[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jaccuse_9158.jpg]]
Simply, when one is outraged beyond all other words, when there is nothing left to do but put on your Frenchest of accents, point your pointiest finger and cry, ''J'accuse!''.

It means "I accuse [you]" [[GratuitousFrench in the French]].

This is a half storied work of public journalism, half MemeticMutation. It goes like this: Once upon a time in France, a renowned writer named Emile Zola penned a scandalous open letter (published in the newspaper ''L'Aurore'' on January 13, 1898 -- that's it to the right) that accused the government of France's Third Republic of anti-Semitism and corruption in its handling of the Dreyfus Affair of 1894 -- in which an innocent French Army officer, Alfred Dreyfus, who just happened to be Jewish, was used as a scapegoat in an espionage case, when it was quite clear to everyone that he was guilty of nothing more than being Jewish. The letter pointed out the weakness of the evidence and several clear occurrences of judicial error and prejudice during Dreyfus's trial; Zola was rapidly charged with and convicted for libel and had to flee to England for a year, until the bureaucrats then in power were removed. Dreyfus had been sentenced to life in prison on Devil's Island; he appealed his case multiple times, but it was not until 1906, twelve years after his trial, that his conviction was actually annulled. And all this to cover the French government's collective ass because of the existence of a spy that the government couldn't afford to catch, out of embarrassment.

Even though Zola's letter itself is famous, the StockPhrase it has inspired is even more popular as a way to spice up an accusation [[EverythingSoundsSexierInFrench with a little French]].

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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''ScottPilgrim'': "[[CaptainObvious It's french]]. [[NoteFromEd - ed.]]"

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[[folder: Film ]]

* ''J'Accuse'': A French zombie movie released in the 1920s filled with as much political weight as can be. The ZombieApocalypse is the sudden uprising of the French dead of WWI, coming back to condemn the guilty living who sent them to die. The whole film is an anti-war polemic, which the director convinced the army was going to be a propaganda flick, so they gave him real soldiers for actors - 80% of which died once they went back to the front.
* ''Film/TheLifeOfEmileZola'': Award-winning 1937 film about the TropeNamer and Zola's crusade on behalf of Alfred Dreyfus. (The TranslationConvention is in full effect here, so Zola's letter is printed as "I Accuse!".)

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* The first ''OddThomas'' book contains a gag about how, while Odd is towing a dead body out of an apartment, he's trying to be quiet, except that he has to dump it over the railing. As he comes down the stairs, he guesses that no one heard him because no one runs at him yelling ''J'accuse!''
* In ''Discworld/GoingPostal'' the hero Moist von Lipwig uses a technically complicated plot to replace a message used in a bet with his enemy Reacher Gilt to do a wonderful reveal of Reacher's entire plot and bring him and his minions down using this trope.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''[[Series/AlloAllo 'Allo 'Allo]]'': In an unusual subversion of the show's trope of using JustAStupidAccent as a TranslationConvention for whatever language is actually being spoken. Lt. Gruber relates a dream he had of Rene saying "J'accuse! J'accuse!" and responds "Who is this "Jack Hughes"?" (Gruber believes he killed Rene with a firing squad and the Rene currently in the show is Rene posing as his own twin brother also called Rene). At the end of the episode Rene gets stuck on a [[RubeGoldbergDevice giant aerial]] rising out of a grave (they'd hidden a transmitter Rene's crypt since it was empty) and Gruber sees this figure of Rene rising out of the grave (looking sheepish) and faints. Helga then says "Well at least he didn't mention this "Jack Hughes". Roll credits.
* On ''[[Series/ThirtyRock 30 Rock]]'', Liz Lemon utters this phrase when some of Frank's cigarettes go missing, implying that he hasn't quit smoking. Turns out she ate them in her sleep.
* Dick once said it on ''ThirdRockFromTheSun''.
* The cat in ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch''
* On ''Series/DoctorWho'', Lady Cassandra does this when the Ninth Doctor seemingly discovers the culprit that was attempting to kill them all - because she's hoping he won't realize that she's the real culprit. He does.
* In ''TheWestWing'' episode "The Indians in the Lobby", President Bartlet attempted to use this on his wife Abbey when he finds out its her fault they were going to celebrate Thanksgiving in Camp David rather than their family farm in New Hampshire. It didn't work out so well, though:
-->'''Jed Bartlet:''' ''"J'accuse! J'accuse, mon petit fromage!"''
-->'''Abbey Bartlet:''' "Jed, you speak four languages. How come none of them is French?"
-->'''Jed:''' "There is nothing wrong with my French."
-->'''Abbey:''' You just called me "your little cheese."
-->'''Jed:''' (beat) "Ah..." (beat) "Yes, yes I did!"
* Robert says this to Raymond in an episode of ''EverybodyLovesRaymond''. Marie, who's taking French classes, says "[[CaptainObvious Ooh! Ray! He's accusing you!]]"
* In {{Glee}} Stoner Brett yells this during a Brittany Spears performance by the New Directions.

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[[folder: Music ]]

* SonicYouth released "J'accuse, Creator/TedHughes". It's not just for pun, that's a controversial English poet who developed a {{Hatedom}} after Creator/SylviaPlath (whom Hughes had just recently divorced) [[DrivenToSuicide killed herself]].

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[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* ''{{Doonesbury}}'' once had a drug sniffing dog point at Zonker and say "J'accuse!".

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Guybrush lets out the line at one point in the fourth chapter of ''TalesOfMonkeyIsland''.
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsHitAndRun''
-->'''Homer Simpson:''' "C. Montgomery Burns! I know you're guilty! J'accuse! Sir."
-->'''Mr. Burns:''' "Fine, I'll admit it. I had AmeliaEarhart's plane shot down. That hussy was getting too big for her jodhpurs.

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[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* ''BadMachinery'': An UnsoundEffect. Don't you wish your arm could do [[http://www.scarygoround.com/index.php?date=20100915 that]]?

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''ShadowRaiders'': An episode title. The episode deals with the trial of a military officer that threatens society itself, no less.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}:'' Zoidberg says this once, the joke being that he's not French but AmbiguouslyJewish.
* On one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Lisa complained about her French teacher not actually speaking French. "J'accuse!" "...What the hell is this broad talkin' about?"
* ''KingOfTheHill'': Gilbert says it to Bill while ranting about his plan to sell the family's barbecue sauce.

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