Sunday, February 22, 2009

Comic 546: Free at last?

this comic is full of LIES
A little while ago, a subversive political activist named Randy Munroe was feeling ornery because music that he downloaded was a little tricky to deal with. You see, if he downloaded music illegally, that made it harder to copy. Well, sort of: It was that one big bad company was selling some protected music, some unprotected. Others were just selling unprotected music. Randy did not notice those places where he could buy DRM-free music, and so he was angry.

So he decided to draw a picture that showed his anger. He put it on his illustrated blog, xkcd, and we all saw it and wondered why he didn't just buy unprotected music given that it was pretty easily available.

Then the people who sell music at apple decided that they would un-DRM their music. Never mind that there were programs readily available that could strip DRM out of programs using magic. This was a result of angry people on the internet, and they should all be happy about it. And so Randy was happy.

He drew a special picture for his picture blog, congratulating himself and fellow internet warriors. "We won the music DRM war" his character said. Also they said "Rock the fuck out" and Randy gave them hands and fingers for one brief second, only to make them into the gesture he assumes must go along with a phrase such as "rock the fuck out". So that was pretty dumb but let's ignore it for now.

With his righteous anger now taken away - and, we can always hope, the error of his previous comic brought to his attention - he now had to think of a new reason to be mad on the internet. And that's when he realized that the best reason...was no reason. It will always work. It will always "be free." Never mind that he doesn't understand when or how the music stores were DRM free. Never mind that his previous attempts to touch on worldly affairs were comically inept. He can justify all that, retroactively, and future incompetence as well, in one fell panel swoop. "I just like being self-righteous on the web." See guys, he wasn't trying to make a point! He's just being a dick.

Now, as a dick myself, and a guy who just likes being self-righteous on the web, I suppose I should be happy. I suppose I should enjoy the self-deprecating humor. Somehow I don't. It doesn't feel genuine enough to me. It feels like "oh ha ha, I was totally kidding guys, totally kidding. Uh yeah." Perhaps I'm being to harsh on it, I should really encourage this kind of non-pretentious humor. But the first three panels were so pretentious that the comic is still problematic.




    Randy, you suck and make bad comics. Lucky for you, that will always be free, and has been your source of income, thanks to your blind followers.

  2. Common, Carl. The fact that some songs were DRM-free means nothing if the songs you were interested in listening to did not happen to be among them. THAT fact certainly does not make rants about DRM-music any less (or any more) justified. You should drop that argument already, it makes you look bad.

    If you have anything against rants about DRM in general, FINE. If you think webcomics are the wrong forum for (DRM) rants, FINE. Just drop the facts that has been proven wrong or irrelevant multiple times in the comments of your posts, ok?

  3. "I suppose I should be happy. I suppose I should enjoy the self-deprecating humor. Somehow I don't."

    Maybe it's because bashing xkcd is your whole shtick and you need to be displeased with his comics to entertain your audience?

  4. I missed your alt-text. Good facts checking. I take back what I said about you looking bad in my previous comment.

  5. Quoty Cuddlefish: No, I think it's more that the "self-deprecating humor" is badly delivered? Which I think is covered in the post itself.

  6. Interested to know where the term 'Cuddlefish' came from. Is it an attempt at being patronizing? 'Cuz if that's the case, it fails.

    If not, where does it have its origins?

  7. M - I'm glad you saw the alt-text. I know that itunes didn't have everything DRM free but according to the internet, amazon and a few other places did. I just wish the anti-DRM people (and I do consider myself an anti-DRM person, though one who just says "fuck i'll download it illegally somewhere") should have acknowledged a little more that they were only fighting over some music.

    As to Cuddlefish, it grew out of this post about xkcd #520. Basically we made up the friendly sounding animal "cuddlefish" based off of "cuttlefish" right around the time that we needed a way to refer to all the anonymous posters that weren't signing their name. Generally it refers to the more combative anon posters, I think. Upon rereading the comments, it looks like it was Amanda's idea.

  8. Ah, sweet Cuddlefishy you have entirely misunderstood! The non-word Cuddlefish has the term "cuddle" in it! I can see how you might find it condescending but it is really just a way of saying "Anon since you have no name we welcome you with open cuddly arms! Please feel free to come up with a name because Anon is quite boring and it is hard to sort through ten different Anons."

    I am your momma Cuddlefish, I think. But you do not need to refer to me as such.

  9. I've been using it condescendingly....

  10. lol! I had not noticed. I use it for all Anons. But that is okay Carl. I don't think many of them really mind. If they did they'd stop posting as anons!

  11. Sometimes the Cuddlefish are legitimately cuddly.