My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting
- If what your country is doing seems to you practically and morally wrong, is dissent the highest form of patriotism?The Use of Force in International Affairs (1961). note
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Anime and Manga
- Code Geass: Lelouch vi Britannia hates Britannia for what it did: used him as a political pawn, invaded Japan among other countries with him still in it, and has been responsible for occupying most of the world and taking away the rights of other nations.
- 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.
- Nero: Also enjoys satirizing Flemish/Belgian society and politics.
- Robert Crumb: Criticized the U.S.A. several times, most notably in his one time comic strip: "Why I Hate the U.S.A."
- De Familie Doorzon: A Dutch comic strip satirizing Dutch society and families mercilessly, especially regarding political correctness.
- Doonesbury: Since the 1970s this Pullitzer Prize winning political cartoon has addressed and criticized all American political presidents and other events.
- The Smurfs: In the story "Smurf vs. Smurf", the Smurfs get devided over linguistic differences between the North and the South of the village. This was Peyo's take on the language strife between the Flemish note and the Walloons note in Belgium.
- 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."[anguished pause]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?"
- Many westerns from the Sixties on have criticized the USA's wars against Native Americans in the 19th century: Dances with Wolves, for instance.
Film - Animated
- Roman author Sallust criticized the Roman Empire in his writings, especially their imperialism, and predicted the fall of that same empire.
- Gulliver's Travels: The first two parts satirized English politicians of Swift's days. The third part is a satire on the English Royal Academy of Science.
- 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 cashiering Jewish military officer Alfred Dreyfus. 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.
- Horrible Histories: The books have a very sarcastic tone and don't shy away from criticizing the British army, royalty and colonial system throughout its historical track record of atrocities.
- Jeeves and Wooster: An amusing satire of the early 20th century British upper class system.
- Ambrose Bierce was a master of this form.
- George Orwell commented that Rudyard Kipling, far from being a blind British patriot criticized it bitterly in many of his poems and stories.
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck strongly criticizes the United States and especially Steinbeck's home state, California.
- Just like in his lyrics and interviews Frank Zappa criticized the USA in his autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book.
- An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge) and its sequel An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain (or Sixty Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes as Always), both by John O'Farrell.
- 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 too: the monarchy, government, class system, the low-budget film industry, advertising campaigns, British Newspapers,...
- All in the Family: Dealt with issues that polarized American society in the 1970s and ridiculed them.
- 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 Clash criticized the British class system and economic policy in Career Opportunities and Something About England from Sandinista!.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival: On Willy And The Poor Boys they attack discrimination of poor people over rich ones regarding the draft in "Fortunate Son".
- Dead Kennedys were infamous for criticizing American politics and society, most notably on their album Frankenchrist, where they satirize the US government, political corruption, bureaucracy, capitalism, MTV, the public education system, the military,...
- Woody Guthrie: "Talking Dust Bowl Blues" from Dust Bowl Ballads:
An' my wife fixed up a tater stewWe poured the kids full of it,Mighty thin stew, though,You could read a magazine right through it.Always have figuredThat if it'd been just a little bit thinner,Some of these here politiciansCoulda seen through it.
- Bob Dylan:
To see him obviously framedCouldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game.
- The Times They Are A-Changin': "With God On Our Side" criticizes the American government and army for their genocide on the Native American during the 19th century and the bloodshed during the American Civil War and Spanish-American War. It also criticizes the Red Scare and the nuclear arms race. From the same album "Only A Pawn In Their Game" and "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll" are both inspired by real-life injustices in the USA, namely a hotel barmaid getting struck down by a wealthy white man in a hotel in Maryland and the murder of black civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
- Desire: The song "Hurricane" criticizes the imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer falsely accused of murder and tried by an all-white jury. Dylan's song actually raised awareness of this man's false imprisonment and made people do the trial over, which would eventually lead to Carter's release.
Man's ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don't apply no moreYou can't rely no more to be standing around waitingIn the home of the brave, Jefferson turning over in his grave.
- "Slow Train" from Slow Train Coming
- The Fugs were a 1960s underground rock band who were notorious for openingly criticizing the American government and the war in Vietnam on albums like The Fugs First Album, The Fugs Second Album and It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest. They were even shadowed by the F.B.I. as a result.
Who was it that set up this system?This supposedly democratic system?Where we're always voting for the lesser of two evilsWas George Washington the lesser of two evils?Sometimes I wonder. Some politicians say we've got to stop violence in this countryWhile he's spending 15,000 dollars a second snuffing gooks.
- "Wide Wide River" from It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest:
- 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 songs "American Idiot" and "Holiday" from American Idiot by Green Day are critical of president George W. Bush's government and the 2003 war in Iraq.
- Fela Kuti openly protested the Nigerian government in his music. It brought him in a lot of trouble. He was arrested several times and beaten up by soldiers who rampaged his house.
- The Levellers in "England My Home"
Oh, what happened toMy green and pleasant land?
- Madonna: "American Life" from American Life criticizes the American Dream. The original music video showed her throwing a hand grenade to a lookalike of US President George W. Bush. "Hollywood" is a Celebrity Is Overrated song.
- Miriam Makeba, the South African singer best known for the song "Pata Pata", was very critical of her country's apartheid regime and even banned from entering her own country. As a result she became a vocal critic of her government and did a lot to draw international attention to South Africa's apartheid's regime.
- Marilyn Manson's entire career is built around criticizing the hypocrisy within American society, especially by organized religion, schools and the government. Take a song named We're from America (2009): We're from America, we're from America, where we eat our young.
- Paul and Linda McCartney: Took an anti-British stance in their song "Give Ireland Back To The Irish".
- 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 beatingThe flag a camouflage for your deceiving [...]And did I hear you say:My country right or wrongMy country oh so strongMy country going wrong
- 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".
- The Concept Album Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails is set in an dystopian future where the American government has gained total control over her citizens. It was made in criticism of the George W. Bush administration.
- The Plastic People of the Universe, a Czech underground band named after Frank Zappa's song Plastic People from Absolutely Free, criticized the Czech communist regime in their songs and were arrested several times because of this.
- Public Enemy are among the most vocal Political Rap groups. On albums like It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear Of A Black Planet they criticize America's long running history of oppression of minorities, but don't shy away from addressing criticism of Afro-American people either.
- Gil Scott-Heron didn't shy away from addressing racial and social issues in the USA either. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is one long litany against the USA, with "Whitey On The Moon" perhaps the best example. In this song he says that "while Whitey is on the moon" black people's problems on Earth have basically not changed for the better.
- The Sex Pistols: "God Save The Queen" from Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols is a fierce attack on the British royals, with the immortal line: "There is no future and England's dreaming!"
- 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.
- Stevie Wonder: Even lovable Stevie hasn't shied away from criticizing his home country. "Living For The City" from Innervisions tackles discrimination of black people in the USA, while "He's Misstra Know-It-All" is aimed at Richard Nixon, who had abdicated that same year.
- Frank Zappa: Zappa criticized his country both satirically, in his songs, as during interviews.
- "Some Girls" from The Rolling Stones' Some Girls:
English girls they're so prissyI can't stand them on the telephoneSometimes I take the receiver off the hookI don't want them to ever call at all
- Roots by Sepultura: While the album celebrates Brazilian culture it also criticizes the dictatorships from the past, poverty in the favelas and the disrespectful treatment of the Indian tribes in the country.
- Democracy Now: Amy, Juan, and their guests are usually critical of U.S. policy on a multitude of issues.
- "I Like To Be In America" from West Side Story is partially a Patriotic Fervor song as well as a song that is critical of the USA. The Puertorican immigrant women all prefer the USA over their home country, while their men are far more critical. Yes, in the context of the song it is sang by Puertoricans, but it was written by an American, Stephen Sondheim.
Anita: Lots of new housing with more spaceBernardo: Lots of doors slamming in our face.Anita: I'll get a terrace apartmentBernardo: Better get rid of your accentAnita: Life can be bright in AmericaBernardo: If you can fight in AmericaAnita: Life is all right in AmericaBernardo: If you're all white in America
- Dragon Age: Inquisition: Dorian had always despised the falseness of the mageocracy, but the conspiracy he discovered among the magisters was the tipping point that caused him to separate himself from Tevinter entirely.
- Wolfenstein: The New Order: Compared to Wyatt or B.J., J doesn't have much patriotism for America, given his rather bitter (if valid) gripes about how blacks were treated by whites in America, before the Civil Rights Movement happened. On the other hand, he goes out playing ''The Star Spangled Banner" loud enough for all of Berlin to hear.
- Scandinavia and the World: The comic strip pokes fun at many Scandinavian stereotypical ideas about other countries. Despite being drawn and written by a Dane it pokes fun at the Danish too.
- 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 Pocahontas.
- 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.
- Rotten.com: Several articles show the darker side of American history, politics and culture, yet other countries don't come off much better.
- JonTron: Jon has some choice words in regards to the questionable techniques of the player character in Samurai Zombie Nation, as well as a jab at the country he's trying to "save":
Can we look at this for a moment? I'm a goddamn head of an emperor's ghost come over from his creepy doghouse in Japan to the United States to save everyone...by killing everyone. Where did this guy learn how to save a country? The United States?!
- The Simpsons: A popular staple of the show.
Homer:: "Please, please, kids, stop fighting. Maybe Lisa's right about America being the land of opportunity, and maybe Adil's got a point about the machinery of capitalism being oiled with the blood of the workers."
- The Simpsons S 1 E 11 The Crepes Of Wrath: In which The Simpsons meet an Albanian foreign exchange student named Adil.
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."
- The Simpsons S 5 E 16 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."
- The Simpsons S 6 E 16 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.
- The Simpsons S 6 E 19 Lisas Wedding: When Homer and Bart hang out the Union Jack to welcome Lisa's British boyfriend Hugh they bring his attention to it by saying: "Here's some American hospitality", whereupon it turns out the flag accidentally caught fire! Homer and Bart try to extinguish the fire by throwing some compost upon it, then give the ravaged remains to Hugh.
- "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:
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!
- From The Simpsons S 10 E 23 Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo, when the family visits an American themed restaurant in Japan
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!"Colby (Stephen Colbert 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 Simpsons S 13 E 15 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: "I know parts of our marriage are based on lies, but so are a lot of good things: religion, American history,..."
- The entire episode "The Bart-Mangled Banner" has jokes like these.
- From "Dangerous Curves":
Bart: "What's with the Canadian flag on your backpack?"Lisa: "Well, some people in Europe have the impression that America has made some stupid choices in the past, oh, five years. So, for the next week, I'm from Canada."Bart: "I think dad may blow your cover."Homer (battling over a flag): "That flag is mine! Don't mess with Texas! Shock and awe, losers! Shock and awe!"
- 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."
- In "Bart of War", after a fight breaks out at the baseball game, Sideshow Mel suggests to sing a song. The Sea Captain recommends, "Not a hymn to war like our national anthem, but a sweet soothing hymn like the national anthem of Canada". The entire crowd then joined hands in the shape of the maple leaf and sings "Oh Canada", with Marge holding a Canadian and Quebec flag. "Well Bart, we've learned that war is not the answer," says Milhouse. To which Bart replies, "Except to all of America's problems".
- The Simpsons S 17 E 8 The Italian Bob:
Homer: "Ned, I'm an American tourist. I'm just here to see some sights, try goofy new food and spread some shekels with my Carolina Panthers credit card."
- The Simpsons S 21 E 16 The Greatest Story Ever Dohed: When The Simpsons visit Israel.
Lisa: "Don't worry, Dad. We'll get out. America is the New York Yankees of countries. Powerful and respected until the year 2000."An Irish man: "It (Ireland) got a lot nicer since we sent all our incompetent half-wits to America. Where you, for some reason, made them police officers. Top of the morning to you."
- In the Name of the Grandfather: In the episode where the family visits Ireland:
- The Simpsons S 15 E 21 Bart Mangled Banner: The whole episode is a satire of post-9/11 American patriotism, taking specific potshots at the American Republican Party. Despite the fact that the show has often mocked the United States and both Democrats and Republicans quite some Americans were not amused. Which is odd, because near the end of the episode The Simpsons do migrate back to the USA, because they miss it, despite everything that happened.
- South Park:
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."
- "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants": Even though Osama bin Laden is ridiculed mercilessly the episode also points out that the Afghan children hate the U.S.A. because the American army bombs their country flat and built their military bases on Muslim holy ground. This leads to an argument between them:
- 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.
- Comedian Lenny Bruce spent a huge part of his career targeting American censorship laws, especially regarding obscenity.
- Comedian Bill Hicks dared to criticize the American government at the height of the Gulf War (1991).
- Comedian George Carlin also has a track record of criticizing American politics and society.
- John Lennon sent his MBE medal back to Buckingham Palace in 1969 as a protest against Britain's involvement in the Biafran War. He is the only Beatle who did this.
- Actress Jane Fonda protested against America's involvement in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s and, in an even more controversial act, travelled to Vietnam to meet the Vietcong.
- Noam Chomsky is well-known for criticizing American foreign policy. He stated that everyone should be chiefly concerned with the crimes of their own country, because those are the ones they can do something about.
- Like Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, the attorney and journalist who uncovered the NSA spying scandal, is very harsh on American foreign policy, especially on counterterrorism.
- In general this trope is also defined by Cultural Dissonance. In some parts of the world criticizing your own country is so common that it's hardly frowned upon (for instance, the United Kingdom). In others (like the U.S.A.) it can still cause a stir, despite the U.S.A. having a freedom of speech protected by the constitution.
- Americans burning their flag is still a controversial act in the United States.
- Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels—men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. — Dwight Eisenhower in 1961.
- National Basketball Association player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf caused a stir and drew a one-game suspension for refusing to stand during the US national anthem before games. He felt that the US flag was a symbol of tyranny and that the US had a long history of oppression. A compromise was eventually reached in which he would stand but lower his head and close his eyes.
- The "American Traveler International Apology" t-shirt, which reads "I'm sorry my president's an idiot. I didn't vote for him." in the six official languages of the United Nations.