Insult Gambit
What, you don't believe me? Are you THAT stupid?
Better Name Needs Examples

(permanent link) added: 2012-02-23 07:29:50 sponsor: Shnakepup (last reply: 2012-09-19 21:11:17)

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(Gonna try this again...YKTTW'd this before but it went nowhere and I ended up discarding it, but maybe I'll have better luck this time.)

When someone, let's say Alice, is lying to someone else, let's say Bob, and the lie depends on Bob believing that Alice isn't really who he thinks she is; in other words, Alice is putting on a charade. Inevitably, at some point, Bob will have some doubts about who Alice really is; maybe he'll ask for some kind of proof, or will ask a pointed question. Alice has to bluff her way out of the situation to maintain the charade.

This trope is when Alice bluffs by insulting Bob. Something to the affect of "Are you really that stupid?" or "Don't be stupid, that's what THEY want you to think! They're just trying to get us to turn on each other!". The point is to make Bob doubt his own suspicions, by way of shaming him. Make Bob defensive, and his ego will start to subvert his better judgement. If Alice is good enough at selling the bluff, Bob will purposefully supress his own suspicions, for fear of being taken for a fool by someone else. Little does he know, he's already being taken for a fool...

In when used to win real-life arguments, this is a fallacy called "Argument by Assertion". Related to Bavarian Fire Drill. See also Kansas City Shuffle. For situations where Alice actually confesses to Bob's suspicions, but does it in an exaggerated manner so Bob thinks she's being facetious, see Sarcastic Confession.

Examples

Film
  • Beverly Hills Cop. Axel Foley is caught while infiltrating a bonded warehouse and pretends to be a U.S. Customs inspector performing a security check. When he demands to see their documents:
    Clerk: You got a warrant for this?
    Foley: You have a very big mouth, sir. Are you hiding something from me? I bet that's your Porsche outside. Is it? Would you like me to have the lRS crawl up your ass with a microscope? It's not pretty.

Live Action TV
  • Used frequently on Burn Notice. Michael and his team often need to take down criminal organizations. One way is to infiltrate them and pretend to be part of the organization, so they can take it down from the inside. Oftentimes this means dealing with skeptical criminals who wonder why they've never heard of Michael (or whatever cover name he's under). Michael's response is this trope.
  • Maeby from Arrested Development has to use every ploy she can think of to get away with making her coworkers think she looks like an older woman. She usually just acts flattered when they point out her youthful appearance, but she occasionally employs this technique.
    Maeby: Oh, yeah, right. Do you really think I look college-aged?
  • Soap: Danny in on the run from The Mob who want to kill him. The head of the local Mob is at Danny's house looking for him when Danny shows up disguised as a rabbi soliciting donations for Israel. The mob boss is concerned that the Rabbi might be trying to scam Danny's mother so he asks for credentials.
    Danny: Credentials? You want credentials? 6,000 years of persecution, how's that for credentials!

Web Original

Real Life
  • One time - before he lost all credibility - Geraldo Rivera was undercover in a police sting operation. He was in disguise, but one of the guys they were stinging said he looked like Geraldo Rivera (and by extension, suspected that it might be a sting). Rivera replied, "I don't give a fuck if you think I look like Geraldo fuckin' Rivera."

(Needs More Examples)
replies: 11

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