Thursday, June 11, 2009

Comic 595: Do Androids Sleep With Electric Sheep?

robots suck all the time
So I guess they are at a party? Or at least he is drinking Something Classy with a cherry. There's no explanation of why he has that, but I guess we can suspend our disbelief if we need to. It's not like we need this to make any sense. Why does he have the cherry? So the robot girl can take it from him. It's like they always say: "If there is a cherry in the first panel, it must have its stem arc welded by the third"

Now honestly with this comic I am not even sure I get what is supposed to be funny. Clearly it has to do with a robot you can have sex with, and apparently she thinks that welding a cherry stem (what would that even mean?) is an answer to the question of whether you can have sex with her, which it is not. Ha ha, silly robot! I guess then the "remove your pants" thing is supposed to mean "yes, this robot would like to have sex with you." So the cherry thing goes along with it.

I find this comic so unnerving in so many little ways. First off that its premise is "I don't have a human girlfriend so I got this robot, that's not weird." Then that the logical response would be "Ha ha, I just met your girlfriend so I'm going to ask about SEX with it/her!" I know Randall is really intent on this "incredibly open discussion of sex with casual acquaintances" but it's just stupid in practice. At least for a comic.

And then of course the "this is my girlfriend, and you asked an inappropriate question, and now she is trying to sex you up, why don't I just stand here silently." Just because that might be how you would act, randy, does not mean it makes sense.

Randall you have to draw better. You really do. You can't have your robots look exactly like people! You have to make them at least a little different. ok?

In short: This situation was all far too contrived to have any redeeming value.

What did I like about it: Honestly there were a lot of worse things Randall could have done and he wisely didn't. A "cherry" pun. Not having the character refuse robo-sex. Panel 3 shows he has put a little more effort into the art than usual.


  1. The art in this one freaked me out because since Randall draws all his characters with circles for heads, that cherry looks a lot like a disfigured head with something gigantic hitting it leaving part of the brain exposed. That was my first thought, at least.

  2. The cherry thing is a reference to the idea that if you can knot a cherry stem with your tongue, it means you are a good kisser

  3. At least the next one is kind of funny? Seems more like the older ones. This one was just... eh. Maybe it would've been funnier if I knew what Anon above me said, but...


  5. OMFG Carl you're a full cartoon behind. By the way, 596 is unfuckingbelieably retarded.

    Godbless the field day this crew will have on it.

    Time for bed.


  7. I must agree with kristen about the head getting hit thing, it really does.

    Also, Carl, I'd like to say that it would appear that your head is here: _ and the joke is here -.


  8. It's an old and basic joke, sure. Futurama did it at least twice, both when Fry got a lapdance from a robot stripper that nearly crushed him, and of course Snoo-Snoo. But I've never known it tied to oral sex before, and the arc-weiding is clever enough. So the joke isn't terrible.

    Where this comic fails is in making the scenario understandable:
    Are these three characters alone? If so, then both the human ones should have drinks. If they are at a party, then why is no one reacting to this situation?
    Is the robot trying to intimidate him, because she took his question as an insult? That would perhaps be funnier, but sure isn't clear. Is she simply programmed to go down on everyone she sees? If so, ew, and she should know that a blowtorch to the penis would be painful. Then the alt text changes the situation entirely, and Randall has clearly done something wrong if you need the alt text to understand the comic. This... blurriness... distracts too much from the decentish joke.

    Also, she is a gynoid, not an android. I would excuse any comic not written by someone who pretends to know everything geeky for getting this wrong.

  9. I still don't have a fucking clue who Megan is.

    The joke here is ridiculously stupid. Sex toys + electronics + power tools = Megan burned herself. Holy god almighty.

    I want to meet someone who laughs at this. I really do. Then I want to punch them in the fucking face and tell them never too look at me again.

  10. Just saw 596.

    The sex joke ratio is really skyrocketing lately, isn't it?

  11. Yea, Ken, it is. it's like he has no material anymore. All it is is sex joke after sex joke after inappropriate sexual reference.

  12. I don't see what's so hard to understand about this comic... Android robot has a fetish of arc welding shit with it's mouth. He's not going to take his pants off because he doesn't want his dick burned to a crisp. Also, who cares that the robot looks exactly like a human. IT IS FUCKING SUPPOSED TO YOU MORON. DURRRRRRR.

  13. I'm pretty sure he's just doing the sex jokes a lot because he knows it annoys people. To quote Abstruse Goose "If you're not pissing people off, you're doing it wrong."

  14. "I don't see what's so hard to understand about this comic... Android robot has a fetish of arc welding shit with it's mouth."

    It is easy to understand, but only AFTER reading the extra text that is supposed to be supplemental. The comic that should stand on its own, is full of confusing details. See, that's a BAD thing.

  15. Mike G. if you want a comic with a story line, go read Ctrl Alt Delete.
    I don't see why it matters who this Megan girl is. I didn't find the comic particularly amusing but I could see what he was doing. You dudes just need to loosen up and go read a comic that doesn't piss you off instead of bitching to each other about how pathetic it is.

    What would think about a bunch of people who were sitting somewhere complaining about how stupid and retarded Batman was. And they always were in the same place daily, bitching about it. I would imagine you'd be thinking something along the line of; "Wow, those people have no life, why don't they just stop watching pokemon instead of bitching about it every day like no lifed morons." Right?

  16. Ken, don't read xkcd then? Isn't that a simple solution?


  18. You know people can see the url when they hold their mouse over that thar dontcha know?

    Also, to be edgy, I clicked your link. AND IT DOESN'T WORK. D:

  19. This joke really went over your head.

    First of all,
    Android: an automaton that resembles a human being.

    Second of all, it's a play on scenes where the sexy girl does something insane with her tongue.

    Of course being XKCD the girl has to be a robot.

  20. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 11, 2009 at 9:54 PM

    >>Panel 3 shows he has learned to use basic lighting effects in Photoshop.

    Fixed that for you. Although I guess it MIGHT have been correct as written, but meh.

    Okay, so I don't completely get 596, but it's only because I've never heard of Google Latitude. Is it like GPS or something? HELP ME OUT GUYS, I AM NOT GOOD WITH COMPUTER

    Also why is Megan now into kinky power-tool sex instead of Randall

  21. What's funny about an android giving good blowjobs? Does she blow the wrong guy "lol" ?

  22. LOL someone suggested reading Ctrl Alt Del

  23. New comic is bad.

  24. Ahahahaha someone suggested CAD? Seriously?

    Like, seriously?

    I mean, REALLY?

    As an example of a comic with a good storyline?

    What the fuck?

  25. The drawing is so bad, when she plucked the stem out of the cherry, I read it as her punching a dent in the dude's head (the stem is the fist). Without scale, features on any characters, or well-drawn arms that do not look like stems, this was the assumption I made. And I think you'll agree it would greatly improve the comic if she was actually caving that dude's head in.

  26. "This joke really went over your head."

    Not at all. It is a basic subversion of the idea that robots would be ideal sex partners, based on the physical actualities that robots would entail. As I did cover in the Futurama references. The joke isn't the problem with the strip, however. All the surrounding details are.

    And, to the previous question, this site is entertaining enough to more than compensate for the failings of xkcd itself. You shouldn't take it so seriously.

    "Android: an automaton that resembles a human being."

    In most circles, yes. But not in circles that are as technical as Randall likes to pretend he can be. Note that the name is derived from the prefix andro-, which means male or masculine. Compare to gyn-, which means female or feminine.

  27. Why does that Manhattan turn into a baseball?

    Anyway it was cute, though it's really lacking effort and anyone can see that. Though why would you put forth effort when you're doing a creative work for imbeciles?

  28. @ Cuddlefish Prime

    I don't think Megan has ever been into Randall. Also, given the two options, wouldn't you take the kinky power tool sex?

    I think there should be a "HOLYFUCKCREEPY" section in the repeat offenders.

  29. Ken, you stole what I wanted to comment on. Fooey. But to add on to the sex-joke thing, I think the latest would have been more amusing had he not put it with a string of sex jokes.

    Mike G., Megan is the girl whose name Randall always uses for his female characters. We now assume that every female is Megan (does she have to have black hair, i don't know guys help me out here).

    Agreed about the cherry thing, I saw it as 10:09pm Anon saw it. I mean what the hell randall at least give the cherry some shine or something to LET US KNOW IT IS A CHERRY goddammit randall

  30. Nice to see Randy is back to his old creepiness. By "nice" I mean oh god someone shoot me.

  31. Would it be less creepy if it weren't about Megan?

  32. Yes, it would. Stalking is creepy already. But with Megan it's continued creepiness. And that makes all the difference. It's like the difference between a guy lurking outside your window one night and watching you sleep, and him doing it every single night.

  33. I really don't understand why you guys have such a problem with these characters discussing sex. It's a basic staple of humor for characters to hold frank discussions about normally taboo topics without acknowledging that anything unusual is happening. It's also standard practice for their discussions to be slightly exaggerated. Heck, most of stand-up is largely this(the parts that aren't just outright racism.) It's not original, it's rarely all that funny, but it's certainly not CREEPY.

    Also, as for the arc-welding thing, I'm a little confused as well. Eventually I decided it was a pun on blow-torch and blow-job. But I think in general she's just supposed to be a terrible sex-bot. I don't think the alt-text is meant to contribute to the main interpretation.

  34. Holy hell.
    I really hope Megan is a completely fictional character.

    It'd be too weird if he actually based her off of a real person and then do a comic like 596.

  35. Chris:

    The reason it bothers us is because it's /all he has been doing lately./ It's cool if you make sex jokes from time to time. If all you write is sex jokes, you are boring.

  36. Anonymous: I believe Megan is his roommate.

  37. Rob:

    That's... better I guess?
    At least she's not an ex that he can't get over.

  38. Anon:

    Unfortunately I think it's creepier than that.

    The bulk of them earlier on were about his love for Megan; some of the more recent ones seem to have just been using the name for the sake of a name.

    Whether they actually dated or if he just happens to love her forever, it's hard to say.

  39. Chris, you say that this humor is derived "without acknowledging that anything unusual is happening." I think that xkcd aims to find its humor in sexual topics /because/ it is a sexual topic. Does that even make sense? I will give an example. Let's say I say, "Let's talk about penises." If we then discuss penises in all seriousness, I guess an outsider would find that amusing, because it is a "taboo topic." But let's say I say, "PENIS, HA!" Then that would not really be humor, right? I would say that xkcd tries to find humor through the second route, and that road is just a dead end that Randy keeps turning into because he thinks it is a shortcut.

    If Megan is his roommate, she was probably like "oh haha you put me in your webcomic haha okay" the first time he did it, and now she is like "oh god why did i move in with this guy"

  40. Also is the alt-text of 596 a self-reference to 595?? If so Randall you are a.. a.. something that doesn't even have a word yet! Or maybe someone from xkcdsucks can fill in the blank for me? Here I will rewrite it:

    Also is the alt-text of 596 a self-reference to 595?? If so Randall you are a.. a.. something that doesn't even have a word yet! If not then you are still making stupid alt-texts but I guess less of a [blank]. Or maybe I am just not understanding the alt-text at all...

  41. I believe Android is Google's mobile OS, not a reference to the android in 595.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

  42. Did the trolls give up already? That was fast.

  43. @Charles: You mean like critics? Granted this forum often comes across as 'xkcd is teh suxorz' (mostly because it is) but it also contains some pretty good discussions on webcomics, what makes a good webcomic etc...

  44. At least this one isn't as bad as the next...

  45. Okay, everyone pack up and stop posting here because Charles in his infinite wisdom told us to.

    Did you not read the blog title before coming here? This is a place for people who hate this cartoon.

  46. I still don't know if it's actually possible to arc weld a cherry stem. What's it welded to? Shouldn't it be metallic if it is weldable?

  47. Also holy shit megan.

    Also, I suppose Google Latitude is something on Android phones that logs the GPS coordinates of where the phone is, or something? Why would people want that? Especially the ZOMG 1984@! crowd?

  48. @Fred:

    "I still don't know if it's actually possible to arc weld a cherry stem. What's it welded to? Shouldn't it be metallic if it is weldable?"

    Yes. Arc welders use an electric arc to melt two pieces of metal together. Arc welding a cherry stem would just incinerate it. Unless it's a metal cherry stem, which would just be retarded.

  49. 596 is terrible.

    To whoever complained about the complaining about sex jokes. Look at 596. Its entire joke is rooted in the idea that sex and sexual mishaps are oh so hilarious.

    The joke is basically "x + power tools = burns!" Is that funny? x = sex toys does not make it funny unless mere references to sex suddenly make a joke funny, which seems to be the case for Randall and the xkcd audience.

    Also, someone seriously suggested reading CAD? Eww. I suppose that if someone is still a big enough xkcd fan to come here and defend it despite it being a pile of crap for months, it's reasonable to believe they are also oblivious to the fact that CAD has been a pile of crap forever.

  50. The art in the middle two panels is totally unreadable. I could not tell that was a cherry at first. I eventually diciphered what was going on, and figured out the joke when someone mentioned tying a cherry with your tongue.

    Better art all around might have made this comic worth reading. Okay, not really.

    The idea is decent, execution flawed as usual, here's a revised script in the same style as last time, attempting to save the joke.

    *panel 2 shows eyes glow red*
    *android lasers the cherry, leaving a stem smoking from the bottom*
    *panel three shows the stem being arc welded in a small factory contained inside the mouth*

  51. I don't if you all got it, but this another reference to Summer Glau and her roles, in this case, Cameron on T:SCC.

  52. Oh, and 596 wasn't horrible like these last few have been.

    The explanation in the first paragraph could have been worded more clearly.

    I can't see any real way to revise the thing that makes it funnier, perhaps replacing the last, "home", with, "Slappy's Clown-a-Palooza and Brothel".

    The Alt text could be funnier, or funny to begin with. Here's a better rewrite, "Looks like I have a stand at the hospital tonight."

  53. Yeah, if the gynoid's arc welding that cherry stem, it's either incinerated, or her jaws are welded together. Actually, they'd probably be welded together either way. Thus Randall has screwed up on the basic joke of the comic, "gynoid develops dangerous fetish." Since the fetish has pretty much guaranteed it can only do that once.

  54. I think randal deserves some artistic license on the arc welding. What other process can you imagine a robot doing to tie a knot in a cherry stem that is most distinctly mechanical, without actually tying it? It's fridge logic, but it's good enough for suspension of disbelief.

  55. I still think 595 shows that the hairless guy never could get Megan, so he built a robot Megan in desperation.


  56. Sexy Losers did this one better: (site NSFW, of course)

  57. Evilagram: If the central idea is that flimsy to begin with, maybe it was just a bad idea for a joke and should have been discarded? I think it goes back to the whole discussion of Randal needs an editor.

  58. So, what kind of idiot designs a sex toy that will horribly mutilate anyone who attempts to use it?

    The only way I can read any sense into this is if the gynoid is in fact NOT a sex bot, and from there slide into the old trope of "Man says/does something perverse, woman inflicts/threatens violence upon him in response."

  59. @ arc welding, cherry, etc

    I'm usually willing to suspend disbelief for a comic. People on here will complain about the small details not making sense, and it's a valid complaint sometimes, but I don't mind buying into it for a good joke.

    Unfortunately, the jokes are stupid, dialogue is terrible, execution is awful, etc anymore.

  60. Tying a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue is sexy.

    Arc-welding it is even sexier. <3

  61. 596 was so horrible it's stupid. "...and work out addresses and business names" What the fuck? Also I think he has broken up with Megan. Mr. Hat did nothing with this great source of information, the pussy, and why is he friends with a schoolkid?

  62. How the fuck do you arc weld a cherry stem? It's not made of metal. What are you welding it to?

    596 is yet another "I will outline a highly unlikely situation in panel 1 to make the rest of the comic seem plausible"

    That's quite the program he wrote that knows the GPS coordinates of the Burn Ward in the hospital.

  63. "<3"

    Stop doing that. Retard.

  64. ha ha disregard that I <3 cocks

  65. i still cant really find a joke in 596.

    megan was not satisfied by the various sex toys she bought at various adult stores so she pulled a tim 'the toolman' taylor and got hurt.

    hmmmm.... i guess there is an element of slapstick humor involved. or if you revel in mr.hats evil genius and think that is funny somehow.

    I actually found it much funnier to see the cutoff Robert column next to the promiscuous megan. boring old robert.

  66. To everyone who doesn't get the cherry stem thing, its a Twin Peaks reference.

    I can't believe no one here knows that, are you all teenagers or something?

    Seriously Carl, at least try google for a few minutes before you go off on a rant about how you don't understand a pop culture reference.

  67. carl was pointing out that it was ridiculous and contrived that there was a cherry in the first place. and that arc welding something organic makes absolutely no sense.

  68. So anyways, I've been watching Twin Peaks (I don't know why) and in like the 2nd or 3rd episode a guy gets pissed and beats his wife with a bar of soap that he put in a sock. I have no idea why that show was the most popular show of the early 90s.

  69. Twin Peaks is for spinsters, 1:16 anon.

  70. God, this guy is impossible to please. Instead of checking this blog to see if he points out flaws i agree with, i now check it to see if he'll at least find a comic bearable and shut up for once. I see more and more "I don't get this joke, but i'm pretty sure it sucks, so fuck you Randall" bias, when the blog was originally meant to be constructive criticism.

  71. It's not "I don't get this joke" from Carl, it's "I get what this joke is supposed to be but it's shit/unfunny." And there is a difference between "impossible to please" and "having standards that xkcd routinely fails to achieve match."

    And it's not the fault of the people defining the standards, here.

  72. oops, missed out a '/' for some reason: bonus points to anyone who can guess where

  73. achieve match


  74. Perhaps they're *all* robots? That would explain the lack of shock at the 'android girlfriend'. A robot-in-the-form-of-a-man girlfriend is a bit odd, but you see weirder on 4chan.

    This would also explain why one of them is drinking a cocktail with a steel cherry.

  75. There is no steel cherry.

  76. Khan did not come up with the phrase "From hell's heart I stab at thee." IE7 did not come up with tabbed browsing. And Twin Peaks certainly did not come up with tying a cherry stem with your tongue.

    You've got to be kidding me.

  77. re: 596

    I know that Randall doesn't need to make a full-blown interface for something that doesn't exist (ie. the location tracker), but why would you have increments of 30 minutes along the left side and suddenly switch to 10 minutes... also where is travelling time, does Megan just teleport around every half hour? A segmented bar would do much better for this type of application and would work for more than one person.

    (I know this is being petty but I am a programmer and this sort of thing irks me greatly)

    Also have the people in xkcd always had their head detached or is this just something I have noticed after reading this blog too often?

  78. Normally I'm not bothered by the consensus "creepy" comics, but this one is REALLY creepy.

    With that said, Super Sam, this is exactly how I would create this interface if I were making a psycho-stalker app.* The time increments are immaterial; each row represents a place where she stays in a narrow radius for a significant time. Essentially, it increments in terms of events. This is extremely common. Here's the top result I got from a quick image search:

    Travel time is also likely to be completely uninteresting even to stalkers, just as it is to conference attendees (in this case).

    A segmented bar would be needlessly complicated, convey no new information, and gratuitiously geeky. Which, actually, would fit right into xkcd.

    Yes, this post would probably fit better on the actual xkcd's messageboard.

    *Well, okay, I wouldn't outline the table and I'm not sure whether Robert belongs alongside here. But anyway I do this sort of thing for a living, so at least somebody else somewhere value my opinion, even if it turns out the consensus is wildly against me.

  79. With respect to the arc-welding of a cherry, it's all good! She can weld it, because she took it from him without permission. She stole it!
    That is, it is a STEAL CHERRY.

    See, because it sounds like steel, and you can weld steel.
    Yes, it's not grammatical.

  80. did he use a different brush for his stick figures?

  81. Now, see, if what Emmer said had been the alt-text, I would have laughed at this one.

  82. Megan!

  83. And by the way, Twin Peaks is a great show.

  84. @Emmer:

    You should write your own webcomic. I would read it.

    re: arc-welding cherries

    I think this would have been funnier if there had been more exposition and a non-android female present. The non-android would tie a cherry stem into a knot, then the android would pick up some ridiculously large metal object (e.g. a bar stool, a stripper pole, a table leg, etc.) there would be some off-panel noises and flashes of light, and then we see a huge metal knot. It mroe accurately demonstrates the crazy, super0human abilities of the android, and makes her a frightening prospect as a an object of sexual desire.

    Or if she just arc-welded the glass the guy was holding instead of the cherry for a quick bit of "failed expectations" humor.

    The point is, Randall needs to spend more time editing and revising and less time being fellated by his fans.

  85. "The point is, Randall needs to spend more time editing and revising and less time being fellated by his fans."

    And we all know he's his own biggest fan, if you catch my drift.

  86. Vlad, are you a spinster?

  87. @ 1:30 Anon

    Yeah, he used a different thickness this time. Weird.

    Also, that's a pretty rapid response time to get to the hospital. I mean, ten minutes after you burn your cooch, you have called the ambulance, they have stopped laughing, arrived from the hospital and got you there.

    Also, was the Subway referred to there the thing with the trains or the sandwich place? I mean, the subway is a constantly moving thing, something that appears to not be logged at the other points, and 3:30 is a little late for lunch. Quibbling, yes, but I have to focus on the not horribly creepy part of this comic. I mean, Randall. Do you NEED to stalk your friends, really?

  88. They only exist on paper so it's not hard for him to trace their every move.

  89. The sad thing is, this could've been great if it had been less creepy and more build up.

    For example, "I built an app that logs where your friends spend their days, using google latitude, and then links their coordinates to labeled addresses." "Cool!"

    Then you have a log of a few friends going about their days, and you have MEGAAAAAAAAAAAN's log be the half-cutoff one. More tasteful, more funny when you get it. This is just a big neon sign saying "hey. hey. this stick person is shopping a SEX TOY. But they can't find a good one so they go to a hardware store, but then they injure themselves! HAHAHA."

  90. the cherry is in "randall" figure's glass (guess he's into fruity drinks now?) the joke is that she would arc weld his penis like the cherry stem (being of similiar size)

  91. Regarding the cherry, perhaps the snapple was such a success (xkcd 18) he decided to try infusing a cherry with yttrium or something? Actually:
    Carbon-Hydrogen-Erbium-Yttrium = C H Er Y = chery

    Anyway, anyone think Megan stopped by Ed's for an arc welder?

  92. Anonymous 4:30, you're alright.

  93. 'Let's find a problem with each and every one of this guy's web comics!'

    I think it is waaay too easy sitting on the sidelines insulting whatever becomes popular.

    'OMG, this guy is insulting something! Let's conform to this new and fresh nonconformist!'

    What do you guys think about Halo?


  94. Criticism is not insulting. Grow thicker skin.

  95. -_-: I found Halo to be an enjoyable shooter marred by repetitive indoor levels.

  96. Rehoboam - that's amazing.

  97. Anon, you forgot Radium (that is R, right?)

  98. @-_-
    I think it's easier to actually insult something that's unpopular because you don't have to justify anything... everyone already hates it! Also, Halo, depsite having a weak campaign in 2 and 3 pretty much killed the glitching/tricking scene.. was a series of pretty fun shooters that lacked gamplay innovation but did what they did very well. And they helped pave the way of console shooters being taken seriously.

    Where the hell is the joke in this android bullshit anyway?

  99. SUPER SAM YOU HAVE TOUCHED UPON SOMETHING THAT HAS GREATLY IRKED ME AND THUS CARL AND I THINK ROB TOO (?) we /hates/ the unattached heads. Perhaps read through the archives of this blog!

    Emmer: =)

    poore were you drunk when typing that, there are so many random typos

    Rehoboam: =D

    -_-: I think it is better to criticize a once-great thing in the hopes of pushing it to improve than to sit around pretending it is still good, linking it around to all your friends and enemies to show how smart your humor is. Plus there are only so many things that people can do, and just because some people happen to agree on a subject does not mean they are conforming unless they are only pretending to agree to fit in.

  100. Also I have never pretended to be a nonconformist.

  101. @Rob:
    I have. It's what makes me different from all the sincere nonconformists.

  102. White Knight Chronicles up in here.

  103. "'Let's find a problem with each and every one of this guy's web comics!'
    I think it is waaay too easy sitting on the sidelines insulting whatever becomes popular.
    'OMG, this guy is insulting something! Let's conform to this new and fresh nonconformist!'
    What do you guys think about Halo?

    Wow could you put more line breaks in your tiny little post? Or would that draw attention to how little there is to show for it? It would.

    Sit on the sidelines and insult? Well, I could write my own blog about it but then there'd just be two people doing the same thing... but then it wouldn't be two, because there's a lot of us here, and more turn up with each shitty xkcd shown. Eventually we'd have more blogs than xkcd has comics, not that it doesn't deserve such hatred, and besides, it's not like there aren't other people haven't shown disdain for xkcd. And if we posted this stuff on the forum we'd just get banned. Not that I'd care as it seems to have a high collection of dullards whose lack of actual intelligence (as opposed to ability to catch references) is matched only by their lack of creativity, especially when it comes to forum posts.

    But dear oh dear, the Halo retort? So you're one of those Xbox virgins who plays it on Legendary every day, stopping to masturbate furiously after every major skirmish because it was just so intense and Halo must be the best game ever and so fucking original, man. Congratulations, you've outed yourself as a pathetic fanboy of not just xkcd but also of the most overhyped game/piece of mediocrity ever. Halo was never more than "good" at best, and only two of its releases (the original and the third) are actually worth playing. Let's not even mention that terrible RTS. It is loved only because God forbid any whiny console fanboy ever admits that the release on his shitty little system isn't the greatest of the lot. And yes, I say this fully admitting that I own an Xbox, although sorry to disassociate myself from you but my one isn't covered in semen stains and grease marks.

  104. (I clean it after each 'use')

  105. Well, that's a nice note to end on, isn't it? Perhaps we'd better more onto something less controversial, like Megadeth vs Metallica or something.

  106. They asked what we thought about Halo, so I answered. Not gonna persue it any further.

  107. @Amanda:

    Anytime I do anything I'm pretty much drunk.

  108. A man after my own heart.


  110. You need to smudge your mascara a bit more, dear.

    haha, captcha: "bentess"

  111. Rehoboam, you're a bit of a moron.

    He didn't bring up Halo because he liked it, he brought it up because he knew SOMEONE on here would prove him right when he said this blog is full of people that hate xkcd just because it's popular.

  112. There is a difference between hating something because it is popular and hating something you already hate even more because of the effect of that something's popularity.

    For example: I hate Twilight. It sucks. Okay now if it weren't plastered in every goddamn store I would probably just forget about it. But there is this constant reminder of this shitty book, and even shittier movie, and then idiots who have discarded their ability to tell shittastic books like Twilight from Stephen King novels praise the greatness that is Twilight every goddamn day. I hate Twilight more than I would if it had not gained such unwarranted and massive popularity because it now gives idiotic teenage girls (and boys I guess) a glossy image of the world, wherein your perfect man can leave you and you are allowed to mope for months "unable to function" and can leech onto a guy who likes you because you are just so hurt that he is the only one who can cure you, and that is all okay because the love of your life /will/ come back because he is just that perfect.

    Wow I hate Twilight. I will admit that Twilight is far more poisonous than xkcd--well, maybe it's not. I mean a lot of socially awkward dudes and ladies take xkcd to be a prime example of how they should live, I guess.

    In short, xkcd sucks. We do not hate it because it is popular (actually I guess I can only speak for myself, I dunno about everyone else and I don't wanna assume), but because the comic was once awesome, and now Randy is coasting on the success he attained in the beginning by putting out comics that are far below mediocre, and it is shitting up the Internet for the rest of us.

  113. Yes, but that's a tedious argument always put forward by people who think Halo is the best game ever. People don't hate it because it's popular, but are pissed off by all this rediculous hype and praise it receives no matter what it does. I never said I hated it, just that it was only "good" and that the first and third games were worth playing, and left it at that. I chastised them for pulling up the most retarded argument available for trying to call people out for "hating what's popular" as Halo is the worst example of it, unless you're a pathetic Halo fanboy, in which case it must be perfect and not admitting so means you hate it because it's popular and you're jealous or something else that's goddamn retarded.
    Also, the 'pathetic' quality does not come from playing Halo, but from being a fanboy. Isn't it just as bad to like something merely because it's popular?

    And oh wow, he totally showed me what-for, telling me that I wasn't going to masturbate about Halo and then I went and didn't! Wow! That's so cool of him! He's totally put an arrow straight through me, he has. Hey, guess what, I bet that if you reply you're going to argue with me! Seems like I called you out pretty big there, mister!

    Let me repeat it for you, in bold, no less: the only kind of people who pull the Halo retort are people who assume that disdain towards qualities of a series can only be because the person criticising hates the series only because it's popular. These are the people that put their fingers in their ears and go "LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING" when you try and point out why something in Halo is not brilliant or original, even when you're being nice about it.

    Now Anonymous, continue to argue with me by all means, but remember I called you out on it! Because it's oh such a witty way to make or win an argument.

  114. Well damn, Amanda, you beat me to it.

    And yeah, Twilight is to teenage girls what xkcd is to socially awkward nerds.

  115. i... don't get how bringing up halo is a defense agains xkcd.

    sure both are really popular buut i think even fans of halo can admit that sometimes, each level looks exactly the same.

    xkcd sometimes treads the same old ground, a fact that should be acknowledged(look at the categories).

    both halo and xkcd are both unoriginal. i could cite many xkcd strips that tell the exact same joke as another comic, but worse. They also are immensely popular despite this.

    does the fact that it is popular somehow excuse it from criticism, especially when every single strip is somehow just as bad or worse as the previous? Xkcd is on a decline. If Randall could actually see this, maybe the comic would become what it once was, although more and more I wonder if i am wearing rose colored glasses.

  116. <irony>Wow format you moron don't you see Halo is popular so you must be stupid for hating it! Way to play into the other guy's hands! Dis makes all ur opinions invalid and stuff!</irony>

  117. XKCD still would be fucking awful if it was popular or not. I mean fucking Questionable Content is pretty popular.

  118. Fucking it? That sounds pretty painful.

  119. Fucking hard? That sounds pretty painful.

  120. Yeah, my uteranus hertz. Or something.

  121. The most popular webcomics are usually the most terrible:

    [CAD]- Nothing to redeem it, its creator or its fans. Only funny if you look at it as a parody.
    [LICD]- Lazy writing and boring punchlines. Wouldn't mind its sexism if it were funny. But it's not.
    [XKCD]- Has the craziest fanboys. Used to be good but over-rated, now it's just awful.
    [VG CATS]- Rare updtes, which is good. Basically, the formula for nearly every comic is:
    Video game + Unrelated concept + Funny faces = VG Cats. So, you have a gay prostitute Mario. LOL. Hey idiots, it's not actually funny!

    There are more.

  122. It's annoying how everyone (meaning the anons) tries to suss out our motivations on this blog. Clearly, you hate xkcd because it's popular, or clearly, you hate it because you're jealous, or clearly, you're a troll and you don't actually hate it at all.

    NO GUYS. It doesn't always work like that.

    We just don't like it.

  123. Jay: Don't forget "You're too dumb to understand it".

  124. What? What the hell kind of arguement is that?

    "He mentioned it, so he must be a retarded fanboy!"

    No, that's not how it works. There are a lot of people that like Halo, and are tired of seeing so many people hate it just for being popular.

    Yeah, there are people that have legitimate reasons for why they don't like it, but a lot of the people that scream their hate for it don't like it just because it's popular.

    The fact that you're first reaction to someone bringing up halo is hating on the fanbase pretty much shows that you hate the game for being popular.

  125. rehoboam may have his own reasons to hate halo, but a comepletely different reason to hate xkcd..

    they do not have to be the same reason.

  126. Hey guys. I just combined my two favorite webcomics: XKCD and LICD

  127. 3:48 Anon:

    No, it isn't just "he mentioned Halo." Look at the context. It is helpful!

    "I think it is waaay too easy sitting on the sidelines insulting whatever becomes popular.

    'OMG, this guy is insulting something! Let's conform to this new and fresh nonconformist!'

    What do you guys think about Halo?"

    He is saying that the only people who hate XKCD and Halo are people who are sheep-like wannabe nonconformists who hate "whatever becomes popular." He is directly equating hating Halo with hating things that are popular. That is something only idiotic fanboys do.


  128. Alright. I'm tired, I'm angry, and I've been drinking pretty much constantly since Friday night. Let's do this thing:

    Everything sucks in some way. Everything. There is something shitty, and terrible, and poorly-implemented about every single fucking thing in existence. Pointing out these flaws is not evil - it is beneficial. Why? Because people are supoosed to learn from their mistakes. If these mistakes are never pointed out, no learning takes place. Stagnation occurs, and no innovations arise.

    Through criticism, those who create media are forced to evaluate the flaws in their work and (if they are not lazy, egotistical assholes) remedy those flaws through study, hard work, and experimentation. Otherwise, their work will not progress beyond its roots, and eventually their creations will become tired, trite, and cliche.

    In other words, the sycophantic fanboy leeches with their mouths permanently attached to [insert artist's name here] penis/vagina are the ones destroying the creativity of the person they so greatly admire and so viciously defend. So fuck you, fanboys, you boot-licking, brown-nosing piles of shit. Fuck you and your hero-worship. Nobody's perfect, but when an artist starts to think that they are, they stop being an artist and become a celebrity, and then everyone suffers. Lick my left nut you cocky, lowlife, ego-fellating bastards.

  129. I basically agree with all of that.

    Granted, I don't think Randall reads this blog, but I think it's still important the criticism gets said.

  130. "Isn't it just as bad to like something merely because it's popular?"

    No, it's actually better than hating something merely because it's popular. The reason I think hating something for being popular is so absurd isn't just because it's not a very good reason for hating something, but because things that are popular are less likely to be hateworthy. It's like price and quality: an inexpensive product isn't necessarily low quality, but the higher the price the more likely it is to be high quality. "You get what you pay for" is a good rule of thumb even if it isn't a hard and fast law of commerce. Likewise, if it's popular, there's almost certainly something good about it. So, while popularity isn't really a reason to like something, it is a reason to give something you hate a second look and to even try to find something likeable about it. So, it's hating something for it's popularity is worse than liking it for the same reason because you're more likely to miss out on something that has merit and really is enjoyable.

    I don't really read Diesel Sweeties, but I did enjoy this one comic if only for its commentary:
    If the internet makes everything popular, where does that put you if you hate things that are popular?

    And radium is Ra.

  131. randall won't read this blog because it has more than it's share of vitriol and i am sure that his ego could not take it

  132. @6:28 Anon
    no one here hates xkcd because it is popular.

    I hate xkcd because it could be so much better but it instead panders to the worst possible audience to pander too and more often then not tries to push a very creepy (to me) attitude towards sex and women in general to it's readers. And when it isnt doing that the comic is just lazy, listing references and passing off terrible and contrived dialogue as a funny joke.

  133. The thing is, few people hate things just because they are popular. Popularity merely amplifies hatred--and that is entirely legitimate.

    If, for instance, I make a mediocre webcomic, and you think it sucks, you're not likely to waste your time talking about it or thinking about it. You'll probably just move on to another comic and forget about it.

    But if I make a mediocre webcomic and I am propelled to fame and stardom because of it, and you see its mediocrity everywhere, you're probably not just going to continue thinking "meh, whatever" and move on. Indeed, you'll start to hate it, not just for its popularity, but because that popularity is undeserved, because it is everywhere, and because its fans all appear to be deranged. Sometimes you hate it because even normal people you know have become rabid fans. It's never just "Oh, they're popular, therefore I hate it."

    Almost anything which is disliked for its popularity is a backlash phenomenon--people don't think it should be this popular, for whatever reason, or possibly people hate its fans, or etc. It is never just "it is popular, and therefore I dislike it."

  134. The "Macarena" sold 11 million copies. Does that make it a finely-crafted, interesting piece of music? No. Popularity means accessibility, advertisement, and being tailored to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I'm not saying that things can't be popular AND good. Far from it. What I'm saying is that accepting popularity as the primary metric for quality is pretty ignorant, and will result in people missing out on the "unpopular", less wll-known artists in all fields of media.

    There are plenty of things that are popular that I like, but I don't like them just because they're popular. Similarly, there are plenty of popular things that I hate, but not just because they are popular. Please don't reduce my judgement that based on my own personal evaluation of hundreds of Randall's comics to something so simple as "you meanines just hate popular things", you condescending jackass.

    Also, the best Cuban sandwich I've ever had I bought for 4 dollars from an old Cuban guy in a run-down old gas station. The best concert I ever saw only cost me 18 bucks. It's fairly superficial to believe that "price" is the same thing as "value". "Price" is an economic concept and is contolled by the market. It can be artificially inflated. "Value" is a personal, judgement-based evaluation system that has nothing to do with the spending patterns of others.

  135. Rehoboam: I think your bolded and italicized words make your post far more effective than mine!

    Yuk Yuk and Rehoboam: omfg

    poore how can you drink so much I haven't even been able to successfully get myself drunk yet. I am not sure if I should admire you or... well okay I just admire you, is that okay (i don't admire you only because you drink, your posts have just been the best damn thing I have read today other than the dinner menu)

  136. Rob thank you for being intelligent. I do not thank people for that enough.

    And Amanda, no matter! Your posts are well thought out and that's what counts.

  137. She's talking about pulling something off of what looks like a pair of cherries and arc welding it back. (hence...the drop your pants statement)

  138. format: I'm the 6:28 Anon and, well, I'm not really sure where I said or defended the idea that people here hate or should hate xkcd because of its popularity. I was just arguing that "liking something because it's popular" isn't as bad as "hating something because it's popular". So, in reality, it'd be easier to twist it into "you should like xkcd because it's popular" than mistaking it as saying "you shouldn't hate xkcd because it's popular", but, of course, both of those miss the point.

    The_P: I never said that popularity or price was the same thing as value or worth. I said that the more popular or more expensive item is more likely to have more value or worth. It's a probabilistic game. A handful of examples doesn't prove what I was saying wrong, it only reinforces the probabilistic aspect.

    Let's say that we take a list of every song that's gone platinum (sold more than 2 million copies) and another list with every song that hasn't. Which list will have a higher percentage of good songs? My money's on the list of platinums.

    Or, here's an idea that's a little more feasible, but based on price instead of popularity. Consider all the cars from a certain class (e.g. mid-size sedan, or whatever) in a certain model year. If we were to plot various quality metrics, my guess is that quality would generally increase with price, but I haven't actually done this.

    And why hate the Macarena, anyway? I won't argue that it's a finely-crafted masterpiece, but I'm reminded of the scene in Mr. Holland's Opus where he says:

    These fellas have absolutely no harmonic sense. They can't sing, the lead singer is yelling. They're playing
    the same boring three chords over and over and over. The recording sucks. The lyrics are awful when you can understand them, if you can hear them. This song is about a decibel away from being noise. But we love it. I love it!

    Yeah, the Macarena is fun, and that's merit enough. Honestly, it's no slight against the piece to say that's it's neither finely-crafted nor interesting, just as it's no slight to point out that Jeeps aren't particularly fast and muscle cars won't do well off road.

  139. xkcd isn't a song.

  140. @Anonymous:

    True, but constant fanboyism ensures that nothing BUT the Macarena ever gets produced. It's the innovators that push the boundaries of media forward, and create new modes of expression, even within a particular media form.

    And how do these innovations occur? Through critical examination, whether from a third-party or self-imposed. The Beatles made plenty of fun music, but as they examined themselves and their music, they pushed the boundaries of what was possible and revolutionized music as we know it, especially with "Abbey Road" and "Sgt. Pepper". Imagine if they had said, "Okay, our music is fun and peppy. We're done here. Let's do it over and over again without trying anything new". Here's a hint: people wouldn't call them the greatest band of all time, and the world of rock/pop music would be very, very different. Hell, even the Beach Boys did this with "Pet Sounds".

    By constantly producing tripe and reusing formulaic, uninteresting formats for his comics, Randall has put aside his possibility of becoming the Beatles, a lasting force of innovation, to become the Jonas Bothers, a cliche pile of self-indulgent shit.

    Also, I guarantee you I can find more non-platinum songs that you'll enjoy than platinum songs. Case in point: pretty much every piece of classical music ever written. And most film scores. The highest "They Might Be Giants" have ever been on the charts is 14, and they are fucking incredible, from musical, lyrical, and production standpoints.

    Look here, you sycophantic son of a bitch - I don't hate things that are popular. I hate apologists who believe that everything that is popular is above criticism or can't be improved on. I hate YOU, you cowardly, anonymous motherfucker, with your flawed ideals of a stagnant world where popular things can never be improved, where the will of the masses is more importatnt than artistic integrity, innovation, and originality. Go get some four-bar blues and shove it up your whiny, conformist ass, you cocksucking piece of shit.


  141. @Amanda:

    Years of practice.


  142. Damn straight, Poore.

    It is vaguely true that many things are popular because they are good. And, if I were forced to randomly pick one thing that I thought would be good, I would probably choose something that was fairly popular, rather than something from the bargain bin.

    Unfortunately for our anonymous 'friend,' you can't use this knowledge to say "Well, there's a pretty good chance a popular thing is good" to make any sort of meaningful claim, especially after you've perused it. If everyone thinks Twilight is the best movie ever and you go to watch it and think it's shit, your friend saying "Well, it's really popular, so it's PRETTY LIKELY it's good!" means nothing. You've seen it. You already know that it is not good.

    Anonysux is basically just saying "one million XKCD(/Halo?) fantards can't be wrong." He is wrong in saying this.


  143. Wow, so much hate because I posted anonymously? Fine, here's a name.

    The_P: It's funny that you mention the Beatles, because they're anything but a counter example to the claim that popularity is quality. Heck, even their fun and peppy stuff could be considered innovative for the time. Of course, even if they were a counter example to that claim, it would still be irrelevant to the claim I was making. You seem to be arguing a point that I never disagreed with, and doing so quite rudely by the end of it.

    As for the bit about platinum songs, I'm pretty sure there are many more non-platinum songs than platinum songs. If even an extremely, almost vanishingly, small percentage of non-platinum songs are good, there are probably more good non-platinum songs than all platinum songs combined. I'd also be surprised if the majority of, let alone pretty much every, classical composition was good. If we limit it to the pieces that have survived to this day, most of those can be considered platinum for our purposes (have they sold more than 2 million copies?).

    And what definition of "sycophant" are you using? It perhaps doesn't mean what you think it means.

    Rob: When you say, "You can't use this knoweldge... to make any sort of meaningful claim, especially after you've perused it," you'd be clearer if you left out the word "especially". Before you've perused it, you can certainly use it to make meaningful claims. Think of it like poker. When you're betting, you're using probabilities to make meaningful claims. Of course, once the cards are dealt and we show our hands, all those probabilities are of no more use, but that's only after the cards are dealt.

    Since there seems to be some confusion over what I was saying, I'll try to clarify again. As you say, Rob, when trying to find something good, if all we know is that A is more popular than B, we maximize the probability of finding something good by choosing A. If based only on this information we liked/hated A, we'd be maximizing our probability of liking/hating something good. Since I think it's better to like something good than to hate it, liking A based on that information maximizes the chance of the better outcome while hating A minimizes that chance. Therefore, liking something because it's popular is better than hating something because it's popular.

    And could you point out where I said, "One million XKCD(/Halo) fantards can't be wrong"? What I was saying wasI was Anon 6:28 and 4:44. If you want me to say it, the closest I'll come is to say that one million fantards can't be completely and utterly wrong and there must be something likeable in XKCD(/Halo). I haven't played Halo, but, for xkcd, I'd say it's the shadow of its former glory.

  144. Way Walker: The only person who can expect any niceness from poore (The_P) is me.

    Take no offense.

  145. Amanda: None taken. This blog is, after all, a vitriolic and bitter collection of unwarranted nastiness. I'd say, "When in Rome..." but I don't know that I could keep up, so, for now, maybe I'll just be the stranger in a strange land (though no longer, to attempt the local dialect, a cuddlefish).

  146. "If you want me to say it, the closest I'll come is to say that one million fantards can't be completely and utterly wrong and there must be something likeable in XKCD(/Halo). I haven't played Halo, but, for xkcd, I'd say it's the shadow of its former glory."

    Thanks for doing my homework for me. I hate when I have to tell people that they are capable of making implications and shit.

    You're wrong. It is possible (and, indeed, utterly plausible) for something to be immensely popular and have zero redeeming qualities, except for its ability to appeal to idiots. That is not a redeeming quality--it is the opposite of a redeeming quality. That drags its quality down.

    Indeed, many a popular thing is popular not because it is good, but because it was cynically and carefully crafted to cater to the whims of idiots or otherwise exploiting a formula. Neither of these are quality things.

  147. You got me, I wasn't so careful there and left out the probabilistic aspect. I would amend it to say:

    It's highly unlikely that one million fans would be completely and utterly wrong, so there's almost certainly something likeable in xkcd(/Halo).

    But, other than that single misstep, I believe I was careful and never implied that popularity implies something is good. In fact, even there I didn't say it implies the thing is good, merely that there is some good aspect to it (the work as a whole may still be bad).

    However, I'll still give you that I don't find it at all likely that something that is immensely popular would have zero redeeming qualities. In fact, I'd say the probability of it having zero redeeming qualities decreases with popularity. Even saying that it's catering to the least common denominator asserts that it has some redeeming quality.

  148. No, actually, catering to the idiots, as previously established, is actually a negative quality.

  149. Having a negative aspect (e.g. catering to idiots) doesn't imply lack of a positive aspect (i.e. the denominator you're left with after you figure out what the LCD of your intended audience is). Even having a net negative doesn't imply lack of a positive.

  150. Nor does it imply the existence of a positive.

  151. rob I think we have found the Anti-Rob

  152. can we keep him? I want to make him do tricks

  153. @Way Walker:

    Your entire argument seems to rest on the basis of some objective standard of positivity. If such an objective standard exists, I'd agree with you (hint: it doesn't). Subjectively, an individual may find that a particular [insert media artifact] has, in their personal opinion, zero redeeming qualities.

  154. I think there are objective standards on which we can judge a work of art and it's largely those standards that make criticism worthwhile. For example, I see suggestions on how to improve xkcd not as, "I would like it more if Randall did this," but as, "The comic would be better if Randall did this." Or, I'm not generally a fan of wheat beer, but I can look beyond my own personal preferences and judge a particular wheat beer as a wheat beer. Even more, what I think may make it a better beer could very likely make me like it even less since it would make it a better wheat beer and, as I said, I don't generally like wheat beers. Basically, one looks for the sort of enjoyment the thing can provide and judges it based on that sort of enjoyment.

    More shortly, I draw a distinction between, "According to my preferences, it has no qualities I enjoy," and, "According to the enjoyment appropriate to it, it has no redeeming qualities." Between, "I don't like olives," and, "Olives have no place in the culinary arts."

  155. I also draw a distinction between "I don't like olives" and "olives have no place in the culinary arts." This is why I can say without worrying about it, "X has no place in the Y arts." I know what an irredeemable piece of shit looks like, and what something that just doesn't meet my approval looks like.

  156. Well, the olive bit was more in response to The_P's hint.

    But, if we agree on that, then where, precisely, is our disagreement? You admitted that you'd put your money on the more popular of two things as being of better quality. What I was considering when I made my original statement was the relative merits of:
    1) Hating what's good quality and popular
    2) Liking what's good quality and popular
    A) Hating what's bad quality and popular
    B) Liking what's bad quality and popular
    So, if we pick one of 1,2 and one of A,B, I'd rank them
    1A < 1B < 2B < 2A
    If we are only deciding based on popularity, we can choose either 1A or 2B, and, as above, I say that
    1A < 2B (Liking what's popular simply because it's popular is better than hating what's popular simply because it's popular.)
    whereas you implied that
    1A = 2B (It's just as bad to like something simply because it's popular as it is to hate it simply because it's popular.)

    But, perhaps you were thinking of the relative merits of:
    1) Hating what's popular
    2) Liking what's popular
    A) Hating what's unpopular
    B) Liking what's unpopular
    This is much more of a toss up and I'm less certain of how I'd rank the options. There's some merit in being different and some in the communal experience of the popular, so 2B would be the best. There's also the idea of maximizing your chances of the right opinion, where 2A would be the best (1A is worse because it's a shame to hate everything). So, I'd maybe say
    1A < 2B
    1A < 1B < 2A
    so it's only partially ordered where 2B isn't necessarily better than 1B, but both maximal choices include liking what's popular.