Sunday, November 9, 2008

Comic 501: Someone's Sold Their Soul

honestly just read good omens, that's always fun times
Ah, the infamous End User License Agreement. A rich, totally untapped source of humor.

It feels these days like I need to do two parts to every post - all the reasons this joke is so old and a list of places it's been done first and better, and then a more theoretical "ok well what if this were the first time, would it still suck?" kind of thing. So-

Part one:
Ughhhhhhh another EULA joke? Good god. Someone please tell me how this is any possible way better than this bash.org quote (note that it also is an EULA which, by the time you read it, you have already agreed to according to the terms of the agreement). And no, snotty old german folk legend references do not make the joke better, they in fact make it worse. In my opinion. For further EULA fun on bash.org, see right here (this one is not as similar to the comic, or as funny, as the first one).

And of course, the realiable old xkcd forums reminds us of an incredibly similar line from the wonderful book Good Omens, which is disturbing because not only is it about the absurd nature of legaleese filled contracts it's about that in the context of demons making deals with people for their souls which is not exactly the most common topic in the world. And I'll be damned if Randall Munroe hasn't read Good Omens. If he hasn't, that's an even worse problem.

Part two:
Ignoring all the better versions of this joke, it's not a bad comic. For some reason the signpost right by this guys desk amuses me, as does the specificity of the agreement. I mean, how often can the dude be in a situation where that agreement is needed? The Devil being just a stick figure with tiny horns strikes me as a little artistically lazy, though. I mean, at least a tail, if not a pitchfork. Some color or fire or stuff could have been fun.

So I guess that were this the first EULA joke I had ever seen, it would be a tiny notch above average. As is, it's several notches below. Like with the last comic, Randall has to keep in mind that if he's going to tread well worn comedic ground, he's got to do it in a new way. Otherwise it's just tired and old, like the last two comics.

10 comments:

  1. Keep up the good work, Carl.

    A note about the xkcd forum folks: when is the "get out of my head, Randall!" trend going to stop? It's a comic that makes regular pop culture references, many of them geeky. If you're a geek reading xkcd, this shouldn't blow your mind.

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  2. Get out of my wife's clothes, Randall.

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  3. Thomas, that's a good point and a really, really annoying trend on the forums. "I WAS JUST ABOUT TO SELL MY SOUL TO THE DEVIL GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!" I'm not sure how to make fun of it except maybe by writing sentences like that one at the end of some posts and having them be links to someone saying something similarly stupid. Maybe.

    Vlad, come on, we all know Randall doesn't have the confidence to approach your wife. Her name isn't Megan, by any chance, is it?

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  4. Don't you have to, like, check a box saying "YES THAT IS OKAY" in order to accept a EULA?

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  5. Truth be told, I'm not married- but now I'm thinking I'd like to marry a woman called Megan, just for the lulz!

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  6. My sister is named Megan. Maybe he is stalking my sister oh god oh god RANDALL STOP BEING CREEPY.

    I hear from a more or less reliable source that people who know Randall find it kind of weird when he makes comics about them.

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  7. That was me. Stupid multiple accounts on Google.

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  8. Ahahah. I agree with Thomas.

    I mean, he's not even making "references" most of the time, just random observations! SO FRUSTRATING BECAUSE THAT IS NOT A COMIC THAT IS AN OBSERVATION WHICH IS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT UNORIGINAL

    Rawr.

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  9. Goodness, you must hate comic 503.

    Rob, can you go into more detail? How is it, by the way, that you see Mr. Munroe and like know people he knows and stuff? I feel like this could all be valuable information. MAYBE YOU ARE HIM, eh?

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  10. A Nonny Nonny MouseOctober 10, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    I doubt anyone but the admin will see this at this point, but...

    "And of course, the realiable old xkcd forums reminds us of an incredibly similar line from the wonderful book Good Omens, which is disturbing because not only is it about the absurd nature of legaleese filled contracts it's about that in the context of demons making deals with people for their souls which is not exactly the most common topic in the world."

    Actually, demons/devils making deals with people for their souls is a pretty common trope (not a fan of tvtropes, but it's good for examples: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DealWithTheDevil). Just think of the term "Faustian bargain". And it's pretty common for the deal to take the form of a devilishly complicated contract that cheats the person into giving away their soul without getting what they want, or getting it in a way that makes them miserable.

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