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In the movie Zootopia, when Judy came back to her hometown after quitting her job, she met fox Gideon Grey, who bullied her when she was a little girl, by pushing her down and scratching her face. But fox Gideon Grey was not the bad boy any more, he apologized to Judy for what he had done, and confessed he was a major jerk at that time. Then Judy told him

I know a thing or two about being a jerk.

My question is: what did Judy exactly mean?

  1. She wanted to tell the fox that being a former cop, she knew a lot about what would a real jerk look like, and the fox was not a jerk at all.
  2. She wanted to tell the fox that everyone could be pissed off and make mistakes, including herself (I guess she was implying she hurt fox Nick’s feelings), so what Gideon had done was not a big deal.

Would you kindly tell me which answer is the right one? Or they are both wrong?

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    While Judy certainly made mistakes in her handling of things, it wasn’t due to anger. It was due to naivete (didn’t realize how much influence she had), carelessness (didn’t think through the consequences of her statements), and bigotry (as a result of her upbringing). Well, those, and factual ignorance (she didn’t know the true reason for the events she speculated about), but that one isn’t her fault.
    – KRyan
    Sep 19 '16 at 16:27
  • Yeah, but the key point is, Judy thought that's all her fault, so she blamed herself.Thanks, KRyan!
    – selina
    Sep 20 '16 at 0:59
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know a thing or two
to have a lot of practical skills and knowledge learnt through experience (usually + about )
My uncle grew up on a farm and knows a thing or two about looking after animals.

In terms of meaning, Judy is saying that she has experience being a jerk. It is possible that she meant your option 1, but feel like this is more likely to be I know a thing or two about jerks.

Earlier in the scene, Judy says

Oh, I tried. And I made life so much worse for so many innocent predators. (Source.)

This is a reference to the fact that she blames the predators' DNA for causing them to become savage. It seems that in the Zootopia world, this is their version of being bigoted or prejudiced. So in this sense, she was being a jerk to all predators by blaming their behavior on their DNA. Thus she has experience being a jerk.

In terms of motive, it sounds like she is empathizing with the Gideon, which is like your option 2.

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  • Thank you for you particular answer, Max! So the same sentence has two meanings, from Judy's point of view, she thought she was a jerk too, but from Gideon's point of view, it sounded more like forgiveness. Meanwhil, I am sure Judy would not blame him anymore. Judy expressed complex emotions.
    – selina
    Sep 19 '16 at 13:33
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    I don't think "meaning" is the right word here. I think the sentence has one meaning: Judy has experience being a jerk. I can't think of the right word, but anything other than that one meaning is a conclusion that we are making. Yes, I agree that she thought she was being a jerk because that is what she said. I also agree that by saying that sentence, she is might be expressing forgiveness to Gideon, or that she does not blame him anymore.
    – Em.
    Sep 19 '16 at 14:14
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    I can't really say anything from "Gideon's point of view" because there is not enough evidence for me to say what he thinks. Both of the "meanings" are from Judy's perspective, in my opinion. I agree, Judy is expressing complex emotions :)
    – Em.
    Sep 19 '16 at 14:14
  • I agree with you, Max. Conclusions are always subjective, everyone has his own explanation. We just need to focus on the sentence itself. And this sentence showed us, in Judy's judgmen, she was a jerk, that's all we need to know:)
    – selina
    Sep 20 '16 at 0:54

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