The Wealthy: Part of a balanced breakfast.
"When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich."
A Stock Phrase
used to encourage the vilification of rich people
Frequently, the phrase is used to metaphorically advocate a class uprising or revolt among the lower and working classes against those viewed as Upper Class Twits
and Corrupt Corporate Executives
—the Have Nots taking from the Haves. Occasionally, that metaphor is accompanied by language and imagery that literally
suggests eating the rich
Contrast: Kill the Poor
and No Poverty
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- The British Black Comedy Eat the Rich from The Comic Strip comedy troupe is about a waiter at an exclusive, high-class restaurant who, no longer willing to put up with the disgust and contempt of the upper class, begins serving minced rich people with a side of chips to other rich people at the restaurant.
- Invoked in Land of the Dead. George A. Romero's zombie flicks tend to have an underlying social message, and in the case of this film, it concerns how the wealthy poorly treat the lower classes. When the flesh-eating undead horde siege the Fiddler's Green colony, although both rich and poor die in the onslaught, the more intelligent zombies' main targets are the upper-class establishment. Once they're wiped out the zombies withdraw, and the class system ceases to exist. It's revealed afterward that the majority of Fiddler's Green other residents have survived the zombie attack.
- The premise of the horror film Eat the Rich: The Cannibal Murders.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane manipulates many of Gotham's citizens into rioting against the city's upper class and remaining authority figures, causing chaos to distract from Talia's plan to nuke the city. There is even a Kangaroo Court where said targets of the rioting populace are considered guilty by default and get to choose one of two punishments: Exile, or death by exile.
- In John Waters' Desperate Living, the evil Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey) ends up cooked and eaten by her subjects.
- Political satirist and journalist P.J. O'Rourke published the book Eat The Rich: A Treatise On Economics. The last chapter, titled "Eat the Rich," praises capitalism as "the worst economic system anyone ever invented, except for all the others."
- One of the phrases used on the 'We Want What You Have' blog in Capital.
- In The Time Machine, the descendants of the workers are literally feeding upon the descendants of the former masters.
- In one story of World War Z a bunch of celebrities lock themselves in a well-armed and supplied compound during the outbreak. It falls not to zombies, but to the starving masses.
- In Honor Harrington Pierre, the head of the People's Republic of Haven, does this three times. First. he confiscates the wealth of the Legislaturists - the previous ruling class - but its not anywhere enough money to solve Haven's social welfare spending caused financial problems. Then he gives the Legislaturists show trials and executes them, which only makes the mob hungry for more blood. So he unleashes Haven's navy on the Star Kingdom of Manticore, an enormously wealthy neighbour, in order to solve both his financial and blood-thirsty populace problems. This sets off a chain of events that results in his own death and brings the People's Republic within weeks of total collapse. Though other things he does do result in improvements in Haven's economy and society, long term.
- The New Zealand show The Tribe sees The Locos wear jackets with the slogan "STAY WARM BURN THE RICH" on the back of them while under the Zoot regime.
- The spirit of the trope is very much alive in Game of Thrones, in which the famine-stricken poor of King's Landing riot against the aristocracy. While they are not actually shown eating anyone onscreen, the line in the book that the crowd "tore the High Septon limb from limb" was taken very literally on the television show, looking like something out of a Zombie Apocalypse.
- Arrow: In Season 2, Sebastian Blood seems to be spouting this as part of his rhetoric to the masses, using the destruction of the Glades by Malcolm Merlyn at the end of Season 1 as justification.
- Aerosmith recorded a song titled "Eat the Rich" for their 1993 LP Get a Grip. It quickly became a crowd favorite at live concerts.
- The Motörhead song "Eat the Rich" was written as the title track for the film of the same name (See See Film, above), which also featured Lemmy in a supporting role. However, the song's lyrics are actually a thinly veiled reference to a certain sex act. The song is mostly remembered for its chorus.
C'mon baby, eat the rich,
Put the bite on that son of a bitch!
- "Eat the Rich" is also the title of a song by metal band Krokus about a homeless man who is sick of being abused and seeks to take his aggression out on people who have more than he does.
- In the Bad Religion song "I Want to Conquer the World", one of the things the singer says he'll do to establish his utopia is "expose the corporates and feed them to the children."
- Swedish band First Floor Power's "Eat The Rich" suggests that you "make sure to cook them first - they're dry."
- The german rap formation KIZ has a song called "Ich esse Reiche" - "I eat rich people":
Zeig mir dein Alarmsystem auf MTV Cribs
Und beim nächsten Abendessen sind deine Kinder die Ribs!
- Black Sabbath (performing under the name Heaven & Hell) allude to this in a song called "Eating The Cannibals."
Taking till you've got no more to give
Building boxes where you used to live
The word out on the street is no delay
Do it today!
Come to the meeting
It's true that we're eating the cannibals!
Come on in, we love our clientele
You're here to taste revenge, and so you shall
It's been raised upon your body and your bones
But now you're not alone!
- In one Sunday strip of Bloom County, Donald Trump at one point mused on the greatness of America since it helped him become wealthy. He starts bragging about his wealth to one of the main cast members, a poor girl who lives on the wrong side of the tracks. The strip ends with Trump remarking that it's amazing that people like her haven't risen up and eaten people like him already. To which the girl's headless doll replies, "Yet."
- Guerrilla street artist Banksy used the phrase in one of his works with his own humorous slant◊.
- The UK-based clothing label Eat the Rich prides itself on producing "sweatshop-free" T-shirts while promoting a vegetarian lifestyle, including some shirts with the message, "Meat sucks, eat the rich."
- An anonymous quip: "Eat the rich. The poor are tough and stringy."
- Paris Hilton, of all people, posed in a Stripperific bikini emblazoned with the words "EAT THE RICH" in a photoshoot for Rolling Stone magazine's 2006 Hot List.
- It has been suggested that she used 'eat' in a specific meaning.
- From 2006 to 2008, there was a zombie group called "Eat The Rich" in Urban Dead. They only attacked mansions, malls, banks and office buildings.
- Reportedly one of the worst horrors of China's Cultural Revolution. According to Zheng Yi's book "Scarlet Memorial," members of the Red Guard and general public in Guangxi are reported to have killed, divvied up, and publicly eaten over a hundred former landlords, "intellectuals" (e.g. school teachers), other "counter-revolutionaries" and their descendants as a show of loyalty to Mao and his ideals, with the backing of the local (but not national) Party. Bodies were split up and served to the community to partake of en masse, and the murderers were often people close to the victims who were making a show of their revolutionary fervor. Many of the former revolutionaries are still in power to this day.
- It served (as a metaphor - actual cannibalism would happen later and for different reasons, namely famines caused by disrupted agriculture) as the motivation behind the Russian October Revolution and the devoted public support the Bolsheviks gainednote . The blame for all horrors endured by Russia throughout World War One and the previous decades had been laid on the rich classes - royalty, nobility, army high command, high bureaucracy, businessmen and so on - whose incompetence, corruption and cruelty had become so unbearable that their physical elimination and replacement with anything else sounded as a good idea for the vast majority of the people.
- A bizarre 1870 case of mass hysteria ended with an aristocrat, Alain de Monéys, being cooked and eaten alive by the villagers of Hautefaye, France. Unruly French peasants reportedly also roasted an aristocrat in the Jacquerie peasant uprising during the Hundred Years War and fed him to his family.
- The French Revolution being inspired and prophesied by Rousseau was entirely driven by this mentality. During the Great Fear after the fall of the Bastille, across France several people marched into chateaus, seized weapons, killed aristocrats, beheading them and putting it on a pike which they carried with them. Images of mobs carrying pikes with heads became an iconic part of the revolution, most of those heads were aristocrats, soldiers and in one famously appalling incident, the King's sister, Princesse de Lamballe.
- One grotesque case is that of the tax minister Foullon, notoriously unpopular and severe. There was a rumour where he was supposed to have suggested that "the poor eat hay" if they are starving. The poor were starving. When the mob got hold of him, they dragged him to Paris with his mouth stuffed with Hay, and then they cut off his head and put it on a stick. Then they killed and beheaded his son-in-law too and made his head "Kiss Daddy!"
- The Reign of Terror often has this reputation, seen as the blade that would fall under the necks of the rich. In actual fact, the final tally of victims of 17,000 people by Guillotine after a trial in the year 1793-1794 features only 8% of the victims being aristocrats (who considering they were 1% of the population did feel a disproportionate impact) with 25% of the victims being bourgeois and middle-class, 28% were peasants and working-class and the rest were clergy. During the final month, the period of the "Great Terror" after the Law of 22 Prarial, where 1000 people were executed in a single month (matching the executions in Paris the previous year), the victims became 38% Nobility, 26% Clergy, with the wealthy victims discriminated against since the law deprived them of a right to call for witnesses, legal representatives or evidence by which according to Georges Couthon (who drafted the law to the Convention), wealthier accused escaped the blade before. This eventually led to the Thermidorian Reaction and the end of Terror.