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Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom
aka: Super Fun Happy Trope Of Doom
The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometer of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.
Something, often a company, that is described with an adjective in the title that is entirely at odds with what it actually does. Commonly, something evil will be paired with a nice-sounding adjective. This also applies when the title's implications are opposed to what the company/organization/Evil Overlord
does. Basically, when you apply a completely inappropriate adjective to something (often to make it seem better)
, that's this trope. Look for characters exclaiming "Hey...this isn't happy!" or something similar.
This is a New Speak
trope. There is usually a rather pointed takeaway for the audience about the people doing the naming: a society that uses vicious irony like this is never ever
nice or just misunderstood.
of doom that masquerade as harmless objects, see Happy Fun Ball
or the more prosaic Artifact of Doom
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Anime & Manga
- The Summer of Love in Eureka Seven was a worldwide catastrophe that sparked tremendous conflict and civil war. It is feared that, if it is allowed to occur, the Second Summer of Love could mean The End of the World as We Know It.
- Also, the research station that performs inhumane and usually fatal experiments on teenage girls is nicknamed "Joy Division" by the scientists there.
- The F.L.E.I.A. in Code Geass is named for Freya, the Norse goddess of love and beauty. Its function is to create a huge Sphere of Destruction using a combination of nuclear fission and Sakuradite.
- The bad guys of 20th Century Boys are the "Friendship Democratic Party". They're a front for an evil cult.
- Flying Ghost Ship has a very cheerful advertisment for the "Boa Juice". Which melts people alive.
- The Satchi, cyber law-enforcers in Dennou Coil. They look like giant brown standing peanuts with smiley-faces painted on. Yeah.
- This has to be the only reason King Dedede ordered monsters from Holy Nightmare in Kirby of the Stars (the dub doesn't have this, of course...making Dedede look like more of an idiot in the process, if it was possible). Doesn't help that a few of the soon-to-be gigantic enemies are pretty cute at first.
- The Lemarchand puzzle boxes from Hellraiser. Their real name is the Lament Configuration.
- Consumer Recreation Services in The Game.
- In Django Unchained, the plantation of a particularly sadistic slaveowner, Calvin Candie, is called "Candyland".
Live Action TV
- The most famous of these is from George Orwell's 1984. The government has four chief buildings: The Ministry of Truth, in charge of propaganda, the Ministry of Peace, in charge of the military, the Ministry of Plenty, in charge of rationing supplies, and the Ministry of Love, described in the page quote.
- And don't forget the 5th one, the Ministry of Ironic Naming.
- No, you mean "the Ministry of Totally Appropriate Naming". That's a different ministry entirely.
- Arguably, the name of the Ministry of Love is very appropriate, given that its entire purpose is to make sure its inmates love Big Brother.
- And Big Brother itself, really.
- The Sword of Truth series loves this one. The titular sword's magic doesn't operate based on truth, but on the wielder's perceptions, whether or not they're accurate. A "death spell" doesn't kill people; it's used to save their life. And a "maternity spell" is nothing tender or nurturing; it's used to take the target hostage by creating Synchronization between the caster and the target.
- It's even lampshaded when one of the characters reflects on the fact that she suggested to the Big Bad he start styling himself "Emperor Jagang the Just".
- The trade paperback of Jhonen Vasquez' Squee series is called Squee's Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors, and not without reason.
- Mocked in America (The Book) by Jon Stewart, which contained a chart demonstrating how as the Congo's "Inherent Lies in Name" had increased, so had its oppression level.
Sub-saharan Africa's largest nation has grown more oppressive over the decades, and its names has kept pace."
Congo. Lies in name; 0. Oppression level; bloody.
Republic of the Congo. Lies in name; 1. Oppression level; sadistic.
Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lies in name; 2. Oppression level; genocidal.
People's Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lies in name; 3. Oppression level; inhuman.
Shiny, Happy, People's Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lies in name; 5. Oppression level; hide.
- In the Strugatsky Brothers' novel Hard to Be a God, a lot a villages were renamed from their Wretched Hive names to this trope. Perhaps in hopes it will make them better.
- Animorphs gives us The Sharing, an organization full of nice, friendly people who do charity work and have a great time doing it. And after you are initiated, a parasitic alien crawls into your ear and you are a slave to the invading alien race.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Harfang is said to be the home of the only "Gentle Giants" of the far north. Don't believe it for one second.
- In "Little Harmonic Labyrinth" from Gödel, Escher, Bach, the Tortoise was promised by a fortune teller "a stroke of Good Fortune," and it happens to him and Achilles in the form of one "Hexachlorophene J. Goodfortune, Kidnapper-At-Large, and Devourer of Tortoises par Excellence."
- In The Grimnoir Chronicles, the world is protected by "Peace Rays," invented by none other than Nikola Tesla himself.
- In the novel The Tomorrow File the United States Twenty Minutes into the Future renames the government departments. The Department of Defense is called the Department of Peace. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare becomes the Department of Bliss. Other departments are also renamed.
- Hologram Fun World, in Galaxy of Fear and a few other parts of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It's an amusement park, but attendance has been suffering and the Big Bad is testing his Nightmare Machine on the few people still coming.
- In That Hideous Strength, the evil organization is the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments, or N.I.C.E. Naturally, they're not very nice at all.
- "Super Duper Meteor" from Lemon Demon's Dinosaurchestra.
- Fable II features a mission to become Super Best Friends with Chesty the treasure chest, who has a rather twisted idea of what constitutes "fun".
- Chesty returns for another side quest in Fable III'
- Future Fun Land in Diddy Kong Racing. Giant stone spikes, electric fences and spaceships shooting at the player character are probably not what most people would expect from the 'fun' part of the name.
- Peaceful Pier in Donkey Kong Country Returns is anything but peaceful due to sharks and a pirate ship firing cannonballs at you. Though it could just mean that the pier is peaceful- the ocean is not.
- In the pre-console days, Evil Otto of Berzerk! was a bouncing, smiley "have a nice day" face which was trying to kill you. So great is Evil Otto's urge to destroy the Humanoid that he will literally steamroll over his allies just to get a shot at you - grinning all the while. His hatred was so great that he'd go through the electric death walls to get to you, curse his bright smiliness.
- The Sims 3 features a building that appears to be
a local branch the headquarters of the Outstanding Citizens Warehouse Corporation. It is an immense, run-down warehouse where a sim may join, and advance through the criminal career.
- Left 4 Dead has the "Survival Mode". As they say on the poster, "It doesn't end well."
- With name like "Survival Mode", it should suit anyone who likes to survive.
- Mother 3 features the following sign:
"Tower of Love and Peace. Stay away!" sign for the Tower of Thunder, which zaps people's houses if they don't obey Porky
- Peaceful Rest Valley in EarthBound (a.k.a. Mother 2) is populated mostly by alien invaders, killer robots, and exploding trees.
- The Hidden Fun Stuff of Dwarf Fortress. Demonic Invaders that attack your fortress if you dig too deep.
- Dorf Fortress fandom in general uses the word "fun" to mean "losing," based on the official motto "Losing is Fun!" (i.e. "Forgetting to put in something to keep your well from overflowing can lead to a lot of fun.") Heck, the wiki's article on Fun redirects to "Losing."
- There are a lot of other fan nicknames for Fun stuff, including "the clown car" and "clowns" for hell and the afore-mentioned Demonic Invaders and "party guests" for the restless souls of people who haven't received a proper burial.
- Dorf Fortress is also full of randomly generated names, so occasionally you'll have something like this pop up.
- World of Warcraft has Professor Putricide's Laboratory of Alchemical Horrors and Fun. It's not that fun.
- From Final Fantasy VII, we have Shinra Inc's Public Safety Maintenance Department, just fancy euphemism for the company's army and police force. Said department has a sub-branch known as The Investigative Division of General Affairs Department AKA the Turks, highly skilled special agents that perform black ops on behalf of the corporation, including kidnappings and assassinations.
- Our Darker Purpose. Anything with a pleasant-seeming name can be safely expected to be malevolent, dangerous, or at least unpleasant, but special points must go to the Caring Friends.
- Girl Genius: "Fun-sized mobile agony and death dispensers" is the official name of what are commonly called "devil dogs," according to Castle Heterodyne.
- Done by Ridley in Planet Zebeth, with his bar's Super Happy Fun Slide. It is a slide, but the wall above the entrance disguises the fact that it leads down to a deep-fryer; any small enemies who enter the slide are cooked up and served to hungry bar patrons. Amazingly, none of the minions notice the deception; presumably due to the state of its riders, word-of-mouth recognition of the slide is based solely on its name.
- Sinfest has National Perfection Agency, Beelze-Bud and Illumi-nicey (the New Illuminati Logo).
- In a strip of Help Desk, in an attempt to get a better public image, The Dark Lord of Ubersoft legally changed his name to "Mr Bunny, the Hoppy Computer Guy". It didn't really work.
- The French Revolution's Committee of Public Safety. Ho ho ho. By "Safety" they meant Reign of Terror.
- Actually, most of the latter fell under the auspices of Robespierre's Committee of Public Welfare.
- Many totalitarian regimes use this sort of technique as a form of propaganda. See Maximum Fun Chamber, People's Republic of Tyranny.
- Stalin's USSR had "the ultimate act of social security". Guess, what that means? Death penalty. Later thay realized how stupid it sounds and changed the legal formula to the much more appropriately-sounding "ultimate act of punishment".
- It's very common, at least in the U.S.A. and its member states, for legislation to be given names that are either unrelated to the legislation in question or, often, actually in contradiction to what the legislation does, purely for propaganda uses. This is especially common if the act in question is written by or for powerful business interests. Examples include things like "The Clean Water Act" or "The Job Creation Act" or "The USA PATRIOT Act". After all...who would want to vote against something called "The Clean Skies and Fair Treatment for Innocent Victims Act" or the "Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act"?
- The British Parliament gets around this by naming acts in Beige Prose, always of the form "General Topic (Optional Specific Subtopic) Act Year".
- In recent years there has also been a trend in the U.S. toward informally assigning girl's names to legislation (usually laws concerning punishment and/or registration of convicted sex offenders), i.e., "Megan's Law," "Jessica's Law." (Combines this trope with Think of the Children! as well as Missing White Woman Syndrome).
- The girl's name thing tends to be that the law is named after a girl who fell victim to the specific thing the law is addressing (for example, "Amber Alert" isn't specifically named after the color "amber", but Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered).
- The National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 is this to some degree. On one hand, its most famous provision is one that allows warrantless indefinite detention for those suspected of terrorism in certain circumstances. However, most of the act actually really was about defense matters—that is, it was the annual appropriations act intended to keep the military fully supplied for the coming fiscal year.
- In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) decides whether or not a drug should be provided by the NHS — so NICE can be responsible for denying life-prolonging treatments for reasons of expense...although sometimes they do this to avoid having to shut down care in areas that affect more people, lets leave it there.
- A "screw you, M.A.F.I.A.A." project, mass implementation of which would cause the litigous sort of publishers either lobby prohibition of WiFi as we know it or weep in futility?
- In France, it is frequent to add the epithete "social" to things… that are not. If you fire 1000 workers for the sake of profitability, call it a "social plan"; If you raise the VAT, making life more expensive for poorer consumers, call it the "social VAT", etc. Also, recently the term "videosurveillance" has been replaced by "videoprotection". Reassuring, isn't it?
- Speed Cameras in the UK are "Safety Cameras" except in one honest county where they are "Enforcement Cameras".
- Since the purpose of the cameras is to keep people from driving at what the government considers unsafe speeds, this is not terribly inaccurate.
- Imperial Japan's department of biological and chemical warfare research? The Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department.
- Al-Qaeda puts out an English-language magazine called Inspire. Seriously.
- The United States' Department of War became the Department of Defense in 1947. It's arguable as to whether America has fought a truly defensive war since...