The 5 Most Absurdly Petty National Laws Ever Enforced

Once your bloody coup is over and all that sweet, sweet authority starts pouring in, how do you keep it? There's a fine line between governing the people fairly and letting them walk all over you. After all, you got where you are by couping the shit out of the last guy, so what's to stop the people from doing the same to you?

Furious, insane crackdowns on irrelevant bullshit, that's what!

Just take a lesson from these folks ...

#5. Vote for the Wrong Song, Become an Enemy of the State

Dick Luria/Photodisc/Getty Images

The Eurovision song contest, for those of you not familiar, sets country against country in a sort of pop song Thunderdome: Over 50 countries enter, but only one leaves (feeling good about itself).

John MacDougall / AFP / Getty
Although it really, really shouldn't.

Each country chooses the artist that best represents its musical culture, or, barring that, has the most rockin' titties on display. These groups compete, all of Europe gets a chance to vote, and the winner presumably never has to compete in Eurovision again. You'd think this was all a bit pointless, like a grade school student body election: Won't every country just vote for itself?

But sometimes the results surprise you, as happened with Azerbaijan and Armenia in the 2009 Eurovision competition. Now, those two nations have been at each other's throats ever since they invented nations and throats (uh ... sometime back in the early '90s). No way in hell were citizens of one country voting for another. And for the most part, that was correct. But 43 Azerbaijanis bucked the nationalist trend and were so moved by Armenia's song that they picked up their phones and voted for the enemy.

Oleg Nikishin / Getty
Wouldn't you?

In any other time, in any other place, this is where the ability to give a shit politely leaves the room, hops a Greyhound, and starts a new life somewhere far, far away. But not this time. This time the Azerbaijan security forces pulled the phone records to find out who some of these pop-traitors were and called them into police stations for questioning. The musical rebels were accused of being unpatriotic, and were even deemed "potential security threats" by the Azerbaijan authorities.

AFP / Stringer / Getty
"Not loving this is equal to terrorism."

And rightfully so. God forbid they buy a One Direction song on iTunes and bring the whole country to its knees.

#4. Iranians Crack Down on "Counter-Revolutionary" Water Gun Fights

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

After the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini pushed a huge "let's get it on" campaign to boost population. The people did their civic duty and nobly used their genitals on one another for the good of the nation. So many babies were born that the government eventually put the brakes on the lovefest, but it was too late: Now half of the country's population is in their early 20s, and all they want to do is rock and roll all night and consume Western culture every day.

Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty
We'll just assume their hands all say "Nicki Minaj."

And because young people are stupid regardless of regime, young Iranians have fallen in love with the concept of the flash mob. In the summer of 2011, a particularly hot one, bored youths decided to set up a playful public stunt. The plan was to get a bunch of strangers together, have an impromptu water gun fight, and then disappear. It worked, if one can describe professional time-wasting as working (we sure do): Dozens of young Iranians showed up at the appointed time and played squirt guns for a bit. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Milad Beheshti / AP
"Say 'salaam alaikum' to my little friend."

Whereas any other country might shrug its collective shoulders and idly wonder why these kids don't get jobs, the Iranian government decided this was a national threat and cracked down with the full weight of its police state.

They put on their best, formal tinfoil hats (bowlers, we believe) and claimed that foreign powers were seeking to undermine the Islamic state by staging squirt-gun battles. One judge went further, and proclaimed that people who took part in said water fights were "counter-revolutionaries." A few arrests were actually made, with some participants even spending time in Iran's notorious prison system. Presumably when asked by other hardened criminals what they were in for, they did not answer "super soaking."

AFP / Stringer / Getty
"I ... uh, killed the army. The whole army."

#3. Being a Dick to Michael O'Brien Will Cost You Precisely $11,945

Jupiterimages/ Images

In 2006, Australian politician Michael O'Brien was serving as the totally official and not-made-up-sounding Shadow Minister for Gaming. In 2010, O'Brien was promoted to For-Realsies Gaming Minister (actual title). And he found that the limelight, she burned.
Nearly as much as his chlamydia.

Apparently Michael O'Brien liked life in the shadows; he just wasn't crazy about that whole "public" part of "public office." Mostly because, much to O'Brien's shock and absolutely nobody else's, he found that some people in politics were big fat meanies. To combat this, when changes were being made to the Gambling Regulation Act in 2011, the Gaming Minister stuck an amendment in there that made it illegal to insult the Gaming Minister. If you, for example, were to call Michael O'Brien a suckling mama's boy with skin so thin that you can see through it, you would have to pony up 100 penalty units. For those of you who aren't up on obscure conversions, that's about $11,945. That's right: In Australia, it costs nearly $12,000 just to say that Michael O'Brien is the new name for the sand that gets in your vagina.

Here in America, luckily, it's totally free.

In fact, the First Amendment requires us to call him the closest a human has come to being the herpes virus.

The law also forbids picking on those working under the Gaming Minister, whom we can only assume waved their arms dramatically and mouthed "We're good" when the GM suggested they be included in the act.

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