The hero has the villain cornered and calls him out on how his actions are evil etc., but the villain doesn't care if his actions are evil or not, because at least the villain isn't a hypocrite when it comes to his beliefs and/or philosophy. May be related to Villains Never Lie, and usually a sign of a Card-Carrying Villain. It sometimes can be a symptom of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, at least when it indicates that the villain cannot understand why the hero is repelled by his/her behavior. On the other hand, it also shows that the evil character does understand good/evil enough to apply such concepts to both himself and the supposedly better people.
This trope can come in the form of the admission, "I may be X, but I'm your X".
The tactic is often used against other villains as well, particularly of the Villain with Good Publicity variety. It's not necessary for the villain to be accused; all they have to do is recognize their corrupt nature and calmly or proudly acknowledge it. Can be found in an evil version of the Knight In Sour Armor, but not necessarily so.
This may be the result of Honor Before Reason, Blue and Orange Morality, or a simple dislike for hypocrisy or high premium placed on honesty relative to other virtues and flaws. It may also be used to claim that The Hero is Not So Different and simply is in denial about it.
If presented positively, this can lead to a Family-Unfriendly Aesop depending on the nature of their transgressions - someone who admits to being a jerk at least is aware of their flaws rather than simply being oblivious about their bad behavior, but embracing being Ax-Crazy isn't really a good thing. An alternate semi-positive presentation is that at least the Admitter is not guilty of Doublethink, Hiding Behind Religion, or some other case of lying about their actual beliefs, and in fact has standards that condemn such hypocrisy. A common heroic example is the Lovable Coward, who unlike his Dirty Coward counterpart fully admits to a lack of bravery and doesn't bully others to avoid being discovered as a coward.
If presented negatively, the Admitter is taken to be at least as bad if not outright worse than the other party because at least the other has reasons for their behaviour or needs some kind of excuse for their actions, while the Admitter is essentially confessing that they either don't need excuses or that their own reasons are just as bad as their misdeeds. It can also turn out that the Admitter is simply wrong or outright lying about being "honest" in the first place, either with others or with themselves, in either case earning them a Shut Up, Hannibal! from another character.
Discovering The Hero is not a Hypocrite but believes all that stuff about "justice" and "honor" can be... a shock. However, in many cases the villain will claim that the hero's motivations are simply a convenient justification for violence or whatever other behavior the villain deems to be hypocritical. In some cases attempting to invoke this trope is exactly what ultimately turns others against them as they are now seen as simply using someones else's (real or imagined) hypocrisy as an excuse, which can be doubly damning for them if the whole crux of their argument is that they don't need excuses.
See also The Mad Hatter, Noble Demon, and Not So Different. Also see I Take Offense to That Last One!, where a character objects to one of several criticisms but does not deny the others, and I Can Live With That, where a character accepts an accusation without specifically admitting or denying it. Contrast Your Approval Fills Me with Shame. It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars is the "artistic" variant. Lampshade Hanging and Self Depreciation can also be used to convey this kind of thinking.
- In an episode of the first Astro Boy anime, a thief and real estate mogul are trapped on the Moon with Astro. The thief berates the businessman in an argument, saying that at least he's an honest crook who has the decency to break the law when he robs people.
- Code Geass: This is the biggest difference between Lelouch and Suzaku. They're both hypocrites and Well Intentioned Extremists, but Lelouch acknowledges his own hypocrisy and never once tries to justify it, whereas Suzaku is in the exact opposite and refuses to own up to anything he does. Lelouch even lampshades it at one point, telling Suzaku point-blank that he doesn't have time to debate which of them is a bigger hypocrite.
- In the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Mad Bomber Solf J. Kimblee is portrayed this way. He believes that all humans, including himself, are inherently worthless beings whose lives have no meaning, and that he is the only one who's willing to admit it.
- During the early portion of the series, when the Elrics are spending a lot of time in Adventure Towns on missions for the military, Ed has a lot of unscrupulous alchemists dabbling with various taboos - like many who were suckered by the homunculi into using red stones - try to tell Ed that his attempts at human transmutation make him Not So Different. Needless to say (since Ed committed his taboo out of love, not a lust for power) he doesn't take it well.
- Mother Keeper: Towards the end of the manga, Graham calls out the protagonist for all the times he ignored the consequences of being a terrorist, an assassin, and utterly naïve enough to work for the two without thinking he's the villain. Big mistake.
- Eustass Kid in One Piece. Sure, he's somewhere between a Sociopathic Hero and monster who's attacked and killed people just for laughing at him or looking at him funny... but that doesn't stop him from criticizing the World Government for doing equally evil, and worse, things while proclaiming that their methods are "Justice," as well as the World Nobles, who use their status as the descendants of the Twenty Kings who founded the World Government to do whatever the hell they want whenever they want to. He even explicitly says that, though he's not "the nicest of guys," at least he's honest about it.
- Captain America villain Crossbones has used this at least twice. The first time, while trying to deprogram Red Skull's daughter Synthia,note he goes on a rant about how the "American Way" is just a lie used to control the masses.
Synthia: Oh, and fascism's better, then?Crossbones: Not better, maybe, but more honest, at least. It don't pretend to value human life while making that life a whole helluva lot worse off.Crossbones: Fine with me. I'll burn out more of these Jap zombies.Moonstone: That's right— you don't talk much so I forget you're a crazy racist.Crossbones: Everyone is. I'm just honest about it.
- The reason Emma Frost always wears those Stripperific outfits is because she's an Attention Whore, and she will gladly admit it.
- In Peanuts, Lucy not only admits to being a "fussbudget", she's proud of it. In one early strip, when a character said that her mother said she was "a natural born fussbudget", Lucy objected to the "natural born" part, shouting, "I worked hard to be what I am!"
- During one of the most-quoted tirades delivered in The Killing Joke, The Joker chastises Batman for not admitting to his particular insanity.
- See also Joker's Asylum, where he hijacks a game show and turns it into a Deadly Game, just to prove how sick the viewing audience and ratings-obsessed staff are.
- In Vote Loki, this is basically Loki's campaign platform: He's a supervillain and a trickster god, but at least he's honest about how dishonest he is while other politicians lie about who they are. In fact, what ultimately thwarts him is when people realise that is literally his entire platform and he either hadn't bothered or had genuinely forgotten to make any actual campaign promises, even bad or dishonest ones, and was just letting people project their desires onto him.
- In Requiem Vampire Knight, sinners reincarnate as monsters in Hell depending on the gravity of their crimes, and ghouls (people who committed great atrocities in life in the name of the greater good) are viewed as some of the lowest by the vampires, who used to be the worse of the worst and are completely unrepentant about their crimes.
- After Keitaro leaves the Hinata Inn in For His Own Sake, Kitsune eventually realizes just how much she hurt him. Naru later tries claiming that the fact Kitsune hurt Keitaro in the past means she can't complain about the things THEY did; however, Kitsune shoots back that she recognizes now she was wrong and is trying to change for the better. Naru, by contrast, refuses to admit she ever did anything wrong and keeps blaming Keitaro for all the hell she put him through.
- In Even As..., Discord admits to screwing with ponies for his own amusement, saying that at least he doesn't act high and mighty about it, unlike Celestia, who manipulates them for the greater good.
- In Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, Yagura approaches Aoi and offers him a chance to join forces with LOVE in selling Gaara's Gold Sand drug in Konoha Town. Aoi's hesitant to take up the offer, pointing out that Yagura himself is not a nice guy, but Yagura responds that he's not trying to hide that fact: "At least I don't try to pretend I have standards of any sort."
- In Mass Effect Human Revolution, when Lt. Corvin tries to call Johann out over his brutality and psychotic tendencies, the latter retorts that at least he doesn't try to hide under the pretence of being a patriot and doing it for his species or nation.
- Child of the Storm: At one point, Doctor Zola states that he considers America hypocritical for deriding the Nazis for the genocides of various peoples, when they did the same to the Native American tribes. As far as he's concerned, at least the Nazis were efficient in what they did.
- Fall of Starfleet, Rebirth of Friendship: As Dark Conquest points out, he may rape, murder and write bad fan fiction about a show he hates but at least he's honest about his evil, unlike Starfleet.
- In This Bites!, Cross responds to Aokiji's accusation of being a demon by saying at least he's honest.
- In Bring Me To Life, Buffy actually considers Jasmine worse than Glory for this very reason. While Glory was evil and insane, she never tried to make excuses for her actions or pretended to be anything else, while Jasmine adamantly insists she did what she had to do and was trying to save the world.
- In Despair's Last Resort, the fourth killer admits that he committed murder out of desperation to escape and disdain for the others. When one of the others calls him out on this, he says that the three previous killers, as well as a would-be murderer who was one of the victims, may have had different reasons, but they committed the same crime he did.
"Unlike them, I'm not about to justify my actions or excuse them. I'm a murderer, and I murdered so I could get away from all of you. That's all there is to my crime."
- In the fifth Halloween Unspectacular, Ovard Grim's "The Reason You Suck" Speech towards Athena includes him telling her that, while he may be a sociopathic liar, he at least admits to it.
- When called a thief at one point, Surly from The Nut Job responds with along the lines of "Hey, Raccoon's a bigger thief than me!"
- Col. Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men is considered an Anti-Villain by some precisely because he is willing to admit that, by any modern standard, he is basically a barbarian. Jessup lectures the defense attorney questioning him (it is actually the attorney's clients on trial here) because he is disgusted that a "civilized" man (i.e., a civilian) who has never had to resort to violence in his life would attempt to condemn him for his methods: "My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives!" However A) Jessup has been denying his involvement for the previous two hours of the movie, and B) the defense attorney is well aware that Colonel Jessup wants to brag about his barbarism to the world, and is more than willing to provoke him into it to get his clients off, even if it means being the target of a rant.
- In Mean Girls, when Cady calls Janis out on using her to bring Regina down and being responsible for her transformation into a Plastic, Janis retorts that she (like Regina) knows she is manipulative and calls Cady out on trying to act all innocent because of her less social upbringing being homeschooled in Africa.
Janis: God, at least me and Regina George know we're mean! You try to act like you're so innocent! ... So why are you still messing with Regina, Cady? I'll tell you why! Because you are a mean girl! You're a bitch!
- Tony Montana delivers a speech like this in a memorable scene from Scarface (1983).
Tony Montana: What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way!
- Dick Tracy: Underworld figure Breathless Mahoney is hardly heroic, but you have to respect her complete lack of bullshit. Unlike her boss (and future rival) Big Boy Caprice, who wants the police and the media to believe that he is the champion of the very citizens he terrorizes, Breathless is not ashamed to admit that It's All About Her.
Dick Tracy: Whose side are you on?Breathless Mahoney: The side I'm always on. Mine.
- The Searchers: Indian-hating lunatic Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) is refreshingly open and unsubtle about his racism, even to the point of putting out the eyes of a Comanche corpse and outright stating that (according to Comanche religious beliefs) he has doomed the Indian's soul to everlasting purgatory to "wander about forever between the winds." In fact, Ethan's hatred extends even to white women raped by Indians, though at least he does restrain himself from killing his Indian-raped niece when he finds her, returning her to her immediate family instead. Most of the other white characters, meanwhile, either try to play the Noble Bigot role or are oblivious to the fact that they're racist at all. But at least one other character (privately) admits to harboring a vendetta against all Indians:
Laurie Jorgenson: Martin, Ethan will put a bullet through her brain. I tell you, Martha would want it that way.
- This exchange from The Mask of Zorro; The Dons are being given a tour of a gold mine, when 3-fingered Jack, a captured bandit who's being forced to work the mine, calls them out on the fact that the mine workers are treated like slaves:
Captain Love: Ignore him gentlemen, he's a common thief.Jack: Oh, I'm as common as they come, but I ain't nuthin' compared to you! I steal gold, I steal money, but you... you steal people's lives!
- Shows up in Romancing the Stone, when Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas find the plot-driving emerald and then Danny De Vito steals it at gunpoint and accuses Douglas of having similiar designs.
'De Vito: But at least I'm honest. I'm not trying to romance it out from under her.
- Patton, fully aware of his own large ego, dislikes Montgomery for not admitting he's a prima-donna and drops this trope by naming while claiming that this is the difference between the two of them.
- In the film, The Funeral, Christopher Walken plays the oldest of three brothers who are part of a generational crime family. He spends most of the film searching for the man who killed his little brother in which the funeral is centered around, while at the same time regretting his life and the life of his brothers. When he finds the murderer, he discovers that the guy wasn't a member of a rival crime family, but an average Joe who killed his little brother over a petty dispute. He tells the guy that he would've let him live if his little brother seriously wronged him, but is disgusted to find out he was killed over something pointless. While the man is begging for his life, the oldest brother starts telling the murderer about his life and how he chose to follow in the crime family's footsteps when he didn't have to. He concludes by telling the man that he knows he's going to hell, but the trick is to get used to it, because when you do, you no longer care about morals. He proves this by killing the man, avenging his little brother's death.
- Lawrence of Arabia has the slimy diplomat Dryden chide Lawrence for expressing disgust at the Sykes-Picot Treaty, which divides the post-war Middle East between Britain and France:
"If we've told lies, you've told half-lies. And the man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But the man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he's put it."
- The Dark Knight: This aspect of Joker (listed under comics) gets played up big time. He believes everyone will resort to evil methods for their own safety, and engineers "social experiments" designed to prove it.
"When the chips are down, these, ah, civilized people? They'll eat each other... see, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.''
- In Jupiter Ascending, unlike their sister, Balem and Titus don't try to sugar-coat the fact that obtaining their youth serum results in the deaths of untold billions of people.
- In Quiz Show, the subcommittee questions Stempel, and one points out that, by his own admission, he "prostituted your intellectual ability for money." Stempel replies that, unlike Van Doren (the guy he had to take a dive for), he's moral enough to admit it. Since the subcommittee suspects that he's lying because of an irrational hatred of Van Doren (which, to be fair, he totally has), this doesn't really make him look good.
- In The Last Jedi, Rey calls Kylo Ren a monster once again. This time, however, Kylo agrees with her, leaving her visibly stunned. Notably, it's after this admission that she stops being so antagonistic to him.
- In Warbreaker, Lightsong hates the lazy, self-serving behavior of himself and the other Returned. He is portrayed sympathetically, the other Returned, not so much.
- ''Discworld has a fair few examples:
We were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape: We never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.
- Guards! Guards! has a dragon who is appalled by humans, not because they kill (dragons kill all the time, and are expected to do so), but because of the ways humans try to justify it.
- Carpe Jugulum has a villain-to-villain example where the Count von Magpyr, about to be defeated, denounces the mob who's cornered him for preferring The Old Count to him, since the Old Count was a monster who would hunt and kill people. The villagers respond that the Old Count knew he was a monster and never expected any favours for it; he was a Fair-Play Villain because it suited him to give his victims a fighting chance, while the new count somehow thinks forcing villagers into 'blood quotas' to minimize deaths makes him less evil.
- In Nineteen Eighty-Four O'Brien claims that their version of totalitarianism is superior to the regimes of Hitler and Stalin because the wicked means is the end goal in itself.
- Inverted in The Diamond Age, when a character's illegal activities are exposed, a legal official reassures him that there is a difference between those who oppose the law and those who genuinely respect it, but are too weak to uphold it.
- Superman: Last Son of Krypton.
In solitary Luthor decided that his motivation was beyond even the love or hate or whatever it was he had for humanity. It was consuming desire for godhood, fired by the unreasonable conviction that such a thing was somehow possible. He began by being an honest man. He was a criminal and said so.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Rogues in the House," Murilo does this on Conan's behalf.
This Cimmerian is the most honest man of the three of us, because he steals and murders openly.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the cynical, anti-villainous Sandor Clegane calls out the Brotherhood Without Banners for putting on airs about their own murderous actions and attempting to condemn him for crimes of his employer with which he had no connection:
"A Knight's a sword with a horse. The rest, the vows and the sacred oils and The Lady's Favours, they're silk ribbons tied 'round the sword. Maybe the Sword's prettier with ribbons hanging of it, but it'll kill you just as dead. Well, bugger your ribbons, and shove your swords up your arses. I'm the same as you. The only difference is, I don't lie about what I am. So, kill me, but don't call me a murderer while you stand there telling each other your shit don't stink. You hear me?"
- One of the main themes of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The European ivory hunters in the Congo literally work the native Africans to death while distributing propaganda back in Europe claiming that they're really converting the natives to Christianity. Only Kurtz, a deranged renegade from civilization, is completely open about his barbarity: he forces the Africans to worship him as a god and executes them when they "misbehave," sticking their heads on pikes as a warning to others. The novella's protagonist, Charlie Marlow, is horrified by Kurtz, but he also cannot help respecting Kurtz's willingness to let the world see him for what he truly is. It's also implied that the other ivory hunters hate Kurtz not so much because he's more successful at bringing in ivory, but because they know that he is, in a sense, more morally pure than they.
- Played for Laughs in the "Three Codependent Goats Gruff" story of James Finn Garner's Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. When we first meet the troll under the bridge, he declares that he happens to have the natural attributes of a troll and thus should not be denied his essential right to act as a troll (i.e., eat goats). The Goats Gruff realize they can't dispute this argument, so they each talk the troll into letting them go to discuss each imminent devouring with their siblings, claiming it would be "selfish" not to do so. (Eventually, when the biggest of the goats shows up, the troll is so frightened that he immediately apologizes for trying to eat the goats; this leads the goat in turn to apologize for trying to deprive the troll of his source of food. They each become so adamant about claiming the guilt for the incident that they eventually get into a fistfight.)
- In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, when the Wizard's true identity is revealed, and the heroes accuse him of being a humbug (which means a charlatan) he admits it, saying sadly, "Yes, that's exactly what I am, a humbug." (However, he protests when Dorothy calls him a bad man, insisting, "No, I'm a very good man, I'm just a very bad wizard.") The scene was pretty much the same in the movie version.
- In And Then There Were None, Philip Lombard is the only guest who freely admits that he's guilty of the murder U. N. Owen accused him of without trying to hide it. This is lampshaded in the 2015 BBC miniseries adaptation; when everyone gets on their high-horse and begins to condemn him (albeit with reason, since his crime was pretty horrible), he points out that he's not the only one in the room facing an accusation of something terrible, but is the only one who's admitting to it:
Lombard: So either I'm embellishing a story for shocking effect, or I'm the only one telling the truth in a room full of liars.
- Game of Thrones: Bronn knows exactly who and what he is and makes absolutely no apologies or excuses for it. This has the effect of people trying to insult him and he agrees with them.
Meryn: You're an upjumped cutthroat. Nothing more.Bronn: That's exactly who I am.
Sandor: You're just like me. Only smaller.Bronn: And quicker.
- Also comes up when Sandor accuses him of loving killing, and pulls a Not So Different moment.
- This seems to be the crux of Omar's takedown of drug lawyer Maurice Levy in season two of The Wire: When told that he's a leech, stealing from those who steal the lifeblood of the city, Omar's only response is, "Just like you, man."
Levy: Excuse me, what?Omar: I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. (shrugs) S'all in the game, though, right?Levy: (stares at the judge, who just shrugs)
- Parodied on The Chris Rock Show with the "Mike Tyson for President" ads, which show Tyson admitting stuff like how he's a convicted rapist and "a semi-good husband".
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Glory: People. How do they function here like this in the world with all this bile running through them? Everyday, it's like whoo! You have no control. They're not even animals. There just these meat-baggy slaves to hormones and pheromones and their—their feelings. Hate 'em! I mean, really. Is this what the poets go on about? This? Call me crazy, but as hardcore drugs go, human emotion is just useless. People are puppets, everyone getting jerked around by what they're feelin'. Am I wrong? Really, I want to know. [...] So you're saying some people like this? Funny, 'cause I look around at this world you're so eager to a part of, and all I see are six billion lunatics looking for the fastest way out. Who's not crazy? Look around. Everyone's drinking, smoking, shooting up, shooting each other or just plain screwing their brains out 'cause they don't want 'em anymore. I'm crazy? Honey, I'm the original one-eyed chicklet in the kingdom of the blind. 'Cause at least I admit the world makes me nuts.
- During Spike's one appearance in season three, Drusilla breaking up with him has left him a complete drunken wreck - but he still gets to snark at Buffy and Angel's attempts to pretend that they're Just Friends now. "I might be Love's Bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
- Glory does this during a motive rant to Dawn:
Willow: Oh, please! This is your pitch? Buffy, you hate it here as much as I do. I'm just more honest about it.
- In season 6's "Two to Go," Buffy attempts to reason with Dark Willow, trying to get her to focus on the positives and realize there's much more to live for. It doesn't work, and Willow just blasts Buffy for being a hypocrite, pointing out all of Buffy's self-destructive habits and depression since her resurrection at the beginning of the season. In Willow's words, Buffy hates living in the world just as much as Willow herself does; Willow's just more willing to admit it.
Buffy: That's not true!
Willow: You're trying to sell me on the world? The one where you lie to your friends when you're not trying to kill them? And you screw a vampire just to feel? And insane asylums are the comfy alternative? This world? Buffy, it's me. I know you were happier when you were in the ground. The only time you were ever at peace in your whole life is when you were dead. Until Willow brought you back.
- Doctor Who:
- In The Time Monster, the Master's reaction to the Doctor saying "You're mad, paranoid," is "Who isn't? The only difference is that I'm just a little more honest than the rest."
- Davros attempts to inflict this on the Doctor in "Journey's End", comparing his ultra-xenophobic creations (the Daleks) to the Doctor's companions, who are threatening to sacrifice the Earth to save reality from the Daleks. The Doctor is too depressed to offer a rebuttal, but the difference is that Davros acts only out of a desire for power - the Doctor and his companions always have good intentions at heart.
- Bad to the Bone: Francesca Wells is a beautiful teenager whose sole goal in life is to screw (and screw over) as many wealthy men as possible, and she doesn't balk at resorting to murder to get what she wants, either. Through it all, her one virtue is that at least she is aware of her depraved and degraded nature and will own up to it on occasion.
Man she's trying to seduce: We don't get many whores up here.Francesca: [bitterly] Well, you've got yourself one now.
- In Burn Notice, the main character, Michael Westen, formerly had an older, more experienced partner named Larry who was sort of like a mentor figure to him. He and Larry conducted many black operations together for years, some of which, according to Larry, were the kind that only the darkest breed of soldier would have the heart to carry out. This partnership came to an end when Larry decided to fake his death because he was tired of working for the CIA and wanted to go freelance as a mercenary. Years later, Michael is issued a burn notice, effectively firing him from his job at the CIA, and Larry shows up offering him a chance to go freelance with him. The only thing is that Larry has become much crueler in his methods since last they met, and Michael says he would much rather try getting his job with the CIA back than deal with Larry's cruel tendencies. Larry, in all of his appearances, never gives up on trying to convert Michael to his side, saying that there is a dark side to Michael's nature that he saw during their years together, the only difference between them being that Michael is denying his evil nature while Larry has embraced his.
- ER's resident Jerkass, Dr. Robert Romano. As much as everyone hated, you couldn't deny that he freely admitted to being an egomaniac whose sole concern was his own well-being. This is in stark contrast to Kerry Weaver, who hid this same behavior under a facade of friendly concern, only to backstab anyone foolish enough to trust her.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation Troi meets another half betazoid working as a negotiator and begins a passionate romance with him. Eventually, she realizes that he uses his own empathic abilities to gain an advantage at the bargaining table. When she calls him out on it, he first states that people always use similar tactics when negotiating and then that she does the exact same thing, only that when she does it very well might result in the deaths of large numbers of people. Disgusted and irritated by her attitude, he cuts short their date.
- In Star Trek: Enterprise, Archer comes up against Vosk, the leader of one of the factions that's trying to rewrite history as part of the Temporal Cold War. Vosk tries to turn Archer to his side by claiming that Daniels and the temporal agents who try to protect history are actually trying to alter history to their own benefit.
Vosk: They have an agenda.
Archer: So do you.
Vosk: At least I don't hide my intentions.
- In Person of Interest Root is this, that while she does horrible things, she has no problem admitting what she does. She feels that some people are just bad code that need to be corrected.
- One episode of Black Mirror has an animation team put a cartoon bear named Waldo in the running for Minister. He racks up votes by the sheer ridiculousness of the concept and putting out statements saying how he's honest about not standing for anything, but it's subverted when his increasingly pissed voice actor points out that it doesn't change the fact that he still doesn't stand for anything and voting for a character that has no policies whatsoever just because he admits to it makes a mockery of the whole voting process. The episode ends with his voice actor becoming homeless and alcoholic while Waldo is used as a figurehead for a global totalitarian political movement. If you noticed the similarities between the Waldo movement and the real life alt-right and Pepe the frog, well done.
- "My Plague" by Slipknot features this in its lyrics:
I'm just a bastard
but at least I admit it
At least I admit it!
- Falling in Reverse has the song "Caught Like a Fly":
I'm no fucking saint
but at least I'll fucking sing about it!!
Oh the audacity!
- Nick Cave's "The Curse of Milhaven":
- TISM's "We Are The Champignons" is entirely about admitting how terrible they are.
It's about time that a rock band spoke
Admitted that they were a joke
We'll be the first in the neighbourhood
To say without a doubt, we're no good!
- Similar to TISM, the 1970s pop rock group 10cc had "Worst Band in the World":
It's one thing to know it but another to admit
We're the worst band in the world but we don't give a *guitar lick*
- On Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True the Album Title Drop from "Allison" implies this:
Allison, I know this world is killing you = "I know the world is going to break your heart"
Allison, my aim is true = "I will too, but I'll be more forthright about it."
- Spoony has a variation where after he made a joke about Dr. Insano becoming President Evil, he's talked to fans who said they would vote for him "Because he's honest".
- In The Nostalgia Chick's review of Charlie's Angels she compares it to Barb Wire—both are exploitative to women but the latter tries to make up for it by having its protagonist act bitter and angry at the world. She admits she kind of prefers Charlie's Angels because at least it's honest about being stupid pseudo-soft-core porn.
- Eddie Guererro in WWE: "I lie, I cheat, I steal. But at least I'm honest about it."
Eddie (rapping on his theme song): I don't care if you don't like me...I can't be beat, comin' from the streets of the ghetto / At the end of the week, I get to keep your dinero / You're fast asleep when I sneak in your casa / Your life sucks cuz you're bankrupt and I'm laughin' / You can't trust me, ese, cuz I'M LATIN!
- Following Guerrero's Face–Heel Turn, this honesty took on even darker tones:
- This was part of Kane's mindset in his recent "Embrace the Hate" angle with John Cena: he would preach to the audience that hatred was a normal part of the human psyche, but Kane was the only one not pretending that it wasn't there.
- Randy Orton delivered one when he declared he was not an honorable person and would take out his own grandmother to remain WWE Champion. Even more disturbing when you realize he was treated as a Face at the time.
- George Carlin theorized that this was why Americans elected Clinton over Dole in 1996:
Dole: I'm a plain and honest man.Voters: Bullshit!Clinton: Hi folks, I'm completely full of shit and how do you like that?Voters: Y'know something? At least he's honest.
- And he actually uses the words "at least I admit it" in Jammin' in New York, when talking about his favorite thing on TV—bad news. He proclaims that accidents, disasters, fires and explosions are mother's milk to him—and to most other people, he asserts, even though they would never acknowledge the feeling and instead put on a front of mock horror.
- Champions adventure Deathstroke: The villain group The Destroyers decide to take over the United States. They think they'll be better leaders than the corrupt politicians running the country because the Destroyers admit that they're criminals.
- A lot of references to the modrons and the rilmani in the Planescape campaign mention that dealing with demons is often easier than dealing with them, because at least with demons, you know what to expect.
- Older Than Steam: Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing has Don John describing himself as "a plain-dealing villain".
- This is more or less the basis of the Pirate King's "I Am" Song.
Oh, better far to live and dieUnder the brave black flag I flyThan play a sanctimonious partWith a pirate head and a pirate heartAway to the cheating world go youWhere pirates all are well-to-doBut I'll be true to the song I singAnd live and die a pirate king
- No Exit: While Garcin and Estelle insist they were sent to Hell by some mistake and are good people, Inez openly admits that she was an awful person in life and had this coming. She goads the others until they admit it, too.
- This is Lash's attitude towards Sonja in Advance Wars 2. She feels that they're Not So Different: they both treat war like a game, but at least she admits that she's a sociopath who doesn't care about her soldiers' lives.
- In Advance Wars Days of Ruin, Waylon says that Will only does his heroism to feel self-important; at least he doesn't hide the fact that he's a selfish bastard. Will counteracts that he might indeed be leading Brenner's Wolves out of selfishness, but if it helps even one person, then it's worth it.
- This is Kaido's philosophy in Devil Survivor. To him, all people are ugly, selfish and power-grubbing underneath and try to solve all their problems with force — he just doesn't see the point in trying to hide it. This comes to light when he ends up in a fight with the resident Knight Templar of the lockdown and ends up explaining how they're Not So Different (in using the fact that they're more powerful than others to bully them into following their point of view) just before he uses Pazuzu to strangle and fry his opponent to death.
- Neverwinter Nights 2's Bishop holds much the same view. He doesn't bother to hide his inherent beastliness, and says as much if you try to dig out his Freudian Excuse through conversation.
- This is ultimately what sets Pagan Min apart from just about every other major player in Far Cry 4. While the others all feel compelled to justify their horrible deeds regardless of how ridiculous it becomes in the face of their increasing brutality, he is the only one who admits that deep down he wanted to commit his atrocities and the death of his infant daughter was just an excuse.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has Atton Rand calling out the Jedi for their hypocrisy, and states that, for as bad as the Sith may be, at least they're honest about what they're killing for.
- The sequel Star Wars: The Old Republic, has this line of thought showing up everywhere. Republic-aligned characters will usually have it thrown at them. If you're playing a Sith, especially a light-aligned Sith, you hand it out like Halloween candy.
- Assassin's Creed: Various templars sometimes give this. Perhaps most obvious use of this was by Haytham Kenway in Assassin's Creed III, who said the only difference between him and the revolutionary leaders is that "I do not feign affection."
- In Mario Party 3, Baby Bowser (along with Toad) will occasionally hand out items to players who land on the item space. He asks you a personal question about your habits (like "Do you keep your room clean?"), and he rewards someone who admits to being rather undisciplined and childish ("You're honest, I like that.") If the player answers that he keeps his room clean, Baby Bowser will accuse the player of just saying whatever sounds good in order to get a prize, and the reward is more stingy than what he gives to someone who admits to letting his room get messy.
- Verse, one of your companions in Tyranny, is a self-admitted murderer and cut-throat who likes killing things. One of the quicker ways to get on her nerves is to insist that killing things is justified by things like 'higher ideals' or 'glory'; as far as she is concerned, just admitting you like killing is much more honest. This is one of the reasons she can't stand Barik, and gets along well with Kills-in-Shadow.
- A meta example. Hideo Kojima was widely mocked for telling his critics they would "regret their words and deeds" when implying there was a key plot-related reason for Quiet's Stripperiffic character design in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Yoko Taro, in contrast, has received a degree of grudging respect for admitting "I like pretty girls" as the reason for 2B's sexy appearance in NieR: Automata.
- Harley Quinn in Injustice 2 works for the good guys, although she isn't without her share of blood and sins from the previous games. Wonder Woman calls Harley out for trying to do good while having blood on her hands, to which Harley casually admits it while calling Wonder Woman out for pushing Superman into his dictator personality.
- RWBY: Leonardo "Leo" Lionheart is distraught over selling his oldest friend Ozpin out. When he and Raven Branwen discuss having been forced to work for Salem, Leo suggests they're both doing it out of fear, is distraught and states that Ozpin would be right to not forgive him. Although Raven attempts to justify what was necessary to survive, Leo asks her who is she trying to convince.
- In Least I Could Do, Rayne gets word that a lesbian is gonna be working in his company, and he puts out a company-wide hunt for her. One of his aides calls him out on his actions, but wrongly accuses it of being a Witch Hunt. Rayne would then clarify his stance.
Rayne: I'm not a monster, Nancy; I'm a sexual deviant.
- The Order of the Stick has Redcloak attempting to break Miko by talking. He accuses paladins of being unnatural thanks to their divine immunity to fear, arguing that Xykon the Lich "is a unnatural abomination, but at least he cops to it". However, Redcloak himself gets an enhanced lifespan from the Crimson Mantle he wears, yet he remains very private about that matter.
- Xykon does this to Redcloak in Start of Darkness. Redcloak has just murdered his own brother to save Xykon and further his plans, and Xykon is well aware of it. He tells Redcloak that all he succeeded in doing is prove that he is just as evil as Xykon, but hides it under his good intentions, and will now serve loyally because he's too chickenshit to accept all the horrible things he's "had to" do becoming meaningless if he quits. Redcloak has since convinced himself he's still in charge, just secretly, but he's *very* bad at being honest with himself and Xykon has repeatedly proved he's smarter than people assume.
- Schlock Mercenary has this as a botched compliment:
Thrummb: At least you are honest enough not to pretend to morality, sir.
Gamm: You need to work on the internal consistency of your flattery, Thrummb.
- Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic:
- A dark elf captive sharing her expectations with a goblin:
Gren: That's what our people would do! But we're evil. These people are good! They wouldn't do that sort of thing!
Arachne: Sweetheart... In this world the difference between good and evil is that good pretends not to enjoy this sort of thing.
- Broch has a disagreement with his colleague on this matter, though: if the "good guys" have all the same despite their priests preaching the opposite, this means what?
- A dark elf captive sharing her expectations with a goblin:
- Tom's excuse for being a Manipulative Bastard in El Goonish Shive is that everyone says what they think will get the right reaction from others, and at least he admits it... to himself. Susan shuts him down by acknowledging that, while the Jerkass Has a Point, the majority of people at least do it with good intentions, which Tom very much does not.
- Precocious's Dionne used this in her campaign for class president.
- In Twig, Sylvester has an example of this trope after several of his hostages (wealthy young members of the aristocracy) see him have Mary poison a socialite, and call him a monster.
I’m a monster that knows exactly what he is. You’re three monsters who pretend not to see. When and if things get ugly, I want you to remember, the ugliness you’re seeing has been ongoing, affecting the poor, the people who you and your families stepped on to get here.
- The Simpsons:
- The Grand Pumpkin in a "Treehouse of Horror" episode - who, after expressing apathy over the fate of a yellow pumpkin (the Grand Pumpkin is your standard orange type of pumpkin), is called out for his racism by, of all people, Nelson Muntz. The Grand Pumpkin claims all pumpkins are racist and that he's different from others because he admits it. And while it's not a saving grace for the Grand Pumpkin, Nelson is being hypocritical here because he doesn't care about the fate of the little yellow pumpkin, either; in fact, he was precisely the one who had been perfectly willing to smash that little pumpkin in order to save his own life!
- In "A Fish Called Selma", when Selma confronts Troy McClure and demands to know if he married her simply to boost his career, he admits it quickly, and actually convinces her, at least for a while, that being a sham wife isn't so bad. (What actually makes her have second thoughts at the end is the idea of having a child; getting a child involved in a sham marriage is something she can't do.)
- In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Jon turns on an infomercial for a weight-loss product with a disclaimer at the beginning that says, "The following is a half-hour commercial that we've disguised as a real show because we assume you're too dumb to tell the difference." To which Jon replies, "Well, at least they're being honest about it." (Seeing as the product being sold is a complete scam and the episode ends with the perky female host being exposed as a Con Artist, the episode is likely meant as a Take That! towards such programs.)
- In Total Drama Island, after Heather gets her lackey Lindsay eliminated from the competition, and goes on to insult Lindsay and admit she was only using her to get further in the contest, Duncan calls it "cold." After Heather tells him that he's in no position to criticize her since he uses his delinquent behavior to scare everyone, Duncan replies, "At least I'm straight with people."
- Daffy Duck admits that he's a coward in "Ducking the Devil"; however, he is willing to stand up to the Tasmanian Devil when he hears that there's a $5,000 reward offered by the zoo, because he also admits he's a greedy coward.
- In one episode of G.I. Joe, Flint, Lady Jay, Cobra Commander, and the Baroness were all kidnapped by a third-party villain called the Gamemaster and forced into a Deadly Game scenario. It was clear from the start that the Commander's promises to cooperate with any of them (the Baroness included) were nothing but Blatant Lies. The Baroness, however?
Cobra Commander: Whose side are you on?Baroness: Why, the same side you are, Commander. My own.
Shaggy: I take the fifth.
- Scooby and Shaggy are card-carrying cowards. And they're not afraid to admit it. When Fred tells them to enter a doorway for investigation:
Fred: The fifth?
Shaggy: Yes! I refuse to enter that door on the grounds that it might intimidate me!
Moe: On second thought, there's no way this chicken is staying here with that hopping red rabbit around!
- Moe does the exact same thing in the episode where The Three Stooges show up as Special Guests, going so far as to cluck like a chicken after calling everyone else chickens for being afraid of the Ghost of the Red Baron. And a minute later:
- Wacky Races Dick Dastardly not only acknowledges his evilness, but he also embellishes it:
Narrator: As Yankee Doodle Pigeon breaks the morning stillness while flying another dangerous mission, he keeps a wary eye out for the vicious Vulture Squadron...skippered by the deadly, diabolical, despicable demon of the skyways, Dick Dastardly!
Dastardly: You left out dashing and debonair!
- Family Guy:
- From FOX-y Lady:
Brian: They're hypocrites. They wanted you to do the story when they thought it would embarrass Michael Moore, but they don't want you to do it if it's going to embarrass Rush Limbaugh.
Lois: But you didn't want me to do the story when it was gonna embarrass Michael Moore. But you want me to do the story if it's gonna embarrass Rush Limbaugh?
Brian: OK. You're right. I'm a little biased myself but at least I'm willing to admit it.
- Part of Quagmire's legendary chewing out of Brian has him call Brian out for being a pervert like this (though it's undermined by the fact that Quagmire downplays his own crimes, admitting to "dating women for their bodies" but neglecting to mention that he is also a rapist and a pedophile):
Quagmire: You pretend you're this deep guy who loves women for their souls, when all you do is date bimbos. Yeah. I date women for their bodies but at least I'm honest about it!
- A later episode had Brian take perverse pleasure in pointing out Quagmire wasn't really honest about it. He blamed all his perverted issues on his mother's upbringing, which Brian outright labels cowardly. When Quagmire retorts that Brian himself is a hypocrite because he's an atheist defending his purist Christian mother's virtues, Brian nonchalantly admits to it (and that he'll greatly enjoy the thought of Quagmire pondering over it as he rots in a cell).
- One episode where Peter is running a bakery, a woman comes in several times to get a sample of a cookie but not buy anything, and Peter starts to get annoyed:
Woman: Ooh, I'm so bad...Peter: You gonna buy a cookie this time?Woman: Ooh, I'd better just stick with a sample. I'm so bad... but at least I know I'm bad, which makes me a little better. Or worse.(Cut off as Peter clocks her with a cookie tray.)
- From FOX-y Lady:
- Rick and Morty: Rick is a sociopath who kills without remorse and abuses his family with manipulation and lies. However, unlike his daughter Beth, he is fully aware of how bad of a person he is and doesn’t deny his misdeeds or what a terrible dad he was to her years ago. In “The ABCs of Beth” he finally calls out Beth, stating that he might be a bad father to her, but she’s no better, listing down a large number of misdeeds she committed without the need of him screwing her up first.
Beth: You would rather believe I’m evil than admit that you were a bad father?
Rick: Oh, dude, no. No, bad father all the way to the max over here. I’m a [bleep] nutcase. And the acorn plopped straight down, baby.