Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comic 512: Worthless

worthless I say!
GUYS remember how Randall Munroe is not just a super-funny cartoonist but also knows everything about what is happening in the world? Probably you don't because the time he wrote a short story about the federal reserve was more than two months ago!

GUYS do you remember how Randall Munroe is aware of the traditions of the internet, which include humorous pictures? Probably you don't because the time he wrote a long comic series about it was more than one month ago!

GUYS do you know how sometimes instead of writing a full fleshed out idea for a comic he just had a little idea like "what if jpgs were currency?" Probably not because the last time he had a similarly lazy comic was more than one week ago!

GUYS remember the Onion book Our Dumb Century which had the headline, "Cambodia Switches to Skull-Based Economy”? Probably you do because Our Dumb Century is an amazing book and I trust that you've all read it.

Oh and also inflation is not actually really one of the problems with the US economy these days but whatever if Randall wants to think it is I'll be glad to buy his dollars.

Speaking of dollars, would people think I was selling out if I put up google ads on this site? I'm really just curious how much money they could make, and I would put the money back into anti-xkcd efforts (assuming I could think of any).


  1. 1) When Randall jokes about something old, you complain about him not being up-to-date and when he is joking about something recent he is a know-it-all who knows everything that happens in the world? Fair.

    2) Let me continue my counter-criticism in one act play form.

    THE SCENE: A RESTURANT SHOP IN BOSTON. CARL, a self named Trained Humor Analyst is eating dinner with a friend, JILL.

    JILL: Wow, this chili sausage tastes great!
    CARL: Well I would have liked it if it weren't for the fact that I've eaten both sausage and food with chili in it before.
    JILL: ...

    Sorry, I couldn't resist.

    3) I agree, the idea was simple and quite silly. But for a mathematician, a simple solution is usually a elegant one. The punchline is in the sentence below the picture, by the way. If you should criticize a comic, don't ignore the punchline. I laughed out loud on this one.

    I can understand that some people don't enjoy this joke. Everyone don't have the same taste in humor. But you can't say that xkcd used to be good AND not like this comic. This is a typical xkcd comic with the kind of joke Randall used to deliver during is "golden period".

    I guess quite a few people like me, who still likes XKCD but prefer you to the forumites, reads this blog. Using us to make money to bring XKCD down doesn't sound right to me. I'd probably stop reading your blog then. ;)

  2. This is kind of random, but have you noticed that Randall has stopped drawing necks for his stick figures? They're all just a bunch of circles hovering over bodies now. I am wondering why.

    M7S - I am guessing that Carl, like me, liked reading xkcd for its more original jokes, rather than for its references to both old things that are old and new things that make it sound pretentious.

    Carl I would not mind if you put up Google ads because they don't tend to be those annoying flashy talky ones. But what would you do with the money? Use it for postage for all the letters you send Randall begging him to stop this comic? =P

  3. What? Writing about funny pictures or economic crises makes you look pretentious? I guess I'm missing something here.

  4. This comic was alright. The punchline(s) appeals to jpg collectors and 4channers alike by way of our most useless commodity. Plus this is followed by one of Randall's best, #513. I DARE you to comb out flaws in it, Carl! The Carl/Randall (Carandall? Randarl?) Conspiracy is a step closer to truth!

  5. M - I only complain if a joke is old if it's like the pluto thing, where it really is just an old reference that no one's talked about for like a year and a half. A joke about say, the original mario bros. game would not qualify, because people still talk about it and play it.

    And I only complain about recent stuff if he really clearly doesn't know what he's talking about (for example, the comic that went up the day after the election elicited nothing from me along these lines). In this case, it's because this comic, combined with his past comics and blog posts about the economic crisis, show that he has no clue what he's talking about. In this case, it's because the dollar hasn't collapsed, so the premise is completely off.

    As to your play, I am quite sure that it is difficult to be around me, yes.

    This simply may be a comic where my bias against xkcd prevents me from liking it where I would have had it come out a few years ago. I can accept that.

    I will note your opinion on the google ads thing. Still haven't made up my mind.

    Amanda - I hadn't noticed the neck thing but I suspect that I won't be able to ignore it now.

    M Redux - Yeah i would say having a computer scientist who doesn't know economics write about the super complicated economic crises is pretentious, yeah. Remember, it's not just this comic, it's that stupid story he wrote too.

    Thomas - I believe the correct name would be The Crandall Hypothesis. And I hope to god you are kidding about #513. I think you are. My usual sarcasm detectors are still asleep.

  6. I'd just like to say that I wouldn't mind Google ads on this site because I use Adblock anyway and that you're entitled to attempt to monetize the things you do with your time. I hope it pays out great dividends for you.

    (I can't wait for your 513 critique. I've checked your site like four times since that comic went up in the hopes that it'd be here.

  7. I wouldnt care if you used some ads, as long as it doesnt get in the way of the blog.

  8. Ha ha brian I use ad block don't get money for adblocked ads I don't think? If you do then I think we have some excellent opportunities for fraud here.

    Anyway, my comments of 513 are going to take a while because there is...a lot to say, we can put it that way. Until then, you can read the forums and see definitive proof that they are FUCKED UP PEOPLE.

  9. Gotta agree with M7S here - this is the first XKCD in a while to make me LOL. And the art is, uh, minimalistic, but it doesn't make me wince in pain like the one with the sexual experimentation rigour did. So good job, Randall.

    (Although the Economic Crisis Humour is wearing a bit thin, I must say. But economics is not a Science, and thus it is a Liberal Art obviously and this is probably why Randall has reacted with such glee at its failures.)

    Re: Google Ads: fine, just so long as you use the income to purchase kite photography equipment and inscribe 'xkcdsucks' into the ground somehow (preferably with rocks, in a desert) and post the resulting image on the blog. It will be amusing for us and it will increase your monetary worth, if this comic is to be believed.

  10. While there is nothing I can do to stop you from putting up ads, if you asked my opinion I'd say DON'T DO IT!

    For one, this site is not costing you a dime since it's hosted on Blogger (of course, it's costing you your time, but I suspect you like doing it... if you spend time doing things you like, you shouldn't really expect monetary compensation for it). If you had your own domain, things would be different.

    Second, ads (yes, even Google ads) are quite annoying. Even targeted ads. I am here for an anti-xkcd rant. I don't see how any ad could target this demographic, unless it's an ad for anti-xkcd merchandise like posters or T-shirts.

    Actually now that I think about it, selling from here anti-xkcd T-shirts might be a better idea than putting up ads.

  11. Anonymous guy, are you really going to stop going to this site just because there Google ads on it? That's both sticking by your principals and being a dick.

  12. DoubleBlackbird, that is a good idea. I will spell it with rocks THAT ALSO ARE A COMPUTER that can simulate the whole world.

    Anonymous, part of me is just curious what ads would come up. To judge from my gmail ads, it's mostly just random webcomic stuff. I actually like the idea of anti-xkcd shirts except I can't think of any real designs, I doubt anyone wants them and it seems like a whole lot of trouble to set up. But in theory I do like the idea.

    Brian, whether he would stop visiting or not, he says they would be annoying. That's what I'm trying to find out.

    If you are wondering, I'm currently leaning towards trying them for a few weeks just to see how much money they would bring in. Then I would see how people felt about them, unless the amount was so tiny as to not be worth it or so huge that I don't care what people think. Of course, I would spend the money on sending Randall Munroe a real live package that had two items: as heavy a brick as I could afford to send using only the google ad money, and a note saying "I'm getting paid for this!"

    come to think of it I might just do this regardless of what you people think.

  13. Carl I semi-apologized for making you notice the lack of neck. Semi because I take a sick pleasure in making people notice weird unimportant things. =P

    Also, the idea of T-shirts is nice, but think of the thousands of xkcd "fans" that would try to rip your clothes off, and not in a good way. =\

    I am wondering as well where the ads would be? I suppose there are rules, like they gotta be at like the top of the page or something, perhaps. But if not, I would say a fairly unannoying spot would be below where the digg thingy is right now? Or even along the orange headliner, actually.. Hmm.

  14. > Of course, I would spend the money on sending Randall Munroe a real live package that had two items: as heavy a brick as I could afford to send using only the google ad money, and a note saying "I'm getting paid for this!"

    please do this.
    that would be all-time.

    also, please keep up the blog! i've been following it for half a year now. i love reading your views more than the comics these days.
    it has come to the point that i think i will just delete my bookmark and will just check the bookmark for this site.

    in general i think your critiques are spot on, and are only a tad harsher than the comic deserves every now and then. (but at least it's funny)!

    fwiw, these are the only recent ones i like.

    #507 i actually like his version exactly as it is
    #495 it got my hopes up.
    #493 only just.
    #492 good!
    #487 a maths joke!? and i thought he had forgotten about the Math part of his webcomic title.
    #479 i agree with him here. (but if the bottom text of panels 1 and 2 were cut out it would be much better).
    #474 a classic.
    #458 would make this list if it were for the shit alt-text.
    #457 one of my favourites!

    anyway, the rest are pretty ordinary, and there are some absolute stinkers in there.
    my main gripe with xkcd these days is it is about internet memes, internet jokes, using computers all day, etc, etc. but i'm sure you know this.

    the only "love" in it these days is how much he and his minions love the internet.
    i think randall probably spends too much time sitting in front of a computer masturbating the internet. he needs to get a job, and write the comics in his spare time.

    that will make them better.

  15. Hi. Same anonymous guy here.


    > "are you really going to stop going to this site just because there Google ads on it?"

    That depends. If the annoyance of the ads becomes greater than the enjoyment of reading the posts, then yes, I'll stop. In addition, I don't see myself clicking any ads anyway, so it's not like it's gonna be lost revenue or anything if I stop coming.


    Regarding your original question, yes, I would see you as a sell-out if you put ads here. (But again, I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing or that I'll stop coming here because of them (subject to my answer above, of course).)


    The t-shirts need not be "anti-xkcd" per se. Something to the effect of "bring back the old xkcd" or "new xkcd is the new Coke" might work. But yeah, as Carl said, probably too much trouble.

  16. Addendum: If you do add adverts, Carl, I'd be tempted to take you up on your open offer of running

    - Same anonymous.

  17. Just curious, where exactly did he mention that this comic was ACTUALLY about the economic crisis, and not just some unrelated hypothetical scenario? Just because the dollar may not be in danger of collapsing doesn't mean that he's making a failed reference to the economic crisis. Your criticisms of this comic along those lines seem pretty unfounded, at least to me.

  18. Jim, that's a pretty interesting point. Except...well he does use "with the collapse of the dollar" as his premise, and if it's just hypothetical, well, it's pretty easy to make up hypothetical situations that have humorous side effects. It's basing them on reality that makes them accessible and good. I think. Anyway the real problem with the comic was just the "i STILL read 4chan so i'm STILL cool please don't forget!" nature of it.

  19. Hehe. No one who reads 4chan is cool.

    Been 4chan free for two years now, still recovering.

  20. I really wouldn't care if you put ads up, so long as they weren't obnoxious. Besides, how sweet would it be if you were actually able to make a living off them? The internet would have redeemed itself in my eyes.

    Fun fact: xkcd has ruined the word internet for me. Every time I say it, I feel like I'm making some sort of reference, in that Randall 'I love memes' way.


  22. oh no, now you mentioned the internets!


    aaaaaaahhhh craaaaaaaaap