By the way, you're also a living human, aren't you? Why do you work in the Netherworld? Youmu:
Me? I've never thought of that. But I'm a dead human, too, so... hmm.
—Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red
and Eldritch Abominations
are plenty strange, but an Oxymoronic Being's mere existence is self-contradictory. To make one, take any two mutually exclusive characteristics; anything that somehow has both is an Oxymoronic Being.
And no, "honest politician
" doesn't count.
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- Starburst had been running advertisements with people like this for a while; for example, an albino lifeguard. One of them managed to be stunningly offensive by having the "contradictory" traits being Korean ancestry and Scottish nationality. It basically amounted to a painful national stereotype going off on a racist tirade against a kid. Strangely, this is one of the most commonly-run of the series of ads.
- In Naruto, Kisame's personal amount of chakra is great enough to draw comparisons to the Tailed Beasts, and thus he has been given the oxymoronic nickname "The Tailed Beast Without a Tailnote ". To make this even more hilarious, in spite of his nickname when he fuses with Samehada he does have a tail(fin), though it's possible that those don't "count" as tails in Japanese.
- The Phantom Tollbooth:
- Milo meets an average-looking man who claims to be both "the smallest giant in the world" and "the tallest midget in the world". He's also the thinnest fat man and the fattest skinny guy.
- There's also Canby, warden of the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), who among other things is smart as can be and stupid as can be.
- The triple demons of Compromise are described as "one fat, one thin, and a third exactly like the other two." (The illustrations show it as fat in part of its body and skinny in another part.)
- Due to his being adopted, Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson of Discworld is a dwarf who stands at 6 feet 3 inches in his socks. The other dwarfs accept him as one of them because he is devoutly observant of their traditions and even tries to teach his girlfriend to speak Dwarfish. He's just a tall dwarf.
- Also, Bloody Stupid Johnson can create circles where "the pi is exactly 3". Pi (the ratio of diameter to circumference) is, by definition, always 3.14159265358979323846264338 and a bit.
- There are also occasional mentions in the Discworld of mystics who can see "four-sided triangles" when they meditate.
- There's one story in an obscure German's childrens book about the inventor Scheibenkork who invented among other things the sphere with five vertices.
- In Witch Week, a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, Simon unintentionally turns himself into one while under a "Simon Says" spell that makes everything he says true. He first claims that he doesn't know anything, then mindlessly repeats a teacher who says he's not that much of a fool, resulting in him being both stupid and clever at the same time.
- In The Lost Years of Merlin, Shem in the first book is a tiny person (even shorter than child Merlin) who claims he is a giant. This is confirmed when Shem sacrifices himself to destroy the Cauldron of Death to save Merlin. He immediately comes back to life and starts getting bigger and bigger...
Myths and Legends
- The mythical hippogriff is half-horse, half-griffin. However, since griffins hate horses and attack them on sight, it's hard to imagine how this could happen. That was the point, originally. The Roman poet Virgil referred to the birth of hippogriffs alongside several other metaphors for things that couldn't happen in real life, in a "the lion shall lie down with the lamb" sort of sense.
- The Undead, in all of their various forms. Despite the fact that they are dead and shouldn't be able to do anything but rot in their graves, they somehow can still interact with the living. This contradictory nature is also what makes them such formidable foes. Not even death itself could stop them. What makes you think the heroes can?
- The common Parody Religion known as the "Invisible Pink Unicorn": If it's always invisible, how do you know it's pink?
- Also the Invisible Red String of Fate, which is one of the things the Invisible Pink Unicorn references.
Stand Up Comedy
- Demitri Martin posits the (non)existence of the Paradoxataur which is a mythical creature that only exists if you believe it doesn't exist but does exist if you believe it doesn't. The speculative forms of the Paradoxataur are supposedly Oxymoronic as well, including a woman who is smart, beautiful, single, not crazy, and totally into you.
- The Spelljammer setting in Dungeons & Dragons has enormous hamsters living between the worlds, appropriately known as giant space hamsters. There's also a lesser-known tiny variety, the miniature giant space hamster, which for most intents and purposes is merely a hamster. (They're best known for appearing in Baldur's Gate, in which one character has one as a pet. Well, maybe. He's not exactly sane enough to be a reliable source on that.)
- Another example is the Xeg-Yi, mentioned in the Planescape campaign and a few other sources. It is native to the Negative Energy Plane, which is a plane of, well, negative energy, something associated with death. Most inhabitants of the plane are undead, but the Xeg-Yi is a living creature. A living creature that is composed of negative energy. Even one sourcebook where its official stats are details mentions how contradictory its existence sounds. (In fact, its counterpart, the Xag-Ya, which is native to the Positive Material Plane, doesn't make much sense either. A living being shouldn't be able to have much individuality in a place that is life incarnate.)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! gives us the Anteatereatingant.note
- In Magic: The Gathering, the Izzet League's Weirds combine two opposing elements into a single creature. They also make great pets!
- Action Masters are Transformers who are unable to transform after consuming Nucleon. Then there are Action Master Elites Who can still transform. Making them Transformers that can't transform which can transform.
- The Horseless Headless Horsemann in Team Fortress 2. (Also, he has a head.)
- Youmu Konpaku, from the Touhou games. She is half-human and half-ghost (which as a form of undead are themselves oxymoronic), with her ghost half existing as a formless white cloud separate from her physical body. How it's possible to be half-human and half-ghost, even in the bizarre world of Gensokyou where you can't let yourself be held back by common sense, is never explained. Is she half-dead, or is she the product of a human and a ghost (somehow) mating?
- Neither. Apparently it's genetic, as Youki Konpaku is the the same way.
- Also from Touhou, Koishi Komeiji, extra stage boss of Subterranean Animism. Like her sister, she is a Satori, a youkai species that constantly reads the minds of everyone around them. Koishi solved this problem by permanently closing her mind-reading third eye (located on her external heart) which had the unforseen side-effect of sealing off her heart and mind, leaving her to operate solely via her subconscious. The result is a mind-reader that cannot read minds; not even her own. In Symposium of Post-Mysticism, Buddhist monk Byakuren Hijiri describes her state as being close to Enlightenment and expresses a strong desire to meet her and recruit her to her temple.
- Hata no Kokoro's title is "The Expressive Poker Face". She does this by wearing a set of masks representing emotions (which, incidentally, are all her, since she is a tsukumogami). This is possibly the reason why Koishi was made a playable character in the game that introduced her.
- Dwarf Fortress features Forgotten Beasts, creatures created by primordial chaos. In-game, they're created by randomly mixing any animals, materials, limbs, and strange attacks. Sometimes this can result in paradoxial creatures, the most famous being the "Six-Legged quadruped."
- The backstory of World of Warcraft reveals that humans are oxymoronic beings since they are heavily implied to be corrupted Vrykul (Viking like beings who are an offshoot of giants). In other words humans are miniature giants.
- Borderlands 2 features goliaths, a kind of Giant Mook, and midget enemies, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. You will eventually encounter midget goliaths.
- The Pokémon series have a few:
- Ferroseed and Ferrothorn are Grass/Steel types. Plants are organic while metal armour generally isn't, especially among plants.
- Mawile and Klefki are Steel/Fairy types. Fairy types are weak to steel, but these two are made of it.
- According to Chuck Norris Facts, Chuck Norris holds every record in the Guinness Book of world Records, which means, among other things, he's a planet, a pizza, a spider, and a distance.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- The spider-fly, which commonly gets caught in its own web. Noted in the creator commentary as "the most paradoxical animal in the world of Avatar."
- There is also the two-headed rat viper. This is used by the Air Benders as an analogy of consequences of anger: "Revenge is like a Two-Headed Rat Viper; while you watch your enemy go down, you are poisoned yourself."
- When Sokka gives Toph a piece of the meteorite he used to make his sword he calls it "space earth", prompting Katara to question how there could be such a thing.
- Robot Chicken had a spoof of Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever movies called Attack of the Giant Midget. Said giant midget was about 6'5"... which is pretty tall, for a midget.
- Sheep in the Big City has military characters with Punny Names that are usually oxymorons: General Specific, Private Public, Major Minor (who is a baby) and Corporal Ethereal (a hippy).
- South Park has the Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka.
- One villain from Sushi Pack, Paradoxter, enjoys things that are perfect paradoxes, such as sweet-and-sour sauce. His henchmen are jumbo shrimp (as in, man-sized), and in one episode he created animixes by splicing together two different animals, such as a sheep and wolf. One of his henchshrimp points out that he should call himself Oxymoron, since he's a Man-Ox, but Paradoxter does not appreciate this input.
- In an episode of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee June met a giant ("You know, a giant," he said, "as in fee, fi, foe, fum?") who was only three feet tall. June got a laugh out of it at first, but it really wasn't funny to the poor guy; his condition had caused him to be the subject of ridicule all his life by the other giants. (June tried to make a growing potion for him, but suffice to say, things went a little haywire.)
- Referenced by They Might Be Giants - when an interviewer called them 'the biggest indie act in the world', they said it was like being 'the world's tallest midget'.
- A quantum computer could be considered oxymoronic: quantum phenomena can only occur when a subatomic particle is not observed, however not only is a computer not a subatomic particle, its programs must be observed, as the whole purpose of a computer is to compute things. This is one reason why quantum computers have proved so difficult to design.
- The No-Eyed Big-Eyed Spider. note