Also known as the Nuremberg Defense
and the Stock Phrase
motto/mantra/defense of the Punch Clock Villain
, as well as most bureaucrats (obstructive
or otherwise), Mooks
, and just about any of us during failures of nerve, nous, job security, heroic fortitude...
Seen It a Million Times
, and of course by now usually not played straight but instead ironically, sarcastically or self-hatingly: it's one of the tropes that cycles
between Dead Horse Trope
and Undead Horse Trope
, because it always sneaks its way back somewhere, even if you did not mean to invoke it...And even if everyone should know by now that playing this straight (even when fully sincere, which is not always the case) is likely to meet with skepticism and ridicule.
Often also turns up in or close to other guises: My Country, Right or Wrong
, people claiming they were Just Doing My Job or Had No Choice or just Couldn't Help It somehow...
Launching tomorrow, unless anybody has weighty last-minute objections