Take That/Literature

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  • The Oppermanns repeatedly insults My Battle. Typically in regards to the fact that Mein Kampf has bad grammar.
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy credits a human named "Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings" as the writer of the very worst poetry in the universe. This is a disguised reference to a real individual (Paul Neil Milne Johnson) whose name was actually used in the version originally broadcast on radio but altered in all later versions due to legal threats.
  • In Dave Barry's novel Big Trouble, one of the villains fires a bullet into a TV showing Jerry Springer. "About time" is another character's comment.
  • Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a family Take That aimed at sister Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. The female protagonist of Tenant falls in love with someone bearing an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Rochester. Things proceed to go very badly.
    • This adds an extra layer of humor to Kate Beaton's "Dude Watchin' With the Brontes"!
    • Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea is another Take That on Jane Eyre.
    • Jane Eyre is a Take That at itself. It just tends to get lost in the accretion of romanticism around it.
      • Don't forget the school. Not so much a Take That as a thinly disguised portrayal of a horrific reality. It had been cleaned up and reformed by the time the book came out, but Charlotte nonetheless had the satisfaction of sitting on a train behind an elderly gentleman who said loudly "Why, they have got Cowan Bridge School here, and Miss Temple and Mr. Wilson!" Hah hah hah.
  • In Speaker for the Dead, part of Orson Scott Card's Enderverse, an alien species is given a copy of the Bible... and a copy of a book written by the protagonist. Guess which one got used for firewood and which one was the foundation of a new religion. The guys who wrote the Bible apparently has nothing on Ender Wiggin. Interestingly, Card himself is known for his conservative, Mormon beliefs.
    • By Xenocide, though, most of the aliens have been converted by missionaries, so not so much.
      • This one is weird, because catholics put a much lower priority on bible study than most Christian sects - and the fact that Mormons use the Bible, too. Curious.
  • Mark Cerasini's Godzilla 2000 includes a sequence where the titular monster walks into and apparently stands down a tornado; maybe it's coincidence that director Jan de Bont released Twister the prior year, after leaving the American Godzilla project in Development Hell ...
  • It's been suggested that Captain Hastings was based on Agatha Christie's first husband. After the divorce Hastings suffered galloping Flanderization, before being written out.
  • After Michael Crichton wrote the novel State of Fear, which was heavily critical of those promoting the existence of anthropogenic global warming, science writer Michael Crowley wrote an article attacking the book for The New Republic. When Michael Crichton's next book, appropriately-titled Next, came out, there was an off-hand reference to a "Mick" Crowley, a pharmaceutical industry shill who was a pedophile with a small penis. No, seriously. You can't argue with solid scientific evidence like that.
  • The song for Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is pretty much a two-page rant against television and in favor of books. Real subtle, Mr. Dahl.

The most important thing we've learned
As far as children are concerned
Is never, never, ever let
Them near a television set
Or better yet, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all

    • Tim Burton's film of the book reproduces a good chunk of the song word-for-word... which is a Broken Aesop, because Mike Teavee in the movie is addicted to video games, not TV, and his biggest problem is that he's a obnoxious know-it-all.
    • The same kind of anti-TV sentiment appears in Matilda, too, albeit much more subtly. The heroine is a brilliant child who loves reading, while the parents are shallow, petty, and mean, spending all their free time watching TV.
    • To be fair, Roald Dahl makes it clear that he thinks TV is okay "in small doses" but goes on to say that children don't seem to take it in small doses.
  • Dante's Inferno is arguably one long Take That, seeing as that every one of Dante's enemies makes a personal appearance in Hell. He even includes friends and mentors who weren't living what he considered a virtuous life within the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nice guy, that Dante.
    • To approach it from the opposite direction, some believe that certain aspects of Inferno are a Stealth Parody of traditional Church teaching at the time.
  • Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's joint retelling of the Inferno in the imaginatively titled novel Inferno follows in the same vein, condemning to Hell people who supported banning diet foods, people who shut down nuclear power plants based on bogus science, and a teacher who knowingly and wrongly suggested that some her students had dyslexia because they were hard to teach. And of course, they deliver a massive Take That to Kurt Vonnegut for supposedly being a terrible writer. They followed up with a sequel, Escape From hell, which includes attacks aimed at the New Orleans authorities.
  • Michael deLarrabeiti's Borribles novels feature as the Borribles' natural enemies the Rumbles—giant, technologically savvy rodents with a penchant for fascism, and whose scathing resemblance to long-time British children's favorite The Wombles is of course pure coincidence. And in the first volume of the trilogy, the rag-and-bone man Dewdrop and his son Ernie are vicious caricatures of Steptoe and Son.
  • The character of Karmazinov in Dostoevsky's Demons is a caricature of the author's contemporary and sometime friend, sometime rival and ideological opponent Ivan Sergeievich Turgenev. The whole novel, really, is a "tract-novel", polemicizing against contemporary political and ideological movements that Dostoevsky regarded as dangerous or abhorrent.
  • In A Study in Scarlet, Watson compares Sherlock Holmes to Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin. Holmes takes offense and explains to Watson exactly why Dupin is over-rated.
    • I think this incident is more Doyle displaying Holmes' rather sizable ego than a true Take That. Watson was rather annoyed with Holmes dismissal of a character the good doctor admired, and in real life I believe Doyle was an admirer and champion of Poe.
      • Word of God. Doyle was quite explicit in stating that he didn't agree with Holmes's views on Poe, expressing his sentiments in verse 'Please grasp this fact with your cerebral tentacle/The doll and his maker are never identical'
  • Ben Elton, who is a successful writer for television, attacks reality TV in his novels Dead Famous and Chart Throb.
    • And books like Popcorn and Blind Faith contain increasingly random and non-plot-related Take Thats at any number of things, including New Age spiritualism, Soundtrack Dissonance in movies, bloggers, Myspace, and a really ridiculous amount of pagespace in Blind Faith is given to bitching about women who shave or wax their pubic hair and men who find that attractive.
  • Henry Fielding's Shamela is a barely concealed Take That at Pamela by Samuel Richardson, which was wildly popular at the time. The introduction, for good measure, was a Take That at its fans. Apparently on a roll, Fielding followed up with Joseph Andrews, which is a another mocking parody of Pamela, though a bit more subtle.
  • Ian Fleming named the titular villain in Goldfinger after architect Erno Goldfinger, whose work Fleming despised. When Erno threatened to sue, Fleming suggested changing the name of the villain to Goldprick, instead. Take That!
    • And then along came Austin Powers...
  • After a messy divorce from her first husband, Laurell K. Hamiliton had Richard grow increasingly "Jerkass" in mannerisms, and was only allowed to have sex with Anita when no one else in her "Rotisserie of Dicks" was available, and implied with the weight of a 16 ton anvil that he lost out on a very good relationship by leaving her. It must be noted, however, that, for many readers, this was something of an Insult Backfire.
  • Upon hearing Gertrude Stein's quote, "A rose is a rose is a rose," Ernest Hemingway responded, "A bitch is a bitch is a bitch."
  • Tunnel In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein is a Take That on William Golding's Lord of the Flies: Teenagers on a survival test get stranded on an alien world. The selfish, aggressive, independent ones manage to get themselves killed, while the cooperative ones willing to help each other out manage to build a functioning society by the time they're rescued.
    • Which is ironic, seeing as Golding had intended Lord of the Flies as a Take That on The Coral Island, a popular children's book about three young men who live out an idyllic life on a desert island before being threatened by "the savages". Golding took umbrage at the racist undertones, but also at the idea that savagery was some sort of external factor that threatened poor Anglicized civilization rather than an internal factor that could be cultivated under the proper conditions. Sometimes a Cyclic Trope is just a cyclic "Take That"?
  • Insu-Pu by Mira Lobe is also a Take That at Lord of the Flies, but more child-friendly: eleven children are stranded on an island, and manage to build a functional society, and even the more afggressive children manage to fit in afterwards.
  • Parodied in John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise with the Attack Ads segment, one of which accuses Jonathan Coulton of being a bad catsitter, Coulton has personally appeared in ads for the book and at signings, and even wrote a song to promote the book, so it looks like Hodgman meant nothing by it, and "has only masturbated out a window once".
  • One of the oldest examples of this comes in the very first English dictionary. Samuel Johnson defined 'oats' as 'a grain which is principally fed to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.'
    • The retort was "England has beautiful horses, Scotland has beautiful women."
    • Samuel Johnson was full of anti-Scots lines. When he was first introduced to James Boswell, Boswell said "I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it." Johnson's reply: "That, sir, is what far too many of your countrymen cannot help."
    • Johnson was one of the great Take That champions of his time. His letter to Lord Chesterfield is a masterpiece of Take That: an enormous "go to hell" couched in the most ostensibly respectful language imaginable.[2]
  • Stephen King's finale to his The Dark Tower septology includes a scene in which the main characters have to save Stephen King from dying in his real-life near-death accident. The guy who hit him is portrayed as a high, drunk idiot who is fighting with his dogs over meat instead of driving at the time. As a side note, the real Bryan Smith had been dead for four years by the time the book was published.
    • Overdosed, possibly on purpose, on King's birthday.
  • Stephen King's recent interview with MSNBC has him stating flat-out that in his opinion, Stephanie Meyer 'can't write worth a damn'.
  • In a further Stephen King example, IT contains a flashback to one of the protagonists' college years where he took a Creative Writing class. The teacher and the other students are all snooty, pretentious jerks who see no value in any story that isn't some kind of symbolism-filled indictment of the evils of modern life. The protagonist makes several rousing speeches to them about how stories should be good entertainment, no more and no less. It's hard to see it as anything other than a point that King really wanted to make.
  • China Mieville's Perdido Street Station had a part where the heroes hire some professional warriors, who are obviously modeled on both D&D type adventurers and post-Tolkien fantasy heroes. They're greedy and uncaring, and almost all of them are killed horribly.
    • That said, Miéville said in an interview with Dragon magazine that he had played D&D when he was younger, and that it was an Affectionate Parody. And let's face it—D&D characters do have a tendency to die horrible deaths on a regular basis... sometimes more than once.
  • Paradise Regained, the follow-up epic to Paradise Lost, has a rather powerful shot against Rome that may be interpreted as the Protestant Milton's attack on the Catholic Church. With Paradise Lost itself, the ancient gods of the Egyptians and Babylonians are listed amongst the forces of Hell.
  • The famous quote of Sir Isaac Newton, "If I have seen further than other men, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants" was nothing more than a veiled Take That to a colleague and rival, Robert Hooke who was, shall we say, vertically challenged. Newton was really not that nice a man; then again, supposedly Hooke wasn't either.
    • By modern standards, although both were geniuses, they were also...loosely hinged.
  • The victim in the Edgar Allan Poe short story "The Cask of Amontillado" resembles a then-popular author whose most recent novel had featured a No Celebrities Were Harmed insert of Poe as a comical villain.
  • In response to criticisms that his stories didn't have morals, Edgar Allan Poe wrote the humorous short story "Never Bet The Devil Your Head", which is a Take That against both the entire idea that stories need to have morals and against some of his contemporaries that endorsed the idea. It combines a Spoof Aesop with a patently and intentionally ludicrous Space Whale Aesop—technically being a "story with a moral", as they insisted on, but not what they meant at all - while taking jabs at specific literary figures of the time along the way.
  • A small Take That occurs in the Discworld novel, Night Watch, where the narrator points out the sheer stupidity/illogical nature of the famous "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" speech of Braveheart.
    • Susan Sto Helit makes a rather blunt jab against Narnia and Alice in Wonderland during her first appearance in Soul Music, and Vimes has turned one of Sherlock Holmes' explanations on itself with his own brand of thought.
    • Susan Sto Helit takes a not-so-veiled shot at the Mary Poppins books in Hogfather, when she is working as a nanny. She also thinks that Jack and the Beanstalk's moral is that you can get away with ecoterrorism, theft, and murder as long as people think that you're a hero.
    • And Susan's appearance in Thief of Time seems to be a jab at overly-lenient "progressive" schools.
    • Also in Discworld/Hogfather are several from Death himself, directed at various 'uplifting' Christmas stories. The best, however, makes it into the film adaptation, in which he rips apart the idea that the spirit of Hogswatch is somehow bolstered by a little girl freezing to death in the street.
  • While the first two books aren't too bad in this regard, the third book of His Dark Materials is a massive Take That to organized religion. Given that the author has himself stated that he hates the Narnia books, it is easy to conceive of it as an indirect Take That to Narnia as well.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn had a sinking ship called the Walter Scott. Mark Twain hated Walter Scott.
  • James Hogg's The Brownie of Bodsbeck and John Galt's Ringan Gilhaize both include Take That to Scott's Old Mortality. Hogg, Galt, and quite a few other people took offense at Scott's not-too-positive account of the Scottish Covenanters.
  • David Weber's Storm from the Shadows contains a very obvious Take That for anyone who frequents his forums—by explicitly calling anyone who thought that the hundreds of years of technology advantage that the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven have over the Solarian League has rendered their massive fleet obsolete. Weber apparently spent a long time battling the horrible ideas of his forum members. In Torch Of Freedom he uses most of them in a single battle that ends up onesided.
  • PG Wodehouse was widely denounced for his wartime broadcasts from Berlin, and leading the attacks on him was his erstwhile friend A.A. Milne. Stung by the bitter and personal nature of Milne's remarks, the usually-mild Wodehouse was driven to take revenge, and wrote a short story, "Rodney has a Relapse", in which the author of hard-boiled detective stories turns to writing the most sickening poems about his son, Timothy Bobbin. "I am not a weak man," says the narrator on hearing one, "but I confess that I shuddered."
    • P.G. Wodehouse also aimed a Take That at the British Fascist leader Oswald Mosley by creating 'Roderick Spode' a preposterous figure leading the 'black shorts' who leads a double life designing ladies underwear. His put down by Bertie Wooster deserves to be read in full. "It's about time some publicly-spirited person told you where to get off. The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you've succeeded in convincing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Hail, Spode!" and you imagine it's the voice of the people. That is where you make your bloomer. What the voice of the people is actually saying is, "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your life see such a perfect perisher?"
  • Timothy Zahn's Hand of Thrawn duology, while well-written and entertaining by itself, contained an extended Take That directed at everything Zahn hated about what had happened to the Star Wars Expanded Universe since he published The Thrawn Trilogy. The excessively powerful Jedi of earlier books had been unwittingly channeling The Dark Side. The lingering romantic Subtext between Mara Jade and Lando Calrissian was resolved by revealing that nothing happened between them, that they'd been working together on a massive information-gathering project and sometimes had to pretend to be lovers. And then Luke proposed to her, and she accepted.
    • Stackpole's I, Jedi, published between the two books of the duology, was more direct in its shots at the Jedi Academy books by KJ Anderson. On the other hand, Zahn and Stackpole seem to like each other's works and their fandoms have a substantial crossover.
    • Later on, Walter Jon Williams gave us the following in Destiny's Way, one of the better New Jedi Order novels, aimed at the overuse of superweapons in the Expanded Universe—some of it could apply equally to the Death Star but the Parody Names make it quite clear that's not the intended target.

Han: What The Empire would have done was build a supercolossal Yuuzhan Vong-killing battle machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus or the Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose. They would have spent billions of credits, employed thousands of contractors and subcontractors, and equipped it with the latest in death-dealing technology. And you know what would have happened? It wouldn't have worked. They'd forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up. Now that's what The Empire would have done.

  • The Warhammer 40,000 -- Gaunts Ghosts novel Straight Silver can be seen as subtly mocking those who consider the Imperial Guard to be little more than a poorly led Redshirt Army.
    • Similarly, the Ciaphas Cain series can be seen as a slight Take That to the over the top portrayal of Commissars and their role in the Imperial Guard.
  • Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians parodies fantasy in general, books and authors in general, and anything else the author can think of, but there are at least two specific Take Thats. One mentions a dinosaur eating the C section of the Science Fiction books out of annoyance with a certain author keeping a character alive because he didn't die in the film version. The other occurs when Alcatraz's grandfather comes to pick him up from his Muggle Foster Parents and wonders aloud what sense it would make to leave Alcatraz to live in a place he doesn't even like, where no one appreciates his magical powers and his enemies know exactly where to find him. Sound familiar?
  • One author named two villains after his first wife's divorce attorneys; on another occasion, while having problems with investments, he named five villains Merill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, and Smith.
  • Son of the Witch was written in 2005, after the musical, and the Tonys, in which it lost to to a show that gives new lyrics to classical Broadway Songs Early in the book, Dorothy and Company remember how hard it was to get in the first time. Good thing Scarecrow notices that the guards are distracted by a motley crew advertising some strange new show done mostly with puppets so they can sneak in.
  • In the first of the William Shatner / Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens Star Trek Novels The Ashes of Eden Kirk orders the Enterprise NCC-1701-A to go to warp on a course that would skim her through the atmosphere of the nearby planet. When the helmsman objects they would burn up Kirk says something like "Who are you going to believe, the manuals or someone who's done it?" Felt like a Take That to the Nitpicker's Guide objection to them taking the Klingon Bird of Prey to warp in atmosphere in ST:IV.
  • The scene involving the destruction of the Slytherin Locket from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows is seen by many fans as a giant Take That to the still-vocal segment of Potterfen who continued to see Harry and Hermione as destined soul mates, despite "Anvil-sized hints" as to Hermione and Ron eventually hooking up. It turns out that Voldemort is a Harmony shipper.
    • It is certainly a take that, but considering that in both book and film it comes off well, what with Harry and Hermione berating Ron with all the accurate complaints the shippers had in the books, and them looking sexy awesome making out topless in the movies, it is actually great.
    • Some fans also believe this was done more subtly in Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, in which the Hippogriff that Harry and Hermione had ridden on together was (temporarily) renamed from "Buckbeak" to "Witherwings." As ever, it was Fandom Wank who got the last laugh.
      • It was hardly "subtle". And it actually happened in "Half Blood Prince"...
      • And yet in an interview that happended in 2008 she said:

J.K.Rowling: "Just because someone had a view on Harry/Hermione didn't mean they weren't genuine, or that they were necessarily misguided ... Now the fact is that Hermione shares moments with Harry that Ron will never be able to understand and I think it could have gone that way." And yet she said that in an interview in 2008.

    • Another Take That in the series could be the character of Romilda Vane, a parody of every PotterSue who thought Harry would fall in love with her. Her name even anagrams to "I'm a Dan lover."
    • The character of Rita Skeeter is by JK Rowling's own admission an extended Take That at those portions of the British media obsessed with the personal lives of celebrities, whose speculations about her own life she refutes on a section of her official website called the "Rubbish Bin".
    • Also, the art of divination is considered trickery. Even in the magic world(!).
    • Dolores Umbridge and the actions of the Ministry in the fifth book could be seen as a Take That to the Moral Guardians who've railed against the series.
    • She states categorically in her Rubbish Bin that Lockhart was not based on her ex-husband, despite some rumors, and that she considers this speculation very hurtful.
    • She brought out a book called The Tales of Beedle the Bard that's set in the same universe. It is presented as a collection of wizard fairy tales with editorial notes from Dumbledore. In the notes to one story he observes that some readers had thought themselves cleverer than others and believed the author was leaving hidden messages for them in the text.
    • There's also the offhandedly mentioned character Beatrix Bloxam, who felt that children were too young and tender for Beedle's fairy tales and rewrote them as senselessly corny stories meant for three-year-olds. The notes say that absolutely nobody liked her work. A chocolate frog card in one of the licensed video games mentions that Bloxam's writing is capable of causing uncontrolled vomiting.
      • Not to mention the aside regarding the role of women in Fairy Tales, as opposed to the superior heroines of Wizarding - that is to say, J. K. Rowling's - fairy tales.
    • The 6th book is also one big Take That at the idea of Voldemort as once sweet kid mistreated in the muggle world and shunned in the wizarding world, and thus becoming evil. Specifically the idea that Riddle grew up in Orphanage of Fear is turned on its head - it was an Orphanage of Fear - because of Riddle himself: all other children feared him!
    • Potions professor Severus Snape was a gigantic That That to John Nettleship, who taught Rowling chemistry at Wyedean School, Chepstow.
  • 1066 and All That mentions Queen Anne passing an "Occasional Conformity Law" that people only had to follow once in a while, and goes on at how this was the only law of its kind... until the speed limit.
    • The whole of 1066 and All That was a Take That aimed at the then fashionable 'Whig History' style of teaching which saw the whole of history as a history of progress towards the unimprovable liberal democracy. The book satirises this by mentioning 'The Disillusionment of the Monasteries', Bloody Mary being wrong to bring Catholicism back to England because 'England was bound to become protestant' and history coming to an end when America became Top Nation.
  • Invisible Man doesn't even bother veiling its insult to Horatio Alger. Most other insults fall under No Celebrities Were Harmed, but are fairly obvious if you know enough about the time period.
  • Euripides' Electra mocks the signs that Electra used to infer Orestes' presence in the earlier Oresteia of Aeschylus—e.g., the idea that Electra could find one of Orestes' hairs and recognize it as his. Not surprisingly, Take That is Older Than Feudalism.
  • In H.I.V.E.: dreadnought, Wing and Otto are talking. Wing makes a sarcastic comment, to which Otto replies "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit". Wing retorts with, "I thought funny pictures of cats from the internet was the lowest form of wit." Otto concedes, saying, "Okay, that's the lowest form of wit, but sarcasm comes in a close second."
  • Some theories have it that the line "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was a Take That to the Rose Theater, rival to the Globe Theater, the one for which Shakespeare produced his plays.
  • Quite common in The Devils Dictionary. For example, in the definition for Incompossible: "Two things are incompossible when the world of being has scope enough for one of them, but not enough for both -- as Walt Whitman's poetry and God's mercy to man."
  • Jung's response to The Waste Land was to deem T. S. Elliot schizophrenic.
  • A short story by Zora Neale Hurston features a poor black woman who sells songs to a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Elvis. Later, Elvis returns to ask what her songs were about. The woman insists that the lyrics are self-explanatory, but he doesn't have the life experience or character to understand them. Hurston was a musician herself, and obviously not happy by the way white performers co-opted black music.
  • A critic named Platt wrote some rather contemptuous and, in David Drake's opinion, ill-informed remarks on one of Drake's early stories. Since then, people named "Platt" in Drake's books are invariably unpleasant in one or more ways—usually being stupid; unsavory sexual tastes sometimes come in as well.
  • America (The Book) mocks Mallard Fillmore's use of Strawman Political rants in lieu of humor by posting a satirical Fillmore strip that begins with Fillmore talking about something that bugs him, and ending on the last panel with "Oops! I forgot to tell a joke!"
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony, the Eight Family of the People, the Demons, adapted a romance novel called Lady Heatherington Smythe's Hedgerow as their gospel. Minerva Paradizo's comments on the novel could be a Take That to Twilight. Since Twilight was published in 2005 and Lost Colony in 2006, it is possible.

Minerva: You remember that one, Papa? The most ridiculous fluffy romance you are ever likely to avoid like the plague. I loved it when I was six. It's all about a nineteenth-century English aristocrat. [...] Oh, who's the author . . . Carter Cooper Harbison. The Canadian girl. She was eighteen when she wrote it. Did absolutely no research. She had nineteenth-century nobles speaking like they were from the fifteen hundreds. Absolute tosh, so obviously a worldwide hit. [...] Well, it seems our old friend Abbot brought it home with him. The cheeky devil has managed to sell it as gospel truth. It seems he has the rest of the demons spouting Cooper Harbison as though she were an evangelist.


"Your first difficulty about the sonnets, epigrams, or complimentary verses which you want for the beginning, and which ought to be by persons of importance and rank, can be removed if you yourself take a little trouble to make them; you can afterwards baptise them, and put any name you like to them, fathering them on Prester John of the Indies or the Emperor of Trebizond, who, to my knowledge, were said to have been famous poets: and even if they were not, and any pedants or bachelors should attack you and question the fact, never care two maravedis for that, for even if they prove a lie against you they cannot cut off the hand you wrote it with."

      • Cervantes also mocks the authors attributed to another author famous lines by way of Popcultural Osmosis, despite the fact that those lines were never uttered by them ("and then refer in the margin to Horace, or whoever said it").
  • Eight Bit Theater: The ending of Brian Clevinger's Nuklear Age was meant to be a massive Take That at Cerebus Syndrome.
  • In-story example: In Christopher Moore's Practical Demonkeeping, God made humankind as one big Take That to the demons and the djinn for (if I remember correctly) being able to create and for being free. As the King of the Djinn remarks: “Jehovah is infinite in his snottiness.”
  • In My Godawful Life by Michael Kelly, a parody of Misery Lit, all characters react with extreme horror at the mention of Northumberland. Being forced to live in Northumberland is described as far and away the most horrifying event in the main character's life, even though he's suffered every kind of misery imaginable. He marvels at the poverty and degradation suffered by a woman he met there, whose husband forced her to live in Northumberland "with only a £70 000 book advance to tide her over." This is a Take That at the "Wife in the North" blog, written by wealthy middle-class Judith O'Reilly about her struggle to adjust when she moved from London to rural Northumberland with her family. Kelly has also admitted in interviews that he dislikes O'Reilly and her blog.
    • Also, the chapter about being abused by nuns in an Irish convent school is probably a dig at Kathy O'Beirne, the author of several memoirs about her abuse in a Magdalen Laundry.
  • Jim Butcher did not like Childs Play. When a bunch of nasty fae take on the shapes of horror movie monsters in the Dresden Files book Proven Guilty, Chucky's Captain Ersatz gets smashed effortlessly, and someone says this:

"Personally. I never understood how anyone could have found that thing frightening to begin with."

    • Someone also gets snarky about "tortured, sentimental vampires" in a book released not too long after the Twilight craze started.

"Some of the bloody fools I've known can't stop talking about how tragic they are. The poor lonely vampires. How they're just like us. Bloody idiots."

    • And to make it even better, the audiobooks are read by James Marsters. For that particular character, he pretty much just used his Spike voice.
    • The outsides of the books always show Harry with a fedora to match his duster. The inside of the books have been getting progressively louder about Harry's dislike of hats, and in Dead Beat he makes fun of someone specifically for wearing "an honest-to-God fedora."
      • The issue began when the books shifted from a first-edition paperback to first-edition hardback release, with a change in cover artists. The cover artist had not read the novels yet when he got the commission, so he had to work off the publisher's description which mistakenly included "an honest-to-god fedora". For consistency, the hat's remained on the cover and more and more jokes have appeared in the novels about the hats.
  • One of the books in the Just William series by Richmal Crompton featured the character of insufferable child star Anthony Martin, cited by some critics as a Take That at Christopher Robin in the works of A. A. Milne.
  • The Place of Dead Roads by William S. Burroughs contains some monumental Take Thats on England in general and W. Somerset Maugham in particular.
  • Animorphs has an interesting application leveled at its own TV show. The series is based on an "Invasion of the Body-Snatchers" style paranoia and the TV show decided to indicate the invading aliens by having them stick their finger in their ear. The author then had one character lament that it would be so much easier if the villains would go around sticking their fingers in their ears.
  • In Universe example: In Piers Anthony's On A Pale Horse, companies that make flying carpets and car companies take pot shots at each other in their ads. (The main character has a magic horse that turns into a car.) Hell also does ads that are sometimes Take That at Heaven. Out of Universe: Could Anthony be doing a Take That to advertisement in general?
  • British novelist Jilly Cooper admitted in an interview that a goat in her latest novel, Jump!, was named Chisholm after the critic Anne Chisholm. Cooper explained that Chisholm's offence had been to reveal too much of the plot of her earlier novel, Rivals, in a review, rather than being a Caustic Critic. She added that "he's a terribly nice goat."
  • One story in Rev. Wilbert Awdry's The Railway Series contains a jab at Clarence Reginald Dalby, a former illustrator for the books, a jab that had previously been delivered to him personally by the author. After Percy arrives late one time too many Thomas complains that he crawls about like a "green caterpillar with red stripes". Dalby, in spite of graduating from Leicester Art College, was an incompetent illustrator who frequently got the engines' proportions wrong even though he had reference pictures and drew things inconsistently. The last book he illustrated was "Percy the Small Engine", in which Percy was drawn stretched-out and somewhat short. Awdry was not happy, and told Dalby that Percy looked like a green caterpillar with red stripes. Dalby, naturally, did not take that well and he quit.
  • Spellfall by Katherine Roberts is a Take That at the whole Down the Rabbit Hole subgenre. The one who introduces the heroine to magic is NOT a wise mentor, but an evil Wizard who wants to mount an attack on the Magical Land. Said attack is possible because the people who rule that land are arrogant, intolerant, ignorant and backward-oriented. It is up to heroine and some banished wizards to save everybody.
  • Coraline is also a Take That at Down the Rabbit Hole fantasy. The whole Magical Land is just one evil Trap to lure children from our world and feed on them. The "Adventure" consists mostly of making it out alive, and with your eyes intact. And saving your parents.
  • The Val/Caelan subplot in Skulduggery Pleasant is a Take That at Twilight / Deconstruction of the vampire romance genre. Caelen insists he isn't the brooding vampire type. He also believes that Stalking Is Love and makes the heroine confused. One a whole, he just acts very stalkerish and creepy.
    • Death Bringer ends with Fletcher calling Caelan a moany little whinge-bag and then killing him when he turns into a vampire and attacks.
      • Edward and Bella are mentioned by name. By Valkyrie. While she is dumping him.. The chapter in which Caelan gets his Yandere on was actually called My Twilight. Subtly is for the weak.
  • In the Lost World novel, the sequel to Jurassic Park, some mooks try the first movie's tactic of staying still to avoid being seen by a t-rex (which wasn't present in the book). Predictably, they get eaten. The main characters, who are watching this through a camera, comment that this behavior was based on incorrect information. The scene in general feels as a take-that against the movie in that regard.
  • The UNIX Haters Handbook at first seems like a lighthearted jab at UNIX and including some creative language, funny cartoons, and a hilarious Anti-Forward from UNIX co-creator Dennis Richie. Once you start reading it you begin to realize that many of the points are serious problems in the design of UNIX complete with usenet postings from very frustrated users of what is supposed to be a production system.
  • It's apparent that David Eddings had some issues with academia, and went to the effort to portray universities and professors in particular as arrogant, aloof and disconnected from reality. In The Belgariad 'Verse, characters mostly dismissed out of hand any literature from an academic source, and a visit to the Melcene University, largest in the world, was almost entirely fruitless because almost no one there had the slightest inclination to put there knowledge to any actual use. In The Elenium, an entire college of physicians is easily bribed to refuse treatment to a main character, except for one old rascal who only helps because of the chagrin his colleagues will feel when the bribe money doesn't come through, thanks to his intervention. And in The Tamuli, set in the same 'Verse, the main Tamul university exists primarily as a propaganda machine for the empire.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Hoo, boy! FM is clearly very fond of it, and is not subtle about it either! Weekend Warriors fires one at three rapists who happen to be dentists. Payback fires this at a Democrat senator and a Health Maintenance Organization (which is Republican, by the way). Vendetta have some unflattering things to say about China and its people. The Jury throws one at a Domestic Abuser, who happens to be the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States - and his good pal! Free Fall pokes at Hollywood. Hide And Seek shoots one at the FBI. Fast Track hurls this at newspapers like the Washington Post, and the Department of Homeland Security. Final Justice essentially says that Las Vegas casino security teams are one step away from the Gestapo and the Mafia. Under The Radar pretty much says that polygamists in Utah are a bunch of Complete Monsters, pedophiles and cultists, as well as mocking the National Guard. Razor Sharp fires one at johns/pimps, and portrays congressmen, senators and the Vice President himself as part of this group. Vanishing Act throws one at identity thieves. Home Free fires one at the CIA. The POTUS is never given a name, but it's a Republican man, and might be none other than George W. Bush! FM is a 79-year-old woman going on 80, and it seems that she is angry at the world, and probably sees a lot of topics as those bratty kids that won't stay off her lawn!
  • In The Bride Wore Black Leather, when message-bearing ravens keep arriving at John's office, Cathy deliberately lets their messages expire, ensuring they won't return to their source and she can find them good homes where they'll no longer be exploited as couriers. Probably a Take That at Harry Potter.
  • Privates Carr and Compton, the two drunken British soldiers in the "Circe' episode of James Joyce's Ulysses, are named after two British consular officials in Zurich that Joyce was mad at.
  • Brave New World is one long Take That at H.G. Wells's Men Like Gods.
  • The character of Uriah Heep in Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield is said to be based on Dickens' experience with Hans Christian Andersen, who mooched off him for over a month. In addition to remaining oblivious to Dicken's increasingly constant hints that it was time to go, Andersen often complained about the tea being cold, and remained confused when Dickens never replied to his attempts at correspondence.
  • In Who Cut the Cheese? by Stilton Jarlsberg:
    • In a moment of hindsight, Ho realizes he should have seen the supply dwindling, but he may have confused spoiled cheese for French cheese.
    • One motivational poster set in a different font mentions hope and change. Jarlsberg's later publications shows his dislike for a U.S. President who was elected in 2008 on a platform of "hope and change". Given the font difference (other motivational posters use Bookman), this joke appears to have been edited into the second edition published in 2010.
  • Who Cut the Cheese? by Mason Brown has one at Who Moved My Cheese?. Cover realizes that his graffiti could fill a book and writes another one:
  • In Monster Hunter Legion (published in September 2012 and written late 2011 and earlier 2012 while being set in January, eliminating the only other person that this could possibly refer to) Earl Harbinger asks Owen

I ever tell you how much I despise Nevada’s jackass senator? The minute he heard there were Hunters on the hook he came sniffing for a deal. Only time he’s worried about a budget is when it comes to screwing over Hunters. Cutthroat rat bastard.


  1. The original poem's line is "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose."
  2. Chesterfield agreed to be Johnson's "patron". He did nothing for seven years, during which Johnson experienced some of the leanest years of his career, then right before the book came out he printed a "puff piece" that puffed himself more than the book or its compiler.