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Hypocrite Has a Point

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"...Yeah, so when the pot calls the kettle black, the kettle's still fuckin' black."
Billie, Dumbing of Age

If there's anything people agree on, it's that being a Hypocrite is bad. The most negative of spotlights are trained on those who do not practice what they preach. A Straw Hypocrite is very easy to create and remains a common choice of antagonist, particularly in an Author Tract. If someone is a hypocrite, they are assumed to be rightly contemptible and completely wrong.


If only things were that simple.

Even if a person is a hypocrite, they can still be right about something. If Bob The Alcoholic criticizes Tom for drinking away his pain, he still raises the point that Tom could find a better way of solving his issues. If high school dropout Alice chastises Sammy for failing college, she could then say that Sammy shouldn't lose sight of her future. This goes double if Alice is Sammy’s mother.

See also Hypocrisy Nod, Ad Hominem, and At Least I Admit It. This trope may also be related to Not So Different and Brutal Honesty.

Full-Sibling trope to:

Half-sib to Strawman Has a Point, where it's the audience, rather than another character who says "Wait, that character is being presented as though he's wrong, but he's not, entirely."


Compare Jacob Marley Warning, when someone warns another person against making the same life choices they did, justified because they can offer the perspective of having experienced how it will turn out badly.

Contrast Psychological Projection where the character accusations are based entirely on their own faults.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • During the Cell Saga, Goku is taken aback when Gohan deliberately prolongs his Curb-Stomp Battle with Cell solely because he wanted to humiliate him and make him suffer as much as possible for his crimes, and literally screams at Gohan to finish him off to no avail. While Goku himself had previously done the exact same thing to Frieza for the exact same reason, considering the fact that he barely escaped Namek's explosion as a result of his anger and need for vengeance, Goku makes a valid point and has clearly learned from his mistake. He's proven right when Gohan's actions lead Cell to Freak Out and try to self-destruct, taking the Earth with him; Goku is forced to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world from the blast, and Gohan knows it's very much his fault for not listening to Goku's warnings.
    • Piccolo himself has a moment during the Cell Saga when he gives Goku a What the Hell, Hero? speech over his decision to throw Gohan into battle with Cell, pointing out that Gohan doesn't share Goku's Blood Knight attitude and is Just a Kid. Piccolo (admittedly pre-Character Development, and, again, not being Gohan's actual father) himself did just that during the Saiyan Saga, putting Gohan through Training from Hell for a year and angrily chewing him out for failing to follow through with a team attack on Nappa, whereas Krillin had to point out to Piccolo that Gohan was only five, had never been in a real battle before then, and shouldn't even be fighting in the first place. Nonetheless, Piccolo makes a very valid point, especially since Goku never once bothered to tell anyone about his plan to beat Cell until the minute he throws Gohan into the ring. Gohan may have been the only one strong enough to beat Cell, but he isn't mentally ready for the responsibility, doesn't even want to fight, and finds no pleasure in being beaten senseless by Cell while his father simply stands there and watches it happen; Goku immediately has a My God, What Have I Done? moment. That being said, one could argue that Gohan's actions during the battle against the Saiyans were what caused Piccolo to soften his stance in the first place, as after this one battle Piccolo to his credit never again put Gohan in danger against Frieza or the androids.
    • During the Buu Saga, Bulma chews out the rest of the heroes for being so casual about Goten and Trunks fighting Majin Buu. However, she never had any qualms about Goku going off on dangerous adventures when he was a kid, nor did she have issues with Gohan traveling to Namek or fighting the Androids, who was also a kid at the time. That being said, she does have a point about them being so relaxed about the possibility of children dying, especially because she knows the Dragon Balls can only bring people back to life for so long.
  • Dragon Ball Super:
    • Zamasu's idea of dealing with the constant violence and division among mortals is to wipe them all out, and he's firmly convinced that The Gods Must Be Lazy for letting it go on. There are indeed many mortal characters, including Frieza and the Babarians, who were able to continue their destructive actions because of the gods' non-intervention policy. His master Gowasu agrees that there is much evil in the hearts of mortals, but he also believes that they have the potential to grow and learn from their mistakes. Zamasu finds the latter idea to be incomprehensible.
    • While Beerus doesn't really have the right to blame Shin for Universe 7's low mortal level given that he didn't really do his job either, even making the Supreme Kai's life harder by destroying planets for petty reasons, he is somewhat correct that Shin should really be more pro-active in the development of mortal life, such as either stopping any threats to the development of his universe himself or train the Z-Fighters to have them prepare for beings such as Frieza or Cell while maintaining his hands-off approach in aiding mortal life. Given his inexperience, perhaps he should probably consult the Kais from the other worlds for some advice in how to develop mortal life better.
  • Future Diary: Despite having been forced to kill people in self-defense, Yuki is horrified by Yuno's murderous nature. He is later called out on this by Marco, who reminds Yuki that he's been relying on Yuno for protection since they met and even now is trying to keep his hands clean. Even so, Yuki is as scared of Yuno as anyone else in the setting and is rightly disturbed by Yuno's tendency to kill people when it's not necessary to their survival.
  • School Days' Shun Hazama mixes this with Start X to Stop X; he takes up womanizing to protect his targets from Tomaru Sawagoe, who is an even worse womanizer, a total sociopath, and an incestuous rapist.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Touka berates and assaults Kaneki for his selfish actions, but conveniently chooses to ignore that her obsession with getting revenge on the CCG for the deaths of Hinami's parents resulted in the organization turning their attentions to the 20th ward, eventually resulting in the destruction of Anteiku. While Touka's retribution against the CCG was personal and proven to be disastrous for Anteiku in the long run, she makes a valid point. After suffering a brutal defeat at Arima's hands, Kaneki admits to the fact that he was really trying to protect himself from being alone after the death of his mother.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the dub, Yami Yugi criticizes Johnny Steps for not coming up with a valid theme for his deck. Although Yami himself uses many different monster types in his deck at this point with little direct synchronicity with each other, Johnny is indeed focused more on the aesthetics of his cards and forfeits the match shortly after Yami destroys his flagship monster. Yami also later ends up taking his own advice, narrowing his deck's focus to specific sets of monsters that work better towards specific strategies and end goals more.

     Fan Works 

     Film - Animated 
  • Wreck-It Ralph: King Candy chastises Ralph for "going Turbo" and abandoning his game. While King Candy himself game-jumped in the past, with his true identity even being Turbo, the character the phrase is based on, Ralph's absence from his game nearly leads to it being shut down and thrown out.
  • Aladdin: Jafar calls Aladdin a liar and a conman, though both of these accusations can easily be applied to him the way he exploits his position as Vizer to take the throne for himself. For his part, Aladdin accepts this description of him and resolves to make up for it by ending Jafar's reign of terror.
  • Elsa from Frozen doesn't really have the right to call out Anna for being too sheltered to know about love to the point of marrying a guy she just met given her own self-imposed isolation, but she's nevertheless correct about it, particularly when Anna's would-be husband is later revealed to be a sociopathic prince who is manipulating her just so that he can claim the kingdom for himself. Upon realizing this, Anna herself even acknowledges that she doesn't really know about love.
  • Both Doc Hudson and Lightning McQueen from Cars bring up good points when confronting each other about Doc's past. Doc asks Lighting about the last time he was selfless and cared for anyone besides himself. While he is right, Doc has been lying to the people of Radiator Springs for years, all because he was afraid to be the Fabulous Hudson Hornet again after an accident in 1954, which is something that Lightning himself manages to call Doc out on.

     Film - Live Action 
  • The Wolverine: Shortly after sleeping with Mariko, Logan becomes enraged once he learns that her fiancé Noburo is cheating on her with prostitutes. Logan had earlier learned that Mariko had been forced into accepting an Arranged Marriage with Noburo, who is privy to a conspiracy to kill her for money. His adultery, in Logan's eyes, is the tipping point of his betrayal.


     Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow: Oliver criticizes Thea for partying as a way of coping with the disappearance of her father and brother. He himself had to abandon his own party-going self after being stranded on an island, and he is certain that Thea can find a better way to ease her pain.
    • The Flash (2014): Despite having traveled through time with the full intention of changing history, Eobard Thawne tries to tell off Barry Allen/The Flash for using Time Travel. History is a very delicate thing in the setting, and Thawne is careful enough to not summon the Time Wraiths by making too many changes.
  • ER:
    • After a patient dies because he slept with a paramedic on duty, Dave is fired by Kerry for irresponsibility. Although Kerry, as Dave's supervisor, should have kept a closer eye on him, Dave's behavior is indeed completely unbefitting of that of a doctor.
  • Game of Thrones: During their travels from King's Landing to the North, Arya and the Hound benefit from the hospitality of a single farmer and his one daughter. After they leave the house in the morning, Arya discovers that the Hound, who had earlier told him that he would never stoop to theft, has taken the farmer's silver stash, and calls him out on this. He responds that the farmer and his daughter are too weak to protect themselves adequately and will both be dead by winter. Later developments in the series suggest this is a sound assessment
  • How I Met Your Mother: In "The Best Burger In New York" Marshall reveals that he ended up taking a corporate job at Goliath National Bank, even though his dream job is to become an environmental lawyer and he has already experienced the negatives of working in a corporation. However, at that point, he had failed so many job interviews that he became too depressed to put on pants. At the very least, he now had a job to help with his financial needs, and he now had a reason to get up in the morning and put on pants.
  • In Law & Order, Detective Curtis is going through some marriage troubles after an act of infidelity. Detective Briscoe gives him some advice about how, despite his guilt, he shouldn't constantly martyr himself in order to try and get back into his wife's good graces. Curtis snarks that Briscoe is thrice-divorced, and thus not the greatest person to be giving marriage advice. Briscoe immediately retorts that this just means he knows what doesn't work when trying to rescue a marriage.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Jessica Jones (2015): Jessica finds out that Malcolm is using a dating app to sleep around. She's disgusted by it and implies he's a sex addict. Some people find one night stands distasteful, sure, but Jessica has one night stands all the time. That said, the first time that Jessica sees a strange woman in Malcolm's apartment, back in one of the early episodes of the season, her reply is "glass house here, throwing no stones," admitting that she, of all people, has no right to be judgemental about someone else's sex life.
    • The Defenders: Jessica Jones gets on Matt's case for keeping his personal connection to Elektra a secret from her, Luke and Danny. She does have a point that Matt's secret-keeping almost got them killed since he broke away from them at the Royal Dragon to fight Elektra one-on-one, and this secrecy had cost Matt his relationships with Karen and Foggy during Daredevil season 2. Where it becomes hypocritical for Jessica is when in season 2 of her own show, set after The Defenders, she keeps the fact that the IGH killer is her own mother a complete secret from Trish and Malcolm until she's forced to admit the truth to them, and burns her bridges with them.
  • In Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Phryne tells Jack in the episode "Murder Most Scandalous" that he can't let personal relations get in the way of considering someone a suspect. She herself often sticks up for her friends and believes they are innocent even if Jack has perfectly justified reasons for suspecting them. Of course, her point is still completely valid.
  • In Oz, Simon Adebisi sees fit to call Ryan O'Reily a "sick motherfucker." This isn't actually too far off from what Ryan really is: a manipulative schemer who will happily murder his associates and throw anyone under the bus for personal gain.
  • In Scrubs, Elliot befriends a patient who's revealed to have an eating disorder. Doctor Cox reveals that Elliot herself is underweight and has body image problems. Later in the episode, Elliot hypocritically insists that the patient seek therapy, and brushes off the patient's attempts to call her out on it. The whole episode was examining the concept of "Do as I say, not as I do" as applied to medicine, and showing how doctors can't diagnose themselves impartially.

     Newspaper Comics 

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Comedian Chris Porter lights into unattractive women who are contemptuous and ungrateful, asking rhetorically "If you're ugly and you have a bad attitude, then what the fuck are you offering to the world?!" Realizing that a lot of the audience might be thinking the same question about him (the special is titled "Ugly and Angry"), he quickly adds "...At least I'm funny!"

     Video Games 
  • Persona 5 starts with the main character being told by a cop that one must take full responsibility for their actions. Said cop and his partners had been beating and drugging him, confident that they won't get in trouble in spite of the surveillance camera in the room. It's also implied that The Conspiracy was planning to use the protagonist as a scapegoat to blame for all of their crimes. However, these words have always been important in previous entries of the franchise, just that this instance is a darker spin on them.
    • The Hierophant Confidant has Futaba's Evil Uncle, Youji Isshiki, try to take her back from Sojiro's care. Although he isn't in a position to judge Sojiro, since he reportedly mistreated her by refusing to provide for her basic needs, he does bring up how bad the situation looks from the outside, as Futaba remains holed up in her room all day and doesn't even go to schoolnote . When he follows through on his threat to report Sojiro to the family court out of spite, two investigators pay Sojiro a visit, and may not have decided in his favor if Futaba and the protagonist hadn't vouched for him.

     Visual Novels 
  • Riki, the protagonist of Little Busters!, tries to help Komari get over the death of her older brother, yet her route takes place before Refrain, meaning at this point, Riki hasn't fully confronted his own issues with the death of his parents. However, because he has similar issues with his parents, Riki knows what he's talking about and is able to help Komari confront her issues.

     Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • Quagmire calls out Brian for, among other things, dating only bimbos, lusting after the married Lois, and not looking after his kid. Although Quagmire himself has these flaws too and is aware of it, Brian doesn't have a single retort to "The Reason You Suck" Speech that he has just received.
    • Amusingly Brian traded this back at him in "Quagmire's Mom", when Quagmire blamed all his vices and life choices on his mother's poor upbringing, Brian pointed out how cowardly and self-contradicting this was. He has zero qualms when Quagmire and Stewie point out just who's talking since Quagmire's still the one who's facing a jail sentence.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Amon rails against the prevalence of bending and advocates its destruction for fear of oppression of non-benders. Amon is revealed to have the ability to strip away bending by using his unique bloodbending, but those with bending capabilities do in fact have more opportunities and honors than those who do not. This eventually leads to Republic City supporting diversity while still rejecting Amon's fanaticism, such as doing away with the Council that was composed entirely of benders, and electing a non-Bending president.
    • Unalaq advocates for the unity of the spirit and human worlds and is very justified when calling Korra on her chaotic behavior, points that she takes to heart for the rest of the series. Pity he's a worshiper of the embodiment of chaos itself that used him to control the spirits.
  • Played with in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "No Second Prances" Twilight Sparkle encourages her ex-bad guy-turned-student Starlight Glimmer to make a new friend but quickly backpedals on it when Starlight ends up befriending the rather sketchy Trixie, who Twilight has a rocky history with. Twilight is naturally worried that Starlight will fall prey to Toxic Friend Influence and she has a point, except she was perfectly willing to easily forgive Starlight Glimmer for far worse evil beyond whatever jerkish pettiness Trixie ever did (Trixie was just a once in a while antagonist, while Starlight Glimmer was a Season Wide Big Bad who enslaved a village and went of her way to nearly destroy the world in order to get revenge on Twilight), and even told Starlight that all Friendships are important to talk her into a Heel–Face Turn, but she is still very distrustful and begrudging of Trixie. Starlight even calls her out on this. Twilight is proven to be correct to an extent when Trixie inadvertently reveals that she only became friends with Starlight just to show Twilight up, causing her friendship with Starlight to break apart, causing a heartbroken Trixie (who really did want to be Starlight's friend) to realize how badly she messed up. Twilight herself also realizes her own hypocrisy and aspires to make things up between the three of them.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In "Enemy of My Enemy," Karai attempts to form an Enemy Mine with the Turtles against the Kraang, only for the Turtles to take advantage of it to attempt to assassinate the Shredder, Karai's father; Karai is furious and chews Leo out for it, while ignoring that she had previously double-crossed the Turtles herself in "The Alien Agenda," all while mocking Leo to his face for trusting her. That being said, she's not wrong; Karai was nothing but honest about being untrustworthy in "The Alien Agenda", agreeing with Raph rather than Leo about being "bad news". She never made Leo any promises not to betray their alliance, while Leo did with her. Also, it should be noted that after all of the discussion about whether or not to trust Karai, the Turtles are the ones who double-crossed her this time, not the other way around.
  • Metalocalypse: In "Rehabklok" Pickles gets called out on his alcoholism and sent to rehab by the rest of the band despite their own drinking habits, even nursing several bottles during said discussion. They're not wrong though as it's seen throughout the series that Pickles is prone to drinking to the point of being nearly non-functional while the rest have enough restraint that they never reach the point that Pickles often does during his drinking.
    • The inciting incident of the episode was a technical malfunction that Pickles caused while inebriated. The band called him out on this while claiming they never cause that kind of trouble, which is proven as Blatant Lies with a montage of antics they got up to while drunk. They're still right in calling out Pickles because he was drunk during a show and they haven't caused problems like that while performing when drunk.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars might have had it be said by a fallen Jedi, Bariss was still quite right in pointing out that the war has corrupted the Republic and Jedi alike.

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