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JimCambias
topic
06:44:15 AM Mar 11th 2013
This page looks like a REALLY REALLY good candidate for "No Real Life Examples Please." The Real Life section is an ever-expanding pool of flame-bait and natter. Suggest cutting that whole section or moving it to a YMMV page.
JimCambias
12:56:17 PM Mar 11th 2013
Deleted the following in order to make this page No Real Life Examples:

    Real Life 
  • Political and war propaganda is usually loaded with this.
  • Scare Campaigns tend to be made of this trope.
    • The most well known example is the Red Scare. The Soviet Union did NOT have a "missile gap" (that is, much more nukes than the US), they did NOT want to start World War III, and the "Communist Rules for Revolution" were a conspiracy theory.
  • Harry Potter has been accused of teaching children devil-lore. Worse, some of the cherry picked lines used to 'prove' the evil lessons come from Voldemort, the Big Bad.
  • Ayn Rand often gets portrayed very negatively. Often her form of Objectivism gets lumped in with many extreme right political philosophies or portrayed as a license to be a complete Jerkass. That some some notable Objectivists have apparently taken it to be such doesn't help. Ayn Rand herself liked to portray her political adversaries as completely morally bankrupt with no redeeming qualities what-so-ever.
  • Some portrayals of Adolf Hitler forget that he was still a man, not some kind of ultimate incarnation of evil.
    • In fact, Bruno Ganz got a lot of negative press for "humanizing" Hitler with his portrayal in Downfall (this wouldn't of course count those that made the "Hitler Reacts" videos).
    • George Orwell, who actually saw his evil in action, observed that while if he were ever in arm's length of Hitler, he would kill him; nevertheless he could not hate the man. In other words, he was a very evil man, but sadly and scarily not beyond the capabilities of humans.
    • On a broader scale, Nazis in general (as shown in several examples on this very page, in fact). It's very, very easy to pretend that the regime and its genuinely loyal followers simply were collectively insane or otherwise not quite "really" human even today — arguably because the implications of accepting that ordinary human beings could carry out such atrocities of their own free will are even scarier.
  • Go ahead. Openly express even slight admiration for socialism or communism while within a capitalistic country. We hope you enjoy being thought of as the next Totalitarian Dictator. In fact, openly express even slight admiration for capitalism within a socialistic or communistic country. We hope you enjoy being thought of as the next Plutocrat Who Loves Stamping On The Poor For Your Own Sick Enjoyment.
  • Examples of this can be found on all sides of religious debates. Many groups are simultaneously victims and perpetrators.
  • New Media Are Evil: Various new forms of media get subjected to this by people who hate it, and the demonization never truly ends.
    • Television is often faced with this, which has led to a number of tropes (such as Bowdlerise) in an attempt to dodge demonization.
    • Video Games. After any school shooting or random act of violence, it's not uncommon to hear the "and he played violent video games" line broken out.
      • On the flip side, anyone who criticizes the mass media as flawed for any reason risks being demonized as the next generation of Luddites. Neil Postman, for example, was repeatedly accused of being a Luddite who wanted technology destroyed, even though Postman repeatedly insisted that all he wanted people to learn was that technology has impacts on our lives that may not be beneficial and that we should watch out for that.
  • Heavy Metal. Satanic and anti-religion lyrical themes weren't particularly prominent in the genre until they started popping up as a backlash against the Moral Guardians' constant claims that the music was demonic. There were earlier bands that sang about Satan (ie Black Sabbath), but it tended to be in a foreboding, "watch out or he'll get you" way.
  • Scientology is famous for its hatred of psychiatry. Many people on the Internet are also extremely negative toward Scientology, to the point that many people paint the group as a blatant Cult Of Happyology one step above sacrificing people to L. Ron Hubbard, who gets plenty of this himself.
  • Many of the louder and more extreme animal rights groups tend to demonize anyone who eats meat. Annoyed omnivores often react by demonizing all animal rights groups, vegetarians, etc.
  • Anti smoking/drinking/drug groups tend to use these tactics.
    • And on the flip side, people who criticize smoking, drinking, or doing drugs as self-destructive (such as health advocates on the political left, or deeply religious people on the political right) are often demonized as The Second Coming of the Puritans/Nazis/Commies/Insert-Repressive-Ideology-Here who are motivated only out of a desire to outlaw pleasure.
  • On the subject of the Puritans: try arguing that human sexuality is a natural part of life within any group influenced by Puritan philosophy, even indirectly. You will get demonized by the left and right: the left will demonize you as a creepy pervert who wants to oppress women, and the right will demonize you as a corrupter of morals who wishes to teach little children how to have sex.
    • Actually, try arguing that there is nothing wrong with a huge age gap in relationships as long as both parties are consenting adults who love each other (like, say, the marriage of a thirty and fifty year old). Enjoy the Pedo Hunt.
      • And on another note, the Puritans themselves are often demonized as being all about repression and control, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, rather than as a group to learn from in their own right, even with their weaknesses about the whole sexuality issue or body life in general. In actual fact, the Puritans would often hold dances to celebrate momentous occasions, so they weren't completely joyless, and they were rather sexually active as long as it was within marriage. They also weren't totalitarian: if you didn't like their culture you were free to walk away and leave, although good luck after that trying to survive in 1600's North America where the winters were freezing and growing crops could be painful and laborious work, etc...
  • Oda Nobunaga. The amount of media portraying him as a devil incarnate far outweighs the same portraying him in a sympathetic light.
  • All abortion opponents are backwards misogynists hellbent on reproductive slavery. All abortion advocates are enthusiastic child-murderers and will force you to abort your child.
  • In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a few fundamentalist groups spread the story that the classic Peace Sign was a medieval witches' mark which was, depending on the particular version you encountered, either the footprint of a raven or an upside-down cross with its arms broken. A little research will reveal that the peace sign was actually created in 1958 for the nuclear disarmament movement and is formed from stick figures representing the semaphore letters "N" and "D".
  • Many anti-pornography activists use arguments centered around Blatant Lies and accusations that have little or no basis in reality (for example, describing a scene in which the female participant asks her partner to spank her as depicting "women being beaten"). Of course, the reverse happens as well. People who point out problems and issues in the industry or with specific types of porn are all frigid lesbians who want to emasculate and/or kill all men and just need to get laid.
  • Military juntas, coups, and militocratic systems are almost always demonized, whether they deserve it or not, and regardless of who their opposition is.
  • Demonizing the Japanese has been a pretty heated subject that tends to show up every decade or so:
    • During the 40's, American propaganda portrayed the Japanese were portrayed as insects, mice, rats, inhuman beasts, or unflattering caricatures of Emperor Hirohito (most famously in the Tokio Kid posters.
      • Of course, Japanese propaganda directed at _Americans_ was just as unsubtle, often literally demonizing them as "white devils."
    • In the 80s, when Japan was experiencing a period of economic wealth and proceeded to buy buildings and land from American developers, along with building tons of factories, a resounding cry of "THEY'RE TEKKIN OUR JERBS" was heard from coast to coast, and fearmongering news reports that Asian people were only in your town to buy it up and evict everyone were prevalent.
    • More recently, news outlets stirred up the honey pot by using a four year old hentai game as evidence that all Japanese are rape-minded sex fiends. This prompted some fiery rebuttals from native citizens, saying that people living in glass houses should not throw stones.
  • When Michael Jackson's Invincible didn't sell as well as he'd hoped, he claimed to the press and his fans that his label Sony Music's head Tommy Mottola was racist: "He's a mean [sic], he's a racist, and he's very, very, very devilish." This backfired instantly. In fact, bringing up Jackson's life and death tends to bring demonization out on two sides, creating a vicious cycle.
    • Jackson's extreme detractors paint him as an alien monster who wasn't like other human beings, and thus did not deserve the presumption of "innocent until proven guilty" when he was accused of being a pedophile, for example. They also portray his fans as crazy, stupid, and unworthy people because they believe Jackson had any redeeming qualities at all and dare to enjoy his music when his detractors do not.
    • But a Vocal Minority of his fans (the website InnerMichael.com is a good example) likes to demonize the mass media as bloodthirsty, racist jackals who caricatured Jackson as a "freak" to make money; this carries on from Jackson's constant complaining about the media in his lifetime to the point that he wrote multiple songs on the subject. They also accuse anyone who brings up his legitimately questionable behavior (especially his often sleeping in the same bed as children he wasn't related to) and egotistical tendencies as heartless, racist, and opposed to all the good things he stood for, helping drive him to an early grave.
  • Talk Radio hosts and cable news networks. All of them have political slants, it's the nature of the beast, but to hear people of either political leaning, the outlets that are proponents of the other side are just plain evil and guilty of the worst forms of treason. Of course, the ones they agree with are just here to save the country. Simply mention Rush Limbaugh to a left-winger or Rachel Maddow to a right-winger, and everything you say can be discounted. Nobody who listens to pundits, talking heads, or radio jocks could ever be right about anything.
    • Talk show hosts themselves, as well as radio jocks, frequently spend entire shows or even entire programs demonizing everyone they don't like. The President is the Anti-Christ, the Democrats are all Global Communist Enslavers, the Republicans are all the Second Coming of Hitler, the United Nations is a future New World Order in the making, the Chinese will be our new global masters and enslavers, the poor are a bunch of lazy slackers, the rich seek global plutocracy...
  • There is some evidence that the Perseus and Medusa myth was created as part of a way to demonize a female-centric religion by the highly patriarchal Greek society. The existence of said female-centric religion is still a matter of academic debate.
  • On that note, a number of mythological figures were quite literally demonized by later religions - depictions of Satan for example, give him Prongs of Poseidon and the goat-features of the Greek god Pan.
  • Some public figures who are perceived as sinister have this happen to them in a literal sense, with satirists joking about them smelling of sulfur or accusing them of being vampires.
  • Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet. Apparently.
  • snopes.com has a collection of repeatedly plagiarized scares. Many are pearls of Black Comedy and/or Hypocritical Humor, including insults to the public's mental abilities as big as the story about a PoW who wrote a letter with secret note on the backside its postage stamp, after his captors cut off his hands.
  • Interestingly, averted in German World War One propaganda in favor of ridicule. Germany's opponents were depicted in caricatures like "the Russians are totally uncultured, the French are only thinking about one thing, the Brits are greedy, and generally all of them are incompetent cowards, lead by Manipulative Bastards". Lead to Fridge Logic among German people, because if German soldiers are that great, and everyone else isn't, why didn't they win the war in six weeks like the politicians said they would?!
  • Ultimate proof that absolutely no one is safe from demonization, Mr. Rogers is being accused of ruining a generation.
  • Dihydrogen monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless chemical that kills thousands of people every year. Accidental inhalation and even skin contact (in both solid and liquid form) can be hazardous. The chemical has been found everywhere—in the atmosphere, in acid rain, and in almost every body of water in the world. It has even been found in the Antarctic ice. The good news is that, even though all these facts are true, dihydrogen monoxide is just water. Dihydrogen=2 hydrogen atoms, and monoxide=1 oxygen atom, so dihydrogen monoxide is H2O.
  • The standard response of any conspiracy theorist to anyone that publically disagrees with them or refutes their arguments: Expand the conspiracy to make the critic the newest player.
    • This applies to many more extreme (well, basic and "normal ones too, but that's a different entry) political ideologies as well. Example: Try bringing up the mass murder committed under Marxist-Leninist Communist regimes, and the immediate response from a Marxist-Leninist is going to be having you branded an Eaglelander (regardless of whether you live there), a member of he bourgeoisie (regardless of your actual socio-economic background), an imperialist, a capitalist, and a fascist. All rolled into one. The same sort of thing happens if you try to argue with a Neo-Nazi about... well, anything. Disagree with them, and you're simply blinded by the zionist conspiracy that currently holds power over the earth, and that you probably support the enslavement and eradication of the white race.
  • This happens even on This Very Wiki, mainly to trolls, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and 4chan. People who are trolls or support/use those sites usually have "Complete Monster" thrown at them, and the sites themselves are deemed Wretched Hives that should be banned from the internet.
  • The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has used "I'm being demonized" as a tagline for a while. Many of his opponents thought it was funny, since he's not exactly known for being entirely politically correct about everyone himself.
  • English have often depicted Napoleon Bonaparte as a tyrant, even surnaming him the "Ogre". While he did become kind of a dictator at the end of his reign, he also did a lot of good things in his country (including bringing back order and peace at his beginnings), and French still have a relatively good memory of him.
  • Joan of Arc, despite most trustworthy testimonies describing her as a good person, was demonized as a witch and a whore by the English.
  • Cats in the Middle Ages, after being adored as gods in the Ancient Egypt, were thought to be witches in disguise and thus, burned alive, stoned, hanged, etc. A real inconvenience since it was the time The Black Death devastated Europe, and cats would have been extremely beneficial.
  • Pick a politician, any politician. Chances are unbelievably high that someone, somewhere has called them the Antichrist, regardless of how good or bad they are at doing their job.
  • Intellectuals, or even people who simply like to read or participate occasionally in the life of the mind, are often portrayed extremely negatively in the media. When they show up as characters at all, they are usually portrayed as dogmatists or insufferable geniuses, and are often forced to "learn a lesson" about respect. When other characters disrespect them, this is usually portrayed for laughs, or as what they deserve for being jerks. Furthermore, this media portrayal often leads to book-readers being demonized by their peers in schools: their peers assume, without even speaking to them, that reading books will make them arrogant and look down on others, so their peers look down on and mistreat the book-readers even though they've done nothing wrong and would like to be left alone.
  • Unfortunately, as an overcompensation for the above intellectuals example, intellectuals often fall for the trap of demonizing working class people, whom they blame for most of the insults hurled in intellectuals' direction. Working class people are demonized as thuggish and barbaric bullies at worst, or at best simple-minded folks who have to be treated like ignorant, small children rather than be allowed to run their own lives. The idea that intellectuals and working class folk are often demonized by the same people (the business class, for example) never occurs to either group, so as Wilhelm Reich explained in the Mass Psychology of Fascism, two groups who should be allies are tricked into demonizing each other, making it impossible for either group to communicate with each other.
  • And by the same token, the business class is often demonized as though every merchant or businessman is secretly a Corrupt Corporate Executive out to hurt people. This ignores the fact that civilizations need morally neutral classes like the business class for a reason (merchants will sometimes serve customers that would be demonized by their family and friends and/or peers, such as Disneyland being willing to allow gay employees to work there when gays can't get jobs in their ultra-religious communities, for example).
  • Bronies, a slang term for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, are often demonized for supposedly being homosexuals, effeminate, or lacking in mental maturity. Go to any Youtube clip of the show, and expect a great deal of comments hurling insults either at the fans, or hurling insults at the ideals of love, tolerance, friendship, etc. that the show tries to promote. Unfortunately some bronies fall for "trolls" who do this just to make them forget their own humane ideals, and those particular bronies fall for the trap and hurl insults right back, making themselves hypocrites and giving the demonizers an excuse.
  • There is a certain form of right-wing political thought that argues that democracy, whether participatory or representative, is a bad idea because it leads to mob rule, with genuine talent/thought/productive work/etc. being crushed under the weight of collective mediocrity. This thought is most commonly found in the Nouvelle Droite, or "New Right", but has adherents in other systems of thought. Ayn Rand is an example already cited above, but the same line of thought can be found in thinkers from various backgrounds such as the British philosophical skeptic Celia Green, the Southern-born journalist Fred Reed, the Spanish liberal philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset, etc. These modes of thinking can easily lead to demonizing the masses as stupid vultures and mobs. However, it should be noted that this idea is not new and originated all the way from Plato and Socrates, and as these left-and-right-wing philosophers point out, the source of their ideas in the first place is that the masses in a democracy or republic can easily demonize them just because they aren't like the majority or are critical of democracy's less savory implications.
  • Depending on whether or not you like the music of pop star Justin Bieber, you could either argue that Justin Bieber's detractors are demonizing him, or you could argue that his fans are demonizing his detractors. Which is which is a discussion best not conducted here, given the Flame Wars that frequently erupt over this particular pop star.
  • Tomboys and girly-girls both get a dose of this trope depending on who is doing the demonizing. If a girl acts like a tomboy, some groups will accuse her of wanting to be a man, of being cruel to housewives, of being man-hating, of being fat/ugly/full-of-armpit-hair/etc., of being an unnatural and alien creature, of rebelling against God and/or Mommy and Daddy, of being childish and unwilling to handle responsibilities, of being churlish and easily willing to pick fights, of being a shrill and emotional harpy etc. If a girl acts like a girly-girl, the groups who don't do the above might demonize her for being unambitious and lazy, weak-willed and deserving to be abused by men if she can't stand up for herself, a slave to the kitchen, a traitor to the female class, a shrill and emotional harpy (yes, both tomboys and girly-girls get this particular demonization), someone who frequently bursts into tears because she can't handle hardships in life, etc.
    • In the same vein, we have demonization of critics and fans of the fashion industry. If you're a critic of the fashion industry, you're an ugly bulldyke and you're making excuses for the sin of being ugly, you're a misanthrope who hates your peers and friends (and thus must be forced to "learn your lesson" about respecting others, said respect being communicated by shutting your mouth and refusing to make your opinion known), you're a killjoy unwilling to try new things and thus must be coerced into trying them for your own good, you're a Puritan who hates pleasure and fun (which demonizes the Puritans as well), you're a social loser who needs to make more friends, you're an elitist intellectual who can't relate to real people, you're a sexual prude who needs to get laid so you can loosen up a bit, you're just bitter and you want revenge because you didn't get a date to your high school prom, you're a pretentious soapbox sadie who wants to be edgy and different and couldn't possibly have a real reason to criticize the fashion industry, etc. If you're a fan of the fashion industry, you're a slave to the kitchen, you must be a mean-spirited bully and for certain you'll mock others who don't share your interest in fashion, you're a conformist automaton who wants to force critics of the fashion industry to be exactly like you, you're an airhead who probably has no interests but fashion and thus must be rather boring to talk to, you're a dolt who probably never studied in her life, you're a rich jerk who probably gets her kicks by making fun of the working class who can't afford to buy your fancy new clothes, you're a spoiled brat whose daddy gives her anything she wants and you never experienced hardship in your entire life, you're a whore who easily puts out to any cute guys who asks, you're boy-crazy and you think about nothing else and you're probably a compulsive and materialistic shopper on top of that, etc.
  • The Civil War. If you believe the North was ultimately in the right, then you're a fascist and a tyrant, you're a hypocrite, you're a traitor to your country, you're an elitist intellectual who hates real Americans, you're an enemy to the South, you're the victim of public school/government school brainwashing, you're an idiot who swallows everything you're told, you're the Anti-Christ or an agent of Satan or in some way you wish to destroy Dixieland values and Southern culture, you're a hypocrite because you must love General Sherman's march to the sea at the same time as you hate bombing other countries out of submission, you're a hagiographer who can't see Lincoln's flaws, you're a Marxist/Communist/Socialist/Leninist/Muslim-Lover, you're an arrogant East Coast liberal and you must not have anything better to do with your time than look down on everyone in "flyover country", you're a West Coast hedonist with no real values so you must want to destroy all others, etc. If you believe the South was ultimately in the right, then you're a traitor to your country (yes, both Yankees and Dixies get demonized this way), you love slavery, you believe slavery was ultimately a good price to pay for Southern hospitality and honor and you don't believe slavery should have been abolished, you're a revisionist who lies about the past, you're an idiot who makes up facts to make you look good, you're anti-intellectual, you're an enemy of human freedom, you're an enemy of progress who wants to turn back the clock to the good old days of patriarchy and arbitrary power, etc. Which side of the Civil War was in fact in the right, if any, or both, or neither, or the answer's different depending on which part of the issue you're talking about, is probably not a discussion best conducted here.
  • If you think the English writer and public speaker David Icke is wrong on the facts, then David Icke's entire career is repeatedly demonizing everyone he's criticizing as being literally evil lizards from outer space, who promote pedophilia and deliberately cause war and suffering in order to nourish themselves. Now whether or not he is wrong about them being evil space lizards is a discussion best not conducted here, but if he's wrong, then it's this trope.
  • Homosexuals (although not to the extent that they used to be) are demonized as whorish perverts who would sleep with anything that moves, secret pedophiles who wish to recruit young boys into the joys of anal sex, immoral and irresponsible mountebanks who have no understanding of ethics or morality, tyrants in the making who wish to "feminize" the world and enslave everyone under global Marxism/Communism/Islam/Socialism/Maoism/Insert-Repressive-Ideology-Here, weaklings who cry at every little thing and have no understanding of true manhood, bulldykes who aren't attractive enough to catch a man and thus must seek solace in each other, effete snobs who love fashion more than people and have annoying lisps in their voices, etc. To a somewhat lesser extent, if you're religious and you say that the Bible (or Torah, Quran, etc.) you follow forbids you from having positive thoughts about homosexuality, then you'll be demonized as a fundamentalist and an enslaver of humanity.
  • Historically, such as in the 1890's and earlier than that during the Irish Potato Famine, the Irish have been demonized as a bunch of drunkards who do nothing but fight or make noise, although this has decreased a great deal in the present.
  • The Americans and the British demonized each other during the Revolutionary War. The entire British country (not just the monarchy) were a bunch of control freaks and tyrants, and the Americans were a bunch of ungrateful, childish rebels who were pitching fits for no reason and would happily throw away everything good and noble about civilization.
  • Parents and children, although which is being demonized depends on the particular case. It's frequent for parents to be demonized as control freaks, tyrannous brainwashers, heartless monsters with no feelings or empathy at all, and arrogant snobs who think they know everything when they actually know very little but would rather push their ignorance onto the young, and it's also frequent for children to be demonized as mindless, ungrateful, hysterical over-emotional savages who need to be corralled and regulated at every turn or they will destroy civilization and then destroy the entire world.
  • Heck, men and women in general. It's not unpopular for men to be demonized as aggressive, selfish, savage, sex-obsessed potential rapists with poor listening skills who need to be taught to place women on a pedestal or they will enslave women under patriarchy again, and it's not unpopular for women to be demonized as hysterical, over-reacting, shrewish, domineering-if-you-let-them, nagging weaklings who hate men and who need to be taught their proper place or they will enslave all men under global feminist totalitarianism.
Stoogebie
topic
10:55:07 PM Aug 2nd 2012
"Sometimes it can actually go as far claiming something is satanic, but usually it's more down to earth." Don't you mean...a little less down to earth?*
Ju
topic
04:41:35 PM Mar 7th 2011
To whoever posted the one about demonizing pro-choice supporters: Thank you for also admitting that not all pro-life/anti-abortion supporters are fanatical right-wing conservatives who think pro-choice supporters are in favor of murdering babies For The Evulz.

Personally though, I think it's hard to find a venue for a 'non-biased' opinion, because everyone has their opinions and puts their own slant on things. We do the best we can.
Destron
topic
12:09:48 AM Jan 24th 2011
edited by Destron
I edited the section dealing with Heinlein and the demonization of the Japanese. The original article is as such:

"Indeed it's thought that the bugs in Starship Troopers are stand-ins for the wartime Japanese (read Sixth Column for if Heinlein's opinion of orientals wasn't clear enough). That's right, racist propaganda birthed a whole SF trope"

The bugs in Starship Troopers were stand-ins for Chinese communism; not for the Japanese, and not for those of Chinese ethnicity either. One of the recruits in the training camp scenes of Starship Troopers is a Japanese named Shujimi. Notably, he is the only recruit able to actually score a hit on the drill sergeant. The main character himself is of Philippine descent.

The Wikipedia article on the Sixth Column states that it is based on a far more racist story proposed by Campbell. Heinlein removed the most extreme racist aspects, and incorporated an Asian-American character (Frank Mitsui) who fights the occupation. Furthermore, he considered the Sixth Column to be an artistic failure.
TBeholder
topic
07:05:23 AM May 30th 2010
edited by TBeholder
17/May/10 at 12:48 PM by Tom in AZ 71.223.133.142
Deleted line 86:
*** It's almost as hard to imagine anyone seriously (not a Black Metal style poser) believing in Odin now as to imagine Wiccan alchemists secretly growing, quoth the police, flowers of sodium. Deleted line 88:
  • Wasn't the whole "Cult" thing invented to dehumanize any unwated groups out of the whole inconvenient "freedom of worship" context at will?
14/May/10 at 08:49 AM by T Beholder 213.109.2.19

...that's how i register good hits. =)
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