My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting
An anti-patriotic joke made by people from the very country it's poking fun at.
While patriotism can be noble or nice if your country is doing well, there can be times when one is ashamed of his country. Usually it's politically or socially motivated. Some people dislike the imperialistic, militaristic or nationalistic approach of their own government and fellow citizens.
These are the people who feel that My Country, Right or Wrong
is mostly wrong and have nothing but contempt for Misplaced Nationalism
. They will vocally criticize their own country and feel that they are in their right to do so since they were born there themselves. Though they can sometimes be categorized as misantropes or a Boomerang Bigot
there are also enough examples of people having good reasons and/or arguments to criticize their country of birth. This can result into active protest marches with the intent to change things. Or, in a less drastic fashion, result in Self-Deprecation
comedy, done for satirical purposes.
In some countries such criticism is seen as highly unpatriotic, even treacherous. Dictatorships are the most obvious example, but even in some democratic countries expressing such opinions can bring people into serious trouble, and politicians opposing those in power will take pains to emphasize that they love their country despite their disagreements. Yet, in a truly free society criticism of your own country should be respected. Lots of sociological revolutions and changes have occurred just because people questioned the ideas of their government and society. Indeed, such people usually consider criticism of their homeland as an act of patriotism on their part, reflecting the other part of My Country, Right or Wrong
: if wrong to be set right.
Please make sure that only examples are added where the criticism is made by a person born in the country he criticizes. See Misplaced Nationalism
for criticism of one people or country towards another. Offending the Creator's Own
would be the religious equivalent of this trope. See also Biting-the-Hand Humor
, when this is done against the production's distributor.
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- Life in Hell: Matt Groening pokes fun at American society a lot.
- Suske en Wiske: The early stories criticized the Belgian government quite often, especially in its treatment of the Flemish population. In the reprints most of these comments have been removed.
- Robert Crumb: Criticized the U.S.A. several times, most notably in his one time comic strip: "Why I Hate the U.S.A."
- MAD Magazine: A decades long tradition of this magazine.
- Team America: World Police: The anti terrorism squad is being portrayed as causing more damage to other countries than actually helping them. An important story arc too, as Gary the actor is shocked by their actions and refuses to help his country any longer.
- The Grim Reaper in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life complains: "Be quiet! You Englishmen... You're all so fucking pompous and none of you have got any balls."
- King Ralph: After the entire British Royal Family died in an accident the palace manages to find one still surviving heir:
Phipps: "Sir Cedric! Sir Cedric! Good news. We've finally found an heir!"
Sir Cedric Willingham: "That's wonderful, Duncan. Who is he?"
Phipps: "His name is Jones. Ralph Jones."
Sir Cedric Willingham: "A good man?"
Phipps: [embarrassed] "Well... he has his strengths and his weaknesses. You see, he's... American."
Sir Cedric Willingham: "Quickly, Duncan! The strengths!"
To top it all off the next scene shows Ralph (the American they were talking about) in a bar indulging himself with a pinball machine coming across as a complete oaf.
- The films of Michael Moore are also notorious for criticizing American politics ("Fahrenheit 9/11"), multinationalism ("Roger & Me", "Capitalism: A Love Story"), gun policy (Bowling for Columbine) and the health care system ("Sicko").
- A Fish Called Wanda: John Cleese's character Archie gives the following speech:
"Wanda, do you have any idea what it's like being English? Being so correct all the time, being so stifled by this dread of, of doing the wrong thing, of saying to someone "Are you married?" and hearing "My wife left me this morning," or saying, uh, "Do you have children?" and being told they all burned to death on Wednesday. You see, Wanda, we'll all terrified of embarrassment. That's why we're so... dead. Most of my friends are dead, you know, we have these piles of corpses to dinner. But you're alive, God bless you, and I want to be, I'm so fed up with all this. I want to make love with you, Wanda. I'm a good lover - at least, used to be, back in the early 14th century. Can we go to bed?"
- Roman author Sallust criticized the Roman Empire in his writings, especially their imperialism, and predicted the fall of that same empire.
- Author George Orwell criticized the British colonial policy in South-East Asia in his book "Burmese Days".
- Author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was banished from the Soviet Union for criticizing Stalinist Russia in his book The Gulag Archipelago.
- He was at least biting the regime, not the country (he was an unabashed Tsarism fanboy). Many Perestroika-era liberal democrats (which, in that place and at that time, basically meant Western toadies) went even further and denounced everything Russian, no matter what the regime.
- Author Emile Zola wrote a famous accusation near the end of the 19th century, simply called "J' Accuse" ("I Accuse") in which he criticized the French government for stripping Jewish military Alfred Dreyfus of all of his titles. Dreyfus was accused of treason, but as it turned out antisemitism was the real reason. Zola's written attack was a huge scandal back then and he was persecuted too, but later he was Vindicated by History.
- South African author Tom Sharpe criticized his country's apartheid system in his books by mocking it in a satirical way.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: The team took a lot of shots at the British class system, most memorably in the "Upper Class Twit Of The Year" sketch. The British military also got mocked a lot.
- Little Britain: Every episode proudly praises the glory of "being British", only to feature a lot of Englishmen that are hardly something to be proud of.
- Blackadder: Targets the British upper class society frequently.
- Spitting Image: This satirical puppet show mercilessly lambasted everyone, but since it was made in the United Kingdom a lot of attacks were directed at British society as well: the monarchy, government, class system, the low-budget film industry, advertising campaigns, newspapers,...
- All in the Family: Dealt with issues that polarized American society in the 1970s and ridiculed them.
- Midnight Oil title drops this trope in their song My Country, though it is more a critique of Patriotic Fervor than this trope specifically.
I hear you say the truth must take a beating
The flag a camouflage for your deceiving [...]
And did I hear you say:
My country right or wrong
My country oh so strong
My country going wrong
- As do Levellers in a few of theirs, most interestingly, in "England My Home"
Oh, what happened to
My green and pleasant land?
- German punk band Die Toten Hosen's "Tausend gute Gründe" lists "a thousand good reasons to be proud of this country" only to admit that at the moment, they can't actually come up with a single one.
- Randy Newman's song "Political Science" pokes fun at the U.S.A. who are so angry that everyone seems to hate them that they decide to "drop the big one now". They will bomb the entire world, except for Australia, and "turn the entire world into one Americatown".
- Frank Zappa: Zappa criticized his country both satirically, in his songs, as during interviews.
- Paul and Linda McCartney: Took an anti-British stance in their song "Give Ireland Back To The Irish".
- Jacques Brel: The Belgian singer attacked his home region Flanders and its inhabitants in three songs. The final one, "Les F..." was such a scathing attack on Flemish nationalists that the number was banned from airing on the radio.
- The Sex Pistols: "God Save The Queen" is a fierce attack on the British royals, with the immortal line: "There is no future and England's dreaming!"
- Serge Gainsbourg caused a stir among French military veterans when he released a reggae version of the French national anthem called "Aux Armes" ("To Arms").
- The Nostalgia Critic: In his review of "The Magic Voyage" Doug criticizes the German company who made this film for making such a historically inaccurate film. Then he turns the tables by adding: "We can't even get our own history right!" and shows the poster for Disney's "Pocahontas" film.
- Rational Wiki is not afraid to grill the countries most of those writing/editing the articles come from, particularly the US and Britain (though places like Canada and the Scandinavian nations have it better). That said, it's of the opinion that true patriotism also involves pointing out the flaws of one's country in order to make it all that it can be.
- The Simpsons: A popular staple of the show.
- "Homer Loves Flanders": Flanders drives Homer to a sports game. When Homer notices Lenny and Carl he pushes Flanders' face down from sight because he is afraid of being seen with him. Carl notices Homer's car is driving without a chauffeur and assumes his driving "one of those electrical cars." As the car crashes Lenny sarcastically remarks: "One of those AMERICAN electrical cars."
- "Bart Vs. Australia": When the family flees back to the American embassy in Australia the staff tries to stop them from entering by activating an electrical fence near a sign that says "Made with pride in the U.S.A." The fence malfunctions halfway, causing the Simpsons to enter after all.
- "Treehouse Of Horror VII": Kang and Kodos disguise themselves as the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates but are unmasked. In a direct jab at the American political system they say:
Kodos: "It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us."
Man1: "He's right, this is a two-party system."
Man2: "Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate."
Kang: "Go ahead, throw your vote away."
- From The Simpsons episode "30 Minutes Over Tokyo", when the family visits an American themed restaurant in Japan
Waiter: Don't ask me; I don't know anything! I'm product of American education system. I also build poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics.
Homer: [cackles] Oh, they got our number!
- "Blame It On Lisa": Homer and Bart are stopped by a Brazilian lifeguard who notices they are American by Homer's shirt, which shows Uncle Sam devouring the world with the phrase: "Try And Stop Us."
- "Simpsonscallifragillisticexpiali-annoyed grunt-cious" has Shary Bobbins teaching the children to clean up their mess by hiding it from view. This inspires Bart to sing: "It's the American way!"
- "The PTA Disbands": Homer: "Lisa, if you don't like your job, you don't strike: you just go in every day and do it really half assed. That's the American way."
- "The Trouble With Trillions": After returning back from Cuba the following conservation takes place:
Homer: "It's hard to believe there's a place worse than America, but we found it!
Mr. Burns: "Yes, I too feel renewed appreciation for the good old US of A. Oppression and harassment are a small price to pay to live in the land of the free."
Smithers: "Sir, aren't you facing some serious jail time?"
Mr. Burns: "Well, if it's a crime to love one's country, then I'm guilty. And if it's a crime to steal a trillion dollars from our government and hand it over to communist Cuba, then I'm guilty of that too. And if it's a crime to bribe a jury, then so help me, I'll soon be guilty of that!"
Homer: "God bless America!"
- "He Loves To Fly And He D'ohs":
in Inksuit Actor
guise): "Okay Homer, I don't know anything about planes, but I know about you. You have what made America great: no understanding of the limits of your power and a complete lack of concern for what anyone thinks of you. So you'll land that plane. And do you know why? Because I heard some guy say you couldn't."
Homer: "What! I'll show him. I'll show that guy!"
- The entire episode "The Bart-Mangled Banner" has jokes like these.
- From "Dangerous Curves":
Homer: "I know parts of our marriage are based on lies, but so are a lot of good things: religion, American history,..."
- In "Treehouse Of Horror XVI" Homer turns into a large cannibalistic blob. After eating some obese Germans he says: "Must eat more fat people. Thank God I'm in America."
- South Park:
- "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants": Even though Bin Laden is ridiculed mercilessly the episode also points out that the Afghan children hate the U.S.A. because they bomb their country flat and built their military bases on Muslim holy ground. This leads to an argument between them:
Kyle: "Do you really think your civilization is better than ours?! You people play games by killing animals, and oppress women!"
Boy in Blue Vest: "It's better than a civilization that spends its time watching millionaires walk down the red carpet at the Emmys!"
Stan: "...He's got us there, dude."
- "I'm A Little Bit Country": In the pro and anti war debate, America is described as "an entire country saying one thing and then doing another."
- Family Guy has Brian (an extreme left-wing Liberal) meeting right-wing Republican radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh in the episode "Excellence In Broadcasting". Rush actually manages to convince Brian to change his political views and develop a new-found sense of patriotism. Brian moves in with Rush, and takes the liberty to replace all of Rush's appliances with American made versions. They all break catastrophically as Brian lists off what he replaced one by one, which includes: the toaster, refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, oven, coffee maker, coffee mug, fine china dishware, cupboard door hinges, light bulbs, ceiling fan, garbage disposal, faucets, Rush's man-bra, and his cat.
- Duckman: Also satirized a lot of aspects of American society and politics.