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Listing the Forms of Degenerates

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"All the animals come out at night — whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."
Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver

This is when a character, or group of characters, gives a list of categories of people they consider degenerates, often in the context of describing something similar about them. Due to the often judgmental tone associated with this, sometimes it's used to indicate that the character listing these is a Knight Templar; other times, a good character may use this kind of a list as part of a Good Is Not Nice characterization. A villain who says this is probably (a) a Politically Incorrect Villain performing their Motive Rant, or (b) doing so in the context of Surrounded by Idiots.

Often this has fairly specific examples earlier in the list but ends with a more general one; alternatively, this may follow an Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking or Department of Redundancy Department pattern.


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  • In Batman: Shaman, an arc that chronologically takes place during Batman: Year One, Batman tells a random punk to spread the word about him.
    Tell them. Tell everyone. All the punks, junkies, gunsels, enforcers...All the wise guys, leg-breakers, muscle boys...Tell them they're finished. Tell them the streets belong to the Batman.
  • Judge Dredd: "Give me your perps, your muties, your psychos..."
  • Played for Laughs in The Tick, where Clark Oppenheimer explains to the Tick that the city is his to protect.
    Clark: This city is full of thieves, muggers, murderers, rapists, landlords, philatelists...

  • In both the film and the song titled Alice's Restaurant, Arlo Guthrie presents a list of the people he met in prison: "mother rapers... father stabbers... father rapers", before reminding the audience that he was simply there for littering.
  • In Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, Jack the Ripper has one of these. While his main target is "whores", that's just the first step in wiping all the scum of the streets, which apparently includes immigrants and illiterates.
  • In Blazing Saddles, Hedley Lamarr makes a Long List of people he wants to help him with an illegal scheme that will convince the citizens of Rock Ridge to leave. However, because Hedley's henchman is desperately scrounging for a pencil and paper, he misses all of it, and has to ask for it to be repeated.
    I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, and Methodists!
  • Connor and Murphy's "kill 'em all" speech from The Boondock Saints.
    Connor: You know what I think is psycho, Roc? It's decent men with loving families. They go home every day after work and they turn on the news, and you know what they see? They see rapists and murderers and child molesters. They're all getting out of prison.
    Murphy: Mafiosos. Getting caught with twenty kilos. Getting out on bail the same fucking day!
    Connor: And everywhere, everybody thinks the same thing...that someone should just go kill those motherfuckers.
    Murphy: Kill 'em all. Admit it. Even you've thought of it.
  • Edie "Grace" McClurg's line from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
    Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.
  • In Full Metal Jacket, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman informs the recruits that there is no racial bigotry under his command, he does not look down on "niggers, kikes, wops or greasers". They are all equally worthless.
  • Early in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a house-elf by the name of Kreacher rants about how Sirius Black is not as strict about the company he keeps as Walburga Black was.
    Mudblood, werewolves, traitors, thieves. If my poor mistress knew the scum they let into her house, what would she say to old Kreacher?
  • The Holy Office: The inquisitor listing the people they persecute, including people who follow the Old Law of Moses and the sects of Muhammad and Luther.
  • Frollo's description of the Feast of Fools, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    Thieves and cutpurses, the dregs of humankind, all mixed together in a shallow drunken stupor...
  • Joe Clark from Lean on Me does this a few times:
    I've got thugs, drug dealers, and deviants of all kinds trying to get into my school.
    I want the name of every hoodlum, drug dealer, and miscreant who's done nothing but take this place apart on my desk by noon today.
  • In PCU, Evil Reactionary Rand provides a list of Strawman U stereotypes as he's having a Villainous Breakdown. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize the mic Droz is holding is still on. Made even funnier, because the sign language translator is signing all of Rand’s slurs.
    Rand: Hey, poor boy, go and have your parties with all you new friends. I can see it now, Andrews. You and all the knee-jerk bleeding heart liberals sipping tea and playing patty-cake, and those useless hippie potheads, those commie-pinko leftists, the bunny huggers, the pillow biters—
    Droz: Wait—which ones are the pillow biters?
    Rand: The butt pirates! And those beastly man-haters—tell those chicks to shave their pits and call me. And the whiny crybaby minorities. You can keep 'em all.
    Droz: (turns Rand around to show everyone is listening to him) Rand McPherson everyone! Remember the 4:00 show is completely different from the 12:00 show.
  • From The Punisher (2004), we get Frank's last spoken words of the film:
    "Those who do evil to others: the killers, rapists, psychos and sadists. You will come to know me well. Frank Castle is dead. Call me.....the Punisher.
  • Harry Russo in Schizophreniac: The Whore Mangler:
    Top of the fucking world, Rubberneck! I'll fucking kill all you motherfuckers! Chinks, spics, blacks, cunts, fags! No holds fucking barred!
  • Taxi Driver. Really, Travis Bickle does this a lot during the movie, but the page quote is the most famous.
  • In V for Vendetta (film only) Prothero makes such a list and specifically calls them degenerates afterwards.
  • From Watchmen:
    "The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout 'Save us!'... and I'll look down, and whisper 'No.'"

  • In the opening scene of A Confederacy of Dunces, the main character, having been challenged by a policeman who thinks he is loitering, reels off a list of the kinds of people the police should be focusing on:
    This city is famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians, all of whom are only too well protected by graft.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when the house-elf Kreacher rants about how Sirius Black is not as strict about the company he keeps as Walburga Black was.
    "...smells like a drain and a criminal to boot, but she’s no better, nasty old blood traitor with her brats messing up my mistress’s house, oh, my poor mistress, if she knew, if she knew the scum they’ve let into her house, what would she say to old Kreacher, oh, the shame of it, Mudbloods and werewolves and traitors and thieves, poor old Kreacher, what can he do..."
  • In the Philip Marlowe novel The Little Sister, Marlowe monologues about how Los Angeles has lost its soul:
    Now we get characters like this Steelgrave owning restaurants. We get guys like that fat boy that bailed me out back there. We've got the big money, the sharp shooters, the percentage workers, the fast dollar boys, the hoodlums out of New York and Chicago and Detroit — and Cleveland. We've got the flash restaurants and night clubs that they run, and the hotels and apartment houses they own, and the grifters and con men and female bandits that live in them. The luxury trades, the pansy decorators, the Lesbian dress designers, the riff-raff of a big hard-boiled city with no more personality than a paper cup.
  • The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul has "the muggers and pushers and pimps and hamburger salesmen" who hang around King's Cross Station.
  • In Our Gang, Philip Roth's satirical book about the Nixon administration, the Vice President's speeches are nothing but alliterating lists of these, parodying Spiro Agnew's fondness for alliteration.
    ...the flag-burners, the faggots, the fairies, the filth peddlers, the Fabian Socialists of yore, the fair-weather friends, the fairies, the faithless, the flesh-show operators, the flotsam and jetsam of the universities, the fairies, the folk singers, the fairies, the freaks, the fairies, the free-loaders on welfare, the fairies, the free-speechers with their favorite four-letter word, the fairies...
  • In the Temps story "Pitbull Britain" by Kim Newman, a satire based on assuming everything the Daily Mail says is actually true, the forces of evil behind the miners' strike are a "Consortium of South American dictators, Marxist ideologies, organised crime figures, Irish Republicans, hippie drug-fiends, Japanese businessmen, KGB hardliners, French pastry-chefs, Middle Eastern Mullahs, Nazi mad scientists, shapechanging vampire paranorms, Labour Party politicians and anarchist agitators".
  • Of course, Victoria is full of these, from the oft-repeated description of multiculturalism and city life as "drugs, noise and dirt" to city-dwellers, "the pimps and the prostitutes and the dealers and the thugs." Along with followers of all manner of liberal causes. Unfortunate Implications abound, particularly given the book's heavy-handed treatment of race.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin has Jimmy is explaining to Reggie what kinds of people his secret army will be against:
    Jimmy Anderson: Wreckers of law and order. Communists, Maoists, Trotskyists, neo-Trotskyists, crypto-Trotskyists, union leaders, Communist union leaders, atheists, agnostics, long-haired weirdos, short-haired weirdos, vandals, hooligans, football supporters, namby-pamby probation officers, rapists, papists, papist rapists, foreign surgeons - headshrinkers, who ought to be locked up, Wedgwood Benn, keg bitter, punk rock, glue-sniffers, "Play For Today", Clive Jenkins, Roy Jenkins, Up Jenkins, up everybody's, Chinese restaurants - why do you think Windsor Castle is ringed with Chinese restaurants?
    Reginald Perrin: You realise the sort of people you're going to attract, don't you, Jimmy? Thugs, bully-boys, psychopaths, sacked policemen, security guards, sacked security guards, racialists, Paki-bashers, queer-bashers, Chink-bashers, anybody-bashers, rear Admirals, queer admirals, Vice Admirals, fascists, neo-fascists, crypto-fascists, loyalists, neo-loyalists, crypto-loyalists.
    Jimmy Anderson: Do you think so? I thought recruitment might be difficult.
  • From Scrubs:
    Dr. Kelso: I am sick and tired of listening to people complain about being called fatties, dummies, boozers, losers, winos, tubbos, tokers, smokers, and jamokers. Whatever the hell "jamokers" means.
    Dr. Cox: I was actually saying "jokers" and I had coffee cake in my mouth.

  • The Clash's "Red Angel Dragnet" borrows heavily from Taxi Driver, including Travis' famous speech.
  • Dream On by Christian Falk is mostly this:
    Thugs and badmen
    Punks and liars
    Fucked-up interns
    Pigs and snitches
    Rest your weary heads, all is well...

  • In both the film and the song titled Alice's Restaurant, Arlo Guthrie presents a list of the people he met in prison: "mother rapers... father stabbers... father rapers", before reminding the audience that he was simply there for littering.

  • Merle Haggard's mainly serious ode to mid-western redneck values, I'm an Okie From Muskogee, lists all the cultural bete-noires of middle America in the late 1960's:
    "We don't smoke no marijuana in Muskogee,
    We don't take no trips on LSD
    We don't burn no draft cards down on Main Street;
    We like livin' right, and bein' free!

    I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee
    A place where even squares can have a ball...

    We don't make a party out of lovin',
    We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
    We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy;
    Like the hippies out in San Francisco do!
  • Peter, Paul and Mary's "This Train" has an interesting selection of people who don't qualify as passengers to Heaven.
    This train don't carry no gamblers, this train.
    This train don't carry no gamblers, this train.
    This train don't carry no gamblers,
    No crap shooters, no midnight ramblers,
    This train don't carry no gamblers, this train.

    This train, don't carry no jokers, well, this train.
    This train, don't carry no jokers, well, this train.
    This train, don't carry no jokers,
    No high-tone women, no cigar smokers, well
    This train, don't carry no jokers, well, this train.
  • "In the Flesh (part 2)" from The Wall by Pink Floyd. Pink has a breakdown and goes on a Fascist rant:
    Are there any queers in the theatre tonight?
    Get 'em up against the wall
    There’s one in the spotlight
    He don't look right to me
    Get him up against the wall
    And that one looks Jewish
    And that one's a coon
    Who let all this riffraff into the room?
    There's one smoking a joint
    And another with spots!
    If I had my way
    I'd have all of you shot!
  • The Utah Saints song "Sick"'s lyrics are all about the twisted "animals" people turn into at night.
  • From God's Away on Business by Tom Waits...
    There's a leak, there's a leak in the boiler room.
    The poor, the lame, the blind.
    Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
    Killers, thieves, and lawyers.

  • Bleak Expectations: Talking about the inmates of a mental asylum, Sir Phillip Bin mentions that, in the mid-Victorian 1800s, the "correct" term for them has become "loony", but back in his youth, they were called mentalists, nutjobs, softheads, ladyminds, and last but not least "duhrbrains".

  • Frequently used in The Bible:
    • An especially well-known example is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
      Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
    • Galatians 5:22-23 has an inversion known as the Fruits of the Spirit:
      "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Burn the heretic, kill the alien, purge the unclean. (Sometimes mutant replaces unclean).
    • From Dark Crusade, Aun'el's speech to his troops: "Soldiers of the fire caste , Kroot and Vespid allies! Today, we stand as a bulwark against the selfish, the soulless and the mad! "
    • A variation in Dawn of War: Retribution that lists the generate as well, courtesy of Chapter Master Azariah Kyras: "In mere hours, billions will die: innocent, guilty, strong and weak, honest and deceitful, ALL OF THEM!!"

  • The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan had the air "if someday it should happen" aka "I've Got A Little List", which lists all the kinds of people who can be executed without public protest. Most productions customize the list for the audience.
  • Les Misérables had "Master of the House" begin with Thenardier listing off various insults for the customers at his inn.

    Video Games 
  • The fan retranslation of Breath of Fire II has Father Halk delivering such a litany when describing "all of society's refuse" that the Church will nonetheless gladly take in. No doubt as fodder to summon their dark god.
  • In Deus Ex, Alex does this when JC enters the Brooklyn Bridge Station: "After the quakes, the homeless drifted down here, junkies, runaways, grifters. There's a DSS file a mile long on this place."
  • A late-game note in FAITH: Chapter 2 is from a police officer who saw something drag away his coworker, and realized the Candy Tunnel Killer was hardly human. His opinion on it?
    "The bums and the tweakers, the ones with GRIDnote  and the child prostitute runaways, they'll eventually come back to the tunnels. They always do. It can have them, for all I care. Nobody wants them around. Except maybe that thing. And I tell you what; I hope to god it never gets tired of 'em."
  • Torin's Passage has the crystal keeper saying the following line: "The Lands Below are full of nutsos! Malcontents! Psychos! Politicians!"

    Web Animation 
  • Hazbin Hotel offers an unusual example in the song Inside of every demon is a rainbow: Charlie sings a list of the horrible people in Hell, but it is in the context of explaining that they all have good in them, and she's there to help them be redeemed.
    So all you junkies, freaks and weirdos, creepers, fuck-ups, crooks and zeroes, and the fallen super heroes, help is here!
    All you cretins, sluts and losers, sexual deviants and boozers, and prescription drugs abusers, need not fear!

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • One done in the form of Sweeney Todd is in the Affectionate Parody episode "A Streetcar Named Marge."
    Cast: New Orleeeans... Home of pirates, drunks, and whores! New Orleeeans... Tacky, overpriced, souvenir stores!
    • Mr. Burns refers to his employees as "jackanapes ... LOLLIGAGGERS ... NOODLEHEADS!" Or "goldbrickers ... LAYABOUTS ... SLUGABEDS!"

    Real Life 
  • George Carlin uses this in his "groups that gotta go" routine.
    Predators, degenerates, crackheads, and fruitcakes; 900 miles of fence separating them.
  • Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell's in-depth forensic examination of the causes of 9/11, on live network TV two days after the attack:
    "Well, I totally concur." –Rev. Pat Robertson to the Rev. Jerry Falwell following the Sept. 11 attacks, after Falwell said, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say: "You helped this happen."
  • Former CIA director John Brennan, in an interview with MSNBC, commented on the January 2021 Capitol Riot with one of these. A clip can be found HERE.
    "[This] looks very similar to insurgency movements that we’ve seen overseas. Where they germinate in different parts of the country, and they gain strength, and it brings together an unholy alliance, frequently, of religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians."
  • Karl Marx writes of 1852 Paris in In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte:
    Vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars – in short, the whole definite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French call “la bohème.”


Video Example(s):


PCU- Rand's Rant

Rand goes on a tirade against all the different groups on campus while telling off his former roommate, droz. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize Droz is holding a live mic.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / IsThisThingStillOn

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