Thursday, February 12, 2009

Comic 542: bloody hell

there will be blood
I guess this is the eagerly awaited sequel to comic 515 or something like that. It suffers from the same problem, namely, no matter what else happens we just want to know what the blood is about, dammit. Anyway, I guess the idea is that you get someone to not look up by reverse psychologizing them and making it look like you are trying to trick them into looking up. Mildly clever, I suppose. A far better joke based on the "gullible on the ceiling" idea is when people actually write it on the ceiling (or actually black it out of a dictionary, or delete its wikipedia page, or something like that) and just leave it there.

Alt-text: you suck. You add nothing to this comic.

There needs to be a name for when you want to refer to something humorous, but rather than actually think of a funny thing event or something, you just refer to it vaguely in a way that implies that it was indeed funny or interesting. So for example: "Dear Jim, I would like to apologize once more for the terrible incident with the swordfish and the diapers. Rest assured that we are apologizing to local law enforcement and the newspapers are preparing corrections."

This comic is of course an example, as is this Dinosaur Comic. Actually, qwantz does it a lot, though I think that's a factor of the fact that they can't include a lot of stuff in the panels, what with their heavily prescribed art and all. Yesterday's comic's list of conferences Randy is banned from does it too: "ha ha WHAT how could he be banned from the dolphin conference i'll bet it was something WACKY." The time xkcd ruined christmas is a great example. This one too.

Barring another, better name, I am going to call this "The Randall Maneuver."
Update: Ok, as the commentors have told me, TVtropes refers to this as a "Noodle Incident" after a particularly well-known one from Calvin & Hobbes. ok so that's what we are calling them now. also: TVtropes = very distracting.


  1. Ha ha, what an amusing observation Randy made on human nature. Ya, very Seinfeldish.

    It really appears that Mr. Hat isn't a cute mischievous nerd anymore but a fully psychopath nerd.

  2. There probably is a name for it, since it's pretty common. I like when Dinosaur Comics does it, though, because they do it well.

    From the comic you linked, I just love the line, "Thanks, T-Rex!! You've saved our sucky marriage once again!" There just so much comedy gold in that line it'd take ages to sift it all out. The fact that the person still calls it a "sucky" marriage, the implication that T-Rex has used his mystery technique to save it not once, but multiple times... It all really builds up the absurdity factor and, as I see it, blurs the lines between a reliable narrator and T-Rex's ego. And it makes me laugh, of course :)

  3. "There needs to be a name for when you want to refer to something humorous, but rather than actually think of a funny thing event or something, you just refer to it vaguely in a way that implies that it was indeed funny or interesting."

    You mean, like the noodle incident?

  4. Additionally, do you think the villagers will ever find Hamster Huey's head?

  5. Lint: My favorite line is "How very PROFITABLE." That's an example of something that's only funny because of all caps by the way - I imagine T Rex clicking his little fingers together, Mr. Burns style, and I love the idea that despite the fact that he has learned how to make all couples totally happy, he just is in it for the money.

    Dolio: Yes, exactly. That is exactly what I am talking about. Perhaps the word "incident" is a tip any case, I love that wikipedia is trying to like be all forensic about it: "If the latter is true, then the Noodle Incident may have involved salamanders...It is unknown if the Incident was an arbitrary occurrence, or if Calvin had planned it beforehand."


  6. Concerning that Calvin link: "This article or section resembles a fansite."


  7. TV Tropes also calls it a Noodle Incident. And it has a plethora of examples, which, naturally, already include xkcd.

    If someone uses the alt-text cleverly - to make another joke, or wry commentary, or whatever - then it really can improve the comic. On the other hand, this alt-text essentially says, "I already told you the joke. Wasn't it funny? Yeah, I think it was funny too." Which would be a disappointing end for even a funny joke.


    That's all I really have to say on that. Back to Wednesday! Eh. At first I was like "oh I guess that is clever" then I thought about it and was like "no, that doesn't actually work." I tend to glance at things which are referenced, simply because someone mentioned it. And ceilings are usually in one's peripheral vision, etc. Randallfail.

  9. It could have been so simple to make that funny, or at least humorous. Have the word Gullible on the ceiling spelt out in red blood.

  10. This is a very forumit-y thing to say, but I'm disappointed that Randall - out of the facts that it today is Friday 13th, unix time will be 1234567890 tonight and tomorrow is Valentine's day - only picked Valentine's Day.

  11. Not to mention that today ISN'T VALENTINES DAY.

    13 =/= 14

    For a webcomic supposedly about math, that's some pretty huge fail.

  12. hahaha, wtf is this POS site? I'm going to start a blog called: xkcd sucks sucks (i'm not)

  13. @M7S: Randall would never pass up on the chance to let us know (once again) that he is a nerd who also has a love-life.

  14. Yeah, I love the way that Randall is clearly in awe of Valentines Day- nothing screams "I am a complete nerd" like that latest comic.

  15. Also regarding the not-really-Valentine's-Day comic, haven't we seen something like that before? It looks way familiar.

    Perhaps I'm just thinking of that one old xkcd where he wrote some lovey card with a bunch of circles. Hm.

    Anyway, agreed with poore. Math fail, Randall. AND JOKE FAIL THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY AT ALL ABOUT THE COMIC

    And Rob, what are you talking about?

    Sorry Carl this has nothing to do with your post =P

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    THIS. (Browse around that album, by the way, and you can get some more complete photos of the heart.)

    The ISH party Randall was at, in October, he was very clearly designing the Sierpinski heart triangle with my friend Mel. It was on a white board labeled 'What do you want to learn?' and I think (not sure though!) it was in response to someone's response to that question: 'How to love' (later, the heart triangle was labeled 'recursively' with an arrow extending from 'how to love').

    It's entirely possible Randall conceived of the idea, but every photo I have found clearly credits Mel and Randall for the heart. WHERE IS YOUR DAMN CREDIT, RANDALL?

  18. @Anonymous -- spiritually, I like to think of myself as the xkcdsuckssucks blogger. But, as I've said before, I'm not really interested in backlash phenomena. And to be any good, that blog would need to be full of surreal parodies of postmodern deconstruction.

    And furthermore, unless you're going to take care of that blog, feed it, and take it for walks, I'm sorry, your father and I just don't think you're responsible enough to have a blog.

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