Brazos: We are not looking for that here. No brown-nosing. No suck up. No toolery.

Brazos: Why is Shontel using what appears to be a red cup from the red floor when we are on the yellow floor?

Brazos' Aide: I'm on it.

Brazos: It is a visual and, therefore, a visceral betrayal. Stop it!

-- Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Clip from Youtube

I know it's meant to be humorous, but I can't pinpoint the literal meaning of 'visceral betrayal.'

  • 1
    For the speaker, seeing is feeling. That's about all we can say without straying off-topic. The red against the yellow causes a visceral feeling. May 10 '18 at 13:54
  • 2
    Did you look up the meanings of visceral and betrayal? If you google 'define visceral', one of the first results is "relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect".
    – stangdon
    May 10 '18 at 13:56
  • @stangdon It's a minor question. Dictionaries don't tell which sense applies in a particular context. I know what I'm asking.
    – Kinzle B
    May 10 '18 at 14:01
  • For the record, when I posted my question I half-expected a comment like the one made by stangdon would appear. A good question would need to show some research. However, learners are in different levels of grasping English. You could not expect a junior learner just googles everything. For example, are you really sure the inquirer could understand what 'inward' and 'intellect' mean? Do you expect a non-native speaker can understand English better than a six-year-old native speaker? Then you'll realize dictionaries don't help much in many cases.
    – Kinzle B
    May 10 '18 at 15:19
  • BTW, I have asked several native speakers before. They are not sure what's meant by it in the context. Perhaps stangdon is more educated than the rest of us.
    – Kinzle B
    May 10 '18 at 16:20

A visceral betrayal is one you feel in your guts. However, I can't tell why the character says that here. In teenager talk: a betrayal that is a gut punch.

viscus, Latin for viscera, from which the adjective visceral comes.

Viscera: the internal organs in the main cavities of the body, especially those in the abdomen, e.g., the intestines. [usual definition in line with most dictionaries]

One could feel betrayed and feel it in the gut, or one can feel betrayed and feel it "in the heart" or head (intellectual betrayal).


To add on to Lambie's answer. The humor is in Brazos' overreaction to an extremely minor infraction, by calling it a visceral betrayal, something that makes him sick deep in his guts. This, especially when contrasted with his previous statement that he wants, "No brown-nosing. No suck up. No toolery." when in fact it's clear he expects instant and inviolate obedience.

It's obvious the character is meant to be a dictatorial little tyrant who has no idea of what he actually is. With this kind of role John Malkovitch is well known (and expected) to chew the scenery with great enthusiasm.

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