Saturday, October 18, 2008

Comic 490: Shouldn't #2 Be "Write Shitty Comics" ?

doesn't matter
Like comic 432, I feel that a comic that took this little effort from the artist hardly deserves that much more effort from me. I mean, this could have been a quote, and a below average one at that.

I like how Randall pretends that the only thing people do on computers early in the morning is see how friends are doing. Certainly no one reads any form of news, or plays any games or anything. No, it's just about being social....

Also, the last line is 100% unneeded. A, you can do that without laptops, and B, once we see that you are still in bed, we know you are using a computer from bed, and that's where most of the joke is, as little of a joke as it is. Imagine it for yourselves - same comic, minus last line, = slightly better.


  1. I can dial a number from a handheld device and that code will be transmitted via satellite to a receiving phone, which will then transmit sound back to me!

    I can toss bags of trash into a receptacle that gets emptied every week by a government-paid truck driver!


    And thanks to Randall for sparing us the "Profit!" joke that he included anyway in the alt-text. You don't have to declare that you won't be a tool, just DON'T BE ONE.

  2. Okay, so, here is the thing. When I go to my comics in the morning, or evening, or whenever the hell I look at my comics (no concept of time and all)... I expect comics. I don't mind guest weeks, though I do tend to tune out most of the time. I don't mind a filler saying 'sorry, I am busy, here is some half-assed art to tide you over.' It's not ideal, but at least you are basically admitting 'okay, I didn't have time to do this for reals.' Hell, I don't even mind when Jeffrey Rowland doesn't update until two days later, or skips an update entirely.

    I do mind when they throw something out there that isn't funny and clearly didn't require a lot of effort. This might warrant, like, a twitter update. 'Oh, this is kind of funny, I'm going to post it to my Twitter' is something I can get behind.

    This? This is kind of offensively lazy.

  3. I suppose I've already told you I hated this comic.

    But, man oh man, I really hated it.

    Old joke is old. And also not really a joke.


  4. I'm sure I'm not the first one to say this, but instead of trying to suck all the humor out of someone else's work, why not do something yourself?

    It's hard to take someone seriously who complains about someone else's work being "lazy" while not producing something original of their own.

    I'm not even sure what you're trying to accomplish. I don't think you're stupid enough to believe that you can convince genuine fans to not like xkcd anymore or that Randall Monroe will change his style to suit your whims. At the same time, despite your appeal to the "Iron Finger of Mockery," your posts seem more focused on dry criticism than on providing any sort of humor of their own.

    I do greatly enjoy xkcd, but I don't consider myself a rabid fan. I'm not offended or angry, but I am a little saddened and disappointed. I suppose it wouldn't bother me as much if you were crazy or illiterate. But a little bit of me always dies when I see people invest intellectual and creative energies into tearing other things down rather than building things up.

    If everyone who complained about the overrated things in life competed in the same arenas, they'd likely either fail and find themselves with a new appreciation for the object of their disdain, or succeed and raise the bar for us all.

  5. Hinotori, I'm reminded of a Simpsons episode where Comic Book Guy complains about the new developments in Itchy & Scratchy (a cartoon within the cartoon). Bart picks up on this and nails him accordingly:

    Bart: "Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain?"
    Comic Book Guy: "As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me."
    Bart: "What? They've given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? I mean, if anything, you owe them."
    Comic Book Guy: "Worst episode ever."

    I guess we kind of fall into that camp: if xkcd used to be a lot better to us, we should just be thankful for that much and move along. On the other hand, this blog makes me feel better for validating my opinion with each new xkcd comic (even when I like them). I'm also grateful this blog's still "small time," I like the focus group-type setting for each comic.

    Back to our regularly scheduled waste of intellect and creativity!

  6. I can only get worked up about 'go do something creative' people so many times, so you get this lazy half-assed pseudo-philosophical bullshit:

    Human interactions are never a waste of energy.

  7. I'd just like to point out to Hinotori that the reason I read this blog is because I often find it funnier than the comic itself.

    Sure, I find Xkcd funny sometimes; but often one of the nerd-romance or Linux strips makes me think "this sucks". So, I head over here and read an entry which cracks a few jokes about how it sucks.

    Some people think that readers and writers of blogs like this are indulging their jealousy and bitterness. But really, people do it because it's funny! If Carl's jokes become consistently bad, and Randall's comics consistently good, people will stop coming here. But until that day, Hinotori's comment that he is "a little saddened and disappointed" has given me an extra laugh.

  8. I too tire of this debate - I'm thinking I should have a link clearly at the top of the page to some post explaining the whole "if you hate it so much why don't you stop reading it" / "why are you just sucking the fun out of a comic so many people enjoy" / "what the hell is your problem anyway" type question. Then we can just link to that instead of going over it again every time.

  9. so Randall Munroe feels the need to explain the joke here, but not here? or is xkcd entering its Garfield years, where every joke must be killed by unnecessary extra text?

  10. If the world was full of webcomic creators, and had no webcomic critics, it would be a truly awful place.

    Blogs like this have as much right to exist as shitty webcomics.

  11. Come on. That "extra text" is where the real joke is (not a very good joke, I agree, but better than those three points on their own). Instead of blaming himself, the geek, for his odd behavior, he blames the tool, the laptop. It's a typical self-ironic xkcd joke.

  12. Okay, I figured it out: the last line of text is not unnecessary, just in the wrong place. It should be above the panel.
    (Or perhaps I am just the only person on the internet who doesn't read text below panels before the text inside the panel?)

  13. m - You do have a point, but I think that would have worked better if it felt like the first part was something he was in some way ashamed of, and then the "caption" or whatever was his placing the blame on the computer rather than himself. But it doesn't feel like that's what's happening - it's more just "woah, guys, you can do this now. That is so weird." I suppose it is like "I'm really weird and I think it's just because of the laptop but obviously it's just me" which I'll admit is a marginally better joke than the one he probably intended.

    Maddie, I think it just shouldn't be there at all. If it's at the beginning, then it's less of a surprise when you read #3 because when he writes #2, you are already thinking about laptops and may imagine him in bed on one. So it's not the sudden jolt of realization you get as it is.

    Thinking about both these comments, what if #2 were more maniacal and crazy? What if the list were like


    1. Wake up.
    2. Hack into my bank, embezzle funds, use the funds to purchase illegal weapons under a fake name, ship them to my guerrilla army in south america
    3. Get out from under the covers.

    Laptops are weird.

    This joke I like a lot more. You still get the idea of "stuff that can be done in bed over the internet" and then the realization, in #3, that he was in bed still, and then there's the much better joke at the end where he blames it on the laptop when it's clear from what he's doing that he is the one who is all fucked up.

    I actually think this is a great idea for a comic. I am very proud of it.

  14. I know I am, what? A year and a half late, but whatever. This has also been bugging me. Would you not need to get out from under the covers to grab your laptop from your shelf or wherever? Or does Randall sleep with his laptop under the covers? In that case, wouldn't he roll over and crush it in the night?

  15. when the comic first came out your point was brought up among the forumites. Apparently some people hug their laptops to sleep because it's warm.

    I have no idea if that answers your question at all.