Damned By a Fool's Praise

How can you tell a writer hates something when he doesn't simply say so? The resident dummy will appreciate it. This often comes at the end of an Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking incident.

The character praising something doesn't have to be a moronic tasteless twit when this trope is used. Sometimes the person can be a Jerkass, creep, or some other type of unsavory character thereby tagging the object of praise with the mark of low quality, disreputability, or even Squick.

See also Your Approval Fills Me with Shame when it's done between two characters, Hitler Ate Sugar when someone uses a hated character's interests to make a point, and Anti-Advice. Contrast with Dumbass Has a Point where the idiot's praise is taken as a good thing. May overlap with Fan Hater if the writer is also bashing the people who like the particular thing he hates, It's Popular, Now It Sucks if the writer has a less-than-positive view about the intelligence and taste of most people, and/or Hype Backlash.

See also The War on Straw.

Examples:

Advertising
  • In addition to their usual strategy of depicting users of a particular product as savvy and cool, advertisers will sometimes show the users of a competing product as clueless dweebs and maladroits. However, ads of this type often come off as heavy-handed and end up backfiring. (Generally speaking, it's bad business strategy to alienate potential customers by inadvertently insulting them.) If they are used, they are almost always done in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
    • Even the tongue-in-cheek approach can backfire. A Quiznos ad from autumn 2003 that took a potshot against Subway and—implicitly—its customers had two men sitting on a bench, one with a toasted Quiznos sub, and one with an untoasted sub that was obviously from Subway. The man with the Quiznos sub says "Untoasted? What, were you raised by wolves?" Cue the second guy (Jim Parsons, before he became known as Sheldon) having a flashback of himself, still adult and wearing the same three-piece suit as in the previous shot, nursing from a mother wolf with her pups. He then responds back in the present "Yes, I was. Hm." Enough people were put off by this ad that it was taken off the air, then put back on with the nursing scene cut out but with the "raised by wolves" insult left in. (And of course, the ad is Hilarious in Hindsight now that Subway does toast its subs.)
  • This trope is more frequently employed in political advertising. In these cases, a common tactic is to run commercials against a particular candidate claiming he or she is being supported by a person or group that's considered unpopular by the majority of voters. The message being that the fact a "hated" person or group is endorsing the candidate is proof there's something wrong with him or her.
  • Audi did a British advert in the 1990s that had a stereotypical obnoxious yuppie test-driving the car while boasting, driving aggressively, and being a Jerk Ass in flashback clips. At the end of the advert he handed the car back to the dealer and rejected it as "not really my style".

Comics
  • Any idea the Pointy Haired Boss of Dilbert likes will be seen as stupid. He's also a fan of Barney The Dinosaur.
    • Weaponised by Wally. Aware of his own uncoolness he grows a goatee so that they would go out of fashion as no-one would want to be like him. Taken to ridiculous extremes when a guy who hates Wally and the clean shaven Dilbert pulls off a ridiculous reverse goatee.
  • Paige Fox finds a pair of retro pants and squees over them to Peter, until Bumbling Dad Roger walks by and mentions he used to have a pair just like that and suggests they should go around dressed the same. Paige's next line to Peter is, "Want some pants?"
  • In Garfield, anything Jon likes is subject to this. Jon has ridiculously weird taste in things and tends to purchase things on impulse, then almost immediately forget he had those things upon obtaining them.
    • There's a comic strip where Garfield is watching an infomercial for something unknown but so bad that he can't help complaining endlessly. Jon walks by and tells Garfield he has three of the product.
    • In the Garfield and Friends episode "Rolling Romance", Jon is the only one at an Honest John's Dealership who's interested in a particular car that even the dealer is initially hesitant to sell him—it turns out the car is possessed and madly in love with Jon (whereupon Garfield is quick to question the car's tastes).
    • Both the comic strip and the TV show have done a showcase of useless things Jon has bought over the years, such as a battery-powered battery recharger.note 

Film
  • Used to great effect by Mays Gilliam in Head of State. When his opponent Lewis uses typical (read: stupid but effective) attack ads, Mays refuses to retaliate in kind, pointing out that Lewis will expect this sort of response. Instead, he releases ads praising Lewis by people such as a member of the KKK and Osama bin Laden.

Live-Action TV
  • All in the Family: In the first-season episode "Archie Writes the President" — which he does upon learning Mike wrote a letter to President Nixon critical of his economic policies. In a Dream Sequence, Archie narrates his letter, showing Edith, Gloria and Mike and all — even Mike — nod approvingly and pat him on the back for "telling it like it is."
  • In Paul Merton's Live at the London Palladium video, particularly stupid characters who appear in some of the sketches will often express a fondness for Angus Deayton (who, at the time, appeared alongside Merton on the BBC panel show Have I Got News for You):
    Paul: So, I thought this builder was stupid, but I hadn't counted on his mate. He walks into the house, and the first thing he says is...
    Builder's Mate: Hehe! That Angus Deayton! He don't half make me laugh!
    Paul: Now you can't get more stupid than that!
  • In a 2008 Saturday Night Live sketch, presidential candidate John McCain goes out of his way to escape from a televised event, hosted by his running mate Sarah Palin, where McCain is to receive an endorsement from George W. Bush.
  • Parker Lewis Can't Lose has Parker campaigning for Student Council President or whomever students elect, only to notice he was doing it purely for pride and has no real program, unlike his main opponent. He decides to drop out of the race by recording and editing voice samples from Ms. Musso and playing them at the end of her speech, to make it look like she's endorsing him, driving everybody to vote for his opponent.
  • When Tracy made a coalition of self-described idiots on 30 Rock, Liz was forced to make a public apology for insulting him by listing the beneficial things idiots have created, only to start listing the terrible things they've done. The lists were fundamentally the same, and included an Entourage movie, Bratz dolls, Florida, and waterparksnote .
    Tracy: I like it. She's naming awesome things!

Webcomics

Web Original

Western Animation
  • On Animaniacs, Slappy tells Skippy that all that junk food has rotted his brain, and adds "No wonder you like that Bonkers show."
  • This has become one of Family Guy's trademarks: most, if not all, arguments made in favor of something the writer's disagree with is presented as abundantly foolish and unsympathetically, while their own beliefs are presented civilly and without any kind of realistic flaws.
    • In "Whistle While Your Wife Works" among the questions Stewie asks Jillian to bait her into giving dumb answers, he asks for her views regarding the recent activity of homeland security.
    Jillian: Well, I just think, for starters, that sometimes the government has things they can't tell us and, truthishly, we should just accept that.

  • In the Futurama episode "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid," the entire population of the world except Fry become chronically stupid as a result of an invasion by the Brain Spawn. As soon as Fry figures this out, Bender declares "Let's all join the Reform Party!"
    • For syndication, it was changed to "Tea Party."
  • In The Simpsons episode "HOMR," when Homer becomes smarter than average but hates it he goes to a Back-Alley Doctor (i.e., Moe) to insert a crayon up his nose to re-dumbify him. The "doctor" delicately shoves it up there; he doesn't want Homer to end up too dumb or too smart.
    Moe: All right, tell me when I hit the sweet spot. [gently inserts crayon]
    Homer: Deeper, you pusillanimous pilsner pusher!
    Moe: All right, all right. [with a small hammer and chisel, taps the crayon further up Homer's nose]
    Homer: De-fense! [woof-woof] De-fense! [woof-woof]
    Moe: Eh, that's pretty dumb. But, uh ... [taps once more]
    Homer: Extended warranty? How can I lose?
    Moe: Perfect.
  • In the South Park episode "Timmy 2000", the kids, and eventually the adults, get addicted to Ritalin and become so dull and boring that they actually like Phil Collins. When the pharmacists hear of this, they have a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment.
    • Another South Park example had the dorky Butters saying he thought Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was pretty good even though everyone else thought it was like watching Indy getting raped.
    • In fact, a safe way to figure out what the South Park writers don't like is to see whether either Cartman or Butters likes it.
    • "Funnybot" has everyone annoyed by Tyler Perry in a Madea outfit. Token is the only one who finds it funny, much to his own chagrin.
    • In "Hellen Keller! The Musical", the kids try to put on a huge extravaganza of a Thanksgiving play based on Butters' seemingly glowing responses to the kindergartners' play. In the end, it turns out that the kindergartners' play was poor and used limited resources, the kids only then realizing that it was Butters being babyish as usual.
    • Exploited by the parents when their kids are getting caught up in the Chinpokomon craze: by pretending to just as big (if not bigger) fans, the kids are horrified and abandon the hobby.
  • In the Arthur episode "Team Trouble", Arthur, Francine, and Buster have to do a group project on Ancient Rome. They decide to make a comic book about it, but none of them do any research for it. Arthur and Francine realize the low quality of their portions after showing them to other people, who point out the problems in them. Buster, on the other hand, concludes his portion isn't good because Binky liked it.
  • A Dudley Do-Right short had a man call Dudley the "squarest Mountie I've ever seen", prompting Inspector Fenwick to ask him...
    Inspector: Dudley, how do you feel about Lawrence Welk?
    Dudley: Only terrific, Inspector. That's real toe-tapping music.
  • Kim Possible spends an episode working at a taco joint she hates under a mean (and dorky) boss to afford a designer jacket. Ron buys it for her at the end, only for her former boss to walk by wearing the same thing.
    Ron: Exchange it?
    Kim: Oh yeah!

Real Life
  • Expect a lot of children to lose interest in any fad when their parents take interest in it.
  • Part of the concept of Guilty Pleasures is the fear of being looked upon as this.
  • Without naming names, a political endorsement from a recognized fool can be a hindrance to a candidate.
    • Various Republican candidates in the 2014 US Senate Election season loved to try to invoke this against any opponent who's expressed any form of support for Democratic president Barack Obama. Particularly notable is the case of defending Georgia senator Michelle Nunn, who was openly praised by Obama and her opponents never let her hear the end of it.
      • It goes both ways. A common tactic to discredit Republican candidates in 2008 was to show that they often agreed with George W. Bush.