: Elves have strange powers. Sten
: Being easily conquered does not constitute a "power".
As Can't Argue with Elves
is such a frustrating thing to many human viewers (and most viewers are human
), the trope of humans telling and occasionally showing arrogant
magical races exactly
where to stick it is popular. If humans don't do it, the Dwarves
will be happy to. For this reason humans and dwarves tend to get along much better in fiction.
Contrast: Enslaved Elves
This trope is not pornographic;
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Anime & Manga
- This trope applies to Griffith and his lot. Most standard Apostles are Always Chaotic Evil and don't even pretend to be anything other than evil oppressors because they are more powerful. Griffith seems to be the only one trying to pretend he's morally superior.
- Puck is not only an elf of the Santa Claus variety, but also extremely annoying. When faced with his moralizing, Guts makes a habit of not only telling him exactly where to stick it, but demonstrating such with a BFS and several of his family members.
- Arlong of One Piece constantly goes on and on how great fishmen are and how inferior humans are to them. Luffy rebuts with his fists.
- Turned on its head several hundred chapters later, when it's revealed that Arlong's whole crusade was an attempt to pull this trope on humanity.
- At the end of Slayers TRY, the Big Bad (a composite entity of two gods and a nearly immortal dragon) argues via Mind Probe how inherently rotten the world is as a result of flaws introduced during its creation, and that the universe essentially needs a controlled reboot to flush out these flaws. As the good guys (mostly horribly guilt-ridden ancient angels, demons, and dragons) begin acquiescing to his criticism, Lina stands up to deliver an epic Shut Up, Hannibal!, declaring that grand cosmic screwups, ancient atrocities, or reincarnation into a better world mean nothing to mortals like her, and how DARE they presume to ignore all the life flourishing across the world as it is today.
- Inuyasha delivers a rather impressive one to his brother, Sesshomaru; after the latter spends two or three episodes going off on how humans and half-demons are worthless, he not only gets his arm cut off, but he is also mocked by Inuyasha on how a mere half-demon got to inherit the Tessaiga.
- Lots of demons are condescending toward humans and half-demons. The humans Kikyo, Kagome, Miroku, and Sango, and the half-demons Inuyasha and Naraku are all ready, eager, and able to put them in their place.
- In ElfQuest when Kahvi sneers at the trolls for their ancestor's mutiny causing the High Ones to crash on the World of two Moons Picknose's reply is "Slaves have a right to rebel!" In fact this seems to be the default attitude of trolls in general.
- In one storyline of The Flash, Wally reacts this way to the society of the 64th century, which counts "individualism" as a crime and manages to make Abra-frickin'-Kadabra look like a heroic rebel.
- The Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon crossover fiction No Chance For Fate has, as one of its main goals, to subvert and deconstruct standard Fuku Fic, Ranma, and Sailor Moon fandom tropes. One of which is Amazonian invincibility, which are so vaunted and bragged about that though amazons are human, the Amazons are practically elves themselves. One Amazonian tradition, the Kiss of Death/Marriage, is a major plot point. If you're a woman and you beat an Amazon, you get the Kiss. This means you have to run, as the Amazon who gave it will chase you to the ends of the earth to kill you. If you're a man and you beat an Amazon, you receive a kiss and are then married. In this fanfiction, an Amazon was bested by the wife of a weak-looking man, so the Amazon killed the woman and kicked the man out of the village. It turned out that the man was fairly high up in the Chinese Communist party, and came back with the Chinese army. Martial Arts does not stand up well against modern weaponry. Furthermore, the army let modern ideas sneak into the village, meaning that the formerly second-class men are now leaving or shaking up the social order. Shampoo states that the village was almost in a state of gender war when she left.
- Aftermath: A Story Of Blended Cliches which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a Ranma/ Sailor Moon and Tenchi crossover which hits on as many tropes and cliches as possible. In the very first chapter after returning home after a number of years the first thing Cologne tries to do is force Ranma to come to the villiage. Not only does Ranma refuse but she goes on to insult the entire Amazon way of life. She then gives Shampoo a I wake up call by making her realise that the amazons aren't feared or respected the world over and like she was taught, but that the world barely knows they even exist and look down at them as primitive and backwards.
- Ten Minutes ends with a big "screw you" to the ponies: Celestia, along with thousands of ponies, are lured into the blast radius of a nuke.
- No Hoper has a case of "Screw You, Vampyres!" Light gleefully does this when he gets sick of Nepheret's Cultural Posturing.
- The Hobbit fan fic Snowmaiden starts with the protagonist calling some elves out on their nasty habit of mocking mortals. She is an elderly lady, and, as she points out, being mortal isn't exactly fun to her.
- Harry Potter and The Invincible TechnoMage: The tone of this story is very much on the side of the Marvel Universe and very harsh towards Wizarding Culture. Individual wizards or witches are fine and likeable, but the general culture itself is called out as ridiculously racist and stagnant.
- Another Harry Potter fanfic example occurs in the Alternate Universe Fic, The Perils of Innocence. The Wizarding World, most especially Pureblooded society, is called to task on its complete ignorance of the Muggle world and its accomplishments, as well as their rather condescending if not outright bigoted/arrogant attitudes towards the Muggleborns that come in.
- This is quite possibly the reason behind much of the appeal of Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar. Yes, he is the bad guy, and yes, he is somewhat of an asshole; his writing off an entire sapient species as beneath notice and making increasingly ruthless attempts to crush them is not usually a nice thing to do. But after having to sit through an entire 2.5 hours of James Cameron preaching about how the Na'vi are so superior to us humans, it was a little too easy for many viewers to enjoy seeing Quaritch open up a sizable can of whoop-ass on the heroes. Using the guns of Na'vi-owned, as it were.
- Especially since the Navi's pro-nature moral-smugness was all the result being born with the innate ability to tap into a natural super-computer, yet they still managed to advance no further than the stone-age. They also had incredible strength, durability and agility to help them survive on Pandora with little technology. Meanwhile Humans, with-out any such natural super-computers or amazing physical capabilities, managed to travel to distant stars in search of new life.
- As shown in The Hobbit, the dwarves of Middle-Earth really do not like elves. And as several flashbacks make clear, this resentment is not without reason, and Gimli's open hostility towards Legolas in The Fellowship of the Ring makes a lot more sense.
- However, Thorin is so disdainful of them that he very nearly refuses to wield one of the finest and mightiest blades ever forged in Middle-Earth, purely because it is of elvish make.
- The Vulcans in the Star Trek flicks are aloof, dedicated to logic, and quite unabashedly racist... to the point of, in Star Trek (2009), not-so-subtly insulting Spock's human mother at his hearing to apply to the Vulcan academy. Spock refuses to take this crap. One can imagine that when he tells the elders to "Live Long and Prosper," he wasn't giving them the "traditional" Vulcan salute.
- Heck, the book version actually describes it as a "distinctly human" gesture.
- Spock's father, Sarek, looked as though he was about to lose his lunch when he saw his "human"-like son for the first time. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
- Valeris, Spock's old protegee, is later revealed to be masterminding the Khitomer conspiracy to spark a war between the Klingons and the Federation. This was twenty years before Enterprise, so the reveal of a Vulcan traitor was nicely shocking. But then, Valeris was named for Eris, the Greek goddess of strife.
- Kid!Spock in JJ Abrams's movie went absolutely berserk at some older Vulcan kids that were picking on him for being half-human. Two of them could only look on in badly masked horror as Spock thrashed the third.
- In Star Trek: First Contact, Lily Sloane, a 21st century human, calls out Captain Picard, who'd been going on about how much superior 24th century Earth was to 21st century Earth up to this point, over his behavior in battling the Borg.
Picard: In my time, people don't succumb to revenge, we have a more evolved sensibility...
I saw the look on your face on the holodeck. You were almost enjoying it
Picard: How dare you...
Lily: Oh, come on, Captain, you're not the first man to get a thrill out of killing somebody. I see it all the time.
Picard: GET OUT!
Or what!? You'll kill me, like you killed Ensign Lynch
- In The Wild Hunt, a belligerent LARPer taunts the elf faction by shouting, "Elves are gay!"
- This is effectively the attitude of the last Númenórean kings, especially Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. This is coupled with Rage Against the Heavens, since his plan for getting what the Elves have, namely immortality, involves invading the home of the Valar, who are effectively the gods of the fantasy world. note The war situation developed not quite to his advantage, but that's what you get when you take advice from Sauron.
- Peter F. Hamilton's Silfen from the Starflyer sequence and Void Trilogy are basically alien Elves with sandworm maws for mouths. They go the whole hog, magic-style tech, capricious personalities, unintelligible riddles, the lot. Ozzie Fernandez Isaacs has many encounters with the Silfen, and always gets at the very least annoyed with them for being so bloody obtuse.
- Glen Cook's Garrett of his Garrett, P.I. series snarks right back when snarked at by anyone, including his best friend Morley Dotes (who is actually a half-elf, but let's not get technical...) and his regular adviser the Dead Man (who isn't an elf at all, but is a member of long-lived (sort of) race with a superiority complex definitely fits the bill).
- Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton approach this trope. The title of the first book in the series is The Elvenbane.
- In Lisa Papademetriou's The Wizard, the Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey, the main characters are annoyed by the snooty Sylvan elves and their ridiculously long-winded poetry. By contrast, the Kiblar elves (basically Hobbits who are the Sylvan elves' servants) are humble and down-to-earth. The protagonists shame the Sylvan elves into helping them by asking if they're not as brave as the Kiblar elf who is on their quest.
- Justified and averted in Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies. The elves cast a glamour to make people think they're wonderful, but if someone breaks through that then they're usually downright pissed off.
- The Darhel in John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata initially fall into Can't Argue with Elves, being Corrupt Corporate Executives, however they are later argued with in an exceedingly violent manner.
- Salvatore's Demon Wars Saga novels: While rangers Elbrayn, Brynn Dharielle, and Ancanadavar (all elven-trained) paint a much more gushing view of the elves in this world, it becomes increasingly apparent to less-indoctrinated individuals, the reader, and even the main elven character that his people's worldview, while not evil, is still at times excessively callous, self-serving, and racist. Hints of the past showed that they used to be far more open and friendly, but when a war wiped most of them out, they became more closed off and self-serving as they are trying to avoid completely dying out. As such, with a few exceptions, they typically don't help humans unless they have something to gain from it.
- In Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher stories, Geralt mocks the leader of a band of elves that have tied him up and are about to execute him to keep him from talking. Eventually the elf sets him free and concedes that he is right, after the local goddess condemns him. This is shortly after he breaks the nose of a particularly belligerent elf woman by headbutting her. While local dwarves stand-ins remind that the elves started to say "we, old races" only after the humanity mostly displaced them. Before that, they were less than nice themselves. Actually all humans-elves relations are built on this trope. No one gives a damn how elves were bright, educated, sophisticated and great, because, well, they were and now they are almost extinct. Extinct mostly because of how stubborn and decadent they were, are and will be to accept the fact that humans simply breed faster and more often for longer periods, which leads to much bigger numbers after just few generations. Instead of at least trying to co-exist, the elves started war, which was lost for them from the start. And they were aware of this while starting! Probably the only fantasy world where humans are monstrous but elves are shown to be even worse.
- Humans tend to be bastards, but there is still a fair amount of neutral and even decent ones. There is not a single elf in any of shorts stories nor five books long saga that isn't a decadent jerk or just plain monster.
- Well, Yennefer, while often cranky, was tolerable most of the time, but she's only a quadroon.
- Cue the parallel world, where they rule and treat humans as disposable slaves, while still pretending in open hypocrisy to be oh so better. Not to mention that they didn't outbreed local population for dominance. They killed off most of it.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe
- Karen Traviss' Jedi are supremely overconfident, incompetent, and get killed really, really easily and without a qualm, mostly by Mandalorians, who are superior in every way imaginable. Most of the Jedi who appear in the Republic Commando series are pointed out as extremely capable, if overreliant upon their powers and bound up by their philosophy. Those Jedi who ARE killed are either 1. betrayed, 2. unarmed and otherwise trapped, or 3. if fought head-on, put up a huge fight and are only taken down with difficulty. Hilarious in Hindsight as Traviss' portrayal of the Mandaltorians quickly began to resemble 'elves' even more so than the Jedi as the series progressed. Namely through the use of Can't Argue with Elves and turning Mandalore into a Mary Suetopia. Then it becomes even more confusing, when Maze, one of the less psychotic characters, calls out the Mandalorians for being a bunch of brainwashed psychopaths.
Amusingly, in a bit of Take That, Troy Denning has Darth Caedus kick their ass easily.
- Now the Mandalorians are subject to this in Fate of the Jedi. The Jedi easily curbstomp Mandalorian efforts to break into the Temple, and events in the series have essentially shown the galaxy that Mandalorians are evil.
- There is a lot of anti-Jedi sentiment. Even when Luke is popular, the Jedi are seen as a Corrupt Church and he's seen as unable to keep the Jedi under his control. Given that this is likely the result of Palpatine's smear campaign, this also counts as Hero with Bad Publicity. It's also likely because the Jedi tend to be a lot more forgiving of war crimes when they're perpetrated by other Force Users. Luke gives "Darth Vader was a nice guy at heart" lectures to his students, and later offers similar defenses on behalf of a student who also destroys an entire inhabited planet. Even some of his other students disagree, leading to some impressive examples of an Elf calling out the chief Elf.
- The Orc Marines of Mary Gentle's Grunts! do so literally; "Pass me another elf Sergeant, this one's split!'.
- During the later stages of the book, when the Elf King has decided that buying orc guns is a good idea, the training the new Elf Marines receive gives the Orc cadre marines plenty of chances for this.
Lt. Gilmuriel: You don't like elves, do you, orc - I mean, Gunnery Sergeant?
Gunnery Sergeant Dakashnit: Me? Man, I love elf. Nothing beats roast and basted elf haunch. Unless it's breast of elf with chile peppers.
- If one considers the Caamasi to be subject to Can't Argue With Elves, then the Caamas document crisis, a major plot in Timothy Zahn's Hand of Thrawn duology, was this trope taken to the extreme. The entire New Republic somehow managed to divide itself into two factions over whether to defend the Bothans or to make them pay reparations (with the Empire ready to capitalize on the inevitable civil war). Meanwhile, the few Caamasi left have their voices drowned out when they try to say, "Stop the fighting." Of course, most of the galaxy WAS using this as an excuse to pursue their own feuds, but still.
- John Grammaticus to Slau Dha in the Horus Heresy novel "Legion":
you, you uptight Eldar bastard. Piss off and hide in whatever corner of the cosmos you deem safe."
- The sentiment is subverted about 10 seconds later when John realizes that his boss isn't a psychic projection. He's actually standing right in front of him.
- Robert A. Heinlein does this IN SPACE in Starman Jones, with centaurs standing in for elves. The entire second half of the novel is a massive Take That to the "horse people" part of Gullivers Travels: the characters encounter a horse-man tribe while lost on a distant planet, and it turns out the horse-people see themselves as much more technologically and morally advanced than the humans. They're in tune with the land, they have a complicated hierarchical court system, and they won't have the filthy humans settle on their paradise planet. In true Heinlein fashion, the main characters slaughter them and somehow come out as moral victors.
- The centaurs enslave the first humans they meet and beat an old member of the herd to death. The conflict quickly turns violent, though off camera, as the centaurs (it's implied) attempted to enslave the whole shipload of humans. Heinlein usually has his planets inhabited, often intelligent life. And the odds are good that they'll be smarter than humans.
- It could be argued that seeing the horse people as a "take that" of the Houyhnhnms is a bit off the mark, as they were themselves a satire of the stereotypically "perfect" culture.
- By the time Heinlein wrote his stories, a lot of readers and literary critics often missed the satire part which was the point of Gulliver's Travels. Many still do, since most do not understand the 18th century cultural context it was painted in.
- In the Inheritance Cycle, Murtagh, who does not agree with the elf worship prevalent in the rest of the series.
- The third book has a number of non confrontational Screw You, Elves! Where the main character comes to disagree with certain things he learned form the elves in the previous book (vegetarianism and atheism, respectively).
- Then comes the fourth book, where we find out that for the most part, humans are disturbed by the elves. Viewing them similarly to the Fae... The creepy Grimm Fae, not the happy Disney Fae. At least one human character mentions that he'd rather fight with Urgals than Elves. And humans generally hate Urgals.
- There's also Rhunön, an elf introduced in the second book who pretty much hates her own race. Or at least what it has become. A big chunk of her introduction scene is her complaining about elves.
- Harry Dresden tends to be fairly direct in telling arrogant fae (and pretty much anyone else) what he thinks of them. Then he blows something up or sets something on fire, generally. This is probably done just to throw them off guard (and take his mind off of the fact that he generally knows exactly how horrible they could make his life, or the end of same) as much as anything else, though he just can't seem to help himself sometimes (there are only so many times you can hear the 'what you don't know' speech before you snap).
- Part of the reason why Harry's bluntness hasn't gotten him killed yet is something known as a Death Curse. If a wizard has the presence of mind to concentrate for a few seconds before he dies, he can pack together all of his magic, including his life force (because why not, he's going to die anyway), and drop a big ol' See-You-In-Hell style megaspell on his murderer's head. It's incredibly powerful and almost unstoppable, able to at the very least permanently cripple even a Humanoid Abomination.
- The Andalites in Animorphs get quite a bit of this after it turns out they're not quite the benevolent saviors they first appeared to be, especially after it turns out their big plan regarding the Yeerk invasion of Earth is to let as many Yeerks as possible crowd onto the planet before frying the whole thing.
- Best of all, every time the kids came into contact with the Andalites, they would beg for help. The whole time, the Andalites believed that the Animorphs were lying, in order to get special treatment. Naturally, Jake tells the Andalite generals to go stick it up their asses in the most polite way possible.
- From #38
Jake: Andalites are very fast, those snakes are faster. One move from your boys and they will die... Now we stop playing games, you're not the Andalite fleet, and I'm not going to snap a salute and say 'Yes Sir!' We deal as equals. Which, to be honest, is generous of us under the circumstances.
Gonrod: I command here. Am I clear on that?
Jake: No, sir. This is Earth. This is a human planet. We are not the Hork-Bajir, we know how you 'rescued' them. As long as you're on Earth, you'll get along with us. Am I clear on that?
- An epic one at the end of Dune against the Bene Gesserit, a centuries old order claiming to have the moral high ground even as they ruthlessly manipulate people through multiple generations of eugenics, even referring to anyone they don't consider suitable breeding stock as "animals." When The Chosen One they've been trying to create actually arrives they're caught quite off guard when he's disgusted by them and refuses to follow their script.
- The Bene Gesserit consider anyone who cannot pass their test of humanness to be an animal. As this test is "the death-alternative test of human awareness" anyone who takes it and fails is a DEAD animal. They don't use it to decide who's suitable breeding stock (Feyd-Rautha was intended to be the mate of the girl who was supposed to be born in Paul's place, and he's no human by their standards), they use it to decide who's suitable to teach any of their skills to. (Since the test is administered only by Reverend Mothers, who have the whole range of skills, that means that anyone giving the test knows PRECISELY what they're putting the subject through and does it anyway. This is only the beginning of what they have done in their quest to produce The Chosen One.)
- Mercedes Lackey's Obsidian Mountain Trilogy: the elves think they know everything about fighting the endarkened, having done it before. It takes The Chosen One Kellan to realize that this is all wrong because the endarkened have learned since then. He has to challenge their general to a duel to the death before they listen. But they do. And a thousand years later, they remember the lesson, and refuse to give the next Chosen One any advice to avoid repeating the mistake.
- Both Silvanesti and Qualinesti elves are called out on their bad things in the Dragonlance novel Dragons of the Winter Night. Too bad they refuse to accept that.
- In the fairy tale "Childe Rowland", the King of Elfland kidnaps Burd Ellen and puts two of her brothers who come to her rescue into a magic coma. But after Merlin has advised the youngest brother Rowland how to evade the elves' baleful magic, the youngster can single-handedly make his way to the Tower of Elfland and defeat the Elf King, using nothing more than brute force with a sword.
- Barryarans in Vorkosigan Saga have this attitude toward Cetaganda and in some cases most galactics. But especially Cetaganda which once invaded them.
- Oddly enough, a lot of them seem to get along reasonably well with Betans despite their rather irritating self-righteousness.
- Part of the reason for that is because the Betans helped kick their butts during a previous war. The Barrayarans are a Proud Warrior Race and when Captain Cordelia Naismith trades being a distaff Captain Picard for life as a noblewoman on her husband's home planet, she's astonished at the warm welcome she initially receives.
- In M.C.A. Hogarth's An Heir to Thorns and Steel the human kingdoms banished the elves to a remote island centuries ago because, with few exceptions, elves are complete and utter bastards. They treat their human slaves and magically engineered Servant Races as livestock, draining magic from them when their immortality which the humans inflicted on them to limit their powers saps almost all of their own power. They constantly quarrel with one another and think nothing of killing their own family members. The few elves who are not assholes include the King, whose powers require pacifism and tends to be treated as a plaything and resource by the nobles, and the protagonist, who was raised by humans.
Live Action TV
- As revealed on Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol is the one Vulcan who isn't an insufferable dickhead. In fact, Star Trek: Enterprise had an entire arc explaining why the Vulcan High Command had to be neutered and removed from Earth diplomatic relations; otherwise, nothing would have ever been accomplished.
- Another fine speech delivered by Captain Picard in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "When the Bough Breaks," after an "advanced" alien race used their technology to steal all the children on the Enterprise, then tried to ease their consciences by offering "compensation" for taking them.
Picard: (slowly advancing on the viewscreen) Compensation? You have stolen our children away from... away from their classrooms, away from their bedrooms, and you talk about compensation? You claim to be a civilized world, and yet you have just committed an act of UTTER BARBARITY!
- Picard is amazing at these. In the second episode of season 3, the Sheliak, a species that finds human language so inferior they insist on insanely long contracts and treaties which they constantly Rules Lawyer in their favor, are demanding that the Federation remove a lost colony from Sheliak space, or they'll annihilate it. Picard finds a loophole to exploit and takes much pleasure in leaving them on hold for a good minute and a half.
- Towards the end of "Allegiance", Picard is unaccepting of his abductors' apology, as he gives them a taste of their own medicine.
Alien 1: We were merely curious. We meant no harm.
Alien 2: We did not, after all, injure you in any way.
an injury, regardless of how it's justified. And now that you've had a taste of captivity, perhaps you'll reconsider the morality of inflicting it upon others. (beat
) Now get off my ship.
- Picard also slips into this with Q, whenever the latter slips out of Blue and Orange Morality and into just being a pompous ass mocking Picard for how much better he is than humanity.
Picard: Your... arrogant pretense at being the moral guardians of the universe strikes me as being hollow, Q. I see no evidence that you're guided by a superior moral code or any code whatsoever. You may be nearly omnipotent, and I don't deny that your... parlor tricks are very impressive. But morality, I don't see it. I don't acknowledge it, Q! I would put human morality against the Q's any day. And perhaps that's the reason that we fascinate you so - because our puny behavior shows you a glimmer of the one thing that evades your omnipotence: a moral center. And if so, I can think of no crueler irony than that you should destroy this young woman, whose only crime is that she's too human.
- Babylon 5: "Now get the hell out of our galaxy! Both of you!"
- Used on several occasions in Babylon 5. The highlights are Delenn shaming the Minbari Grey Council out of their non-interference policy, Sheridan similarly refusing to back down from pestering Kosh until the Vorlons give them a much needed victory against the Shadows, and of course Sheridan telling both the Vorlons and Shadows where they can stick it, ending the war by demonstrating to them that there was simply no point to it anymore now that the races they'd been manipulating had caught on to them.
- Sheridan's Screw You, Elves! speech to Kosh:
Sheridan: Don't turn your back on me. Don't you even try to walk away from me. Just who the hell do you think you are? Wait. I know what you think you are, what you want us to believe. But I don't buy it. For three years now you've been pulling everyone's strings, getting us to do all the work and you haven't done a damn thing but stand there and look cryptic. Well, it's about time you started pulling your own weight around here. I hear you've got a saying, "Understanding is a three-edged sword." Well we've got a saying too. "Put your money where your mouth is."
Sheridan: Up yours!
- (paraphrased) "Zog? Zog what!? Zog, yes? Zog, no? We're not going anywhere until you give us a proper answer!"
- Star Trek: The Original Series. McCoy's attitude seemed to be very much "Screw you, Vulcans!"
- And the Big Three confronting the Vians for their use of torture to test the mettle of "lesser" races in "The Empath".
- The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Baseball Episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" starts out as Screw You Elves, thanks to Sisko's rivalry with his Vulcan opposite number, but winds up more along the lines of Let's Just Laugh at You, Elves.
- Especially in DS9, many feel that the whole of the Federation is this way, and appreciate when, say, Klingons or Ferengi tell off the Federation's representatives. Eddington in "For the Cause" rips a particularly nasty and bitter example of this trope in the form of a Hannibal Lecture once he is Revealed to be with the Maquis, too.
- Since humanity (or the Federation) acts as the "elf" in the 24th century Star Trek universe, it sometimes ends up on the wrong end of this trope. One notable example in "In the Pale Moonlight" where Quark takes a great delight in reminding Sisko that "every man has his price," for resorting to deception and treachery in spite of all the Federation arrogance about superior morality.
- Enterprise-era Vulcans (other than T'Pol) are pretty damn arrogant, and Archer repeatedly calls them on it throughout the series.
- Doctor Who: He's not a human, but having sat through a fourteen-week Kangaroo Court devoted to stitching him up and having suffered several years of pompous Time Lord arrogance and self-righteousness before that, the Sixth Doctor isn't shy about telling the Time Lords off at the end of "Trial of a Time Lord":
The Doctor: In all my travels through time and space I have battled against evil. Against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here! The oldest civilization — decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core! Power mad conspirators? Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen — they're still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power. That's what it takes to be really corrupt.
- Jack O'Neill has done this a few times in Stargate SG-1, most often to the Asgard.
Daniel: Well, let's just say that Jack made a reference to Freyr's mother...
- The Asgard must think it's funny. After all, they did name a class of starships after him (the namesake of the class got blowed up, but that was another story).
- For Space Elves, the Asgard are pretty cool with less advanced races. Thor, at least, is not only friendly with humans (particularly Jack) but also respects them. Freyr and some of the others play the trope straighter — but when the entire race basically wills all its stuff to humanity, you get a sense of how they really felt.
- The Nox (aka the Bad Hair Elves) are even more irritating in they NEVER get called on a 'pacifism' which relies entirely on being Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that can restore the recently dead to life and completely hide their civilization from aggressors; leaving other species to be victimized while they enjoy their virtue and avoid contact with anyone willing to use violence for self-defense against a lethal enemy.
- The Tollan on the other hand got their comeuppance - after demonstrating the shallowness of their principles.
- The Ancients, despite being a race made almost entirely of gigantic dicks, don't really suffer from this. The few times they are called out, they ignore it (apart from few exceptions). Then again, they are all either dead or Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence.
- In Stargate Atlantis, Woolsey of all people delivers one to a group of un-ascended Ancients who returned to Atlantis after 10,000 years and immediately kick Humanity out on the curb. When the Ancients subtly mock the suggestion of Humanity remaining in the Pegasus Galaxy by pointing out that their recklessness reawoke the Wraith, he politely counters by pointing out that the Ancients were the ones who accidentally created the Wraith in the first place!
- In early series, the Tok'ra are often on the recieving end of this, usually from Jack. He regularly lampshades their tendency to screw over their Human allies by not giving them crucial information, as well as hog some technological prize that SG-1 busted their tails trying to acquire. They may not be evil like the Goa'uld, but they sure have their arrogance.
- On Supernatural, the angels have plans for Sam and Dean. Specifically, they've planned for Sam to get himself possessed by Lucifer and kickstart the Apocalypse (with all the civilian casualties implied therein) so that the archangel Michael, while possessing Dean, can finish Lucifer off. Dean suggests that they take their plan and shove it. It's worth noting that only the senior archangels apparently had this plan; they admit they had to appear to be preventing Lucifer's rise to avoid a rebellion by the grunts. Once it has already happened they figure everyone will fall in line in the face of the new threat, regardless of how he arose.
- In Red Dwarf, Holoships are made out of the most capable members of the Space Corps. Creating a population of immortal, highly intelligent, nigh-indestructible holograms out of what can be stated to be amongst the best of humanity also creates a population that is incredibly arrogant. So, when a member beams over and starts making snide remarks about the crew during his analysis, Lister mocks him back, ultimately culminating with serious threats backed by a holowhip, a device that can seriously harm holograms. The observer decides that discretion is probably the better part of valour in this case.
- The Greek gods tend to consider themselves as better than us lowly humans and as the only thing keeping humanity from dying off. Hercules and Xena tend to disagree with that.
- The sidhe in Changeling The Dreaming. The fact that their return from Arcadia knocked over hundreds of years of commoner fae-established rule and set up a new "divine right of kings" was not met with loving acceptance. Even after the Accordance War was settled (yes, there was a war over the sidhe), commoner groups still look at "the pointy-eared freaks" funny, and the game makes it clear that just because a sidhe has a sense of rule, that doesn't mean he or she has the sense to rule.
- The Fairest Kith in Changeling: The Lost of the New World of Darkness. While the flavor of wonderment changes with individual seemings, the basic premise of the Fairest is that they are the fairest ones of all, and thus are egoists and manipulators by nature. For many players, a selfless, kind Fairest is actually more suspicious than one who acts like an arrogant prat.
- While we're here, Hunter The Reckoning and Hunter: The Vigil are both entire gamelines of telling the elves just where they can stick their magic.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- In the Eberron setting you can quite easily argue with the elves. Some, like the Valaes Tairn, would like to disagree. The only problem is that you often have to beat whichever elf you argue with in single combat to prove you're right; considering the elves of the Valaes Tairn are the meanest cavalry on the planet (even more Badass than the dinosaur-riding halflings of the Talenta Plains) it could also be filed under "played straight, with added violence".
- In the Dark Sun setting, most elves were desert nomads. "Thieving, untrustworthy bastards" was a fairly accurate description of the stereotype.
- Happens a lot in Forgotten Realms. Of course, elves did a lot in their time, but now... Not so much. Not surprising, as most elves there are at best noble-but-xenophobic savages and at worst bitter relics of a culture that fell past the decadence stage about a thousand years ago. Myth Drannor was their last attempt to take the situation under control that left fond memories to many non-elves — most unsavory details being forgotten.
- In the DragonMech campaign setting, the moon is breaking apart and smashing into the surface. This eradicates most of the world's forests, making elves a dying, displaced race. On the other hand, dwarves are arguably the dominant race.
- The game designers actually pulled off this trope (unintentionally?) with the release of the Lords Of Madness supplement, which dethroned elves from their presumed position, in many D&D settings, as the "oldest race" or "first civilization". Sorry, elves, but the aboleth beat you to both those titles by several billion years.
- Now, now. Forgotten Realms long ago had "Creator Races" — those who dominated Toril before dragons whose rule in turn was broken by elves (mostly. Exactly what counts as a Creator Race is a matter of some discussion, with at least one contender coming to power after the descent of the elven empires — Toril-native humans). It's just that most of what remained of these is not to be mentioned after a sunset. Even to the elves. Even though the elves don't sleep.
- The Elder Evils book does the same. Most of the Cosmic Horror level entities in the book are, well, Eldritch Abominations that have existed since before the dawn of history. Except Father Llymic. The suggested background for Father Llymic in the Forgotten Realms is that it's the elves' fault that he's there. Granted, they were the ones to seal him in a can, but still...
- In Warhammer 40,000, it tends to be less Screw You Eldar and more "Brother Janus, xenos witch, Five Rounds Rapid". The only reasons the Imperium hasn't wiped out the Eldar yet are 1) being a race of psykers, they can use their foresight to protect themselves, and 2) Eldar craftworlds are extremely well protected, and whilst it is technically possible to attack and destroy them, (it has been done, notably by the Invaders Space Marines, though that was a very small Craftworld) it frequently isn't worth the losses (They've lost entire Battlefleets trying to take them down. Also, the survivors of that Craftworld got help from others and destroyed the Invaders Fortress-Monastery. They currently have 12 Marines remaining). It doesn't help that the Eldar have an unjustified sense of superiority to everyone that isn't one of them along with a Never My Fault attitude (Like everyone else in the setting), despite the fact that the Eldar opened the Eye of Terror and caused a Chaos god to come into existence through their own hubris and hedonism (The Craftworld Eldar are the descendants of the Eldar who tried to stop the out-of-control hedonism before leaving, and the Exodites left long before then).
- On the humans' side, this can cause problems between regular Imperial citizens and the Space Marines, with many of the latter having an arrogant contempt for the former. It's not just that the Adeptus Astartes are post-human combat monsters, they also exist outside of the normal Imperial military hierarchy and are often notoriously independent.
- In their 3rd edition backstory, this was the response of the Necrontyr, a sickly and short-lived race, to the nigh-immortal Old Ones: insane, bitter jealousy that caused a war of such scope and horror that the Warp, as a reflection of mortal souls, was transformed into a realm of nightmares. As of 5th edition, the war was started because the Necrontyr's leader needed a common enemy to unite them against.
- Also present in Warhammer Fantasy, if not to such planet-shattering extremes. Though the realms of mankind have often found common cause with Elvenkind against the likes of Chaos, many human characters aren't bothered by the fact that the elves are on their way to extinction, and "then all that remains shall be left for Man."
- The Dwarfs had their moment four thousand years ago with the War of Vengeance (not the War of the Beard) against the High Elves, resulting in the death of the elven king, the capture of the Phoenix Crown, and the elves' retreat from their Old World colonies. Shame the conflict also left the dwarfs with a Vestigial Empire...
- Talislanta makes a huge deal out of not having any elves, which is probably the first thing most people learn about it. Except for the Ariane, Danuvians, Mandalans, Marukans, Mirin, Muses, Phantasians, and Thaecians, who just happen to be slender and graceful, with pointed ears, being descendants of mythical empires from the distant past and living in wondrous city, where they retain their educated and spiritual societies, but are not elves at all. Really, they are not.
- Magic: The Gathering has toyed with this over the years, with a "Goblins Vs. Elves" addition, choice quotes like "You don't live in forests, you burn them!", and most recently, Lorwyn block. Though initially, the elves are played up as pointy-eared Nazis (that is, they feel that beauty is everything, and nobody uglier than them has any right to live. Oh, and everyone else is uglier than them.) who never get their comeuppance, when the followup, Shadowmoor came out, they are taken from green-black to green-white, from ruling the idyllic, sunlit Lorwyn waited on hand and cloven foot (they have hooves), to fending for their very survival as the only non-malevolent race in the darkness of Shadowmoor, fighting off everything that thinks they look tasty (which is pretty much everything), and cutting their own hair.
- Traveller: Vilani were more then a bit like this despite the fact that they were only Transplanted Humans. But then the Vilani met the Terrans. And the Terrans said Screw You, Elves! by demonstrating certain cultural habits notable on Planet Terra. And after that no one ever said that Earth was an Insignificant Little Blue Planet ever again.
- Exalted: "Screw You, Raksha!" is right there in the job description of the Creation-loving Exalts, especially Lunars.
- On broader scope, this is also an ongoing motif in Creation: to do in people who claim to be better than you. So far, it has been: Screw You Primordials, Screw You Solars, and Screw You Living Beings.
- Creation itself was made as a place for the Primordials to rest from having to fend off the other Eldritch Abominations that roamed the chaos of the Wild. As beings with a more defined existence, the Primordials had to constantly fight to avoid having their Essence unraveled, and so decided to give them all the middle finger and make a place those other beings could not follow them - at least so easily. The ones that try have to become Raksha to even step into Creation.
- Thief from 8-Bit Theater is certainly pretentious enough. But all of the Light Warriors are jerks (except Fighter who's just really stupid, and possibly Red Mage as he veers into Cloudcuckoolander territory). And on this page, Thief's arrogance is gloriously shot down.
- This strip also mocks Elven niceties, such as they are.
- In fact, the 8-Bit Theatre setting in general: elves are all rampaging sociopaths.
The Dragon: You're an elf. Your history is a very long love poem dedicated to bloodshed. And to yourselves.
- Just in case you think he's exaggerating, here's another example straight from the mouths of the elves themselves:
Dark Elf: How could you think I'd possibly work with the killer of my father?
Thief: Technically speaking I may only have stood back and allowed my allies to kill him, then took credit for the kill only when it was politically convenient.
Dark Elf: ... damn, that's practically defending him under elf law.
- DM of the Rings: In Fire Safety, the players decide they've had enough of these stupid Elves and their stupid trees and stupid songs and stupid... dirt.
- In Dumnestors Heroes, one of the main characters is an elf who's been turned into a human. So far, he's been pretty useless to have around, and the other characters make fun of Our Elves Are Better to his face.
- Jon from Errant Story has mocked back more than once.
- In Inverloch, one of the villains is trying to sever Elves from magic (which is also the source of their immortality) as revenge for them killing his father years before... and the second villain, a mage, helps the first one in what is essentially a genocide attempt because he thinks Elves are too arrogant to deserve life.
- Not to mention the elves who were severed in the first place The severing causing them to age like humans and be unable to wield magic, most easily identified by their white hair and gold eyes were proven to have been born to elves who were strikingly bad examples of just how arrogant the elves had become, their children being born severed as a punishment to them, some of the worst cases of arrogance who were not born severed becoming so later in life. The elves thought the severing was a genetic thing, evidently, as they banished all severed elves (including children and newborns) from their cities, leaving them to make their way as best they could among humans or other severed, who evidently had their own community. This only made the problem much, much worse, as this was a clear sign that they were pretty much too arrogant at this point to be worth saving. The hero himself even gives a speech that's pretty much a Let Them Die to his companions after he finds out his father was killed by an elf who broke his word to help protect his people, the Da'kor, despite a deal they had made.
- Done in The Meek with Emperor Luca deSadar and the Ambassadors from Caris in chapter two. Caris is implied to be very proud and considers the Northern Territories inferior. When the ambassador from Caris claims that the queen cannot and will not pay reparations for the acts of her father while he was king. Luca did not take it well...
- Then later he melts the other one's eyes. Turns out maybe your diplomatic position should be a little more accommodating when the other guy is backed by some crazy giant god-tiger and you live a world of Grey and Gray Morality. Luca is correct in that his people suffered greatly, but the men responsible for such atrocities are dead, and there is no evidence whatsoever that the current government of Caris had any involvement with those crimes (though that may change in the future).
- In The Order of the Stick, many wizards fulfill the "elf" part of this trope. The fact that they had to study so hard to be able to manipulate the fabric of reality makes their arrogance somewhat justified, but in the Start of Darkness prequel book, Xykon tells Dorukan, and by extension every wizard that treated him like he was a complete moron, that all their finesse won't save them in the face of overwhelming power, and energy-drains him to death.
- Similarly, he pretty much tells a corrupted Vaarsuvius that he earned his epic power, while V didn't.
- Redcloak has it pretty much as his main motivation, wanting to tell all player races like humans or elves and especially all paladins, exactly where they can stick their superiority and idea that they can kill goblinoids without consequences. On a planetary scale.
- Laurin has this attitude against actual elves, resenting that they live in the fertile forested area of the western continent, while humans and lizardfolk fight over scraps in the remainder of the continent, much of which is uninhabitable desert.
- In WIGU, seven-year-olds Wigu and Hugo reject the Elf Queen's prophecy and instead scare the poop out of the retarded Hillbilly Elves.
- In Our Little Adventure, this attitude is copped by the entire Souballo Empire and there is a lot of racial tension on the main continent because of this.
- Friendship is Dragons has two examples so far. The Red Dragon's attempt at a Breaking Speech about ponies' hypocrisy is interrupted by Dash attacking; however, the head of the Diamond Dogs delivers a blistering rant to Rarity about the stupid, smug po-nies.
- Barbie The Barbarienne reveals humanity did this about a millennia or so ago to the elves who thought we were just big stupid short-lived oafs ripe for the conquering and got magically stranded on a deserted island for trying to do so. They still haven't learned a damn thing since then, but they're so simultaneously arrogant and incompetent that they best they've done since then is breed a god-level Elf-Imp hybrid more dangerous to them than the rest of the world and Mind Control one Pirate Girl that ended up on the same island.
- "Fifteen Elvish ways to die"
- The punchline of this copy-pasta. It's also on the Colony Drop page.
- This speech. From an Orc, no less.
- In Tales of Ubernorden a whole bunch of elves die in "The Killing Field".
- The dwarves from Bravemule, a Dwarf Fortress Let's Play, tend to refer to everything bad (or simply non-dwarven) as "elf", even though no real elf has shown up in the story so far.
- A hearty disdain for elves (and gnomes, albeit for entirely different reasons) is one of the running themes in the WoW machinima Oxhorn Short Shorts, in which all elves are portrayed as stereotypical hippies.
- The "Elfslayer Chronicles" (detailed here): What happens when a DM beats players over the head with beautiful, perfect elves (who have lots of gay sex) and evil, xenophobic, warlike humans? One player derails the whole thing by murdering a missing human prince, framing his elven lover, and getting away with it by being that damn good. In the archived discussion, not only does "Elfslayer" compare the DM's elves to the Na'avi and Christopher Paolini's elves, but another poster references this exact trope page.
- What really sells this one is the Hoist by His Own Petard nature; when the DM (and the only player who actually liked the setting) complained, "Elfslayer" pointed out that an "evil, xenophobic, warlike human" like himself would never tolerate his prince shacking up with an elf; on top of that, his mission was to serve the kingdom to the best of his ability, and the relationship becoming public knowledge would damage the kingdom's reputation, so in that case Murder Is the Best Solution.
- ThunderCats (2011):
- A stockaded Lizard prisoner, Made a Slave for his thievery, defiantly bristles while explaining to young Prince Lion-O why he was scavenging the Cats' crops: They've little land and resources of their own, thanks to the Cats' expansionism and strongarming. They are habitually oppressed and enslaved by the Cats, scraping by while the Cats' kingdom of Thundera throws lavish feasts. The Cats even style themselves a Superior Species while engaging in Fantastic Racism.
- Another wonderful moment of Screw You, Elves! occurs later in the second episode of the series. The Thundercats rush towards an army of lizards, who are wielding traditional medieval weapons, just like the cats: swords, bows, arrows, etc. The cats are dominating the battlefield... until the lizards bring giant robots, grenades, and laser guns. Even lampshaded by a lizard, who claims "To go from superior race to endangered species in one day... how ironic."
- It continues through the entire season, as nearly every new species/settlement they encounter has deep-seated animosity against the Cats due to their self-righteousness and decadence. Except the Buddhist-like Elephants. And the Avians, but only because they're even worse in their arrogance than the Cats and hold all land-walking races in contempt. The fact that this continues after Thundera has been destroyed and most of their race killed or enslaved seems rather harsh, until we find out the whole backstory of how the Cats came to be so powerful to begin with...