Nietzsche wrote the following:

The great man of the masses. -- The great man should have all the traits of the masses: the less ashamed they are before him the more popular he is. Therefore: let him be violent, envious, exploitative, designing, flattering, fawning, arrogant, whatever the circumstances demand. [HAH 460, Cambridge]

One might hypothesize from this that the masses adore "a great man of the masses" because of his flaws, not despite them, and one could write a book on why this might be the case.

Is there a single word, short phrase, or idiom that captures the idea of a person who is loved because of their flaws, not despite them? For example:

"A great man of the masses" is a(n) ___________: the masses love him because of his flaws, not despite them.

The supporters of "a great man of the masses" ___________ him, i.e., adore him because of his flaws, not despite them.


2 Answers 2


By the title of the question, not the body, I'd suggest "Funny Valentine", but this would apply to personal relationships, not to any public figure I'm aware of. This of course also assumes that the person hearing the phrase is familiar with the jazz standard. (Rogers & Hart, 1937)

  • This doesn't quite fit, but I like it. I can easily imagine the valentine: I adore you BECAUSE of your many flaws, NOT IN SPITE of them! You're the best thing that ever happened to me! :-) You might have a future with Hallmark. May 15, 2020 at 17:27

Off top of my head, I'd go with:

  1. enfant terrible: a person who is unconventional, controversial, antisocial sometimes, maybe even "evil" in some way; however, they are usually loved, or at least admired, for their creative side, charm - or they're clever manipulators — Lexico

  1. maverick: a kind of a Dirty Harry character, an outcast maybe but with the heart in the right place — Lexico

  1. you could work with guilty pleasure: it is usually used for things (eg. tacky music) but I don't think that would be too much of a stretch to use it for a person — Lexico
  • These are all better than anything I could come up with. Let's see what else (if anything) comes in. May 15, 2020 at 17:29

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