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Humiliation Conga: Real Life

  • Anyone who is enough of a twerp to be a Phony Veteran. Of all the groups in the world, professional and ex-soldiers are probably the last people you want to piss off, especially those who actually did the feats that many of these "walts" claim (for instance, there is a Running Gag in the British Army that 1 PARA is the Army's largest regiment and that ten thousand men took part in Operation NIMROD, due to the amount of walts who claim to have been in them). Professional soldiers tend to be an imaginative bunch, and usually find ways to make their lives a misery: see some of the stories contained here. Being known as a lying, scheming, bastard on the internet for all eternity is as humiliating a conga as one can earn.
  • This was done to a real-life scammer looking for a Powerbook.
    • Jerking scammers' chains is a subtrope in itself, called "scambaiting." It has an entire internet subculture revolving around it. Here's a summary of what one group is doing.
  • 2012, particularly the U.S. election season, was a truly epic one for Donald Trump. Fresh out of a nasty real estate war in Scotland, he tried to support the Romney campaign, only to be shunned at every turn; he was even uninvited from the Republican convention (after promising a "big surprise" at the event, quickly deduced to a less-than-inspiring video of Trump bellowing "you're fired" at an Obama impersonator). His abortive attempt to unseat Barack Obama with a "bombshell" of an October surprise (supposedly a five million dollar donation to charity if Obama would release his college record) was universally sneered at (as the nation, in the midst of dealing with the effects of Hurricane Sandy, wondered why Trump couldn't just donate the money, without the pseudo-blackmail). Then, on election night, as soon as major networks called the race for Obama, he threw a (since then partially-deleted) Twitter tantrum, denouncing the election as a "sham" and a "travesty," and calling for an honest-to-God "march on Washington." His major complaint? Prematurely complaining that Obama had secured the electoral college while being behind in the popular vote. Of course, shortly after he posted his rant, the polls closed on the West Coast, giving Obama a decisive popular majority to go with the college. Even the usually sober anchorman Brian Williams ridiculed him for this on national television.
    • To end the year on a high note, his Scottish farmer nemesis was declared Glenfiddich's "Scotsman of the Year." Trump responded by publicly calling the award "an insult to the Scottish people," accusing the distillers of trying to sabotage him, and calling for a Glenfiddich boycott. One can only assume that the whisky's sales soared.
  • After a woman he'd taken drugs and spent the night with revealed herself to be a prostitute, selling her story to the tabloids, Angus Deayton — the very snarky host of satirical British panel show Have I Got News for You — was put through one of these by team captains and series regulars Ian Hislop and Paul Merton. Hislop brought in copies of the tabloid that the story had broken in and liberally quoted from it. Merton went one better and came in wearing a t-shirt with the front page of the tabloid printed on it. By the next series, after more and more guests on the show began to bring up the scandal, Deayton's positon became untenable and he was forced to leave.
    • Averted slightly in that he took it all so graciously well, by the end of the show, the audience were more sympathetic than laughing.
  • Voltaire once wrote a paper making fun of a French noble, so the noble once called him out of the house for a private meeting at night. The noble's guards started beating him while the noble watched. When he went back to his house and told everyone what happened, his guests all mocked him. When he challenged the noble to a duel to the death, he was thrown in prison.
  • People often forget that between the 14th and the end of the 17th century, Poland (then an empire with Lithuania) was pretty badass considering they won in conflicts with Prussia, Sweden, Russia, Ottomans etc. Then the 18th century rolled around and Poland has earned a reputation of being the country that everyone invades when the country exists at all. This latter stereotype is pretty much the only thing anybody remembers.
  • This was done to Germany after World War I: They were forced to accept the very humiliating Treaty of Versailles. And look how that turned out. It's worth mentioning however that this was still preferable to those the Austrians and Ottomans had to accept (the Treaties of Saint-Germain and Trianon and the Treaties of Sèvres and Lausanne respectively), which completely abolished and dissected their former empires, and some historians argue that it actually resulted in Germany being in a stronger strategic position than before the war.note  Germany's own aims towards its enemies during the war was also much harsher than anything imposed on them by Versailles, as evidenced by the kind of peace they imposed upon the Russians at Brest-Litovsk. The Versailles Treaty that eventually resulted was essentially a compromise between French revanchism (get back Alsace-Lorraine and remove Germany as a Great Power), British pragmatism (impose hard peace terms but otherwise maintain the balance of power), and American idealism (Wilson's Fourteen Points and the principle of self-determination).
    • Not so much for the Turks and the Treaty of Lausanne. The Turks were already close to throwing the "Young Turks" who had been ruling the Ottoman Empire out on their butts when WWI happened. Led by Mustafa Kemal, the man now known as Ataturk, they revolted against the Treaty of Sèvres, fought a war against the Greeks AND a civil war against the Young Turks, took control of the country, and negotiated the Treaty of Lausanne to reverse many of the losses in the Treaty of Sèvres—taking back 3/4ths of Anatolia as well as Istanbul—and establish Turkey as the successor state to the Ottoman Empire.
    • The Germans themselves inflicted a humiliation conga on Russia with the Treaty Of Brest-Litovsk.
  • Many years later, a different set of Germans (the soccer team) got a literal Humiliation Conga after losing the European Championship of 2008 to Spain.
  • The Spanish themselves in 1898. What started as a messy little insurrection in Cuba got much, much worse after the U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously blew up. This led to an astonishingly quick curbstomping by the United States - a country that hadn't been involved in the conflict in the first place, and that hadn't fought a full-scale war in over a generation and whose armed forces were seemingly woefully unprepared for any kind of mobilization. But there's more: as a result of the loss, Spain lost its entire overseas empire (well, except for two very small colonies in Morocco and Equatorial Guinea) at a time in history when overseas colonies were the most visible measure of a European country's might. This was actually a culmination of an even longer conga that had begun centuries earlier: after the defeat of its "Invincible Armada" by the English in 1588, the Spanish Empire had gradually declined from the supreme imperial power of the world to a virtual nonentity that most other countries either ignored or exploited.
  • Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII. Pope St. Gregory VII. The Walk to Canossa. Inverted when the emperor returns to the country. His enemies have the support of the pope but ultimately loss the civil war. Henry invades Rome and changes the Pope.
  • Pu Yi, the last emperor of China's life was this trope, minus the villainous bit triggering it. The high points of his life were where he was a glorified puppet under constant threat of death; it went down further when Mao Zedong seized the country and made him a gardener in the royal gardens, toiling in the gardens he used to own.
  • In the space of about two weeks in late October/early November 2009 Scientology had to deal with being sued for fraud in France, the bizarre suicide of one of their members (who somehow managed to hang and electrocute himself), the defection of Academy Award-winning director Paul Haggis (complete with scathing letter: "How can you say disconnection isn't real when that's what you made my wife do one year ago?"), and the third big expose from The St. Petersberg Times. At least one anon gleefully proclaimed it Scientology's "Hell Week(s)".
  • Tiger Woods. If he hadn't crashed into that tree, no one would (probably) know about his mistress 3 7 10 19 affairs and his wife and big sponsors wouldn't have left him and his momma wouldn't be so disappointed in him. Naturally, the millions of dollars, millions of fans, and untarnished golfing skills are no small consolation. Still, for a sports figure known for controlling the minutia of his public image, it was a hell of a way to spend Thanksgiving.
  • Bernie Madoff (pronounced Made-off), the perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, is undergoing one of these. Not only was he caught, but all of his possessions are being sold to the people he scammed, he was thrown in prison for 150 years, David Letterman has made a Running Gag of a countdown clock until his sentence ends, and his daughter-in-law is changing her name so that she can't be associated with him.
    • And it looks like he got the crap beaten out of him in prison by a con who may have been an angry investor.
      • And his son committed suicide, apparently out of not being able to deal with the shame that the incident brought his family.
  • This laptop thief - A unnamed thief stole the laptop of a university sutdent called Mark Bao. Unfortunately for him, Bao was able to use automated backing-up software to see what programs and websites the thief was using. Since these included Facebook, he was able to report the thief to the police and get him arrested - but he didn't stop there. He found a video the thief had made of himself doing exceptionally bad dancing and uploaded it onto Youtube. It's now recieved 1.8 million views.
  • John Howard, one of the longest-serving Australian Prime Ministers, not only lost the 2007 election in a landslide, but he lost his own seat as well, only the second PM ever to lose both in the same election in Australian history.
    • And just recently someone threw a shoe at him.
    • Other Prime Ministers who have lost their own seats during a dramatic defeat include Stanley Bruce (Australia, 1929), Arthur Balfour (UK, 1906note ), Arthur Meighen (Canada, 1921) and Kim Campbell (Canada, 1993).
      • Speaking of whom, Kim Campbell has the distinction of being both Canada's first female prime minister and one of its shortest serving ones as well. She didn't even last one year before her party's defeat in the November elections effectively threw her out of politics altogether.
      • The PCP defeat in the 1993 Canadian general elections (Kim Campbell's party) is an epic episode for this trope: it went from the majority party in the Parliament to having just TWO seats after the election. The party disbanded not long afterwards.
      • Except that Stephen Harper is now the leader of the party, and no Humiliation Conga is on the horizon for him.
  • One of the hardest falls from grace in MMA appears to be one Chael Sonnen — who in the span of mere months went from UFC middleweight challenger, and "hero" to the champion's Hatedom and candidate for Oregon state representative, to dropping his candidacy due to a real estate legal matter, becoming known as a choke artist (tapping to a triangle armbar with two minutes to go), suspended for failing a drug test (due to elevated testosterone levels), using "late puberty due to defective testicles" as an excuse at his suspension appeal hearing, being directly contradicted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission's athletic director (who stated that he'd never approved Sonnen's "testosterone replacement therapy"), and most recently that "real estate legal matter" turning out to be money laundering related mortgage fraud, for which he pled guilty at the beginning of 2011.
  • 2011 playoffs for Vancouver, a Curbstomp match on home ice followed by a riot which tarnishes their reputation on ice and the city? Nothing more humiliating than that. The worst part? This isn't the first time Vancouver has followed a Stanley Cup loss with a riot, so they didn't learn from their last Conga, though the game 7 loss in 1994 was in New York, not Vancouver.
    • The fact it was a curbstomp battle at home ice was extremely embarassing, if someone had found a Canuck, they would have made an example of them and some "advice" on improvement or just leave altogether.
    • The entire Vancouver 2011 playoff run was made of this trope. After leading 3 games to none to archnemesis Chicago, they gave up 16 goals in the next 3 games, and barely avoided losing to Chicago in the playoffs for the third year in a row and being the 4th team to lose a series after a 3-0 lead. The series against the Preds and Sharks went fairly smoothly, but things went downhill in the Finals. Coming in with home ice advantage and being favored, they barely squeaked out 3 wins at home; in the 3 games in Boston, Roberto Luongo was infamously awful in net, giving up 15 goals in 3 games, despite their backup Cory Schneider playing more then well enough to win. The 4-0 loss at home was nothing compared to their Game 3 disaster; after holding the Bruins in a scoreless tie for one period, they gave up a goal 11 seconds into the second period in what was ultimately an 8-1 loss.
    • Now downgraded to a Trauma Conga Line with not one but two ex-Canucks deaths.
  • In the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet Union thoroughly beat Nazi Germany in Operation Bagration, but the other Allies were initially skeptical of the Soviet success. So the Soviets implemented Operation Grand Waltz, a literal Humiliation Conga in which they took thousands of captured enemy officers and soldiers and forced them to march down the streets of Moscow. The officers wore their dress uniforms with all their medals, while the soldiers were not allowed to shave. At the tail of the parade was a row of trucks spraying water on the streets to "wash off the trace of Fascism." This Romanesque triumphal parade of captured enemies showed the Allies just how good the Soviets were, and demoralized the Nazis.
  • Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The rebel forces tracked him to his home town of Sirte where he had gone to make a defiant last stand. After his forces were defeated, the rebels found him hiding in a sewer. They savagely beat him, tore the shirt off his back, dragged him half-naked and half-conscious across the ground, sodomized him with a knife, and threw him in the back of a truck before driving into the centre of the village. There, he was subjected to further public humiliation and either shot or left to die.
  • Recent real life example: Oracle vs. Google over Java In Android. Oracle went into the court-room paying off PR reps to tout a 6-Billion Dollar payout from Google, and also trying to claim that Application Programming Interfaces were capable of being copyrighted. Things didn't really go Oracle's way from the start, with several of their patents getting thrown out as invalid by the patent office; another patent invalidated after the trial started; and the "Oracle Expert Damages Report" getting thrown out not once, but twice, and a third damage report accepted provided Oracle paid Google's legal expenses. As the Trial Ended, the Humiliation Conga started. Not only did Oracle lose on all points of the trial other than statutory damages over 9 lines of code that were never actually shipped in Android... The Judge also called an "Expert Witness" on Oracle's behalf out and opened the door for possible perjury charges. So, lost case, no money, no reward, no confirmation that APIs cannot be copyrighted. Complete and total Epic Fail... And then... oh yes... it got worse for Oracle. Oracle now has to pay Google's legal fees... which... is more money than $300,000 Oracle might gain on Statutory damages... if Oracle could actually prove damages. However, there won't be a damages phase to the trial, so Oracle won't be getting any money.
  • Poor Tom Cruise didn't have a good summer in 2012: His movie Rock of Ages flopped (after the huge success of Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol); his wife divorced him and sought sole custody of their daughter; one of his former directors was nice enough to pre-screen a movie he made that may or may not be a thinly-disguised take on his religion's founder and his second-in-command/ current leader (Tom was not pleased), and he turned fifty.
  • Nickelodeon seems to be going through one up to eleven lately. First, Nielsen says they're losing a lot of viewers to Disney. Around the same time, a group of parents protest Nick Jr's removal of Moose A. Moose, switching to other channels and making Nick lose MORE viewers. Later, Direc TV takes off Nick along with Viacom's other channels (which are also doing bad) due to a dispute, resulting in a 33% loss in viewers. Then, Nick Jr. adds an adult block called Nick Mom, leading to further parents complaining. They're also getting flack for apparently copying other parent's blogs. Oh, and don't even get us started on Nick Studio 10. This isn't really Nick's best year.
  • NBC is going through one as well. The network, which already endured one humiliation conga back in the late 70s thanks to a combination of Pink Lady and Jeff, Supertrain, the '80-'81 season of Saturday Night Live and a boycott of the '80 Olympics by the US team (leaving Americans with no one to root for and no reason to watch.) They recovered during the 80's and 90's, but ever since the end of such famous hits as Friends and ER, their ratings have slipped, and they have made come colossally bad decisions:
    • Faced with falling ratings and rising costs, they made the (utterly stupid in hindsight) decision to make The Jay Leno Show, a show that people active cheered to fail (since they were afraid that if it was successful, it might encourage other networks to cut back on programming for reality shows.) It did, and Leno was pushed back to his former timeslot, enraging fans of Conan O'Brien in the process.
    • Their bungling of their 2010 and 2012 Olympic coverage, deciding to air major events on a tape delay to air in prime time in an era when Twitter and online news gives results immediately (the Vancouver games in '10 were especially infuriating since they places a 3-hour delay on the West Coast despite the event being in their time zone.) This has added even more criticism on the network.
      • The Olympic coverage issue may be a case of Mis-blamed, though, especially when they're taking place in far other time zones like in 2012. What many never realize is that Olympic coverage is VERY expensive to produce, so NBC must maximize its revenue potential, and bottom line is advertisers will always pay top dollar for prime time coverage because that's when people mostly tune in. So unless the majority of America proves it absolutely will drop everything and watch live coverage of the track and field events at 2 PM Eastern Time (because like it or not, no Olympic committee will schedule its biggest events at 2 AM local time so the Eaglelanders can watch it live in prime time), NBC has no choice but to air tape delay events or take a ginormous bath in their production. This, however, still leaves NBC in a case of "damned if they do, damned if they don't." Bad press or lack of revenue, the network is taking yet another hit alongside their many other problems.
    • Their daytime programming, one of the few guaranteed victories they had, has disappeared. No matter what their rivals did, Today was pretty much guaranteed to be the number one show in the mornings. However, thanks to the backstage politics that resulted in Ann Curry getting unceremoniously dumped, they've lost the #1 position to Good Morning America.
    • Their scripted series are also falling apart. They're slowly losing their few hits, with The Office and 30 Rock both ending, one of their few reliable standbys, The Voice is returning with two judges replaced (Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green are taking a season off, to be replaced with Shakira and Usher.) Backstage issues have forced a retool of Community; and Christina Applegate's announcement she's leaving Up All Night (which is also being reformatted into a more traditional 3-camera show) is seen as deserting a sinking ship. The network put a lot of hope into Smash, however the expensive-to-produce show (the pilot alone cost over $7.5 million) has slowly imploded, and they recently endured one of the worst ratings disasters in television history with Do No Harm. Many are wondering if we're actually going to see NBC fall apart in front of our eyes.
  • Poor Lance Armstrong. After constantly trying to fight the allegations of steroid use, he finally gave up. In short order, he lost all of his Tour de France gold medals, his sponsorships with various companies, his cancer-survivor charity program, LiveStrong and his being sued up the yahoo by many people for his lying. Also apparently the episode where he guest starred in Arthur was banned because PBS refuses to support him any longer.
  • This seems to be the new "spanking" for parents with disobedient/troublesome children. A lot of news stories recently have been about parents giving their children signs that tell anyone that reads them their crimes (stealing, being disrespectful, etc.) and forcing them to stand on the side of the road in full view of traffic.
  • This happened to German pop duo Milli Vanilli after their manager confessed that they didn't do their own singing and they were lip syncing. Not only were they stripped of their Grammy Award, but they were also slapped with numerous lawsuits, and they became the butt of jokes of stand-up comedians everywhere. They wouldn't make news again until 1998 when Rob Pilatus was found dead of a suspected drug and alcohol overdose.
  • This was on full display in the Quebec provincial election of 2014. Extremely confident of securing a majority, Parti québécois leader Pauline Marois called an election a mere 19 months into her first term as Premier — the shortest term in provincial history. A few days later, she brought in media mogul Pierre-Karl Peladeau to run in Saint-Jerome (he won the riding) — and with his little fist pump and make-Quebec-a-country proclamation, the Disaster Dominoes began. Everything Marois was seeking to achieve went to Liberal leader Philippe Couillard.
    1. Couillard’s side scored 70 seats, including his own (Roberval, previously a PQ bastion), making him the first incumbent in nearly a century to become Premier.
    2. Many of the star candidates also failed to win their seats, leaving the PQ with 30. Marois was among the losers, to the Liberal opponent.
    3. The PQ did not run a candidate in La Piniere, where Fatima Houda-Pepin decided to run as an independent. They were banking on her returning as a Liberal ghost to haunt Couillard in the new government. The Liberal opponent won.
    4. Couillard’s predecessor Jean Charest ran and lost the 2012 election in the Sherbrooke seat; it went back to the Liberals.
    5. Two other parties, in serious danger of extinction mere weeks ago, actually increased their riding count. That included one PQ seat on the island of Montreal.
    6. At some 25 percent, the PQ recorded their lowest ever vote share since 1970. Before Marois had the chance to announce her resignation, three other candidates were already jockeying for the party reins.
    7. The Charbonneau Commission, which suspended operations for the duration of the campaign, returned the very next morning. The issue: electoral palm-greasing. A high-ranking minister in the Charest government has already been called forward at UPAC; other ministers, including Marois and her husband, are expected to follow suit.

Western AnimationHumiliation Conga    

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