At Least I Admit It
"Better to be known as a sinner than a hypocrite."
The hero has the villain cornered and calls him out on how his actions are evil, etc. But the villain doesn't care if his actions are evil or not, because at least the villain isn't a Hypocrite when it comes to his beliefs and/or philosophy. "At Least I Admit It", they may say. Of course, discovering The Hero actually believes all that stuff about "justice" and "honour" can be... a shock.
This is usually a sign of a Card-Carrying Villain, and is often use this to assert that society at large is Not So Different.
See also Villains Never Lie and The Mad Hatter.
Anime and Manga
- Eustass Kid in One Piece. Sure, he's somewhere between a Sociopathic Hero and Complete Monster who's attacked and killed people just for laughing at him or looking at him funny... but that doesn't stop him from criticizing the World Government for doing equally evil, and worse, things while proclaiming that their methods are "Justice."
- Captain America villain Crossbones has used this at least twice. The first time, while trying to deprogram Red Skull's daughter Synthia, he goes on a rant about how the "American Way" is just a lie used to control the masses.
Synthia: Oh, and fascism's better, then?
- The second occurs in Thunderbolts #149, during the Shadowland crossover:
Crossbones: Fine with me. I'll burn out more of these Jap zombies.
- Tony Montana delivers a speech like this in a memorable scene from Scarface.
Tony Montana: What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way!
God, at least me and Regina George know we're mean! You try to act like you're so innocent! ... So why are you still messing with Regina, Cady? I'll tell you why! Because you are a mean girl! You're a bitch!"
- Col. Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men is considered an Anti-Villain by some precisely because he is willing to admit that, by any modern standard, he is basically a barbarian. Jessup lectures the defense attorney questioning him (it is actually the attorney's clients on trial here) because he is disgusted that a "civilized" man (i.e., a civilian) who has never had to resort to violence in his life would attempt to condemn him for his methods: "My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives!" Of course, this is somewhat subverted by the fact that: A. Jessup has been denying his involvement for the previous two hours of the movie, and B. The defense attorney is well aware that Colonel Jessup wants to brag about his barbarism to the world, and is more than willing to provoke him into it to get his clients off, even if it means being the target of a rant.
- This is what Alex, the Villain Protagonist of A Clockwork Orange, believes sets him above the society he lives in. He's clearly rotten, but unlike the hypocrites in the government, he's honest about his goals and intentions.
- Guards! Guards! has a dragon who is appalled by humans, not because they kill (dragons kill all the time, and are expected to do so), but because of the ways humans try to justify it.
We were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape: We never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.
- Inverted in The Diamond Age, when a character's illegal activities are exposed, a legal official reassures him that there is a difference between those who oppose the law and those who genuinely respect it, but are too weak to uphold it.
- Superman: Last Son of Krypton:
In solitary Luthor decided that his motivation was beyond even the love or hate or whatever it was he had for humanity. It was consuming desire for godhood, fired by the unreasonable conviction that such a thing was somehow possible. He began by being an honest man. He was a criminal and said so.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Rogues in the House", Murilo does this on Conan's behalf.
This Cimmerian is the most honest man of the three of us, because he steals and murders openly.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the cynical, Anti-Villainous Sandor Clegane calls out the Brotherhood Without Banners for putting on airs about their own murderous actions, and attempting to condemn him for the crimes of his employer (with which he had no connection):
"A Knight's a sword with a horse. The rest, the vows and the sacred oils and The Lady's favours, they're silk ribbons tied 'round the sword. Maybe the Sword's prettier with ribbons hanging of it, but it'll kill you just as dead. Well, bugger your ribbons, and shove your swords up your arses. I'm the same as you. The only difference is, I don't lie about what I am. So, kill me, but don't call me a murderer while you stand there telling each other your shit don't stink. You hear me?"
- In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, when the Wizard's true identity is revealed, and the heroes accuse him of being a humbug (which means a charlatan) he admits it, saying sadly, "Yes, that's exactly what I am, a humbug." However, he protests when Dorothy calls him a bad man, insisting, "No, I'm a very good man, I'm just a very bad wizard." The scene was pretty much the same in the movie version.
- This seems to be the crux of Omar's takedown of drug lawyer Maurice Levy in season two of The Wire. When told that he's a leech, stealing from those who steal the lifeblood of the city, Omar's only response is: "Just like you, man: I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase, but all in the game, though, right?"
- Parodied on The Chris Rock Show with the "Mike Tyson for President" ads, which show Tyson admitting stuff like how he's a convicted rapist and "a semi-good husband".
- During Spike's one appearance in Buffy season three, Drusilla breaking up with him has left him a complete drunken wreck - but he still gets to snark at Buffy and Angel's attempts to pretend that they're Just Friends now. "I might be Love's Bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
- Davros inflicted this trope upon the Doctor in the Doctor Who episode "Journey's End". Yes, it is true that Davros created the Daleks, ultimate xenophobes whose only instructions are to exterminate everything different. But can the Doctor be so high and mighty? He's killed too- committed genocide, in fact! And to bring the point home, he points out how he has changed his many companions into soldiers, all willing to kill in his name. Of course, the difference is that Davros acts only out of a desire for power; the Doctor and his companions always have good intentions at heart.
- In "The Time Monster", the Master's reaction to the Doctor saying "You're mad, paranoid," is "Who isn't? The only difference is that I'm just a little more honest than the rest."
- "My Plague" by Slipknot features this in its lyrics:
I'm just a bastard
- Commonly seen on Fora is the argument "I don't claim to be tolerant" — when the forum member making that statement is, essentially, chastising the opponent for not tolerating their intolerance.
- Spoony has a variation where after he made a joke about Dr. Insano becoming President Evil, he's talked to fans who said they would vote for him "Because he's honest".
- Eddie Guererro in WWE: "I lie, I cheat, I steal. But at least I'm honest about it."
- Champions adventure Deathstroke: The Villain group The Destroyers decide to take over the United States. They think they'll be better leaders than the corrupt politicians running the country because the Destroyers admit that they're criminals.
- A lot of references to the modrons and the rilmani in the Planescape campaign mention that dealing with demons is often easier than dealing with them because at least with demons, you know what to expect.
- Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing has Don John describing himself as "a plain-dealing villain," making this Older Than Radio.
- From Li'l Abner; as the song shows, no Dogpatch resident ever denies that their founder General Jubilation T. Cornpone was a Dirty Coward or a General Failure; in fact, they fail to see why those are bad qualities.
- In Advance Wars Days of Ruin, Waylon says that Will only does his heroism to feel self-important; at least he doesn't hide the fact that he's a selfish bastard. Will counteracts that he might indeed be leading Brenner's Wolves out of selfishness, but if it helps even one person, then it's worth it.
- This is Kaido's philosophy in Devil Survivor. To him, all people are ugly, selfish and power-grubbing underneath and try to solve all their problems with force—he just doesn't see the point in trying to hide it. This comes to light when he ends up in a fight with the resident Knight Templar of the lockdown and ends up explaining how they're Not So Different (in using the fact that they're more powerful than others to bully them into following their point of view) just before he uses Pazuzu to strangle and fry his opponent to death.
- Neverwinter Nights 2's Bishop holds much the same view. He doesn't bother to hide his inherent beastliness, and says as much if you try to dig out his Freudian Excuse through conversation.
- In Mortal Kombat 11, Kronika is a Manipulative Bastard and Chessmaster who has purposely orchestrated events throughout hundreds of timelines, resulting in Raiden and Liu Kang becoming mortal enemies, and once Raiden figures this out in the current one, she doesn't even try to deny it. She claims he has discovered her plan several times, and that his vow not to fall victim to such is nothing new to her, and has always failed. This comes back to bite her in the end; Raiden is full of surprises.
- In Helluva Boss, this is a common theme among the I.M.P.s clients. Mrs. Mayberry in "Murder Family" never denies she is a murderer, she just wants her two-timing husband's mistress to burn in Hell with her. In "C.H.E.R.U.B.", neither Loopty or Lyle deny their atrocities or the fact that they committed them out of greed. In fact, the whole reason Loopty hires I.M.P. to kill Lyle is because he feels they'd be better continuing their evil deeds as partners, and when the hit succeeds, Lyle actually agrees with him. In both cases, none of them feel any remorse at all and none of them claim their fate is unwarranted or undeserved.
Gren: That's what our people would do! But we're evil. These people are good! They wouldn't do that sort of thing!
- Broch has a disagreement with his colleague on this matter, though: if the "good guys" have all the same despite their priests preaching the opposite, this means what?..
- Order of the Stick has Redcloak's Hannibal Lecture to Miko. He accuses paladins of being unnatural thanks to their divine immunity to fear, arguing that Xykon the Lich "is a unnatural abomination, but at least he cops to it". However, Redcloak himself gets an enhanced lifespan from the Crimson Mantle he wears, but he remains very private about that matter.
- Xykon does this to Redcloak in Start of Darkness. Redcloak has just murdered his own brother to save Xykon and further his plans, and Xykon is well aware of it. He tells Redcloak that all he succeeded in doing is prove that he is just as evil as Xykon, but hides it under his good intentions, and will now serve loyally because he's too chickenshit to accept all the horrible things he's "had to" do becoming meaningless if he quits.
- In Least I Could Do, Rayne gets word that a lesbian is gonna be working in his company, and he puts out a company-wide hunt for her. One of his aides calls him out on his actions, but wrongly accuses it of being a Witch Hunt. Rayne would then clarify his stance.
Rayne: I'm not a monster, Nancy; I'm a sexual deviant.
- Schlock Mercenary has this as a botched compliment:
Thrummb: At least you are honest enough not to pretend to morality, sir.
- Family Guy:
- Lovable Sex Maniac Quagmire, during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Brian: "And what really bothers me is you pretend you're this deep guy who loves women for their souls when all you do is date bimbos. Yeah, I date women for their bodies, but at least I'm honest about it!" Of course, this seems especially rich when you remember that Quagmire himself is essentially a rapist.
- In "Trump Guy", Peter himself admits to his own faults while chastising Donald Trump for his, simply pointing out that when the President of the United States is obnoxious, he's making America look bad.
- Rick from Rick and Morty never denies any of his flaws or atrocities. He admits to being a lunatic, an alcoholic, a murderer, a thief, and a bad father. Granted, he hates himself (and his alternate selves), and tends to get annoyed with folks like his daughter who have Never My Fault attitudes.
- The Ricks at the Citadel of Rick are little better than the core Rick (well, most of them aren't), but also won't deny it. For example, in one story where they put Summer before what she assumes is a Kangaroo Court:
Summer: How is this a fair trial? Our lawyer is a Morty.
- As alluded to in one of the opening quotes, the Grand Pumpkin in a "Treehouse of Horror" episode of The Simpsons - who, after expressing apathy over the fate of a yellow pumpkin (the Grand Pumpkin is your standard orange type of pumpkin), is called out for his racism by Nelson Muntz, of all people. And while it's not a saving grace for the Grand Pumpkin, Nelson is being hypocritical here because he doesn't care about the fate of the little yellow pumpkin, either; in fact, he was precisely the one who had been perfectly willing to smash that little pumpkin in order to save his own life!
- Cotton Hill in King of the Hill. Bigot? Yes, and he never denies it. Dirty Old Man and womanizer? Yes, and he admits that too. Bad father? Seriously, and that's another thing he never denies. Unfortunately, Cotton is a rotten person who just doesn't care what anyone else thinks of him, so he figures it's pointless to tell lies nobody would believe.
- From the very first episode of the 2020 reboot of Animaniacs, the Warner siblings mock the whole concept of a relaunch, claiming anyone who does so is a "sell-out" trying to make money. Wakko answers the obvious question by saying: "Yeah, but when we sell out, we know we're selling out, so it's cool!"
- Batman Beyond; in "Babel", the villain Shriek blackmails Gordon n exchange for Terry's life.
Barbara: You're out of your mind.
- ↑ i.e. turn her back into the Ax Crazy Daddy's Little Villain she was before SHIELD gave her Fake Memories and brainwashed her into being a normal, healthy person