"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
A Know-Nothing Know-It-All
is a character who insists he or she knows everything; is always right; that they were the ''actual'' original creator of an idea
; and who generally has an extremely high opinion of themselves and their abilities.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. They are grossly misinformed, or just lying, about everything they talk about with authority. They create nothing new, and are Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance
. Their abilities could best be described as "scarce". Such people are, in fact, the living definition of the word charlatan.
While many characters show signs of being this, very few have it as a major facet of their character. For example, Peter Griffin of Family Guy
tends to spew horribly misinformed information, but oddly enough, sometimes he's right, in the rather odd world the series is set in.
Little Known Facts
are occasionally in the Know-Nothing's mental arsenal, thanks to their obtuse quality, but naturally, the research won't be. Hopefully, they're at least Entertainingly Wrong
A Real Life
engine driving this is the Dunning-Kruger effect
, where the less competent are paradoxically more
likely to consider themselves good at a task (because they are equally incompetent at assessing their own performance at it).
Can sometimes intersect with the Jerkass
. Compare Feigning Intelligence
. Contrast Insufferable Genius
, who has the same arrogant attitude but is not
incompetent. Actually listening to one may result in The Blind Leading the Blind
. Compare Small Name, Big Ego
, who both want to be recognized and appreciated, but take different paths to it. For a more "physical" version, see Boisterous Weakling
Has nothing to do
with a know it all
from the Know-Nothing party
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Anime & Manga
- Autor from Princess Tutu fits this trope to a T...at least at first. He's an insufferable know-it-all who believes that he's a descendant of Drosselmeyer and also the absolute expert on the subject of his powers. He puts another character who wants to learn about his powers through a series of ridiculous 'training' exercises, including standing in the middle of a room for three days without eating or sleeping and only using "blue and black ink in a seven-to-three ratio". Eventually he's humiliated when the character he's training proves to have much more power than him...if he ever had any power at all. In the end it's slightly subverted, however—the character he "trained" is forced to go back to him for help because he actually is one of the best experts on Drosselmeyer.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, South Korea always claims he invented everything (well, almost everything. No one takes responsibility for condoms).
- Takashi Yamazaki from Cardcaptor Sakura is always making up lies he claims to be facts. Interestingly enough, while most know he's lying, both Sakura and Syaoran both tend to believe him at first, before Chiharu breaks it to them that they're being lied to and lays the smackdown on Yamazaki, though one or two times, he is right in his extravagant speeches.
- Umino Gurio in Sailor Moon, academically smart, just very lacking in common sense.
- Sakuragi Hanamichi from Slam Dunk is actually pretty stupid but always goes around saying "Ore wa tensai!" (I am a genius) and "Ore wa tensai baskettoman!" (I am a genius basketball man)
- One episode of Lupin III (Red Jacket) featured Sherlock Holmes III among a group of detectives hired to outsmart Lupin. In the original version, he was a cultured gentleman. The Geneon Gag Dub turned him into a total nitwit who is always either stating the obvious or completely ignorant of the obvious — for instance, upon noticing an opulent dining fork, he proclaims it "a dining implement of some kind; a bit showy, whatever it is." Granted, the Holmes seen for most of the episode is actually Lupin in disguise, and when the man himself gets a chance to talk he seems pretty on the ball.
- Saori Takebe in Girls und Panzer tells the girls on their Tankery team all about how to win over a guy. Then one of them innocently asks if she has a boyfriend, to which she becomes speechless, since she never had one in the first place. The girls try to cheer her up anyway.
- Sakura Haruno is a practical Deconstruction of this trope from Naruto. While she was one of the top students of the Academy (second only to Ino who had became the Kunoichi of the Year), she considered herself a lot stronger than the 'Dead-Last' Naruto Uzumaki since she equated 'knowing more about textbook things translates to real life'. During her first real mission in the Land of Waves, she realized Naruto was not only stronger than her but had pulled far ahead and during the Chunin Exams, she sacrificed the long hair she had grown meticulously so Sasuke would notice her in an attempt to save her teammates who were unconscious from the battle with Orochimaru. Sakura eventually becomes Tsunade's apprentice, Takes A Level In Badass several times and during the last stage of the War Arc she can keep up with KCM Naruto and a Complete Susano'o EMS Sasuke.
- In Umi Monogatari, the Elder Turtle has shades of this; not only is he wrong about which priestess will fall into darkness, he doesn't comprehend what Sedna truly is and gives wrong information as a result.
- From Dragon Ball, Krillin when he was a kid. He is knowledgeable about martial arts, but he likes to act like he knows more than he actually does. This is made worse that his training partner, Goku, is really naive and often defers to Krillin when something confuses him. He thankfully gets better as the series goes on.
- Jack Chick. Beyond his tin foil hat theories about the Jesuits founding communism as part of a centuries-long plot to get Russian gold, he even manages to get very basic facts wrong. Like claiming that Kaiser Wilhelm II was Catholic. Wilhelm and his ancestors had been Protestant - first Lutherans, then Calvinists, then Altpreussische Union (an amalgamation of the two) - for ca. 400 years.
- This is a character flaw of Horace Horsecollar in the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe. Always quick with an answer for everything, but really not as smart as he thinks he is. In particular, Clarabelle Cow easily outsmarts him whenever they cross wits. Unfortunately, this makes her think she's smarter than she really is.
- Burt Schlubb and Douglas Klump from Sin City are two crooks who like to use large, important-sounding words to make them appear intelligent; unfortunately, their wordy speeches (which are often full of malapropisms) do little to hide how dimwitted they actually are.
- Suske en Wiske: Lambik, who fancies himself an intelligent, brave, strong and civilized gentleman, but is actually Too Dumb to Live.
- Brainy Smurf has a library of books, all written by him, all useless. Whenever he gives a useless lecture to The Smurfs, they hit him with a hammernote . He also insists that "Papa Smurf is always right."
- Ritsuko Akagi insists that she knows what's going on when confronted by something outside her understanding, despite others having as much or even better knowledge than others. Such as Shinji turning into an Alicorn in ''Shinji's Nightmare.
- Similarly in Alpha and Omega Book 2: The Fallen, Ritsuko claims Shinji doesn't know anything important about Councilor Tevos' situation even though, given that Shinji's the only one who knows her species, he clearly knows more about Tevos than anyone else present. Though Ritsuko doesn't know that Shinji also has a medical doctorate from his mother's memories and has studied Asari physiology.
- Big Bad of Angel Of The Bat The Seraphim really jerks back and forth on this. He is capable to quoting and is an active reference to obscure and unusual aspects of Christian history and mythology, but as Batman points out, he wasn’t even smart enough to use the singular aspect of his title, making it grammatically incorrect. (His title should be “The Seraph”, “The Seraphim” is plural)
- Disney Animated Canon
- Scuttle the seagull from Disney's The Little Mermaid. He claims that a fork is a thing for styling hair, a (smoking) pipe is a musical instrument, and also uses a telescope backwards. This gets lampshaded later on in the film when he's trying to warn Sebastian about something. Sebastian is understandably skeptical, and Scuttle shouts "Have I ever been wrong? I mean, when it's important?"
- Friend Owl from Bambi. The 'advice' he gives Bambi and his friends is actually terrible advice to give to young animals. Fortunately, it mostly gets ignored once "twitterpation" sets in.
- Timon from The Lion King authoritatively explains that stars are really fireflies stuck on "that big bluish-black thing."
- Jasper in 101 Dalmatians. His shtick with Horace is that Horace hits upon what's really going on and then Jasper emphatically calls him an idiot for getting such a stupid idea.
- Mr. Thicknose in the eighth The Land Before Time film turns out to be this. Originally respected as the smartest resident of the Great Valley, having "been everywhere and seen everything", he soon confesses to the kids that he gets most of his knowledge from second-hand sources.
- Nim Galuu from Epic is only as powerful as the scrolls that write the forests' activities, which cannot predict the future, and can only record so much. In the climax, MK calls him out on how he's relatively useless on his own.
- Moe of The Three Stooges is arguably the best example ever of this trope. He often rudely bosses Larry and Curly (and Shemp) around for goofing up and considers himself smarter than them but is clearly every bit as dim as they are.
- Oliver Hardy's character in Laurel and Hardy also presents himself as the bossy, arrogant, intelligent, more polite and civilized one of the duo, but is actually not that much sharper than Stan Laurel's character.
- Otto, the Bombastic Jerkass Nietzsche Wannabe American psychopath in A Fish Called Wanda.
: To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs
. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?
Otto: Apes don't read philosophy.
: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle
was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism
is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.
- Jimmy from Barbershop is only working at the shop to pay his way through college, and he tends to lord his superior education over his fellow workers. Problem is, he frequently gets his facts wrong, such as when he corrects another character by saying that scallops aren't mollusks (they are) and that a local store owner is Pakistani, not Indian (no, he's definitely Indian and quite resents being called Pakistani, thank you very much).
- Zelig, who has the uncommon ability to blend in and be mistaken for someone important, despite knowing very little, is somewhere between this and Seemingly Profound Fool.
- Inverted in The Monkees’ 1968 movie, Head. Peter, frustrated that the guys wouldn’t listen to him after warning them about the “Black Box,” makes them sit down to listen to his highly intelligent philosophy passed down to him by the Swami earlier in the film. His monologue closes with: “But then … why should I speak, since I know nothing?”
- Paul, the "pseudo-intellectual" in the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris acts like an expert on general Parisian art and culture, but is proven wrong several times. It doesn't stop him though.
- Gran Torino: Invoked and played straight: Just after Walt accuses Father Janovich of being this after hearing his wife's funeral speech, Father Janovitch asks him what Walt knows. Walt realizes that he knows plenty about death, but not a lot about life.
Father Janovich: And what about life?
- Dr. Rick Marshall from Land of the Lost thinks he's an expert on everything just because he's a brilliant astrophysicist. At one point, he thinks dumping urine on himself will mask his scent, despite everyone pointing out how stupid that is. Indeed, the urine helps the dinosaurs find him faster.
- Vizzini from The Princess Bride is openly enamored with his perceived intellect, but it is clear that he knows far less than he pretends. He belittles the known great thinkers, he comes up with several far-fetched justifications for either cup the masked man may have poisoned (and fails to consider a third option), and keeps misusing the word "Inconcievable". It's implied that his long-winded logic behind which cup was poisoned might have just been a cover, and the real point was to get a reaction out of the Man In Black that would reveal something, but the whole exchange still proves Vizzini isn't as smart as he thinks he is.
- Neatly encapsulated in this lovely quote:
Man In Black: Truly you have a very dizzying intellect.
Vizzini: Wait til I get going! [beat] Where was I?
- Shows up in 42 with a baseball announcer who declares that African-Americans are naturally faster runners than whites due to having the advantage of a "naturally longer" heelbone. He gets mocked by his peers when Jackie Robinson hits a home run soon afterwards.
"How did his longer heelbone help him do that?"
- Pain and Gain: Lugo thinks of himself as a Genius Bruiser mastermind, but he's pretty much the Moe of the trio.
- Janine Melnitz of Ghostbusters looks fairly nerdy, and she claims people tell her she's "too intellectual" and that she's "very psychic." However, at no point does she actually show any intellectual ability, she constantly misunderstands Egon's comments, and at one point Peter puts her down by pointing out she is only qualified for some pretty low-end jobs. When Egon experiments on Louis Tully, she fails to grasp anything that's going on. During the second movie, she also proves to be a mediocre babysitter and that's about it. She undergoes Character Development and becomes a much more important character in The Real Ghostbusters and other spin-off materials.
- Animorphs: Rachel's mother Naomi, who doesn't adapt well to going from high powered attorney to camping with aliens and subordinate to her teenage nephew. Not at first, but Naomi eventually proves herself rather useful, helping the Hork-Bajir draw up their own Constitution and persuading Captain Olston to lend his support to the team.
- Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter initially appeared to be one of these, although in the end it turns out he's well aware of his own incompetence.
- Sergeant Colon from the Discworld series is a mild version of this. He does consider himself well informed, but the only person he tries to impress this on is Nobby Nobbs, who he's aware may be winding him up. Such as when Colon identifies hieroglyphs as a type of mollusk, and is asked if they go lower they'll find loweroglyphs, and decides to go for broke - everyone knows you don't get loweroglyphs in these waters. It is said he had a broad education; he went to the school of 'my dad always said', the college of 'it stands to reason', and is now a post graduate student at the university of 'what some bloke told me in the pub'.
- Most members of the UU faculty also display a strong tendency towards this trope. Everyone, that is, save Ponder Stibbons, who occasionally fakes it, spouting his own ridiculous explanations because he knows the real facts will only kick off another off-topic argument among his colleagues.
- Part of this phenomenon, in the case of the wizards at least, may be attributable to the fact that (much like real-life scientists up until about the turn of the twentieth century) they consider new breakthroughs to be gross discourtesy rather than something to strive for.
- Yes, everyone except Stibbons, the Bursar (who can actually translate Stibbons' explanation into layman's terms), Ridcully (who is definitely Obfuscating Stupidity) and the Librarian.
- And of those four, the Bursar is insane, the Librarian is an orangutan, and Ridcully is not averse to flying off into tangential arguments of his own. Though, again due to Obfuscating Stupidity, he could be doing that on purpose.
- Granny Weatherwax does this as well, insisting that elephant is "a kind of badger".
- Granny is well aware of her own shortcomings, but her 'Headology' requires her to make the common folk consider her nearly omniscient.
- Nanny Ogg...
- Becomes a point of Hypocritical Humor in Jingo, when someone in the crowd is saying questionable facts and Colon mutters "There's always a know-all."
- To Owl's credit, he's not particularly egotistical about it. Rabbit, now...
- Yefrem Levitan's educational Book About Stars & Planets features a self-praising gnome's wild stories about his supposed space adventures; the readers' objective is to find all the flaws in his stories, and there are many.
- Brother Verber, from Joan Hess's Maggody mysteries, recites Bible phrases at the drop of a hat. As he's the inept product of a fly-by-night correspondence-course seminary, he constantly misquotes them, mistakes their verse numbers, and/or takes them so far out of context as to be irrelevant.
- This is the defining personality characteristic of Stingray from Toys Go Out and its sequel Toy Dance Party.
- The character Jesse Honey, in Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale, thinks he knows everything but is laughably incompetent, and takes any critique as a shot at his diminutive height. It gets him another character, Hardesty Maratta, into trouble or injured several times, and eventually gets Jesse killed. In fact, the entire episode serves mostly to illustrate that Hardesty (a World War I veteran) is an extremely fortunate man. Another character, Juliet Paradise, is a self-proclaimed intellectual who is noted to believe that a goat is a male sheep.
- Mary from Pride and Prejudice can be read as one. The book implies that while she studies hard, she doesn't take in much and can learn the mechanics but not the soul of what she studies. It's shown most during the brief times she's allowed to talk, where she almost always moralizes about obvious things with all the arrogance and pride of someone making a great discovery.
- Kirtan Loor from the X-Wing Series has a Photographic Memory and, because of it, thinks himself a genius and is always surprised when his plans don't work. Early in the series he's taken before the Big Bad and lambasted for his flaws, most notably a tendency not to think. For the rest of the series he proceeds believing himself to have changed, but one or two insights aside he really hasn't. It's not until his death that he realizes that he's kept falling back on his old habits without even realizing it.
- Most of the humour in Kaz Cooke's Little Book of X..er...books comes from the author taking this role, providing "advice" on whatever subject that is one million per cent useless. The Little Book of Beauty suggests the use of wood glue for hair care, for Pete's sake.
- Mark Twain discovered one of these among his fellow passengers on the trip he took in The Innocents Abroad. Dubbed "The Oracle," his hilariously inaccurate observations (like pointing out "the pillows of Herkewls" in the Strait of Gibraltar) were encouraged by the other voyagers.
- Eliza in Someone Else's War is quite bossy, but rarely ever in-the-know.
- Adrian Mole considers himself an "intellectual" and brilliant author with a wide knowledge of art, literature, history and culture. In reality his writing (all unpublished) is terrible and he frequently confuses writers, important events, public figures and branches of the arts. He is also shown to have limited general knowledge, such as not knowing why someone called Pandora would have the nickname "Box", or thinking that someone in the UK could take a day trip to China.
- British statesman Lord Chesterfield wrote about them in Letters to His Son: "coxcombs, who have no learning at all; but who have got some names and some scraps of ancient authors by heart, which they improperly and impertinently retail in all companies, in hopes of passing for scholars." (letter XXX)
- In the Greyfriars stories, Billy Bunter lives and breathes this trope along with its accompanying trope, Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance, unless the plot requires him to (always temporarily) come to his senses.
- Cliff Clavin of Cheers, to an extent that he was the original Trope Namer. He inherited his "gift of gab" from his mother, Ma Clavin. The big difference is that Esther actually knows what she's talking about, despite being a know-it-all herself.
Well ya see, Norm, it's like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers.
- Cliff was not part of the original Cheers concept. He was added after John Ratzenberger went to audition for the part of Norm. He ultimately didn't get the part but, while he was there, he pitched them the idea for another character, a typical bar know-it-all. He improvised a performance to give them an idea of how the character would act, and that sealed the deal.
- From time to time, he did actually get things right, and on other some other occasions he was cut off before he actually spewed anything that was incorrect.
- John Ratzenberger said that, according to Cliff, Cliff was "the wing nut that held civilization together." According to Ratzenberger, Cliff is just a winged nut.
- Britta Perry from Community wants to be seen as an enlightened woman of the world, but often betrays her ignorance. Pierce Hawthorne is even worse; he's a foolish, addled old bigot convinced of his own brilliance.
- Mr. Chekov, of Star Trek fame, thought that everything from genetically modified wheat to the written word was a Russian "inwention". Given that the show was made during the Cold War, he was never right about any of it. This is actually Truth in Television, as Soviet propaganda tried to trace many things to Russian inventors, to the point that people started joking that "Russia was the homeland of elephants", or the greatest inventor of all time, Lenard da Vishinski. This attitude of Chekov was spoofed in a novel by Diane Duane, when he claimed that roller coasters had been invented by Russians. Nobody believed him, as the first roller coaster had been patented by an American... Yet, Russians actually created the ancestor of roller coasters, the Russian mountains, and in many languages (like Italian or Portuguese) the roller coasters are called the local language's translation of "Russian mountains".
- In the original The Twilight Zone episode "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby" (under the late great Rod Serling), a small-town bumpkin was this, and everyone around knew it. Except the aliens (who had never evolved the concept of lying) who overheard him, mistook him for the greatest human brain ever, and kidnapped him for their zoo. He escaped through courage and dumb luck. And when he tried to tell people ... Crying Wolf, anyone?
- In a slight departure, Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report portrays himself as an extremely far-right Republican Know-Nothing Know-It-All. For that matter, most TV pundits in the US are like this; parodying this was the original premise behind The Colbert Report.
- Kathleen from Degrassi Junior High is a borderline case. She really does know more than the rest of the cast, but she's such a Control Freak that this knowledge is rarely relevant to anything. She drives a science fair judge crazy by reciting every stack of facts she knows, never giving her partner a chance to talk, and is shocked when that doesn't earn her first prize. A Running Gag on the show is that when Caitlin (the overachieving School Newspaper Newshound) needs to come down to earth a bit, it always happens by way of Kathleen doing something better than her — which is the most humiliating thing possible.
- Reversed in Hogan's Heroes, where Schultz was always quick to assure people that he "knew nothink!", when in fact he knew more about Hogan's operation than any of the other Germans and realized that playing dumb and ignoring the issue was his best option.
- Parodied in The Red Green Show in the segment where they examine the three hardest words for a man to say: "I DON'T KNOW!" Thus, the guest is always morphed into one of these. Played straight with Hap Shaughnessy who, in any episode that features him, claims to have invented a common item or to know the reasoning of historical figures due to him being there when they made their decisions (if he wasn't responsible for them making the decision in the first place).
- In The Muppet Show, Sam the Eagle claims to value culture, but in reality he's a complete ignoramus with the arts. For instance, he didn't recognize the world famous ballet dancer, Rudolph Nureyev, in street clothes and thought William Shakespeare was a composer. He also tried to sing (karaoke, cause it's a nice American activity, even!) "American Woman" in one of their YouTube videos. When the machine told him it was by The Guess Who, he hazards, "Um, I don't know...John Philip Sousa?" before trailing off halfway through the third or fourth line, demanding to know who was responsible for the blatantly anti-American lyrics. And he really flips it when Kermit tells him The Guess Who is a Canadian band.
- Paul Kinsey of Mad Men. Perhaps his defining quote in the series wasn't actually said by him, but rather about him; "We get it, you're educated."
- All of the main characters in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Charlie: This bar runs on trash. It's totally green now.
Dennis: How is burning trash green?
Charlie: I could stick it in a landfill, where it's gonna stay for millions of years, or I could burn it up and let it disappear into the sky where it turns into stars.
Mac: That doesn't sound right, but I don't know enough about stars to dispute it.
- Danny Kaye had a number of characters who were this. Though most of them were one-offs.
'Yes, my friends, do you realize you can live to be a 127 years old... if you listen to Petrov?
First, you have got to live for a hundred and twenty six years. Then, you have to be very very careful'
- Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory is normally a straight-up Insufferable Genius... when you're dealing with a body of knowledge he has experience with, such as physics. Get him onto something more practical, however, and while his knowledge base drops dramatically, his opinion of his knowledge base remains as insufferable as ever.
- Neelix of Star Trek: Voyager claims to be competent at many things (diplomacy, navigation, survival, cooking...) but he fails almost every task he's given. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether he's supposed to be this trope, or if they're Informed Abilities. To be fair, Neelix is quite knowledgeable about the Delta Quadrant which is why he's the ship's designated guide. The comedy in the character comes from his desire to prove that he's more than just a tour guide. He's also a competent cook, it's his very limited selection of ingredients that make his food less than savory.
- Foggy Dewhurst of Last of the Summer Wine has deluded himself into thinking that he knows the answer to any problem the trio is stuck in, when more often than not, he just makes things worse, mostly for himself.
- Rory Gilmore of Gilmore Girls. Yes, Lorelai Junior. Although she excels academically, she is often lost in social situations.
- In Downton Abbey, Robert hires Sir Phillip Tassel to assist in Sibyll's childbirth. The family physician expresses concern that Sibyll is suffering from Eclampsia. Tassel dismisses this right until the end, saying what she's experiencing is normal. The other physician was right, and Sibyll dies from Eclampsia . Yeah.
- Bill McNeal from NewsRadio quite frequently. He once attributed the line, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" to the poet John Keats in 1776. Too bad that 1) that wasn't Keats, it was Robert Herrick, and 2) it wasn't written in 1776; in fact, neither man was alive then, Herrick having died in 1674, and Keats not being born until 1795.
- Frasier: Roz's arrogantly ignorant hipster friend Jen, who, among other things, wants to go to Vietnam on vacation because "Americans haven't heard of" the country, and that an art gallery mostly focused on paintings of landscapes is intended to "make us feel good" about American "imperialism".
- Jay Cartwright from The Inbetweeners constantly brags about his knowledge of sex. Of course, he's a virgin until the end of the first movie.
- At least half of any given fandom regarding the fandom itself. Especially the “Stop Having Fun” Guys and Scrub in fandoms that have them.
- Truth in Television: Just go on a Message Board. You'll get loads of
total idiots experts on many subjects. Played straight and averted by 4chan. This is a product of the fact that users of some boards completely loathe all the other boards. Interest based boards commonly avert this, and are somewhat filled with level-headed individuals who are generally intelligent and well informed in regards to the board's topic (/co/, /tv/, /sci/, /lit/, and /a/ on a good day). The rest of the site tends to play this straight though, particularly the more easily trolled boards. /pol/ is quite possibly the worst offender, as at least 50% of its userbase are superbly ignorant Neo-Nazis who spam The Bell Curve, with the other 50% composed of trolls posing as strawman liberals or conservatives.
- RJ the raccoon from the comic strip Over the Hedge (not so much The Movie) makes up explanations for everything to the gullible woodlanders (to the annoyance of Verne, who usually has the accurate answer but can't explain it in a way anyone will understand).
- Lucy Van Pelt thinks that snow falls up, fir trees have fur on them, and that a chain line is so that climbers can all fall of mountains and die together instead of it having the exact opposite purpose (so that the climber falling doesn't fall to his death because the others are holding him up).
- Snoopy had some moments like this too. His rule of thumb whenever he got lost was that the moon is always over Hollywood.
- A variant is Peppermint Patty; she'll get a dumb idea from a complete misunderstanding about something, ignore all common sense advice as she pursues this fixation until she humiliates herself and typically blames the people who warned her for not stopping her.
- Sally Brown. She's too lazy to do research for her homework, so she usually just makes things up.
- Calvin and Hobbes:
- Calvin's dad does this sometimes when Calvin asks him questions, but he's doing it on purpose. (Read: just making shit up and silently laughing at Calvin for believing him when he says, for example, that old pictures are in black and white because the whole world was black and white when they were taken.) Watterson's commentary says that he assumes it must be a great temptation for real parents not to abuse their power for pranks.
- Then there's Calvin himself. Bats are not bugs, by the way.
- Despite the picture above, Hobbes is not usually an example: math just isn't his strong suit. Why Calvin keeps asking him for help after all the bad grades he must get is something of a mystery. Possibly because he's in Calvin's head, and no smarter than Calvin at his best. Word of God states that one reality is Calvin's immature point of view, while the second is an adult point of view, and the reader can decide which is true.
- Howland Owl may be the best example from Pogo. But then, nearly everyone in the comic is absurdly ignorant and doesn't realize it.
- The character of Dottore in classic Commedia dell'Arte is often played as smugly satisfied with his own learning, despite his ineffectiveness. In a script that cast him as a medical doctor, for example, he would speak perfect Latin, but his patients would all die.
- This is Slightly's shtick in Peter Pan (and any incarnations thereof in which he appears). While none of the Lost Boys remember anything about life before they joined Peter's band, Slightly is constantly faking knowledge, convinced that he remembers himself.
- Sheridan's play The Rivals gives us Mrs. Malaprop, who liked to use big words in an attempt to sound more educated than she was. She uses the wrong words, and Hilarity Ensues. Mrs. Malaprop's antics are the source of the word Malapropism.
- Feste of Twelfth Night claims to avoid it because "it is better to be a witty fool than a foolish wit."
- Kingdom Hearts's Axel gives hints of being this in 358/2 Days, when he talks about why the sky turns red.
- Theodore from Persona 3 Portable claims to know all about the human world, but its fairly evident that he's clueless about human interaction in general.
- Rinnosuke of Touhou. You know all those descriptive first-person narratives he makes in Curiosities of Lotus Asia that seem to describe the inner workings of Gensokyo? Well, as ZUN reveals in the Afterword...
By the way, Rinnosuke's supposed vast storage of knowledge comes almost entirely out of thin air. Indeed, he doesn't know nearly as much as he thinks he does. If you read closely, you'll notice a lot of wild, meta ideas, but I think that's supposed to be the joke.
- The aptly named Fact Sphere from Portal 2, which repeatedly states various facts that while sometimes true, are more frequently partial truths or completely wrong. It also states various (Often egotistic) facts about itself:
The Fact Sphere is always right.
The Fact Sphere is the most intelligent sphere.
- Mao in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice will frequently boast about having a 1.8 million E.Q (Evil Quotient), but is utterly clueless about simple concepts like love, truth, and friendship. Disgaea Dimension 2 gives us the Krichevskoy Group, a trio of monsters that claim to follow King Krichevskoy's will and want to dethrone Laharl because they believe he's an Inadequate Inheritor. However, they don't seem to have a grasp on what made Krichevskoy a great and charismatic Overlord and for all their disrespect towards Laharl, Laharl shows throughout the game that he acts far closer to Krichevskoy than the very demons who worship him.
- Qui-Gon (or at least his player, Jim) in Darths & Droids. Whenever the Game Master makes up a word Jim insists he knows what it means, be it "Jedi" (It's a type of cheese), "Naboo" (Fish oil mixed with liquor) or "midi-chlorian" (exactly the same as Star Wars midi-chlorians; in this case, the GM just threw up his hands and went with his explanation, even though it was ridiculous).
- He remains firmly under the delusion that he can 'Summon Bigger Fish'.
- Although it was reversed when the DM used the term "Vergence", which he thought he had made up but which Jim actually knew the definition of. Turns out he's not the idiot he seems, and is working on a Ph.D in geophysics. He just likes to "turn his brain off" when gaming, turning him into a Genius Ditz when something burns through the fog.
- King Steve from 8-Bit Theater. Completely insane, but how do you argue with someone who "invented inventing"?
- Also Red Mage to some extent.
- The Furry Webcomic Nip and Tuck, by Ralph Hayes, Jr., justifies Gilly Gopher as being the Butt Monkey that he is because he's a Know Nothing Know It All.
- Kankri from Homestuck. He fancies himself as an authority on social justice, and will go on and on and on about class warfare and the injustices of the caste system - completely failing to realise that his society is free of such problems, mainly because it now consists of exactly twelve individuals who are all dead, and none of them give a fuck anyway. He is also incredibly dismissive about other people's actual issues and social problems, despite priding himself on avoiding "triggers".
- In Tails The Douche, Tails corrects Knuckles after he introduces himself as an echidna, telling him that it is pronounced "arachnid".
- The Scumthorpe Files has Tara Dunning, who was confirmed to be named after the Dunning-Kruger effect. She claims she's the most mature, intelligent girl in her class, but the opposite is true. Perfectly shown when the sixth grade class is learning sex-ed and Tara launches into a description straight out of a trashy novel, having no clue what her words really mean.
- Ask That Guy is a particularly psychopathic version of this. It's implied in some episodes that he knows he's wrong and just does it for the fun of it, such as in one episode where he's asked "why is my nose bleeding?". He begins going on about how every nose goes through what's called a "nose-period", but then just shouts out "I don't know! What kind of a stupid question is that?" A less insane (but only slightly) version from the same site would be The Nostalgia Chick. Best showcased in the X-Men review, where normal!Chick brushes off Dr. Tease with "I know everything", and Chick on Truth Serum admits that the mutant powers really confused her as a kid.
- Early SMBC Theater had this issue with subjects like Christianity, Superheroes and geek culture. However they have stuck with subjects they're more familiar with.
- This Rooster Teeth Animated Adventure.
- "Crank" is a pejorative term for a person who holds an unshakeable belief or opinion that most of their contemporaries consider to be false. Unlike the likes of Gallileo, Copernicus and Ignaz Semmelweis (whom Cranks may compare themselves to), whose theories were proven correct despite conflicts with established authorities, Cranks are characterized as overestimating their own knowledge and abilities regardless of others opinions and experience, insisting their discoveries are urgently important while rarely if ever acknowledging faults no matter how trivial.
- In Ultra Fast Pony, Pinkie Pie is a huge fangirl for The Lord of the Rings. She claims to be an expert on the series, yet she's unaware of basic information, like the fact that the movies were based on a book series.
Pinkie: Oh, yeah, gettin' down in Minas Morgul!
Rarity: I don't think Minas Morgul is the equivalent to Canterlot, Pinkie.
Pinkie: Whoaho, bro. Bro. I am the Lord of the Rings expert here, and I think I know the name of the city that Saruman laid siege to.
- Doc of The TIME Guys thinks he's a scientific genius, but it's obvious that he has no idea what he's talking about.