aka: Refined Badass
Has anyone ever told you that you coalesce reality? That you brighten a room and make everything seem lighter and more pleasant? Susan Silverman:
No. They usually only say that I'm good in the sack. Spenser: (after a thoughtful pause)
They are accurate but limited. And if you give me their names, I'll kill them.
In most media, the average Badass
is usually a hairy-knuckled brawler unfamiliar with the finer things in life, but not this guy. Like his Trope-brother
the Cultured Warrior
, the Cultured Badass
knows how to be sophisticated, is an expert on gourmet food and art, and knows how to behave himself at a formal affair. In short, he knows how to be a gentleman but he also knows how to be a Badass
Just because he enjoys La Bohème
and can tell the difference between bottles of 1938 and 1941 Moët et Chandon just from the
sound of it being poured doesn't mean he's harmless. Get on his bad side and you will live to regret it if you are lucky. (If you're unlucky, you won't live at all.)
In either case, He will fight like a gentleman.
Similar to Cultured Warrior
, except he's not in the military (though he might be a veteran). Sometimes he's a Badass Bookworm
or Genius Bruiser
, though not necessarily. Sometimes he's a Warrior Poet
, though often there's nothing spiritual about his love of culture... he just likes the finer things. When he's evil, he's Wicked Cultured
and when he's nice (or Affably Evil
), he's a Gentleman and a Scholar
If a woman is a Cultured Badass
, she's usually either a Lady of War
or Silk Hiding Steel
See also Pop Cultured Badass
Compare/Contrast Boisterous Bruiser
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Anime & Manga
- Koetsuji Akisame from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a philosopher, a painter and sculptor so famous that he would be rich if he were willing to sell his works, and a chiropractor. He is also good at many musical instruments, theater acting, machinery, and math and physics, among others. Additionally, he can speak Russian and can perform a tea ceremony. He is also the best Jujitsu master in Japan who is capable of bending steel with just one finger. One of his many feats was to level down a fully staffed Russian military base all by himself, unarmed of course.
- Hagi/Haji from Blood+ operates with an eye for sophistication. His weapon of choice? A cello case.
- And he does play the cello pretty well, too. Not to mention he loves gardening.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The perfect mixture of culture and badass has been passed down the Armstrong family line for GENERATIONS!
- Gravion brings us Klein Sandman, who is obscenely rich, has a crap ton of maids, lives in a totally pimped out castle, and did we mention he's rich? However, he can build and pilot badass mecha, and regularly performs Crazy Awesome feats of life threatening insanity as if it were normal.
- From The Big O, Roger Smith and Alex Rosewater definitely enjoy the finer things in life, and while they are on opposite sides of the moral fence, they are both tough enough to get in their sentient mecha and kick your ass!
- Albireo Imma from Mahou Sensei Negima! likes to drink tea, speak politely, and can control gravity magic. His occupation is librarian, and he'll still kick your ass. Without actually being physically present.
- After recent events, Negi probably qualifies, as he's a Quintessential British Gentleman who enjoys a Spot of Tea...and is capable of beating the crap out of you if you piss him off.
- Negi's master Evangeline also qualifies, since she (also) enjoys tea (by Chachamaru), plays a wicked game of Go, and is in the Flower Arrangement Club. She is also one of the most powerful mages in the world with an enormous bounty on her and has earned a ton of titles in her long life.
- There's also our old nemesis, Fate Averruncus. Who, much like Negi, also enjoys drinking tea and has the habit of offering his enemies to a drink before a fight, which is sometimes not even his intention.
- Sanji from One Piece. Helps that he's the number one Chivalrous Pervert and Supreme Chef.
- Additionally, Emporio Ivankov's right hand ummmm...person, Inazuma. With a big hairdo, and fancy clothes, and a glass of wine eternally clutched in his hands, Inazuma is able to kick ass and take names without spilling so much as a single drop.
- Much earlier on, we had Captain "Iron Fist" Fullbody. However, after being bumped down to Marine Recruit so that he could work with both Jango and Captain Hina, he appears to have dropped the 'cultured' part.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's Treize Khushrenda: urbane, enjoys a cup of tea, memorizes all slain for his cause, and can tidily hand Chang Wufei his ass. Then he will take a rose-scented bath.
- Then there's Quatre Raberba Winner and Trowa Barton, who can play the violin and flute respectively on their off time, and then go back out in the Sandrock and Heavyarms to slaughter additional UESA/OZ forces.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam 's George DeSand also qualifies as he is a self-styled knight.
- Cowboy Bebop's philosophically minded and jazz loving Jet Black is a gardening, cooking, ass kicking machine.
- Kenshiro Kasumi in Fist of the Blue Sky is a Cultured Badass that can actually pose as a teacher in a girl's university, and can read German fluently enough that he can read the names of poisons on a bottle. He can also pose as a translator, while still retaining the ability to cast a Death Glare potent enough to scare brigands, at which point the trope is lampshaded. And he is every bit as capable of rendering you "already dead" as his post-apocalyptic nephew.
- Ren from Skip Beat! Cultured enough that he seems like two different people. One a wonderful heartthrob talented actor who is kind, refined, and gentlemanly. The other scary enough that when he gets angry Kyouko wants to crawl under a rock and die, not to mention his not yet revealed troubled past...
- Full Frontal from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn when he is holding Banagher captive, he offers him tea, has no qualms with answering Banagher's questions, and treats him with the utmost of courtesy. And just like the actual Char, Frontal is a highly knowledgeable (as well as cunning) philosopher and politician.
- Spitfire from Air Gear is the Flame King of the Flame Road. He's also a hairdresser, and plays piano.
- Saki from Area 88, a London-educated, miltilingual prince who is also a skilled fighter pilot.
- Any leader of consequence in Ravages Of Time, and it frequently goes hand-in-hand with Genius Bruiser.
- Griffith of Berserk. Elegant, smart, well-read... and one of the best military leaders in Midland's history.
- Dutch from Black Lagoon reads the collected works of Mao in his downtime and quotes Marx at Rock and Revy when they complain about labour conditions. This only adds to his aura of mystery, considering his daily life is devoted to running a shipping/piracy company in the biggest Wretched Hive in Thailand.
- Batman's Battle Butler Alfred Pennyworth is much more than the skinny, soft-spoken, gentleman's gentleman that he appears to be (he's a former SAS commando, after all).
- Bruce Wayne himself isn't exactly an unsophisticated ruffian, either. He's a gifted chessplayer who mingles with high society nearly every night he isn't dressed up as a bat.
- Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, and the rest of the Bat-Family aren't slouches themselves in this regard.
- The Penguin is a successful businessman who majored in Ornithologynote , dresses nicely, is well-versed in etiquette, loves tea, can play the violin, studied Shakespeare, has an appreciation for opera, poetry, and world history, and depite his physical appearance he is an efficient physical combatant capable of overwhelming attackers many times his size and physical bearing. Though as a villain, he's technically Wicked Cultured. An in some cases, he only thinks he's Wicked Cultured.
- Deathstroke The Terminator aka Slade Wilson is often seen sipping champagne and enjoying the finer things in life
- V from V for Vendetta easily constitutes this. Every second line is a quote from some major literary source, he's a fan of the original Zorro film, and can dance too!
- Doctor Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts and former Sorcerer Supreme, is an upper-class former surgeon trained in magic by a Tibetan mystic. To qualify as Sorcerer Supreme he had to go out and force Death into submission. His manservant, Wong, is much like an Asian version of Alfred.
- G.I. Joe's Roadblock carries an M2 Browning heavy machine gun around and is also a gourmet chef.
- Abominus from the Transformers Mirror Universe of Shattered Glass. The Shattered Glass Terrorcons are all well-regarded performers of some form or other, and when combined their foppish charm is magnified tenfold.
- Wonder Woman is a princess, and thus remains very well-schooled in the ways of etiquette and grace even whilst fending off an alien invasion with her bare hands. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, is even more regal and rigid then her daughter, yet capable of kicking just as much ass.
- Dwight and Wallace from Sin City are both very well-read and enjoy the arts. A villain example would be Manute who speaks well and is obviously quite intelligent.
- Cadbury from Richie Rich is not just a Battle Butler, but also able to fight as a 'man of action' when the need arises. He's Harvey Comics' version of Alfred Pennyworth.
- Kartik Abingdon from One Piece: Parallel Works.
- Child Of The Storm has several, predominantly Loki and Lucius Malfoy.
- The Powers Of Harmony has Rarity's assigned Guards, Elo and Grovi. The former is a noble who gave up the decadent lifestyle, while the latter is a commoner who was trained to be able to pass himself off as a noble. Or their predecessors were, anyway. Both are top-notch fighters.
- Bond. James Bond. Just because the man prefers vodka martinis ("shaken, not stirred"), enjoys regular fine dining, knows the word for "beautiful" in Afghan, thinks drinking champagne at the wrong temperature is "as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs", can identify classic cars on sight, stops to taste the caviar before leaving a room after being attacked by a thug, has "usual suites" in Vienna and Hong Kong, a better taste in wine than any of his successive bosses, a First in Oriental Languages from Cambridge, and a penchant for wearing tuxedos and tailor made clothes, doesn't mean he can't kick your ass before you even realize what's happening. The movies especially played this up: he came across as more of a Jerkass in the original novels.
- Dorian Gray in the live-action adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. When The Phantom's soldiers begin wrecking his house, he strides calmly through the firefight, looking utterly bored as he stabs people left and right. When one of the soldiers fills his entire torso with lead, he just stands there, takes a deep breath, and then cuts off the guy's breastplate and stabs him. As soon as the guy falls, he takes the handkerchief out of his breast pocket, wipes the sword clean with it, and puts it back in a dignified manner.
- Everett Hitch in Appaloosa is the Far West version of this trope.
- Sherlock Holmes is quite cultured; he just refuses to live up to the image and prefers the drunk/wasted/stoned eccentric genius style.
- Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs, anyone?
- Ghost Dog is a hitman who is also an enormous fan of Samurai culture and philosophy. And that's only the start of it: he also trains pigeons, reads classic literature along with books about philosophy, civil rights struggles, fantasy novels, and has warrior symbols from multiple cultures in his tiny shack.
- Pretty much every Indiana Jones villain. And Indy himself, when he gets cleaned up.
- The Big Bad of Equilibrium, being a hypocrite, keeps an art collection and reads poetry, quoting Yeats right before the climactic fight. He is also a Gun Kata master.
- With the exception of Ariadne, Arthur in Inception seems to be the least capable member when it comes to fighting. He's almost always dressed in a slick suit or his Waistcoat of Style with his hair combed back and seems to be primarily Cobb's smart assistant who manages the high tech equipment. However, in the first dream level he dreams up one of the biggest guns and in the second level he he completely owns gravity, making Neo look like a cheap carnival artist.
- Benedict from Last Action Hero.
- English Bob from Unforgiven appears to embody this trope, although it is later implied that his debonair, cultured manner may be a facade (and also that he may be less of a badass than his public image would suggest).
- Doc Holiday in Tombstone as portrayed by Val Kilmer. He speaks Latin, wears a spiffy purple vest, and shoots a double barrel sawed off. And he enjoys Frederic fucking Chopin.
- In Dead Man, Xebeche quotes lots of William Blake.
- In The Grey, John Ottway, played by Liam Neeson, is a man who kills large wild animals for a living but also has a love of poetry.
- In The Proposition, Arthur Burns is a Chaotic Evil bandit, "a monster, an abomination" who thinks profound thoughts, enjoys Watching the Sunset, and keeps a large pile of books in his cave hideout.
- Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog. He's cultured throughout the movie, but the "badass" part doesn't come until later (after he gets turned into a frog by voodoo witch doctor, Dr. Facilier).
- During the bullying scene in Man of Steel, you may notice Clark was reading Plato's works.
- In Hard Boiled, when Inspector "Tequila" Yuen isn't gunning down hordes of bad guys, Guns Akimbo, he's playing clarinet at his local jazz bar.
- Sherlock Holmes in the novels is portrayed more cultured than badass, but instances still arise that show the hidden badass within. For example, a goon came in and with some effort bent his fire poker. With little effort Holmes straightened it, barehanded. He's also a bare-knuckle boxer and master of "baritsu."
- Robert B. Parker's hard-boiled detective Spenser is a gourmet cook, an appreciator of classical music, classical literature, and finely brewed beer, a lover of dogs, a respecter of women, and is absolutely capable of breaking you into several small bleeding chunks should the job call for it.
- Simon Templar, the gentleman thief better known as The Saint.
- Havelock Vetinari of the Discworld novels.
What did he know? He'd been classically educated. Then they remembered that that classical education had taken place at the Guild of Assassins, and froze.
- Mr Tulip from The Truth is a career criminal and the muscle of the pair. He is constantly snorting anything he can get that comes in powdered form (up to and including flour). He is also an expert in fine art and antiques.
Mr Tulip: It's a —ing delightful piece. I feel quite privileged to have seen it, and you were going to use it as a —ing blunt instrument! Keeping it in a —ing cupboard! Honestly, I could —ing spit.
- Willikins, Vimes's butler, appears to be a calm, ordinary butler, until he comes at you with the ice carving knife.
- Anyone who graduates from Ankh-Morpork's Guild of Assassins.
- Edmond Dantès, The Count of Monte Cristo.
- Doc Savage and, probably even more so, his aide 'Ham' Brooks.
- Definitely Ham, who embodies sartorial perfection even in the jungle and stabs people with a sword cane.
- Many characters in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, such as Fëanor (the Ax-Crazy Magnificent Bastard who rebelled against good deities and Big Bad alike and was also a great linguist, among other things), Faramir, Elrond, etc.
"Nor were the 'loremasters' a separate guild of gentle scribes, soon burned by the Orks of Angband upon pyres of books. They were mostly even as Fëanor, the greastest, kings, princes and warriors..." The Peoples of Middle-earth
, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", J.R.R Tolkien.
- The title character of the Erast Fandorin novels.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Grand Admiral Thrawn, who led the Empire after Palpatine's death, was an art collector. But he had more than mental toughness. In a novella called "Side Trip", he disguised himself as a bounty hunter for an extended period and proved to be an excellent shot.
- Thrawn wasn't just an art collector because he appreciated art in itself (not that he didn't)... he was able to determine the tactical makeup of a race/culture just by analyzing one of their pictures or sculptures. Needless to say, Thrawn is probably the first example of being Badass because he was Cultured, as opposed having either as separate parts of his character.
- In KJ Taylor's The Dark Griffin trilogy Arenadd becomes this, particularly compared to the other Northerners. This is due to his upbringing as a Southern griffiner, if a controversial and outcast one.
- A number of protagonists in Feist's books, most notably Jimmy The Hand/Duke James and his grandson Dashel.
- Tarzan can put on airs as Lord Greystoke one minute and rip out your throat with his teeth the next if you piss him off.
- Seregil and later also Alec from Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series - always well-mannered, always insisting on wearing gloves (since callused hands would be such a disaster!), always speaking properly - that is when they're not busy with spying, fighting and stealing. Almost any member of Skalan Royalty counts too.
- Jean Tannen from the Gentleman Bastard series. Gourmet chef, master mathematician, and lover of literature — he spends a few fair pages in one book debating with another man on the merits and faults of the Therin Throne's most reputed playwright. He's also built like a bull, skilled with several weapons (but prefers Dual Wielding axes), and is fully capable of dismantling teams of professional assassins single-handed.
- China Sorrows from the Skulduggery Pleasant books.
- Skulduggery himself, too. Wears suits, can dance, drives a Bentley, can kick your ass in many different ways, is a skeleton.
- Jack the Ripper in Time Scout is a very well-read member of London society.
- Derek Sagan in The Star of the Guardians. Quoting Tosca to his opponent while torturing him is among the things he does.
- Butler of Artemis Fowl, as well as being a Battle Butler, is a cordon bleu chef and has been shown to read classic novels in his free time.
- Lord Peter Wimsey, the second son of a duke. Described in Dorothy L Sayers's novels as speaking multiple languages (including French and Latin), a book collector, a well-known cricket player, very careful of his clothes, and who actually does correctly identify several rare wines based on taste alone in one short story (to be fair, the competition was designed to figure out which of three men was him — his taste for wines being famed all the way across Europe). Takes up detective work as a hobby mostly because he's bored and got a lot of experience doing intelligence work during World War II, and shows no squeamishness about killing the occasional criminal by accident, usually without the criminal ever realising he was dangerous.
- The Trillians in Poul Anderson's "A Little Knowledge"
- Professor Lyall of The Parasol Protectorate is remarkably civilized for a werewolf, which are by and large known to be a bit savage. He prefers fish over raw meat, studies the breeding of sheep, and dresses impeccably without even a hint of scruffiness (this is noted to be nearly impossible). Even in wolf shape, he appears sleek and almost fox-like compared to his pack mates. However, it should not be forgotten that he is Beta in one of England's fiercest packs, and has held that position for a very long time.
- Lord Peter Almsley from the Elemental Masters novels is a highly cultured nobleman. And in Unnatural Issue, he pounds a much larger bully into Steak Tartare without injury (unless you count sore knuckles).
- To some level any Elemental Master or Warrior of Light who has had a good education can qualify. Nan, for example, likes Kipling's work and is a voracious reader. She's also an ex Street Urchin who is, despite her age, capable of (temporarily) assuming her Warrior of Light aspect. And that's when she's a kid. Heaven help you if you anger her when she's an adult...
- In Reverte's The Fencing Master, aging but still formidable fencing master Don Jaime Astarloa has the following exchange with his young and beautiful student Adela:
Adela: "One is never unfair enough with men."
"I'd also give anything for sending my card and my seconds
to the man that put that opinion in your lips."
- Adventure Hunters: Lisa, one of the three adventurers, knows more about antiques than a guy running an antique shop. Justified as she is a treasure hunter so she has to know what she has in order to make a living.
Live Action TV
- Exalted: The demons of Malfeas love song and music. Don't be surprised if the blood-ape you just summoned to bludgeon an enemy to death suddenly chastises you for playing a lyre off-key.
- Phase of the Whateley Universe. Raised from an infant in the wealthiest family on earth, he's intelligent, urbane, well-read, and loves opera and classical music. He's a gourmet, and a brilliant businessman. This makes him utterly unprepared to be a high school girl in a Superhero School.
- Lord Doom, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Wealthy? Check. Highly educated? Check. Loves the classics? Check. Patron of the arts? Check. Gourmand? Check. Friend to All Children? Check. Published author and poet? Check. Olympic-level athlete? Check. Mad scientist dedicated to ruling the world? Check.
- Cassidy Cain from Grandmaster of Theft. Cultured: She's heiress who attended a private school, speaks in a eloquent tone, dresses in expensive & fancy clothing, drinks tea, and intellectual who treasures knowledge in addition to being well read in philosophy, psychology, and plenty other topics. Badass: She's an experienced thief who developed her own martial arts style, trained every since she was young, Plucky Girl, and can do Le Parkour alongside use said knowledge to her advantage.
- This is part and parcel of being in the Protectors of the Plot Continuum, since you have to be cultured to know what constitutes a charge and what doesn't, and badass to put the skids under the source of the Canon Defilement.
- Marc Lapointe from You Could Make A Life. Loves watching Le Film Artistiques and reading equally artistique literature. Is also easily the most talented player on his hockey team.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender gives us several examples of this, but Iroh is by far the greatest. He loves tea, has an appreciation for music, likes to share many pieces of wisdom from his decades of experience, and will utterly wreck your shit if you push him far enough. He's the most Bad Ass character on a show full of badasses, but his softer side is what really makes him such a compelling character, and it's the one we see most often.
- Aang is as well as he is shown to be quite knowledgeable of other cultures including pre-war Fire Nation.
- Toph's background of living in a very high class family gives her decent knowledge to be able to blend into high society; she just chooses not to act that way.
- Also, Piandao, a Badass Normal One-Man Army who enjoys painting, calligraphy, and rock gardening.
- And then there's Tenzin from Western Animation The Legend Of Korra, who has inherited his father Aang's knowledge of culture and tradition (especially around the still largely extinct Air Nomads) as well as his knack for diplomacy. Did I also mention that he's currently the world's sole Master Airbender, and his skills are such that he's taken on numbers of mooks and Humongous Mecha (and beat the latter back when even Korra and Lin were struggling against them) at a time, as well as landed a huge blow on Big Bad Amon (who is largely untouchable due to his Bloodbending) in their brief encounter?
- Charles Foster Ofdensen, the manager of Dethklok in Metalocalypse. He's less "Cultured Badass" and more "Badass Professional", but we don't have a trope for that yet. The effect is the same, though.
- He did get himself beaten by the weird guy in the mask so a little less badass...Still badass though and just being able to handle Dethklok without dying or going stark raving bonkers is badass.
- His record against the mask guy is 1 and 1, they've each claimed a victory over each other. And the mask guy is a legendary assassin...who according to record is Ofdensen's equal.
- Exo Squad brings you the Neo Sapian Marsala: Well spoken, and extremely intelligent (even by his genetically engineered standards). That said, he is still taller and stronger then any normal human, and is a capable E-Frame Pilot. You could probably add Wolf Bronski into the mix as despite his rough exterior, the fact you can set a watch to him belching, he is well educated when it comes to trains and has a thing for the arts.
- While knowledge of trains could be seen as more of a hobby than a sign of culture, his appreciation of art does show Hidden Depths.
- From My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Twilight Sparkle never found a book she didn't read, Rarity is a fashionista. And their friends have naturally picked up elements of this. And they will do their best to kick your ass if you are a national security threat.
- Rarity especially. She takes a combat stance on more than one occasion and has engaged in hoof-to-hoof combat more often than you'd expect anyone to in a franchise like this. (She particularly seemed to enjoy giving it to a Changeling right in the jaw.)
- King Ashurbanipal of the Neo-Assyrian Empire was equally famous for the cruelty with which he treated his conquered foes and his singular devotion to literature in a time when almost nobody else cared about reading. He amassed one of the world's earliest libraries with texts scavenged from across the empire and pillaged from foreign lands— sometimes, if another ruler had a text Ashurbanipal really wanted, he'd suggest that maybe they should offer it to him as a gift if they didn't want their head on a spear. If you've read The Epic of Gilgamesh, you can thank Ashurbanipal, since it's one of the many ancient texts that survived thanks to his library.
- Theodore Roosevelt. Graduated from Harvard. Wrote several books including history books. Was a skilled amateur scientist (who might have become a genuine scientist if he were interested.) Owned several exotic animals, exotic meaning dangerous and badass, such as bears and badgers. Was also a combat veteran, a skilled horseman, and was once shot in the chest at a public event and kept giving his speech for an hour and a half. While president, he once boxed with a bear. The fight left him blind in one eye for the rest of his life, and he would take up Judo thereafter. He was also a skilled negotiator who hammered out a treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. TR recruited his famous Rough Riders cavalry regiment largely from two groups: cowboys and Harvard football players. He personally had been both.
- The Roman general Scipio Africanus was a great lover of Greek culture and a great reducer of the number of Greek-trained Carthegenian mercenaries. Not to mention the fact that he was a gentleman that, when his troops offered him a young woman upon the capture of a city, he returned her to her fiancée, instead of brutally raping her and executing the fiancée.
- King Jan III Sobieski of Poland, whose claims to fame include leading the combined armies of the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to a resounding victory against the numerically superior Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, is said to have been a highly cultured lover of poetry and food, and an enthusiastic amateur astronomer. The constellation Scutum (Latin for "shield") in the southern summer sky is supposed to represent his coat of arms; it is the only constellation which does not owe its name to classical history or mythology.
- Date Masamune is as well known for being cultured as he was Badass; he would hold elaborate banquets, he wrote letters to the Pope in the hopes of forming an alliance, and would read poems to Tokugawa Ieyasu on his deathbed.
- Gene Tunney (who was World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1926 to 1928) was a lover of literature and poetry, a practiced actor, and an accomplished singer. He once forcibly dragged someone over to a window just to show them a beautiful sunset. The moral of this story is, as has been repeatedly stated, just because they like the finer things doesn't make them any less badass, and also that if a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion tells you to look at a sunset, you look at the goddamn sunset.
- Editorialist, social critic, philosopher, and political radical Dwight Macdonald was in the habit of inviting intellectuals he disagreed with to come to his house and fight.
- In fact, being able to handle yourself in a fight used to be part of the requirements of a proper gentleman. Check this article for a discussion of this point.
- The wealthy elites of many historic societies were expected to be both capable warriors as well as cultured aristocrats.
- Most Hellenic Greeks—especially Athenians—took this to the limit. There are numerous documented accounts of generals debating poetry and philosophy at length with their officers, on the eve of a huge battle.
- While the Scottish Highlanders have been stereotyped as savages and of course sometimes justly (it has to be sometimes true after all), it was not unknown for Highland nobles to be cultured folk, well educated in famous universities. While still being as Badass as a true Scotsman should be.
- Samurai, especially during relatively peaceful times; one's education and cultural skills, such as tea ceremony and flower arrangement, became as important in determining honor and status as one's actual strength in battle.
- Medieval and Renaissance knights were mostly born into nobility, and therefore schooled in social graces from an early age. This form of knighthood could be considered to start with the crowning of Charlemagne and his efforts to establish a more strongly unified Western Europe through social reform. Earlier knight equivalents, such as of the Migration Period, do not fall under this trope. Otherwise, this certainly applies in full force by the 14th century, where social and spiritual considerations became teaching points of the greatest fightmasters of the era.
- The western gentleman was expected to be genteel as well as defend his honor with skill at arms. Many gentlemen who required a profession went into the military for at least a time.
- Doc Holliday. They didn't just call him "Doc" because they thought it was a cool name. Before graduating as a qualified dentist, he received an extremely good secondary school education - as his father was loaded - whereas most of the other prominent figures of the Wild West were comparatively fairly ill-educated. He could play the piano, was well versed in Shakespeare, studied mathematics, history, rhetoric and grammar and spoke Latin fluently as well as possessing very good French and Ancient Greek. He was also very refined in his demeanour, displaying the manners of a Southern Gentleman.
- Don't forget Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. A noble prince who was known for building villages to aid peasants, had been celebrated by the pope, and had improved culture and lifestyle of his entire country during his reign, marks him as cultured. The title 'the impaler' and being credited as one of the major real life sources that the worlds most notorious vampire (Dracula) was based, probably marks him as a badass. And if not, there's the fact that he has a listed victim list that ranges from 40,000 to 100,000, showing he's more then willing to raise and wipe out armies.
- He also managed to keep the tiny Principality of Wallachia independent in an age when it was literally on the front lines of the ongoing war between Catholic Europe and the Muslim Ottoman Turks. He's revered in Romania to this day for this accomplishment.
- Sir Winston Churchill. Describing all the badass things he did would take too long and the cultured thing? Well, he did get the Nobel Prize for literature...
- According to tradition, the female Greek poet Telesilla of Argos. When her city was attacked and most of its soldiers killed, she took up a sword and led the young women into battle, eventually driving off the enemy. (Which enemy, you ask? The Spartans.)
- Richard Boone, the gruff bad guy in innumerable Westerns, war movies and TV shows, was in real life an Actors Studio graduate who performed Shakespeare and Euripides onstage, taught acting at several colleges and pursued writing and painting as secondary careers. Also a decorated World War II veteran, so not necessarily less badass in real life. Boone's most famous role - Paladin in Have Gun — Will Travel - was a pretty accurate reflection.