Created By: foxley on December 9, 2012 Last Edited By: foxley on December 19, 2012
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Wrong Insult Offence

If you are going to insult me, at least use the right insult.

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A Wrong Insult Offence occurs when one character attempts to insult another and hurls an insult in the other character's face. The second character considers this and then calmly replies, listing all the reasons why that particular insult does not apply to them and helpfully suggesting a more appropriate insult they could use.

As a piece of characterisation, this usually indicates that the insulted party does not take the insulter seriously. Alternatively, it could just indicate that the second party is a shocking pedant.

Bonus points if the insult they suggest is worse than the original one.

A Sub-Trope of Do Wrong, Right.

If someone objects to the spelling or grammar of the insult, but not the insult itself, that's You Make Me Sic.

Compare Insult Backfire, I Take Offence To That Last One.

Rolling Updates.

Examples:

Film - Animated
  • Monsters, Inc.
    Randall: Where is she, you little one-eyed crehtin?
    Mike: First of all, it's pronounced cree-tin. If you're going to threaten me, do it properly.

Film - Live Action
  • From S.O.B.:
    Polly Reed: You're gonna let that SHYSTER on?
    Dr. Irving Finegarten: I could sue you for calling me that, Polly! A shyster is a disreputable lawyer. I'M a QUACK!
  • In Gran Torino, this exchange occurs between Walt and Sue, a spunky teenaged member of the Hmong family who'd moved in next door, concerning an old stereotype about Asians eating dogs:
    Sue Lor: There's a ton of food.
    'Walt Kowalski: Yeah, well just keep your hands off my dog.
    Sue Lor: No worries, we only eat cats.
  • Die Hard: Hans Gruber claims to be a terrorist, but is later revealed to be after 600 million dollars worth of bearer bonds.
    Mrs. McClane: After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you're nothing but a common thief.
    Hans: I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite.
  • Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) in Enemy of the State:
    Actually, I believe the slur "shyster" is generally reserved for Jewish attorneys. I believe the proper slur for someone like myself would be "eggplant".
  • In the film Murder by Death, Milo Perrier objects to being called a Frenchie. He's a BELGIE!
  • The Wicker Man (1973):
    Sgt. Howie: It means that you, sir, are a pagan!
    Lord Summerisle: A heathen, conceivably, but not - I hope - an unenlightened one.

Literature
  • In the first Sword of Truth book, a mob comes to Zedd's house intending to lynch him because he's a witch. He starts his dialogue with them by asking to clarify whether they want to kill him for sorcery, or simply demean him by calling him a girl.
  • In David Eddings' Domes of Fire, Stragen takes the Styric Council to task for not being more proactive in the emerging crisis in Daresia. When one of the Councillors answers by calling him a bastard, he bears it no mind...because he literally is the illegitimate son of a nobleman. He then proceeds to point out he is also a swindler, murderer, and thief (since he is also the head of a thieves' guild): glibly implying that anything they could call him would not be insulting in the least.

Live-Action TV
  • An unfortunate example occurs in Fawlty Towers when the Major tells a story about how he took a woman to a cricket match, and she kept referring to the Indian players by the wrong racial slur.
  • From Sherlock: "I'm not a psychopath - I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research."
  • From The Thick of It:
    Olly Reader: "Malcolm, you're bullying me..."
    Malcolm Tucker: "How dare you! How dare you! Don't you ever, ever call me a bully... I'm so much worse than that."

New Media

Theatre
  • Older Than Television: Cyrano de Bergerac had a very large nose, which a bit character insulted by calling it "rather large." Cyrano's reaction was to tell him that "rather large" was an absolutely pathetic excuse for an insult and go on to tell him various better ways to insult him. The Wishbone version went with:
    "'Your nose is so big, you should call a doctor and have it amputated!' Or how about, 'What do you keep in there, your pens or your whole writing desk?'"

Western Animation
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In "That's My Baby'', Bugs calls Daffy 'a bummer' after he refuses to go to lunch with him and Porky. Daffy's response is "No. Porky's the bummer. I'm a jerk."
  • Happens in Voltron where Allura insults the evil Prince Lotor and Lotor does feel insulted...but for the wrong reasons.
    Allura: You're a monster, just like your father!
    Lotor: That old fool?! Why I'm twice the monster he is!
  • Winx Club gives us this:
    Mirta: You're mean!
    Icy: Mean? Try diabolical!

Rolling Updates.
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • December 9, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Film

    In Gran Torino, this exchange occurs between Walt and Sue, a spunky teenaged member of the Hmong family who'd moved in next door, concerning an old stereotype about Asians eating dogs:
    Sue Lor: There's a ton of food.
    Walt Kowalski: Yeah, well just keep your hands off my dog.
    Sue Lor: No worries, we only eat cats.

  • December 9, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Die Hard. Hans Gruber claims to be a terrorist, but is later revealed to be after 600 million dollars worth of bearer bonds.
    Mrs. McClane: After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you're nothing but a common thief.
    Hans: I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite.
  • December 9, 2012
    StarSword
    Theater:
    • Older Than Television: Cyrano De Bergerac had a very large nose, which a bit character insulted by calling it "rather large." Cyrano's reaction was to tell him that "rather large" was an absolutely pathetic excuse for an insult and go on to tell him various better ways to insult him. The Wishbone version went with:
      "'Your nose is so big, you should call a doctor and have it amputated!' Or how about, 'What do you keep in there, your pens or your whole writing desk?'"
  • December 9, 2012
    Chernoskill
    Cross-Over potential to I Take Offense To That Last One, especially the Die Hard example above (which is listed over there).
  • December 9, 2012
    StarSword
    ^Going off the above: Compare Insult Backfire.
  • December 10, 2012
    MorganWick
    Bonus points if the insult they suggest is worse than the original one.
  • December 10, 2012
    TonyG
    Monsters Inc:
    Randall: Where is she, you little one-eyed crehtin?
    Mike: First of all, it's pronounced cree-tin. If you're going to threaten me, do it properly.
  • December 10, 2012
    Omeganian
    In the first The Sword Of Truth book, a mob comes to Zedd's house intending to lynch him because he's a witch. He starts his dialogue with them by asking to clarify whether they want to kill him for sorcery, or simply demean him by calling him a girl.
  • December 10, 2012
    robinjohnson
    An unfortunate example occurs in Fawlty Towers when the Major tells a story about how he took a woman to a cricket match, and she kept referring to the Indian players by the wrong racial slur.
  • December 10, 2012
    dyson88
    There was a movie starring Will Smith where he is called a shyster by someone Italian. He says since his black the correct slur for him would be "egglplant." Anyone know the movie?
  • December 11, 2012
    foxley
    A quick web search shows the movie was Enemy Of The State.
  • December 11, 2012
    elwoz
    In Monty Python's Life Of Brian, Brian is caught writing anti-Roman propaganda on the walls of Jerusalem. The Roman soldier who catches him ... corrects his grammar.
  • December 11, 2012
    elwoz
    Also, this is probably a subtrope of Do Wrong Right.
  • December 11, 2012
    Waterlily
    "In Monty Python's Life Of Brian, Brian is caught writing anti-Roman propaganda on the walls of Jerusalem. The Roman soldier who catches him ... corrects his grammar"

    Two similar examples:

    In Canadian Bacon, the main characters are driving in Canada with anti-Canadian insults spray painted on their truck. They're stopped by a police officer (player by Dan Ackroyd) who claims there's something wrong with what they wrote. Because of Canada's language laws, all signs must be written in English and French. He then hands them a spray can and tells them to start writing.

    In Sixth Grade Secrets by Louis Sachar, in order to belong to a secret club, Nathan has to write a nasty note to his teacher, Mr. Doyle to ensure his secrecy (if he tells, they'll show him). When Mr. Doyle finally does read the note, he criticizes it-for the large amount of grammar and spelling errors and tells him to rewrite it so their are no mistakes.
  • December 11, 2012
    StarSword
    @Omeganian: The correct link is Sword Of Truth. Don't use a redirect if you don't have to.
  • December 11, 2012
    cygnavamp
    • In the film Murder By Death, Milo Perrier objects to being called a Frenchie. He's a BELGIE!
  • December 11, 2012
    foxley
    The Life of Brian, Canadian Bacon and Sixth Grade Secrets examples sound more like You Make Me Sic. They don't involve suggesting an alternative insult.

    And in Murder By Death, Perrier is objecting to people getting his nationality wrong. Neither Frenchie nor Belgie is really an insult.
  • December 11, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    This "description" not only has an example come first, the entire thing is an example. Please read Example As A Thesis; it's not ready to be launched until that is fixed.
  • December 11, 2012
    foxley
    Description updated.
  • December 13, 2012
    foxley
    Bumping.
  • December 13, 2012
    cygnavamp
    I think "Frenchie" counts as an insult, especially the way it was used.
  • December 14, 2012
    TrustBen
    From Sherlock: "I'm not a psychopath - I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research."
  • December 14, 2012
    Debatra
    Subtrope of Do Wrong Right?
  • December 14, 2012
    StarSword
    ^Looks like.
  • December 15, 2012
    Cider
    Somehow, lazy racism is more offensive than intellectually rigorous racism.
  • December 15, 2012
    RedneckRocker
    I've occasionally joked with people that when people use the word "gay" as an insult, it's offensive to me. Not for the word itself, but due to the fact that there are probably LOTS of other possible insults, and they were too lazy to think of 'em.
  • December 19, 2012
    foxley
    It looks like we have a trope here, so I'm bumping for hats.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=w1so8hl7enf55mbqqits0fxk&trope=WrongInsultOffence