complainer Is Always Wrong, so they aren't required to change their ways. These sorts of characters pretend to be Holier Than Thou and have higher views of themselves than those who aren't as "tolerant" and "progressive", but truthfully they are nothing more than common jerks who uses "tolerance" and "progressiveness" as a cover to act like It's All About Me and expect special treatment beyond what they actually need or deserve.

According to Merriam-Webster, there are multiple definitions of "tolerance":
1. capacity to endure pain or hardship
2. sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own; the act of allowing something
3. the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
4. 1) : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure <developed a tolerance to painkillers>; also : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen (2) : relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor

Intolerable tolerance plays with all of these senses of the word. Frequently, people engaging in this behaviour do not appear to have tolerance in the second sense. Also, for them, there is no such thing as tolerance in the third sense, yet they expect it in that accepting sense from their victims. Often, they aren't willing to brook any response from their victims to the contrary. It's also true that many such people don't seem to see that their hostility might be problematic; instead they describe the need for their victims to endure such treatment (sense one) and seem to assume that everyone around them has the capacity to thrive in such a toxic environment (the last sense).

These people may use the warped definitions to say "I'm different from you. Even if what makes me different from you is that I prefer to murder my enemies. I'm disadvantaged and/or supporting the disadvantaged. I have every right to kick you in the head and demand what I want because you have more and can afford it. Even if my demands means calling you names and forcing you to buy me a free lunch with no compensation in return. You must comply with it. If you raise a fuss, you're acting like an intolerant bigot and then you probably deserved to be kicked in the head."

It could be that an Unacceptable Target is using their status to pick on Acceptable Targets, or a Once Acceptable Target using their former abused status to accrue guilt from others. Or that Underdogs Never Lose... because that would hurt their feelings, and we can't have that. Or the jerk understands in full that a Double Standard exists, and they use this to their advantage whenever possible. In essence, it's when Moral Myopia exists, but no one dares to call it out.

The person demanding the tolerance may tell others to Turn the Other Cheek, only to laugh as they gleefully brand the next one, knowing they can continue getting away with it and never get punished. This person would also expect to be Easily Forgiven for any of their transgressions, but heaven forbid you say anything bad to them. They'll never forgive you until after you've thoroughly humiliated yourself apologizing, and then respond with "See? I was right all along. You are a bigot."

This can lead to some very unfortunate and awkward situations where it is clear that one party is being wronged, but circumstances make them unable to defend themselves without being Made Out to Be a Jerkass.

People with this kind of tolerance are also apt to say "We're happy to accept other people's points of view... so long as they agree with us." They'll reject those that don't agree, often by using verbal dodges and occasionally with violence that they expect not to be penalized for. Don't expect them to acknowledge the hypocrisy. Instead, expect such people to say things like, "This is a free country!"

Supertrope to: [[index]] [[/index]]

No Real Life Examples, Please!. Post fictional examples under their corresponding subtropes or unsorted examples below.

Unsorted Examples:

Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • July 19, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    Awesomely complete. I generally lean towards wanting a description that defines the trope itself. Despite that failing, I think the description is relatively clear.

    However, there are no "subtropes" on an index. Alphabetize the Im A Man I Cant Help It.
  • July 19, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Done.

    Can you help me describe it better?
  • July 22, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Well, to start with, the word "tolerance" has more than one definition. To wit, per Merriam-Webster:
    1. capacity to endure pain or hardship
    2. sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own; the act of allowing something
    3. the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
    4. 1) : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure <developed a tolerance to painkillers>; also : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen (2) : relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor

    I mention all of these because the hypocrisy you mention plays with all of these senses of the word. Frequently, people engaging in this behaviour do not appear to have tolerance in the second sense (for them, there is no such thing as tolerance in the thrid sense), yet (as you point out) they expect it in that accepting sense from their victims. Often, they aren't willing to brook any response from their victims to the contrary. It's also true that many such people don't seem to see that their hostility might be problematic; instead they describe the need for their victims to endure such treatment (sense one) and seem to assume that everyone around them has the capacity to thrive in such a toxic environment (the last sense). Expect such people to say things like, "This is a free country!"

  • July 22, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    That's great. Thank you.
  • July 22, 2013
    StarSword
    Can Punished For Sympathy fit in there anywhere?
  • July 22, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    ^ I'm not sure. It sounds more like "You should have been less tolerant of them! They're evil!" not "You should be more tolerant of me! Bad things are Never My Fault!"

    But this is a wiki. What's your judgement call?
  • July 24, 2013
    Madrugada
    It's a lovely, thoughtful essay. But what's the trope -- the device? There's no clear definition of "This trope is in use when...", or if there is, it's buried in the essay. Because of that, I've removed a hat. I don't think it's ready to launch as a trope page.
  • July 24, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^It would fall under Character B finding A's tolerance of C intolerable and punishing them for it.
  • July 24, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    ^ The device is that some people take advantage of basic decency and give themselves free reign to act like jerks, or to make themselves blameless for acting like jerks because acting like a jerk is something they're entitled to or it supposedly isn't their fault for whatever reason. And if someone tells them that they're being a jerk, they can deftly turn the tables by saying The Complainer Is Always Wrong, so they aren't required to change their ways.

    I'd like to make that as clear as possible.
  • July 24, 2013
    Madrugada
    That's a set of actions, not a literary device. It's closer to a trope definition, but not there yet. It's still just saying "this happens" -- what does 'this happening' tell the audience about the character?
  • July 24, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    That the character pretends to be Holier Than Thou and has a higher view of themselves than those who aren't as "tolerant" and "progressive", but is nothing more than a common jerk who uses "tolerance" and "progressiveness" as an excuse to act like Its All About Me and expect special treatment beyond what they actually need or deserve.

    It's not really "trope", more like a Supertrope.
  • July 24, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ It's a trope all the same. Subtropes are just more specific versions of their supertropes. Badass is the supertrope to Badass Bookworm, but that doesn't make it any less a trope. You should be able to define them both.
  • July 25, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^ correct. I feel the trope is clearly defined enough. But if we can achieve a better definition, well, that's what YKTTW is for. :)
  • July 25, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Do all the subtropes fit correctly? Are there any I'm missing?
  • July 25, 2013
    DAN004
    Thus I'd call it... an Index. *Ba Dum Tish*

    On a more serious note, though, you can just add No Examples Please and "let them go to the tropes listed".
  • July 25, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Unless someone coughs up an Unsorted Example.

    I'd probably have to say No Real Life Examples Please, though.
  • July 25, 2013
    1810072342
    No Real Life Examples Please, or this may get into hairy and potentially ideologically sensitive territory. Which, of course, we don't want.
  • July 26, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^ Yes, ^^ yes, ^^^ a thousand times, yes!
  • July 26, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Well, then we're agreed.

    If everything's written out nice and clearly, the only thing left is for users to volunteer their hats. Anyone?
  • August 2, 2013
    Melkior
    Hatted it. Is this supposed to be just an index or is it a supertrope? At the moment it's just an index because a supertrope would have its own examples, separate from any subtropes.
  • August 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Yeah, index plz.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rcfr779tg3a3ctk8iuobe36z&trope=IntolerableTolerance