Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Comic 588: Dispirited

Pep shitty
UGHHHH this is so gross. honestly there are some ways where this xkcd makes me want to yell at people while vomiting less than usual, but when I stop and think about it, I just want to yell and vomit oh so much more.

The problem is the terrible elitism of it, for lack of a better word. This comic is just for all the nerds out there who thought they were better than everyone in high school. For all the kids who never played sports and always felt a little left out, who were never friends with the cheerleaders because they spent all of high school programming, the people who always viewed their school authorities with skepticism and so were annoyed at them that they resented having to be in a room with people who gasp! did like the school.

Needless to say, this is a huge proportion of the xkcd audience. People like this guy. Or this guy. Or all the fucking idiots who think that pep rallies are somehow "Orwellian" because that is just dumb as shit.

<Orwell Rant>
Listen, stupid people: Just because something is creepy, or just because something is being observed by camera or there are cops watching a certain place, or just because people happen to approve of some sort of authority figure, does not make something Orwellian, nor does it make it necessarily bad. We know that you read 1984, and that's real special, and yeah, there are some things worth worrying about in that context, but that doesn't mean you have to fucking say that every fucking thing you don't like is Orwellian. God damn it all, but you are ruining that word and taking away all its power, so fuck you, you don't know anything.

</Orwell Rant>

So yeah, we have lots of fucking losers who thought they were just too damn good for their school and OH NOES had to stand in a room for a while. So we get the Secret Nerd Fantasy Comic, where in the middle of the pep rally, the sarcastic nerds finally get to say what they are thinking, just like they all wished would happen in actual life and which never did, and never will.

And then we have still more problems. The only "stimulus," so to speak, coming from the authority figure (the cheerleader) is "Lakeview High is the best!" That's not even that objectionable! I mean, it would make a little more sense for the sarcastic outrage if it was like some violent chant about beating another school - but she doesn't even mention another school. And to that simple sentiment, the nerds get all aggressive. Really, nerds? You thought that the cheerleader's cheer was meant to be taken literally? As in, she went through all the schools there are and clearly the best one is the one they are in? You can't stand the idea that it is just a saying, a way to get some school spirit and some goddamn pride in the place you have to spend four years? Why the hell do you have to give her a hard time for chanting that?

And then in the last panel, we get the Nerd Vindication. Look at the downtrodden cheerleader. Look at her, having recognized the error of her ways. Yes, you see, all it took was some clever questioning by the nerds to utterly bring down both the School Administrators and the Cool Kids at once. Revenge of the nerds, indeed.

In any case, the "pride in sports teams is utterly random" humor has been done so much better.

As many people pointed out, the extra comma in "why are we having this, rally, again" is utterly egregious, particularly given that Randy claims his comic is about "language."


  1. I would like to point out that teh individual comic threads do not represent the fora as a whole. The rest of the fora look down on it as mindless fanboyism for the most part. But this thread was just atrocious.

  2. I was a nerd in high school who did some programming, but I never really minded pep rallies or school rivalries; rooting for your own school is plenty of fun.

    Perhaps inconsistently, I now find it a bit odd when I see adults taking their particular chosen sports team really seriously. That's significantly more removed than your high school's team (how many big-time sports fans have the opportunity to interact with the members of their particular team on a nearly daily basis?).

    Also, this did it better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN1WN0YMWZU

  3. "You thought that the cheerleader's cheer was meant to be taken literally?"

    I find this to be the funniest sentence in this post.

  4. Actually, this comic was very on-target for me; my school hired a new principal my freshman year, and he tried all sorts of things to combat what he saw as flagging school spirit. So we had pep rallies that were attended only by those who couldn't get to their cars and drive away before he locked the gates, a "spirit rock" that school clubs were forced to paint, and 90% of the student council candidates ran unopposed.

    For us, 'school spirit' was always something forced on us by the administration, just a euphemism for pointless boring busywork, mandatory competitions, and standing out in the rain while the principal read out of the names of everyone who ever won an award. Ironically, our disdain for school spirit was a major point or pride; we really did look down on other schools that were, as Randall puts it, proud of their arbitrary assignment to a particular school.

    Apparently you went to a cheery Disney-movie-esque high school, and good for you, I'm sure that was fun. But it's not just nerds who dislike being forced to spend hours locked in a gym while the administration tries to get us excited in three-legged potato-sack racing or what have you. There are entire schools were the whole school-spirit thing is forced, awkward, and painful for all involved.

    Then again, our school never said things like "we're the best!" because we hardly ever won anything athletically. We were good at crew and model united nations, but the pep rallies were always for football and basketball, where we were lucky to win two games a season.

  5. I saw this as a 'people who are overanalyzing and missing the point completely' kind of comic; I never really saw it the way Carl did.

    Like dolio, I was a nerd in high school but I was also big into school spirit... though I was also a band nerd, that may have something to do with it. Being a nerd and having a lot of school spirit aren't mutually exclusive, especially if your school is full of nerds - my high school wasn't like that but my college definitely is.

    It's interesting to see how xkcd is slowly driving Carl insane, but I think he's starting to invest too much of himself into hating it if it's making him physically ill.

  6. Until someone nearly gets their eyes eaten out by a rat, they don't deserve to call anything Orwellian.

  7. This is just another observational comic.

    "What's the deal with pep rallies? Why should I assign meaning to my school, which is just the result of a zip code?" etc.

    This could be funny if the observation was witty or had some interesting dimension. However, the comic provides nothing new to consider. Judging from the reaction to the comic, it would appear that people have already considered the issue, decided that it was not a big deal, and then moved on with their lives.

    Allow me to plug We The Robots, which did a slightly more interesting take on the concept. The focus is on sports professional teams, but the objection is on the same grounds of meaningless tribalism: www.wetherobots.com/2007/11/09/a-hole

  8. 589 was really tedious. Oh, hey, you can apply mathematics to things! And, uh, the old logic problem about the chicken the fox and the rice and the boat and the river or something. Randall's old enough to get drunk! He's a nerd, but he drinks beer and has sex! I feel like a Tool song!

  9. To be funny the comic would have to include an unexpected reversal. For example, it could start the same way - school pep rally deconstructed with logic. But then, unexpected twist, the same logic is used to explain why the pep rally makes sense (group bonding explained in chemical terms or something).

  10. Ha ha, yes, I did go to a disney school! every class broke into song and there were uplifting endings all the time. Also, creepy people had drawn dicks into everything.

    Anyway, I do understand that this may have been your experience (or at least, it speaks to your experience) but still, in that case, the comic is just about making you recognize what you claim is a fairly common experience. As far as comedy is concerned, I think that is basically worthless.

  11. bahahaha. great call with the orwellian rant, carl. i like it.

    and yeah, this comic was a bit meh.

    i actually like #589 though. can't wait to see what you say about it in the blog.

  12. 589 sucks less than most recent xkcds. Of course it's just another reference to a common logic problem, but at least it's fairly clever. I can't see myself hating on it per se.

  13. Oh and I think their mention of "Orwellian" is in reference to 1984's "Two Minutes Hate" thing. Which is still a ridiculous comparison because the cheerleader wasn't saying "[other school] sucks, let's hate them" but "our school is the best!!!"

    I didn't have much school spirit and I wasn't into sports at all but I also didn't mind that other people were into it.

  14. I would've turned this into a run-on joke with students continuously saying things like "their soccer coach runs a homeless shelter" or "their phys ed teacher helped my mom to walk again" and "I saw their vice principal at a soup kitchen on Christmas once" such that the whole audience is chiming in and it comes into a constant barrage...

    ...but that works best as an animated sequence with the entire audience drawn, and close-ups on characters as they're saying things, after which the camera zooms out as the conversation turns into rambling.

  15. Carl, you're getting better at this, despite your momentary lapse into "comic-not-particularly-like-real-life" mode.

  16. I was going to point out that Mitchell and Webb sketch. Dammit, guys.

    So, yeah... ennui is my overwhelming reaction to this one - where "this one" is the subject of this post - whereas I liked #589. Incidentally, does anyone here find this funny?

    "I'm a postmodern vegetarian.
    I eat meat ironically."

    'Cos I do and I can't figure out why.

  17. Ann: I, also, liked the latest one. I sort of find the joke funny but it lacks punch--irony is more characteristic of hipsters than postmodernists. But really, you don't want to talk to me about irony, hipsters, and postmodernism, because I will never stop talking, ever.

  18. I think that the new one is really funny.
    Glad to see what you won't like :)

  19. Annonymous: I actually really like your idea for a better comic. I think the key would be that the list of nice things they did would have to be really long (one of those things where it stops being funny and then after a while gets very very funny again) and they would also have to gradually get really exaggerated - like "I heard one of their physics teachers helped save Apollo 13" or "One of their basketball players taught me how to make small objects float with my mind"

    I think this can work as a comic, you would just have the panels get a little bigger each time and eventually the girl would just be crushed by all the speech bubbles.

  20. That Orwell-rant was the best part. The people spouting 1984 as soon as something is even -slightly- related to somebody observing something else (and that's always what it is, nobody ever mentions any other aspects of the book than the privacy thing because likely nobody has actually read it) annoy me to no end.

    The latest one actually amused me, for once. The "The logistics of who can get drunk are nontrivial" line was too mathy, and the "Dammit, guys" should've been omitted to give the punchline more punch, but I found the bit about the goat and the wolf funny, because it both applied to the general 'abstract logistics problem' thing, and seemed totally random. I don't know, it has something.

  21. Why do you guys like the new one? It's just another version of optimizing theater seating arrangements and giving waiters traveling salesmen problems, but with more awkward setup.

  22. I don't know, this one seemed to parody those other two comics by taking it to the absurd. It's not the height of comedy, but it was alright.

  23. That Onion article was terrible. "I shall say thinks stereotyped as being brash and uncivilised IN A LOCQUACIOUS MANNER, AND THIS SHALL BE HILARIOUS"
    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to write 'I am sorry, mother'.

  24. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 27, 2009 at 4:45 AM


    "the cheerleader wasn't saying "[other school] sucks, let's hate them" but "our school is the best!!!""

    The former has been known to happen.

    I'm not saying Orwellian comparisons are reasonable, but there's still good reason to hate the pep rallies. Why should anyone be required to get "pepped up" about something they don't care about?

    And Carl, are you sure you're nerdy enough to be in the XKCD target audience? You seem to know so little about nerds. Personally, as a pure maths nerd, I've never had a superiority complex. I may be better at math, but that's just where my skills lie. Other people are better than me at other things. I'm not sure where you're coming from with that.

  25. Uhm... no, Carl. That's not what this comic is about at all.

    You seem to be reading too much into it.

    "Lakeview High is the Best" is totally inoffensive. That is the whole point. The crowd are reacting to a piece of innocent subjective enthusiasm by being totally objective about it.

    Nobody thinks it's meant to be taken literally.

    The cheerleader is downtrodden because the nerds are so completely unable to grasp the concept of a pep rally.

  26. I actually didn't find this one too bad. I don't get american high schools that much (as accurately depicted it is in television, movies, etc of course...and the last pep rally thing I participated in was when I was 12). The third panel was the funniest. The last panel could have been much funnier.

  27. This point gives a brand new, epic definition of "missing the point". The comic's thread, however, gives a brand new, DEPRESSING definition of "missing the point". Congratulations, guys.

    On the other hand, though, as misinterpreted as this comic was, I *do* think there's a bitter side to it. If you stop and consider the people who get killed in fights between football rivals, we realise that, unlike Carl, we are NOT living in some fantasy land where everyone loves each other and pep rallies are just completely innoffensive things and nobody gets fanatical about it.

  28. I read 588 and then wished I hadn't.
    589 I like, though. It seemed weird and pointless... "yet another designated driver skit"... but tieing the wolf and sheep problem into there was both unexpected and a clever twist that made me chortle for the first time in a while at xkcd. The alt text however is pointless.

  29. On the other hand, though, as misinterpreted as this comic was, I *do* think there's a bitter side to it. If you stop and consider the people who get killed in fights between football rivals, we realise that, unlike Carl, we are NOT living in some fantasy land where everyone loves each other and pep rallies are just completely innoffensive things and nobody gets fanatical about it.If you stop and consider all the millions of people who AREN'T killed over football rivalries, you'll realise that we're not living in a desolate hellhole where everything resembling fun or pride must be ruthlessly stamped out or else we're delusional pricks.

  30. @Fernie Canto:

    If you honestly think that Randall was intentionally trying to explore the darker side of fantacism with this comic, you are fucking deluded. This comic is about a stupid, whiny nerd trying to make himself feel better about having to be at a pep rally he doesn't want to be at. More to the point, it's about someone who complains about their situation and points out all the flaws in the system without trying to do anything about it.

    Sometimes, in life, you have to do things you don't want to do. There are some healthy ways to respond to this - organized non-violent protest (not whining, but legitimately working toward change in the system) and making the best of your situation (keeping a positive attitude and 'owning' your situation to inject enjoyment and pleasure into an otherwise unenjoyable situation) are two that come to mind.

    Then there are the pople who complain loudly but sit on their asses and do nothing. It's an immature attitude that high school/middle school nerds can relate to, and it's those very youngsters that Randall is pandering to in this comic. And it's fucking stupid.

  31. 588's alt text talking about "creepy"... heh.

    589 would have been funnier without an actual goat, if it was just one guy taking the piss out of the nerd

  32. The most unrealistic part of this comic was panel 2. As if the cheerleader would have acknowledged what he said...

  33. In Britain we don't have pep rallies, we have apathy rallies! Much better.


    Whether it has been known to happen in real life or not has very little to do with what actually happens in the comic. If the cheerleader said something like, "We're the best, we'll trample the rest! GO MARSUPIALS!" it would have made a bit more sense.

  35. I never enjoyed pep rallies. To me, it's basically like "oh hay, fate conspired to land us in this school district go US!" But you know what, if people want to go around feeling good about themselves because their school's team competed well, then good on them. Whatever makes them happy. It's not like it really hurts anybody.

    Seriously. If cheerleaders and jocks playfully trash talking a rival school bothers you THAT MUCH, please let me buy you a bus ticket to an inner city neighborhood where gang warfare is rampant so you can get some fucking perspective. And no, no matter how badly your badass little asocial warped perspective wants to insist it, the former scenario does not lead to the latter.

    Some bimbo in a short skirt squealing "Springfield rules, Shelbyville drools" is REALLY not worth getting your panties in a twist over, and it's definitely not worth some grown man with a chip on his shoulder drawing a comic about.

  36. I'm Australian and hence I'm not 100% sure what a pep rally, we don't have them in our schools as far as I know but nevertheless I found the comic to be a good idea poorly executed. It could have been much funnier.

    (also, long time lurker, first time commenter, hi all!)

  37. @Fernie Canto:

    Dude, there's a dark side to everything. For any given thing, you can find at least one person who will go completely batshit insane over it and do something retarded. Yeah, HS pep rallies have lead to violence. So has demand for fucking Tickle Me Elmo. The only thing remarkable about either is how completely moronic people can be over trivial shit. So even if you want to think of this as some sort of critique on fanaticism, Randal critiqued the wrong part of the situation.

  38. I found 589 pretty pallatable. It's better than most of the xkcds in recent memory.

    But then, it suffers from some of the same problems. There is a fair joke in there actually, but the execution is weak.

    On nitpicky notes, it bothers me when Randall leaves out punctuation (like the period after 10:00). For as little effort as seemingly goes into xkcd, it's almost like he doesn't proofread it. Also, the goat is practically out of frame in the last panel. I don't know, I found it odd that he drew it right up against the frame line.

    Also the alt-text actually ruined the whole thing for me. It sounds like something a college kid trying to sound cool would say.

  39. The "Two Minutes Hate"
    People, forced to gather in a room by an authoritative figure, and focus on one thing, are whipped into a mindless frenzy of shouting.

    I'd say that is a valid comparison to a pep rally. The main difference I see is that pep rallies are meant to be positive. No comparison is exactly the same, but these two things match up in many ways.

    I have not the ire for peopley saying Orwellian as you do. I guess I just haven't encountered it.

  40. @Anonymous

    The two situations are somewhat similar in structure, but they are so far apart in execution that the comparison is absolutely ridiculous.

    Like pundits comparing Obama's rallies to Hitler's rallies.

  41. "I'm texting my friend there now...he sounded kind of hurt."
    "So this school spirit you already don't care about managed to hurt your friend? LAKEVIEW REMAINS THE BEST!!"

    Thank you very much for the Orwell Rant. I only ever hear the term "Orwellian" invoked by people uncomfortable with an officer's mere presence, even when nobody (apparently) has reason to worry.

  42. @poore

    you missed the point of the comic, stupid.

  43. This comic tries to go two different ways.

    The first, the students realizing that their own pep rally is pointless. This is completely without humor, self indulgent, and obvious to every one of his readers and thus needless to point out. Then, in the last panel, it switches and introduces the idea of the opposing school actually having their feelings hurt. That was potentially funny. It might have been funny if it was the focus of this strip. But as is, this just sucks.

  44. I'm surprised at all the love for #589, I thought it was terrible. Perhaps it's because I live in a country where people walk and use public transport rather than fannying about with designated drivers, perhaps it's because it was a dull set-up to a dreadful joke.

  45. What the Orwellian people are going for is the Two Minutes Hate, as several people have mentioned. It's a valid comparison in some instances. Where I go, for instance, people have been assaulted (documented, with sources) during pep rallies and school spirit events because nobody gave a shit and/or they were wearing the wrong team colors.

    But this is supposed to be a comic with jokes. And there isn't a joke.

  46. Why does this have to be a comic with jokes?

  47. "Why does this have to be a comic with jokes?"

    It doesn't have to be, but considering Randall blatantly is trying to make jokes, criticism of the lameness of said jokes is fair.

    That, and I think the "serious" xkcds are the worst ones, because they all end up being lame failing relationship / woe is me types.

  48. [facepalm]



  49. If this were a blog about language, one could (I COULD) pull the original construction and say "all comics need jokes, because otherwise they're not comic, like how if nobody laughs at a comedy, there's a problem with the play." (since comic, greek root, everybody look at me I'm smart)
    But the language has moved on and words change meaning (kind of like how "regardless" and "irregardless" reputedly mean the same thing), so I guess no, the comic doesn't *need* a joke, but it needs something to justify its being read, yes? The art doesn't do it. And I don't see this observation as being super-profound either. So, default to looking for a joke?


  50. That's half the damn fun. Watching the pathetic nerd elitists (and the hypocrites like me) all congregate in mindless groupthink to bash high school pep rallies and bask in the fact that there are a whole throng of the "rejected" folk.

    And last panel isn't nerd vindication. The last panel is the cheerleader losing faith in humanity at all the foolish pedants.

    Honestly, this website is half the reason I'm an xkcd fan. Now I can laugh at Munroe instead of just with him.

  51. I felt nothing towards this comic. Nuthin' at all. It was like reading a grocery list. Only without the "ooo, that could be tasty" aspect.

    However, I did appreciate the anti-orwellian rant. I think it's much beyond abused in today's society.


    XKCD forumites are retards, holy shit.

  53. [i]Oh and I think their mention of "Orwellian" is in reference to 1984's "Two Minutes Hate" thing. Which is still a ridiculous comparison because the cheerleader wasn't saying "[other school] sucks, let's hate them" but "our school is the best!!!"[/i]

    Except that poster wasn't referring to the comic, (s)he was referring to his/her own experience of pep rallies.

    Way to strawman xkcd by picking out some crazy losers (who aren't even regulars on the forums) as evidence of xkcd being for idiots.

  54. the worst part is I was totally one of those kids in high school. :(

    Though I do kind of like one of the mock cheers I made, for anti-spirit. "Our team is what? LOSING." Classic. (original reads 'red hot')

    (i don't actually think that's funny)

  55. I love that this shit is so serious that we gotta be all perfectly accurate and citing our references in order to maintain PERFECT ACCOUNTABILITY in everything we say in talking about a shitty comic.

    On second thought, this whole thing has gotten boring. Yep, xkcd sucks, and we all know it. There's not much else worth saying at this point.

  56. In all fairness, fluffy, that bit is sort of going both ways.

    I'm a person who sometimes thinks xkcd is okay, and sometimes thinks xkcd is kind of bad. Like spoiled fruit, you know. I left some in a bowl, once, on the kitchen table--you know, all picturesque--and I ended up forgetting that it was anything more than a little display until one day, while I was getting an apple from the fridge--wow, huh, there's an apple right there! How long has that been there? Oh. Ohhhhh.

    That's what xkcd is like, sometimes, even though there are still parts that haven't turned brown yet, parts that are still sweet and cool.

    ...as for this comic, I liked it. I'd go into more detail, but sometimes when I go into detail I start to sound pretencious, or start "explaining the joke", and then the joke isn't funny anymore, and the people who liked the joke in the first place silently agree while wishing I'd kept my mouth shut, and the people who didn't like the joke in the first place mock me and whatever I've said.

    It's sort of late. I could take mockery if it were five, six hours earlier.

  57. "Why does this have to be a comic with jokes?"

    You realise that a COMIC without jokes is at best utterly useless and and worst an oxymoron?

  58. Watchmen. Now go screw yourself.

    (Yes, yes, "xkcd is obviously meant to be humorous", "don't compare Randall with Alan Moore". I was simply making the point that saying comics have to be funny is stupid. If you disagree with that, you can go screw yourself as well.)

  59. watchmen is a GRAPHIC NOVEL. or, alternatively, a work of SERIAL IMAGERY.

  60. "If you stop and consider all the millions of people who AREN'T killed over football rivalries, you'll realise that we're not living in a desolate hellhole (...)"

    Actually *I* am. I'm brazilian.
    Like I said, there seems to be a darker side to the comic -- not that Randall intended it that way. And if we take that into consideration, it should be no wonder that the people in the forums are going ballistic with misinterpretations -- the people in THIS blog post are going ballistic with misinterpretations as well!

  61. Also there's yet *another* dark side to the comic, if you want to go crazy with discussions even further: why does a school need to assure its own students that it is "the best"? Wouldn't they feel that way if said school WAS indeed as good as it claims to be? Oh, you'll say, I'm just being a pessimistic shit and deluding myself, but, just look around you: that's EXACTLY the role that football plays in countries like mine. Say what you will, I won't act like a hypocritical bastard just to sling criticisms at a webcomic. I'll face the facts: "school spirit" is usually only a good thing as much as it can be a bad thing. That shouldn't be any big news.

  62. @MallyK: oh, sorry to tread on your toes. xkcd, of course, is a comic, whereas Watchmen, Maus, Persepolis et al are of course sequential art. I didn't mean to offend you by suggesting that these artforms, both comprising a series of panels of drawing with overlaid captions representing speech or on occasion other activity, could be in ANY way similar.

    *genuflects sarcastically*

  63. @Ann Apolis:

    It's a matter of intentionality. xkcd, as can be evidenced from the fact that the number of strips attempting humor vastly outnumber those that are meant to be serious, is a comic that itends to be a comic with jokes. Watchmen, on the other hand, intends to be a serious piece of literature.

  64. Comics are meant to make you laugh, cry or think in my opinion.

    FYI I'm not an XKCD fan. I think it's an awful comic.

  65. Hardly Orwellian.

    I took the comic more as an observation of people's tendency to despise each other due to simple opposition of teams, opinions, curriculum, etc.

    By itself it's nice to see someone else notice the phenomena, but it's not a good comic in of itself. Needs something cleverer.

  66. Carl is definitely xkcd's biggest fan. You can tell because he hates it more than anyone else.


    For those interested, the current forumites and addicts are experience cognative dissonance. They think it is funny to justify their reading of the comic, and the comic's prior history.

  67. @poore: you're right. I should have made clear in my original post that xkcd is obviously meant to be humorous and that I was simply making the point that saying comics have to be funny is stupid.

  68. @Ann Apolis: Of course. I was trying to use deliberately poor capitalization to be sarcastic.

    But really, I think it's legitimate to make a distinction between comics the medium and comics the genre, in the sense that they're sort of conflated now.

  69. This isn't exactly my favorite blog in existence, but I'm right there with you on the misuse of "Orwellian" (along with "Big Brother," "doublethink," etc). It's getting to the point where I almost am ashamed to admit that I loved 1984 because of all the black-helicopter idiots shouting "Big Brother!!" anytime the government does anything involving cameras. (Kind of how I'm ashamed of liking FIGHT CLUB because of all the dumb sixteen-year-olds who like it because they think Tyler Durden is "cool" and so is quoting him on your Facebook.)

  70. Man, you are constantly missing the point of comics. When does Munroe mention Orwell or 1984 at all? You pull points out of nowhere, and then act as if Munroe came up with them.

  71. Anon: the forums, you dumbshit,

    Lucas: Of all those, I don't mind the use of the term doublethink a great deal, because it's a useful term to use to describe some human behavior, and tends to have less 'the gummint' implications and more 'you're really good at lying to yourself.' The rest though is very annoying and ought to be made crimethink.

  72. You've all commited thoughtcrimes - I'm bringing you all to room 101.

  73. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 28, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    Re: do comics need to be funny by definition,

    Let's not forget that, in addition to "graphic novels" like Watchmen and Persepolis, there are a number of not-meant-to-be-funny newspaper comics like Rex Morgan, M.D. and Prince Valiant. These are not "graphic novels," nor are they "comics" in the narrower sense. So at the very least, there ought to be a term for a "sequential illustrated narrative which is dramatic/serious in tone, but is published daily or weekly in syndication instead of in novel format."

    If there is a more accurate (and widely-used) term for these works than "comic," I'd like to know what it is.

  74. @MallyK: Oh, ta. I feel guilty now. If I could offer you a cookie as an apology, I would.

    "Bellyfeel" ought to be used more too.

  75. This is going to be kinda long so feel free to ignore me if you wish.
    I wish to address to topics in this post today. First I will discuss the term comic as applied to this piece of illustrative narrative. Then I will explain my views on this comic and it's relationship to Orwellionism.
    First I would argue that the goal of XKCD is not in-fact to create humor. Do to the number of comics that don't really have puch lines I think this would be a fair statement. I believe the goal of XKCD is rather to create comics that a certain section of the populous can Identify with. Sometimes seeing something you have thought to yourself written down by another person can be extremely gratifying. This would explain the "get out of my head Randall" phenomina as the whole point of XKCD is to get into your head and put into comic format some of the thoughts and Ideas that have passed through the heads of many a "geek" highschool or college student. Thus comics such as this obviously won't be funny or meaningful to somone who doesn't fall into the demographic or doesn't find seeing there ideas on the internet rewarding. If this hypothesis is correct of course it invalidates a large part of this website'd content. Yet I digress. All in all I think that the term comic is significantly broader than many are interpreting it and includes such mind-hack picture generation as the XKCD comics.
    As for my views on this comic, I must say that I found it amusing because I have had extremely similar thoughts at my schools pep rallies and motivational assemblies. I would agree with those who say that these rallies have a certain amount of insidiousness inherent in them. They are largely nationalistic and in some cases hostile to other school system. They only seem negative however if you find the idea that geographical location should have any affect on who you choose to support in any competition largely abhorrent. As I am a cosmopolotonist this is true of me. If however you have no problem with that idea then such things will probably not seem any worse than a waste of time. To dismiss people who are against nationalism and its associated "school spirit" as nerds, antisocial jerks, and extremists is rather rude and unjustified. I enjoyed the rallies at my school to an extent but they did scare the heck out of me especially when I felt pulled in by the chanting and yelling. Of course my school had what it calls a "creed" so maybe mine is more extreme then others. All in all I would ask people to not be so angry at people who have a different opinion than yourself. Calling another person a nerd, "fucking idiot," "stupid person," or "fucking loser" because they happen to identify with a certain comic of the vast number on the internet is a tad condescending. Lastly I would like to point out that the term nerd has largely been discarded to be replaced with geek which is generally considered to be less negative to those who the term might apply. Thank you for listening and have a nice day.

  76. Oh wait the link in my name is wrong. Just in case anyone cares the link should be correct in this post.

  77. Micah, you are a bad writer.

  78. That weird little post by Micah cannot be real, unless he is a robot who learned conversational skills by watching TED talks.

  79. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 28, 2009 at 5:18 PM

    Micah: "Lastly I would like to point out that the term nerd has largely been discarded to be replaced with geek which is generally considered to be less negative to those who the term might apply."

    No... no, it hasn't. I actually thought it was quite the opposite, myself, but perhaps we could both consider the possibility that any such change was only regional.

  80. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 28, 2009 at 5:19 PM

    Oh, and I agree about the bad writer thing. And the robot bit, as well.

    I just responded to a robot... :(

  81. I don't think he's a robot. He demonstrates the writing patterns of someone who has taken an English class which teaches the Five Paragraph Essay, and tries his very hardest to stick to the format, but he doesn't understand the rules very well.

  82. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 28, 2009 at 5:37 PM


    Very true.

    Micah reminds me of certain relatives of mine...

  83. I am in fact a real individual. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I might improve my writing I would be most grateful. My writing was of course fueled by a slight bit of annoyance at the arguing going on and I like to think that I write better normally. Irregardless I have yet to hear any response to the Ideas presented in my writing other than the nerd-geek comment. As to that I I am speaking only through my own experience and from an article that I had come across recently. http://catb.org/esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html#nerd_connection 2nd paragraph. In any event I apologize if my lack of writing skill was offensive to anyone. Have a wonderful day.

  84. Well wasn't that sugary-sweet, Micah?

    "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language."

    This pep rally comic is not romantic, sarcastic, mathematical nor linguistic. It's just him saying, "I did not believe in [x]." And so the forum assumed he tagged on, "What say you, sycophants?" and dived, erect penises out, to coo and fawn where they believe he is watching. To xkcd's credit it is a comic from which humour can be derived, and that comes from reading their pathetic forumites' postings. True, it's a horrible experience that requires you to physically wash off the cyber-spunk that accumulates over your eyes, but on the other hand some of their shitty 'opinions' can be comedy gold to anyone without a bizarre and unwarranted God Complex (often attributed to the fact that they're a worthless dead-end waste of space). The way they think Randall has time to read the forums inbetween masturbating to his own reflection and avoiding his girlfriend (who he isn't actually sexually interested in but keeps around to project his superiority upon his readers), it's hilarious.

    Anyway, Johnny Five-Paragraphs,
    "To dismiss people who are against nationalism and its associated "school spirit" as nerds, antisocial jerks, and extremists is rather rude and unjustified."

    No, see the forumites were talking about 'nationalism' being 'jingoism,' which is just wrong, and tripley so when referring to pep rallies. It's clear that these kids either didn't go to their pep rallies and so only based what they "know" about them on vague descriptions and whatever they fantasised it was about (and let's face it, if I was a pathetic loser I'd certainly spend most of my time in a fantasy realm), or else went to them but didn't have any friends so they just sat on the benches nervously hoping no-one suddenly decided to pick on them for being a nerd. They have no idea about social interaction and so assume that it's not "they're fucking shitty humans" so much as, "it's society's fault for being like it is," because God forbid they ever admit that they are wrong.

    "Lastly I would like to point out that the term nerd has largely been discarded to be replaced with geek which is generally considered to be less negative to those who the term might apply"

    No, that's wrong. Both are perjorative, but it wholly depends on your location as to which is worse than the other.

  85. Bloody hell, Rehoboam, given that you have a name which sounds like a drink you aren't half miserable.

    *Content warning: this post has no content*

  86. I saw Randall as the cheerleader, and the audience as Carl. Once simple and innocent statement completely overanalzyed and ripped to shreds

  87. Ann, the world is a horrible place, why do you have to make it worse for me. :(

  88. It's a damn webcomic. What is wrong with all of you.

  89. It is a horrible webcomic. What is wrong with all of you fans? SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I believe in question marks.(!)

  90. re: improvement of this comic
    the whole bubbles-crushing-girl thing was what Anon's suggestion brought to mind for me, sort of. Hasn't Randall done that sort of thing before? Like the text just sort of fills the whole box and then kind of gets cut out because of the panel's borders or something. So it's not like it was beyond his ability to do that.


    Micah, using long words does not make you sound smart if you can't even spell them. Please learn to be concise, if only to alleviate my pain at trying to read your point.
    Anyhow, I consider myself a nerd (maybe even a geek!). I tried to have school spirit, if only because I was friends with people who played sports. So cheering for them? Not a big deal. The people who tended to hate rallies to the extent that Randy depicts were usually of the type that thought they were too good for school, and definitely too good to be sitting around shouting mindless cheers, a.k.a. Randall Munroe and his readers. Also we are not "angry" that people have "different opinions"; rather, we are hateful that people have idiotic opinions. You can think a pep rally is useless, and that is fine. But to think it is an attempt to brainwash you into hating and somehow turn you into a mindless drone is idiotic, and that is something to dislike.
    Also "irregardless" is not a word, and even if it were one would make no sense when broken down into its roots.

    Three cheers for Marie!