Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comic 503: Misguided

i actually am leaning pretty hard in favor of the name 'xkcd suxkcd' so yeah.

Oh man does this comic suck. Really, Randall? You really think this is funny? This is like one of those stupid old "WHY DO WE PARK ON DRIVEWAYS AND DRIVE ON PARKWAYS, EH? EH???" questions. Especially given that Randall is into like science history and stuff you'd think he'd know the answer is that the WEST is the WESTERN HEMISPHERE (and parts of western europe that are culturally and historically tied to it) and the EAST is the EASTERN HEMISPHERE and if you are towards the west of the western hemisphere, then yes, you may actually find that the westernmost part of the eastern hemisphere is closer to you if you went west than east. If that's actually something that bugs him, it's a little sad.

So clearly he knows the reason and he just wants to make a dumb little observational point, and yeah, observational humor is about people recognizing the truth in the observation but how many people are going to really say "ha ha, yeah, that bugged me too!, why the hell did they name it that way?"

One person who didn't laugh is frequent commenter Amanda, who e-mailed me shortly after this comic went up to say how much it bothered her. To quote -

What bothers me is that the Randall fans are like WOW I have once thought this very same thought and am remembering it now and oh it is just so funny to remember how stupid this concept is and since I identify with this comic I shall call it funny and Randall remains God so PLEASE GET OUT OF MY HEAD RANDALL. Okay. Perhaps that brief moment in which you learned that the "east" and "west" that were relative to your location in the Americas ARE NOT THE SAME as the ones that apply to "The East" and "The West," you may have chuckled briefly and thought, wow how silly. But I assumed everyone else, like me, eventually did get over it because we all realized that the coiners of these two names did not know of the Americas. I suck at geography and history and whatever, and I'm a stickler for accurate names but I got over it. And the observation itself is not that funny. At least, for me, not comic-writing funny. TELL ME RANDALL WHERE IS THE HUMOR.

What all this reminds me of is, unsurprisingly, a Dinosaur comic. Click it for more readability.

AND THEN i was inspired to make my very own dinosaur comic in response to the xkcd

click it for a version you can actually read
this corrected version of my original was made by cow_2001
thanks, cow_2001!

And then lastly, more of a tangent than anything else, since a mildly better joke would ask why the Midwest is in the eastern half of the country (it was named when all the area to the west of it was not lived in mostly!), I give you The Onion.


  1. What do directions matter to Randall, so long as he's at the center of the world?

    This seems like the same school of thought as the Scantron comic -- is he going through an elementary school phase?

  2. japan and new zealand look nothing alike!

    1. japan is four islands, while new zealand is two, or charitably three

    2. within the islands, none of them look remotely alike. i guess the closest comparison would be honshu and the south island, but this ignores the fact that one is relatively skinny and curves around, and the other is wider and straight. maybe if honshu cut off around nagoya or kyoto

    3. the only means of comparison seems to be "they are both long narrow islands," in which case, dudes, japan totally looks like great britain!!! (or pick half the countries here: )

  3. In Randall's inaccurate drawing of the world map in this comic, however, they do look suspiciously similar. I don't know whether to accept this as canon for the xkcd universe, or a deliberate error to use hyperreality to justify the author's own conclusions.

    Or he's just an idiot.


  4. qwantz based on qwantz based on comic 504

    T-Rex doesn't say "[topic] Comics". EVER?
    And the question is asked by T-Rex and answered by drumiwhatshernameicanneverrememberhowtopronounceorspellit.
    Also, she's very talkative today. She usually get one second of comics then T-Rex totally forgets about her while talking with Utahraptor. T-Rex, show her some attention. Stop ignoring your friend!
    I couldn't fix her more than one second in this comic, but it isn't canon anyways.

    ALSO, I am lonely too, T-Rex! Yes, lonely I am.

  5. oh crap you're right on both of those. I'll change it to go to your version.

    As to Japan/NZ, I mean, come on, they look more like each other than almost anything else of island size.

  6. Yay I am feeling special because you have mentioned my name.

    And I am enjoying your DC parody; the "oh man i am so lonely" is just great.

  7. Thoughts I have never had: 'golly jeepers I sure do wish The West were actually west of me. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING. MAN, I WISH I UNDERSTOOD ARBITRARY NAMING CONVENTIONS THAT ARE EASY TO UNDERSTAND.'

    Thoughts Randall Munroe has apparently had: 'golly jeepers I sure do wish The West were actually west of me. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING. MAN, I WISH I UNDERSTOOD ARBITRARY NAMING CONVENTIONS THAT ARE EASY TO UNDERSTAND.'

    Based on this observation, I conclude that I am better than Randall Munroe. Please inform all of his fans; I fully intend to be popular by tomorrow evening.

  8. Aaargh. I started commenting on this blog intending to be 'that guy who still sorta likes XKCD and defends it every so often' but MAN Randall you do make it difficult for a guy don't ya.

    This comic is the equivalent of the archetypal American bad observational stand-up comedian. You tend to see them standing in front of brick walls saying things like, "So, how about that airline food? What's the deal with that, huh? Am I right folks?" And if you point out to him that he hasn't actually made a joke he will no doubt relay to you the noticeable difference in how white guys and black guys [perform mundane action].

    That was what bugged me about the 'Height' comic. I diligently scrolled down thinking, "Wow, I love this comic! The art's so pretty! The joke at the bottom's going to be EPIC!", and then I got there, and there was no joke. Just a description of what the comic was. Felt rather like I'd been punched in the gut.

    This comic doesn't even have good art to save it. It's just a drawing traced out of a kiddy atlas with some arrows on it. The arrows aren't even straight. Why, Randall Munroe, why?

  9. Amanda, you are now FAMOUS ON THE INTERNET. prepare for thousands and thousands of swarming fans!

    Rob - all my thoughts begin with "golly jeepers" so I don't really know who to identify with here. and you are better than Randall Munroe.

    DoubleBlackbird - ah, your comments are lovely to read. I'm telling you, you aren't the only one: Once people stop being stupid about it, they notice that xkcd really just isn't good anymore. And of course our mission is to spread the word and get people to see the light. It is a holy crusade, or something.

  10. Carl I am still waiting for my swarming fans. WHERE ARE THEY

    DoubleBlackbird, I totally get how you are feeling. Actually I think that that's how most xkcd fans feel when they find this page. But eventually the truth finds its way out: xkcd is very, very hard to find funny now.

  11. Oh, wow.
    It seems the only thing less funny/entertaining than xkcd is this blog... I don't know how you find the reading the comic excruciating... and yet you find analysing and making lame comics about them somehow NOT excruciating...
    Just though it was a bizarre circle.

  12. Since you haven't ranted about todays comic (the Pirate Bay one) yet, I'm going to point out that that comic holds the same amount of ignorance as this one. I'm not usually one who resorts to name-calling, but seriously, how stupid can one person be and still be regarded as the Genious of the Fucking Internet? Fuck you, Randall! I don't need your infantile observations. I don't need your social commentary on things that I care about, and that you obviously don't know shit about. I need to vomit.

  13. About a year before this comic was done, one of my friends made a similar observation: "It must be confusing for kids in Hawaii learning geography; everything to the east of them is called the West, and everything to the west of them is called the East". Now, this friend is no comedic genius by any standards (in addition, he's also an XKCD fan), but his version is just better. For one, it's simply more true for Hawaiians, for which the nearest big piece of land to the west is called the East and the nearest big piece of land to the east is called the West, than Mr. Randall "hey guys if I go over several thousand miles of land in water going west I'll eventually end up in a place they call the east it's almost like the world is ROUND or something herp da-derp da-dingaloo" Munroe. Also the joke was about elementary schoolers, whom you would expect to think everything should make sense relative to them, not Mr. Randall "I have a college degree and used to work and NASA but basic conventions of geography are beyond me" Munroe.

    tl;dr: my dumb friend made the same joke as this comic only better