Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Comic 446: Firefly Isn't "Popular"

So the joke is that....nerds edit wikipedia? I guess? And add nerdy references even to something that is boring? FUNNY.

Sorry, but like MacGyver, wikipedia is just too easy a target. That's why it's been done before. A lot. Even the "only obsessive nerds use wikipedia" joke is old. Come to think of it, where else have I heard wikipedia jokes ...

So...again, not a bad comic, in that it doesn't make me mad, but just - eh? What's the point?

PS - Who thinks Randall is actually a Simpsons fan? I don't. But I have no evidence. I should find some!


  1. I think you missed the point. I think Randall was taking a stab at how stupid the "In Popular Culture" sections (and others sections like it) are. I mean, a list of instances where wood in popular culture comes up is just ridiculous. Knowing that objects made of wood were used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is just not relevant and useless info.

  2. Kudos to Munroe for taking a moment to jab at Wikipedia dorks -- sometimes internet obsession can just be annoying, not cute. This anti-xkcd blog, for instance, is cute for all the right reasons and only annoying to the wrong people.

    Another odd Wiki-trend: Controversy sections that describe controversies nobody knew about.

  3. Anon - I guess he was doing both. By putting it on the Wood article he was attempting to make a joke about how "In popular culture" is stupid; by making it all nerdy references he was making fun of wp users for being nerds. Still not funny though.

    Thomas - How is this blog cute? That's not a word I would have thought would be associated with me...

    I for one find the obsession with xkcd annoying. Thus my blog becomes a noble crusade to make people come to their senses on it.

  4. that's just adorable

  5. wait what the HELL people.


  6. Veritably cuddly.

    Honestly, and I'm not saying this out of spite or anything, I don't think you're going to manage to convince anyone that XKCD sucks or is overrated through this blag. I also think you're probably analyzing it too much. I couldn't really tell you why the "in popular culture" one was funny, but I laughed at it. It's kind of an absurd notion. Like most humor, when you really analyze it, it fails to stand up.

    Have you ever read a Wikipedia article on a joke? Any kind of joke, really. I, for one, have never found humor to be more boring than in the context of analysis.

    And of course, There Are No New Ideas. I am of the opinion that people ought to be slapped every time they criticize something because it's been done before. Originality is for bad thrillers (and they still don't manage).

  7. Oooh, some very thought provoking ideas here.

    I am still trying to figure out why it is that I am writing this blog. I don't have a goal, or even a vague idea of a goal. I don't expect to convince anyone.

    I started because I had had a lot of conversations where I discovered that a fair number of my friends (and enemies) disliked xkcd and thought they were the only ones. I think there is, as crazy and conspiratorial as it sounds, a lot of social pressure - in some places - to like xkcd.

    I currently envision my website the way I think of political bumper stickers - no one is going to vote based on a shiny piece of paper on a car they see, but supporters of that candidate will maybe get excited just to see other supporters out there. Reading my blog will only make xkcd lovers more stubborn in their love of it (I have seen this happen in my friends who do like xkcd) so I am not expecting much.

    I know that everyone says you shouldn't analyze jokes. I know, it takes all the humor out, it's like dissecting a frog, etc. I found humor more interesting when analyzed. I think I've let enough of my humor theory seep into my posts that you can probably tell. But consider this - you will not find a successful comedian who didn't get there by studying comedy. Studying timing, or phraseology, or any other aspect of it. You may not need it to laugh at it, but it's important if you want to understand it.

    I also wonder if there is a limited supply of humor. I'm currently learning towards there not being a limit, if only because what is funny changes so much over fairly short periods of time. I try not to accuse Randall of copying too much unless it's really something he should know about - like spy vs. spy. Or, you know, his own previous comics.

  8. I don't know, there are people who are funny, and people who aren't. I'm not a big 'it's like dissecting a frog' person but I am a big 'some people get it, some people don't' person.

    That is: you can study humor theory all you want, and you might even learn something from it, but there's really just a sort of feel that makes one an effective comedian. A lot of it is just about knowing your audience (which I would say Randall does)--and then there's the sense of timing, the sense of the unexpected, and so on.

    A lot of xkcd's humor is based on the unconventional. It's often based more on the absurdity of the premise--just the idea that a "Wood in popular culture section" is absurd, and then fleshing that concept out.

    It's funny almost in an inside joke sort of way rather than a 'setup, punchline' sort of way. There isn't a joke, as such--but that doesn't mean it's not funny.

    I hope I'm making sense. I don't feel that I'm being terribly clear.

  9. The one panel strips like this certainly aren't setup/punchline. Why don't I try approaching this from a different angle -

    I used to like xkcd a lot. I still like many of the old comics as much as I ever did. But I don't like a lot of the new ones (call it "Simpsons Syndrome"). I don't think my sense of humor changed, I think xkcd changed. There are more comics that don't have any words (or minimal words) than there used to be. For a time, there were more computer science jokes than there used to be (this appears to have tapered off). The only possible difference is that I didn't like a few in a row, decided xkcd was now bad, and that judgment has colored my reading of current strips. I hope this isn't the case, and I try to stay aware of the fact that it's a possibility.

    Randall Munroe is definitely a funny person - but I think he basically ran out of good ideas. I don't blame him; I think it's damn hard to keep a comic strip going that long (see: newspaper comics, which basically all suck. Not all, but maybe 80-90%). I fault him for still going, basically.

  10. Just now discovered this blog, but wanted to comment on this xkcd. I do think it's a decent joke about the useless of In Popular Culture sections on Wikipedia. The problem is, it's been done before:

    And the Something Awful version is far better.

  11. Did you just go to theonion.com and search "wikipedia"?
    Just because something's popular and someone else made a few jokes about it before (none of those links, by the way, made a reference to the In-Popular-Culture section) means another can't be funny. Wikipedia jokes are far too less common then truly old jokes like, say, Michael Jackson jokes, to be all tired and unfunny.