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Wisdom from the Gutter

"Accept the truth from whatever source it comes."
Maimonides

You don't expect your average homeless person to want to talk, much less have a lesson they're prepared to teach you (that somehow specifically addresses your problem.) Hooker with a Heart of Gold and King of the Homeless are often a source of this.

Sometimes this is combined with the idea that angels disguise themselves as beggars and homeless people. It even goes back to fairy tales that have fairies disguising themselves as old beggar women, making this one of The Oldest Ones in the Book.

See also Dumbass Has a Point and Jerkass Has a Point. If the source of wisdom isn't just poor, but also oppressed, uneducated, and/or mentally challenged, it may be a Whoopi Epiphany Speech.

When this trope can be relied upon in Video Games, it's Infallible Babble.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In the Shōjo Western Miriam, Douglas gets relationship advice from two men holed up in the local jail for starting a barfight, and is embarrased by how valuable their words are and how they have a much easier time seeing things from Miriam's point of view.
  • Subverted in Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid when a floozy Kaname-look-alike gives Sousuke some very bad advice (mixed in with a few minuscule truths). Furthermore two episodes later Sousuke is spouting the wisdom of Gauron! Heroic BSOD is not fun.
  • Kimblee from Fullmetal Alchemist gives Roy and crew a nice little lecture during the Ishvalan war on accepting the fact that as a soldier, you are killing people, and there's no way around it, so you'd better remember their faces; they'll never forget yours. Good advice...coming from the Ax-Crazy Mad Bomber.
    • He does have a point. Kimblee is made of this, really. He brings up a lot of good points on philosophy and morality, and the nature of duty, respect, and personal integrity. Doesn't change the fact that he's a psychopath that Loves the Sound of Screaming.
  • Zoro, an ex-pirate hunter, in One Piece is the one to impart knowledge about how a pirate should behave within a crew. Aspects regarding respect, roles and trust are brought up by him when the Straw Hats had some inner conflict, as seen in Davy Back Games and in Water 7. Interestingly, Zoro only does this when Luffy, the Captain, isn't the one voicing this out or is also participating in the turmoil. It's the kind of action a First Mate would take, if the crew ever had one; Zoro's position is considered analogous to one, even if he is never referred to as such.

Comics
  • In Batman: Gotham Adventures #26, Batman, caring for a lost baby, is educated on how to hold it properly by some thugs whose mugging attempt he had foiled.
  • Batman RIP had an amnesiac Bruce Wayne receive guidance (and a Chekov's Gun) from a homeless man, or quite possibly said homeless man's ghost. He also receives helpful advice from a drug-induced hallucination Bat-Mite.
  • The only person both smart enough and sufficiently uncorrupt to dispense useful advice in Dilbert is The World's Smartest Garbage Man. Not just the world's smartest garbage man, but the world's smartest man. Period. Apparently, those who can't figure out why he wants to work as a garbage man just aren't as smart.
  • Deadpool once got a pep talk from Bullseye!
  • This happens from time to time in Jack Chick tracts, in which very famous, respected, wealthy or educated individuals get witnessed to by blue-collar workers, servants, convicted criminals, children and other people you wouldn't expect them to listen to. Whether they do depends on whether Chick wants to show them seeing the light and going to heaven, or show that if you reject Christianity, you will go to Hell.
    • In "The Bull," the eponymous character, after reading a tract, calls in the prison chaplain to give him a lecture about hell, which the chaplain doesn't believe in.
    Chaplain: My mother wanted me to be a minister.
    The Bull: Man, you don't even know what's going on. Do you know who Jesus, really is?
    The Bull: You don't know nothin'! Jesus is the biggest shot-caller of all, and nobody messes with him! You're on your way to a burning, boiling hell, and I can prove it.

Fan Fics
  • From the Gensokyo 20XX series, you would not normally be expecting something wise from age-regressed, pessimistic, fatalistic and mentally unstable Reimu, doubly so when she pointed out how difficult their lives, especially hers, have been and how they don't complain, while Baka does nothing but complain and, to her surmising, Wangst, saying, "All you do is complain of your life, yet you never do anything to make it better."
  • From Kill la Kill AU, we have Rei Houmaru, otherwise and commonly known as "Rei the Drunk Secretary", who is, as her nickname states, a drunkard but, as the others find out, she is actually smarter than she seems with wisdom to match, which is proven when she talks Satsuki out of taking revenge using metaphors and comparisons of broken glass to life and points out how phones can be tracked allowing them to find Ryuu.

Film
  • In the movie Freejack, Emilio Estevez's character gets a valuable pep talk from a homeless bum, who also gives him some valuable calories in the form of sharing his dinner of barbecued river rat.
  • In Team America: World Police, the main character has an epiphany at the words of a drunken vagrant (who says the world is full of "dicks" "pussies" and "assholes"), and repeats what he said word-for-word at the end of the film to save Team America's reputation; Team America, the "dicks", might not always be right (and the "pussies" often need to point it out when they are), but they're the only ones who can protect the world from "assholes" like Kim-Jong Il, as well as "pussies" like the Film Actor's Guild who descend to that level.
  • When Brendan Fraiser gets incarcerated in the remake of Bedazzled, his cellmate gives him some advice which ultimately saves his soul. Ever-so-slighty justified because said inmate is actually God.
  • There's