Deliberate Values Dissonance
"Now here is Orsini alone with his
[...] Orsini grabs the iron fire poker and hits his wife over the head, full force, wham, wham, dead. He drops the fire poker on her corpse and walks briskly out of the room, leaving it for the servants to clean up. Yes. That is the
right thing, because this is the Renaissance
, and these people are
terrible. When word gets out there is concern over a possible feud, but no one ever comments that Orsini killing his wife was anything but the appropriate course. That is historicity, and the modern audience is left in genuine shock."
Sometimes, morals don't travel well
. Often, what is appropriate to one culture at a given time can be repugnant to the same culture at another, or vice versa. Thus, when depicting other cultures, a creator has to choose whether to portray them accurately or not. Many just use their own contemporary culture for everyone in the story
for narrative reasons or just to make writing it easier, resulting in an inaccurate and/or anachronistic story. Some, however, research the culture
and make an effort to reproduce the attitudes of the time and place accurately, even when they are wildly different to what the author knows or might consider sensible. Thus one ends up with a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance.
In Historical Fiction
and Historical Fantasy
, this is an obvious necessity to avoid anachronisms; indeed readers may criticize works for failure to reflect the actual historically accurate views as an Anachronism Stew
. This may result in an Author Tract
, the story condemning or praising certain values or societal norms that are no longer relevant. Be wary, though, for sometimes Reality Is Unrealistic
and the deliberately different values end up just as inaccurate, but in the opposite direction
- a story could present some value as being a relic of the past even if it's still widespread at the time of its writing, or present a value as common in a specific place or time period even if it wasn't.
For Speculative Fiction
this is also often a necessity, as it would make no sense for radically different societies - even if they are presented as a future version of the "present" society - to adopt exactly the same values. This can result in an Author Tract
of a different kind, presenting values the author believes could or should
arise in certain situations. Conversely this could simply be a tool for World Building
, especially in stories involving extraterrestrials or otherwise completely "alien" civilizations. When moral systems are so different from a reader's culture that they are almost incomprehensible, Blue and Orange Morality
is the result.
Often a meditation or argument against Good Flaws, Bad Flaws
. See also Your Normal Is Our Taboo
, Unfortunate Implications
, Culture Clash
, No Equal Opportunity Time Travel
. Contrast Politically Correct History
, Eternal Sexual Freedom
, Fair for Its Day
, Culture Justifies Anything
, The Theme Park Version
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Anime & Manga
- Anatolia Story:
- Yuri is shocked to learn that a young servant is to be hanged for attacking her (she knew he was Brainwashed and Crazy), just because under their law, she was a prince's concubine and thus a member of the royal family. She finds out that the penalty for attacking a commoner would have gotten him hard labor, and is disgusted to learn that the servant will die for class issues. Later, she is also very surprised to learn that the child (14 years old) prince Juda has a legal wife and several concubines, and that the people of one town she stops in have no concept of basic sanitation and care for injured people.
- When Yuri and her friends briefly stay in Memphis, they're rather shocked and embarrassed by how Ramses's sister constantly goes around topless and encourages Yuri to do the same. Such a practice was common in Egypt, especially given the climate.
- When visiting a city-state that's about to be invaded, Yuri is shocked to find the place filled with prostitutes. She tries to order them all out, on the grounds that the soldiers should be focusing on the upcoming battle, but is persuaded that it's better to let a few stay, because the men use them for stress relief. The implication is that it's normal for prostitutes to be hanging around like that.
- When Ramses is abducting Yuri, he tells her off for struggling against him when he's being so "nice", which he defines as "not raping her". Yuri is shocked by the audacity of this, because naturally she sees kidnapping as automatically not nice behavior and not raping someone isn't worthy of praise.
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Most people don't seem to mind that their government is a military dictatorship, just that it's an incredibly corrupt and amoral one. Roy Mustang's ultimate plan is to change the government, but to what type is unclear.
- The Conqueror of Shamballa movie has Ed living in Germany just as the Nazi party is rising to prominence, so there's plenty of anti-Jewish and Roma prejudice going around.
- Spice and Wolf:
- Quite sympathetic protagonist Lawrence considers slavery a necessary and productive trade, even after nearly being forced into slavery to pay off a debt. Meanwhile his companion, Holo, who is a wolf in human form, has a lot of wolf-like mentality; for example, she tends to focus mainly on the now, especially when it comes to stuffing her face full of food, despite Lawrence's complaints about how much money she costs as a result. A great deal of the show's entertainment consists of the two judging each other by their own set of values, and especially in Lawrence's case coming to wrong conclusions because of it.
- Holo sees absolutely nothing wrong with being naked, she is a wolf after all. It outright angers her that Lawrence expects her to be clothed.
- Used to build tension in the "bankruptcy" arc; most viewers, and in-universe Holo, see no reason why Holo tagging along when Lawrence goes to ask for loans to help with his debt is a problem. Lawrence's friends, however, make the assumption that Holo is some "arm-candy" that Lawrence went broke trying to impress and now he's still trying to keep her, hence the comment one finally makes that reveals to Holo she's the reason why they have all refused to help Lawrence.
- In Tenchi Muyo! Aeka is engaged to marry her biological half brother, which she explains to Tenchi with little more than that's how we do things on Jurai. It's played with later on in the OVA, and then outright subverted in the spinoff material. Basically, no one in the family (except Aeka), expected the marriage to go down, and the whole point was to keep anti-integration activists from supporting Aeka as an alternative to Yosho as king. (This completely goes to shit when you realize that Aeka's grandmother, Seto, is adopted, and that the current king is of mixed blood himself.)
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka (who is a quarter Japanese and grew up in Germany) is baffled upon learning that none of the doors in Misato's apartment have locks. Misato then explains that it's a cultural difference, as in Japan, locking yourself in your room and separating yourself from others is considered quite rude. Comparatively, very few Westerners would see anything odd about a teenager locking her bedroom door in order to ensure privacy.
- Thorfinn has no problem with his comrades raping women in Vinland Saga, though he doesn't personally join in. Likewise the slave trade is treated like a normal business by most of the people shown. The story is, of course, about Vikings, whose culture allowed such things.
- Femme Kabuki being set during the Meiji Restoration explicitly points out how corrupt and unfair the new system is and the appeal/shame that comes with "Saint" Jodie Hanabusa-Abbott playing up being Foreign Fanservice to the Japanese audience with her blonde hair and Western clothes despite not knowing a lick of English (her Japanese is child-like and ironically innocent) due to her Disappeared Dad running out on her mother after knocking her up and being bullied as a child for being a "Rashomen's Child." She got better being part of the kabuki troupe to the extent of being an Iron Woobie that the kidnappers she tells her life story to (under the belief she was a rich White man's daughter) are motivated to improve their lives and work honestly.
- Black Butler has some fun with this. Elizabeth doesn't have any problem with Nina Hopkins sexually assaulting Mey-Rin; after all, Mey-Rin is just the hired help, and hell, Elizabeth practically does the same thing. No, what makes her gasp and blush is Nina showing off her legs.
- In the Jaya flashback story in One Piece, the Shandians were willing to sacrifice Calgara's daughter to their snake god because their village was plagued with disease and death and they believed this would appease the snake god. The explorer Noland did not take this well.
- This is played with a lot in Axis Powers Hetalia. A constant source of jokes is to have two Nations discuss aspects of their culture (clothing, food, mythology, etc) and watch their shocked reactions to each other. One particular Running Gag is Japan and America visiting each other's houses. Japan is overwhelmed by how huge his order of French Fries are, while America has a Heroic BSOD over how small the same order is, in Japan. Japan is shocked by the bizarrely-colored cakes America bakes (even wanting to take its picture) and America has no idea why a beautiful woman in Japan's house just gave him a packet of tissues for free (it was a way to advertise a sex club, basically). At one point, Japan thinks America is a wimp for crying in fear over a movie about ghosts, while Japan himself just makes jokes about it. Japan tries to make America braver by giving him a terrifying Japanese video game to try. Instead of being scared by it, America thinks it's hilarious and replicates one of the ghosts, much to Japan's terror. That particular story ends with Japan thinking "I have no idea what scares this guy!" (The last story, incidentally, was taking from an actual example of Values Dissonance the artist experienced. He'd watch Americans freak out over ghost movies that the Chinese guys in the room laughed at, while the Americans laughed and made jokes about Japanese horror films that the Japanese people found terrifying).
- This is a major theme in many episodes of Kino's Journey as most of the lands (in this fictional world) Kino visits have morals or laws that seem outright appalling. It's stated by several characters that they'll come across places that will seem shocking to Kino, but normal to the residents of the country (usually). Kino has a rule to try not to judge or interfere, part of why she leaves a country after three days, regardless of its state.
- Stepping On Roses is about a marriage of convenience between a poor girl from the Yokohama slums who is only familiar with traditional Japanese culture, and a very rich man who has been educated in the Westernised upper class of Tokyo. Naturally, they clash a LOT in regards to how things are done at home, how to dress up, what kind of behavior they should follow, etc. (And then there's how the guy is a borderline Bastard Boyfriend, but that's something else.)
- In Ojamajo Doremi, Momoko, a Japanese-American, accidentally offends Hazuki and Onpu by openly criticizing their lack of skill in cooking, but doesn't understand why. Aiko explains to her that it's not in Japanese culture to be very blunt and confrontational.
- As Rose of Versailles is extremely accurate in depicting pre-Revolutionary France, this happens regularly, with two of the most extreme examples being madame De Polignac's favorable attitude regarding Arranged Marriage between her teenaged daughter and a man in his thirty and soldiers of an Household Regiment quipping how strange was having a king that dressed modestly and loved his people (the specific situation being Versailles' gardens filled with snow and Louis XVI showing up in a practical coat to order the guards to hire the poorest citizens of Paris to clean up and pay them well).
- The Sandman:
- In "Ramadan" the Caliph Haroun Al-Raschid, regarded as a paragon of justice by his contemporaries, has several torture chambers in his palace and not only has a harem of wives, but also several underage boys (though they appear to be at least in their teens), which were common practices at the time. Immortal characters often suffer Values Dissonance about their own actions, such as Hob Gadling's guilt over his involvement in the slave trade.
- At one point in "August", which is set in Ancient Rome, a disguised Emperor Augustus meets a man who was born into slavery, but was later freed and grew up to become a wine merchant with his own large collection of slaves. This is treated as an inspirational Rags to Riches story (as it would have been at the time), with no one finding it odd that a former slave would take pride in owning slaves of his own.
- Sandman Mystery Theatre actually dealt with the racism and sexism prevalent in 30's and 40's, in sharp contrast to the colorful and nostalgic depictions of the Golden Age seen in most DC Comics publications.
- In the Dead Girl miniseries, dead 40s heroine Miss America and dead 00s hero the Anarchist get along poorly at first because, well... he's black. She even refers to him using the n-word at one point.
- MAD's parody of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves "Throbbin' Hood: Prince of Heaves" parodied both the movie and, at the end, this trope. When King Richard returns, he informs all of the loyal peasants and outlaws who've helped restore him to his throne that now they shall all live as they have always lived before (to much applause and cheering)... with no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of religion, and absolutely no questioning the divine right of kings. The cheering stops and the suddenly enraged outlaws all throw things at Richard and tell him to "Get lost, baldy!"
- In Marshal Law, the members of the Jesus Society of America can hardly see an Asian person or hear a German word without coming to the conclusion that they've become stranded in a parallel universe where the Axis won World War II. Oh, and Marshal Law sets the record straight that these guys were legitimately not real heroes by any stretch of the imagination.
- In Strontium Dog, during a story detailing how Johnny and Wulf first met, Wulf and his Viking pals celebrate a good raid by killing a bunch of slaves and splattering their blood everywhere. It's all in good fun.
- In an issue of Cable and X-Force, Doctor Nemesis asks a nervous Forge "Where's [his] pioneer spirit?" Forge, a member of the Cheyenne Nation, immediately takes offense to the question, since his people obviously have a far more negative opinion of pioneers than white Americans do.
- Warren Ellis's Crecy is a warts-and-all depiction of the famous Battle of Crécy in 1346. The narrator acknowledges the dissonance, describing himself as "a complete bloody xenophobe who comes from a time when it was acceptable to treat people from the next village like they were subhumans" and admitting that by modern standards his side have been "acting like evil pricks", but insists that the other side was even worse.
- Captain America:
- The Ultimate Marvel version presents Cap with some rather modernly distasteful attitudes, as part of a more "realistic" take on what a soldier and average American citizen from 1940 would really be like, especially if he time-skipped to the 2000s. Most prominently, he's a Noble Bigot, a firm believer in My Country, Right or Wrong (as seen during his confrontation with Ultimate Nuke), and he holds an infamous disdain for the French. The last is probably meant to reflect a US soldier's loathing of the French as a whole for capitulating to the Nazis early in the War and forcing many US soldiers to die trying to free the French from their own government, though it's rather ahistorical. America was still rather Francophilic at the time - General Patton adored the country - and anti-French sentiment only really picked up during the 1950s under deGaulle's rather abrasive leadership of the nation. This contrasts with 616-Cap, who worked with the Resistance and hates portrayals of the French as cowards: "The government surrendered. The people never did."
- Warren Ellis gives a similar portrayal in Nextwave. In a flashback, Cap is shown telling Captain Marvel (his black, female teammate) to leave a battle and make him something to eat.
- The idea is subverted in an issue of Young Avengers. Wiccan is shocked when Captain America expresses approval for his gay relationship with Hulkling, figuring that someone born in the 1920's would not view homosexuals in a positive light. (Funnily enough, the most common backstory for Steve Rogers has him grow up in a prominent gay neighborhood.)
- During Ed Brubaker's Captain America run, there was a one-shot where the Winter Soldier teamed up with the Young Avengers. Though he got along well with the black teen hero Patriot (he was friends with the black Human Top and the Japanese-American Golden Girl during WWII), Kate Bishop called him out on his homophobia after he referred to a group of Mooks as "pansies." He shrugged it off by saying that he was from the 40's, and thus had no idea the term was considered homophobic in a modern context.
- In the 70's, Cap and The Falcon fought William Burnside and Jack Monroe, the Captain America and Bucky of the 1950's. Both were decidedly racist and sexist, with Jack in particular hurling racist insults at the Falcon and insinuating that Sharon Carter was a weakling because she's a woman.
- At least one comic book version of Xena: Warrior Princess walked back some of the show's Anachronism Stew by showing a slight difference of attitudes toward slavery between Xena and Gabrielle. When presented with a Roman band of slaves about to be auctioned off, Gabrielle is appalled at slavery in general (not a common attitude in classical Rome) and particularly that one of the slaves is a pregnant woman. Xena, in contrast, is generally convinced that the (otherwise all-male) slaves must be criminals who've done something to deserve their condition, but makes an exception in the pregnant woman's case as it seems improbable to her that a pregnant woman could be guilty of any serious crime. The two thus agree to go buy the woman free, each for their own reasons—but leave the rest of them to be sold.
- Atomic Robo reminds us that H.P. Lovecraft was a massive racist and xenophobe, even compared to his contemporaries. Take, for example, when he mistakes Robo for a pygmy dressed in ceremonial black ritual armor:
Robo: 'Scuze me.
Lovecraft: Ah! Look, it's attempting to communicate. No doubt the savage thing knows language as a house pet knows its reflection in the mirror. The sense is taken in, but the process, the meaning, is forever lost.
Robo: Yer razzin' me.
See how vainly it cobbles together a string of sounds not unlike words? Take. Us. To. Magic. Thunder. Man.
- A storyline has the team finds themselves in America in 1907. There, they meet a girl named Klara Prast. Klara is more upset at the possibility of them recruiting her for a union than the fact that she was forced by her parents to marry a man who is old enough to be her father, and who beats her and is implied to rape her. Molly fails to realize this when Klara alludes to it; Karolina does. Later, Klara refers to Xavin in female, black form as a "negress" and is disgusted at female Xavin and Karolina being intimate.
- The same storyline has an instance where Karolina takes an evening stroll and is mistaken for a prostitute by a creepy man, on the grounds that that's the only sort of woman who'd be walking around the city at this time of night. When she tries to correct the mistake, he refuses to listen and drags her into an alley. One beat panel later, he goes flying across the street and Karolina comments "Looks like history just lost another buff".
- Occurs in Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, where Wolverine is mentally regressed to childhood and believes he's still living in the 1800's. He ignores Kitty Pryde's orders on the basis that she's a woman, calls Armor an "Oriental," and refers to the Japanese language as "Heathen funny talk."
- Regular Shazam villain Black Adam is Captain Marvel's predecessor in the distant past. Five thousand years ago, he was a great hero who rose up from slavery, freed his people from the cruelty of am evil tyrant, and ruled over them for many years as a just, wise, and beloved king who bravely fought to protect them and brought them safety, peace, and plenty. But in the modern age of democracy and superheroes who respect the sanctity of life, his once Grade-A heroic methods look rather barbaric.
- The 2009 Marvel MAX Dominic Fortune series by Howard Chaykin is set in the 1930s, and is absolutely drenched in this trope. Pretty much all the main male characters throw racial, sexual and anti-semitic slurs around with careless abandon — even the ones who aren't unrepentant Nazi sympathisers — and treat women mostly as animated sex dolls who exist solely for their sexual gratification. The women also take pretty much any opportunity to get their clothes off and have sex, but that can probably be chalked up to a different trope.
- Usagi Yojimbo is famous for it being a scrupulously well researched depiction of feudal Japan, the funny animal characters notwithstanding, including its social attitudes to a certain degree. For instance, Sanshobo told the story to Usagi of how he failed to save the son of his master from falling to his death. Sanshobo told his own son there was only one to make up for that that failure; his son stated he understood what was involved, and deliberately leaped to his own death. While the average Western reader would be horrified to see a tragedy compounded by another, neither Sanshobo nor Usagi dispute that was the right thing to do in their eyes.
- Forever Evil: Earth 3 is an entire world where heroism, justice, and the basic good are considered foreign
- The Shadow had a comic series revival in the 1980s where he returned from a complete isolation he began in 1949, and still had all the cultural attitudes of a 1930s aristocrat. Amusingly enough, his sons grew up in the same isolation, and were comically oversaturated with 80s culture.
- Superman & Batman: Generations, as part of its total aversion of Comic Book Time, has the characters behaving in era-appropriate ways. In the 1939 chapter Superman gladly helps Batman pull a High-Altitude Interrogation, while in later chapters he's adopted his famous Thou Shalt Not Kill policy and even insists that he be punished for killing the Ultra-Humanite, even though the jury was convinced it was an accident that happened during self-defense. Likewise, in the same chapter Lois Lane describes cigarettes as if she were filming a cereal commercial, but has an entirely different attitude decades down the line when diagnosed with cancer.
- Storm Saxon is a Show Within a Show for V for Vendetta. The entire premise seems to be a white guy killing villains based on racist stereotypes (such as Where Da White Women At?).
Films — Animated
- Mulan is just full of sexist songs like A Girl Worth Fighting For and Honour To Us All, which fit in with how casually patriarchal ancient China was. They also include some odd ancient Chinese fetishes, like when one of the men mentions he wants a girl "paler than the moon". And when they're not going on about what women should be like, they're going on about how important it is to "Be A Man!"
- The Prince of Egypt:
- Played up with the moral ambiguity of the plagues. In Biblical times, God killing the firstborn sons of your enemies was clearly a good thing. With a more modern eye and attention to characterization, it becomes a gut-wrenching event for both Moses and Rameses.
- The film makes Moses's adopted father go from being a stern but loving dad to being pretty creepy just by reminding us how he (and most of the Egyptians) saw the Israelites: "Oh my son, they were only slaves." This follows into Rameses' opinion on the Israelites, who views them the same way as every other member of his family.
- Several facts from the religious texts the story originated from were changed/omitted for the movie to make the protagonists more sympathetic to a modern audience (eg; in the movie, Moses killing a slavemaster was accidental, according to the religious texts Moses did it deliberately).
- In the prequel Joseph King Of Dreams, Joseph knowing how to read and write is clearly shown as being an unusual but incredibly helpful skill he has. The movie also shows in pretty disturbing detail Joseph's being sold into slavery, with him at one point seeing how scarred the back of another slave is from being whipped.
- Hinted at in The Princess and the Frog. While a lot of Tiana's hardships come from her being poor, there are a good many implications that she also has to fight against prejudices against her being a woman and black. One of the most noticeable is when the owners of a mill she wanted to buy casually dismiss how upset she is at being outbid, telling her "A woman of your... background, you're better off staying where you're at". While the exact meaning of the sentence is ambiguous enough that it could be interpreted a few ways, her reaction would tell anyone who knows about black rights at that time period what they were implying.
- In Aladdin Princess Jasmine sneaks out and inadvertently gives away a fruit to a beggar child. Lacking money, the vendor would have chopped off her hand, had Aladdin not rescued her. This is Truth in Television for many Islamic societies, and something that still exists in modern times.
Films — Live-Action
- The Shop On Main Street is a Slovak film set in 1942, dealing with the deportation of the Jews from Slovakia (to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps). Except for one person who is connected to the Slovak resistance, none of the Christians in the town have any problem with the Jews being stripped of their property and sent away. The protagonist's wife is overjoyed when she finds out that he will be receiving a confiscated Jewish shop.
- Cult Classic horror film The Wicker Man relies heavily on this, first for humor, as the protagonist's staunch Christianity means he is horrified and baffled by the staunch Paganism of the village inhabitants and what this leads them to do — who are equally horrified and baffled by his religious beliefs and behaviors — and then for horror, when the Paganistic beliefs incite the villages to capture the protagonist and burn him to death in a wicker man as a Human Sacrifice so that their crops will grow.
- In Back to the Future, Marty realizes that the black busboy he is talking to in 1955 is the mayor in 1985. When he says this, the café owner scoffs "A colored mayor! That'll be the day!". (It should be stated that the café owner is rude toward everyone, so maybe that's just part of his personality. Also he could have been waxing cynical about other's racism rather than expressing it on his own part.) Funnily enough a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, since the first black mayor in California was Edward Duplex, in 1888, in the majority-white town of Wheatland. Most likely either the writers or the character were unaware.
- Master and Commander:
- The ship's first officer asking permission to bring live Galapagos tortoises on board as food stock. Of course, lots of people still eat tortoises and turtles, but no one in modern times thinks of Galapagos tortoises as food courses.
- Also, prepubescent boys acting as officers, commanding men at least thrice their age by the simple benefit of coming from the upper class.
- In the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Anamaria's gender makes Gibbs wary of bringing her on the ship because of the belief that women bring bad luck, but eventually relents. It's historically accurate that sailors were wary of having women on board, and there were a few notable female pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy, including Anne Bonny and Mary Read. The fact that no one even considers it worth mentioning that she's black is also accurate, since pirates loved stealing slave vessels (they had a lot of room), but had no interest in the slaves on them. They would either release said slaves, or give them a chance to join the crew.
- In Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks' deconstruction of the Western, all of the "good" townsfolk of Rock Ridge display violent racism toward blacks, Chinese and the Irish. In one scene especially the Irish. The process of gaining their trust is a fairly major plot point.
- The original, non-musical version of Hairspray is both an affectionate tribute to the relatively underground dance culture of the early 1960's, but also takes some pretty ruthless jabs at the mainstream culture of the time. White housewives become shrieking wrecks at the moment they arrive in the black part of town, a therapist tries to hypnotize Penny out of liking Seaweed, and the heroes themselves become terrified when they accidentally stumble into a den of Beatniks ("let's get naked and smoke!"). The segregationists mostly act out of fear, paranoia, and vanity rather than any profound hatred, while another scene shows a white woman throwing fireworks into a crowd of peaceful protesters and starting a race riot just For the Evulz. Even Edna Turnblad is nervous about her daughter hanging out with "color people". And it still manages to be very upbeat.
- Love and Honor is ripe with this, but the kicker is when the (truly lovable) hero throws his (also very sweet) wife out the house for, basically, being raped. She comments in all earnestness: "At least he was kind enough not to cut off my head." Though later they reconcile, he never apologizes for it.
- Timeline, despite its poor reception, has one of the most accurate depictions of medieval values in modern fiction, moreso in the book. It's rather well summed up in the scene where the main party is escaping and the Scotsman (though Dutch in the novel), standing a few feet from the guard, with an arrow pointed at his chest says something to the effect of "Stay quiet if you value your life." The guard picks up his sword and yells "Traitors!" running at him. Before promptly being shot in the chest.
- Help! - it may seem disconcerting to see The Beatles (especially Lennon) referring to "filthy Eastern ways" regarding their cultist pursuers, but all the deliberately stilted dialog in the movie is meant to invoke old movie and adventure novel cliches.
- A throwaway line in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time mentions the Crown Prince having several wives.
- Played full tilt in The Coen Brothers version of True Grit where among other examples, when a group of outlaws are about to be executed. The white bandits all get their full final words while the American Indian gets a mask over his head before he could get a single word in edgewise.
- Ip Man doesn't shy from depicting Japanese brutality towards Chinese or Western racism.
- In the 2012 movie version of 21 Jump Street, undercover cop Jenko finds out the hard way that, in the age of Glee, environmentalism and a more pro-tolerance atmosphere, his alpha-male jock routine puts him a lot lower on the high school Popularity Food Chain than it did at the Turn of the Millennium (he graduated in 2005). Instead, it's Schmidt, the former high school nerd, whose personality and lifestyle are more in line with what's considered cool in The New Tens.
- The townspeople in Federico Fellini's Amarcord are a barely literate, comically inept, short-tempered, base lot with few redeeming features between them. About half-way through the movie, the mayor of the town proudly declares every citizen a committed Fascist.
- In Django Unchained, this is pretty frequent. For example, Calvin Candie pulls out the old Phrenology justification for why whites are superior.
- Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story contains a scene where Bruce and his white girlfriend watch the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. The girlfriend clearly loves the movie, until she sees Bruce is appalled at the racist humor and use of Yellowface.
- The 1987 Dragnet film contrasts the Detective Friday character, who is a throwback to The Fifties, with his more modern new partner played by Tom Hanks.
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves has the sadistic Sheriff of Nottingham appalled at the concept of forcing himself on Lady Marian before a proper marriage...which may be more this trope than an Even Evil Has Standards moment, since in 13th century England, said act is not considered rape if occurring between a married couple.
- In The Lone Ranger the treatment of Native American peoples, including calling them savages, reflects the time period.
- Byzantium: The Brethren's entire attitude towards women not being allowed to join their ranks, regardless of their merit. Clara's denied entry just over two centuries ago, which in of itself was hardly a time for enlightened views on women in general. But then you realise the Brethen are strongly implied to be much, much older than that and time clearly hasn't shaken the trappings of countless centuries of sexism by the time Clara wants to join. The fact her low birth is also a strike against her falls squarely into this trope too.
- Anchorman gets away with a ton of sexist jokes that it probably wouldn't if it weren't set in the seventies.
- X-Men: First Class: "This, gentlemen, is why the CIA is no place for a woman!"
- In Lincoln the villains of the movie are all rabid racists who oppose the 13th amendment. But even the moderate politicians hold views that are pretty sexist and racist by our standard. George Yeaman opposes the amendment because he it would give votes to blacks and god forbid, women. He does change his mind in a big way though. Thaddeus Stevens has to hide his belief in racial equality so this fear doesn't kill the Amendment.
- Racer and the Geek brings this up frequently when mercenaries get involved. Because pony society is so unconfrontational and violence is extremely uncommon, firearms and those associated with them are almost all universally hated.
- Hivefled: To the readers, the Parental Incest is disturbing, but trolls don't have any concept of incest due to their Bizarre Alien Reproduction meaning that most trolls never meet their children. The trolls are more upset by the idea of moirails reproducing together, as they're supposed to be Platonic Life Partners. Similarly, blood sacrifices are usually pretty normal in the cult of mirthful messiahs- the Grand Highblood is just breaking the rules by keeping his victims' ghosts. Later on, when the trolls meet the humans, values clash. The trolls are shocked that humans sleep on beds (a.k.a. "concupiscent couches", used only for sex by trolls), bury their dead (trolls think death is something to be faced, not hidden), have separate words for consensual sex and rape (among trolls rape is disapproved of but not actually illegal, victims are given little sympathy, and the word for it is actually the word for the consensual variety pronounced more patronisingly), and don't eat babies (troll grubs are born in such vast numbers that they'd strip the planet bare if significant numbers weren't eaten).
- Like with the canon examples, writers love using this trope with Axis Powers Hetalia fics. Unlike with canon, they sometimes like to use it for Darker and Edgier examples, along with having it be Played for Laughs. Fic also often uses dissonance between the views of the nations and those of normal humans.
- Anthropology: Lyra is obsessed with humanity, and adopts some of their habits, like her sitting and wearing clothes, but most ponies are shown to be confused by these things. Later on in the story, she learns of humanity's history of violence and conflict, and their consumption of meat the latter she found out about by having eaten a Big Mac, and while horrified, she still admires their history of innovation. Lyra's human friend Audrey is shocked to learn that Lyra has been on her own since she was 12, while she is still a minor at 16, and is shocked by some of her habits like eating plants. Most of her human friends are pretty nonchalant about human conflict. This trope pretty much abounds as Lyra struggles to adapt to the human world.
- In What Hath Joined Together most ponies who espouse "the Order" due so to justify their jerkass behavior, but Twilight Sparkle's support comes due to her sheltered upbringing and lack of experience where ponies truly suffer from it. When she encounters somepony willing to die to marry someone outside his social class, it makes her more sympathetic as she struggles to understand why someone would defy the Order for something so unacceptable.
- This is at the core of Jus Primae Noctis. Saito goes into culture shock a few times at what Halgenkians consider acceptable or unacceptable behavior, and the title speaks for itself.
Live Action TV
- It's inevitable on The Knick, which is set in the year 1900 in New York City. Most of the white characters are casual racists, at least one of them is a hardcore social Darwinist, and most male characters are equally casually sexist.
Dr. Algernon Edwards: Is your race listed on your credentials?
Dr. John Thackery: There's no need for it to be.
- American Dreams being set in the early sixties plays with this trope extensively. While it contains a certain amount of nostalgia there were pains taken to give characters realistic attitudes in regards to things like race, sexuality and war. There was also a fair amount of care taken to avoid Strawmen (although there were some arguable examples) and people's attitudes and actions were often conflicting. Pete Pryor was shown to be casually racist in his dealings as a cop but also seemed to genuinely respect Henry, his brother's Black Best Friend. Jack Pryor might have somewhat archaic views on women but allows his wife to work and offers to help his daughter attend college despite his initial misgivings. Even borderline Marty Stu JJ objects to his sister's budding inter-racial relationship. Some critics (especially since Mad Men has come along) have said it could have hit this trope harder but many others feel that not having a specific political viewpoint gave the show a more expansive perspective on the period.
- Gene Hunt on Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes is a racist sexist homophobe who gives out Police Brutality like presents. He still has enough redeeming qualities to qualify for Noble Bigot with a Badge, but most people wouldn't want him on a modern police force.
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, when a simulation of Abraham Lincoln is projected onto the Enterprise, he immediately notices Uhura is black, noting "What a charming Negress." This is a bit of an inaccurate portrayal, as although some of the plans he advocated early in his life regarding slaves (such as the government buying them, freeing them, and then sending them to Liberia) would seem bothersome today due to Values Dissonance, he was remarked about at least once for not reminding people of their race.
Frederick Douglass: In his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color.
- Lucius Vorenus is devoted to a code of honor that often seems barbaric from a modern point of view; at one point he's willing to kill his wife's illegitimate son to preserve honor. In Real Life ancient Rome, the man who did not put his wife's illegitimate newborn to death would be considered not just dishonorable but immoral. However, if the child was older and freeborn (or if the mother had been married to the biological father at the time of conception), killing it would be a felony punishable by death.
- There was also a hilarious bit when Atia took a servant's rumors of Caesar and Octavian coming out of a pantry at the same time after making some strange noises (Caesar was having an epileptic fit) and ran with it. This also becomes a case of deliberate hypocrisy later when she beats Octavia for being in a lesbian relationship with Servilia, an enemy of the family, as immoral. Of course, in the show this relationship led to the downfall of Caesar, but that was a ways off and due to a single seemingly unimportant comment to all involved.
Atia: For what reason, I wonder, would you and Caesar possibly be skulking around in a cupboard...?
Octavian: What? We were... it was nothing.
Atia: "Nothing"? It doesn't sound like nothing. [beams] You seduced him, you sly little fox!
Octavian: I did not!
Atia: I am not clear it is decent, him being your great uncle... but who's to say what's decent in times like these? In any case, well done. Let's see Servilia compete with a soft young boy like you. What power we shall wield...!
- The final straw for the conspirators who assassinated Caesar? He had the gall of offering normal people and conquered peoples to be senators in the Senate... thus giving everyone a say. This was offensive to the nobility, even though in the modern day and age it'd be viewed as progressive and natural. It made the conspirators look less like freedom fighters for the Republic and more like Evil Aristocrats trying to preserve their own power.
- Sex is treated very casually, sometimes to a hilarious degree. The teenage Octavian frequently gets chewed out by his mother for not having enough sex, and she eventually forces him to visit a brothel so that he won't dishonor his family by being a virgin. Earlier in Season 1, she also forces him to eat sheep testicles to make him more virile, making some remark to the effect of "When your father was your age, he was forcing himself on servant girls right and left!"
- Mad Men, set in the early 1960s, has male characters smoke like chimneys, drink like fishes, and regularly display what would today be considered firing offenses with regards to sexually harassing female co-workers. The women on the show also display period behavior, especially with regards to their married lives or with the actions of their female peers. Decidedly non-kosher shrimp cocktails are served at a lunch meeting with a Jewish family. One of the younger men working freelance for Sterling Cooper tells his colleagues he's gay, leading to a painful silence and people talking behind his back, and Betty nicknames her daughter "daddy's little lesbian" because of the daughter's love of handiwork. Betty's low-speed car crash had the kids (restrained only by the friction of their clothing against the car's vinyl seats) thrown into the footwell. And one scene of the Drapers leaving all of their garbage behind after a picnic in a public park seemed so outlandish that some viewers wondered whether the show was accentuating the negative on purpose. Later in the series, however, it becomes clear that many of the reprehensible actions on the show are personal and not even fair for their day.
- Even the sympathetic characters toss about what would be considered ethnic slurs today: Bullock calling Mr. Wu a "Chinaman", Calamity Jane addressing General Fields as "a short nigger", Trixie making frequent anti-Semitic remarks in reference to her Jewish lover Sol, and Charlie Utter often calling Indians "heathens". Then again, the nastier characters (Swearengen and Tolliver particularly) do it even more.
- Prostitutes in town are little more than sexual slaves to their masters. This is treated as just a natural part of life in the frontier. The show also doesn't shy away from the Stockholm Syndrome felt by prostitutes toward their pimps.
- As was considered appropriate in the time period, Mrs. Garret does not go outside without a male escort, even if the escort is a simpleton who couldn't be expected to perform any useful function.
- Roots. Black characters are always called "niggers"; a white sailor describes them as being essentially animals, their languages being no more than grunts. Rape of black women is widespread and accepted. The owners discuss how teaching them to read - if it be possible - would only make them unhappy. (Of course, pretty much the entire point of Roots is to describe this sort of thing.)
- Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman featuring a female doctor/adoptive mom coming to work in a frontier town, without Politically Correct History coming into play. "Dr. Mike" and her children were exceptionally enlightened, as might be expected, but most plots derived from the ignorance of the townsfolk over natives, Jewish immigrants, reconstruction, Darwinian evolution, or (most commonly) single mothers as doctors.
- Doctor Who:
- Martha worries in "The Shakespeare Code" about a black woman wandering around London in 1599, but the Doctor assures her that London has always been a place of many peoples and she should be fine. Indeed the worst thing that happens is Shakespeare flirting with her by using several terms for 'black person' that were common in the day, but not by any means considered politically correct now. (He eventually settles on my dark lady, a term that anyone who knows Shakespeare's sonnets might find a little familiar.) She ends up being inflicted with worse in 1913, with "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" having the students mock her ("With hands like those, how can you tell when something's clean?"), Joan doesn't believe that Martha could ever train as a doctor because she's black and female, and John Smith believes that Martha can't understand the difference between fictional literature and reality. The best part being that Joan has almost no trouble believing that John Smith was the Doctor and an alien, but can't seem to get her head around a black woman training to be a doctor.
- In "The Unicorn and the Wasp", Donna feels sympathy for the footman Davenport because his lover Lord Roger has been murdered and, since it is the 1920's, he cannot openly mourn or acknowledge that they were anything other than master and servant, even though everyone in the household appears to have known.
- Played for laughs in the second trailer to the 2012 Christmas special; a Victorian policeman takes it fairly in stride that the detective he's working with is a reptilian woman from Earth's distant past employing a genetically-engineered warrior from space. The fact that she's romantically involved with her maid visibly freaks him out though. The actual episode makes a Discriminate and Switch joke out of this, with Simeon apparently being more disgusted that the Veiled Detective is a woman as opposed to not being human, and is especially derisive of her and Jenny's relationship (Vastra rejects his accusations of impropriety; they are married after all).
- Quantum Leap, all the time—for example, when Sam leaps into a black man in the pre-civil rights era South, or a secretary in 1961 who's being sexually harassed by her boss. One famous episode dealt with gay people in the military, and had Sam contend not only with the gay-bashing (and -killing) cadets at the academy, but his own partner Al, who didn't believe gay people should be allowed to serve and changed his mind over the course of the episode.
- Cold Case played this for all it was worth. Expect at least five episodes a season to make the era the case's real monster, while savagely taking a Chris Avellone-level Deconstructor Fleet to the notion that earlier decades were happier, more innocent times.
- Invoked in James Ellroy's LA Quartet, which is set in the 1940s and '50s and features a shocking amount of racist and anti-Semitic statements from lots of characters, including many otherwise likable protagonists. Ellroy deliberately points out how deeply ingrained into society those feelings were, that even nice people could get caught up in them.
- Murdoch Mysteries:
- Inspector Brackenreid refers to a woman with undiagnosed mental problems as an "imbecile". George is quick to correct him, "They don't use that word any more, it's insensitive. The accepted term is 'moron'."
- People who haven't met Julia are patronising towards her at best and outright prejudiced at worst. Even the people she works with who have come to terms with her being a doctor don't view her as entirely equal; when it comes to light that some women have been dressing up as men and living double lives that way, Brackenreid rants (in her presence, mind) that women don't understand the complexities of life and are foolish for impersonating men.
- The Babylon 5 episode "The Corps Is Mother, the Corps Is Father" is made of this, as all three of the episode's main characters are Psi Cops who have grown up in the Corps, and therefore been brainwashed with its skewed values since birth. Also, two of the characters are Naive Newcomers on their first mission, and the third is Bester.
- The Unusuals has the episode "The Circle Line," which is basically a forty-three-minute-long attempt to justify the "blue wall."
- In the Twilight Zone episode "No Time Like the Past", after the main character decides to live out the rest of his life in the year 1881, he gets into a conversation about global politics with someone from that time. The native goes on about how war is the best measure of the strength of a nation and that the United States should fight wars of conquest against Asia and South America. This angers the main character who says that going down that road will lead to disaster and untold loss of life. (He's right.) He is criticized for this belief. Of course, the whole point of that episode was to show that Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used To Be.
- Played for Laughs in the Boy Meets World episode "I Was a Teenage Spy," where Cory dreams he is sent back to the 1950s. When he says "butt" in class, Mr. Turner and all the other students react as if he'd said a horrible curse word.
- Pan Am is also set in the 1960's and has some pretty clear examples in the way the stewardesses are treated, but others include the strong taboo against interracial relationships (shown in the outcome of the public display between Laura and a black sailor) and the treatment of women's sexuality.
- In Kaamelott, King Arthur is one of the only characters to dislike torture and public executions of criminals, and he allows them nonetheless. He also has several official mistresses, and not even his wife minds it. Every character find the idea of monogamy utterly ridiculous, and when a random woman Arthur has only met once refuses to become his new mistress, the other knights see it as an affront. And even then, many warlords dislike how much of a "progressive" the king is, which in their mind clearly means "pussy".
- A flashback episode of Heroes takes place before the civil rights movement and involves Angela Shaw (future Angela Petrelli) as a teenage girl running away from the military base with three boys her age, one of whom is Charles Devereaux, who is black. At a local diner, Charles asks Angela for a dance, but they stop when the customers (all white) stare at them and the cook tells that they don't tolerate that sort of thing there. Charles promptly uses his ability to have the customers and the employees forget this ever happened.
- Merlin not only has class distinction be an obstacle for Arthur and Guinevere, but no show based in modern times would have a protagonist that is so innocent, idealistic and naive (at least in the first two seasons) with such a horrendous body count that doesn't seem to bother him at all. Why? Because this is the Dark Ages and killing people who are trying to kill you is completely okay. Killing in cold blood is still frowned upon, though.
- Aurora in Once Upon a Time had a mild moment where she was in disbelief that there was a female warrior (Mulan) traveling and fighting alongside Prince Phillip. Part of it may be contributed to Green-Eyed Monster as she might have felt threatened by this beautiful, exotic Action Girl.
- The Sopranos, in its desire to authentically depict the Italian-American criminal subculture, does not shy away from the casual racism, sexism, homophobia and Moral Myopia that are commonplace within it, even among the (by comparison) more sympathetic characters.
- Chappelle's Show
- One sketch has Paul Mooney as a black film critic who watches Gone with the Wind alongside two white female reviewers. The white women laud the film for being powerful and feminist, while Mooney savages it for the blatant racism and whitewashed depiction of slavery.
- A sketch has Mooney remarking on the casual racism in The Godfather, though in this film it's also Deliberate Values Dissonance.
- Parks and Recreation:
- It's a Running Gag that all of the murals in Pawnee's City Hall are incredibly racist. They proudly depict various sordid events in the town's history that are shocking by today's standards. Leslie shows them off with some embarrassment:
"She was one of the first feminist leaders in Pawnee! She was the first to dare wearing pants on a Sunday, she spent 30 years in prison for that
"In 1867, the progressive Reverend Turnbill officiated a wedding between a white woman and a Wamapoke Indian chief. The secret ceremony was beautiful and romantic. But then word got out and the reception was a bloodbath. Fortunately, there were two survivors. Unfortunately, they were both horses."
Leslie: This map shows where atrocities have been committed against Native Americans.
Leslie: The blue spots are the atrocities.
- Very much Played for Laughs on Harry Enfield and Chums during the sketches featuring Miles Cholmondley-Warner and his assistant Grayson. The Public Information Film Women: Know Your Limits being a particularly well-known example.
- In the BBC/Starz series The White Queen, Queen Anne, consort of King Richard III, becomes upset with her husband because she believes he is having an affair with his niece, Elizabeth. He explains that he is not, he is just deliberately creating the rumor that he is, because Henry Tudor, a rival claimant to the throne, had betrothed himself to Elizabeth. Therefore, by making people believe that he is sleeping with her, he is, in effect, cuckolding his political rival, humiliating him and costing him political support. Of course, to a modern audience, the idea of a man having an affair with his own niece is much worse than the idea of a man's fiancee cheating on him (especially when they are forced to live apart from each other for a long time), and certainly much worse for one's political career. Of course, the show leaves at least some ambiguity about whether Richard was being sincere in his explanation to Anne, and about whether there really was an affair.note
- In Firefly slavery is OK for some people, entire villages see nothing wrong with kidnapping travellers, witch trials show up, and some women are sold as property, but the most notable is the Companions. Companions are treated with high-ranking respect, making it a preferable life choice that some women idealize. Notably, this draws criticism from feminist groups, due to the in-universe admiration Companions earn, while forgetting the much less appealing portrayal of life for more ordinary prostitutes. (To wit: the episode "Heart of Gold" is about a prostitute who's bearing the child of the most powerful man on that moon, who intends to take the child to raise as his own even if he has to cut it out of her body. And this is because these are lucky prostitutes - the current madame is a former Companion, but before she showed up most of the girls were cruelly abused and heavily addicted to drugs so they could be kept in line.)
- Torchwood has Clem, a 60+ year old man had been in a funge state since he was about twelve, spout this Non Sequitur after he had already smelled that Gwen was pregnant.
Clem: [Indicating Ianto]: So who's the Queer?
[Ianto turns around, outraged]
Ianto: OI!!! This is not 1965 anymore!
Clem: [Matter of Fact] He's a Queer — I can smell it.
- Warm Springs is 2005 HBO movie about Franklin Roosevelt's recovery from paralysis. Set in The Twenties, the treatment of physically handicapped people as deviants can disgust the modern viewer. A teenage polio victim is locked in a baggage car and starved. Franklin's mother refers to the spa as a "leper colony". The film portrays Roosevelt's understanding of this injustice as turning him into the man that would fight human suffering as president.
- Game of Thrones, much like the books that it comes from, has this in spades. Slavery, racism, sexism, prejudice against bastards and dwarves. Heck, an infamous villain wasn't even one for killing a king's son as a way of revenge, but because he killed a guest.
- The Twisted Toyfare Theater strip featuring the thawed out Silver Age Spider-Man took this trope to town, highlighting the fact that Silver Age Spidey's values and priorities are incredibly screwed up. As the normal Spider-Man says, "He guns downs bank robbers and punches dictators!" Also, the first thing he says after being unfrozen is "What the-?! There used to be a foreigner at the end of this fist."
- A story in the National Lampoon ca. 1972 had a 30-ish guy waking up in his early 1950s childhood. He goes with it, figuring his adult knowledge will make schoolwork a breeze...then he blurts out that President Truman had kicked General MacArthur out of Korea, forgetting it hadn't happened yet. His teacher is horrified, but he continues his train of thought, going into a Vietnam-era rant about the futility of trying to police the world. The story's tagline was "If you knew then what you know now, boy, would you be in trouble..."
- Non Sequitur:
- A customer at Flo's diner was talking about all the wonderful things about The Fifties and how America going back to that time and those values would be better for everyone, and Flo replies that she agrees and will turn the diner retro, "starting with this vintage sign..." She writes something down and shows it to him, but with her back to the "camera," all we see is his horrified reaction. In the next panel, we see what the sign says: "WHITES ONLY." The man concedes, "Well, maybe not better for everyone."
- Danae visits an alternate universe in which every person is given one wish. It's revealed that Clarence Thomas wished for the United States Constitution to be interpreted as the Founding Fathers originally intended, and it is implied that he is now a servant/slave because of it.
- Old Harry's Game plays with this sometimes, especially with historically "good" or "heroic" characters, almost all of whom are in hell for one reason or another. For example, Thomas Jefferson in his first appearance relates a funny antecdote about writing the Declaration of Independence, halfway through the line "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal" his ink ran out, and he sent his slave to get more, seeing no contradiction in this. It's also implied that Jack the Ripper was Queen Victoria's nephew, and she ordered the Prime Minister to let him rampage freely, and shielded him from justice, only concerned with the shame the scandal would bring on the Royal Family, not the deaths of her subjects. It's all completely Played for Laughs, of course.
- Bleak Expectations: Played for Laughs with Sir Phillip Bin, who despite a lifetime's worth of bizarre (or flat-out impossible) experiences, is incredibly sexist, and thinks universal education is a strange and implausible suggestion.
- In one episode, Ripely acts exactly like an upper class Victorian woman would act towards the homeless, accusing them of being lazy, yelling at them that pull themselves together, and confiscating what little items they have in case it "undermines their self-respect."
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay did not shy from adding real-life medieval sexism (if a somewhat watered-down version) to its sourcebook depicting the Medieval Stasis nation Bretonnia; women are second-class citizens without the ability to own property or manage their own affairs, and if female characters want to be adventurers they'll have to pretend to be men. The opening chapter lampshades this, stating that if you find it offensive you are at full liberty to not include it in your game and that "This is not a feature of Bretonnian society of which the author and Games Workshop approves" and furthermore that "The author and Black Library also does not approve of the arbitrary execution of peasants, fighting local wars over an insult, or worshiping the Ruinous Powers, all activities depicted herein. Just so we're clear." Some of the Warhammer novels imply that homosexuality is regarded as an act of worshipping Slaanesh and thusly punishable by burning at the stake.
- Warhammer 40,000 does this quite deliberately to help convey that it's a Crapsack Galaxy. Slavery, racism, murderous xenophobia, the glorification of ignorance and mindless zeal, religious fundamentalism — and that's just the humans! Appropriately this applies even to the more heroic characters, with Ciaphas Cain (one of the most noble and just characters in the setting, even if he doesn't realise it) viewing "mutants" and anyone who disagrees with Imperial rule with the same scorn any loyal Imperial soldier would.
- Victoriana RPG makes the Values Dissonance between the setting and the players the defining characteristic of the player-characters. Reasoning that some players would be uncomfortable playing accurate Victorian values unironically, the game encourages them to create characters whose beliefs are more in line with their own sensibilities, and hence profoundly revolutionary by 19th-Century standards.
- In Hackmaster, there is a system of Honor points, generally gained for heroic actions and lost for cowardly or heinous ones, which gives in-game benefits to characters who consistently act honorably. However, different character classes and alignments gain and lose honor for different things, so a Lawful Good shining knight type would gain honor for charity, defeating great foes in honest combat, and standing to fight even against overwhelming odds, while a Chaotic Neutral thief would gain points for successful robbery and fleeing from the aforementioned overwhelming opponent in order to poison or backstab them at a later date, and a Lawful Evil monster would be rewarded for taking slaves or torturing useful information out of someone. And in the module Little Keep on the Borderlands, non-humans would suffer discrimination while staying at the keep, especially races like half-orcs.
- The Exalted 1e sourcebook "Manacle and Coin" includes both an exhaustive listing of races generally considered "slave races" and a sidebar from the authors about how utterly WRONG such attitudes are.
- Bioshock Infinite:
- This poster◊ and this one◊ are just two examples of the mentality common amongst Columbia citizens.
- Comstock, the city's ruler, is shown in posters with the caption "Hero of the Battle Of Wounded Knee". Consider what he had to do to receive that "honor". (Truth in Television: Twenty soldiers got the Congressional Medal of Honor after the tragedy, which Native American activists have tried to get rescinded.)
- The "prize" for the raffle going on at the fair in the prologue turns out to be the chance to throw the first baseball at an inter-racial couple, who are bound to a pole in front of monkey-like "savage" caricatures in preparation to be stoned to death for miscegenation — all while they beg and plead for mercy, and the announcer mocks the protagonist if he hesitates to throw. And that's just the start of the downright cruel casual racism in the game.
- Dwarf Fortress:
- Used humorously with the elves, who are cannibals who eat the corpses of their enemies, but refuse to trade with you (or even go to war!) if you offer products that were made by cutting down a tree.
- With their ethics fitting the Medieval European Fantasy mold, humans get into this with their more draconian punishments compared to most modern law codes and acceptance of slavery. Even dwarves get in on this (compared to both the in-game humans and modern humans) by punishing murder (at least of fellow dwarves) with death regardless of the reason.
- Suda 51 had this concept in mind when he designed No More Heroes. Case point: the name Travis Touchdown. It sounds like an over-the-top cool name in Japan and an incredibly stupid one in the US. Some of Suda's other games, especially Killer7, also explore the Values Dissonance between western and Japanese players.
- Red Dead Redemption:
- On the train ride at the beginning of the game you're surrounded by a bunch of city-slickers with a variety of outrageously outdated ideas of "the savages", and debate whether or not humans have the right to fly, let along the ability. The protagonist, having been around the block a few times, doesn't comment on the conversations, but he clearly doesn't put much stock into what any of them have to say.
- The newspapers say that tobacco is good for your health, the general store keeper in Armadillo is very vocal about his anti-Semitism, and there's a scandal involving a governor who let non-whites use white facilities and the like. Ah, the West.
- The story about the kidnapping of Bonnie MacFarlane. The writer dismisses the idea it was for "personal" reasons (translation: rape) as she's an old spinster clearly too ancient to marry or have children (translation: be young enough that she's sexually desirable). She's 29.
- Professor MacDougal thinks all Indians are savage members of a sub-human (read: sub-white) race and treats them as such. This is contrasted with Nastas, a Native American who speaks fluent English, has plenty of smarts and common sense, and treats MacDougal with a mix of weary Never Heard That One Before (most of the time) and polite anger (when the man crosses a line).
- While King Arthur The Roleplaying Wargame arguably has elements of an Anachronism Stew, 'ladies' in the game are by all means a thing to trade and use.
- GUN, set in roughly the same period as Red Dead Redemption, features a bit of this, with characters making derogatory remarks about Native Americans and Irish immigrants, and male characters treating prostitutes (and indeed women in general) as pieces of meat. The approach actually backfired somewhat, as controversy arose regarding the depiction of Native Americans.
- Assassin's Creed:
- Not shown in the game itself, but in the spin-off short movie Lineage for Assassin's Creed II features Lorenzo de Medici having a prisoner brutally tortured to reveal his information about an upcoming political assassination, but he is still a good guy, both in the movie and in the game. In Renaissance Italy such brutal methods, along with backstabbings, poisonings and similar cloak-and-dagger manoeuvring were pretty much the norm among nobles.
- Appears directly in Assassin's Creed III, which has much more ethnically diverse NPCs as well as taking place in colonial America. Connor is treated with quite a bit of prejudice, referred to as a half-breed (his father is English and his mother is a Mohawk), and personally thinks that the Patriots should be fighting for the rights and freedoms of all the peoples who live in the Thirteen Colonies, as opposed to just the ethnic Europeans. He even has a brief conversation with Samuel Adams over Adams' owning a slave; Adams explains that she's legally a free woman (actually true, as both are historical characters) and that the Patriots just want to achieve general freedom first, after which they will work for the rights non-whites. After the game's official end, in a cutscene set on Evacuation Day (when the British soldiers left the newly-formed United States) Connor witnesses the crowds cheering as the redcoats shove off, then sees a public slave auction happening right behind the crowd.
- Very much the case in Mafia II (somewhat less so in the first game), where the characters are about as racist as you can get in a game without causing a controversy. For instance: Vito asks Joe if he drove to the bar (in an African-American community), and Joe replies, "I wouldn't park my car in this neighborhood!"
- Snippets of information regarding pre-Great War society shows it was pretty much the Fifties with higher tech, for better or for worse. In Fallout: New Vegas, you can find an employee handbook on a computer at a power plant/secret weapon facility that recommends against telling your wife about the project; after all, women are such natural gossips that she'll tell her friend, and she'll tell her friend, and the next thing you know, Red China's invading!
- Caesar's Legion, which is based on The Theme Park Version of Roman ideals (they're closer to Sparta, actually), is loaded with this, and even manages to top archaic Roman values by being violently sexist, able-ist, viciously intolerant of other cultures, fantastically racist and anti-intellectual.
- Mass Effect has all its featured species be culturally and philosophically different to humans in some ways, major and minor. Most of it is only explained in the Codex, but they have frequent influences on in-game dialogue and actions.
- The elevator conversations in the first game often invoke this, with squadmates often responding to remarks the others make about their culture by mentioning how things are where they live. Examples include:
- Kaidan says that, while his L2 biotic implants are more powerful than L3 implants, they cause a severe side effect—Kaidan has horrible migraines, and he's one of the lucky ones. Garrus, a turian who comes from a highly disciplined and service-oriented culture, says the turians would have kept the L2 implants.
- After Garrus says he wants to deal with Saren in order "to restore the good name of turians everywhere," Tali, whose people roam the galaxy in the Migrant Fleet in poverty and with only seventeen million members, remarks that "things are different among my people. There are so few of us. We are expected to be loyal, even when it is difficult."
- When Wrex asks either Kaidan or Ashley who would win in a fight between them and Shepard, Kaidan/Ashley says they could never see themself fighting their own commanding officer. Wrex sees this attitude as the reason why Kaidan/Ashley serves under and would lose to Shepard.
- As shown in Mass Effect 2, the asari regard their Justicars as great heroes, with almost no one seeing any objection to their license to kill anyone they regard as an obstacle at solving crimes and their code of honor that places them outside the law. However, even asari police officers understand very well that having a Justicar interacting with non-asari guarantees diplomatic nightmares. For those who aren't very familiar with asari values and customs, Justicars are Knight Templars with an extreme Black and White Morality, and will murder anyone who breaks the law.
- Shepard is horrified upon learning that an asari on Illium is selling slaves. She politely informs Shepard that "indentured servitude" is perfectly legal on Illium, with a fixed-term contract agreed by both parties as to the length of service and numerous laws in place to protect the servant and make sure their sapient rights are respected. The asari also seems to be under the impression that Shepard's anger is due to batarian slave raids on human colonies as the reason why humanity has a no-tolerance approach to slavery. Apparently, the asari hadn't read up on human history to find out the real reason why humans hate slavery...although Shepard him/herself might still have very personal reasons for their stance.
- Salarians are first and foremost loyal to their families and clans and their respective ruling Dalatresses, with their government run in much the same way as the ancient human feudal royal families, complete with breeding and marriages being a highly political affair. They also find the idea of honour in battle to be naive at best - if they are going to go to war with you, they won't tell you, they'll just kill you. In fact, if they've "officially" declared war, odds are they've already won.
- Thane describes himself as kind of a religious conservative among the drell and seems perfectly convinced that as an assassin he is not a murderer but simply a tool used by his employers. While his spirit is able to make judgements if a killing is just or wrong and could decide what to do, his body does not and it appears to make perfect sense to him. He also prays for redemption after every assassination.
- The geth are the most extreme example. An entire character (Guest Star Party Member Legion) has their existence based around explaining that the geth aren't just different from organics but think and act in fundamentally different ways, largely because they communicate with each other and reach "consensus" literally at the speed of light. Idealogical differences are resolved completely peacefully, with the different groups allowed to separate from the others and go do their own thing, and the reason they've isolated themselves from the rest of the galaxy is because they don't understand organics anymore than organics understand them, and they want to learn how to interact with organics before doing so. Said character outright states that treating members of another culture the way you would want to be treated is inherently bigoted.
- The Turian Hierarchy is basically a stratocracy (similar to a military dictatorship; the difference is that in a military dictatorship, the military rules the government, while in a stratocracy the military IS the government) that could also be seen as strictly enforced communism. Everything is organized in a single system encompassing military, administration, services, and manufacturing and every turian goes through basic military training as part of the educational system and serves for about 15 years. After that they may transfer to the civilian branches of the Hierarcy. Internal conflicts usually take the form of armed uprisings, which mostly end with the military offering any citizen a chance to surender and be interred, after which the rest of the community is completely wiped out. This last part is actually necessary, because in the face of any lesser threat turians are psychologically incapable of surrender.
- Krogan view strength as of the utmost importance, but physical strength is nowhere near as important as personal strength, being able to obtain followers and keep them from betraying you (which krogan view as inevitable and aren't surprised nor hurt when someone does betray them). This is why Wrex and Grunt follow Shepard almost without question, as they immediately recognise their status as a Magnetic Hero and the biggest badass in the galaxy.
- Asari practice Love You and Everybody and Golden Mean Fallacy on a cultural level, believing that all beings are part of the galactic whole and that every species and culture has a place in that whole. The end result is that most of the best diplomats and negotiators in the galaxy are asari, willing and able to see all sides of an issue. They are also far more willing to take the "long view" compared to other species, due to possessing lifespans in the centuries, and much prefer to exert control of galactic affairs via slow cultural assimilation as opposed to political/military/economic dominance.
- Depending on your Real Life country of origin, treason against the Citadel Council carries the death penalty, which the majority of 21st century nations have either abolished outright or not used for decades.
- A sort of In-Universe example is the slavery and caste system that is a part of batarian culture. They claim it's an inextricable part of their culture and therefore should be protected, while this is one of the few points on which almost all the member states of Citadel Space agree being wrong.
- What little is known of yahg culture also features this in abundance: they have a pack-based mentality, so whenever a group of them forms to work together, they will have dominance battles until one rises to the top (either through strength or trickery). The losers are expected to hold no grudge and serve the leader loyally. The very concept of equality seems completely foreign to them, and when it was explained they found it offensive, which lead to the Council quarantining their planet and prohibiting any further contact with their species.
- There's a mostly comedic example in Fate/hollow ataraxia with Lancer. Unlike the other Servants who are similarly temporally displaced from their origins, Lancer only superficially blends in. He's completely unable to understand why Shirou might have issue with him trying to sleep with his classmates, is ready to kill people that Shirou thinks are his friends at any time and seems to feel that anything he can take from their actual owners is his.
- The Reconstruction portrays shra in a rather positive light overall, and the overall message seems to be that the Fantastic Racism against them is wrong. This doesn't stop most of the characters from being perfectly okay with slavery, and even those who don't treat the shra like dirt are prone to using racial slurs or calling them out on their smell.
- This is practically the point of The King of Dragon Pass, in which, in order to succeed, the player needs to act according to the very tribal morality of the Orlanthi. This includes, among other things: frequently raiding other clans to steal their cattle, fighting to avenge any attack on your own clan, never trusting a foreigner more than your own people, and always obeying your clan's traditions, no matter how barbaric they might seem.
- The setting of Darklands averts it in some places and plays it straight in others. It is a version of 15th century Europe where women are treated with some more equality than how it happened in Real Life, meaning women can actually be adventurers and have had any kind of job (Except those related with the clergy) during her life. But on the other hand, religion, and particularly christianity, is a very focal point of the life there: Your party will suffer a Virtue hit for not bowing down to greedy clerics asking for 'donations', and anyone who is not a Christian worships Satan and Eats Babies. And this last part is not and exaggeration.
- L.A. Noire has this in spades, mostly concerning misogyny and racism, but also xenophobia and political suppression. Most notably, Cole's affair with a German lounge singer is considered front page news, and so disgraceful it nearly ruins his career. Meanwhile the brutality and complete corruption of the LAPD is glossed over. Though it does make a bit more sense when you realize back during that time having an affair at all was a serious crime.
- Analogue: A Hate Story, with its Scifi Counterpart Culture to Korea's Joseon Dynasty, uses Deliberate Values Dissonance for all its worth, even going so far as to give the player a Tsundere Spaceship Girl mouthpiece for the culture in question.
- The web game Fallen London takes place in the early 1890s so this trope pops up, though issues of sexism and sexuality are largely ignored, at least with regards to the player character (it does show up occasionally in the background, such as with a remark about "next women will be voting") who is treated the same whatever their gender, and can engage in sexual relationships with various NPCs regardless of gender. This was a deliberate design decision to avoid upsetting players who's gender or sexuality would have been problematical in the Victorian era. Also, conventional racism is played down in favour of Fantastic Racism against Clay Men and Rubbery Men.
- Touhou uses this as the basis for the whole series. The reason that Gensoukyou is full of Blood Knights that fight each other at the drop of a hat isn't because they hate each other, but because the region is filled with very old, very powerful, very bored individuals that view the regular incidents as a great way to break up the tedium and have a little fun. Indeed the majority of people the player fights in all the games have nothing to do with the current incident and are just using it as an excuse. Symposium of Post-Mysticism explores this in extensive detail, ultimately revealing that the state of restrained belligerence is not only an intrinsic part of Gensoukyou, but that it is absolutely vital for its continued existence.
- Exaggerated in Harvester, where most of the residents of Harvest look and act like they came out of a 50's sitcom, complete with the racism, sexism and homophobia of the era. Except that those views are also ramped Up to Eleven, along with making everyone unstable, unfriendly and violent to the point of caricature in order to make them as unlikeable as possible and make the protagonist (and the player by extension) think that it's okay to kill them in order to condition him to become a Serial Killer.
- Mount & Blade has what could be described as a "brutally realistic" take on women in medieval society. If you play as a female character, expect to find climbing the social ladder and earning the respect of other lords to be quite the challenge. If you play as a female warrior, you'll find things even tougher. Although challenging sexist lords to duels and beating them is a great way to earn Renown, and in some cases, their respect.
- In this page Sillice from Drowtales illustrate the difference in in-world values, which is one of the reason that characters that come across as Bad Ass, Ax-Crazy, or extremist to people from our world sometimes are portrayed in a positive light. This along with a world of Gray and Grey Morality leads to a lot of debate among the readers.
- Trolls have a lot of Values Dissonance built into their society, but it's best illustrated with Tavros's interaction with Jade where he manipulates Becquerel into rerouting a bullet that would've killed Jade... to kill her grandfather instead. He sees this as a perfectly heroic act though, since in Troll society, adult members of their species don't raise young at all, and will generally mooch off of, or outright kill young trolls that they come across, and he thought that Becquerel was in fact Jade's guardian.
- Terezi is confused at first as to why Dave was raised by Bro instead of a Guardian Lusus.
- A Running Gag involves the trolls being shocked about the humans having buckets lying around: buckets are part of the trolls' reproduction process so seeing buckets all of a sudden would be akin to being flashed. Hilarity Ensues when John, convinced by Vriska that trolls consider cleaning supplies to be indecent, kicks an imp in the face for carrying a broom. Being culturally sensitive is really hard work.
- Comes up fairly frequently in Dominic Deegan; most of the non-human cultures have their own distinct values, such as the werewolves being unconcerned with nudity and valuing True Companions above all else, or the Orcs approaching magic much differently than humans (for one thing, they believe ice is sacred, which allows orcs to use ice to great effect against demonic forces) but some of the clans also having extremely misogynistic values. The fanbase, as with nearly everything else, is sharply divided on this; some people feel it is perfectly justified for non-human cultures to have distinct values, while the other side claims that orc culture is insane and Mookie is wrong for depicting them so.
- In Erfworld, units are compelled to serve leaders and causes by a loyalty mechanic. Parson Gotti, meanwhile, is from our world and has these strange notions of "free will", "choice", and "not taking sexual advantage of underlings". Egad. Made worse when Maggie, a spellcaster and therefore one of the few units who exercise some amount of free will, mocks him for being reluctant to take advantage of the situation.
- In TwoKinds, heroic-ish character Eric is a Keidran slave dealer. He's downright progressive in his treatment of Keidrans compared to most other human characters (he refuses to put "control spells" on his favorite slave, Kathrin, and is more than willing to deal with free Keidrans as equals), but he still sees his other two slaves, Mike and Evals, as little more than his property and refuses to sell them to Trace (who wants to free them). He later reveals that this is because he can't; Templar law not only forbids freeing your own Keidran slaves, but forbids selling them to someone you know is going to free them. Doing so results in prison for the humans and reenslavement for the Keidran. Eric eventually agrees to sell his slaves to Trace anyway.
- Rarely used in Arthur, King of Time and Space, where the artist takes the view that, since the Arthurian legends are ahistorical anyway, there's no reason the characters shouldn't have modern sensibilities, even in the baseline arc. It crops up sometimes though, such as the idea that betrothing a young girl to an older man isn't creepy unless it's Agravaine.
- In Draconia Chronicles, an inverse gender dynamic also inverts Men Are the Expendable Gender, and kids are apparently fair game. there is also no concept of "civilian" or "enemy noncombatant". POW's are only taken to inflict further indignities on them.
- Seen in Visseria (a pseudo-Victorian setting) when Alchione is getting a dressing-down by a higher-level bureaucrat, who mentions how ostentatious it is for a woman to be working on the force and how she should watch her behavior due to the unlikeliness of her possessing properly feminine skills.
- In GastroPhobia Phobia and Gastro own a slave, though they later try to set him free, which the rest of Ancient Greek society doesn't see it as big deal. Klepto, instead of getting set free, gets repossessed by the government because the law in which Phobia acquired him only applies to natural born greek citizens, "...not women or barbarians and certainly not barabarian women", implying they don't see women as citizens.
- Survival of the Fittest spin-off The Program is pretty much based entirely on this trope. It's set in a militaristic, extreme nationalist version of America Twenty Minutes In The Future. So, there's a fair amount of this. Most notably, as a result of their nationalist upbringings, many characters are to some extent xenophobic and treat "foreign" looking people not too kindly, which is most prominently seen with Japanese-American Marilyn Williams and Angry Black Man Bryant Carver.
- Land Games: The player's society is extremely imperialistic, regularly invading and conquering foreign worlds. Jayle is pretty much the only one who has a problem with this.
- This is done in Three Worlds Collide where future social mores aren't at all like present ones, much like present ones would be almost incomprehensible those of several hundred years in the past. A particular example is future humans' views on (legalized) rape, which are so divorced from modern mores that the latter are incomprehensible to the protagonists even after being explained.
- This is the entire basis of SCP-1851-EX, of the SCP Foundation. In the 1800s, foundation agents labeled the desire of slaves to escape to freedom as an SCP phenomenon. One of the notes from present times has an agent who is the descendent of one of the original agents move that all documents of that SCP be destroyed. It was decided that the SCP would be closed but not removed, because they weren't going to "whitewash" their history.
- If Disney Cartoons Were Historically Accurate You won't see your princess the same way again.
- Occurs several times in The Venture Bros. in flashbacks and appearances of the old Team Venture: a giant in the team is called Humongoloid; Col. Gentleman refers to the Japanese Kano's "racial handicap"; and of course:
Announcer: It's The Rusty Venture Show! Brought to you by Smoking!
- In The Simpsons episode "Three Men and a Comic Book" Bart sees an old Radioactive Man cartoon wherein the eponymous superhero is smoking.
Radioactive Man: Ah, these Laramie cigarettes give me the steady nerves I need to combat evil.
Fallout Boy: Gee willickers, Radioactive Man, wish I was old enough to smoke Laramies.
Radioactive Man: Sorry, Fallout Boy, not until you're sixteen *winks at camera*
- Justice League:
- The episode "Legends" was created as an homage to The Golden Age of Comic Books, and featured plot-lines and events taken whole-cloth from the earlier era. However, this does not always translate too well to the current age, and Hawkgirl is rather resistant when Black Siren asks for her help making cookies and letting "the men" talk. Later, John Stewart, the (black) Green Lantern, is not entirely sure how to react when he is told that he is "a credit to [his] people." Both statements were perfectly normal (even progressive) back in their proper age, when having black or female heroes at all was amazing, but cause discomfort when brought to modern people.
- The time the group had to travel back to WWII to stop Vandal Savage from giving the Nazis a technological edge, although this was downplayed: several characters are blatantly shocked that Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl are, well, women. Not much is outright said about John Stewart's presence as an African American showing up in the middle of a White battalion, but that was mostly because they were in the middle of being nailed by an artillery barrage, and he was handy with a submachine gun.
- Time Pervs is about Bill Clinton, Peewee Herman and Larry Flint using a time-traveling wheelchair to perv on hot women in history. They decide to see Helen of Troy in person, expecting an Hourglass Hottie only to find she's practically Mrs. Turnblad, yet a guard lovingly talks of the same features that creep them out and are aghast that they're actually turned off. Truth in Television considering Ancient Greek vs. Modern American standards of beauty.
- Futurama had a weird case of this. To show that times have changed, there are a lot of cultural differences. Public nudity, polygamy, suicide and cannibalism are all relatively normal, everyday things in the 31st century, though robosexuality (humans having romantic or sexual relationships with robots) is taboo and sewer mutants are considered inferior genetic scum that have to live underground by law.
- In Barbie In The Pink Shoes, this is seen with Albrecht and Hilarion attempting to marry Kristyn/Giselle. When told she's 17, they say that just because she's a little old doesn't mean they can't marry.