Created By: GuesssWho on August 8, 2011 Last Edited By: GuesssWho on September 29, 2012

Mad Laws

When the law of the land was written by a lunatic

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By royal decree, all citizens of the realm must make their clothing out of taffy and stand on their heads three times a day! Mondays have been outlawed! The color puce is an abomination!

In other words, this is when the lawmakers have gone insane. The usual result of your more literal cases of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity. Might have been written by The Caligula. Often Played for Laughs--and is usually Black Comedy even in more serious examples.

Examples:
  • In Monstrous Regiment, the god Nuggan has been reduced to this, with a list of Abominations that now includes babies, garlic, blue, rocks, ears and accordian players, although Vimes for one agrees with him on that last one.
  • Basic Dungeons And Dragons: in the adventure X3 Curse of Xanathon, the title curse causes the Duke of Rhoona to proclaim several odd laws, such as "All taxes must be paid in beer", "All riders must sit backwards on their horses" and "Horses can only be fed meat".
  • Bananas:
    Esposito: From this day on, the official language of San Marcos [in Latin America] will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!
    Fielding Mellish: What's the Spanish word for straitjacket?
  • There is at least one book devoted to this subject, You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant: 101 Real Dumb Laws
  • Truth in Television: a quick Google search for "crazy laws" will inform you that it is illegal to forget your wife's birthday in Samoa, among other things.
  • Judge Cal in Judge Dredd:
    Cal: "I have today passed a law to maintain public order! Deputy Chief Judge Fish will announce it!"
    Fish: "Bloop!"
    Cal: "You have heard the law. The penalty for disobedience is death!"
  • When Oliver Cromwell came into power after the English Civil War, he introduced laws amongst others) that banned eating mince pies on the 25th of December and several other Christmas traditions.
  • The song "King of Spain" by Moxy Fruvous has a mild (and relatively benevolent) example:
    It's laissez-faire,
    I don't even give a care;
    Let's make Friday part of the weekend
    And give every new baby a chocolate eclaire
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Insofar that it was a game mechanic. Judges oversee every battle to ensure that you don't break some arbitrary law that changes every other battle.
  • Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake - Gormenghast has so many strange laws and rituals that by the time someone has become it's Earl they are probably quite insane themselves. So the laws and rituals become more insane. Gormenghast is the Crapsack World logical extreme of this trope.
  • The post-apocalyptic New Quahog in Family Guy was briefly ruled by Peter, who, among other things, randomly assigned duties from a "job hat" and not based on expertise...
    "Oooh, village idiot! That's a good one! On Tuesdays you get to wave your penis at traffic!"
  • In the Feelies for Zork Zero, it is revealed that King Dimwit Flathead made every Thursday into "Birthday," on which everyone had to give him presents.
  • The Simpsons: In "Homer Vs. the 18th Amendment", the punishment for disobeying Springfield's prohibition law is to be launched out of the city by catapult.

Up for Grabs
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • August 9, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Basic Dungeons And Dragons. In the adventure X3 Curse of Xanathon, the title curse causes the Duke of Rhoona to proclaim several odd laws, such as "All taxes must be paid in beer", "All riders must sit backwards on their horses" and "Horses can only be fed meat".
  • August 9, 2011
    Fanra
    • Real Life: Far too many laws. I won't go into them due to Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgment.

    • Bananas:
      Esposito: From this day on, the official language of San Marcos [in Latin America] will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!
      Fielding Mellish: What's the Spanish word for straitjacket?
  • August 9, 2011
    kjnoren
    Cal: "I have today passed a law to maintain public order! Deputy Chief Judge Fish will announce it!"

    Fish: "Bloop!"

    Cal: "You have heard the law. The penalty for disobedience is death!"
  • August 12, 2011
    Bisected8
    • When Oliver Cromwell came into power after the English Civil War, he introduced laws amongst others) that banned eating mince pies on the 25th of Decemberand several other Christmas traditions.
  • August 12, 2011
    BraveHoratio
    Music

    • The song "King of Spain" by Moxy Fruvous has a mild (and benevolent) example:
      It's laissez-faire,
      I don't even give a care;
      Let's make Friday part of the weekend
      And give every new baby chocolate eclaire
  • August 12, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Insofar that it was a game mechanic. Judges oversee every battle to ensure that you don't break some arbitrary law that changes every other battle.
  • August 13, 2011
    Synchronicity
    Might have been written by The Caligula.
  • August 13, 2011
    Ryusui
    On the FFTA example:

    • On the upside, there is no Final Death wherever the Judges hold sway; downed characters are simply knocked out and revived at the end of battle. In the Jagd territories outside their control, however, anyone who dies on the field of battle stays dead.
  • August 14, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Also in FFTA, it's widely known (in-universe) that the Judges' rules of combat are chosen arbitrarily.
  • August 14, 2011
    yogyog
    Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake - Gormenghast has so many strange laws and rituals that by the time someone has become it's Earl they are probably quite insane themselves. So the laws and rituals become more insane. "Withdrawn and runinous it brooods in umbra: the immemorial masonry: the towers, the tracks. Is all corroding?" Gormenghast is the Crapsack World logical extreme of this trope.
  • August 15, 2011
    GuesssWho
    Possibly it could have a redirect from Caligulaws, just for the pun.
  • August 15, 2011
    benjamminsam
    The post-apocalyptic New Quahog in Family Guy was briefly ruled by Peter, who, among other things, randomly assigned duties from a "job hat" and not based on expertise...

    "Oooh, village idiot! That's a good one! On Tuesdays you get to wave your penis at traffic!"
  • August 15, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^^ I don't want to admit that made me laugh a little.

    I can see this trope as a vehicle for Author Appeal, (eg: using in-universe laws to enforce the author's ideals) unfortunately, that's just a theory with no examples to back it up.

    Might want to add Played For Laughs in the description so you don't have to include before half of the examples.
  • August 15, 2011
    benjamminsam
    Yeah this seems to be mostly a comedy trope, whether intentional or not.
  • August 16, 2011
    kjnoren
    Hmm.... we should made the article self-demonstrating and -referencing:

    By decree of the Administrator, all tropers must at all times carry a hat. All articles with titles starting with M may only be edited or created the first Tuesday after a full moon. All articles must from now on be self-demonstrating. Tropers must be naked to edit a works page.
  • August 16, 2011
    GuesssWho
    ^The draft does start with "By royal decree, all citizens of the realm must make their clothing out of taffy and stand on their heads three times a day! Mondays have been outlawed! The color puce is an abomination!" So Yeah
  • August 16, 2011
    kjnoren
    Yeah, but mine is TV Tropes-referencing, too :-)
  • August 17, 2011
    TBeholder
    Then why not Lunatic Laws?
  • August 17, 2011
    GuesssWho
    ^^True, but Im not sure if it's as funny. What does everyone else think?

    ^Could work, at least as a redirect.
  • August 17, 2011
    jaytee
    Examples abound in the Zork universe, once you start getting into the Flathead dynasty.

    I can't remember too many examples, so hopefully someone can flesh this out.
    • In the Feelies for Zork Zero, it is revealed that King Dimwit Flathead made every Thursday into "Birthday," on which everyone had to give him presents.
  • August 17, 2011
    TheMayorofNorthfield
    The Simpsons: In "Homer Vs. the 18th Amendment", the punishment for disobeying Springfield's prohibition law is to be launched out of the city by catapult.

  • August 19, 2011
    GuesssWho
    This seems ready to me. Should I launch it?
  • October 21, 2011
    jatay3
    There are also laws that were sensible at the time but no one remembered to repeal them. Some US cities still have regulations about where and how you can hitch a horse. Maybe that's not quite the same as you wouldn't want people to just anything with horse. But the point is some laws aren't mad; they have just outlived their usefulness.
  • October 21, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    I think we should probably stick a No Real Life Examples lable on this. Otherwise we might end up seeing both political sniping and the usual list of "strange laws" that often go around the internet with varying levels of accuracy.
  • October 21, 2011
    Antigone3
    There's some examples in the Elenium, in areas controlled by the Eshandists. Off the top of my head, there's "Killing flies is heresy" and "Sheep always have the right of way".
  • October 21, 2011
    elwoz
    How about "No Real Life Examples except we mention those columns of ridiculous outdated and/or 'why would you need to forbid that' laws that newspapers occasionally run"? Because some of those are hilarious.
  • October 23, 2011
    Bisected8
    Strictly speaking many of those laws were quite reasonable in context.
  • October 30, 2011
    TBeholder
    @ Bisected8 There may be a context in which these would be reaonable too. But a schizophrenic's inability to see how things look outside of one context to which he clings right now is the whole source of lulz here.
  • September 29, 2012
    GuesssWho
    I found this again and we still don't seem to have it, should I launch?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ijnznkgykg872p470h03cv92