InspirationalInsult Inspirational Insult YKTTW Discussion

Inspirational Insult
A character draws inspiration and motivation from an insult hurled at them.
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(permanent link) added: 2014-06-07 08:06:10 sponsor: partner555 (last reply: 2014-06-22 21:03:52)

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Normally, people gain inspiration and motivation from encouragement. Sometimes though, being insulted works better as a motivating source, as now the person is going to try and succeed in whatever task it is they are going to do just to spite the insulter.

There are two common variations of this trope.

i. The insulter did not intend for their target to draw inspiration from the insult given to them.
ii. The insulter did intend for their target to draw inspiration from the insult given to them.

The first variation is not to be confused with Insult Backfire, since that is about the insulted party getting flattered, not motivated.

The Compassionate Critic will give out lots of these, while The Trickster Mentor might give out only some of these.

Could be part of some Enforced Method Acting attempts.

Supertrope to Nobody Calls Me Chicken, which is specific to insulting a person's courage and often used to make the person do something against their better judgement.

Examples must note the insult part and the drawing-inspiration-from-the-insult part.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • in the first chapter of One Piece, Shanks gives a young Luffy a good-natured jab about how Luffy will never succeed as a pirate, which prompts Luffy to declare that we will succeed and be a better pirate than Shanks. Shanks gives his hat to Luffy in encouragement after that.

     Comic Books 
  • During Secret Wars while the Hulk is holding a 150 billion ton mountain up so the rest of the team can survive, when he starts getting fatigued Reed Richards insults him, inspiring him to hold the mountain up a while longer. Hulk calls Reed out on this later.

     Film- Animation 
  • In Cars, Doc tells Lightning who fell into the cactus that his driving is as lousy as his ability to fix roads, giving Lightning more motivation to do a proper job in fixing the road he damaged. Lightning even says "I'll show him."

     Film - Live Action 
  • In The Karate Kid 3 Daniel gets up to face Barnes again after Barnes yells, "Your karate's junk. You're nothing. Your slope teacher's nothing!" This gives Daniel more motivation to win.
  • Toward the end of Down with Love, Peter finally gets the courage to make a move on Vicki when she, upset with him over something else, slaps him and tells him that he's "just like every other man!" So he realizes that he needs to stop overthinking it, just "be a man", get out of his head and into her pants. So he does.
  • Occurs twice with Lola Bunny in Space Jam. During the tryouts at Schlesinger's Gym, Bugs Bunny puts the move on Lola, asking, "You wanna play a little one-on-one, doll?" Lola's Fireball Eyeballs signal that she severely dislikes being regarded as a pretty face and nothing more. She quickly leaves Bugs in a ridiculous knot at the foul line, and throws down an impressive jam. Later, during the Ultimate Game, the Monstar Pound challenges Lola, "Try to get by me, doll." After disarranging Pound's face, Lola throws down another strong jam. Notable in that these are the only times that Lola Bunny is seen scoring points.

  • Redwall: The Bellmaker, several of the heroes are trapped in a tower, with their only hope of rescue a rope brought to them by a shrike (aka butcher bird). Unfortunately, the rope is too heavy for the bird, so the hare starts insulting, a previously noted Berserk Button. The shrike makes it to the tower, fully intent on proving its name, but is convinced to leave instead.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The second variation was in play during an episode of The Love Boat. Jimmy Osmond played a novice actor shooting a scene, who just couldn't get it right. The director wasn't satisfied with his believability. He wasn't conveying enough anger and hurt. After repeated tries, the director called a break, during which the captain's daughter Vicki ripped into him about how he might as well give it up. He was a horrible failure of an actor, and he wasn't ever going to succeed. On the next take, he nailed it. Vicki had insulted him deliberately to make him angry and produce that result.
  • In an early episode of Breaking Bad, Jesse finds an old test paper marked by Walt, on which he's written "Ridiculous - apply yourself." Jesse takes the advice and applies himself to making meth.
  • Seinfeld invokes this in "The Cartoon," in which washed-up actress Sally Weaver takes Jerry's criticism (actually said by Kramer) of her acting abilities (or lack thereof) and applies it to her new stand-up rountine she calls Jerry Seinfeld is the Devil, in which she basically just mocks everything Jerry does or say to her to make him seem like a bigger Jerkass. Her new act launches her into celebrity status overnight.

     Western Animation 
  • In Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Vice Principle Crubbs tells Mr. Wright who wasn't going to try for the principal position anyway that he wouldn't make a good principal. This irks Mr. Wright and he decides to go and try for the principal position. This even gets lampshaded.
  • Invoked in an I Meant to Do That way on The Simpsons. In "The PTA Disbands" Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner have a heated discussion in the cafeteria during lunch.
    Mrs. Krabappel: Seymour, you have to think of the children's future.
    Seymour: Oh, Edna. We all know that these children HAVE no future!.
    [everyone stops and stares at Seymour]
    Seymour: nervous laugh Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong.

     Real Life 
  • This Tumblr post shows some women who chose a career in science specifically because people told them females can't be scientists.
  • This is part of the controversial and seldom used "attack therapy". Success is not guaranteed.
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