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Bastardly Speech

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"Power don't come from a badge or a gun. Power comes from lying. Lying big, and gettin' the whole damn world to play along with you. Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true, you've got 'em by the balls."
Senator Roark, Sin City

The New Era Speech is all well and dandy, but it presumes the villain has some reason to be halfway honest about things. And let's face it, it's usually for no better reason than to amuse themselves.

However, your more devious villains find it more amusing to put all their craft of eloquence into a speech that the members of the audience —but usually not the surrounding characters— know flies in the face of everything that has happened. The audience won't know whether to shake their fist in rage or their head in admiration.

A common case is that the villain has just scored a major coup, and now has to give a speech of deep sorrow and swift action regarding said coup. At other times, it'll be a masterful work of damage control, where the damage isn't so severe that they'll require a Motive Rant instead. In any case, chances are it will rally the Gullible Lemmings to their side at a vulnerable moment. Either might overlap with New Era Speech.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! manga, Zundar gives one to Kinshiro when he recruits him for Caerula Adamas. It's all about how special he is, how much Zundar understands his pain, and what a stonking new world they'll build together. Of course, it's all garbage, and unknown to Kinshiro Zundar is filming his exploits for a reality TV show.
  • Light Yagami gets a particularly infuriating one in Death Note — perhaps twice in the same episode, depending on how much emotional melodrama you think a monologue can stand before it stops being a speech. Actually, come to think of it, he does this in nearly every episode, to some degree.
    • Shortly after his father's death, when Matsuda is questioning whether capturing Kira is right or wrong, Light says that history will favor the victor; Kira will be seen as a criminal if he's caught, and will be seen as justice if he prevails. While this is meant to come across as a suggestion that the investigation team will be vindicated if they are successful, it also represents Light's belief that the world will soon come to accept him.
    • In Episode 7 Light gives a very convincing one to Naomi about how awesome working together on the task force is going to be right before he kills her.
    • After L's funeral in the Relight special, Light gives another one about how they are going to catch Kira as one final gift to L and Watari.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman: Whether he's addressing his company's board of directors or the White House press corps, Lex Luthor always tries to be as inspirational and upbeat as possible.
  • The Smiler in Transmetropolitan gave a few of these. Some of them even had specific threats to Spider Jerusalem.

    Fan Works 
  • From the Death Note post-apocalyptic AU The Faceless (Disguise of Carnivorism) Light gives an inspiring one to the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in the wastelands in order to get himself an army. This is Lampshaded by Matt who is in awe of his manipulative abilities.
  • In The Flight of the Alicorn, the Blueblood family gives one at their Fancy Dinner which is followed by a Patrick Stewart Speech and a murder.
  • In the Naruto fic Spider Thread, Tomoe gives one to Obito to convince him to follow along with Madara's plan despite Rin being alive. It works.
  • From the Death Note political AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything, guess what this speech is about? Answer: Light's bill that would make it impossible for first-time offenders to appeal their cases and make even lesser criminals eligible for capital punishment.
    "What great or noble work could we achieve if we think it enough? I see that some of you expect some rousing speech to make up your minds for you, but you won't get that from me. I want you to make up your own minds. There's no tangible prize and glory as the outcome, and none of you will personally feel any benefit from the bill I want pass, except in the knowledge that you will improve lives for others. It is a selfless goal. I go into this knowing that I will split the party. Some of you will never support me again. Those of you can stay and those can go as you see fit, but those who go will, in time, be envious of those who stayed with me. Take a firm step forward, as firm as your principles. I think some of you need to find your principles again. Be impartial. Be as gods. See what is right and follow it towards resolution. We are the law makers and in our hands are the possibilities of humanity. As it stands, we allow these wrongs to be carried out in our name and under our authority when we have the power to alter the course and prevent these crimes. We could create a better world for the people we represent. The cause is no legacy we inherited; we inherited a legacy of passivity from previous governments, and I do not want to repeat that. We are all guilty. We cannot blame others for what we had the opportunity to change. Let's not affix blame to others, for we, ourselves, allowed this to happen.
    Acceptance is the enemy, selfishness and fear of change is the barricade. Those before us could no more ignore what has happened than if they had been blind. We must see with our eyes open and observe the suffering and injustice and hear the stories, for no two are the same, and find the answers. That is our purpose, and I think we've lost that. We must find ways to ensure that no single person ever suffers again in this country. This is a social sickness which has grown and spread for years, decades, perhaps for all of time. I don't accept that it's endemic in the human soul; only guidance and provision is needed. It won't be instantly resolved by the passing of one bill, not even in our term here in government, but it is a step which will one day find an end. I blame no one. Not one person, not one group of people. It is cowardice to think that enough has been done and that we can do no more but continue the status quo, for what we could do is too great a task. It is a great task, but it is no useless endeavour. No one weak in spirit has ever won anything. We should never be satisfied that we have done enough, for there will always be need for change. We should not turn from it. I want extreme goodness. I want to work for some ideal which, one day, I will be proud that I had some small hand in and that I lived in these times. Empathy is the source of humanity and without it we cannot understand or hope to change. Dedicate yourself to humanity, or else leave this building. We would be inhuman ourselves. This is a moment of change. You are in this room at the start of a new era. Be proud."

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: In the Avengers' opening assault on Strucker's castle, Strucker gives a big speech to his underlings telling them "No surrender!" then turns to his Number Two and says "I'm going to surrender."
  • Happens twice with the Joker in the film Batman (1989):
    • His speech on TV, where he claims that he isn't a killer and that Batman is the real villain.
    • His speech to the crowd at the parade, where he says that they should trust him because he's giving away free money and again insults Batman... just before trying to kill them with poison gas.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane gives a very rousing speech about stealing power from the corrupt and making Gotham City stronger. The whole thing is a charade to humiliate Bruce Wayne and destroy Gotham.
  • Guyana: Crime of the Century: The movie begins as Johnson burningly denounces the sins and corruption of the modern world, and how the United States fell into a spiral of downturn. Near the end of the sermon, he unveils a map of Guyana, pointing at the destination of their promised land (Johnsontown, located north of Port Kaituma) with the shadow of his right index finger. After telling his listeners to begin praying, he turns back and shows an eerie smile.
  • In The Mask of Zorro Montero gives one upon his return to California.
  • In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Paine's speech near the end is one of the best. Also Taylor criminalizing Mr. Smith using his media machine is basically this trope on an enormous level.
  • Revenge of the Sith: Palpatine's speech after he reveals his Sith persona as Darth Sidious. He openly declares his intention to build a new empire and set up a new Order.
  • Carlton Drake gives a rambly Biblical monologue to a test subject named Isaac in Venom (2018), moments before setting an alien Blob Monster loose on him.

  • In the novelisation of Alien, Ash justifies breaking quarantine to let a facehugger-infected crewman on board for treatment by pointing out that the people who make those rules were far away in safety whereas he did what he had to do to save Kane's life. Turns out Ash is not interested in saving anyone's life, but is a synthetic human obeying Company orders to preserve the alien at all costs.
  • Black Jewels: Dorothea gives a damage-control one in the beginning of Queen of Darkness. She finds it amazing that people are so desperate and/or stupid to believe it.
  • Eric delivers one in Divergent after Al commits suicide.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Rob Pierre, at the end of an early book, uses one to solidify his, you guessed it, Reign of Terror.
    • A bit later, a Grayson Steadholder commits an epic dodge against all possible accusation, drastically souring the basic end-scene formula for most of the books up to that point... but we learn four books later that his payload isn't too great. (He is involved in an evil plot that does succeed to a substantial degree, but this time, he's the patsy.)
  • Lord Ferris does a damage-control variation in Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint. After a lengthy Time Skip, the sequel, Privilege of the Sword, shows that the speech has paid its dividends well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24, Charles Logan delivers a eulogy for David Palmer and is promptly arrested afterwards when his role in Palmer's assassination among other things is finally exposed.
  • A for Andromeda: When Kaufman announces that Intel has effectively taken over Azaran, the translator shows his disapproval by talking loudly over him. Also this scene:
    Kaufman: The army and all other branches will report directly to the President. The present parliament will not be called back into session. Help will continue to be provided by...
    (translator gives long stream of Arabic)
    Kaufman: ...a new international technological and trading consortium...
    Translator: "Intel."
    (Kaufman glares at translator)
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Ship of Tears", there's the ISN anchorwoman's bald-faced lie that the previous broadcast was the work of anti-government terrorists.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Nucky is a master of the Bastardly Speech who can be defending the black community and demonizing it in the next phrase thanks to the montage.
  • The Boys (2019): In "The Female of the Species", Vought International sends Homelander and Queen Maeve to handle a hijacked airliner, figuring this will put public opinion behind the idea of having superheroes in the military. The plan goes disastrously wrong and the plane crashes killing everyone on board, with Homelander even refusing to save a couple of children because they'd be witnesses to what really happened. Later as they're viewing the wreckage washed up on the beach, Homelander gives an impassioned speech to the press about how they could have prevented the disaster if only they'd been called in earlier, which would have happened if superheroes were part of the military.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The episode "Lovers Walk" has the instance where Joyce is siding against Angel with Spike, who keeps making like he's going to bite her neck.
      Joyce: [to Angel] You get out of this house, or I will stake you myself!
      Spike: You're a very bad man.
    • In "Consequences" after a normal human is killed during a night of slaying, Buffy plans to confess to Giles, when Faith saunters out from his office. She puts on a sad face and says, "It's okay, Buffy. I told him." Buffy looks like a huge weight has been lifted, but it falls again when Faith says, "I had to. He had to know what you did." Oh, burn. Though it was subverted that Giles didn't believe her. He just pretended to so Faith would think she was in the clear and wouldn't run off.
  • Chernobyl:
    • An old apparatchik gives a lecture to the city's emergency committee on how everyone should nobly do what's right in the name of Lenin and the Revolution. What he's actually asking them to do is to cover up that anything bad ever happened.
    • When bullying his men into carrying out a blatantly unsafe procedure, Dyatlov says he has always preached "Safety First".
    • The head of the KGB claims a system where everyone watches everyone else ensures accountability when it actually ensures that the culpability and incompetence of the authorities is covered up.
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk makes public speeches painting himself as a philanthropist who gives to his community, all while committing criminal activity to fund said ventures. Most glaring is in season 3, where he gives a press conference claiming that Daredevil is the real enemy...which Matt is thanks to Fisk using Dex to discredit him.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Caves of Androzani", Corrupt Corporate Executive Morgus uses Patriotic Fervor slogans while plotting treason and preaching high-minded virtue while Kicking the Dog.
  • In the Supernatural episode "I'm No Angel", the villainous Bartholomew has his Unwitting Pawn Buddy Boyle give a speech celebrating the descent of the angels to earth and urging his listeners to invite them into their hearts. Given that Supernatural's angels tend to be Lawful Stupid if not Lawful Evil and can possess anyone who says that they may, this is obviously part of a plan to have his allies take over a lot more innocent people's bodies. After the speech, Bartholomew tells Buddy that God will reward him for his assistance. Since Supernatural's God is missing and presumed dead, this is obviously a lie.
  • Torchwood: Miracle Day: Danes's speeches are actually quite inspirational — it's just a pity they're coming from a Dark Messiah who's only interested in publicity.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WCW Clash of the Champions XVII, November 19, 1991. WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Sting had been receiving a series of mysterious boxes containing either Cactus Jack or Abdullah the Butcher. Tony Schiavone was interviewing Sting when some muscle-bound men carried out a fancy carriage, and Madusa stepped out dressed like a harem girl to distract Sting so that WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger could clip Sting's famously repaired kneenote , leading to several Faces rescuing Sting and getting him to an ambulance to go to the hospital. Jim Ross said that the Sting-Rick Rude match could be in jeopardy, leading to Paul E. Dangerously, Rude's manager (and the leader of what would become The Dangerous Alliance) responded with this:
    "First of all, let me state this on behalf of Mr. Rick Rude. It was a terrible tragedy what happened to Sting tonight. Both Mr. Rude and myself are ashamed to have ever met Lex Luger. We're even more ashamed to have met Madusanote , to be honest with you. But business is business. And this, gentlemen and ladies, is the official contract for the United States Heavyweight Championship match tonight. It has been negotiated by my lawyers. Right now, in the locker room, the WCW Championship Committee, the Board of Directors, my attorneys, and my good friend Mr. Jim Herd, and they're all back there pondering over one clause, Page 12, section 6.1, article 6. You want to get a close-up, go ahead, too late. It states, and you can see right here, and I'm not lying this time, 'Should by accident, Acts of God, or injury, the United States Heavyweight Champion not appear in the ring by bell time, the United States Heavyweight Championship will be forfeited, and the title will be assumed by Ravishing Rick Rude.' Ladies and gentlemen, I am very sorry that Sting will not be here tonight, but I had nothing to do with this. Should he not appear here by bell time, there will be a new United States Heavyweight Champion. Nothing you can do about it, nothing that Jim Herd, nothing that the Championship Committee, nothing that WCW can do about it, and the new Champion, without even breaking a sweat, will be Ravishing Rick Rude."

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VII has Rufus Shinra's introduction, where he states that his plans are to turn the Planet into a police state. Thankfully, he's not that serious about it.
  • Vayne in Final Fantasy XII is introduced with a remarkably low-key Bastardly Speech. It's so well done that the only reasons you know he's the villain are that he's incredibly pretty, and the guards apparently don't want to make him angry.
    • Of course, given Vayne's Anti-Villain status, it arguably qualifies at least partially for Rousing Speech, but it's still mostly this. Even though the guy's got good intentions, it's pretty clear he's a master manipulator who enjoys having power in his own hands — the speech is proof of his intelligence and character.
    • Ondore's speech in the prologue qualifies in retrospect, but for the fact that the man can't decide what freaking side he's on. However, at the moment, he was acting as a mouthpiece for Vayne.
    • Gerun attempts this, starting off by sweet-talking Ashe with an offer of new nethicite to destroy the Archadian Empire with, but flips out when she mentions Venat. Gerun then goes into a lengthy rant about how the Occuria know what is best for the Puny Earthlings who need to accept the judgment of their betters, which is supposedly for the greater good.
  • Grandia II: Everyone in the village of Liligue has lost their sense of taste, save for Gadan. He expresses false sympathy for their plight while merrily feasting in his manor, claiming that the rest of the residents might have been cursed by God for some unfathomable reason.
    Gadan: Perhaps the others have sinned before Granas. Perhaps I alone remain blessed. Who can fathom the mind of God? Ah, Delicious!
  • In L.A. Noire, Roy Earle gives one as a eulogy at Cole Phelps' funeral. However, some of the other characters clearly know he's full of crap, and one publicly calls him out on it.
  • Trailer introducing the Bosses of No Straight Roads are presented as Propaganda Pieces created by the NSR. DJ Subatomic Supernova's features him giving a rousing speech about the importance of using music to express oneself... something that NSR is working to crush out of Vinyl City until only their artists remain.
  • The first Terran campaign in Starcraft ends with the rebel leader-turned-emperor Arcturus Mengsk giving a New Era Speech to the war-torn remains of the Terran Confederacy. He's upfront about how he intends to force everyone to join his empire and rule as a dictator "for your own protection", but not about the part where he engineered the Alien Invasion that brought down the Confederacy in the first place. Needless to say, when the truth comes out, the public is incensed.
  • Warcraft: In Varian's short story, Archbishop Benedictus gives one that sounds like a sermon preaching hope on the surface, but actually sounds more like subtle Twilight Hammer propaganda when you think about it.

    Web Animation 
  • Halfway through Red vs. Blue Season 12, Felix gives Kimball a motivational speech after the Reds and Blues are reported dead, telling her that they should see their deaths as an inspiration to fight harder and to make one last push against the Federal Army. Except, the Reds and Blues are alive and Felix is just tricking Kimball into making a suicidal charge and getting everyone killed.
  • Cinder Fall from RWBY had cemented her status by delivering a speech that managed to be half this half Villain Has a Point. She pins the blame for Penny's death on Ozpin when she is the one who masterminded it, while at the same time pointing out legitimately suspicious stuff like Atlas creating combat robot disguised as innocent-looking teenage girl and headmasters of huntsman academies having power comparable of those of army commanders.


    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has the song "Everyone's A Hero" (which mixes this with "The Reason You Suck" Speech), in which Captain Hammer talks about how much he cares about the homeless— all the while comparing them to dogs (Lassie, but still) and calling them Scary Alcoholic Bums. While the audience cheers along, his "girlfriend" Penny, who does charity work with the homeless, is shown as absolutely disgusted by what he's saying.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Strucker "Doesn't" Surrender

After giving a rousing speech to his troops about not surrendering agaisnt the Avengers, Baron Strucker quietly tells his right hand man their plan to surrender.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / BastardlySpeech

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