"Kurak was a warp field specialist on the Klingon homeworld. I don't think Klingons regard scientists very highly... she always seemed a little defensive."The people of the Planet of Hats can adopt any of a thousand different hats as the one that their society values above all others. However, someone has to put on the "hat-maker" hat for the rest of the society to be able to wear their chosen hat. After all, Klingon warriors will need scientists to design their weapons and starships. (The possibility that someone can be both a warrior and a scientist doesn't seem to come up much.) Yet, despite making the Planet of Hats possible, the Klingon scientists get no respect because they aren't on the battlefield swinging a bat'leth. It's not just a case of where someone takes on a thankless job because Someone Has to Do It, this trope is about culture. The Klingon Scientist is ostracized for having talents outside of what is approved by the culture, even though his talents allow his culture to function. Klingon scientists might even agree with Klingon values — although their combination of vital importance and low social status would certainly lead to Jade-Colored Glasses. This trope can be expressed a lot of ways. A warrior culture may disdain the blacksmiths who make their weapons. A society of pure thinkers may consider all engineers to be menial laborers putting their high thoughts to work. A people of artists could see those who produce their art materials as unskilled proles. The low-status communities in question might despise the mainstream right back, but, again, they might not, and all of them probably need people who get rid of trash and keep the environment clean. If this trope is part of An Aesop, then Vetinari Job Security will kick in when the oppressed Hat-Maker takes a holiday. Compare to Hard on Soft Science, where certain fields of study are mocked by more "serious" areas that may very well be connected or derived from them. Compare and contrast Cultural Rebel. In the real world, this is fairly common, especially in premodern times. Universities, for example, were started largely with the aim of studying theology, with the natural sciences being a vaguely complimentary supplement. Craftsmen were seen as inferior to farmers, as unlike farmers they merely "reworked" what farmers produced. Merchants were largely considered inferior to everyone since they were seen as producing literally nothing and making profit. This stigma was, in fact, one barrier to industrialization in many places, since the classes with the most potential to produce productivity gains were socially discouraged. While this has subsided, to a large extent, it is still enough to say that every society has had at least one job that is looked down upon by the culture at large while still being entirely necessary for that society to function.
— Dr. Beverly Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Suspicions"
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Anime and Manga
- The head of the combined Demon army in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, the Demon Queen, is an excellent strategist and a master of logistics, as well as an knowledgeable economist and a persuasive diplomat. Unfortunately for her, the Demon tribes are mostly proud warrior races and she's thought of as one of the weakest Demon Kings ever. Even though she did acquire the job in the traditional manner.
- The fourth squad of soul-reapers in Bleach are in some ways the most essential, since they heal the wounds the other soul-reapers incur through constant fighting, they are even the ones in charge of washing uniforms, resource logistics and maintenance of infrastructures. But because they are usually not very skilled at combat, other squads tend to pick on them. This trend is averted with their Captain, who can make even squad 11 settle down just by giving them a harsh glare. Turns out that she was the original Kenpachi, meaning she was universally recognized as the most dangerous Shinigami in existence. And the founder of the squad 11.
- Averted in Super Dimension Fortress Macross: the Zentraedi are a Proud Warrior Race to the point that warfare is literally the only thing they ever do, so one would think that any non-fighter among them would get this by default. Nonetheless, they seem to hold their noncombatant strategists in high regard, and even the highest-ranking commanders are usually shown listening intently to what their adviser has to say.
- However, the Zentraedi manage to avoid the whole deal with scientists/engineers by having all their hardware built by a perpetually functioning, self maintaining satellite factory left behind by the ancestral race who created them, and having virtually no advancement in tech levels for centuries at all.
- Paperinik New Adventures examples:
- Subverted with the Evronians: when we first see Evronian scientists general Zondag treats them with utter contempt, and the scientists' leader Zoster reciprocates in kind, but they later show they, and the Evronian society in general, actually have a deep respect for the other's abilities (to the point that Evronian cruisers have both powerful weapons and large labs), they simply believe that their own specialty is more important.
- Played straight by the two different Coronian governments seen:
- Under the Horde the scientists were given some grudging respect because Moldrock was intelligent enough to understand they made all their weapons and the spaceships they needed to conquer the universe, but still treated them as second-class citizens due their inability to fight. They were completely caught by surprise when the scientists not only dared to revolt but won in ten minutes, as they just didn't expect anyone to come up with ways to take down and contain Moldrock.
- Under the queens that succeeded Moldrock the scientists have less respect than you'd expect them after they took down Moldrock and then stood down from power. This is actually Justified: the queens have extremely powerful psychic powers and the will to keep them in check and rule fairly and peacefully, and everyone recognize that anyone being selected for the role is among Corona's finests.
- Averted with the Kree from Marvel Comics. Despite being a very militaristic society, they are also one of the most technologically advanced races in the Marvel Universe to the point of having an organic super computer, the Supreme Intelligence, as their leader.
- In Racer and the Geek, ponies who use guns without being part of any official state group (military or police) are viewed by the general public with roughly the same distaste as serial killers.
- Eugenesis gives us a brief glimpse of a Decepticon's idea of a medical experimentation, where the "subject" is nailed to the operating table and drugged out of their mind beforehand. Even the most thuggish Decepticons are horrified by this twenty years on, so it's no wonder their scientists aren't respected. What makes it worse is that Sygnet, one of the higher profile Decepticon scientists still alive, joined to 'cons to get respect.
- War And Peace In Mind: Despite having the same Technopath power as their founder, Royal Pain, and being integral in protecting their Academy of Evil from detection and attack, the student Technopaths of the Academy get very little respect from their villain peers. Which makes it easy for Warren to convert them during The Infiltration.
Films — Animated
- Monsters University: While MU does offer other majors besides scaring, and we meet plenty of non-scarers, scaring is still considered the most prestigious career of all of them. Thus, it's a pretty harsh blow to tell Mike that he's simply not cut out for scaring. It's like telling him he shouldn't exist.
Dean Hardscrabble: Scariness is the true measure of a monster. If you're not scary, then what kind of a monster are you?
- Which makes the resolution of Monsters, Inc. retroactively heartwarming, since once laughter replaces screams as the monsters' energy source, Mike's harmless silliness makes him a top performer.
Films — Live-Action
- Subverted and played straight in The General; when Johnnie tries to sign up for the army, he is rejected because he is far more useful to the war effort as a train engineer than a soldier. However no one tells him this, and he is unable to convince his girlfriend's family that he wasn't simply a coward, so she refuses to see him until he's in uniform.
- In 300 Leonidas, while looking over the troops sent by their allies, asks some of them their professions. They answer variously that they are craftsmen or farmers. Then he asks his own men "What is your profession!" and they all raise their spears and yell. In real life, most Classical Greek soldiers were conscripts or volunteers who went back to their old lives after the war was over, while in Sparta men were either soldiers or slaves.
- Comes up in Get Smart. The techs of CONTROL who come up with the Shoe Phone gadgets are frequently bullied by the agents. Subverted with Max himself: Larabee and Agent 91 are both friendly with him, and Agent 23 shows him a great deal of respect (at least until it's revealed that he's The Mole). 99 doesn't respect him at first, but not because he's an analyst. It's simply because he's The Ditz bordering on Idiot Hero, and it takes her time to warm up to him personally.
- Naturally, this trope comes up quite a bit in the Star Trek Expanded Universe novels:
- This trope raises its head several times in the Star Trek: Typhon Pact series. Most notably, the Talarian genders have very different social roles, and are liable to underplay the importance of the other gender's work. Given that politics and leadership is a male role, this is most notable and extreme when the male government neglects their people's feminine sphere, leading to unrest in one novella. The Gorn seem to have shades of the same problem; emphasizing the warrior component of their culture and disregarding the equally important non-military aspects. In their case, rather than a gender division it's a matter of caste; the Technologist caste appears to be looked down on by the warriors. As an interesting extension of the idea, the Political caste seems to have such fear of the warriors' tendency to promote themselves above other Gorn that they've deliberately undercut their power by giving them only a single breeding world.
- This is actually subverted in John M. Ford's pre-TNG Star Trek novel The Final Reflection; the main character, a Klingon captain called Krenn, obviously respects his scientist first officer and describes Sciences as "an honourable career" to a young Spock while on a diplomatic mission to Earth. But then, Original Series Klingons were never the rather one-note Proud Warrior Race of some later stories, being more of a hostile authoritarian culture somewhat resembling the old USSR — and the USSR had its own successes in science.
- Also subverted in the Day of Honour novel Treaty's Law. A farming planet was disputed between Klingon and human colonists. As part of the Organian Peace Treaty, it was agreed that the two groups would compete and whoever got the best harvest would win the planet. The humans were complacent because of this trope, assuming war-obsessed Klingons would be poor farmers, but it turns out that farmers are actually highly respected in Klingon society and they ended up winning.
- In one Star Trek Expanded Universe novel, a Klingon refugee mentions that he had served a tour of duty in the Klingon Navy as a drafted engineer, but all battle glory earned on his ship (Against pirates, not the Federation) tended to be assigned to the officers and those who worked directly with the weapons systems. And G'Dath was a really good engineer - the book is about him inventing a drive system the size of a basketball so powerful that if it had been in use at the time of Star Trek: Voyager, they would have gotten back from the Delta Quadrant in a matter of hours (He was eventually forced to turn over the device and all the plans to the Organians to keep his drive from destabilizing the balance of power.)
- It comes up all the time in the Star Trek: Klingon Empire novel series. Among the crew of the IKS Gorkon, we find a doctor who is reviled by much of their society for recognizing that warriors without missing limbs and debilitating scars are more effective than those with them. Her suggestion of an artificial limb for her captain is outright refused (he's not a Borg, after all) and the compromise of an arm transplant from his dead father, while accepted by the captain, is looked at with horror by others. We also have the chief engineer (Kurak, referenced in the page quote), forced into the military by her family over her objections that designing better ships and weapons for the military is a better use of her talents. She's told that if she refuses to serve, she will be discommendated, which would ban her from working on those designs anyway. One novel also features another Klingon engineer, who's absolutely terrible at being a warrior (or tough in any way). However, he's a capable engineer, although the others sneer at his constant attempts at treating every engineering problem as a foe to be defeated.
- In the first Captain's Table novel, Kirk admits that the phrase "Klingon Research Facility" causes him to have the mental image of a Klingon warrior trying to split the atom with a bat'leth.
- Inverted by the Aiel in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. They are a warrior society, with their blacksmiths being the people who make their society work. Instead of being ridiculed, the blacksmiths are held in high regard and are protected in battle. When raiding other Aiel septs, harming a blacksmith is unheard of and brings great 'toh' upon yourself. Blacksmiths are also the last to pick up arms in battle with outsiders even though they know how to fight. They also cannot be made gai'shain (a form of indentured servitude prisoners of war must perform over a year and a day) given the great regard which the Aiel have for them.
- The Kzinti in Larry Niven's Known Space are a species of felinoid who are NOT naturally gregarious, they can only remain banded together in a civilized state by being obsessed with status and rank (and frequent duels to the death). The shlubs who do whatever work can't be done by slave races are at the absolute bottom of the totem pole. Telepaths are an odd case. On one hand, they are as remote from the perfect warrior image as possible: weak, neurotic, with matted fur. On the other hand, everybody recognizes their high value for the society. In the end they are tolerated, they get away with behaviour that would cost another Kzin his life (or at least his ears), but they are not promoted to higher positions.
- Low-status Kzinti don't even have names, they're instead referred to by their job title, rank, or MOS. Higher-caste Kzin get a partial name ("Chuft-Captain"), and actual nobility get the honor of having a name that's exclusively theirs with no reference to their job. No explicit word on how they distinguish between the guys on different shifts/watches who perform the same job. Oddly enough, the Patriarch of Kzin is always called that or "The Patriarch", which would seem to be a rank/job title.
- In Strikebreaker, an Isaac Asimov short story, the man in charge of waste disposal is treated as a pariah, as is his family. How vital he is becomes obvious when he goes on strike demanding to be accepted as a part of normal society.
- In another of Asimov's works, Robots and Empire, it is mentioned that the Spacer society treats surgeons that way. The Spacers are proud of their life expectancy, which can be up to four centuries, but tolerate absolutely no reminder that their bodies can require any maintenance or prosthetics during that time. For people to take up the job, they must be paid more than presidents.
- An earlier book in the same series, The Naked Sun, takes place on a world where people have become repulsed by the idea of physical contact to another person, to the point that even being in the same room as another human being is Squicky. They've also nearly perfected the science of growing test tube babies. Despite the fact that gestating and raising babies is absolutely essential to their society in the most literal way possible, it is also considered a repugnant occupation.
- Played With in Animorphs - Andalites have a society where males are all supposed to be warriors, but female scientists and artists seem to be highly respected too. There are problems for those like Aldrea who want to step outside their gender's role, but a few years into the war there's an idea that a good warrior should also have rounded skills, and by the main events of the series there are a few female military cadets as well.
- Part of what brings about this change is the invention and wide implementation of morphing technology. Traditionally, males have larger tail blades, the primary Andalite warrior weapon, so it wasn't feasible for women to be in combat. However, with the advent of morphing technology (and better weapons and spaceships, too), tail blades aren't the only weapon, or even the most practical, paving the way for females to become more accepted as warriors.
- Crops up in Clan culture in some of the BattleTech books. The warrior caste is considered the pinnacle of Clan society and the heads of the Warrior Caste are the ones who get to make decisions for the entire clan. Some of the Scientist and Technician Castes get a little respect but only if they're involved in developing and maintaining the Clan's military apparatus, or for the Scientists helping maintain the Clan's genetic selection process, and even that is rather grudging. The rest of the Castes and the Merchant and Labourer castes get no respect at all. A few Clans have better, more inclusive attitudes—but others look upon the "lesser" castes with everything just short of hate.
- This is largely due to the serious divide between the military elite who are all Designer Babies grown in People Jars, and consider anyone who was conceived and borne naturally to be deeply inferior and slightly nauseating.
- This ends up biting them in the butt hard when the Scientist casts and warrior washouts form a rebellion known as the Society. They were numerically inferior, but the Society had developed even more advanced versions of some of the newer weaponry that the Warrior caste had been using over the last couple of decades and other advances that the Warrior caste spurned. The Society eventually lost, but this set back research for years, especially when the Warriors of the affected Clans purged their Scientist castes to prevent another uprising.
- Subverted by the Canim in Codex Alera. The Warriors and Ritualists are prone to infighting with each other, not over this or over superiority, but over who can better serve the interests of the Makers—the farmers, mothers, artisans, cooks...basically everyone who isn't an honor-bound warrior or powerful ritualist.
- The western Angarak kingdoms of David Eddings' The Belgariad are descended from the people of the ancient city Cthol Mishrak. When Torak sent them to West, he divided them up among caste lines. The Murgos are descended from the upper class, in fact the word "Murgo" is Old Angarak for "warrior/nobleman". As such, they have no idea how to do anything but fight, and consider it beneath their dignity to do anything else anyway, and when they're separated from the craftsmen (Nadraks) and peasants (Thulls) they almost starve to death until they discover the concept of slavery. In Cthol Murgos, every Murgo man is a soldier, every Murgo woman is a baby factory, and everyone else is A. not an Angarak, and B. a slave.
- Subverted in Vorkosigan Saga. While soldiering is the most honored profession on Barrayar, the only reason technology is low is because of a natural disaster and they are racing to catch up fast. The Imperial Military Hospital (ImpMil) is proverbial on Barrayar and has won the respect of outsiders as well.
- This used to be the case in Shadows of the Apt, where the Beetle-kin and several other kinden were enslaved by the magic-using Moth-kin and others to perform the menial labor of empire. Then the Beetles developed the crossbow. Now the world is divided between the "Apt" peoples who have a natural facility with technology; and the "Inapt" peoples, many of whom could literally not use a crossbow to save their own lives. Needless to say the Apt are doing quite well for themselves, having inverted the trope completely by the start of the series.
- In the Circle of Magic novel Shatterglass the city of Tharios is run on a strict class system. Prathmuni are people who clean the streets, handle the dead and perform other unclean tasks; yaskedasi are performers and entertainers that, despite running an extremely profitable tourist district, are just barely above prathmun in rank. The plot follows a number of yaskedasi murders and the headaches involved in working in the class system; when the killer is revealed to be one of the prathmun, the prathmuni go underground to avoid being massacred. With no one to maintain Tharios' reputation of being clean, the rulers are forced to parley with the prathmuni.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Starfighters of Adumar, the titular Adumari are utterly obsessed with starfighter pilots, putting them so high up in their society's social ladder in Adumari society that both the New Republic and Empire decide that the best diplomatic force to send are their top Ace Pilots. A prominent example is supporting character Cheriss ke Hanadi: She was an indentured servant forced to labor in factories, and only managed to escape by becoming so renowned as a duelist she was able to make her living prize-fighting. However, because of a physical disability (severe vertigo) that prevented her from being able to fly, she was still regarded as a second-class citizen at best in Adumari society.
- In The Demon Cycle , the Krasians are a militant theocracy with a highly stratified society that works like this. Dama (priests), Dama'ting (priestesses) and Sharum (warriors) hold positions of high honor in their culture; Khaffit (civilian men) and Dal'ting (commoner women), who actually handle most of the physical and economic infrastructure, are held in contempt. As the series goes on, however, the Krasians start (very slowly) loosening up through contact with other cultures.
Live Action TV
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Suspicions", Ferengi scientist Dr. Reyga, who wished to be taken seriously by the scientific community and also had to fight against his own people's mindset, invents "Metaphasic shielding" and is then murdered. Initially, only Dr. Crusher and a small team of visiting alien scientists realize just how valuable his discovery was. Later Dr. Crusher uses the same metaphasic shields to escape and later defeat the Borg...by hiding in the corona of a star.
- Also in that episode was literal Klingon scientist Kurak, mentioned in the page quote. Dr. Crusher theorizes that her status as "not a people person" is due to being mistreated and disrespected by her own people, though she does admit that this is just a guess.
- Klingons themselves seem to have a case of Depending on the Writer in regard to this trope. Deep Space Nine gives us a (villainous) Klingon Lawyer, who saw the court as his battlefield, and was apparently well regarded for it, as he tells Sisko when Sisko attempts to invoke the trope to rile him up. Worf's grandfather, seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, was himself a lawyer, and according to the Expanded Universe gained numerous ranks and honors through his legal acumen. (He's a colonel in the film; novels mention he attained the rank of General through his legal kickassery.)
- Star Trek: Enterprise had a Klingon Lawyer represent some of the crew, and he lamented how the Warrior Caste was bullying the rest of the population. He claims that this is a fairly recent trend. How recent exactly is unknown though, as his father was a teacher and his mother a biologist, and both were seemingly respected for it, but Klingons are long-lived.
- Klingons at their best tend to be portrayed as not caring what you do, so long as you treat it like a fight and find a way to use it to put the hurt on someone. Heck, DS9 features a Klingon restaurant where the owner will play the concertina at patrons. Aggressively.
- Although this may be a sign of evolving Klingon society. In another episode, an aged Klingon warrior complains about how the old ways are dying, using Klingon restaurants serving aliens as a specific example.
- In one episode of DS9 we heard a snippet of a Klingon science vessel's log where the captain spoke of winning battles against ignorance, and bringing home vast spoils in the form of new knowledge.
- The DS9 episode "By Inferno's Light" suggests an aversion to this trope. Worf is forced to fight several Jem'Hadar in a row, all brutal hand-to-hand fights to the death. Bashir treats his injuries between each fight as best as he can, and Martok vows to write songs about both Worf's combat prowess and Bashir "the healer who bound the warrior's wounds so he could fight again!" While Bashir isn't a Klingon, it suggests that (medical) doctors are at least held in respect.
- Membership in the staff of a Klingon Great House also seems to convey a certain measure of prestige and respect; Worf's childhood nurse once reflects sadly, but a bit boastfully, on how she was a servant of a proud and strong family, and a Klingon woman vying for control over her house seems to take the advice of her majordomo seriously (he in turn being a social intermediary between her and others, and a general face for the House's standing).
- In Star Trek: Enterprise, a Klingon doctor and medical researcher finds a cure for a bioweapon that is being used dishonorably by his superior. He considers himself being executed for delivering the cure to be equivalent to a warrior sacrificing himself to win a great battle. The idea seems to make him very happy.
- The video game Birth of the Federation indicates that Klingon blacksmiths are held in high regard, as without weapons, there is no war.
- Star Trek: Voyager shows that the Hirogen have the same issues as Klingons. If you're not a hunter, you're nobody. In this case it's partially deconstructed by showing that it's directly detrimental to their society. The Hirogen used to be far more technologically advanced than they are now and are steadily devolving as a result of their nomadic, hunter-focused lifestyle.
- Constantly zig-zagged between playing this trope straight and inverting it with B'Elanna Torres herself in Star Trek: Voyager. As a Starfleet engineer, she is quite respected. Problem is that she is half-Klingon, and her focus as a Starfleet officer leads her to being dishonored for not being a Klingon ANYTHING. By not embracing her Klingon heritage and bloodline, she risks sending both herself and her mother to Gre'Thor (Klingon Hell). Sins of the Child, as they put it. So while she gets respect for being a Klingon Engineer by Starfleet, she gets no respect by Klingons for not being Klingon. Then late in the series a Klingon captain tells her that as the ship's engineer she keeps it in battle ready condition, so every battle the ship has ever won is her victory. Implying that at least during certain times in Klingon culture engineers are just as respected as warriors.
- The IKS Gorkon series of novels has two clear-cut examples and one not so clear-cut. B'Oraq is a female Klingon doctor who attended the Starfleet Medical Academy and seeks to bring medicine to the Klingons. Her efforts only earn her scorn among her fellow Klingons. Then there's the above-mentioned Kurak, who becomes the titular ship's Chief Engineer when honor forces her to join the Imperial Defense Force. Then there's Lokor, the ship's Chief of Security, whose methods are often compared to those of the Romulans (many suspect him of being a covert Imperial Intelligence agent).
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, another Ferengi, Rom, was horrible at business but a skilled engineer and handyman. Nog cites this as part of the reason he wants to join Starfleet.
- Seeing the scorn his father went through for not making a profit, despite his skill with machinery, gives Nog the inspiration to sacrifice some of his Ferengi beliefs as he strives towards, and succeeds at, becoming the first Ferengi in Starfleet. He may not make much profit for himself, but he learns to adapt his cultural upbringing (trying to get people what they want, by whatever means available) to the Federation's more open-minded ideology, doing a great job of making sure that his captain gets exactly what he needs to keep his crew happy and to keep his ship running as well as it can by trading things that they didn't need). He does this so well that it suggests that had he chosen to become a profit-driven Ferengi, he would have been able to do that quite well. However, Starfleet is clearly his destiny: In one potential future, he's shown to be a respected captain.
- Nog's decision to pursue a Starfleet career also helps Rom realize his full potential; over the course of the series Rom grows a spine (he seems to be inspired by his son's example), and he eventually quits his job at the bar and becomes a station engineer, where he quickly gains respect from both the Bajorans and Starfleet for his skill.
- Averted with Leck, a Ferengi "Eliminator" (read: assassin-for-hire, he "eliminates competition") who's in it for the killing and combat, not the profit. Other Ferengi are too afraid of him to show any disrespect.
- In the original series episode "Elaan of Troyus," Elaan contemptuously dismisses engineering as a "menial" occupation, much to Scotty's irritation.
- Happens to humans too, via cultural shift. In a season one episode a group of humans who were frozen get thawed out, one of them being a financier. He has an especially hard time adjusting to his new life compared to the others, reason being that with Earth moving from a capitalistic to post-scarcity society means that his profession is of little interest to people outside of historians. One of the novels has him find a niche as an ambassador to the Ferengi, which is the best of both worlds: the Federation respect him as a diplomat, and the Ferengi respect him as a shrewd man of business.
- Farscape has a few examples. Peacekeepers look down on "techs" as inferior because they spend their time fixing the ships and weapons instead of fighting with them. In one episode a planet called Litagara is featured, which is run by lawyers. The 5% of the population that aren't lawyers are treated as second-class citizens.
- The Big Bang Theory has a running joke about Wolowitz being the only non-Ph.D. in the group. In general, those that think (most prominently Sheldon) ridicule those that do (most prominently Wolowitz). Other characters minor and major have similar dynamics, such as Leonard's practical hypothesis testing being disdained by his own mother, a clinical neurologist which by definition requires others to test her hypotheses (and who despite focusing her work on children is an utterly incompetent parent).
- Todd the Wraith from Stargate Atlantis, who is more akin to a scientist. Unlike other Wraith, he recognises that foolishly gorging on human worlds means their food supply runs out faster and only leads to in-fighting between the Hives. In the last season, Todd even accepts the Atlantis team's help to find a way to rid his people of their dependency on having to feed, being one of the few Wraith to admit that it is a weakness that's impeding their growth as a species. There is a reason why Todd is over 10,000 years old. That said, he is backstabbed by his own people numerous times, either directly or indirectly.
- The Minbari in Babylon 5 have the Religious and Warrior castes, which feature prominently in the story, and the barely-seen and almost never-mentioned Worker caste that makes the work of the other two castes possible. The Worker caste does become critical when Delenn breaks the ruling Grey Council, delivering "The Reason You Suck" Speech to both her own Religious caste and the Warriors...then reforming the Council with the Workers in a 5:2:2 majority to keep the other two castes in check (and ending a civil war in the process). Canon states that prior to Valen, the Grey Council didn't exist and the Workers weren't even a proper caste with any form of representation at all, merely slaves of the Religious and Warriors. As a result, giving the workers an equal share of power with the priests and warriors was Fair for Its Day.
- The titular character (as well as his mentor Gaius, and later, Sir Mordred of BBC's Merlin is constantly subject to Arthur and the other residents of Camelot constantly badmouthing wizards, sorcerers, and any magical or magic-practicing being. Arthur's father Uther regularly executes mages and Arthur ended up continuing this after Uther's death and Merlin just keeps defending him and the kingdom, thinking that it is better to let this continue. He is constantly dumped on for being a dumb, cowardly incompetent servant, while secretly employing his supernatural powers to save the knights and innocent people, and allowing them to continue murdering magical beings like himself.
- Inverted in The Orville by the Xelayans, a species known for their incredible strength and endurance (they're Heavy Worlders). However, as revealed in one episode, they're actually a society of peaceful scientists, who tend to look down on any non-intellectual profession. So, to them, any Xelayan, who joins the Union Space Navy, is a failure.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Amongst the Orkish clans, the Blood Axes are distrusted and derided due to their willingness to retreat from combat instead of dying pointlessly, hire themselves out as mercenaries to other races, adopt (garish and clashing) camouflage, and generally use tactics more sophisticated than More Dakka or a frontal attack. In short, mainstream Orks consider them culturally contaminated by those "stinkin' 'umies!" Note that some of the most successful ork warlords are Blood Axes.
- A more generic Ork example are the Stormboyz, who have rebelled from a Chaotic Evil society for a lifestyle of military discipline, marching, and uniforms. Other Orks shake their heads at Stormboyz' obsession with battlefield intelligence beyond knowing the general direction to the enemy, but put up with their deviant behavior since Stormboyz make such effective jet pack assault troops.
- Averted with the actual scientist oddboyz such as painboyz and meks, whose disciplines are rather more suited to combat (read: one patches you up and "improves" you whether you like it or not; the other makes huge, impractical, god-awesome guns, vehicles and mechs that have a good chance of going boom).
- Sanctioned psykers are essential to the Imperium of Man, since they provide navigators to guide fleets through the Warp, Astropathic communication, and incredibly powerful assets on the battlefield, yet most citizens treat them with a mixture of fear, hatred and, oddly enough, respect (because a Psyker must stand before The God-Emperor). This isn't entirely unjustified in a setting where a single Psyker's lapse of control can result in the Legions of Hell spilling out into the material universe, and explains why unsanctioned Psykers are burnt at the stake with the other mutants and deviants as per government policy.
- Averted with the actual scientistsnote in the Imperium, the Adeptus Mechanicus. They are absolutely necessary for keeping the Imperium technologically equipped since scientific knowledge has been all but lost to the rest of the human race, and it may as well be magic to them for what little they know of it. As such, the AdMech is given a lot of leeway, and they're pretty much a self-contained empire within an empire whose beliefs would actually be considered outright heresy by the rest of the Imperium if they didn't need them so much.
- But played somewhat straight with the Techmarines: Since they study technology for decades on Mars in order to properly maintain the Chapter's vast amounts of technology, they are somewhat estranged from the battle-brothers who've done nothing but fight since their initiation. That said, they do get respect, since they're ten-foot tall power armored half-cyborgs with giant mechanical arms and power tools.
- Space Marine Librarians are given the respect that comes from being gifted with incredible psychic power... and the fear that comes from knowing said power can turn against you at any second through no fault of the wielder.
- Depending on the Chapter, this can be the situation for the Chapter Serfs. They are the logistical arm of the Space Marines and keep everything running since an Astartes is supposed to do nothing but fight, train to fight and maintain the weapons by which to fight. In some cases they man the Battle Barges that transport the Space Marines en masse to their staging grounds. While some Chapters treat their serfs with as much one of Humanity's Finest can afford a vanilla human, others pretty much regard their serfs as slaves.
- The Tau take pains to avert this, and their Greater Good philosophy honors all roles as equals, from the farmers and builders and scientists of the Earth Caste to the bureaucrats and merchants of the Water Caste. Of course, the ruling Ethereal Caste can be considered more equal than others.
- Cowards, warriors who didn't die during combat and sorcerers are very much hated by Khorne, the biggest War God of the setting. Those pledged to him that fit in those categories (sorcerers are kidnapped instead) are denied Warrior Heaven, instead ending up chained for all eternity at the base of the Skull Throne, forging enchanted weapons and wargear for his chosen champions to use.
- The World Eaters killed all their Librarians when they fell to Chaos (Khorne specifically). That they have no psychic troops makes no difference to them as they live only to get into melee as fast as possible, to cut down the enemy (enemy being a rather loose definition) or die trying.
- Magic: The Gathering: On the city-plane of Ravnica, there are ten guilds, many of which serve various functions in the city. The Azorius Senate are the lawmakers and arbiters, the Boros Legion serve as police and army, and the Izzet Guild create new and innovative devices that are totally tested and safe for everyone to use. One guild, the Golgari Swarm, are basically the recyclers of the world, using their knowledge over life and death to clean up messes and even provide food to the lower classes of Ravnica. However, they are generally shunned and relegated to the plane's sewers, because no one wants to admit the necessity of a group of icky zombie elf plant monsters led by liches and Necromancers.
- Subverted (and lampshaded) by the Mardu Horde in the original timeline Tarkir. A tribe of faux-mongolian raiders, they take pride on their lack of attachment to conquered lands and self-sufficiency, but still see the necessity of their livestock shepherds and smiths, who have a measure of social respect within the clans.
- Aslan in Traveller are a subversion. Females are expected to do all the jobs besides war and politics and esoteric specialties that can be considered related to these, for war and politics are the jobs of the males. All the same, female Aslan get no lower status because of this arrangement.
- In BattleTech, the Clans get a hefty dose of this. Being that their entire society is based around War Is Glorious with their genetically engineered Super Soldiers charging off into battles and basically ruling their society, they do not look highly upon the scientists that spliced their genes together, or the scientists that made their BattleMech's weapons twice as effective as those used by the Inner Sphere. Clan Warriors scorn scientists, the mechanics that repair their equipment, and laborers. This even shows up in their faster-than-light capable JumpShips and WarShips, where technicians seem to be regarded as expendable - a captured Clan technician on an Inner Sphere warship is surprised at all the protective gear and life support equipment that engineers are given when working in dangerous conditions.
- The Clan that took this the furthest was the now dead Smoke Jaguars. They decided that worrying about such things as logistics and manufacturing were beneath the dignity of a warrior and took to raiding their neighbors for needed materials rather than bothering to build their own. This came back to seriously bite them in the ass after they invaded the Inner Sphere, because they took so many casualties that their anemic level of production couldn't come close to producing enough mechs to bring their forces back up to strength, and when the Inner Sphere governments teamed up to attack them several years later (the Inner Sphere wanted to send a message to the Clans and tried to destroy what they thought was the strongest Clan in the Inner Sphere at the time) everyone realized that the Jaguars were really a Paper Tiger and they were completely wiped out.
- This supercilious glorification of the Warrior Caste at the expense of all the others comes back later in the official history to bite the Clans in their collective ass. True to this trope, it's the Scientists who feel the most unappreciated, and a large, secret cabal of them end up leading a bloody revolt among many of the major Clans of note, costing untold lives and materiel and effectively destroying the Clans' aforementioned technology studies that made them military powerhouses. The lesson to be learned in all of this is that you must give your non-warrior castes the same brooding level of respect as your warrior peers lest you lead yourself destroying your own society faster than normal due to internal strife and your opponents will view you as a laughably inept faction who can't seem to answer its own basic needs of common necessities.
- Unsurprisingly, the most successful Clans are the ones who avert this trope, namely Clan Diamond Shark, Clan Star Adder, Clan Coyote, Clan Hell's Horses, and Clan Ghost Bear. To a much lesser extent, Clan Wolf before the Refusal War may count as another Clan to avert this trope due to their Warden philosophy and their Magnificent Bastard Khan Ulric Kerensky who knew how things actually worked in the realm of politics.
- Very much averted by the Ultimates in Eclipse Phase; their habitats have nearly as much space devoted to research as to training grounds and weapons manufacture and status can be granted via intellectual pursuits as well as battle prowess. After all they're transhumanists like nearly everyone else who survived the fall and someone has to design the mods that give them an edge over the lesser beings.
- In Rifts, the Vanguard are a society of mages who secretly protect the Coalition States, a society who considers mages the enemy and generally tortures then executes them. The Vanguard pretty much accept this paranoia and protect the CS in spite of it, much along the lines of Merlin in the BBC TV series. Also in Rifts, Psi-Stalkers and Dog Boys (mutant humans and bio-engineered humanoid dogs) are the most reliable magic (and supernatural) detectors for keeping squishy human territory free of mega-threats, yet they are discriminated against as second-class citizens (as are all psychics) and viewed with great fear and paranoia. This may be slowly turning though.
- Played With in Werewolf: The Apocalypse from the old World of Darkness line. Werewolves are stratified into their societal roles of lorekeepers, judges, mystics, and the like through their Auspice (the moon phase they're born under, or adopt with the right rite), which also governs how they gain rank and renown in society (except for Ragabash, who are allowed to be more freeform). That said, there's also no social stigma attached to a werewolf filling a nontraditional role, like a Theurge who's also a great warrior or a Philodox with an active sense of satire...so long as they can, at minimum, fulfill their Auspice duties ("Sure, that Ahroun warrior can recite whole sagas, but can he fight?").
- A Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition splatbook discussed the concept in regard to the Dwarves. Normally arcane magic (i.e. Wizards, Sorcerers and the like) are shunned because they go against the grain among Dwarven society. The closest they come to accepting the idea is the "Raver", a Dwarf Wizard who was driven insane when his latent magical talent manifested, and is essentially treated as a mentally ill family member. However, if a Raver wanders off and leaves the burrow, nobody's exactly hurrying to bring them back (though they do feel guilty about feeling this way).
- In The Gates Of Hell, the devils of the Denomination of Research are despised for their ability to think outside the frame, although it does seem to be changing as they prove their usefulness.
- That's kinda where the Kolat came from in Legend of the Five Rings. Dealing with money was considered beneath samurai, so obviously the couldn't touch the stuff. But money dealings were necessary. So peasants were selected to handle the merchanting, but then disparaged because they were so much less useful than Samurai (who protect and serve) and the peasants who actually produce value (like farmers and craftsmen). So, you have a class of people who, by their very nature, develop power, but who are abused and downtrodden at every turn by the holders of higher social power for no rational reason... yeah, a conspiracy to overthrow the nobility was inevitable. And UNDERSTANDABLE. Were we supposed to clap when they lost? Oh, right, they did evil stuff like mind control. Good thing the legitimate Samurai government never did evil stuff.
- The Decepticons don't really go in for scientists. The number of named non-Redshirt scientists on their side can be counted by hand, and the few we see are distinctly of the mad variety, or are The Starscream (literally). A Botcon comic set in the Beast Wars era introduces Fractyl, a sane Predacon scientist who, as expected, is treated like a coward by his peers.
- Krogan scientists in Mass Effect are so rare that the other races don't even think they're smart enough to have them. In the first game, Urdnot Wrex (himself a Warrior Poet who feels My Species Doth Protest Too Much) sarcastically asks the Player Character when was the last time they saw a krogan scientist. Further, the straightest example of this trope actually comes from salarian scientist Mordin Solus, who was recruited into the party for his own scientific expertise. During one conversation about the genophage, if Shepard asks him whether krogan adaptation to it could be because of krogan scientists making a breakthrough, he disdainfully replies that he's never met a krogan scientist worthy of the title.
- There's a downplayed subversion in Mass Effect: Saren has a krogan scientist in his employ that tragically gets no lines other than pleading with you not to destroy his work—while attacking you.
- In the second game, we actually meet three: Okeer, a warlord whom pretty much every other krogan speaks of with revulsion and disdain due to nature of his experiment (but nevertheless succeeded in creating the most badass krogan since Wrex himself) and Urdnot Fortack, whom Wrex assigns duties such as medicinal engineering and crop genetics. Fortack laments this by saying that krogan scientists are supposed to make things that explode. And finally, the krogan mechanic on Tuchanka, who complains that he never gets any respect for what he does, even though everything would fall apart if he wasn't there to fix it. Krogan mechanics working on other worlds do seem to get respect though.
Lord High Researcher Fortack: My predecessor said no one would understand the true worth of my work. As I pulled my blade from his chest, I knew he was telling the truth.
Commander Shepard: Not exactly what I would call effective academic peer review.
- The krogan do at least try to subvert this trope, and the few scientists that do exist aren't exactly out of shape nerds, either. Lord High Researcher Fortack mentions how he killed his predecessor to get his position as Clan Urdnot's scientist. And Okeer, after all, was a Warlord. Krogan Shamans undergo horrific rites to gain their position, rites that kill many krogans, and so are worthy of respect. Krogan Ambassadors represent the strength of their clan and so must themselves be mighty warriors lest their clan be viewed as weak. Further, krogan recognize that not everyone can be a great warrior, so their combat rituals allow an individual to bring a squad of friends (called a "krantt"). As the krogan running Grunt's puberty rite puts it:
Urdnot Shaman: Not every krogan can be the strongest warrior, but each must inspire loyalty and the will to fight in his comrades.
- This also explains why even the nicest Paragon Shepard easily earns the krogans' respect; if Wrex of all people was willing to follow them and defer to their command, they must be doing something right. Bonus points if Shepard is an Engineer, on top of all that.
- On Tuchanka, you can overhear a pair of Urdnot warriors discussing how one of them actually wishes to become a scientist, to the relative bemusement of his comrade. At the end of the conversation chain, the aspirant wins a full-ride scholarship to attend a prestigious university on the Citadel, and can barely contain his excitement.
- Even the codex takes potshots at them, despite supposedly being from an objective in-universe source. The description for Vaul is a good example.
- Very averted in Mass Effect: Andromeda. Nakmor Kesh is an engineer who almost single-handedly kept the Nexus from falling apart before the human Pathfinder showed up, is a member of the de facto governing council and respected by almost all the others (except salarians), and makes her Badass Grandpa old warrior Drack incredibly proud. Her boyfriend Vorn is a respected krogan botanist whom the colony is devoting a considerable amount of their very limited resources toward (they understand that if there are no plants, the colony is doomed), and at the krogan colony one of the first people you encounter is a geneticist who certainly isn't ashamed of what he is (that he's working on curing the genophage probably helps his fellow krogan's approval for him).
- From a Metagame perspective, Newman Fortefighters/Fighmasters and CAST Fortetechers/Masterforces in Phantasy Star Universe.
- The Elder Scrolls
Trayvond: "I'm Trayvond the Redguard, Mages' Guild Evoker. Surprised? Yes, you don't see many Redguards in the Mages' Guild. We don't much like spellcasters in Hammerfell. Wizards steal souls and tamper with minds. If you use magic, you're weak or wicked."
- The Altmer (High Elves) are the most magically inclined race in Tamriel with a very haughty Crystal Spires and Togas society. While primarily known for their sorcery and magical prowess, they do employ armed-and-armored soldiers as well. However, these soldiers are openly disrespected by the mages, who are typically upper-class. In their Fantastic Caste System, "warriors" come in around the middle, just above merchants and common workers. In Skyrim, one can overhear a conversation between two Thalmor guards where one of them says that "he hopes that a dragon eats all of their wizards," showing that this dislike goes in the opposite direction as well.
- The Nords are the exact opposite of the Altmer. As a Proud Warrior Race with Blood Knight traits who openly seek to enter Sovngarde when they die, the Nords openly deride those who practice magic as weaklings. They do make an exception for the Restoration school of magic, as they do appreciate good healers. They also enjoy having their weapons and armor enchanted - a hypocrisy which irritates the College of Winterhold's resident enchanter, who notes that at least his profession "will always be accepted, if not liked." In Skyrim, one can meet the old Nordic god Tsun, who states that this was not always the case - the ancient Nords referred to magic as "the Clever Craft," and suitably heroic mages were considered to have earned their place in Sovngarde, spells or no spells. (Many of these heroes were still Magic Knights though, and quite capable in melee combat if the situation calls for it.) These anti-magic beliefs only became worse during the Oblivion Crisis, since the Nord population at large blamed mages for the crisis in the first place.
- The Redguards are another race of Men which has an open dislike for those who practice magic. In their case, the only exception is made for users of the Destruction school, as dealing more damage is always a good thing in their culture. In Oblivion, Trayvond, a student at the Mages' Guild hall in Cheydinhal, lampshades this:
- The general populace in the Dragon Age games fear mages. But magic is extremely useful, and mages were vital in halting the Qunari's previous crusade. So much so that even the magic-hating Qunari have started putting their own mages to good use.
- Averted if the Warden is a Mage in Dragon Age: Origins. During the ending, First Enchanter Irving admits that he honestly never thought he'd live to see the day when the people of Ferelden would fill the streets, gladly cheering for a Mage who has become their saviour.
- Similarly averted in Dragon Age II, where a Mage Hawke is adored by the population of Kirkwall for single-handedly ending the Qunari invasion, despite having been outed as an illegal Apostate who'd been secretly operating under the Templars noses for several years. This effectively makes Mage!Hawke politically untouchable by the Templars in Kirkwall.
- Anders is similarly beloved by the Ferelden refugees in Kirkwall, due to working tirelessly as their Healer in his clinic in Darktown. This is despite his activities in the Mage Underground and his occasional lapses into Dr. Jerk territory at times.
- Pretty much any noncombatant is widely disdained by the Aurorans in EV Nova. Ironically, the Auroran house that most fulfills the Proud Warrior Race Guy trope, House Heraan, is also the house that is most likely to avert this trope. That's why they get cool starships like the Argosy and Thunderforge: they actually pay for scientific research. With this said, while scientists are consistently looked down upon by the other Houses, the degree to which other non-warrior professions are looked down upon varies. For instance, the description for the House Dani world of Palein notes that engineers and physicians are given at least grudging respect (as the warriors are very well aware of how much they need both to keep fighting), with it going so far as to say that no-one would dare insult the graduate physicians of Palein, who spend their lives healing the countless warriors seriously injured in battle.
- Averted by the Iron and Ash Legions of the Charr in Guild Wars 2. While even their leaderships seems dead set on domination and bloodlust, they're second only to Asuran Magitek in terms of technological and industrial development and have created technology ranging from tanks to the printing press. They don't consider their scholars or technicians any less of a combatant than their front-line soldiers, though.
- The three Legions give each other flak for their main methods of warfare. The dedicated infantry of the Blood Legion often deride the Iron and Ash for relying on crutches (technology and stealth/deception respectively) and only change their mind about individuals from those Legions who prove themselves in combat.
- In World of Warcraft, the Mantid are sort of a subversion. They're such a Proud Warrior Race that young Mantid don't even have any real place in Mantid society until they're taken part in battle, but, while Mantid are all expected to kill things, Mantid society isn't exactly picky about how they do it. Players get to meet some of the Mantid's greatest warriors (who've been sealed in amber, just in case) and among them are an alchemist, a Fluffy Tamer, and a Mad Scientist.
- Also invoked by the bloodelf city guards of Silvermoon. When asked for the location of certain profession trainers they sometimes mention something about getting one's hands dirty, like herbalism means "digging in dirt". It should be mentioned that the bloodelf society is a very decadent one, most labor is done by magic, just wandering through Silvermoon shows enchanted brooms sweeping the streets, signposts inscribing themselves etc.
- Star Trek Online:
- See that example about Nog joining Starfleet? It inspired a lot more Ferengi to join their ranks. It almost got Ferenginar into the Federation, but certain groups didn't like that idea.
- There's a DOFF mission you can choose as part of the KDF where a medical member of your crew wants to get better medical equipment. Getting a Critical Success on it lets to having another officer wrestle him and put him out of action to shut him up.
- In game, the chief engineer of the Bortasqu', Tarol, gripes that engineers and the like do all the hard work and the warriors get the credit. This is exemplified in "House Pegh" when B'Eler, a member of said house, is able to figure out a way to turn Omega molecules against the Iconian T'Ket, allowing Kahless to wound it. However, Kahless gets all of the credit, despite the fact that he spent the entire battle at that point not even scratching the Iconian and ended up getting needlessly killed.
- As first shown in Halo: The Cole Protocol, the Sangheili/Elites despise doctors, because the species views blood as something sacred that should only be spilled from battle, but doctors cause you to bleed without honor. This bites them in the butt after the war ends, when they learn just how crippling it is for their entire species to be all Proud Warrior Race Guys; Halo 5: Guardians shows that the Arbiter is making an effort to get his followers to shed their taboo against medical treatment.
- This comes up with the Warrior-Servant caste in The Forerunner Saga. Forerunner society has ideals of nonviolence, so Warriors are a pretty low class, but the Warrior-Servants are obviously necessary to save the citizenry from any threats others might pose. Subverted when it turns out Warrior-Servants used to be at the top of social pyramid, but their ruthless tactics led to the xenocide of the Precursors, and thus their caste was demoted to one of the lowest as punishment.
- Taken to the extreme in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption with the natives on the planet Bryyo according to the scan data. After the people had met with other enlightened races like the Chozo and the Luminoth, the civilization ushered in an age of science that advanced the people while those that did not support science met the event with disdain and wanted to retain their traditional primal ways. The people that were for science looked down upon those clinging to tradition and saw them as lesser beings that were clinging onto outdated ways of living while the traditionalists saw scientists as traitors of their culture. A terrible civil war broke out between the two groups when the first lord of science banished all the primals from the city and all of the scientists were eventually killed. A leviathan seed then crashed into the planet and spread its phazon, corrupting whatever what left of the civilization by reducing them to mindless savages.
- Tesskans in Drive have no scientists of their own: they enslaved the Filipods to do the science for them. And the Filipods secretly bit them back during the war against humans, because they knew a human victory was good for them.
- Whomp!: The Smartest Klingon.
- Some orcs from Fairy Dust attempt to educate a few of their members enough to use and maintain modern technology, but even knowing the end goal, they find the more successful intellectuals strange and annoying.
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger features Ensign Dweebly, the adorkable nerd from the ironically dystopian Star-Trek-Federation-Expy. Basically, they're a deconstruction of true communism (where supposedly everyone is equal and nobody is allowed to starve or be executed, etc.); it ends up being super-fascist and requires aid from a higher-dimensional being just to (barely) survive. Getting told this by said secret-leader convinces him to defect to the Seven Systems Alliance with Quentyn as his part-time captain.
- Nodwick: You'd be surprised how little use a kobold tribe has for an economics major. Still, Nodwick and his friends find him useful.
- Unicorns in Star Mares are absolutely essential to the continued functioning of the Empire, as all Equestrian technology is ultimately powered by unicorn magic. However, largely due to the Secessionist faction being led by and consisting mostly of unicorns, they are banned from the Imperial military except as support staff and are generally given the dirtiest jobs, on the grounds that they don't actually have to touch anything icky so it's all right. Pegasi are similarly stigmatized, but since they control the most lucrative trade routes, they are not affected nearly as badly.
- King of the Hill examines this in certain aspects of Southern US culture. In an episode dealing with rodeos, we see that rodeo clowns (a legitimate part of the act, and often the most dangerous) are mocked and scorned by the cowboys and ranch hands for being utterly useless. In another, Bobby gets a job as towel manager for a football team, to find the athletes and coach (who are revered at school and in the community) are perfectly free to treat him like crap. When Bobby quits, the team's lack of clean towels cost them a win, yet they still blame him for it.
- In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Hermey the elf doesn't like to make toys. He wants to be... a dentist!
Hermey: "Well we need one up here!"
- Referenced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, underlined by a case of Reality Ensues: the Mandalorian warriors used to look down on their non-warriors and treat them as inferiors. Eventually, the non-warriors got so sick of this that they used their control over the food supplies, arsenals, production lines, etc to exterminate the warriors, driving the survivors into exile on their homeworld's moon, where they went extinct.
- The Smurfs episode "Poet and Painter" has the two artistic Smurfs mistreated at the beginning of the episode as they were considered useless by Smurf's standars (in comparison to other, more practical, professions) motivating them to run away. Eventually the other smurfs realize that they do need the art that Painter and Poet produce to improve their lives and go in search for them.