Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Comic 471: Randall The Tolerant, Randall The Caring


This comic makes me realize there is a whole new category of xkcd comics that I haven't really noticed before: the smug "aww, I'm so much better a person than everyone else" comic. With, of course, the typical xkcd "hey guys look I know what some internet memes are!"

So what do we have - Weird Dude is mocked by everyone except the Kite Flier (and we know randall is a kite person) who is kind and understanding. Rob noted in a comment on the last post noted that "It's usually pretty obvious when Randall is getting preachy. They are usually neither very subtle nor very clever." I think this is both. "I stick up for you when I can." Seriously? Why not just write "I am nicer than other people! Won't you love me, world?"

I get tired of writing this, but again, what is the joke supposed to be? People are mean to dude dressed like Tails, then Randall is nice to him, then there is a brief remark about appropriate analogies. The "joke" at the end feels like more of a tagged on attempt at a joke, not a real punchline. Or was the whole thing about how nice he was really supposed to be leading up to "ha ha, you chose an animal themed analogy!"

Better endings include:
-Kite Dude is actually not tolerant; whole comic has been a set up for a massive prank of some kind

-Kite flying somehow connects to being a furry, perhaps it turns out he can fly or something, and he helps with the kite

-Furry turns out to be totally deserving of his reputation, like he's totally creepy or something like that.

Obviously those are not funny on their own, but I suspect that at least one of them could be worked into something better than the out-of-left-field random fable ending that.

I say it all the time, but just to be fair I'll say it again: I don't hate this comic, I just think it's very Eh and not very funny. And could easily be better.

PS - if you are going to comment and say that the kite dude does not represent Randall, don't bother, you're wrong.


  1. I thought for sure this one was going to have a punch line. Even when I finished reading, I clung to the hope that somehow, the alt text would wrap it all up and leave me roflmaoing on the floor, but it was all pretty hopeless.

  2. I was sort of confused about why/how those guys at the beginning even knew Tails was a furry. Perhaps I'm naive, but not everyone who dresses like a squirrel wants to have sex dressed as a squirrel, or with someone else dressed as a squirrel. So to me, the comic was just off right from the beginning.

  3. On the topic of "how much better I am than you", I can think of a lot of examples right out of the blue (the "DON'T BE A JERK TO GIRLS ON THE INTERNET GOD I LOVE WHITE-KNIGHTING" comic comes to mind), and I think you should compile a list. Just to prove a point...again.

  4. Yeah, here I completely agree with you. About the preaching, that is. The punchline reads like an afterthought.

    I do kind of like the forum thread for this comic, though. Being a furry is suddenly cool.

  5. Andy - I bet there are alt-texts that could have saved this. I can't think of any right now, but I'll try later, and you guys can give it a shot too. IT WILL BE FUN. That's your challenge - come up with an alt text that is funny using exactly these panels. And something Randall could have actually put there, not something mocking him.

    Sarah - This is a good point. For that matter, given how Randall draws everything as stick figures, how do we know Tails isn't actually a squirrel? That can talk? Or something?

    Connor: I will get on this. I am still meaning to do "One panel from funny" from like forever ago. But this will be good. Let's list some more, some time.

    Jay - I was going to read the forum thread but it got crazy long too fast and also I was at work and many people have read-over-shoulder capabilities...

  6. Hey, if your guest posters can bring up wildly irrelevant points, so can I.

    Putting the words of a character in the author's mouth is extremely questionable in criticism. In this case, of course, the character is portrayed very positively, so it's a bit moot, but referring to "kite girl" as "Randall" and jumping to "look how nice I am" is still a bit... smug? Sloppy and presumptuous, at least.

    It is at least moderately interesting that internet populations a) are pretty down with all kinds of alternative sexual mores, and b) endlessly critical of furries. Granted, this doesn't make the comic funny, just sociologically interesting.

    The "insert a joke in the last panel" routine is commonly accepted in webcomics that also have a storyline. Whether or not social commentary is also acceptable as supplementary content is up for debate though.

    I also think you have an excessive hatred for set-up, but I've opened up enough lines of debate for the moment.

  7. Is it kite dude? I thought it was kite chick. Now I keep seeing a dude with a mullet, though. There ought to be

    I was actually thinking of this very comic when I was writing my comment. It's just... very preachy. And not very funny. Diesel Sweeties handles furries in a much more amusing way.

    As an aside, I feel that it's not so much 'look how much better I am than you' as it is 'you people are all internet jerks.' It's preachy, but I think he tries to avoid making it 'I do this, and you should all follow' so much as 'guys, you shouldn't do this anymore.' Subtle but important difference.

    Normally when you ask what the joke is supposed to be I respond 'there isn't one!' but, uh. This time? There is clearly supposed to be a joke, and it is almost Shaggy Dog Story in its anticlimax. This sort of thing is fine in comics that have storylines (as previously noted) because the storyline is usually interesting enough to keep me reading (otherwise I wouldn't read it).

    xkcd does not have a storyline.

  8. Intro: random people mock the furry on sight alone

    Middle: Kite person calls the mockers "assholes" and is social with the furry

    End: Kite person has aversion to furries using animal allegories and the furry apologizes, seemingly for being turned on by the "lion and the mouse" tale

    What were the assholes from above supposed to do, then? Wait for confirmation bias and THEN indulge their aversion fad? I understand the hypocrisy of singling out one fetish as bizarre but letting the rest slide, but that's a specific population there. Plenty of people can and do think that furry as well as many other fetishes are weird. The fact of the matter is, most fetishes have sexual connotations with people and human behaviors, whereas furries want bestiality, which is a minority (outside the Internet, anyway).

    Sorry for the mini-rant, but the preachiness is definitely there, and had Carl not updated when he did I would've volunteered to take the reins today. I mean, it would be one thing if the "Tails" person was a cosplayer or fan of animals in general, but Randall's "it's just a fetish wait it's who you are" scripting lets him have his cake and eat it too.

    Alt text/ending: "Man, look at it go! That's squirrel-skin for ya. Oh. Sorry."

  9. OK I made a list of preachy comics but it's horribly short now. I need some help on lengthening it before I add a link to the front page.

    this is the list, woo hoo

    I thought it was a dude with the kite, upon rereading it could go either way. I still feel like it's Randall clearly speaking through his characters though. If it had been anything but kite flying...(well, unless it had been "ha ha they are assholes come help me draw a lame comic")

    Thomas, your new alt-text is good. It inspired this one: "OK, the kite mounted missile is working. Let's find some anime fetishists and blow them up. They suck."

  10. Uh, what about the one that... didn't have words? The arguing on the internet one? That one was preachy.

  11. Don't forget the flaccid rule he started about dick jokes!

  12. I think the reason a lot of people get annoyed with furries is that furries make their fetish a "lifestyle." People who like being handcuffed to national monuments by French maids can somehow resist making it some sort of identity politics nonsense. Of course, Munroe's Mary Sue sanctimony blots out this nuance.

  13. So what do you consider funny?

  14. Christopher Guest.
    John Hodgman.
    The Harvard Lampoon Guide To College Admissions.
    The Perry Bible Fellowship.
    The first 10 or so seasons of the Simpsons.
    The Producers.