Literature / The Onion Book of Known Knowledge

The Onion Book of Known Knowledge is a mock encyclopedia by The Onion. Entries go from A to Z, including an extra letter made up for the book.


This Book Provides Examples of:

  • 20% More Awesome: There is a chart detailing the loss of dignity over a human lifespan.
  • Absurd Phobia: Downplayed. T. Herman Zweibel had a profound mistrust of barbers, but was not necessarily afraid of them.
  • Air Quotes: $142.5 million were devoted to research, while another $84 million were devoted to "research."
  • All Just a Dream: Centrifugal force is a fictitious force because reality is an illusion, and we're all just some guy's dream.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretationinvoked: The September 11th attacks will forever stand as a lesson to how we view religion, freedom, homeland security, oil consumption, or one of several other things.
  • Alternate Universe: Shunroku Kuriboshi was a mass-murdering Japanese general and despot in an alternate reality where he didn't die of scarlet fever at the age of 2.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: The Equatorial Guinea Genocide wasn't a major event, and was simply a power-crazed dictator killing about 80,000 people.
  • The Ace: Jimmy Carter led such an impressive life, his presidency was actually the least interesting part of it.
  • Accidental Murder: Leon Czolgosz was so excited to have his gun signed by William McKinley, he forgot to unload his weapon and accidentally shot and killed the president.
  • Adaptational Badass: Annie Sullivan taught Helen Keller the same things she did in real life, along with military tactics, such as stealth reconnaissance, demolitions, and close-quarters combat.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Gary Leon Ridgeway's managed to murder an ‘’impressive’’ number of people before finally getting caught.
  • The Alibi: During the Nuremberg trials, The nazis who were on trial said they didn't aid in the Holocaust as they were out of town, on vacation, or otherwise busy during the entirety of World War II.
  • Altum Videtur: The definition of Lorem Ipsum is in Latin.
  • And I Must Scream: Anesthesia allows people to feel all the pain of a normal operation, but helpless to let anyone know.
  • Anything That Moves: Omnigamy is the practice of being married to every person on the planet.
  • Apologises a Lot: Apologies account for 50% of human conversation.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Charlemagne forced millions to choose between one of three options: convert to Christianity, be slaughtered indiscriminately, or just go on minding their own business while agreeing to disagree on the religion issue.
  • Ass Shove: The reference guide at the end has a scale of "How far one can shove this encyclopedia up one's ass in relation to how big a piece of shit one is."
  • Artifact of Doom: Every 2 million years the Washington Monument emits a powerful beam of energy that eradicates all life on the planet.
  • Baby Talk: The entry on Coca-Cola is written in this.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The entry on William Howard Taft is the only bio that is completely normal until the end mentions how fat he was.
    • A Xylocarp is a 200-foot-long prehistoric fish. Actually, it's any plant that produces fruit with a woody exterior.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!invoked: A quote is a loose approximation of something a notable figure once said that is then attributed to someone else.
  • Big Eater: South Dakota resident Marcus Seltz is someone who can "take down a bucket of crab legs like a freaking combine."
  • Bilingual Bonus:
  • Black Speech: The entry for Cthulhu is in r'lyehian, an evil language from the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Each entry contains precisely 27 letter E's.
    • Adulthood is a stage in one's life where one learns exactly what they want and takes all necessary steps to achieve their goals.
    • Star Wars is a silly old children's film that has no cultural significance whatsoever.
    • A flame thrower is a non-lethal device used primarily for crowd-control.
    • All forms of criminal justice have a 100% success rate the people have the power in the democratic government
    • Elections are a highly-celebrated process in which all voters take pride in the fact that their well-researched ballot casts will contribute to the greater good.
    • The great pacific garbage patch was caused entirely by sealife polluting their own ocean.
    • During the Nuremberg trials, The nazis who were on trial said they didn't aid in the Holocaust as they were out of town, on vacation, or otherwise busy during the entirety of World War II.
  • Body Backup Drive: Camels store an extra copy of their body in their hump in case they die.
  • Body Horror:
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • Amsterdam is known for such things as gorgeous architecture, a vast canal system and hard-core fucking.
    • The brain is an organ tasked with things like cognition, interpreting sensory information, replaying shameful and embarrassing memories, and motor function.
    • Female spiders use egg sacs to carry around personal items, money, and thousands of spiderlings.
    • Pediatrics involves treating owies, boo-boos, and advanced childhood leukemia.
    • Microscopes are optical instruments used for viewing very small objects such as minerals, samples of a teacher’s semen, or plant cells.
    • Examples of reptiles include lizards, crocodiles, and upright creatures wearing the skin of your next-door neighbor,Jeremy.
  • Browser Narcoticinvoked: Youtube is a device that can transfer users hours into the future without consciously experiencing or being aware of the intervening period.
  • Cat Folk:
    • A Cat Person is a half-feline, half-Homosapiens creature that roams the streets late at night in search of a 24-hour veterinarian and a nice, quiet place to get a cup of coffee.
    • Whiskers are described exactly as they are in real life, only they are on human males.
  • Captain Obvious: Ludwig van Beethoven would've had an easier time writing music had he not gone deaf.
    “Hearing makes my job easier because I am a composer. If I were a merchant or farmer, I certainly wouldn’t enjoy not being able to hear, but it wouldn’t affect me as much.”
  • Cerebus Retcon: Charlie Chaplin tripped, stumbled, and fell through many scenes in his films due to his crippling condition (a debilitating inner-ear infection that severely impaired his sense of balance).
  • China Takes Over the World: The letter X doesn't see much use now, but it will be used much more often when China becomes the world's biggest superpower.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Recycling is a process wherein objects are forcibly relocated to remote recycling centers where they are beaten, tortured, and psychologically terrorized until they can be coerced into taking the form of another object.
    • Silly putty was originally invented by the U.S. to construct an interrogation device that would viciously flense the skin from enemy prisoners, but ended up as a fun, goopy, bouncy toy.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • The entire purpose of chemistry is to create bubbles.
    • René Magritte, artist behind "The treachery of images”, must have been a fool, as the image is clearly a pipe.
    "He can’t just paint a pipe and then say it’s not a pipe, just because he feels like it. We know a pipe when we see one, and that right there is a fucking pipe."
    • The moral of Moby-Dick was that it’s good not only to have goals, but also to do everything in one’s power to achieve them.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: People sprayed acid on cars to clean them and lit them on fire to dry them before anyone realized water and towels were probably an easier solution.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Inverted. CPR is a brutal process in which the user breaks bones to allow the heart and lungs more room to function, punctures holes in the throat with a screwdriver to facilitate airflow, and other equally graphic steps.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Freyja's cat-pulled chariot is considered a giant red flag by the other Norse gods.
  • Creepy Souvenir:
    • Retrievers are a type of hunting dog that will fetch ducks, but their habit of keeping the feet and stringing them on a necklace is a little morbid for the taste of most people.
    • During World War I, Canteens were used to bring dead German’s blood home as souvenirs.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The date of June 26, 1997 is referred to as “Dark Thursday.” What took place at the time is never revealed, with the only hint being it was “the blackest and most terrible day in American history.”
  • Cyanide Pill: In a diagram explaining the various parts of the cell, the centriole is described as always having 1.5 atoms of cyanide in case the cell is captured before it can divide.
  • Dead All Along: According to the entry on death, the real purpose of the book is to inform the reader that they are currently dead, and the world in which they currently exist is a figment of their dying brain.
  • Dead Guy on Display: The purpose of a vase is to display dead flowers as a stark warning to any other plants that might be planning a revolution to take over the human race.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • An elephant is a large, heavy, plant-eating mammal that is an elephant.
    • The grain food group consists of foods such as bread, bread, bread, and bread. Also can be found in toasted bread and bread.
  • Deus Ex Nukina: An explosion is a violent burst of energy produced by the interaction of combustible materials that is required to resolve the story lines of all movies, books, and plays.
  • Disability Superpower: Deafness protects human ears from the human voice.
  • Driven to Madness: Yellowthroats do this to people they put nests in.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Pete Rose killed himself on national television after “bringing disgrace upon the national pastime” by gambling on his own team.
    • Waterfalls are places where water goes to end it all.
  • Droste Image: The image for “Meta” is this.
  • Easy Amnesia: Amnesia is caused and solved by hitting someone on the head.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The federal reserve is a bizarre, unknowable entity that humanity puts its faith in despite its inherently incomprehensible nature.
  • Eye Scream: Yellowthroats incapacitate adult males, peck out their eyes, then build nests in the sockets.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: The editor claims John W. Paramore might be one.
    ”Southern U.S. railroad tycoon and financier who, without knowing that much about him, was probably an overweight man who wore very nice suits and wiped away his sweat with a handkerchief.”
  • Filler: The bottom of the page for the entries starting with x admits few words in the english language start with x, so it put a bunch of x’s to fill the empty space.
  • Force-Field Door: The foul line in baseball Highly charged electrical barrier that disintegrates any player who attempts to cross it.
  • Fratbro: College itself was one.
  • Freestate Amsterdam: Amsterdam is known for such things as gorgeous architecture, a vast canal system, and hard-core fucking.
  • Freudian Excuse: Joseph McCarthy was instilled with a life-long hatred of communism after growing up on the edge of a rough communist neighborhood in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Sonic-Neural Agitator is known colloquially as a SNAg.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The letter W is called in when the letter U isn’t enough firepower.
  • Going Postal: Implied in the entry for chainsaw, which one puts under their desk before work begins early in the morning.
    ’’And then at 3 p.m., it begins.’’
  • Gorn:
  • Greed: The editor of the entry for capitalism is clearly full of this.
    “It’s mine, you hear me, all mine, and I’m not going to share ONE RED CENT of it, goddamn it, I EARNED IT! GIMME GIMME GIMME I WANT THAT MONEY!”
  • Hates Everyone Equally: It is foolish to judge people by their race, as it would be much more accurate to judge people by how stupid they look in general.
  • Hellgate: The song “Walk This Way” opened one of these.
    Unknown to the artists at the time, it unlocked a foul, subterranean portal from the depths of which Limp Bizkit would one day emerge.”
  • Hooks and Crooks: A fishing hook is the most dangerous weapon in the world.
  • Hulkspeak: The entry on Plato is written in this.
    “Big book of Plato’s where him say, ‘This is the jus- tice,’ so it real big thing with what is happened with politics.”
  • Human Resources: Coal is made of the compressed remains of perished coal miners whose bodies decompose over thousands of years.
  • Human Sacrifice:
    • Exaggerated; The Aztec empire was known for incorporating human sacrifice into every aspect of daily life.
    • The Paleo-Indians who migrated to North America utilized the Washington Monument for religious rituals and performed hundreds of human sacrifices on the tip of the obelisk.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face:
  • I Love the Dead: Paul Newman could get any woman he wants, despite being dead.
  • I Thought It Meant: Manpower Inc. is not a male escort service.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Physics is a science that has been studied for centuries, yet annoyingly, no one has used it to create a time machine.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Exaggerated; Annie Oakley was able to shoot individual atoms.
  • In Memoriaminvoked: The letter V is dedicated to one of the copy editors.
  • Insane Troll Logic: CPR is a brutal process in which the user breaks bones to allow the heart and lungs more room to function, punctures holes in the throat with a screwdriver to facilitate airflow, and other nonsensical steps.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: Rain is an aesthetic phenomenon that accentuates breakups and funerals.
  • Intervention: The entry for addiction is one for the reader.
  • Ironic Hell: Osama bin Laden is in a dimension of hell where he's the sole mail-room clerk in the still-standing World Trade Center.
  • Irony:
    • Chinese food is a popular type of American cuisine
    • Venus is an unspeakably arid, craggy, desert-like wasteland named after the Roman god of love and beauty.
    • American forces pulled a statue of Saddam Hussein to the ground to celebrate their victory over Iraq, where it would stay for the remaining eight years of the war.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Part of the research for this book was done in special interrogation chambers in which knowledge experts in various fields were hooked up to electrodes and questioned by trained Zweibel Center Interrogators until they reveal every detail of the knowledge they possess.
  • "Just So" Story: Tectonic plates shift when moved around by massive subterranean monsters who were banished to the lithosphere during the cooling phase of the planet’s formation 4.5 billion years ago.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite his pas as a Klux Klan leader, anti-Semite, and extremist, Thomas Robb continues to live happily to this day.
  • Kill 'em All: Sports is over when everyone dies.
  • Lack of Empathy: Those who have autism are a higher class of humans who have evolved beyond the need for such primitive things as emotions.
  • Living Aphrodisiac: The letter B transports english speakers to heights of pleasure they never thought possible.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Western Civilization was nearly ruined in the mid-1990s when almost every American dropped everything in their lives for a few years and strapped on virtual reality headsets from morning until night.
  • Madness Mantra: Under the letter “L” is the word “lonely” repeated over and over again.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Implied; T. Herman Zweibel assumed editorial directorship of The Onion in late 1888 after a mysterious series of logjams, paper mill accidents, boiler explosions, and servant uprisings eliminated all other candidates for the post.
  • Master of None: Ben Franklin was a man of many talents, but he ultimately spread himself too thin and never truly accomplished any one full objective.
  • Man-Eating Plant:
    • Photosynthesis is a process that involves pulling humans underground with their roots and sucking them up into their trunks to harvest their nutrients.
    • Venus Flytraps capable of explosive bursts of speed that allow them to chase down antelopes.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: The color beige may seem like a bland, boring color, but that viewpoint can change if one considers the intricate, beautiful process involved in seeing such specific colors.
  • Money, Dear Boyinvoked: Walt Disney was renowned for his childlike enthusiasm for money.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Taxation is a process by which slimy IRS stooges reach right into your wallet with their grubby little fingers and rob you blind for the purpose of maintaining a safe, functioning society.
    • Silly Putty was originally designed to tear the skin off of enemy prisoners. Then it was discovered it could be used as a fun toy for children.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: How Albert Einstein believes World War XI will be fought.
    “World War XI will be fought virtually, but here’s the interesting thing about that: When someone dies in the virtual world, he also dies in the real world. Pretty neat, right? I think that’s a neat little twist.”
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Engaging in war is the first resort in conflict resolution before opposing nations are forced to engage in diplomacy.
  • The Napoleon: Napoleon’s deep insecurities about his small physical stature pushed him to conquer much of Europe while driving around in a Porsche 911.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Pete Rose killed himself on national television after “bringing disgrace upon the national pastime” by gambling on his own team.
  • Never Live It Downinvoked:
    • Defied with Catherine the Great.
      “She died of a stroke. Now move on to the next entry.”
    • Lampshaded with Theodore Roosevelt.
      ”[He] deserves to be remembered for so much more than just the famous story of how he was shot before a campaign speech and delivered it with the bullet lodged in his chest, but you know what, too bad, because we’re going with the bullet thing.
    • Deconstructed with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, which despite being the time the great general was defeated, is the part of him most everyone knows.
      “The problem—and it’s endemic to all of modern society—is that we’ve become so quick to find the flaws in others that we are virtually incapable of putting our petty jealousies aside and giving people the credit they deserve.”
  • New Technology Is Evil: Discussed The entry for technology doesn’t complain about modern dependance on technology, but rather the people who do.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Discussed; The actor who played Andy Griffith was ‘’probably’’ a terrible person.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers were killed because of their controversial belief that you shouldn’t treat people like shit all the time.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The volupturaptor was a buxom dinosaur that lived during the late Chestaceous Period.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Dark Thursday was the blackest and most terrible day in American history.
    • A godmother is a woman entrusted to care for a child in the event both parents died in a freak accident involving a tandem inner tube, a wide turn, and a jetty.
    • At the end of the book is a list of fees, one of which is $109.96.
      “You know why, and for what, you sick son of a bitch.”
    • Absolutely horrible things were done to the cornea during the The Spanish Inquisition.
  • Not So Different:
    • Atheism is a belief in which one deeply devotes oneself to the nearly nonstop studying, writing, thinking, and talking about God.
    • The democratic and republican party have the exact same entry, with the only difference being the parties are swapped out for each other.
  • Nuke 'em: Harry Truman used the nuke option as often as he could after using it during World War II.
  • Odd Name Out: George W. Bush’s nicknames included “Old Fuckup,” “Old Massive Fuckup,” “Old Huge Pile Of Fuckup,” and “Squirt.”
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Elevators account for 85 percent of the world’s slow vertical movement.
  • Overshadowed by Controversyinvoked: Warren Report was criticized for including a tiny collectible shard of JFK’s skull in every edition.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: One of the members of the editorial board was an owl.
  • Paranoia Fuelinvoked: The more one reads about psychopathy, the more it seems to describe every single person they know, including themselves.
  • Pedophile Priest: Voodoo may sometimes turn people into zombies, but at least it doesn’t result in priests molesting children.
  • People Zoo: Lying is the act of propagating beliefs that are not true in order to prevent civilizations from knowing they are actually in a type of zoo.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Voof is a meaningless filler word that exists only to take up space.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: The shadow cast from a colossal azalea bush shrouded half of the planet in darkness for 2,000 years, causing the famous mass extinction event.
  • Piranha Problem: The Amazon river is filled with Piranhas, as it was given to them in exchange for never setting foot on land.
  • The Plan: The Reference guide at the end quotes said trope.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Porkpie hats that were donned from the 1920s to the 1950s to conceal the nonfunctional fingers that grew from the heads of men during those years.
  • Portmanteau: Volupturaptors were buxom dinosaurs that lived approximately 71 to 75 million years ago during the late Chestaceous Period.
  • Puff of Logic: Duane Reade was an American entrepreneur and the founder of Duane Reade drug stores, who promptly evaporated into thin air upon discovering that Duane Reade pharmacy was actually named after the corner of Duane Street and Reade Street in New York, and that he did not exist.
  • Pun:
    • A ghostess is a spirit of a deceased female maître d’ who haunts the front of restaurants and attempts to gain revenge on guests who wronged her in life by making them wait forever for a table at the bar.
    • A trial party is a social party thrown to celebrate the end of a trial.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Rio De Janeiro is an exciting place to visit, as long as one takes caution not to get kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of a car, like the writer of the entry.
  • Puny Earthlings: Storms serve as a meteorological reminder that humans are soft, weak, and ill-suited for survival anywhere.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Waterskiing was invented in total defiance of God’s will and developed sheerly from the furious, impotent anger people feel at being forced to live as sentient creatures in a fleeting and meaningless world.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: Inverted. While Salvador Dali’s works were meant to resemble the surreal aspect of dreams, he actually dreamt about things such as winning the lottery and being a rock star.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: A Cumulonimbus is a large, vertically oriented cloud that augurs dark tidings.
  • The Reptilians: Reptile come in all shapes and sizes, including 6-foot, upright creatures wearing the skin of your next-door neighbor, Jeremy.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Downplayed. Satan isn’t into most kinds of metal, but he thinks it’s alright.
  • Running Gag:
    • The narrator waxes wistful about his ex-girlfriend Caroline.
    • Griping about statutory rape laws.
  • Sarcasm Mode: During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, sex, drinking alcohol, and doing drugs during daylight hours, in stark contrast to the nonstop, out-of-control decadence of the typical Muslim lifestyle.
  • The Scrooge: The writer for the entry on capitalism is consumed by his own greed while explaining the fundamentals of the economic system.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Satire is the act of being a wise-ass and saying it’s for a higher purpose.
    • Under the definition for slump, the book is called “a goddamn pointless abortion of a book.”
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Acorns, which are used for surveillance, are equipped with these in case a surveillance operation is compromised.
  • Sentient Vehicle: The Amazon Rain Forest is populated by these.
  • Serial Killer: 10th president John Tyler was suspected of being the infamous Whig Strangler, a serial killer who murdered 23 people during his 4-year presidency.
  • Serious Business: Inverted. A quibble is a minor disagreement over whether to take a family member off life support.
  • Sexbot: Becoming sexual slaves to humanity is the ultimate destiny for robotics.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Immigrants who entered America hoping for a better life were met with doctors who poked and prodded at them on Ellis Island, showing the trip may have been all for naught, as their new life could be just as bad or possibly even worse than the one they left behind.
  • Shaped Like Itself: An elephant is a large, heavy, plant-eating mammal that is an elephant.
    • Magnets are used generally to demonstrate how a magnet works.
  • Sharing a Body: A five-star general is a two-star general and three-star general trapped inside the same body.
  • Shoot the Builder: Once the book was finished, all the scholars were then murdered to prevent the information they gathered from being spread to competing encyclopedias.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Thescholars who died gathering information on their entry—and many hundreds did—were within 48 hours replaced with a new academic who was forced to start entirely from scratch.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Confucius was a naïve idiot for believing governments shouldn’t be corrupt.
  • Sinister Surveillance:
    • Acorns are surveillance device manufactured by the government.
    • Mosques are filled with listening devices by the FBI.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Ancient surfboards are made from the skulls of the rider’s slain enemies. More modern ones, however, are made from carbon-fiber/skull composites.
  • So Okay, It's Averageinvoked: Chicago is an alright place to live.
  • Spell Book: The Bible is full of spells such as re-animating the dead or cursing an enemy.
  • Spoiler Title: In-Universe, with the book “Lord Murderson Is The Killer.”
  • Spontaneous Generation: Teddy Roosevelt’s face willed itself to burst forth from the granite rock on Mount Rushmore.
  • Stealing the Credit: Thomas Edison invented the credit-taking machine.
  • Sterility Plague: Video Games were developed in the late 20th century to discourage sexual activity among society’s undesirables.
  • Story Arc: Anders Van Braak and sonic-neural technology.
  • Sunken City: In the future, all of Earth will be underwater.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Desertion is a highly effective tactical maneuver when one is attempting to not end up with one’s guts in one’s hands.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • The book starts insulting the reader right from the second sentence,
      “[Knowledge] is the most precious resource in existence, a binding force that separates Man from beast, and also from the Very Dumb Man, such as yourself.”
    • Zweibel says this of Onion readers
      “They are huns, brutes, and monstrosities who ought to self-castrate.”
  • Talking the Monster to Death: An exorcism is an act of presenting a well-reasoned argument against the existence of God to someone who claims to be possessed by a demon, causing them to stop and realize how silly all that convulsing must have looked.
  • Tank Goodness: A tank is an amazing machine that combines the fun of driving with the entertainment of blowing up shit with a massive gun.
  • Terrible Artist: The artist for the picture of the turnip is this.
  • Threatening Shark: Though sharks are responsible for a tiny percentage of human deaths every year, one need only to look at a shark to realize they are responsible for millions of human deaths every year.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensibleinvoked: Yoko Ono’s bizarre art was so good, The Beatles broke up due to imtimidation.
  • The Tooth Hurts: The instant an individual falls asleep without brushing, their teeth start to rapidly decay.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Education should be avoided if one doesn’t ever want to know about the horrors of the world, such as war, infectious diseases, and the alienating, inconceivable vastness of the universe.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The ROV Hercules, an unmanned deep-sea submersible broke contact with marine researchers on April 3, 2004, and has since been implicated in a series of grisly and fatal attacks on swimmers throughout the world.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plotinvoked: During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States and the Soviet Union completely blew a golden opportunity to have one hell of a war.
  • Understatement:
    • The Harry Potter series has netted J. K. Rowling more than more than $32,500.
    • Other than the cheeseburger, the trampoline, and a couple of other things, Earth is more or less like Mars.
  • Uninstallment: The book is the 183rd imperial edition, yet there are no others.
  • Unobtanium: Validation is the rarest and most precious substance on the planet.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: “Walk This Way,” was recognized as the first rock/rap collaboration. Unknown to the artists at the time, it unlocked a foul, subterranean portal from the depths of which Limp Bizkit would one day emerge.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The Black Death wiped out as much as 60 percent of Western civilization in the 14th century, but pales in comparison to what’s coming.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Implied. Nipples have the ability to temporarily reignite an actress’s career.
  • When Trees Attack:
    • Photosynthesis involves trees pulling humans underground with their strong roots and sucking them up into their trunks to harvest their nutrients.
    • Defied. The purpose of a vase is to display dead flowers as a stark warning to any other plants that might be planning a revolution to take over the human race.
  • Vicious Cycle: Every 2 million years the Washington Monument emits a powerful beam of energy that eradicates all life on the planet.
  • Villains Out Shopping: David Berkowitz became a serial killer after misinterpreting instructions from his neighbor’s demonically possessed dog, who had in fact only wanted Berkowitz to take care of some errands he’d been putting off for a while.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: The invariable result of violence is the successful resolution of a problem.
  • Voodoo Zombie: Voodoo may sometimes turn people into zombies, but at least it doesn’t result in priests molesting children.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Baseball consists of two teams of nine players, all of whom desperately want to make their fathers proud.
  • World War III: During the cold war, all of humanity was wiped out five times per hour in the minds of every person on the planet.
  • Zeerust: The World’s Fair is an international exhibition series filled with lies about the future.
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