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My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting

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An anti-patriotic joke made by people from the very country it's poking fun at.

"If what your country is doing seems to you practically and morally wrong, is dissent the highest form of patriotism?"
The Use of Force in International Affairs (1961). note 

While patriotism can be noble or nice, there can be times when one is ashamed of their country. Usually it's politically or socially motivated. Some people dislike the imperialistic, militaristic, chauvinistic or nationalistic approach of their own government and fellow citizens. Others, especially minorities, have been victimized by their government or their fellow citizens and resent the majority.

These are the people who feel that My Country, Right or Wrong is mostly wrong and have nothing but contempt for Misplaced Nationalism. They will vocally criticize their own country and feel that they are in their right to do so since they were born there themselves. Though they can sometimes be categorized as misanthropes or a Boomerang Bigot there are also enough examples of people having good reasons and/or arguments to criticize their country of birth. This can result into active protest marches with the intent to change things. Or, in a less drastic fashion, result in Self-Deprecation comedy, done for satirical purposes.

In some countries such criticism is seen as highly unpatriotic, even treasonous. Dictatorships are the most obvious example, but even in some democratic countries expressing such opinions can bring people into serious trouble, and politicians opposing those in power will take pains to emphasize that they love their country despite their disagreements. Yet, in a truly free society criticism of your own country should be respected. Lots of sociological revolutions and changes have occurred just because people questioned the ideas of their government and society, and many modern countries trace their founding date to such uprisings, celebrating them with patriotic songs and holidays. People who embody this trope usually consider criticism of their homeland as an act of patriotism in itself, reflecting the other part of My Country, Right or Wrong: if wrong to be set right.

Contrast with Propaganda Piece. See Misplaced Nationalism for criticism of one people or country towards another. Offending the Creator's Own would be the religious and ethnic equivalent of this trope. See also Cultural Cringe, when this is done against a creator's culture, and Biting-the-Hand Humor, when this is done against the production's distributor. Compare Hail to the Thief, when criticism is directed toward the head of state, often in song.

Please make sure that only examples are added where the criticism is made by a person born in the country they criticize.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass: Lelouch vi Britannia hates Britannia for what it did: used him as a political pawn, invaded Japan among other countries with him still in it, and has been responsible for occupying most of the world and taking away the rights of other nations. He's made it his goal in life to completely overthrow Britannia's government and see the empire either reformed or utterly annihilated.

    Comic Books 
  • Life in Hell, a.k.a. Matt Groening Satirizes American Society, especially its government and educational system (one comic collection is called "School is Hell"), and Republicans in particular. Bongo's parody of the Pledge of Allegiance sums it up:
    I pledge impertinence to the flag-waving of the unindicted co-conspirators of America. And to the Republicans for which I can't stand, one abomination, underhanded fraud, with liberty and justice forget it.
  • Suske en Wiske: The early stories criticized the Belgian government quite often, especially in its treatment of the Flemish population. In the reprints most of these comments have been removed.
  • Nero: Also enjoys satirizing Flemish/Belgian society and politics.
  • Robert Crumb: Criticized the U.S.A. several times, most notably in his one time comic strip: "Why I Hate the U.S.A."
  • De Familie Doorzon: A Dutch comic strip satirizing Dutch society and families mercilessly, especially regarding political correctness.
  • Doonesbury: Since the 1970s this Pullitzer Prize winning political cartoon has addressed and criticized all American political presidents and other events.
  • The Smurfs: In the story "Smurf vs. Smurf", the Smurfs get divided over linguistic differences between the North and the South of the village. This was Peyo's take on the language strife between the Flemish note  and the Walloons note  in Belgium.
  • In Young Avengers, Patriot frequently criticizes America, despite wearing its colors, because as a black kid whose grandfather was wrongfully imprisoned for decades, he knows that his country is not always right.
  • Hellblazer: Where the only people more evil than the English politicians, military, policeman, and aristocracy controlled by The Legions of Hell are the English politicians, military, policeman, and aristocracy who are not, has been written by Englishmen like Jamie Delano, Paul Jenkins, Warren Ellis, and Neil Gaiman.
  • Pinky and the Brain: In Issue #43 of the Animaniacs comics, the Brain gets money by suing a tobacco company. When Pinky points out they don't smoke, Brain points out that the great part of being an American is that "the law has nothing to do with the facts".

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Team America: World Police:
    • The anti-terrorist squad is portrayed as causing more damage to other countries than actually helping them. An important story arc too, as Gary the actor is shocked by their actions and refuses to help his country any longer.
    • On the other hand, the Film Actors Guild—one of many critics to the titular Team America—are portrayed as a negative version of this trope as they are so obsessed with stopping the group that they are willing to sponsor Obviously Evil people like Kim Jong Il for a World Peace conference without realizing his plan to use the conference to launch a massive terrorist attack.
  • The Grim Reaper in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life complains: "Be quiet! You Englishmen... You're all so fucking pompous and none of you have got any balls."
  • King Ralph: After the entire British Royal Family died in an accident the palace manages to find one still surviving heir:
    Phipps: "Sir Cedric! Sir Cedric! Good news. We've finally found an heir!"
    Sir Cedric Willingham: "That's wonderful, Duncan. Who is he?"
    Phipps: "His name is Jones. Ralph Jones."
    Sir Cedric Willingham: "A good man?"
    Phipps: [embarrassed] "Well... he has his strengths and his weaknesses. You see, he's... American."
    [anguished pause]
    Sir Cedric Willingham: "Quickly, Duncan! The strengths!"
    • To top it all off the next scene shows Ralph (the American they were talking about) in a bar indulging himself with a pinball machine, coming across as a complete oaf.
  • Popeye features "Sweet, Sweethaven — An Anthem":
    Townspeople: Sweet Sweethaven, God must love us,
    We the people, love Sweethaven,
    Hooray, hooray, Sweethaven...
    Flags are wavin',
    We're people from the sea, Safe from democracy,
    Sweeter than a melon tree, Put here for you and me,
    Sweet Sweethaven, God must love us,
    We the people, of Sweethaven...
    God must have landed here, why else would He strand us here, where the air is nice and clear?
    Sweethaven even sounds so close to Heaven...
    God will always bless Sweethaven...
  • The films of Michael Moore are notorious for criticizing American politics (Fahrenheit 9/11), multinationalism (Roger & Me, Capitalism: A Love Story), gun policy (Bowling for Columbine) and the health care system (Sicko).
  • A Fish Called Wanda: John Cleese's character Archie gives the following speech:
    "Wanda, do you have any idea what it's like being English? Being so correct all the time, being so stifled by this dread of, of doing the wrong thing, of saying to someone "Are you married?" and hearing "My wife left me this morning," or saying, uh, "Do you have children?" and being told they all burned to death on Wednesday. You see, Wanda, we're all terrified of embarrassment. That's why we're so... dead. Most of my friends are dead, you know, we have these piles of corpses to dinner. But you're alive, God bless you, and I want to be, I'm so fed up with all this. I want to make love with you, Wanda. I'm a good lover - at least, used to be, back in the early 14th century. Can we go to bed?"
  • Many westerns from the Sixties on have criticized the USA's wars against Native Americans in the 19th century: Dances with Wolves, for instance (whereas previously the native peoples were generally bad guys).
  • "America" from West Side Story (1961) is partially a Patriotic Fervor song as well as a song that is critical of the USA. The Puerto Rican immigrant women all prefer the life in "America" over life in Puerto Rico, while their men are far more critical. This is a departure from the stage version of the song, where the lyrics had very little explicit criticism of America, if any. In-universe, the "My Country" part of the trope applies because Puerto Rico is actually an American colony, something lampshaded in the song itself. From an out-of-universe perspective, the song was written by American Stephen Sondheim.
    Anita: Lots of new housing with more space
    Bernardo: Lots of doors slamming in our face.
    Anita: I'll get a terrace apartment
    Bernardo: Better get rid of your accent
    Anita: Life can be bright in America
    Bernardo: If you can fight in America
    Anita: Life is all right in America
    Bernardo: If you're all white in America
  • Documentary Hearts and Minds is a scathing indictment of America's involvement in Vietnam that doesn't just stop at questioning geopolitical or military decisions, but indicts the American character, portraying the nation as loud and aggressive and violent and racist. Daniel Ellsberg is quoted as saying "We weren't on the wrong side; we were the wrong side." The film was made by Peter Davis, born and raised in Southern California.

  • Ambrose Bierce was a master of this form in his short stories and especially his The Devil's Dictionary.
  • James Joyce's novels and short stories, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses were highly critical of Irish society, especially the hold of the Catholic Church on society, its antisemitism and narrow nationalism.
  • Roman author Sallust criticized the Roman Empire in his writings, especially their imperialism, and predicted the fall of that same empire.
  • Gulliver's Travels: The first two parts satirized English politicians of Swift's days. The third part is a satire on the English Royal Academy of Science.
  • Author George Orwell criticized the British colonial policy in South-East Asia in his book Burmese Days, and its complacency in the face of fascism in Homage to Catalonia. The latter ends with:
    Down here it was still the England I had known in my childhood: ...the familiar streets, the posters telling of cricket matches and Royal weddings, the men in bowler hats, the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, the red buses, the blue policemen—all sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs.
  • Salman Rushdie is quite critical of post-independence Indian society, though he does have a few choice words for his adopted homeland the UK as well. His favourite targets are corrupt politicians and religious fundamentalists.
  • Author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was banished from the Soviet Union for criticizing Stalinist Russia in his book The Gulag Archipelago.
  • Leo Tolstoy was highly critical of Russian society, Tsarism and the Orthodox Church despite being raised as a Russian aristocrat. He opposed the Russo-Japanese War and would eventually be excommunicated by the Orthodox Church despite being the most popular and respected Russian author in the world at the time. Many other Russian radicals and liberals also did the same in that period, with differing criticisms/depth of criticism.
  • Author Emile Zola wrote a famous accusation near the end of the 19th century, simply called "J'accuse" ("I Accuse") in which he criticized the French government for condemning Jewish military officer Alfred Dreyfus. Dreyfus was convicted of treason, but as it turned out antisemitism was the real reason-he got made the scapegoat. Zola's written attack was a huge scandal back then and he was prosecuted too, but later he was Vindicated by History, with Dreyfus being released and exonerated. The scandal had a tremendous impact both on France (where it entrenched secularism) and Jewish life in Europe as a secular Austrian Jew of the name Theodor Herzl who hadn't felt particularly Jewish up to that point came to the conclusion that Jews would need their own state if they were ever to live free of prejudice and persecution, thus giving birth to Zionism.
  • South African Alan Paton criticized his country's racial issues with books like Cry, the Beloved Country, although that actually predated the formal beginning of apartheid. He continued to do this for the rest of his life.
  • Although Jose Rizal did love his country greatly, his two novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo harshly criticized the Philippine society of his time, especially the clergy.
  • Horrible Histories: The books have a very sarcastic tone and don't shy away from criticizing the British army, royalty and colonial system throughout its historical track record of atrocities.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: An amusing satire of the early 20th century British upper class system.
  • George Orwell commented that Rudyard Kipling, far from being a blind British patriot, criticized Britain bitterly in many of his poems and stories.
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck strongly criticizes the United States and especially Steinbeck's home state, California.
  • Just like in his lyrics and interviews Frank Zappa criticized the USA in his autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book.
  • An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge) and its sequel An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain (or Sixty Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes as Always), both by John O'Farrell.
  • Gore Vidal's novels and essays are supremely critical of American society, politics, history and culture, especially for its Small Reference Pools and conservative attitudes to sexuality and basic hypocrisy.
  • Al Franken had this to say in Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them regarding the difference between the liberal viewpoint and the conservative viewpoint of the US.
    Franken: We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow.
  • Many books, beginning in the 1960s, have attacked the US government's treatment of Native Americans (both now and in the past). However even in 1881 (when the wars were still an ongoing issue) A Century of Dishonor strongly criticized this.
  • The Divine Comedy: Italians, especially those from Florence, populate Hell so completely that Dante manages to find five Florentines immediately in the circle for Thieves. This prompts him to tell Florence to be joyous in its greatness, since her name extends everywhere in Hell. Additionally, though he was a Catholic Dante puts a number of corrupt Popes in Hell too.
  • John le Carré employed this trope throughout his entire output. One memorable quote from his anti-hero George Smiley appears in The Secret Pilgrim:
    ''Now, please remember that the privately educated Englishman is the greatest dissembler on earth… Was, is now and ever shall be for as long as our disgraceful school system remains intact. Nobody will charm you so glibly, disguise his feelings from you better, cover his tracks more skilflully or find it harder to confess to you that he's been a damn fool. Nobody acts braver when he's frightened stiff, or happier when he's miserable; nobody can flatter you better when he hates you than your extrovert Englishman - or woman..."
    • One writer for The Atlantic opined "[Le Carre] revealed more about the country's ruling class than any political writer of his era."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The team took a lot of shots at the British class system, most memorably in the "Upper-Class Twit of the Year" sketch. The British military also got mocked a lot.
  • Little Britain: Every episode proudly praises the glory of "being British", only to feature a lot of Englishmennote note  who are hardly something to be proud of.
  • Blackadder: It targets the British upper class society frequently.
  • Spitting Image: This satirical puppet show mercilessly lambasted everyone, but since it was made in the United Kingdom a lot of attacks were directed at British society too: the monarchy, government, class system, the low-budget film industry, advertising campaigns, British Newspapers,...
  • All in the Family: It dealt with issues that polarized American society in the 1970s and ridiculed them.
  • Root into Europe: Despite poking fun at other European countries the show also mocks British tourism. Mr. Root feels that all other countries should be just like the UK, but many of his ideas about European countries are very stereotypical. Thus he frequently makes a fool of himself.
  • An episode of Sliders shows a world in which America lost the American Revolution and is still under British rule. After helping a Second American Revolution to succeed, as they're sliding to the next world, Professor Arturo (played by John Rhys-Davis) drops this humdinger:
    Remember: the reason the sun never sets on the British Empire, is because God doesn't trust the British in the dark.
  • On Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell (and earlier) Shaun Micallef likes to portray Australia as being a country of minor importance which is lucky to get invited to major global events, sometimes portraying Australia as a woman desperately trying to win a date from a man out of her league or just a general suck up (like in the segment "whose bottom should we be kissing now?") looking for bigger more powerful nations to align themselves with.
  • The Adam Ruins Everything episode "Adam Ruins...America" centers around deconstructing the myth of American exceptionalism by stating that: the American dream is unattainable due to massive economic inequality; the U.S. constitution is notoriously hard to change because legislators insist on interpreting the original language instead of keeping it relevant to the times, and the constitution actually made it legal to own slaves, and thus Lincoln's emancipation proclamation was unconstitutional; finally, after the end of the Civil War, former slaves were able to benefit from their new rights, but groups like the KKK and their sympathizers stripped them of their rights, and the Civil Rights Movement wasn't so much for creating new laws to give people new rights, so much as forcing the government to enforce the laws that had already been written one hundred years before.
  • In Ted Lasso, Sam learns that the parent company of Dubai Air, the sponsor of his football team, is causing extreme environmental damage in his home country of Nigeria and bribing the government to look the other way. In response, he pulls out of an ad campaign Dubai Air was featuring him in, tapes over the sponsorship logo on his uniform (with the rest of the team then doing the same in support) and openly accuses the Nigerian government of corruption during the post-match press conference.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Although the British-born John Oliver acquired American citizenship, he will still mock his native United Kingdom in addition to the United States.

  • MAD Magazine: A decades long tradition of this magazine.
  • Hara Kiri and its follow-up Charlie Hebdo were so pointed in their satire of French society that the government banned it up to three times!
  • Private Eye: Also well known for satirizing British politics.

  • Jacques Brel: The Belgian singer attacked his home region Flanders and its inhabitants in three songs. The final one, "Les F..." was such a scathing attack on Flemish nationalists that the number was banned from airing on the radio.
  • The Clash criticized the British class system and economic policy in Career Opportunities and Something About England from Sandinista!.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: On Willy and the Poor Boys they attack discrimination of poor people over rich ones regarding the draft in "Fortunate Son".
  • Dead Kennedys were infamous for criticizing American politics and society, most notably on their album Frankenchrist, where they satirize the US government, political corruption, bureaucracy, capitalism, MTV, the public education system, the military,...
  • When the Dixie Chicks' singer Natalie Maines told a London audience in 2003 that they were against the invasion of Iraq and were ashamed that President Bush came from their home state of Texas, they got savaged in the US media and by many country music fans. They found a defender in, of all people, Merle Haggard, who also released a song critical of the Iraq war, and said that he thought that attacking the Dixie Chicks for exercising their right to free speech was "an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars".
  • Eminem had in the early part of his career, taken shots at the hypocrisy within American society, which accuses artists like himself (and Marilyn Manson) for tearing down the fabric of society and inciting violence, when they've taken a blind eye to the underlying problems that cause events like mass-shootings by teenagers, as addressed in "What I Am". "White America" is a little more pointed, taking jabs at (white) America's Moral Guardians that crusade against his work, while their children listen to his music, and musing on the factors that allowed his commercial success in rap music, particularly within suburban America.
    Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself/If they were brown Shady'd lose, Shady sits on the shelf
  • Woody Guthrie: "Talking Dust Bowl Blues" from Dust Bowl Ballads:
    An' my wife fixed up a tater stew
    We poured the kids full of it,
    Mighty thin stew, though,
    You could read a magazine right through it.
    Always have figured
    That if it'd been just a little bit thinner,
    Some of these here politicians
    Coulda seen through it.
  • Bob Dylan:
    • The Times They Are A-Changin': "With God On Our Side" criticizes the American government and army for their genocide on the Native American during the 19th century and the bloodshed during the American Civil War and Spanish-American War. It also criticizes the Red Scare and the nuclear arms race. From the same album "Only A Pawn In Their Game" and "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll" are both inspired by real-life injustices in the USA, namely a hotel barmaid getting struck down by a wealthy white man in a hotel in Maryland and the murder of black civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
    • Desire: The song "Hurricane" criticizes the imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer falsely accused of murder and tried by an all-white jury. Dylan's song actually raised awareness of this man's false imprisonment and made people do the trial over, which would eventually lead to Carter's release.
    To see him obviously framed
    Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game.
    Man's ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don't apply no more
    You can't rely no more to be standing around waiting
    In the home of the brave, Jefferson turning over in his grave.
  • The Fugs were a 1960s underground rock band who were notorious for openingly criticizing the American government and the war in Vietnam on albums like The Fugs First Album, The Fugs Second Album and It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest. They were even shadowed by the F.B.I. as a result.
    Who was it that set up this system?
    This supposedly democratic system?
    Where we're always voting for the lesser of two evils
    Was George Washington the lesser of two evils?
    Sometimes I wonder. Some politicians say we've got to stop violence in this country
    While he's spending 15,000 dollars a second snuffing gooks.
  • Serge Gainsbourg caused a stir among French military veterans when he released a Reggae version of the French national anthem called "Aux Armes" ("To Arms").
  • The songs "American Idiot" and "Holiday" from American Idiot by Green Day are critical of president George W. Bush's government and the 2003 war in Iraq.
  • Fela Kuti openly protested the Nigerian government in his music. It brought him in a lot of trouble. He was arrested several times and beaten up by soldiers who rampaged his house.
  • The Levellers in "England My Home"
    Oh, what happened to
    My green and pleasant land?
  • Madonna: "American Life" from American Life criticizes the American Dream. The original music video showed her throwing a hand grenade to a lookalike of US President George W. Bush. "Hollywood" is a Celebrity Is Overrated song.
  • Miriam Makeba, the South African singer best known for the song "Pata Pata", was very critical of her country's apartheid regime and even banned from entering her own country. As a result she became a vocal critic of her government and did a lot to draw international attention to South Africa's apartheid's regime.
    • Afrikaaner folk singer Bok van Blerk has provoked similar controversy in the modern South Africa. Several romantic songs idealising the struggles of the Boer War have been interpreted as coded criticisms of the new management, and incitement to white South Africans to go back to the Good Old Days. When these songs were taken up as anthems by old-time white nationalists and used as rallying cries, they were banned from public performance on SA's television and radio. De la Rey note  and Afrikaanerhart remain firm favourites and crowd-pleasers - with white audiences - and the banning made both anthems ''very'' popular. Far more than they might have been if not banned.
  • Marilyn Manson's entire career is built around criticizing the hypocrisy within American society, especially by organized religion, schools and the government. Take a song named We're from America (2009): We're from America, we're from America, where we eat our young.
  • Paul and Linda McCartney: Took an anti-British stance in their song "Give Ireland Back To The Irish".
  • Midnight Oil title drops this trope in their song My Country, though it is more a critique of Patriotic Fervor than this trope specifically.
    I hear you say the truth must take a beating
    The flag a camouflage for your deceiving [...]
    And did I hear you say:
    My country right or wrong
    My country oh so strong
    My country going wrong
    • Many of their other songs are no less critical of politics in their home country. Including but not limited to "Beds Are Burning", "Dead Heart", "Truganini" (plight of Aboriginals); "Blue Sky Mine" (asbestos mining pollution in Western Australia); "Dreamworld" (the 1980s Queensland government's demolition of built heritage); "Power and the Passion" (Gough Whitlam's dismissal, Pine Gap); "Read About It" (Australian media, including Rupert Murdoch)...
  • Randy Newman's song "Political Science" pokes fun at the U.S.A. who are so angry that everyone seems to hate them that they decide to "drop the big one now". They will bomb the entire world, except for Australia, and "turn the entire world into one Americatown".
  • The Concept Album Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails is set in an dystopian future where the American government has gained total control over her citizens. It was made in criticism of the George W. Bush administration.
  • The Plastic People of the Universe, a Czech underground band named after Frank Zappa's song Plastic People from Absolutely Free, criticized the Czech communist regime in their songs and were arrested several times because of this.
  • Public Enemy are among the most vocal Political Rap groups. On albums like It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet they criticize America's long running history of oppression of minorities, but don't shy away from addressing criticism of Afro-American people either.
  • Gil Scott-Heron didn't shy away from addressing racial and social issues in the USA either. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is one long litany against the USA, with "Whitey On The Moon" perhaps the best example. In this song he says that "while Whitey is on the moon" black people's problems on Earth have basically not changed for the better.
  • The Sex Pistols: "God Save The Queen" from Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols is a fierce attack on the British royals, with the immortal line: "There is no future and England's dreaming!"
  • Bruce Springsteen likes this one. "Born in the U.S.A." is probably the most obvious example, but it's in the background of songs like "Youngstown" and "Atlantic City."
  • German punk band Die Toten Hosen's "Tausend gute Gründe" lists "a thousand good reasons to be proud of this country" only to admit that at the moment, they can't actually come up with a single one.
  • Stevie Wonder: Even lovable Stevie hasn't shied away from criticizing his home country. "Living For The City" from Innervisions tackles discrimination of black people in the USA, while "He's Misstra Know-It-All" is aimed at Richard Nixon, who had resigned that same year.
  • Italian Hardcore Hip-Hop artist Fabri Fibra has written a handful of songs that include this trope, but its most liberal use is in the song "In Italia" ("In Italy"), where he tirades against the Boot of Europe's problems - including but not limited to political instability, medical malpractice, unemployment and the common belief that praying to God will magically fix everything.
  • Frank Zappa: Zappa criticized his country both satirically, in his songs, as during interviews.
  • "Some Girls" from The Rolling Stones' Some Girls:
    English girls they're so prissy
    I can't stand them on the telephone
    Sometimes I take the receiver off the hook
    I don't want them to ever call at all
  • Roots by Sepultura: While the album celebrates Brazilian culture, it also criticizes the dictatorships from the past, poverty in the favelas, the disrespectful treatment of the Indian tribes in the country, and the environmental destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
  • NOFX's 2003 album The War On Errorism. The whole album is very anti-Bush administration, staring with the cover [1] and going on from there. The back inset is captioned "Somewhere in Texas there is a village without its idiot."
  • "AMERICA" by Motionless in White.
    Home of the free, the sick and depraved.
  • Choking Victim pulled no punches in their views on the United States for misleading the masses via media and aggressive globalization ("Fuck America"), its police ("Crack Rock Steady"), prison practices ("Apple Pie and Police State"), making the masses complacent with television and drugs ("500 Channels"), and so on. Long before 9/11, the band were known to burn models of the World Trade Center in protest, and even after the day in question, singer Scott Sturgeon went on to claim that he "wasn't exactly opposed to [the towers] falling down" and kept burning models of the WTC for at least a couple of years afterward with his other band.
  • Swedish metal band Sabaton's 2012 album Carolus Rex, their first #1 hit in their home country, is a warts-and-all retelling of the rise and fall of Sweden's 17th century empire, from Gustavus Adolphus to Carolus Rex. In particular, the title track paints Charles XII as practically a madman, utterly convinced of his own God-given rightness, and the following song "Ett slag färgat rött" (translation here) harshly criticizes his army for murdering hundreds of Russian prisoners of war after the Battle of Fraustadt. Aside from this album, the band often takes Patriotic Fervor to the point of comedy in live performances.
  • Nine Inch Nails’s “The Hand That Feeds” from “With Teeth” was a Take That! to the W. Bush administration and had planned to perform the song at the MTV VMA’s with a giant poster of Bush, but Trent Reznor decided to let Foo Fighters take his spot. Year Zero is an ENTIRE album dedicated to Trent ranting and venting about Bush’s policies and administration again.
  • Pitchshifter's "Un-United Kingdom" harshly criticises UK politics. Brexit prompted them to release a "redux" of it.
  • Alien Weaponry's "Whispers" criticizes the government of New Zealand for pretending to value the indigenous people (the band members are Māori) but breaking its treaty obligations to them, and starts with a clip of a Pompous Political Pundit arguing that "no, actually, colonizing the Māori was a good thing".
  • Israeli musician Ehud Manor wrote "I Have No Other Land" during the 1982 Lebanon War, though it was inspired by his brother's death in the Six-Day War. Its message is decidedly of the My Country, Right or Wrong, if wrong, to be set right perspective — Manor loves his country, even when he strongly disagrees with its actions. It has become a popular protest song in Israel, including during the 2023 protests against the proposed judicial reform.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Guardian's long-running satirical cartoon If skewers the more contemptible or ridiculous positions taken by the social elite and governing classes in Great Britain.

  • Practically every BBC radio comedy show there's ever been, note , has taken a few digs at British society and British institutions. And then you get onto the ones which are actually meant to be topical and satirical, like The News Quiz.
  • Democracy Now: Amy, Juan, and their guests are usually critical of U.S. policy on a multitude of issues.

    Tabletop Games 
  • There is a French board game publisher named Sorry We Are French.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Dorian does have some love for the Tevinter Imperium; it's his country, after all. But he's also not blind, and he knows full well that the Magisterium is corrupt and full of cackling supervillains who give mages everywhere a bad name. The tipping point that has him leave to join the Inquisition is his former mentor going off the deep end and joining the Big Bad, and he often berates other Tevinters for acting like the boogeymen the rest of Thedas thinks them to be.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order: Compared to Wyatt or B.J., J doesn't have much patriotism for America, given his rather bitter (if valid) gripes about how blacks were treated by whites in America, especially as this takes place in a world where the Civil Rights Movement never happened and, as we learn in the sequel, the Ku Klux Klan is now practically running the show in America. On the other hand, he goes out playing ''The Star Spangled Banner" loud enough for all of Berlin to hear.
    • Speaking of the sequel, fascism at home hits B.J. hard when he visits his abusive father Rip, only to learn that Rip has proudly taken up the Nazi flag because it allows him to be the Confederate slave-owner he always wanted to be. The final straw is learning that Rip threw his Jewish wife, B.J.'s mom, to the Nazis for sport. B.J. murders him and has a MUCH lower opinion of "good-old" America from that point on.
    B.J.: (To an American actor) Are you a Nazi? Can't even tell anymore...
  • The "Big Boss Trilogy": Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the epic tale of American hero Naked Snake's discovery of the sheer corruption and treachery of his homeland and heroes, to the point that he builds his own nation from the forgotten armies of other nations that also betrayed their soldiers.
    Snake: We haven't forsaken our countries... We just left them behind.
    (One psychotic Metal Gear pilot and a plan from America to nuke the eastern seaboard so they can invoke World War III later)
    Big Boss: We will forsake our countries and become one with this Earth.

    Web Comics 
  • Scandinavia and the World: The comic strip pokes fun at many Scandinavian stereotypical ideas about other countries. Despite being drawn and written by a Dane it pokes fun at the Danish too.
  • Unsounded: Quigley despises Alderode, at one point quipping that he'd rather be called the son of a whore than a son of Alderode.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic: In his review of "The Magic Voyage" Doug criticizes the German company who made this film for making such a historically inaccurate film. Then he turns the tables by adding: "We can't even get our own history right!" and shows the poster for Pocahontas.
  • Rational Wiki is not afraid to grill the countries most of those writing/editing the articles come from, particularly the US and Britain (though places like Canada and the Scandinavian nations have it better). That said, it's of the opinion that true patriotism also involves pointing out the flaws of one's country in order to make it all that it can be.
  • Rotten Dot Com: Several articles show the darker side of American history, politics and culture, yet other countries don't come off much better.
  • JonTron: Jon has some choice words in regards to the questionable techniques of the player character in Samurai Zombie Nation, as well as a jab at the country he's trying to "save":
    Can we look at this for a moment? I'm a goddamn head of an emperor's ghost come over from his creepy doghouse in Japan to the United States to save everyone... by killing everyone. Where did this guy learn how to save a country? The United States?!
  • The American left-wing political comedy podcast Chapo Trap House is known for its constant vitriol towards the (perceived) racist, sexist, classist, imperialist attitudes that animate American politics in general.
  • Chuggaaconroy takes a potshot at Moray Towers returning in Splatoon 2 by blaming America (his home country) for it.note 
    Emile: If you were ever mad about Moray Towers coming back for another game, that's right, It's our fault! Why is America dumb...?

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Poking fun at America's culture, politics and economy is popular staple of the show.
    • "The Crepes of Wrath": In which The Simpsons meet an Albanian foreign exchange student named Adil.
      Homer: "Please, please, kids, stop fighting. Maybe Lisa's right about America being the land of opportunity, and maybe Adil's got a point about the machinery of capitalism being oiled with the blood of the workers."
    • "Homer Loves Flanders": Flanders drives Homer to a sports game. When Homer notices Lenny and Carl he pushes Flanders' face down out of sight because he is afraid of being seen with him. Carl notices Homer's car is driving without a chauffeur and assumes he's driving "one of those robot cars." As the car crashes Lenny sarcastically remarks: "One of those AMERICAN robot cars."
    • "Bart vs. Australia": When the family flees back to the American embassy in Australia the staff tries to stop them from entering by activating an electrical fence near a sign that says "Made with pride in the U.S.A." The fence malfunctions halfway, causing the Simpsons to enter after all.
    • "Lisa's Wedding": When Homer and Bart hang out the Union Jack to welcome Lisa's British boyfriend Hugh they bring his attention to it by saying: "Here's some American hospitality!" whereupon it turns out the flag accidentally caught on fire. Homer and Bart try to extinguish the fire by throwing some compost upon it, then give the ravaged remains to Hugh.
    • "Treehouse of Horror VII": Kang and Kodos disguise themselves as the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates but are unmasked. In a direct jab at the American political system they say:
      Kodos: "It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us."
      Man 1: "He's right, this is a two-party system."
      Man 2: "Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate."
      Kang: "Go ahead, throw your vote away."
    • "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo": When the family visits an American themed restaurant in Japan:
      Waiter: Don't ask me; I don't know anything! I'm product of American education system. I also build poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics.
      Homer: [cackles] Oh, they got our number!
    • "Blame It on Lisa": Homer and Bart are stopped by a Brazilian lifeguard who notices they are American by Homer's shirt, which shows Uncle Sam devouring the world with the phrase: "Try and Stop Us."
    • "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpialad'ohcious" has Shary Bobbins teaching the children to clean up their mess by hiding it from view. This inspires Bart to sing: "It's the American way!"
    • "The PTA Disbands": Homer: "Lisa, if you don't like your job, you don't strike: you just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way."
    • "The Trouble with Trillions": After returning back from Cuba the following conversation takes place:
      Homer: It's hard to believe there's a place worse than America, but we found it!
      Mr. Burns: Yes, I too feel renewed appreciation for the good old US of A. Oppression and harassment are a small price to pay to live in the land of the free."
      Smithers: Sir, aren't you facing some serious jail time?
      Mr. Burns: Well, if it's a crime to love one's country, then I'm guilty. And if it's a crime to steal a trillion dollars from our government and hand it over to communist Cuba, then I'm guilty of that too. And if it's a crime to bribe a jury, then so help me, I'll soon be guilty of that as well!
      Homer: God bless America!
    • "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs": Colby''' (Stephen Colbert in Inksuit Actor guise) describes America as having been made great by the fact that it does not understand the limits of its power and doesn't care about anyone else's opinion of it.
      Colby: Okay Homer, I don't know anything about planes, but I know about you. You have what made America great: no understanding of the limits of your power and a complete lack of concern for what anyone thinks of you. So you'll land that plane. And do you know why? Because I heard some guy say you couldn't.
      Homer: What! I'll show him. I'll show that guy!
    • "Dangerous Curves":
      Homer: "I know parts of our marriage are based on lies, but so are a lot of good things: religion, American history,..."
    • "Treehouse of Horror XVII": In "Married To The Blob", Homer turns into a large cannibalistic blob. After eating some obese Germans he says: "Must eat more fat people. Thank God I'm in America."'
    • "The Bart of War": After a fight breaks out at the baseball game, Sideshow Mel suggests they sing a song. The Sea Captain recommends "Not a hymn to war like our national anthem, but a sweet soothing hymn like the national anthem of Canada". The entire crowd then joins hands in the shape of the maple leaf and sings "O Canada", with Marge holding Canadian and Quebec flags. "Well Bart, we've learned that war is not the answer," says Milhouse. To which Bart replies "Except to all of America's problems".
    • "The Italian Bob": Lisa decides to pretend she's Canadian in order to avoid having to face America's unfortunate history, but this is made difficult by Homer's boorish Americanness.
      Bart: What's with the Canadian flag on your backpack?
      Lisa: Well, some people in Europe have the impression that America has made some stupid choices in the past, oh, five years. So, for the next week, I'm from Canada.
      Bart: I think dad may blow your cover.
      Homer (battling over a flag): That flag is mine! Don't mess with Texas! Shock and awe, losers! Shock and awe!
    • "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed": When The Simpsons visit Israel.
      Homer: Ned, I'm an American tourist. I'm just here to see some sights, try goofy new food and spread some shekels with my Carolina Panthers credit card.
    • "In the Name of the Grandfather": In the episode where the family visits Ireland, one of the locals mentions that the Irish bettered their country by sending all of their idiots to America, where they became police officers.
      Lisa: Don't worry, Dad. We'll get out. America is the New York Yankees of countries. Powerful and respected until the year 2000.
      Irish man: It (Ireland) got a lot nicer since we sent all our incompetent half-wits to America. Where you, for some reason, made them police officers. Top of the morning to you.
    • "Bart-Mangled Banner": The whole episode is a satire of post-9/11 American patriotism, taking specific potshots at the American Republican Party. Despite the fact that the show has often mocked the United States and both Democrats and Republicans, quite a few Americans were not amused. Which is odd, because near the end of the episode the Simpsons do migrate back to the USA, because they miss it, despite everything that happened.
    • "Insane Clown Poppy": When Homer asks Marge if she wants something done right or fast, she says that, like all Americans, she wants fast.
    • "Marge Simpson in Screaming Yellow Honkers": The educational video about road rage says rage is what makes America great but people have to know the right place for it.
  • South Park:
    • "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants": Even though Osama bin Laden is ridiculed mercilessly, the episode also points out that the Afghan children hate the U.S.A. because the American military bombed their country flat and built their bases on Muslim holy lands. This leads to an argument between them:
      Kyle: Do you really think your civilization is better than ours? You people play games by killing animals, and oppress women!
      Boy in Blue Vest: It's better than a civilization that spends its time watching millionaires walk down the red carpet at the Emmys!
      Stan: ...He's got us there, dude.
    • "I'm a Little Bit Country": In the pro- and anti-war debate, America is described as "an entire country saying one thing and then doing another."
    • Trey Parker and Matt Stone have described South Park as a show about what it means to live in America.
  • Family Guy has Brian (an extreme left-wing liberal) meeting right-wing Republican radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh in the episode "Excellence In Broadcasting". Rush actually manages to convince Brian to change his political views and develop a newfound sense of patriotism. Brian moves in with Rush, and takes the liberty of replacing all of Rush's appliances with American-made versions. They all break catastrophically as Brian lists off what he replaced one by one, which includes: the toaster, refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, oven, coffee maker, coffee mug, fine china dishware, cupboard door hinges, light bulbs, ceiling fan, garbage disposal, faucets, Rush's man-bra, and his cat, which MOOS.
  • Duckman: Also satirized a lot of aspects of American society and politics.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball, a show primarily made in the UK, and the creator of which has both French and English heritage, at one point had Gumball compare kindergarteners to British tourists.
    Gumball: They just waddle around with their pants down, grabbing everything they see and putting it in their mouths, even if it's a part of your anatomy. They get into fights for no reason and end up crying and hugging. Then they just go on slurring unintelligible nonsense, until they pass out wherever they feel like it. They're like... They're like... British tourists.

  • Comedian Lenny Bruce spent a huge part of his career targeting American censorship laws, especially regarding obscenity (he was prosecuted several times for violating them).
  • Comedian Bill Hicks dared to criticize the American government at the height of the Gulf War (1991).
  • Comedian George Carlin also has a track record of criticizing American politics and society.
  • John Lennon sent his MBE medal back to Buckingham Palace in 1969 as a protest against Britain's involvement in the Biafran War. He is the only Beatle who did this.
  • Actress Jane Fonda protested against America's involvement in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s and, in an even more controversial act, traveled to North Vietnam to meet the Vietcong. She continued to be attacked (even spat on by Vietnam veterans) for this into the 2000s
  • Noam Chomsky is well-known for criticizing American foreign policy. He has stated that everyone should be chiefly concerned with the crimes of their own country more than those of other countries, because those are the ones they can do the most about.
  • Like Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, the attorney and journalist who uncovered the NSA spying scandal, is very harsh on American foreign policy, especially counterterrorism.
  • In general this trope is also defined by cultural dissonance. In some parts of the world criticizing your own country is so common that it's hardly frowned upon (for instance, the United Kingdom). In others (like the U.S.A.) it can still cause a stir, despite the U.S.A. having the right to freedom of speech protected by the constitution.
  • Americans burning their flag is still a controversial act in the United States, despite it being legal (only if the flag's your property though). In further irony, burning a flag is how the Flag Code says you should dispose of it (meaning burning for protest reasons stirs up anger because of different intent).note 
  • In a 1954 speech, President Dwight Eisenhower said "Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels—men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." This was a very important statement to make during the Red Scare, since many Americans were blacklisted or otherwise punished (usually socially, not judicially) for dissenting views during the period.
  • National Basketball Association player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf caused a stir and drew a one-game suspension for refusing to stand during the US national anthem before games. He felt that the US flag was a symbol of tyranny and that the US had a long history of oppression. A compromise was eventually reached in which he would stand but lower his head and close his eyes. In late 2016, American Football player Colin Kaepernick did the same for similar reasons, which while inciting a massive backlash, also caused a backlash against the backlash, with many peoplenote  coming out in droves to support him. After speaking with US Veterans, Kaepernick decided to kneel instead of stand, as a compromise to respect soldiers but still protest (kneeling was suggested by Veteran Nate Boyer, as kneeling is what soldiers do at gravesites).
  • The "American Traveler International Apology" t-shirt, which reads "I'm sorry my president's an idiot. I didn't vote for him." in the six official languages of the United Nations. It was first made during the presidency of George W. Bush and a similar sentiment saw a resurgence after the election of Donald Trump. It was nowhere near as popular during the administration of Barack Obama, as he was generally much more well-liked than his predecessor or successor.note  It remains to be seen how it fares under Joe Biden.


Video Example(s):


"How did the war start?"

"Goodbyeee". Private Baldrick asks Captain Blackadder in roundabout terms how the Great War began. After a display of anti-German propaganda by George, Blackadder explains that the Entente Powers and the Central Powers were ideally supposed to act as each others' deterrents in what amounted to "mutually assured destruction" (long before the term had actually been coined). Unfortunately, as they say, the problem with MAD is that it only takes one madman to screw it up.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / MutuallyAssuredDestruction

Media sources: