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Some Anvils Need To Be Dropped / Other

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  • This ad for LeapStart, which is a bitter jab at Conspiracy Theorists and their possible negative effects on children. Kids' minds are like a sponge, and as such Leap Frog knew that so-called "truthers" can and will warp a young person's mind for all the wrong reasons.

  • Many of Norman Rockwell's more politically-minded paintings fall into this category, especially The Problem We All Live With, and its in-your-face condemnation of vicious unthinking racism aimed at the most vulnerable members of our society.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In For Better or for Worse:
    • Grandpa was still conscious and aware, but was being treated as an infant after a stroke. It's treated with all the subtlety of an anvil... but this anvil really needed to be dropped, since this actually does happen in real life.
    • Shannon's Author Filibuster about the mentally handicapped - it's dropped with all the subtlety of an anvil, but it really needed to be said. Mentally handicapped people are still people, people with feelings, and people who need love.
    • A September 1993 storyline focused on Michael and his friends joining a protest against a student bus fare hike. However, they're mostly doing it for fun, as they get to block rush hour traffic and shout slogans at the police. After it ends, John picks them up (angry at their involvement after seeing it on the news) and tells them what the bus fare hike is about; the 30% bus fare hike is a gradual raise for the next three years (something that the city voted in favor for last spring) and the new fares mean that someone could travel twice as far, meaning that the protest was pointless and detrimental. The lesson? Don't join a protest unless you know all the facts, and if you are going to do a protest don't do it for fun.
  • Peanuts definitely had a few things to say in its long run:
    • According to Charles Schultz, the whole point of Linus' Security Blanket was to teach readers that forcing kids out of their childish yet otherwise harmless habits will not help them grow up, and will most likely do more harm than good.
    • Linus' lesser-known habit of patting birds on the head drops a similar anvil. Throughout the Story Arc, everyone who saw Linus doing that told Lucy "Your brother pats birds on the head", which prompts Lucy to demand that Linus stop it. Linus is bewildered that people would have a problem with something that only alleviates the birds' depressions and in turn gives Linus a great sense of fulfillment. When he asks just what is wrong with it, all Charlie Brown can give for an answer is "no-one else does it!"
      • Furthermore, Lucy seems to be the only one who has any issue with Linus' behavior. The people who told Lucy presumably may just wanted to let her know (if they had any issue, they probably would've told Linus themselves). It makes the point that sometimes, something's only a problem because someone insists that it is.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • One episode of WWE Raw leading up to Unforgiven in September 2008 had Shawn Michaels drop an anvil that might, from some angles, appear a Family-Unfriendly Aesop, but that is one that countless Wide-Eyed Idealists out there desperately need to accept if they're ever going to get on with their lives. After Chris Jericho had smashed Shawn's head into a video screen and repeatedly jabbed him in the eye, half-blinding him and nearly ending his career, and then punched his wife Rebecca in the mouth and temporarily disfigured her - and had refused to apologize for any of this, claiming that Michaels had it all coming to him - Michaels asserted that some people are so wicked that they cannot possibly be forgiven, nor ever even want to be. And you can't just ignore them, because then they'll just keep going out to hurt countless more people; sometimes you must seek swift justice, severely punishing or even destroying a menacing human being. Of course, with Jericho's and Michaels's feud reaching its climax with the "Unsanctioned Match" at Unforgiven (in which both combatants relieved World Wrestling Entertainment from all legal responsibility for what they would do to each other), WWE attempted to have it both ways, having Michaels snap and beat Jericho unconscious, and then continue to assault him even after it had become clear Jericho could no longer defend himself, until Michaels finally managed to experience some remorse. Not to mention Jericho's appearance on Raw the night afterward, stripping down to show the still-unhealed welts on his upper torso where Michaels had thrashed him repeatedly with a strap and "questioning" how a born-again Christian like Michaels could do such things.
  • Michaels actually had to learn a lot of lessons, especially given his penchant for Aesop Amnesia. Just a few months after the Jericho incident, his family lost all its money in unsound investments (this was the autumn of 2008, remember) and he desperately needed a second job. John "Bradshaw" Layfield "generously" took Michaels on as an employee, only to force him to compromise all his integrity by repeatedly helping JBL cheat to win the World Heavyweight Championship. At one point, none other than The Undertaker confronted Michaels about this, warning that "Sometimes it's hell getting to heaven." Rarely have truer words about the basic human condition (even if that human is a Superstar) been spoken.
  • Bullying is wrong. Both men and women can be guilty of it (shame on you, LayCool), and even the seemingly most powerful and confident individuals can fall victim to it (with one particularly heartrending subplot being about The Big Show being bullied, since you'd think that no one could bully a 7', 500 lbs. giant.). This is a lesson WWE considers so important that they don't restrict their preaching of it to just their entertainment division.
  • CM Punk, in his Smug Straight Edge/Straight Edge Evil mode, can come off as pompous and pretentious. But, when you consider Jeff Hardy's disastrous performance at TNA Victory Road 2011, how could anyone disagree with his Drugs Are Bad message?

  • Adventures in Odyssey does this every episode rather well. In fact, they've perfected it.
  • In the Superman radio show of the 40s, there is a fairly famous serial in which Superman takes on an expy for The Klan, complete with their real-life ranks and secret phrases. This radio show was used to expose the Ku Klux Klan for what it really was: a terrorist organization that had to be disbanded ASAP. It even went and revealed the identities of individual Klansmen, hoping to induce good-hearted people to go after the Klansmen themselves and harass them until they were too broken to so much as spit upon a black man. It worked. Suddenly, the Ku Klux Klan was forced to disband in the face of overwhelming shame, public ridicule, and vicious assaults on its members. They've never managed to regain their former power since then. In fact, the NSA lists them as a "subversive organization", the same designation given to the Animal Liberation Front and other "homegrown" terror organizations; and one can lose or be denied security clearance by becoming affiliated with the "nightie knights".
    • An example of the impact it had: one of its members realized how bad The Klan was when he saw his kids playing with their dolls as Superman fighting the Klan.
  • On the radio show The Saint, during the episode "Author of Murder", Vincent Price (the voice of Simon Templar) delivered an unsubtle yet eloquent message on the evils of prejudice and racism.
  • The Brewing Network's Justin's explanation why he thinks people who try to get away with drunk driving are stupid. He went through his past, explaining his experiences, and drove home over and over that he has no respect for anyone who drunk drives and will call out anyone who tries. Given that the BN has a lot of heavy drinkers as its listeners, it was a good way of making a point of the sort of behavior that the BN tolerates. Justin makes a point of having their Winterfest near public transport and letting designated drivers in free for this reason.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted has, as setting rules: that some actions can never truly taken back, and that while violence can be an attractive or even necessary tool, it can not make things better on its own. Rather important gameplay mechanics to drop in when many competing products have teams of murderhobos roaming the field.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney series has a running theme of To Be Lawful or Good, as might well be expected of games centered around the legal system. The anvil comes at the very end of the fourth game in the main series, where both the Judge and the prosecutor of that game explain outright that Good is always the right choice over Lawful, because the law is always changing... and that we have a responsibility to stand up and work to change the law if the law is wrong, for the sake of anyone else who might have to face that law. Given how many protagonists are idealized for breaking laws they don't like, it's nice to hear from the other perspective on this, and leaving it as a subtle theme rather than stating it firmly would have been far less effective.
  • Katawa Shoujo has a different Aesop for each girl's path, as well as a couple of overarching ones for the game as a whole, and while they are varying degrees of Anvilicious, pretty much all of them needed to be dropped.
  • Danganronpa runs on the theme of hope. That you need to hold onto hope, no matter how overwhelming or impossible your situation seems. It may be the only thing that you have to rely on in the end. Surrendering to despair is never a solution to anything.
    • Having talent doesn't automatically make you better than anyone and not having it doesn't make you worthless.
    • You need to take responsibility for your past and the consequences of your actions. However, even if it's filled with horrible mistakes, it does not define your future. You do.
    • Sometimes the truth is an awful one, but you need to pursue it anyway.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony manages to do something far different. Hope and Despair, as the series actually portrays it, is meaningless. Despair in itself does nothing but bring pointless misery and sorrow to the people around you, but the way Hope is consistently portrayed, as a person that personifies it in its entirety, is even more meaningless. Because, as Shuichi points out, the audience who chooses hope to win over despair in the end simply wants to see a new tragedy unfold that hope can overcome, thus causing more people to pointlessly sign up for the TV show that is Danganronpa, thus, trivializing Hope and Despair as a game to watch. The real thing that ends the sick situation is the love for one's fellow man, and the love Shuichi and the remaining survivors have for each other, regardless of them being engineered to be a part of the show, is what convinces the audience to stop watching the show, and thus, ending the series In-Universe forever.
  • Amnesia: Memories drops a heavy anvil in Clover World, a.k.a. Kent's route. Among the first things he tells the heroine is that she needs to tell him if she doesn't like something about his behavior because he can't read her mind. In fact, Kent's entire route is one big deconstruction of the Belligerent Sexual Tension trope because it makes it clear that this was dooming their relationship to misery and failure, as the two couldn't have a single conversation where they didn't end up arguing about something. The anvil is clear: open communication in a relationship is important to make things work. And if your personalities are polar opposites, you can still make things work by trying to approach each other on equal levels, as Kent does when he tries to be more emotionally open towards the heroine, despite it being the opposite of his rational world-view.

    Miscellaneous/Unsorted Examples 
  • The Beanie Baby "Lucky" the ladybug has a short poem about not spending your money to play the lottery, something kids need to learn before they become old enough to play.
  • The "It Gets Better" series of YouTube videos intended to prevent gay teen suicide. Fittingly, it's a multi-purpose Anvil, suited to far more than just its intended purpose; you don't have to be gay, or even a teenager, to take powerful solace from the thousands of earnest people who want to reassure you that It Gets Better.
  • Iris Chang's book The Rape of Nanking, exposing horrific atrocities committed by the Japanese Army in WWII. It's possible it did not happen the way it was described, and her description may or may not have been biased, but it did happen, and her book has opened the floodgate.
  • Some person was kind enough to post a great Patrick Stewart Speech in the Real Life section here.
  • The growing campaign against drinking and driving can be rather over-the-top (especially the commercials), but if it gets more drunk people to stay off the road, more power to them.
    • This ad is as Anvilicious as it gets, and one of the most powerful of all of them.
    • The problem of texting and driving is starting to be treated the same way as drinking and driving - for obvious (and very good) reasons.
  • The "Give A Damn" campaign, similar to the "It Gets Better" series mentioned above.
  • Cleopatra's Nose. An anvil that can't be dropped hard enough: You don't need to look like everyone else to be beautiful. You have to look like you to be beautiful.
  • Sex Education.
    • And its inverse anvil: it is the PARENTS' job to teach their children, not abandoning the responsibility to television, schools, various other people, and painful life experience to do it. And not just giving "the talk," but several "talks" over time, being a source of wisdom and advice for the growing young person along the way, even into adulthood and marriage advice when needed.
  • The Sword of Damocles. It's about as subtle as a freight train, but it's an excellent demonstration of the perils of absolute power.
  • Half the Sky is very blunt on its possibly biased worldview that atrocities against women continue today (ex. sexual slavery, human trafficking, and female illiteracy), especially in third-world countries. And it also states that the weak economic power that these countries have because of their oppressive misogyny.
  • Men Defy Stereotypes In Defining Masculinity, an international study from Indiana University, both refutes falsehoods about men’s self-perception and encourages others to do the same.
    Julia Heiman (author of the study): "Many meanings, positive and negative, are attached to the term, 'masculinity'. To ask a large sample of men what comprises their own sense of masculinity is very useful for both the media and for research. These results suggest we should pay attention and ask rather than presume we know."
  • Britain ran a series of anti-speeding adverts involving a film of a car travelling down a busy street at a mere five miles over the standard speed limit for a public area, before coming to an emergency stop. The advert shows where the car would have stopped had it been travelling at thirty. Since the car was actually travelling at thirty-five, it goes on for another five or six feet: and smashes right into a child crossing the road.
  • The entirety of the British Home Office's "Sex and Consent" campaign, featuring prominent personalities such as Charlie McDonnell. While it may come across as something obvious, the massive sexual abuse scandal that broke out on YouTube around the same time only made the message stronger.
    • The videos, by some of the victims of the aforementioned scandal, also hammer home the point repeatedly and effectively. One such example can be found here. Needless to say, the subject is NSFW.
    • This song argues powerfully that those who have abused community members do not deserve to return to their platform. It's not subtle in the least, but hammers the message in with the repetition of "you're not coming back", listing several things that the abusers have ruined; this makes the lyrics even more powerful.
    • Similarly, Australia's Lt. Gen. David Morrison gave an epic smackdown to soldiers bullying and sexually harassing/abusing female comrades.
    Lt. Gen. Morrison: "On all operations, female officers and soldiers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future. If that does not suit you, then get out. You may find another employer where your attitude and behavior is acceptable, but I doubt it. The same goes for those who think that toughness is built on humiliating others."
  • In light of a series of videos that YouTuber Sam Pepper put out, showing him sexually assaulting / harassing women (specifically by squeezing their backsides) under the guise of a "prank" and then showing men being the victim of the exact same thing, a series of videos, such as this one, showed that sexual harassment is not cool, regardless of gender.
  • "No More she was asking for it."
  • This PSA from Verizon that shows how people tend to push girls away from science and mathematics. It's an anvil that especially needs to be dropped because, as the commercial shows, most people are unaware that they're doing it.
  • In Confessions of a Republican, a 1964 election campaign ad, a jittery Republican voter, played by actor William Bogert expresses his doubts about Barry Goldwater. It drops several about why voting for a guy just because he was a member of your party is bad if the guy acts irresponsibly. While there was a clear bias in the message, the actor, William Bogert, was a real Republican expressing his fears about Goldwater.
    William Bogert: If you vote for a man you don't believe, it's a lie.
  • The 2010s anti-cigarette ads that show people suffering from all kinds of diseases and health conditions because of their addiction. These commercials are often filled with Body Horror to get the message across.
  • The story of Hercules the grizzly bear is a cautionary tale on the dangers of domestication. Hercules was the pet of Scottish wrestler Andy Robin and his wife Maggie. He lived in the house, ate cooked food (he wouldn't touch raw meat) and was so tame that he'd let people (usually Andy) ride around on his back. There was also an incident in 1980 where he ran away during the filming of a Kleenex advert in the Outer Hebrides and wasn't found for almost a month, during which time he lost half his body weight because he wouldn't kill and eat any of the livestock or wildlife in the area. The story shows that sometimes animals shouldn't be tamed because they need the instinct to survive in the unforgiving wild. Animal Rescuers have to retrain animals so that they can properly reintegrate with their basic instincts of survival. As horrible as it is, predatory animals need to hunt living prey so that they can receive proper nutrients from the meat and keep their skills honed.
  • An 1980s advert (English version here) for the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo begins with a zoomed in black and white photo that slowly zooms out while a narrator talks about a man who inherited a destroyed nation, restored its economy and its people's pride, reduced unemployment, grew the nation's GDP, doubled its per-capita income, raised corporate profits and reduced annual hyperinflation. The narrator then mentions that the man loved music and art and wanted to be an artist when he was young, then the photo zooms out quickly revealing the man in question was in fact Adolf Hitler. The narrator then tells us that lies can be told even when speaking truths and that we should see to it that our source of information gives us the whole truth.
    Folha de S.Paulo: The newspaper that sells the most, but never sells itself out.
  • There are multiple videos online explaining why bystanders shouldn't distract service dogs. With one story explaining how a woman could have died when someone distracted her service dog. The dog was trained to recognise the moments before a seizure, so he can warn her and find a safe space to prevent any injuries. When the dog was distracted, he didn't recognise the moment and the woman had a seizure. Fortunately, she only received a carpet burn on her forehead. Service dogs are trained from birth to fulfill owner requirements like anxiety treatment, physical aid or life-saving treatment. No matter how nice you're trying to be, don't distract service dogs. They can be a balancing point between life and death for their owner.


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