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Insult to Rocks

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"Well, it's no secret how I feel about surgeons. I hate them. I'd liken them to rocks, but that would be an insult to rocks because, you see, at least rocks are useful to society. We build bridges with them. We throw them at guys who wear those tiny phones clipped to their heads."
Dr. Cox, Scrubs

You want to tell someone else that they're as dumb as a brick — but then you answer that that's a terrible thing to say about bricks.

More generally, any insult following the form of "I'd call you an X, but that would be an insult to all X's." Typically, X will be an inanimate object, or something detestable. ("I'd call you a motherfucker, but it'd be demeaning to those guys who fuck their mothers.") Using this latter form is like saying that the one being insulted is far worse and more worthy of contempt than the detestable X to which they're being compared.

Another variant is acknowledging that at least X is much more worthy of some respect. "I'd call you an X, but then again I take it back because at least X is <insert positive description here>."

A third is to state the insult, and then apologize — to any X who felt insulted by the comparison.

A fourth, related to the above, is calling someone X, and when actual X find out, they react with outrage, at being compared to that someone, or alternatively, someone getting aggressive defending X.

A fifth involves the form "You are so <insert negative description generally used to describe X here>, X is <insert opposite positive description here> in comparison."

This can also involve Self-Deprecation if the insulter notes their own negative qualities, then says how much worse the insultee is.

See also Even Evil Has Standards, My Friends... and Zoidberg, Bait-and-Switch Comparison, Insult Friendly Fire, Insult Misfire. If the insulter compares the insultee to an X, but the insultee notes positive qualities of X see Insult Backfire. May invoke Sympathy for the Devil.


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  • A semi-serious PSA by UAnimals that stars Sala Baker (Sauron) urges people to donate to the charity. At the end, an Orc from Lord of the Rings urges people to not call Russians orcs because "we're warriors and not a crowd of scumbags".

    Anime & Manga 
  • During Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Duelist Kingdom arc (English dub), Yugi faces off against Kaiba's evil side, brought back from the Shadow Realm by Pegasus. When the Doppelgänger reveals its true form, Yugi remarks, "You know, I'm not quite sure what to call you. I was thinking about 'monster' — but I wouldn't want to insult the cards." (This insult would sound even more appropriate when you consider that in the original version, the imposter was not Kaiba's evil side, but a mercenary cruelly trying to break Yugi's — and Mokuba's — spirits by making them think Kaiba was dead.)
  • The second Gundam Evolve CG short ends with Kamille Bidan writing an apology for destroying a camera during a field test of the Gundam Mk-II. His Backhanded Apology includes this memorable line:
    Letting a person like Lieutenant Quattro command a mission is like letting a monkey handle a bomb. Saying it, I even feel as if I were insulting a monkey.
  • In Encounter 142 of Sgt. Frog, the author explains that the underground base constantly expands with no plans or organization, and says that while he could say it looks like an ants' nest, he considers it an insult to the ants.
  • When Konata from Lucky Star compares her using homework as an excuse to go see Kagami to that of an animal following her around, Kagami tells her to apologize to the animal world. Konata asks if she's lower than a dog.
  • In an alternate Cowboy Bebop tale, "Shooting Star," rich people are compared to pigs (in their eating manners). Another member says they're insulting pigs, even including a line defending pigs' manners. Another of the characters even states that she used to be like that.
  • Shizuo from Durarara!! does not like it when people positively compare him to Kasuka — as far as he's concerned it's much too insulting to his little brother to be put on the same level as him.
  • When Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple begins his training, Akisame has him focus on building strength, alluding to the old saying that an ant cannot defeat an elephant, no matter what kind of techniques it has. Kenichi asks if he's being compared to an ant, and Akisame says no; that would be insulting to the ant.
  • In No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!, Tomoko is on the receiving end of some food from her Lethal Chef classmate. At first, she compares its taste to that of pig food, then thinks it insulting to pigs and revises her opinion to industrial waste.
    • Early on, she wonders if she might be ugly. But no, she decides, calling her ugly would be an insult to true ugliness! (Of course, she doesn't realize what she's implied.)
  • One Piece:
    • When Sanji found out about his brother Niji beating up a cook just to spite Sanji for helping her, he's so infuriated he can't even bring himself to call the guy responsible scum; he's the shit beneath it.
    • In the 4Kids dub, when the Straw Hats scarf down food at the feast following Crocodile's defeat, the Alabasta guards say they're like "monkeys on a banana boat, but the monkeys have more class".
  • In Wasteful Days of High School Girls, when Baka saw a group of grade-schoolers teasing an overweight schoolgirl as a literal pig four years before Present Day, Baka yelled at the boys for a whole hour... because they insulted pigs. Subverted in that Baka's concern really was pigs and did not intend to insult the schoolgirl in question at all, nor did the schoolgirl in question took Baka's action as insult—actually she takes it as Because You Were Nice to Me.
  • The English version of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! has Escargoon comment on Dedede's messy throne room as such at the start of episode 81.
    Escargoon: I'd call this a rat's nest, but that's an insult to rats.
  • Similarly, the English version of Jack and the Beanstalk (1974) has Jack use this as part of his plan to Draw Aggro and lure Tulip from the castle by repeatedly insulting him until he hits his Rage Breaking Point and gives chase.
    Jack: What's the matter? Can't figure it out, you walnut-brained ape? I shouldn't have called you an ape, they're smarter! And a lot prettier!

  • Comic Simon B. Cotter, relating his attempt to lose weight, said he knew that he had to start when he got his BMI checked and found that he had twenty-one percent body fat.
    Cotter: To put that in perspective, a pig has nineteen. So if you called me a "fat pig", it would actually be an insult to the pig. I'm gonna have to work out for months just to become a fat pig. Then if someone says, "You're a fat pig!" I'll be like, "Why, thank you. I work out."
  • Rich Hall's country-singing character Otis Lee Crenshaw says this about his family:
    Otis Lee: Calling my family white trash would be an insult to polystyrene.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: In Batman: Hush, Batman thinks about Ra's al Ghul's daughter Talia al Ghul, who is running Lex Luthor's company:
    Batman: Talia. Ra's. Luthor. Calling them a nest of vipers is an insult to vipers...
  • The Beano: In the strip "Crazy for Daisy," Daisy compares Ernest, the guy who just won't leave her alone, to a warthog. After this, she's incredibly shocked at herself for being so insensitive and immediately apologizes — to any warthogs who happen to be reading.
  • Le Chat, a Belgian comic book written by Philippe Geluck:
    "We often say 'Man is a wolf to man.' But saying this is bad for the wolves. Instead, we should say 'Man is a man to man.' But it would be harsh for men." (untranslatable pun: In French he says "c'est vache pour l'homme": when used as an adjective, "vache" means "harsh", but it also means "cow".)
  • A Donald Duck comic set in Donald's childhood has him wanting to call a classmate a rat, but he doesn't since that would be insulting to all the rats of the world. Given the Furry Confusion, the insult may or may not be worse than it is in our world.
  • Enemy Ace: In Enemy Ace: War in Heaven:
    Oberst Lieutenant Engels: If it became known that you compared Adolf Hitler to an ape
    Hans von Hammer: No chimpanzee would ever speak to me again, I know.
  • Fables: Someone must be insulted especially carefully. Calling the overweight Spratt widow a cow promptly offends a cow.
  • Superman: In the Superman vs. Predator crossover comic, the Mad Scientist is trying to cleanse the world of genetic defects by killing everyone with them, via atmospheric poisoning. Lois Lane claims she would spit if her mouth wasn't so dry, but retracts the statement, saying "—spit's too good for you."

    Fan Works 
  • The King Nobody Wanted: After Victarion Greyjoy announces his intention to join the Iron Islands' rebellion while in a room full of armed Baratheon loyalists, Hoster Tully remarks that saying he's got pease for brains would be an insult to pease.
  • Percy Jackson: Spirits: After calling Amarok "dog breath", Percy feels a bit sorry for the dogs he compared Amarok to.
  • Retribution: Kirk comments that he isn't a coward; he's worse because a coward wouldn't have been bold enough to call Spock a traitor to his face.
  • In A Stitch in Time, Twilight has had enough of her jerkass of a blind date trying to get her liquored up, and tells her that to compare her to the pond scum she cleans out of fish tanks would be more of an insult to the pond scum, giving a lecture about how essential cyanobacteria is to Equestria.
  • When Ichigo and Kaien are bickering once in Swinging Pendulum, Ichigo threatens to drown Kaien in a swamp. When Kaien comments on how that seems harsh, Ichigo says, "You're right; the swamp hasn't done anything to deserve getting you dunked into it."
  • In Fist of the Moon, Ranma suffers a Mode Lock and is so disturbed that s/he neither eats, trains nor bathes for three days. Kasumi knocks her out of her funk with food and tells her to bathe because she smells worse than Akane's cooking. Post-Character Development Akane hears this and takes offense.
    Akane: Hey! You take that back, Kasumi! Nothing smells worse than my cooking!
  • In Colors and Capes, when Lois Lane tries to get Xander aka Flannel Man angry, he turns it around by suggesting she whored herself out to Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor for a story. Then he retracts his statement as prostitutes have more honesty and integrity than she does. Once Lois realizes he was simply turning her tactics back on her, she offers a grudging, "Not Bad."
  • In DragonKin Harry and Draco discuss a curse cast on Umbridge.
    Draco: What? I've been with you, Harry. Besides, if I was going to curse her, I would probably transfigure her into a toad and feed her to a snake.
    Harry: That would be cruel to the snake, Draco. I wouldn't do that even to Nagini.
  • Dangerous Liasons:
    Ron: I can't believe you just broke up with me and you were already whoring yourself off with that Bulgarian caveman.
    Hermione: Viktor is more mature and evolved than you, Ron. If anyone is a caveman it's you. Though I think that would be an insult to that race.
  • Ascension Book One: Bloodline:
    Oh yes good old Aunt Marge, Harry had to admit that he was not sure who was uglier out of the two between Vernon and Marge or who was manlier rather. It was a toss-up. It was funny how Marge resembled her favorite companion, a bulldog. Although the ten, nearly eleven-year-old prodigy felt bad about comparing bulldogs to Marge. The poor animals didn't need to be insulted as such.
  • Hitting the Tomes:
    Even before they stepped into the classroom Harry just knew that by the end of the day Neville was going to be offended on Trevor's behalf if they called [Umbridge] a toad.
  • In Redemption Harry went to rescue his friends after they were captured by Death Eaters.
    Hermione: I think the closest I ever came to being scared of you was watching you as you gave those ... well, I'd have said Neanderthals but that would insult Neanderthals, but I think you get the gist of my choice of epithets against them.
  • Harry Hibiki and the Philosopher's Stone:
    Behind the man were two hulking men that looked a little like apes... which was insulting to apes... that looked like Malfoy's grunts.
  • Ophidian:
    Draco: Lockhart's nothing but tactless, spotlight-mongering, intellectually inept, bollocks-for-brains swine.
    Harry: Oh, come now, Draco. That's an insult to swine.
  • In Raspberry Jam Harry and Draco discuss Harry's relatives.
    Draco: No, I want to know why you don't hate [Dumbledore] for sending you to those beasts.
    Harry: You're insulting beasts everywhere.
  • In X-Men: The Early Years, Angel spouts the line as bickering with Beast.
    Warren: Well, I could have said you were related to a monkey's uncle. But I would be insulting the monkeys.
  • Muggle Movie Night:
    Remus: What do you think will happen to Petunia?
    Snape: Don't know, don't care. All I know is that next time we see her she'll be on the stand testifying against her troll of a husband.
    Sirius: Now that was an insult to trolls.
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: Bowser's Diamond Dog parents are not impressed with the city watch's charges against their adopted pony son. They are most especially disappointed by how flimsily they are constructed.
    Bowser's dad: "So....maybe involved with group that maybe connected to other group that maybe have plans that maybe terrorist..." He held up a paw. "Four maybes. You get one more maybe, you reach 'once upon a time.' " His eyelids drooped further. "We know ponies think Diamond Dogs stupid, but ROCKS not THAT dumb."
  • young scrappy and hungry (rise up, rise up) revolves around the election for President of the United States. Of course, it's going to be tense:
    Damian: The key is to ensure that none of the buffoons in the circus currently masquerading as the RNC make it to the highest office in the nation —
    Dick: Excuse me, don't insult the circus by comparing us to the Republicans. Haley's would've kicked Donald Trump out before he could even finish introducing himself.
  • After Many Dates: Danny and Kim: As far as Tucker is concerned, calling Bueno Nacho junk is "totally unfair to junk".
  • Riot's host in Six Months Missing initially compares the symbiote to a barking dog. When Riot angrily insists it's not a dog, she retorts that he's right... a dog can survive on its own.
  • In Harry Potter and the Champion's Champion Fleur, Viktor and Cedric decide to go after the Triwizard Tournament cup as a team.
    Viktor: Vat about the fourth?
    Cedric: If it was still Harry Potter, I'd have him join us. Actually, I think if it was him, he would have suggested it to start with. You know he even warned me about the dragons? But I can't bring myself to offer the same invitation to [Ron] Weasley. I swear he's thicker than a stone.
    Luna: Now Cedric, I happen to have a lot of stones who are my friends. You don't have to insult them like that.
  • In a sidestory of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash's Butterfree is having a very bad day at Oak's ranch (due to being reminded of his lost mate by the sight of many loving Pokémon couples) and decides to take out his frustrations on a nearby Pokémon fight club. He engages in some Trash Talk with his first opponent, a Growlithe, and draws his ire by calling him a puppy. The Growlithe starts yelling back that he's not a puppy, so Butterfree replies "You're right. Puppies are stronger than you."
  • In A Man of Iron, Catelyn Stark is unimpressed by her cousin Tony Stark's attempts to charm her, comparing him to an attention-starved donkey...only to take it back and think that "a donkey would be at least useful".
  • A Dance All My Own:
    Remus: What did Petunia say? How did she explain it?
    Harry: I was told I was the unwanted offspring of two drunks who died in a car crash, that I was a freak and that I should not ask questions and do as I was told. They basically lied about everything and tried to squash my magic out of me. I learned not to trust them early on and I always doubted their story, but I didn't have any proof otherwise until Hagrid came.
    Remus: What a bitch!
    Harry: That, Remus, is insulting dogs and with the exception of Padfoot I don't even really like dogs. Can we change the subject? I don't like thinking about the Dursleys.
  • Many characters throughout Crumbling Down call Lila a snake, only to take it back when they realize that would be an insult to snakes.
  • At one point during the Mistletoe arc in A Student Out of Time, one anon expresses disappointment that they can only request people kiss as he wanted to make Haiji kiss a sewage pipe. Monaca claims that would be mean to the sewage pipe as it has a vital job.
  • In the Supposed to be a secret series, Hogwarts has been delivered the seven Harry Potter books, which are being read out loud. When they reach the point where Harry gets taken to the zoo and mentally compares a gorilla to his fat cousin Dudley, Luna asks Harry if he's apologized to the gorilla yet.
  • The Problem with Purity:
    Snape: You sent [Ron] a gift, of course.
    Hermione: I'd already bought it. We've been friends for a long time, and it seemed foolish to throw all that away over one altercation even one where he was behaving like a vile, reprehensible worm.
    Snape: The worms of the world protest.
  • In the Persona 5 and Scott The Woz crossover I Think I Literally Count As An RPG Guy Now, the rest of the Phantom Thieves react to Ryuji calling Shinjuku cops pigs by protesting the insult to pigs.
    Ryuji: fr tho pigs these days rlly got jack shit to do w their lives huh
    Scott: Cmon man, dont call cops pigs what did a farm animal ever do to you to deserve a comparison like that??
    Yusuke: True... pigs aren't tainted by the same vices so many humans are, and yet we portray them as revolting...
    Ann: ig its because it's a gross job trying to take care of them? idk
  • In One for All and Eight for the Ninth, the villain Menagerie gives one of his subordinates the codename Neanderthal for being an idiot, then admits to himself he's being unfair to the historical Neanderthals, who were no less intelligent than regular humans.
  • In the How to Train Your Dragon and The Avengers crossover fic Full Loki, in chapter 17, Hiccup calls Schmidt a backstabbing Death Gripper because comparing him to a snake is an insult to snakes.
  • In Wand, Knife and Silence Lily's spirit hopes that Mrs. Weasley will accept Ginny's choice of boyfriend before the family becomes estranged.
    James: Give the lady some credit, Lily – she's a lot smarter then Petunia. Then again, a turtle is smarter then your sister.
    Lily: Don't insult turtles James, you know I love those animals!

    Films — Animation 
  • A Bug's Life: Hopper's prejudice against ants is so great, he considers calling Flik a piece of dirt an insult to dirt.
    Hopper: You piece of dirt... No, I'm wrong. You're lower than dirt! You're an ANT.
  • Eetu ja Konna: When Eetu and Konna are on the run from government agents, at one point they hitch a ride in a truck carrying pigs, and Eetu says:
    Eetu: Those pigs are coming! Sorry, pigs.
  • The Simpsons Movie:
    Moe: What, are you telling us we're trapped like rats?!
    Russ Cargill: No, rats can't be trapped this easily. You're trapped like... carrots.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The below exchange happens when the Spider-Gang are spying on Kingpin as he's making a self-aggrandizing speech at a banquet to honor Spider-Man's memory. Also counts as a humorous instance of You Know I'm Black, Right?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Duck Soup:
    Rufus T. Firefly: To me you suggest a baboon... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. It isn't fair to the rest of the baboons.
    • Firefly, to Mrs. Teasdale:
    Firefly: Married. I can see you right now in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove. But I can't see the stove.
  • From A Fish Called Wanda:
    Otto: Don't call me stupid.
    Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people!
On the DVD, that scene was called "An Insult to Stupid People".

  • Classic Evil Lawyer Joke: A man loses a lot of money in a trial and goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. As he gets more and more drunk, he finally slams his mug down on the bar and shouts, 'Goddammit! Lawyers are nothing but a load of scumbags!' The man sitting next to him turns and says, 'Mister, I take offense to that.' 'Why, you a lawyer?' 'No, sir. I am a scumbag.'
  • A man walks into a bar and starts complaining about the president, finally saying 'The president is a horse's ass!' Another man says 'Hey, don't talk like that in here.' The first man says 'You can't tell me you actually like that horse's ass!' 'No, but this is horse country.'
  • A New Yorker goes in a bar in the Deep South, starts drinking and yells out loud "Texans are all assholes!". Dead silence in the bar, until a huge guy goes up to him and says "Hey now, I take offense to that." "Why, are you a Texan?" "No, I'm an asshole!" (replace Texan with acceptable target of choice).

  • In Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter, Jade Leigh says she would like to add fangs and horns to the Alpha Bitch's face (on a school election poster). She promptly changes her mind, deciding that it would be an insult to The Devil. (After the two of them escape from the virtual reality world together, she celebrates seeing those same posters.)
  • Gordon Korman's The Chicken Doesn't Skate: "To call you a pig is an insult to pigs!"
  • The antihero of the classic satire Augustus Carp, Esq. by Himself cries so much that he sprays his former boss with his tears, and then apologizes. To the tears.
  • Catherine, Called Birdy: "The man was a pig, which dishonors pigs."
  • Commerce Emperor: While being magically compelled to fully and honestly confess all his sins, Robin refers to a former acquaintance as "a cheap son of a whore, no offense to whores, whose beds I often visit."
  • Dora Wilk Series: Dora, upon meeting goddess Badb again: "Maybe she was raised by wolves, although suspecting this would be unfair for those animals."
  • In the Mage: The Ascension novel Ascension Warrior, the insanely powerful (and just plain insane) archmage Porthos Fitz-Empress, on noting that a political enemy of his is present at a meeting of the Council of the Traditions, announces that he'd thought he'd smelled a large pile of rotting fish. He then proceeds to summon a pile of dead fish so he could apologize to it for mistaking it for Vargas.
  • In Redwall, Lord Brocktree has this to say about the singing of Dotti the hare:
    "To describe the young haremaid's singing voice as akin to a frog trapped beneath a hot stone would have been a great insult to both frog and stone."
  • Discworld:
    • In one book, a character calls Corporal Nobby Nobbs a pig, and another responds "Hey now. I've known some splendid pigs."
    • In Men at Arms, Nobby is described by saying that the only reason why you can't say that he's close to the animal kingdom is that the animal kingdom would get up and move away.
    • One book remarks that Ankh-Morpork is known as the Big Wahoonie, the wahoonie being a fruit described like an exaggerated durian, then adds that even the wahoonie doesn't smell as bad as Ankh-Morpork on a hot summer's day.
    • In The Art of Discworld, Terry Pratchett says that one of the inspirations for Greebo was his own Russian Blue, who has the intelligence of a rubber band "and at that, I'll probably be accused of being offensive to stationery equipment".
    • Near the end of Making Money, Lord Vetinari says that putting the bank in the hands of a convicted criminal is in the "best traditions of the Lavish family". Cosmo Lavish starts to object, but Moist von Lipwig objects over him. He's just a conman, but the Lavishes originally owe their fortune to piracy and the slave trade.
  • In the Gentleman Bastard Sequence, the author claims that to say that a pimp called "Rude Trevor Vargas" "was an intemperate, murderous lunatic would wound the feelings of most intemperate, murderous lunatics".
  • Dudley gleefully tells Harry Potter that the boys at Harry's new school, Stonewall High, stuff new kids' heads down the toilet the first day, and asks if Harry wants to practise. Harry declines, and retorts that "the poor toilet's never had anything as horrible as your head down it before; it might be sick," then escapes before Dudley can figure it out.
  • From Star Wars: Crosscurrent: Lovable Rogue Khedryn Faal makes a rude comment about enemy smuggler Earsh's ship, prompting this exchange:
    Earsh: You calling my ship trash, Faal?
    Khedryn: Calling your ship trash would be an insult to trash.
  • Two examples from the Honor Harrington series:
    • In Storm from the Shadows, Solarian League Battle Fleet Admiral Josef Byng is described by one character as not having "the brains God gave a cockroach", to which another character later says that the first person was "doing cockroaches a disservice".
    • In Mission of Honor, Admiral Sandra Crandall is described as having "the disposition of a grizzly bear with hemorrhoids trying to pass pinecones", after which another character thinks the comment "gross libel against grizzly bears".
  • At one point in the Belisarius Series, Irene got angry at Ousanas, calling him "a foul creature from a foul land. Now I know where Homer got the inspiration for the Cyclops." A moment later, she brightened up and apologized for slandering "the memory of an honorable monster of legend."
  • In V. C. Andrews' Midnight Whispers, Jefferson is ranting about his (and the protagonist's) aunt, who favors her own children over them and, therefore, punishes Jefferson constantly, and calls her "a low worm!" Christie tells him not to insult worms.
  • In The Wheel of Time, The Gathering Storm, with Egwene utterly crushing Elaida in a debate, Elaida tries to bully Egwene into subservience with a rather hammy Who Dares?.
    "I dare the truth, Elaida. You are a coward and a tyrant. I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you."
  • In one of G. K. Chesterton's Mr. Pond stories, a General is explaining his thought processes to a subordinate, and the Lemony Narrator comments that he's the sort of person who enjoys explaining things to the dog, before adding "It would be unjust to compare Lieutenant Von Hocheimer to a dog. It would be unjust to the dog, who is a much more sensitive and vigilant creature."
  • In Neal Stephenson's REAMDE, a reviewer once apparently stated about Devin Skraelin that "to say he is tin-eared would render a disservice to a blameless citizen of the periodic table of the elements."
  • In The Secret of Platform 13, Nanny Brown agrees to go along with Larina's kidnapping plan in part because she knows that someone has to take care of the stolen baby:
    She wasn't a particularly nice woman, but she loved babies, and she knew that Larina Trottle was as fit to look after a young baby as a baboon. Actually, a lot less fit because baboons, as it happens, make excellent mothers.
  • I, Claudius: Claudius' mother, Antonia, manages to make this one do double duty, by finding something a moment later that she thinks is a sufficiently insulting comparison.
    Antonia: That man ought to be put out of the way! He's as stupid as a donkey — what am I saying? Donkeys are sensible beings by comparison — he's as stupid as... as.... Heavens, he's as stupid as my son Claudius!
  • Papillon features an inmate who says to a guard: "I would spit on you, but my spit would just get dirty."
  • Ender's Game, Shen and Ender on Bernard:
    Shen: He's a pig.
    Ender: On the whole, pigs aren't so bad.
    Shen: You're right. I wasn't being fair to the pigs.
  • In A Feast for Crows from A Song of Ice and Fire, one character describes the "butchery" committed to a nearby town. Another takes issue, as "that gives insult to honest butchers everywhere."
  • In the Paladin of Shadows book Unto the Breach, Father Kulcyanov says that calling Stalin a pig is an insult to pigs.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm Queen of the Dead: Avery likens the social behaviors at Pepperidge Prep to a snake pit. When Alicia Blackheart possesses her, she decides that was an insult to the snakes.
  • In the book Elvenborn, Kyrtian and his bodyguard Gel are talking to the former's mother via teleson (a magical device that works like Skype). Gel starts to refer to the rather unpleasant Lady Triana as a bitch before correcting himself out of deference to Lady Lydiell. She then says, "I wouldn't call Triana a 'bitch', Gel. It's a terrible insult to all female canines, which are, on the whole, rather nice creatures."
  • In Chapter 28 of 1824: The Arkansas War, Andrew Jackson publicly denounces the deal-making that put Henry Clay into office as President after getting only about a sixth of the popular vote, and initially lambasts John Calhoun as Judas. Later, Jackson corrects himself, saying that the comparison was an insult to Judas.
  • Dave Barry's column "Insect Aside" mentions that some people voting for Official National Insect compared dung beetles to Congress. He objected:
    "I'm sorry, but that's a low blow: Our research indicates that no dung beetle has ever accepted money from a savings-and-loan operator."
  • In Bored of the Rings, the narration says:
    Heavily ridged over the eyes and prone to a rather poor posture, [the men of Whee] were often mistaken for Neanderthals, a common confusion that the latter deeply resented.
  • In Gray Lensman, Kimball Kinnison expresses his disapproval of people who deal in illegal drugs:
    "Calling a zwilnik a louse is insulting the whole louse family."
  • The novelization of Serenity says: "On the other side of the job was a gent name of Marco Ferlinghetti who had the brains of a cabbage — and that was only if one was feeling inhospitable toward vegetable matter."
  • In Words of Radiance, Shallan amazingly stops herself from responding to Bluth's comment, "You think I'm as dumb as that stick" with, "Stop insulting my stick." She does, however, think it. On the other hand, the stick is a POV character, and Bluth isn't.
  • In Hilda Lewis's Harlot Queen, a furious Edward III confronts his mother after being told how his deposed father was murdered:
    You are not a woman; you are an animal, a savage beast. And so the people name you. She-wolf! But they wrong such beasts; for they are, as God made them, innocent.
  • In Captive of the Red Vixen Lord Rolas is punished after an escape attempt by having his diet reduced to "Prison Loaf".
    Red Vixen: "[It] contains every bit of protein, vitamins, and nutrients that a healthy adult needs for one day, and tastes like wet cardboard, or so I'm told."
    Narration: As it turned out, the Red Vixen had been wrong about the prison loaf. Comparing it to wet cardboard was really a deep insult to the disposable packaging industry.
  • Sleeping Beauties: When Clint is informed how hopelessly understaffed the guards at Dooling Correctional Facility for Women are due to Aurora:
    To call this a skeleton crew would be an insult to skeletons.
  • In Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams Bernie accuses Borden of hitting on Gwendolyn.
    Borden: One occasion. One drink, for God's sake!
    Bernie: Perhaps a little farther than that, but I don't think your husband made a very favorable impression on Miss Cooper. I've heard her compare him to pond scum.
    Lolly: If pond scum had a lawyer, pond scum could sue for libel.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events takes this view of Mr. Poe, the perennially useless manager of the Baudelaire affairs.
    "Mr. Poe meant well, but a jar of mustard probably also means well and would do a better job of keeping the Baudelaires out of danger."
  • At one point in the Bill Bryson book Neither Here Nor There, he describes a burger he orders as, "To say that it was crappy would be to malign faeces".
  • In Heaven Official’s Blessing: Tian Guan Ci Fu, during Xie Lian's first visit to the Ghost City, Lan Chang becomes annoyed by Xie Lian not paying attention to her and calls him a pig. A nearby ghost pig overhears and takes offense.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow. In a flashback scene to before he became the badass he is today, Oliver Queen is being taught to fight by Slade Wilson who is unimpressed by the spoilt playboy he has to turn into a soldier. "To say you fight like a girl would be a compliment!"
  • In one episode of Bar Rescue, he told a bad owner that he'd call the person a douchebag, but that would be offensive to douchebags.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • While Buffy is hunting Angel inside the empty Bronze, she calls out that she knows he's in there, and she knows what he is ("Angel"). From the balcony, Angel, in game face, sneers:
      Angel: I'm just an animal, right?
      Buffy: You're not an animal. Animals, I like.
    • In "Lover's Walk", Spike sobs that he's "nothing" without Dru, a sentiment with which Buffy is inclined to agree. "You're not even a loser anymore. You're a shell of a loser."
    • In "Consequences", Angel's sermon to Faith doesn't appear to be sinking in. In the privacy of his garden, he grumbles to Buffy that it's like talking to a wall. "Only you get more from a wall."
  • One segment of an episode of 1000 Ways to Die gives the narrator this to say about two fools who die when their zorb ball goes down a cliff.
    Narrator: To compare these two to hamsters would be an insult to the entire rodent community.
  • In the Firefly episode "Shindig":
    Sir Warrick Harrow: I know [Badger]. And I think he's a psychotic lowlife.
    Mal: And I think calling him that is an insult to the psychotic lowlife community.
  • In a 3rd Rock from the Sun episode, Mary tells Dick, "To say that you behaved childishly is an insult to children everywhere!"
  • That '70s Show:
    Red: Eric, what did I tell you about comparing your sister to the Devil?
    Eric: That it's insulting to the Devil?
  • Scrubs:
    • Dr. Cox provides the trope name and headline quote when talking about how much he hates surgeons.
    • In "My Drama Queen," there's this exchange between JD and Dr. Cox:
      Dr. Cox: Could I be included in the planning of your coming out party?
      J.D.: Is that a gay joke?
      Dr. Cox: No, it's a cotillion joke. ... I would never compare you to the gays. I like the gays. I like their music, I like their sense of style, I especially like what they've done with Halloween! But our thing is that you're a little girl.
    • "My Night to Remember" has Dr. Cox tell JD he's as useless as the wall he's leaning on... then take it back because the wall is somewhat useful, as it's currently providing a place for "some jackass to lean on and reflect on what a jackass he truly is."
  • In iCarly:
    Sam: [when she sees Carly's painting] Who's that? Freddie?
    Carly: No! It's a clown!
    Sam: Oops. Sorry, Clown.
  • In Doctors, an ex of Daniel's left a baby in the surgery. When he insists it was nothing to do with him, Michelle calls him a horrible stinking rat. Archie asks them not to insult rats.
  • In Friends, "The One Where Mr. Heckles Dies":
    Rachel: Have you ever seen so much crap?
    Chandler: Actually, I think this apartment sullies the good name of crap.
  • During an episode of Cheap Seats dedicated to Roller Derby:
    Jason: Roller Derby was once considered "Poor Man's Wrestling", which I think we can all agree is a tremendous insult to wrestling.
    Randy: ...and the poor.
  • True Blood: Talbot insulting werewolves:
    Talbot: Please, they're all dumber than a box of rocks.
    Werewolf: That's unfair!
    Talbot: To boxes, maybe. [Beat] Or rocks.
  • The Daily Show:
    • In one segment that dealt with trying to debate whether Fox News were stupid or evil, Wyatt Cenac (on Team Evil) noted that if they weren't evil they were as stupid as potatoes with mouths. John Oliver (on Team Stupid) helpfully pointed out that potatoes can still power a digital clock, and suggested rocks with mouths.
    • In response to Boko Haram's kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls and subsequent videos attempting to intimidate the public, Jon said the only ones that come off as badasses were the students for having gone to school in spite of the danger in the first place. It took the form of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and ended with an inversion of this trope:
      Jon Stewart: I'd call you a bunch of little girls, but you don't deserve the compliment.
  • The Colbert Report: In the midst of heaping abuse on Canton, Kansas, Stephen says that converting the town to a landfill would be an insult to landfills.
  • Room 101:
    • In the last episode, Ian Hislop tried to put in Piers Morgan and mentioned how in Private Eye they call him Piers Moron.
      Paul Merton: Is that unfair to morons?
      Ian: And to piers. I mean, Southend — very nice.
    • When Paul eventually did pull the lever to send Morgan into Room 101, an alarm went off and it was announced that Room 101 had rejected him for being too toxic.
  • Psych:
    Czarsky: Haven't you embarrassed yourself enough already?
    Shawn: Hardly. I'm just getting started, you giant cockroach. [beat] You know what, that was out of line. I apologize to cockroaches everywhere.
  • In the very first episode of Doctor Who in 1963, the Doctor uses this on his first ever human companion, Ian, who is complaining about being condescended to. It would surely be a throwaway line if it were uttered today by Matt Smith, but this is William Hartnell we're talking about here.
    Ian: You're treating us like children!
    The Doctor: Am I? The children of MY civilization would be insulted.
  • Based on the idiom 'Everything resembles its owner,' the title character of El Chavo del ocho compares Doña Florinda to a broom. When Don Ramón tells him that was offensive, El Chavo responds that doesn't matter, because brooms don't understand.
  • Saturday Night Live: One "Hardball" sketch had Chris Matthews doing an interview with Ann Coulter.
    Matthews: I'd call you a media whore, but I feel like that'd be offensive to whores.
  • In The Suite Life on Deck, Bailey compares talking to London to talking to a tractor. Zack promptly replies that it's an insult to tractors.
  • In the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," a drunk Klingon calls the Enterprise a garbage scow. When Scotty demands an explanation, the Klingon apologizes for his misstatement, saying, "I didn't mean to say that the Enterprise should be hauling garbage. I meant to say that it should be hauled away as garbage!" Fisticuffs ensue.
  • From Sabrina the Teenage Witch when Hilda is forced to tell jokes by a magical belt.
    Hilda: You should meet my mother-in-law. I used to say she was ugly as sin. Sin sued.
  • Jessie:
    Ravi: He has the personal hygiene of a wolverine!
    Bertram: That's offensive to wolverines. They occasionally lick themselves clean.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, Doctor Erhardt states that calling Robot Monster wretched was an insult to the word 'wretched'.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: "You're so far ahead, you might as well be competing with that chair — oops. Sorry, chair."
  • Inverted in the penultimate episode of season nine of NCIS. Dr. Samantha Ryan, who loves to play mind games and has been trying to get Gibbs to be off his game, calls Gibbs "solid as a rock. Which is, by the way, a compliment to rocks."
  • In an episode of Hannah Montana: A cleaning lady refuses to clean Jackson's room and wanted to call him a pig but it would be an insult to pigs.
  • Life with Boys:
    "I just realized that when I compared you to an average dog, I was being insulting to dogs."
  • In the Suits pilot, Harvey claims the company executive being sued doesn't "give a rat's ass about his employees' right to privacy. Sorry, that's actually unfair to rats' asses."
  • In Horrible Histories, after pointing out that the rather corpulent George IV was called the "Prince of Whales" before ascending the throne, Rattus apologizes... to whales.
  • A variation in NCIS: Los Angeles, where Callen's Arch-Enemy the Chameleon calls his tracking device a collar.
    Callen: Collars are for animals. Don't flatter yourself.
  • In one episode of The Pretender, Jarod has captured Mr. Lyle and threatens to torture him for information. He whips out a cattle prod but adds that he shouldn't compare Lyle to cattle, it's insulting the latter.
  • From the Blue Bloods episode "Knockout Game", Frank's remarks on the eponymous spate of kids running up to random pedestrians and landing haymakers on them:
    "Look, this kind of stupid, random brutality gives regular street crime a bad name."
  • In an episode of CSI where the team has to deal with a suspect's Trash of the Titans, Nick says "People are pigs" and Grissom says "Don't insult pigs, Nick, they're actually very clean."
  • On The Hughleys as Darryl, Milsap and Dave are hanging out at a bar and Dave excuses himself to get another round, a customer begins making snide and racist comments to Darryl and Milsap, who fight back with equally snarky remarks.
    Racist: Are you calling me stupid?
    Milsap: No, sir, that would be insulting to the stupid.
  • In Blackadder the Third, Prince George recounts in conversation with Edmund that somebody at the Naughty Hellfire Club said he had the wit and sophistication of a donkey. Blackadder says this the suggestion is absurd, "unless, of course, it was a particularly stupid donkey".
  • In Westworld the Man in Black inflicts one of these on himself after Teddy calls him an "animal".
    Man in Black: No, an animal would have felt something.
  • In an episode of Robin of Sherwood, the Villain of the Week calls the outlaws pigs. Robert of Huntingdon calls him a pig, at which Will Scarlet butts in to accuse Robert of insulting pigs.

  • Dave Bartholomew's "The Monkey Speaks His Mind." In the song, three monkeys claim that the idea that man evolved from primates is an insult to monkeys.
  • "The Pig Got Up and Slowly Walked Away" by Benjamin Hapgood Burt is an Ode to Sobriety in which a woman comments on a drunk lying in the gutter with a pig, and the pig takes offence at being grouped with the drunk.
  • Elvis Costello's opening lyric to "Swine" is "You're a swine, and I'm saying, that's an insult to the pig".


    Print Media 
  • There's a cartoon that refers to an incident where Ken Livingstone compared an Evening Standard journalist he was exasperated with to a concentration camp guard.
  • Nintendo Power once said that saying Wario smells like a sewer is insulting to the sewer.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • On an episode of WWE Raw, Chris Jericho would call Stephanie McMahon a "filthy, dirty, disgusting nasty, skanky brutal bottom-feeding, trash-bag ho!" When he was forced to apologize, he apologized to all the filthy, dirty, disgusting, brutal, skanky, bottom-feeding, trash-bag hoes for even comparing them to Stephanie. He decided that "Bargain basement slut" and "Miserable slimeball pig" were more appropriate.
  • The Rock had one when he put an end to Vince McMahon's Kiss My Ass Club. He had won a match that stipulated Vince was to pucker up and plant one on Rock's bottom. The Rock stops him before his moment of humiliation, exclaiming "Your lips are not good enough to kiss the People's Ass!!!" He brought out Jim Ross and then teased him with the prospect of kissing Trish Stratus' firm glutes … before declaring there is one ass Vince would kiss.
  • On November 27, 2015, Hania The Howling Huntress wrote about the Black Friday shopping frenzy, "I would say people act like animals on Black Friday but animals have more couth."
  • Jim Cornette apologized to plumbers of the world for nicknaming Jon Moxley "The CEO of Moxley Plumbing" after a plumber doing work on his house complained. Cornette noted that plumbers are highly specialized and trained professionals that provide a vital service, while Moxley is a guy that has bad fake-looking garbage matches in front of tiny crowds and slices his head open on a nightly basis.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Dinosaurs episode, "Refrigerator Day", Earl is unable to pay his bills when B.P. Richfield doesn't give him his Refrigerator Day bonus, and as a result, the Sinclair family's refrigerator gets repossessed. This exchange then occurs between Earl and Robbie:
    Earl: This is terrible. I've failed my family. I'm nothing. I'm dirt.
    Robbie: You're not dirt.
    Earl: No, you're right, I'm beneath dirt. I look up to dirt. I wish I was dirt. Dirt laughs at me!

  • The Men from the Ministry: In one of the episodes written exclusively for YLE (essentially BBC of Finland) has Mildred's boyfriend comparing Mr. Lamb's mind to a sieve. Mildred protests, as something actually sometimes stays in a sieve.
  • The News Quiz:
    • In the 6 January 2023 episode, Samira Ahmed says that Rishi Sunak's "five-point plan" speech was compared to a CBeebies presenter, and that this is unfair, because CBeebies presenters don't talk down to their audience.
    • In the 9 February 2024 episode, Alex Kane quotes Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris saying his knowledge of Ulster Unionism was "GCSE level", and adds "I taught GCSE Politics. He's not even close to GCSE level!"

  • Jason Sartin:
  • At least two recaps by The Agony Booth have done it so far.
  • Battlefield Earth: J.D. Shapiro, one of the credited screenwriters (he wrote the first draft, and was fired due to Executive Meddling), started an apology letter on the movie with this:
    "Let me start by apologizing to anyone who went to see Battlefield Earth. It wasn't as I intended — promise. No one sets out to make a train wreck. Actually, comparing it to a train wreck isn't really fair to train wrecks, because people actually want to watch those."
  • Roger Ebert:
    • His review for Tom Green's Freddy Got Fingered including this phrase:
      "This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."
    • And A Lot Like Love: "To call A Lot Like Love dead in the water is an insult to water."
    • And The Spirit: "To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material."
    • The Village (2004): "Eventually the secret of Those, etc., is revealed. To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes."
    • Additionally, discussing Ishtar on their Worst of '87 special, Gene Siskel said, "I just saw Road to Morocco, and it is funnier than Ishtar — of course, that's really, I guess, an insult to Road to Morocco. Anything is funnier than Ishtar — except Leonard Part 6."
    • Of Battle: Los Angeles, he said: "Here's a science-fiction film that's an insult to the words 'science' and 'fiction,' and the hyphen in between them."
    • His G.I. Joe: Retaliation review reads: "To say G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a video game for the big screen is to insult a number of video games that are far more creative, challenging and better-looking." Mr. Ebert never was a fan of video games, either.
    • When speaking on Dirty Love, he lamented: "Todd McCarthy, the esteemed film critic of Variety, should have won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for generosity after writing the 'whole package has a cheesy look.' This movie is an affront to cheese. Also to breasts."
  • His former co-host Richard Roeper, listing Jonah Hex (2010) among the worst of 2010:
    "Megan Fox is truly the Raquel Welch of our generation. And maybe that's an insult to Raquel Welch."
  • One RPGamer review had much to say about Hoshigami's lack of sound quality (among other things):
    "The sound quality is the crappiest this side of the original NES and the compositions are so dull, so bland, so sickening, that you'll think it was composed by an ape! I apologize; I meant no disrespect to the ape community."
  • This review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows features the line "To say it's massively dissatisfying and frustrating is to do massively dissatisfying and frustrating things a great disservice."
  • "Calling Friedberg and Seltzer untalented hacks is an insult to REAL untalented hacks like Uwe Boll, Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, and Eli Roth." — Squid Vicious,
  • In SB Sarah's scathing review of Cassie Edwards' Savage Moon, she comments: 'I might have to modify our grading schedule and give it a Z except that the poor letter Z did nothing to deserve being permanently stuck on a Cassie Edwards novel."
  • Quoth MaryAnn Johanson of Flick Philosopher, on Baby Geniuses 2: "To call this immeasurably terrible movie 'stupid and nonsensical' would be an insult to stupid and nonsensical movies."
  • Christopher Hitchens referred to Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 as such:
    To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
  • The Moiderah of Ponies has this to say about The Conversion Bureau: "Burning is not advised, as burning it is a grave heresy to fire. Consider sending it to your enemies instead."
  • After a scandal over the number of synthetic additives contained in Miller Lite beer, the well-known beer critic Roger Protz stated: "I have, in the past, compared Miller Lite to a certain equine by-product, but now I see that that is an insult to a noble animal."
  • A NBA analysis states that "To call the 2012–13 season a forgettable one for the [Bob]'Cats is an insult to long-lost memories everywhere."
  • Reviewer James Berardinelli on Zombie! Vs. Mardi Gras (considered the worst movie he's ever seen): "The film seems to have been inspired in equal parts by George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space. The result is an embarrassment to both films. (When was the last time anything was described as an embarrassment to Plan Nine??)"
  • "The title character of Norm of the North may be a bear, but the movie is a dog. Actually, that assessment is unfair to dogs — real, anthropomorphic and metaphorical."
  • While reviewing Frankenstein Stalks, 1000 Misspent Hours took issue with David "The Rock" Nelson calling himself "the Ed Wood of the 21st century."
    El Santo: Wood made his movies to the best of his abilities, and if his abilities turned out not to be very great, it's still no slight against the commitment and work ethic that he brought to bear in their service. Frankenstein Stalks, by contrast, represents something close to the absolute minimum of effort that it would be possible to expend while still producing what technically qualifies as a feature motion picture. Someone who understood, appreciated, and respected what Ed Wood put into even his shittiest and most worthless films, and who wanted to honor his example with their own work, would have written a damn script. They would have recruited some damn actors, even if they were just folks from the local community theater who were willing to work for beer on their days off. And they sure as fuck wouldn't have been content to settle for how Nelson depicted the Frankenstein monster's ostensible reign of terror.
  • This review of the first House of Night book:
    May you be ranked with Eye of Argon in the future.
    And I'm not sure if I'm insulting Eye of Argon.
  • In this Let's Play of Lunar: Dragon Song, the recapper is about to compare Jian's memory to that of a goldfishcontext , but decides that Jian's probably dumber than that after noting that goldfish can be trained to memorizing simple mazes for up to a month's time.
  • This review of the trash TV reality show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo describes her family thusly:
    To call these people animalistic would be a compliment. They are more like plants: sedentary, incestual, and easily killed by tornadoes.
  • From Christy Lemire's zero-star review of Cosmic Sin:
    To suggest that Bruce Willis is phoning in his performance in Cosmic Sin would be an insult to telephone communication, which can be an effective means of conveying important information and genuine emotion.note 
  • LGBTQ Nation's review of Lady Ballers called it "Too stupid to be anti-trans propaganda" on the grounds that calling it propaganda implies that there were ideas put into the film and it has none.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Eclipse Phase, calling Legba a hive of scum and villainy is actually described as an insult to scum and villains.

  • It's a fact that describing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as "a bad fanfic" is so common in the Harry Potter fandom that it's practically a meme. It's also a fact that an equal portion of the fandom repeatedly objects to that description because they sincerely find it an insult to fan fiction.
  • As per The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples: In Titus Andronicus, Lavinia likens Tamora to the legendary queen Semiramis, who founded the infamously sinful city of Babylon and was associated with the lascivious goddess Ishtar of Mesopotamian Mythology. Then Lavinia backtracks on this comparison, not considering it fair to Semiramis:
    Ay, come, Semiramis — nay, barbarous Tamora,
    For no name fits thy nature but thy own.

    Video Games 
  • In Baldur's Gate II, Nalia deArnise describes her betrothed who unsurprisingly turns out to have been behind the attack on her family home this way. Her statement is actually doubly funny if you remember that the main character actually is a bastard.
    Nalia: He is a complete and total bastard, and calling him that insults bastards everywhere!
  • From Rome: Total War, there's the description of the "Deranged" trait:
    "There are those who say that this man gibbers like a deranged rock ape. The rock apes will take offense at this slur."
  • The manual for Full Throttle described Adrian Ripburger as follows:
    We'd call him a weasel at heart if he had a heart and it wasn't an insult to respectable weasels.
  • In Jade Empire, one of the more fucked-up people you meet in the game, aside from the villains themselves, is the powerful Judge Fang: a man so disgustingly perverted that he's implied to have gotten off to a corrupt guard's genitals being torn off by starved dogs in addition to paying a prostitute a lot of money to allow him to "do things to her" that makes his own guards flinch at their offensiveness but still pity her for having to put up with him. If your main character says "Sounds like a really sick and twisted person," the guard quips "Nah. I wouldn't call him sick and twisted. That would be an insult to all sick and twisted people everywhere. Fang, he's on a whole other level …"
  • In Lords of the Realm the default insulting message contains the line "You look like a toad. No, that's an insult to toads, you look worse."
  • Tales of the Abyss:
    • This exchange when a coachman mistakes Luke and Tear for bandits.
      Luke: Don't go comparing me to some pathetic bandits!
      Tear: Yes, you might upset the bandits.
    • In the manga of Tales of Destiny, Leon says to Stahn's ineptitude, "I'd compare you to that chicken there, but it wouldn't be fair to the chicken."
  • Eternal Sonata: "Really, though, comparing seawater stirred up by the beauty of the moon to the ugly waves created by the effects of human desire is rather an insult to the ocean."
  • The vice president of the school in Snow Sakura was compared to a snake by the main character. His uncle then tells him that he shouldn't insult snakes like that.
  • Blood Bowl's Video Game edition has an example of this when the Pro Elves play a game and the Announcer Chatter turns to them:
    Jim: Hair products? Check. Scantily clad players? Check. If I didn't know better I could have mistaken these for an Amazon team, Bob.
    Bob: Don't be silly, Jim, I don't think I know anyone that fears an elf.
    Jim: That's true, Bob.
  • Before the first Sonic/Shadow boss fight in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic calls Shadow a faker, only for Shadow to retort that Sonic is the fake hedgehog and that he isn't good enough to be his fake. Sonic then tells him that he'll make him eat his words.
  • In Super Robot Wars V's mission "Not Your Natto" (based on an episode of The Brave Express Might Gaine), Catherine Vuitton kidnaps a group of your support characters as part of a plot to destroy all the natto in Japan. Your Player Character's comment says it all.
    Chitose: I would call this childish but I don't want to offend any children.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: If in the mood, Arthur Morgan can use this insult towards Sadie Adler.
    Arthur: I'd call you a fishwife, but I'd be insulting the fish.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Inverted in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Trucy scolds Apollo when he calls Machi Tobaye a pianist, because that would imply, he can be compared to her father (who can't even be called a Dreadful Musician because Phoenix barely plays the piano at all).
    • The DLC case in Dual Destinies has Dr. Crab remaking that Phoenix is more birdbrained than Rifle (a penguin at the aquarium where Dr. Crab works), which Blackquill (who has a pet hawk named Taka) takes great exception to:
      Blackquill: Witness, I will not allow birds to be belittled in my presence! Limit your disparaging comments to the defense alone!
      Phoenix: (So I get disparaged either way. Great.)
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, after Byleth pursues their father's killer only to end up in a trap set by the enemy, Sothis calls them out.
    Sothis: You Fool!! What were you thinking, charging right into an enemy's trap? Are you just a boulder that rolls down whatever hill it's on? No, even a boulder has more sense!
  • Love & Pies:
    Esme: Saw that rat of an ex-husband outside, Amelia.
    Amelia: You shouldn't call him that. It's not fair on Kate.
    Esme: Not fair on rats, more like.
  • Persona 5 Tactica: In the side quest, when Yusuke is informed how he behaved while he was Brainwashed by Marie:
    Futaba: Marie made you call yourself an "inconsequential, dirt-poor brat."
    Yusuke: What!? How... How could she...!?
    Makoto: Hey, it's okay. You shouldn't take what she says to heart, you know that right?

    Web Animation 
  • Etra chan saw it!: When Azami refused to admit her wrongdoing to her boss a few days after an incident during Akane's wedding day, Tsutsuji finds her logic absurd and alien, while apologizing to the aliens for the comparison.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The News Biscuit article "Underworld does not want Blair's book in crime section" responds to an Internet campaign to move Tony Blair's memoirs to the "crime" section of bookshops by suggesting the criminal underworld is "unhappy at being associated with Mr. Blair as it makes them feel 'dirty'."
  • After the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch made some nasty comments about the company refusing to make larger sizes of clothing because they don't want "ugly people" in their stores, the Internet got angry and started making fun of his appearance, with posts circulating Tumblr comparing him to a particularly ugly orc captain named Gothmog in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Cue the counter-post saying that this is entirely unfair to Gothmog, because he's a total badass.
  • WrestleCrap, in its 2013 Gooker Award column lambasting Dixie Carter's Face–Heel Turn, recalls the time TNA briefly hired NFL cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, who was suspended by the league at the time for his conviction on felony gun charges:
    "Long story short, he's a football player and convicted felon that TNA brought in because they thought it would bring them some much-needed pub. Which it did, but it was negative pub. But said negative pub wasn't that TNA was bringing in a felon, it was that the FELON LOWERED HIMSELF BY GOING TO TNA."
  • This Cracked article, in discussing a conspiracy theory that Stephen King killed John Lennon, says:
    ...Yes, according to a particularly inspired conspiracy enthusiast (who I'm specifically not calling a loon, for loons are a fine folk and I have no wish to offend them)...
  • This infographic on Tumblr explains why comparing CEOs to vultures would be unfair to the vultures.
  • SF Debris: When Chuck Sonnenburg reviews Star Trek Into Darkness and talks about how unfit Kirk is for command, he compares him to Stifler from the American Pie movies. He then says this is a disservice to Stifler because he matured over time, while Kirk merely grows more insufferable.

    Web Videos 
  • PJTV's Bill Whittle, in his Afterburner episode "Rule of Lawlessness" states that calling the "fiscal cliff" shenanigans (or "goat rodeo" as Bill calls it) Kabuki theater was an insult to that art, which has rules, structure, beauty, and an ancient and honorable tradition.
  • The Cinema Snob enjoys using comparisons like this.
    • While reviewing Brazilian Star Wars:
      Snob: To say that these dipshits overdo it on the silly factor would just take the dignity of the word silly.
    • After confirming that the name "Uwe Boldt" in the credits of Violent Shit has no connection to Uwe Boll:
      Snob: Oh good, because for a minute there I thought... you know what? This movie is so fucking awful that comparing it to Uwe Boll is an insult to Uwe Boll!
    • He uses a variant of the joke in his review of Pink Flamingos:
      Snob: [after a character goes on an expletive-laden rant] I'd wash this movie's mouth out with soap, but [pulls bar of soap out of his jacket] I'd rather give this bar of soap a more dignified death, like scrubbing my asshole!
    • And in reviewing the fundamentalist propaganda film Rock: It's Your Decision on DVD-R Hell, Brad says that calling the Captain and Tennille "sin" is a sin against the word "sin".
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
    • Linkara did a crossover review with the Last Angry Geek of Spider-Man: One Moment in Time. Said comic was supposed to be an explanation of the whole mess that One More Day ended up creating, but only ended up making it worse. Linkara once again loudly declares that Joe Quesada is a hack, and that calling him one was actually doing a favor to the other hacks out there by making them look better.
    • Linkara also went on a rant against Mentor Ji in the Power Rangers Samurai episode of History of Power Rangers, calling him a glorified butler — before retracting it and saying Spencer from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, an actual butler, did more to help the Rangers of Operation Overdrive than Ji ever did the Samurai Rangers.
    • On the Cinema Snob webpage comments on Suburban Knights, in response to a troll:
      Adam: So your method to criticize something you'll never watch is to swear about the people involved? That's not a critical opinion, that's throwing a tantrum for attention. Congrats, you're equal to my 4-year-old cousin.
      Linkara: Now that, sir, is simply unfair. 4-year-olds don't know any better.
  • Allison Pregler, on The Room (2003): "I'd go as far as saying The Room is this generation's Troll 2, but I'd be afraid of insulting Troll 2."
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • While reviewing Superman: The Animated Series:
      Critic: Now, I would say this chase scene seems to copy the one from Judge Dredd, but that would imply that people actually saw Judge Dredd. note 
    • In the SNICK review, the Critic compares the musical numbers of Roundhouse to bad Christian rock. After playing a sample of one of the numbers, though, he admits that Christian rock doesn't sound that badnote .
    • In his "The WORST Christmas Special Ever" episode on The Christmas Tree when he sees a bear that is not a polar bear in the North Pole, he comments that even Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at least got what kind of bear lives in the Arctic right.
    • In his review of M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, he mocks the Evil Overlord's non-threatening appearance:
      Critic: It's like they grabbed a guy at the grocery store and dressed him up as Biggus Dickus! Hell, Biggus Dickus is more intimidating than him! He at least is played by an actor I know is dead, which kind of has the ghost value... It's more intimidating than this!
  • In The Nostalgia Chick's spin-off Fifty Shades of Green/Booze Your Own Adventure, she calls E.L. James "the Michael Bay of writing," and after a moment profusely apologizes to Bay, saying that comment was "way out of line."
  • In his "Top 10 Worst Hit Songs of 2022" list, Todd in the Shadows described Meghan Trainor's style as "white Lizzo" but quickly recants that, saying it's insulting. Not to Lizzo, but to white people.
  • TV Trash: During the review of Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", Chris asserts that the decision by the creators of South Park to compare the Family Guy writers to manatees is an insult to the manatees.
  • The Music Video Show has one against Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" and its video.
    "Saying that this song and video is an insult to songs and videos is an insult to insult to insult to songs and videos."
  • Stefan Molyneux's YouTube video "Social Security Is Not a Ponzi Scheme" says this about the American "Social Security" system and Ponzi Schemes. Since Ponzi Schemes don't force you to join it's arguably justified.
  • Bad Creepypasta: After the reading of It's OK, Your Soul Doesn't Matter, MD Phantasm made a remark about how poorly-written creepypastas were written by children, where Jacob took offense to his remark and gave a small rant how they should be writing better stories as they learned in school.
  • Yogscast Civilization: During the Christmas 2014 livestream (aka the "Datlof" game), a very, very drunk Lewis threatens to fire Parv for a number of different reasons, such as putting a speck of grime in his glass of ginnote . He then takes that back because he's unsure if Parv does enough work to even technically be fired and compares it to firing the gin glass itself, which he also takes back because the glass actually serves a purpose to him.
  • TJ Omega TJ states that Titanium Megatron has more in common with a brick than a real Transformer... and ends up apologizing to the brick he used for the gag.
  • Mother's Basement: Geoff's claim to fame is many videos bashing Sword Art Online, so whenever he says a series is even worse than SAO, you know he really hates it.
  • jan Misali, creator of Conlang Critic, has repeatedly stated how much he HATES Votgil. Since the third episode, when he reviewed Votgil, it has been at the bottom of his list. That is, until he reviewed Poliespo. It's so much worse he doesn't even go so far as to actually compare the two!
    comparing Poliespo to Votgil is an insult to Votgil
  • Crash Thompson:
    • In "Worst Albums of 2022", Crash compares the lyrics from "Emo Girl" by Machine Gun Kelly to Bratz dolls, before going on to say "that's not fair to the Bratz dolls".
  • When The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed Countdown Vampires, he initially compared Countdown to Time Killers, as both games were Follow the Leader equivalents to game-changing franchises that came out way too late. He quickly changed his mind thinking he was being mean to Time Killers, and then said it would be better to compare Countdown to Shadow: War of Succession.
  • When dissing Square Enix on the Jimquisition episode "Square Enix Can't Stop Being Terrible", James Stephanie Sterling initially refers to Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda as "weasel-in-chief" before apologizing to weasels, saying "Weasels are cute. Matsuda's a stupid fucking dickhead."

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs:
    • In a micro-commercial for Pinky and the Brain, the Brain said Pinky had the approximate IQ of an empty soap dish. "I take it back. I don't want to insult the soap dish."
    • Animaniacs (2020): In a YouTuber Apology Parody, the Warners apologize for calling Ralph the Guard a "silly goose", which offended a lot of geese.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In "Summit to Save Earth", after a two-parter's worth of his usual violent cruelty, Zarm is yelling at the birds and monkeys attacking him, calling them vermin. The incoming Captain Planet snaps back that Zarm is the vermin, and then immediately backpedals, saying that calling him vermin isn't terrible enough to be accurate.
    Captain Planet: You're trash, and this is one time I'm not recycling!
  • Tripping the Rift: When Angel calls the alien T'Nuk a cow for knocking her out of her chair:
    Chode: She's not a cow.
    T'Nuk: Thank you, Chode.
    Chode: Cows have a quiet dignity and serve a purpose.
    T'Nuk: Jackass!
    Chode: Let's not drag your mother into this.
  • Johnny Test once said his dad's cookies tasted like dirt, so his dad made him eat dirt for comparison. Johnny apologizes and admits he was wrong. Dirt tastes better.
  • In one Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode Sonic mentions that he'd like to call Robotnik a slime bucket, "but that would be an insult to decent slime buckets everywhere!"
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series — Spider-Man to Hobgoblin:
    Spider-Man: Personally, I'd never call you a fool. That'd be an insult to fools everywhere.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head, discussing Scatman John's "Scatman" music video.
    Beavis: They should have a name for this kind of music.
    Butt-Head: There already is a name for this music, Beavis. It's called crap.
    Beavis: They oughta have, you know, a "Crap" section in the record store.
    Butt-Head: Uhhh, yeah. It should be out in the dumpster.
    Beavis: No way, Butt-Head. There's cool stuff in the dumpster. You wouldn't want to mess it up with this crap.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer's Enemy", Frank Grimes observes Homer's eating habits.
      Grimes: God, he eats like a pig.
      Lenny: I dunno. Pigs tend to chew. I'd say he eats more like a duck.
      Grimes: Well, some kind of farm animal anyway.
    • Inverted in "Beyond Blunderdome", where a studio executive declares that an Actionized Remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (that ends with Smith killing everyone in Congress and decapitating the President) made by Mel Gibson and Homer was worse than Godfather III. Mel and Homer gasp in horror and the studio executive quickly apologizes.
    • Milhouse pulls a self-effacing version in "I Am Furious (Yellow)" when Bart says he can tag along to a Wacky Startup Workplace he's making webtoons for.
      Bart: You can speak nerd to them.
      Milhouse: (annoyed) I'm not a nerd Bart... (suddenly crestfallen) Nerds are smart.
    • In "Homerazzi", combining with My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting, Homer's failure to blow out the candles on his birthday cake prompts Lisa to point out that, even for an American, he's really out of shape. And to elaborate further, the candles on Homer's birthday cake weren't those trick candles that you can't blow out—they were candles that are supposedly EASIER to blow out than regular candles.
  • On Total Drama World Tour, Leshawna opens a can of peanuts only for a little Chris head to pop out.
    Leshawna: A Chris-in-the-box? That's an insult to boxes.
  • At one point in Rick and Morty, Morty compares Sociopathic Hero Rick to Hitler, "except at least Hitler cared about Germany, or something!"
  • Stōked: In "Hunka Hunka Burnin' Reef", when Fin and Lo are competing over Reef:
    Lo: So Reef is the dog? Kinda insulting.
    Fin: Yeah. To the dog.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: During "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", Thurl Ravenscroft sings that the Grinch has "all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile", then adds "Given the choice between the two of you, I'd take the.... seasick crocodile!"
  • DuckTales (2017): In "The Secret(s) of Castle McDuck!", Scrooge and his estranged father, Fergus, start in on another of their many arguments.
    Fergus: You avoid us like the plague!
    Scrooge: Oh, come now, that's unfair to the plague!
    Fergus: That's it! Go to Your Room!!
    Scrooge: I NEVER LIVED HERE!
  • In one episode of Nexo Knights, while the knights are struggling to work on a movie headed by an upstart director, Macy calls the movie a farce before deciding that it's too bad to even be called that.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Discord invokes this as part of his Batman Gambit against the villains while insulting Tirek.
    Tirek: He's lying! He won't tell us!
    Discord: I certainly won't tell you after the way you lied to me the last time we teamed up, you muscle-bound cretin.
    Tirek: This "cretin" could destroy you before you blink, so choose your words carefully.
    Discord: You're right. "Cretin" is too polite. How about "pathetic centaur who uses magic to compensate for the fact that deep down he's afraid he'll never be enough to please dear old dad, King Vorak"?
  • Family Guy: One episode had Quagmire threaten he'd "squash (Brian) like a bug", causing a family of anthropomorphic bugs watching the series to become offended by it.

    Real Life 
He was less insulted by lead singer Gregg Alexander mentioning he'd kick Marilyn's ass in as he was being mentioned in the same breath as Courtney Love.
  • Some people compare the user interface changes in Windows 8 to the flavor changes in New Coke. Robert X. Cringely called it an insult to New Coke.
  • In June 2013, The Sun published the following retraction/apology:
    In an article on Saturday headlined 'Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ,' we stated 'two flat silver discs' were seen 'above the Church of Scientology HQ.' Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.
  • In a 1910 trial Judge Ralph H. Latshaw declared that grouping rapists with murderers was an insult to the murderers and even went so far as to deny the rapists the dignity of being hanged on a Friday, the traditional day on which hangings take place.
  • Conservative commentator David Frum declared Sarah Palin to have demonstrated that she wasn't up to the job of being Vice President of the United States and compared her to Dan Quayle, before admitting that he felt such a comparison unfair…to Quayle.
  • Comparing anyone to the Westboro Baptist Church is literally an insult to everyone else. Jerry Falwell (who believed, like them, that gays caused 9/11) thought they went too far, and even the Ku Klux Klan officially disavowed any connection with them.
  • As part of the Uruguay government's infliction of damnatio memoriae upon the Tupamaros, the word "terrorist" could not be used to refer to them, as they were making such inept fools of the government with their antics that it was held that to call them terrorists would be an insult to terrorists.
  • Many people have quipped along the lines of "To call X 'sophomoric' would be an insult to sophomores."
  • In the 1964 British general election, the constituency of Smethwick swung from Labour to Conservative against the national tide, partly thanks to a campaign that was accused of race-baiting. More information here. Prime Minister Harold Wilson called on the Tories to disavow Peter Griffiths MP, whom he called a "parliamentary leper". Several Conservative MPs proposed a motion to condemn Wilson's insult to Griffiths,note  while some of Wilson's own Labour MPs also proposed a motion to condemn his insult... to lepers.
  • The controversial practice of using "Applied Behavior Analysis" to teach children on the autistic spectrum to interact with others in an outwardly 'normal' way is frequently compared to dog training by its detractors. (And, tellingly, some of its advocates.) At least one professional dog trainer has weighed in on the subject here, describing the comparison as deeply unfair: She would never treat a dog that way, because it's cruel and ineffective.
  • When Charlie Finley, owner of the Oakland A's baseball team in the 1970's, was feuding with then-baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, Finley at one point called him a "village idiot". Afterwards, Finley corrected this, saying, "I apologize to all the village idiots of America. He (Kuhn) is the nation's idiot."
  • A review of Dracula 3000 stated that "To call this film shit is an insult to fragrant brown logs everywhere."
  • This video tells the story of a mother who horribly abused her daughter for 15 years, including starvation and torture. Candace (the host) says at the end that she was sentenced to death, and adds that she sincerely hopes she goes to Hell, but then adds that even Satan probably wouldn't want her there.
  • After a terrible Philadelphia Eagles game, a Facebook member snidely commented that "the Eagles played like they were wearing tutus." Incensed at this, a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet offered up a blistering editorial that described how difficult the life of a ballerina was and suggested that the comment was an insult to the dancers rather than the football players, capping it off with this gem: "So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be the head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs."
  • Invoked and inverted by historian Gareth Russell in his nonfiction book Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of Henry VIII. Russell noted that the Duke of Norfolk, uncle to both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, had once complained that "...Queen Anne Boleyn drove him from her presence with words that one would not use to a dog," an anecdote which the author notes "...if nothing else was inaccurate on the basis that [Anne] liked her dogs far more than she did her uncle."
  • After the Russians launched missiles at a funeral in a Ukrainian village, killing over 50 mourners, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that the attack "couldn't even be called a beastly act - because it would be an insult to beasts".
  • In 2023, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times characterized a politician as having "all the charisma of a linoleum floor". An architect wrote back demanding an apology on behalf of linoleum, "which has comported itself with dignity now for more than a century and a half."


Video Example(s):


An Insult To the Ocean

In "Eternal Sonata," Polka's mother uses the waves of the ocean as a metaphor for the ugly conflicts created by human desire, but then notes that her comparison is rather insulting to the ocean.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / InsultToRocks

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