Monday, September 28, 2009

Comic 642: Randall is...

Hey guys, It's me! P#1, doing the review! Again!

Creepy pretty much sums it up

I love Coupling (it's a british TV show for those of you who are unaware of what quality television is), it's a great show. I especially love Jeff (Oh, Jeffrey) he is definitely the best character, and I was very sad when he left the show in season 4. But wait, why am I telling you this? What does this have to do with xkcd?

Ask and ye shall receiveth

After watching this clip, you will notice that the joke is basically the same as in the xkcd (some of you might argue that it's not because this is about a kiss, and not an introduction, but that's a bullshit argument. The essence of the joke is the same)

Now, it's a reasonable assumption that Randall did not find coupling yesterday and decide to rip off one of the jokes, but that's not my point. If you watch that clip, you will notice that the joke is being presented much better in Coupling (later in the episode the girl, Julia, basically has the same fantasy but let's just disregard that).

Okay, structure. Both the comic and the clip start similar enough. We have an imagined scene, but are not aware that it is not in fact real. The scene shortly derails into the guy being severely punished by the girl and innocent bystanders. Then reality is shown. Pretty much the same, so let's ask ourselves "Why is the xkcd nowhere near as funny as the episode?"

Well, for one, stylistic problems. Text and stick figures is not equal to people talking. Not much that can be done about that (except maybe facial expressions, but you know xkcd...). Another problem is just that the idea of him imagining an extremely exaggerated negative reaction in itself is not that funny and has been done many times, what's funny to me is what Coupling makes out of it ("I only use my tongue for stamps and emergencies"), to Randy's credit, he does try to do this with the whole "Let's get his picture for facebook to warn others" thing, but it's just not doing it for me. The irony of her being actually interested and the dude missing his chance isn't really that funny (this is the case in coupling as well, as I've mentioned before, except that in coupling the girl also thinks it will have extreme negative consequences, which is in my point, a preferred alternative). I guess it's kind of a clever statement about self-confidence, but it's not really that funny. In fact, it's reality.

"Dear blog, Cute boy on train still ignoring me" doesn't sound like a blog entry at all, now that I think about it. It sounds like a tweet, but what kind of creepy person makes an entire blog entry dedicated to some random guy ignoring you on the train? Who actually says "Dear blog"? I guess that was just Randall trying to get the point accross that she is writing this to the internets. Also, "What.". What?

I really think this idea has potential, but you can't pass off the fact that she is interested in him and he thinks she's not and horrible things will happen if he talks to her off as the joke. That's not all that uncommon, and the exaggeration in itself does not make it funny.

Another problem with this is that it's yet another troubled romance comic. Let's see what I wrote about this trope in the xkcdsucks book

"This is a common one that has also been going on since the beginning of xkcd. The basic premise is this: A couple is pictured, interacting in some way. The punchline is that they have problems. It's funny because it's a universal truth."

Yep, pretty much. I guess the joke is that they are not interacting here, but you can not not communicate, so it remains valid.


Talking about the book; for those of you who haven't seen it, you can view the final version here:

http://glassmelter.com/bookfinal2.pdf

Now, this book did not make it to randall in real life (unfortunately), but I did give it to him in IRC, and we talked about xkcd some more so overall I'm pretty happy with the resolution of the whole book-story.

I don't know if he read the book, but I did talk with him about a lot of the problems xkcd has. Once he stops being so busy I will remind him of the book, but if he reads it is out of our control.

But back to the comic (sort of);

Z-z-z-something from the forums (one bajillion points to whoever catches that reference):
This is what I am going through at this exact moment. My first "get out of my head, Randall!" moment. Hooray!

Listen, StrengthInFaith, this is not something special to be happy about. "I use forks to eat my food" "Get ouf of my _head_, P#1"

I've been told many times that women think this way (often by xkcd itself). But I'm still not sure it's not wishful thinking.

Think what way? You mean that they are physically attracted to some men? I would hope so. Or is he referring to the comic as a whole?

Well either way, Comic JK, it is not a good idea to turn to xkcd for dating advice. Unless you want your Quirky relationship to end in despair.

This may be the best xkcd I've ever seen. Oh, how true it is. In fact, it may even top #513.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Well okay. I am too bored to dig deeper into the thread. One more thing I noticed was that it's the thread makers (winning thread creation rights by seconds) birthday! Happy birthday! Good way to spend it!

Lastly, a commentary on the alt text:

Meh.

128 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Asher wrote "TL/DR"

    And I agree, Person 1 is Too Lame, and is being Dicked by Randall.

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  3. The xkcdsucks book is an insult to the English language. It has awkward structure, does not have a clear sense of audience, and above all is extremely verbose.

    I really appreciate the efforts of xkcdsucks, and I hope to see it continue. But that horrible excuse for a PDF is honestly not worth any paper it would be printed on.

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  4. I has a registered handle now, because Carl yelled at us cuddlefish in the intro to the book ;_;

    We are a proud people, but we must also learn to adapt

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  5. William Monty Hughes (IQ 224) is a paragon of hilarity

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  6. This is Carl thinking so you don't have to.

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  7. Doug, it was thrown together by a collective of twenty or so people who all had very different goals in mind when they contributed. Also: anyone who complains about the amount of words of a paper needs to be forcibly taken from the internet. books contain a lot of words, who fucking knew?

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  8. DAMMIT

    I just now thought of something awesome to put in the book... So late, too late! :'(

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  9. Carl, you replaced the wrong "Jeffrey" with "Jeff". Also the link to the video is not working. The book is kind of chaotic because we did not have a lot of time to put it together

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  10. I do not like this comic, and I will explain why:

    If the girl wants the boy to talk to her, she would be making eye contact. She would probably be smiling a little. She would not be curled away from him, posting on her blog, hiding behind a fringe of hair.

    Boys of the World! Do not try to chat up a girl on the train if she is curled away from you, posting on her blog, and hiding behind her hair! Make eye contact first! Make lots of eye contact! Or else the first three panels will pretty much happen!

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  11. lots... of eye contact? As in, stare at her?

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  12. I like the xkcd sucks book for what it is. Sure, its not War and Peace, but its not supposed to be. I read it as a compilation of an assortment of essays from very different authors with very different goals. And that IS what it is.
    Actually, it turned out far better than I expected it to with only 3 or so days and 20+ people contributing to it. Congrats to everyone who contributed!

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  13. I surely was not expecting a post on Tuesday. That's good.

    So, I don't like this comic either. While on the artistic sense Randall made a good job(for modern xkcd standards, anyway), the plot is that usual creepy sad romance trope that makes me wish he got back to nerd references. Or neglecting romance and just jumping straight to sex. In fact, that's the title of the strip: "Creepy". Apparently Randall is getting savvy of his suckiness, and that doesn't make his comic better, sadly.

    On a completely unrelated note, Lint's avatar is cute and cool. :D

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  14. I like this comic - it's sweet. Coupling is rubbish.

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  15. Obviously because if Randall told you to eat horse shit, you would without question, and you'd smile while doing it.

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  16. I guess it's kind of a clever statement about self-confidence, but it's not really that funny. In fact, it's reality."

    After all this time, people still don't seem to grasp that XKCD is not a Sunday newspaper comic, and that not every strip has a punchline designed to make you LOL.

    >but what kind of creepy person makes an entire blog entry dedicated to some random guy ignoring you on the train? Who actually says "Dear blog"?

    Clearly, you have never, ever browsed Livejournal.

    Yes. Yes, it is that bad.

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  17. It's awesome to finally see the xkcd sucks book. Even the "cover" is great (plenty of stick figure oral sex).

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  18. After all this time, people still don't seem to grasp that XKCD is not a Sunday newspaper comic, and that not every strip has a punchline designed to make you LOL.

    XKCD is, however, a web comic. Quite often, he attempts to tell jokes! Expecting him to tell jokes is an eminently reasonable expectation of this comic.

    And if we DIDN'T expect him to tell jokes, we'd have to start actually analyzing the MEANING of the love-is-so-haaaaaaaard blather he's dumping out, instead of just the humor content.

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  19. I'm glad to see 513 referenced, because this comic feels like its spiritual brother. They both address a "problem with nice guys" that, due to people identifying with the dudes in them, leads me to believe that those readers still have work to do on their personalities.

    TIPS FOR NICE GUYS:
    1) You are not allowed to feel sorry for yourself nor entitled to a date if you never actually ask a girl out. No deposit, no return.

    2) If you want to say hi to a girl but don't, you are re-enacting an xkcd comic and need to change course immediately. The world of romance in your head (and in xkcd) is not realistic in the slightest; go get some exposure!

    We could make a killing writing a romantic advice book, "Finding Love By Doing The Opposite of XKCD!"

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  20. After all this time, people still don't seem to grasp that XKCD is not a Sunday newspaper comic, and that not every strip has a punchline designed to make you LOL.

    Even if XKCD does not make me laugh every day, I would like it to pretend to be original every now and then. XKCD has done some relationship comics that are interesting, or at least somewhat creative. The relationship in this comic is neither of these, considering Randall has already made a better comic with the same punchline.

    Randall is clearly trying to make a joke out of the awkwardness of the situation. The resulting "punchline" is stale, forced, and generally unpleasant. If you are asking me to look over that crap and consider the cliche situation as the real content of the comic, I would like you to reconsider your point.

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  21. 9:26;

    Note that the clever is in strikethrough. As in, it's just a statement, not really clever at all. In fact, fairly obvious. No one is expecting every comic to be hilarious, but that's not a viable defense for criticism either.

    I have not been to livejournal, and I stand by my statement.

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  22. I'm glad I found this blog. I had noticed the deteriorating quality of xkcd for a little while (I can't really put my finger on when I began to notice), but this particular comic (and the fans' reactions on the xkcd forum) was sort of a breaking point. I suppose I've reached that epiphany that xkcd is now shit.

    Probably the reason is that I do actually think like the guy in the comic. However, I've always realized that it's a problem and that it's an unrealistic way of thinking (and that, yes, I have to do work on my personality), and I can't take any solace in the fact that other people think that way as well. In fact, I'm kind of disgusted by what seems to be people encouraging each other to think that way.

    By the way, the xkcd sucks book is amazing. It had me chuckle a few times, which is more than can be said for xkcd lately ...

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  23. "lots... of eye contact? As in, stare at her?"

    No, Person#1, I think they mean that your eye should be physically touching her eye.

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  24. Ze Frank yo!

    What does the Z stand for, I wonder?

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  25. gibson, do you mean the Z in Carl Z Wheeler?
    It stands for "Ugly".

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  26. Ok so I agree that alot of the xkcd comics are kind of weak but it's kind of sad to see a guy waste his time picking apart every comic this guy makes, doesn't he have anything better to do. Yeah so Randall's been putting oiut some week comics, so what. He has a limited joke range(tech,nerds,romance...)you can't expect him to come up with pure gold every day. How many comics do you read that actually make you laugh. I thought this one was funny and it's pathetic. that the only thing he could come up with was "he stole it from some random brit show randall probably has never seen" rather than making an observation about something that happens on a daily basis for most people. Give the guy a break you scuntinize him more about comics than the republican scruntinize obama about running the country, it's a bloody comic if this guys doesn't like xkcd then why the hell is he reading it every day? Rant sorry won't happen again.

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  27. "Z-z-z-something from the forums (one bajillion points to whoever catches that reference)"

    I want to say Doctor Who, The Unicorn and the Wasp, but I don't see any significance there.

    Are you trying to parody the pointless references in xkcd?

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  28. 12:31 welcome to YOU COMPLETELY MISSED THE FUCKING POINT

    if you had read it carefully at all you would see that I have said that he obviously didn't steal it, but that it's an example of a much better execution of the same joke.

    Covizapibetefokibupah:
    It's from the show with ze frank, he would say "z-z-z-something from the comments" and later "forum"

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  29. Randall is clearly trying to make a joke out of the awkwardness of the situation.

    ... awkwardness? How can there be any awkwardness when neither party has said a single fucking word? They're just sitting there, staring at the wall, and on a train, it's status quo to not randomly talk to people sitting next to you.

    The resulting "punchline" is stale, forced, and generally unpleasant.

    There is no punchline. This comic is more commentary on how absurd the concerns of shy nerds are.

    If you are asking me to look over that crap and consider the cliche situation as the real content of the comic, I would like you to reconsider your point.

    I thought 9/10ths of this website consisted of people whining about over-used cliches in Randall's work. Why bother giving him the benefit of the doubt now?

    What constantly mystifies me about this site is that there ARE XKCD comics I find weak- simply phoning it in, as it were- but they never seem to draw nearly as much flak as the ones that are actually good. I rush here after every good comic to see how you people can manage to miss the point again.

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  30. ah, ok.

    There's no way I could have gotten that, seeing how I've never heard of the show.

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  31. covibupah, watch it now. It will change your life

    http://www.zefrank.com/theshow

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  32. 12:31 "doesn't he have anything better to do"

    Perhaps he has as much to do as someone who chooses to come to xkcdsucks.blogspot.com to complain about xkcd being picked apart...

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  33. So why couldn't the girl have said something? Is the implication that the passiveness of the girl in this situtation is a reflection of the nature of male-female relationships as defined by society and therefore this is social commentary on how he is a man with the traditionally female fear of social rejection and she is a female with the glib, facile appearance-focused judgmentalism that is usually attributed to the male stereotype?

    So this comic is about how the marginilizing forces of social roles, possibly (implicitly) by way of Jungian typology, only ferment stasis when they are forced to co-exist with the emergence of intellectual individuality that is separate from social interactions and yet dependent upon them?

    Or am I missing something here?

    Also why don't my arrow keys work when I'm typing in this box, because it's really infuriating.

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  34. Uh, dude, females don't traditionally have the fear of rejection thing going for them, since they are traditionally the ones who are passive in initiating social contact. That is to say, a woman is usually not concerned about being rejected because she is not usually asking anyone out.

    This comic reflects a very traditional set of gender roles, whatever else is the case: the boy is afraid of talking to the girl, and the girl is frustrated that the boy is ignoring her despite her attempts to get him to notice her. There's nothing profound about observing this fact.

    And I vaguely liked this one, mind you. But it's not profound.

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  35. I suppose that what I meant by rejection was really just closer to the traditional "women are social creatures" view whereas men are generally supposed to be sort of aloof, on a broader level. I guess it's a pretty archaic view but culture often portrays women as generally more insecure, and that's what I was getting at.

    Honestly, I was just trying ot overanalyze this comic for comedic effect, although that clearly fell flat. Alas.

    I'm curious, though, as to whether this was supposed to be coming down just on the guy for being a coward or on him for being a coward and the girl for being passive. I could see it either way; the latter view is more feminist, I guess, and I'm not really sure how Randall would feel about that, eh.

    Also seriously what's with these boxes and my inability to use my arrow keys is that pathological or just me or what

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  36. The problem is no over-analysis is too much to make you a convincing XKCD fanboy. They really do believe Randall is a philosopher king.

    If I had to guess I'd say it's more coming down on the guy. Randall is very white knight-y and doesn't criticize girls.

    It's a problem unless you're signed in, basically. Though if you hit 'preview' it goes away.

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  37. "Probably the reason is that I do actually think like the guy in the comic. However, I've always realized that it's a problem and that it's an unrealistic way of thinking (and that, yes, I have to do work on my personality), and I can't take any solace in the fact that other people think that way as well. In fact, I'm kind of disgusted by what seems to be people encouraging each other to think that way."

    Yes! Yes! Thanks for bringing up such an important point. In fact, I talked about it quite verbosely on the actual comic thread, but I haven't got to checking the responses (probably quite the bitter, "sarcastic" style). Even though I *DO STILL* think, and I refuse to believe I overreacted, that a guy looking down a girl's legs and going "hey, cute netbook" is the SCARIEST thing I've ever seen on xkcd, that's a sort of side point. What also terribly annoys me is that xkcd is turning into this pit of socially inept creeps who are "proud" of their so called "geekiness", and REVEL in being awkward and out-of-touch with reality, and think that self-pity is THE way of life. xkcd is catering to those people, and that's ABHORRENT -- the comic does not suggest that people should work on their social skills and try to reach towards an actually realistic behaviour, and instead it vomits that "ohhhhh life is so disheartening and people should all be naïve and fun-loving just like me" bullshit that I'm absolutely tired of. It seems like Randall has many big issues, and instead of rising up against them, he uses his webcomic to try to turn them into something endearing. If you think I'm over-the-top, just look at websites like fanfiction.net: people do that ALL OVER the Internet. It's disgusting.

    I hate this strip so, so, SO VERY much.

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  38. If you seriously think that saying 'hey, I like your netbook' is creepy you've got some issues of your own to deal with. It's not the fault of the comic.

    The rest of your rant is a little bit disjointed so I'm not sure what exactly you're going for--something about how when Randall writes about a situation in which someone is afraid to talk to someone else because of a fear of rejection, he's... wallowing in that moment of fear of rejection? And despite the fact that you think saying "cute netbook" is creepy you don't like him wallowing in that fear?

    If there's one thing Randall's comics about this sort of thing have consistent about them, it's that Randall is pretty generally encouraging his readers to talk to people who look interesting, and to take risks and generally make interesting choices. It's never been self-pitying. I could find several examples of this, from his t-shirts to his comics to some of the events he's "organized."

    It's hardly self-pity. Indeed, if anything what you should be suggesting, since apparently you find it creepy as hell to talk to people in public, is that they should go back to wallowing in their self-pity and their fear of rejection, because then they won't be so creepy.

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  39. fernie, i really think you misinterpreting the comic here.

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  40. hey, cute NETBOOK

    and by NETBOOK i mean VAGINA

    let's fuck on the roof of the train

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  41. Fernie, honestly, I think you are being over the top. I suppose my comment was a bit silly anyway, it's really more the xkcd fans that are encouraging each other to think that way (while the comic is sort of condemning it), but the comic does apparently cater to people who are encouraging each other to be self-pitying. It's probably partly the fact that the comic is so melodramatic---that it doesn't contain any humor at all---that does it. And probably partly the fact that it presents its message in such a dumbed down way, so that it caters to people who can't be introspective about their personalities and willing to change.

    And no, telling a girl that her notebook is cute is not creepy. That's the sort of thinking that should be *discouraged*.

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  42. I still am not seeing anything weird, creepy, or wrong about saying "cute netbook" to somebody, and I am a chick with a pretty low tolerance for sketchiness.

    I mean, does this look creepy to you??

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zPsPZUx3E4

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  43. it might be creepy if you whispered it. as the great ryan north observed, everything is creepy if you whisper it.

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  44. I think it's creepy that the woman in that video is weaing a scarf with a tank top, especially indoors

    I mean what that doesn't even make sense

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  45. I was trying to hide my rockin cleavage

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  46. People who agree with Fernie?

    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/09/comic-fail.html

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  47. @ anonymous 10:54

    I get the feeling that if you are right in saying that Randall is condemning his readers' opinions (the whole self-pitying each other because they have so much in common) then maybe that Sheeple comic makes even more sense if he really did want to alienate members of his fan base :/

    Also aloria, in case you're wondering, that was me who commented on your video ;)

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  48. that book is the greatest thing i have ever read. i'm going to print it out and read it on the train, and hopefully someone will notice and talk to me.

    (but srsly, excellent job everyone.)

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  49. "If you seriously think that saying 'hey, I like your netbook' is creepy you've got some issues of your own to deal with."

    Okay, now I'm REALLY not going to believe that I'm so far off the mark here, but aren't "hey, I like your netbook" and "hey, cute netbook" COMPLETELY different sentences? Especially when delivered to a girl who, as has been pointed above, is nearly cowering from you?

    See, if you haven't understood it yet, it's NOT the fact that the guy is speaking to her that is creepy, but it's the WAY he does it. It's the choice of words. I fail to understand why "cute netbook" should be the same thing as "nice netbook", or "cool netbook", or something like this. Yes, I'm being extremely demeaning to this choice of the word "cute". You may think I'm underestimating women, but it's not MY fault if there are so many assholes, weirdos and even worse kind of men who really do think of a woman's beauty as something to be grabbed and possessed by force.

    If that still sounds too far of the mark, come on, just look at what the on-line community has become! We're surrounded by imbeciles who DO think that "cute netbook" is an effective euphemism for "cute girl". If you don't want to sound like a creep, DON'T ACT like one. Is that too much to ask?

    "If there's one thing Randall's comics about this sort of thing have consistent about them, it's that Randall is pretty generally encouraging his readers to talk to people who look interesting, and to take risks and generally make interesting choices."

    Yes, but now counter that to the uncountable comics about the "tragic nature of love", about how "the only winning move is not to play", about how you can never be truly satisfied and so on. This blog has reflected pretty well the mood xkcd has been delivering recently, that Randall seems like he's whining about a recent break-up or something. As much as this strip may seem "encouraging", it ALSO seems hopelessly pessimistic, and that shows how ineffective these strips have become: they are preachy, yet WITHOUT clearing up what they're preaching. I'm okay with works of art that are deliberately unclear and ambivalent, but NOT when they are constantly trying to "deliver THE MESSAGE", like Randall does so god damn often. WHAT is the strip criticising? The guy's insecurity? The lack of trust people have for each other? What is it suggesting? That people should trust each other a little more? That you SHOULD talk to people? The comic leaves it hanging, and considering the latest trends, this is the perfect example of CATERING. When Randall "encouraged" people, he did it in an extremely direct and maybe even arrogant way. Why should he start up this whiny tone NOW? Just look at that "Sheeple" strip: he openly INSULTED people with that one. He's not at all afraid to do it, and in comparison to that, this strip is equivalent to an emo kid weeping and whining, curled up on a corner. It's a humourless cry for sympathy. If that's not what Randall intended, he seriously, SERIOUSLY messed up.

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  50. Wow, fuck, I didn't notice my message ended up that big.

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  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  52. Aloria and Carl: I like your videos. :)

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  53. "Okay, now I'm REALLY not going to believe that I'm so far off the mark here, but aren't "hey, I like your netbook" and "hey, cute netbook" COMPLETELY different sentences? Especially when delivered to a girl who, as has been pointed above, is nearly cowering from you?"

    I prefer "I like your netbook," but it doesn't change the lack of creepiness involved. I seldom use the word 'cute' to describe objects.

    "See, if you haven't understood it yet, it's NOT the fact that the guy is speaking to her that is creepy, but it's the WAY he does it. It's the choice of words. I fail to understand why "cute netbook" should be the same thing as "nice netbook", or "cool netbook", or something like this. Yes, I'm being extremely demeaning to this choice of the word "cute". You may think I'm underestimating women, but it's not MY fault if there are so many assholes, weirdos and even worse kind of men who really do think of a woman's beauty as something to be grabbed and possessed by force."

    Cute is a small word. Most netbooks are designed fairly attractively. Mine is blue and shiny. If I were to describe objects as cute, a netbook would be on the top of the list. It's actually a much less loaded statement than "I like your netbook," because you're only commenting on the fact that it looks neat. It's a surface-level comment for a surface-level observation.

    "If that still sounds too far of the mark, come on, just look at what the on-line community has become! We're surrounded by imbeciles who DO think that "cute netbook" is an effective euphemism for "cute girl". If you don't want to sound like a creep, DON'T ACT like one. Is that too much to ask?"

    Telling someone "cute netbook" is not acting like a creep. It's pretty much one of the most harmless set of words in the English language.

    "Yes, but now counter that to the uncountable comics about the "tragic nature of love", about how "the only winning move is not to play", about how you can never be truly satisfied and so on. This blog has reflected pretty well the mood xkcd has been delivering recently, that Randall seems like he's whining about a recent break-up or something."

    Come on, dude. Fear of rejection and breakup woes are completely different animals. They just don't go together.

    "As much as this strip may seem "encouraging", it ALSO seems hopelessly pessimistic, and that shows how ineffective these strips have become: they are preachy, yet WITHOUT clearing up what they're preaching. I'm okay with works of art that are deliberately unclear and ambivalent, but NOT when they are constantly trying to "deliver THE MESSAGE", like Randall does so god damn often. WHAT is the strip criticising? The guy's insecurity? The lack of trust people have for each other? What is it suggesting? That people should trust each other a little more? That you SHOULD talk to people?"

    The comic is very straightforward: the guy's fears are completely unrealistic. Again, Randall has always had a very consistent stance on this type of thing. Look at Choices, the Just Shy (Not Antisocial) shirt, the whole concept of geohashing, the impromptu meetup at that park. Randall has always encouraged people to talk to strangers and make interesting choices. It's been a consistent stance since at least as early as when I started reading the comic.

    What's unclear about it? The comic is about how a guy who is afraid of rejection has completely irrational fears. The obvious implication is that, if he ignored his fears, they would have been able to strike up a conversation.

    I don't see how this is whiny in the least, except that it is criticizing the dude's insecurity. Whiny is 'waah, everything is terrible and there is nothing I can do about it.' He has had his fair share of whiny comics. This one is not whiny. It is suggesting, very directly, a way of fixing it (ignoring those insecurities).

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  54. "You may think I'm underestimating women, but it's not MY fault if there are so many assholes, weirdos and even worse kind of men who really do think of a woman's beauty as something to be grabbed and possessed by force."

    You know, I have guys do some pretty awful shit to me, including things that required legal action. I live in city with a pretty decent reputation for crime. But NEVER would I assume the worst from a dude by his choice of the word "cute." And neither would most women. How do I know this? Because I see interactions like that on the train and bus EVERY DAY!

    Most people, yes, including women, aren't going to assume a guy is a sex pervert because he calls her netbook cute. Netbooks ARE cute. They're diminutive and usually designed to look more like a toy than a computer. "Cute" is a good word to use for a netbook, the same as "cute" is a good word to use for a puppy.

    And I don't see how you can say the girl is cowering. It's evident from her blog post she WANTS the guy to talk to her... maybe she'd be a little nervous or tense, but unless she has some major anxiety going on, why would she be COWERING???

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  55. Skimming through the comments in that blog post linked above:

    ""Hey, cute netbook." That's not soliciting sex, that's soliciting CONVERSATION."

    Yeah, SURE. OF COURSE. I'm TOTALLY going to believe that, coming from Randall "Wow I'm SOOO cool for being so natural and casual about sex" Munroe!

    "If this comic featured two straight men, having this conversation, would the word "cute" have been used? Unlikely."

    'Unlikely' being the understatement of the decade.
    So, yeah, the case here is that the guy in the strip is NOT, as Rob is trying to convince me, trying to "talk to other human beings". He's clearly trying to hit on her. The strip INSISTENTLY makes the point that there's an attempt at romance there. It's not two guys trying to start a casual conversation -- it's a guy trying to hit on a girl. Okay? So WHY ON EARTH would be make a reference towards "cuteness" ON HIS VERY FIRST LINE? And worse, towards her NETBOOK? That sounds either very, very inept, or very, very icky. If you're trying to hit on a girl, why not treat her like a normal human being? Why address "cuteness" and make it sound like "netbook" is just a cheap surrogate for "pussy"? I'm sorry, but the way the character is angled towards the girl on the first panel doesn't suggest anything else.

    In other words: WHAT.

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  56. Fernie: so if the girl was taking her hamster to the vet, would it be a violation of her rights if a dude said "cute hamster?"

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  57. Except he is clearly just trying to strike up a conversation. In normal conversation, people say "oh, cute, you have a new netbook!" or whatever.

    Seriously. I have frequently heard netbooks described as cute. Netbooks and netbook-like things. People say they're cute, and ask to see them. It's standard. It's how normal people interact. It is a completely harmless greeting.

    Here's a few other lines: "Hey, cute puppy." "Hey, cute shirt." "Hey, cute scarf." "Hey, cute messenger bag." "Hey, cute jacket." Are these creepy?

    They are all just as easy to dismiss. They are surface-level observations for surface-level conversation. Even if it is flirting (which I really don't think is the case; the reason you wouldn't use the word 'cute' with a male is because males don't traditionally value cuteness)--it's harmless. It's not "hey, want to go have sex?" It's "hey, let's have a conversation, like humans do."

    I appreciate that you don't like having conversations with other humans, Fernie. I can see why other humans wouldn't like conversing with you. This doesn't mean you are the measure by which all things are judged.

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  58. Aloria, you managed to convince me that I'm living in Hell without knowing it. I'm convinced that I'm living in goddamn Elbonia, because not only I don't see guys hitting on girl like that around every corner, but also puppies and netbooks are not seen as "cute" in the same way. I guess we have to evolve to the state of evolution where people are affected by a playful puppy the same way they're affected by a small plastic box. Please, tell me you're fucking with me, because I don't want to discredit you like that.

    "And I don't see how you can say the girl is cowering. It's evident from her blog post she WANTS the guy to talk to her..."

    ... and yet she's leaning away from him, whining into a blog, which incidentally makes her look busy and uninterested? Sorry, that doesn't make sense.

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  59. 'Okay, now I'm REALLY not going to believe that I'm so far off the mark here, but aren't "hey, I like your netbook" and "hey, cute netbook" COMPLETELY different sentences?'

    Um, not really.

    You're cool now, so I'm not trying to be patronizing, but someone on IRC mentioned that English isn't your first language. Is that right? Because you just are that far off the mark. Could that be why?

    'Cute' in this context is a completely innocuous word. Calling someone's computer cute is different from calling their dress cute (and hell I wouldn't consider that creepy, but whatever.) It's a geeky thing to say, but it's NOT threatening.

    'Especially when delivered to a girl who, as has been pointed above, is nearly cowering from you?'

    I think that's just Randall's art.

    'If that still sounds too far of the mark, come on, just look at what the on-line community has become! We're surrounded by imbeciles who DO think that "cute netbook" is an effective euphemism for "cute girl". If you don't want to sound like a creep, DON'T ACT like one.'

    That's because the online community is full of fuckwits. Obviously if the guy said 'hey, cute netbook' in a voice just dripping with innuendo it would be weird. The solution isn't to not talk to people, or to put a moratorium on the word cute, it's not to be a fuckwit.

    'Yes, but now counter that to the uncountable comics about the "tragic nature of love", about how "the only winning move is not to play", about how you can never be truly satisfied and so on.'

    Apples and oranges. Those are about relationships. We don't know if these two people would end up dating and getting married and ultimately end up unhappy because you have to be in a polyamorous relationship to be fulfilled (or whatever Randall believes.) All we know is that they want to talk to each other. Randall's position on that has always been consistent.

    'WHAT is the strip criticising? The guy's insecurity? The lack of trust people have for each other?'

    Yes and yes.

    'What is it suggesting? That people should trust each other a little more? That you SHOULD talk to people?'

    Yes and yes.

    'Why should he start up this whiny tone NOW? Just look at that "Sheeple" strip: he openly INSULTED people with that one. He's not at all afraid to do it, and in comparison to that, this strip is equivalent to an emo kid weeping and whining, curled up on a corner. It's a humourless cry for sympathy.'

    He's been making vaguely whiny strips for a long time. The Sheeple strip was a call-out. It was a subject that pissed him off. This strip isn't a call-out, it's him dispensing advice from the pillar of wisdom he's ascended to at the staggeringly old age of 25.

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  60. Leaning away from someone and looking uninterested is not cowering. Cowering is what you do when someone is aiming a gun at you or a lion is about to eat you.

    I think we're having a language barrier here. Cute is absolutely one of the first choice of words someone would use to describe a puppy, hamster, baby, or handbag, and yes, it is equally valid for a netbook.

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  61. fernie: what if she's faced away from him because she wants him to see what's on her laptop?

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  62. one more thing, something Rob said on IRC:

    rmason it's possible something like "cute skirt" might be bordering on creepy

    I picked something that was borderline to illustrate the difference. It's not NECESSARILY creepy but I wouldn't say it.

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  63. @Cam - I'm not sure what you mean. That he (hypothetically) wanted to alienate the Ayn Rand evangelicals in his fanbase? I suppose I didn't word my post well, I meant it seems Mr. Munroe is trying to discourage people from being paranoid / encourage them to talk to strangers, but has failed judging by the fan-posts.

    @aloria - That is a cute notebook.

    @Fernie - The innuendo you're perceiving in "cute notebook" is all in your head. Also, I don't think it's good for you to get so worked up over a comic. I mean, we all think xkcd sucks to a degree (that's why we're here), but as it's just a web comic, there's no need to get so ridiculously angry. Maybe step back a bit, take some deep breaths (I find it helpful to try to think about nothing but the breathing), and let the frustration melt away.

    "Cute" is a nice word. It has a feel of innocent intimacy to it - a feel of cuteness. It does indeed work for puppies, and for notebooks. Both guys and girls call members of the opposite sex "cute" sometimes, and the adjective is certainly less sexual than, say, "sexy" or "hot". "Cute" can also be used ironically to describe things that are not usually thought of as cute - e.g. I had a physics professor who called Lagrangians "cute". It's a fun word, and when a guy uses it, it shows that he doesn't take himself too seriously (e.g. "OMG I must be really masculine!" isn't running through his head).

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  64. There is no such thing as getting too angry over a webcomic.

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  65. "You're cool now, so I'm not trying to be patronizing"

    Thank you. I massively appreciate that, and I'll make it clear that I'm solemnly ignoring Rob's existence from now on. Way to ruin a reasonable point by being a patronising idiot, Rob.

    "I think we're having a language barrier here. Cute is absolutely one of the first choice of words someone would use to describe a puppy, hamster, baby, or handbag, and yes, it is equally valid for a netbook."

    Okay, I believe I can take you guys' word. I can't brush off the unsettling feeling it caused me, really, but I take your word.

    But about "cowering", well, if instead of a physical threat you imagine an "emotional threat", like eye contact, it's not too far from it. Writing on a diary, or a (b)log, has always represented emotional confinement, a way to shield oneself from other people. Maybe doing that in a public space seems self-defeating, but then again, the Internet is nuts.

    "what if she's faced away from him because she wants him to see what's on her laptop?"

    That makes sense. But then again, isn't it usually very annoying and impolite to keep glancing over what people are reading/writing? People wouldn't be too comfortable with admitting that on a first encounter, so it doesn't sound like a good strategy. At least I wouldn't do it.

    The thing is: what kind of reaction should I expect if I interrupted another person's highly personal, possibly intimate activity just to say something mundane with the intention of hitting on her? Maybe the woman wouldn't flip out like that -- maybe she'd even be expecting that, but what are the chances? Should we all feel absolutely okay with breaking other people's privacy as if we owned it? Should we all accept other people to interrupt us, even when we absolutely DON'T feel like it? No, I don't feel like that comic is any sort of "encouragement": it strikes me more as another item in the "see, this is the kind of unfortunate thing that happens because LOVE IS TOO DIFFICULT" series. And I don't think you can't convince me this is NOT a "relationship" comic; come on, this is xkcd, a comic of "ROMANCE, sarcasm, math and language", not a comic of "everyday people behaving like everyday people".

    Maybe I'm wrong, I don't discard that, but I'm not gonna just let go what I've come to conclude. But yeah, you've cleared up a lot of the more obscure points and see? You've done that WITHOUT insulting me. You guys deserve all the credit back. Thanks.

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  66. "Also, I don't think it's good for you to get so worked up over a comic. I mean, we all think xkcd sucks to a degree (that's why we're here), but as it's just a web comic, there's no need to get so ridiculously angry."

    I feel I need to explain why I got so upset; it's not xkcd itself, but the way I perceived it before, the strip was symptomatic of a horrible disease that's running rampant all over the world, which is the segmentation that the Internet is promoting. Many forums and websites become little cocoons in which people curl into balls of self-pity and disdain, which decides THE WHOLE WORLD is all wrong except for them. It has never been so big and widespread before: you can go into a website and go "ohhh, people don't get me because I'm geeky and quirky! But YOU guys understand me, I'm going to be forever like this and refuse to mingle with people outside, because they DON'T UNDERSTAND!", then go into another website and go "ohhh, people DON'T UNDERSTAND us because we decided to marry cartoon characters and think people should see it as a valid marriage like any other!", then go into yet another and go "ohhh, people DON'T UNDERSTAND us because we're paedophiles and think the kids we molest actually enjoy it!". No, I'm not trying to compare xkcd fans to paedophiles, but the sense of self-righteous isolation is similar, and that strip rubbed me in a VERY unpleasant way. This time around, it wasn't anger at a webcomic, but concern over an increasing trend. But I don't think that's quite the case anymore.

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  67. Well, that does sound more reasonable. Sorry if I was being patronizing towards you; I'm quite ashamed in the xkcd fans myself ...

    Also, apparently I misspelled netbook as "notebook" every time I typed it. Cool.

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  68. But you deserve to be insulted, Fernie, because you are a dumbass. It is hardly my fault that you are entirely unreasonable and apparently have some serious sexual issues to work through.

    See here is a thing you are not bright enough to understand: when you are in public, there are people, and you can be expected to occasionally interact with them. If you break into someone's house or a private room and start talking to them, you might have something there. But no. This is public. In public you are in public. It's a feature.

    See, you're also too much of an intellectual coward to respond to points that I've made which already address the stupid things you keep saying. I've said multiple times that it's perfectly easy, if she is not interested, to just ignore him. There are lots of way to do this without even being rude. Saying "thanks" in a non-committal voice is a good one, especially if you only glance at the dude and go back to working or whatever. If he persists, don't look at him again, and either only respond in monosyllabic responses or tell him you're busy.

    It's really quite simple.

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  69. No need to worry, 10:54 Anon, you were quite cool about it. And unless you call me a reclusive freak with no social life, there'll be no harsh feelings and I won't ignore your existence.

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  70. pretty sure you are a reclusive freak with no social life or you might understand basic human interactions a little bit

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  71. rob stop it you're hurting his feelings

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  72. I don't care about misanthropes and recluses.

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  73. Of course, the fact that you know exactly 0% of my everyday life, including the fact that I have an extremely healthy social life in college, at work and at home (... okay, not EXTREMELY healthy in that case) and that I have the most wonderful lady committed to me, and the fact that I was merely bumping into a language barrier people were able to work out WITHOUT being complete assholes don't matter at all: I'm the god damn Chupacabra, alright. I should know better.

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  74. Your everyday life consists at least partly of you being a douche on xkcd sucks. That is more than 0%. Also your everyday life consists of you having the willpower of a retarded squirrel, apparently!

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  75. "Your everyday life consists at least partly of you being a douche on xkcd sucks."

    Your definition of "douche" is absolutely validated by the way you "read" my "sexual issues" through a computer screen. "Hai, guys! He doesn't know 'cute' is actually an entirely harmless word. That TOTALLY means he's a maniac and a rapist and also gay."

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  76. This line: "that a guy looking down a girl's legs and going "hey, cute netbook" is the SCARIEST thing I've ever seen on xkcd"

    ...is not something people with healthy attitudes towards sex have to say.

    Not sure what the word 'douche' has to do with that though, or what my definition of it does. Actually I just don't know what your point is here, except maybe that you seem to think that "having sexual issues" means someone is a gay maniac rapist.

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  77. Okay, I'll make it clear: I actually, actively CAN'T BELIEVE you've done all this deep, thorough analysis of my personality through an Internet board, without taking in consideration all the limitations of quickly written text AND language barriers, and that you're actually taking yourself seriously.

    And then you accuse ME of being an "intellectual coward" when, to this point, you've failed to address the whole crux of this misunderstanding. Yes, that phrase DID sound extremely scary and unsettling to me because I saw in the word "cute" a connotation that DOES NOT EXIST. There. It was a misunderstanding on my part. Is it clear NOW, or are you STILL going to keep on trying to look "cool" on the Internet? Folks like Jay, Aloria and the anon already cleared up my doubts, and they did it in an extremely respectful and intelligent way, and you're still insisting on that schtick. You almost sound like William Monty Hughes, yet you confuse a simple language problem with a "sexual issue", and fail to grasp basic sarcasm (my last post). If you're trolling me, congratulations -- you had me for a ride. I should have thought twice before trying to be earnest.

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  78. dude, you are dumber than I thought if you think I take myself seriously, like, ever.

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  79. also that wasn't deep, thorough analysis, that was "okay, you are a thin-skinned dude who seems to think that because a laptop goes on someone's lap that when you comment on it it is a TOTALLY SEXUAL attack akin to saying 'hey I like your vagina,' this is a dude with some issues."

    seriously. if I wanted to do thorough analysis and serious conversation I would talk to someone who doesn't suck

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  80. "also that wasn't deep, thorough analysis, that was "okay, you are a thin-skinned dude who seems to think that because a laptop goes on someone's lap that when you comment on it it is a TOTALLY SEXUAL attack akin to saying 'hey I like your vagina,' this is a dude with some issues.""

    That's true, that's truly Occam's Razor at work, instead of "okay, your English is rudimentary, that's all". Just look at how far you've pushed. That takes persistence, you know; only someone who's TRULY motivated can handle that trolling business, so no, don't say you weren't taking yourself seriously. That's too easy a way out. People who don't take themselves seriously don't go to such extreme lengths to look "cool" on such a tiny, insignificant place. And I won't feel at all embarrassed for believing I was dealing with mature people here. I don't think I "suck" because I don't act like an obnoxious child and don't keep pushing people on for cheap laughs.

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  81. Will you 2 just shut the fuck up already?

    Jesus Christ do you both have nothing better to do than bicker back and forth about nothing?!?!

    Whew, glad I got that off my chest. So today's comic is another nerd reference although not really. Should we be glad he has moved on from Ender's Game and Firefly references to Spider-Man?

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  82. See, I've known plenty of people who don't speak good English. It's usually pretty clear when there's an issue with translation--usually because they are intelligent enough to know that a word is being used in an unfamiliar context, but also because the confusion leads to them saying things that no native English speaker would say. Your comment didn't have that quality. It just had the quality of someone with serious issues to deal with.

    Not sure why you think I am trying to look cool, or that it's extreme lengths to throw out some cheap insults. I mean, extreme lengths implies it's something that requires me to exert effort, something I had to really think about. But here, since you don't seem to have even a basic grasp of the English language, here's a few concepts that might help you understand what's going on here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boredom
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procrastination

    Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

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  83. Cam: um yes of course I have something better to do WHY DO YOU THINK I AM HERE

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  84. "So today's comic is another nerd reference although not really. Should we be glad he has moved on from Ender's Game and Firefly references to Spider-Man?"

    I dunno, today's comic looks like a trite pun even the dimmest kids in my high-school physics class could come up with. I suppose we should be glad he at least didn't use Ohm's name as a mantra; the student-teacher for my high-school physics class did that, and it was fairly obvious to everyone else that it was a pretty lame pun.

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  85. Justin, I just want to say, I think i love you

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  86. "Feel free to ask me if you have any questions."

    Yes, I do: WHAT PERSON doesn't have absolutely any serious issues to deal with, other than people with no life at all?

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  87. Some poor physics teacher is going to hear, a dozen times per class period today:

    "Ohms?! *raises hand* Do you know about a webcomic called XKCD they parodied Spider-Man except it had Ohm in it can we look at it right now???

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  88. "I suppose we should be glad he at least didn't use Ohm's name as a mantra"

    Kraftwerk already did that.


    (and the song is actually great)

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  89. http://echochamber.me/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=45923#p1805300

    *GROAN*

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  90. So whose penis do you think is bigger, Fernie's or Rob's?

    I'm not sure!

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  91. I have sexual issues and I have no penis!

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  92. I remember Ze Frank. Epic stuff. My goal in life was to make it into the top three of the comments.

    And all I had to do was be incredibly racist.

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  93. Man, today's xkcd is just about as standard as it gets. Nothing about it stands out at all. Really, another pun based on a word with both a colloquial and scientific meaning? Haha, that's classic, also did you hear that Garfield hates mondays

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  94. you guys i only just pieced together what the title of this post meant

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  95. Spiderman comic: Yes, it's a well-used joke, but at least it's a joke. And I dare suggest that he didn't present it all wrong, either.

    What ruins it for me is the artwork. I'll honestly say that stick figures work well enough for most XKCD strips, but when someone is dying, you should SEE that they're dying. It looks like they're cuddled up together, and the lack of backgrounds aren't helping either -- and I can't help wondering why a dying uncle would have one hand on his crotch and one hand near the other person's crotch. Of course, none of this is what Randall intended me to see, it's just my dirty imagination, but it wouldn't have happened with better artwork. One person is supposed to be a famous scientist, one person is supposed to be a dying old man -- and this drawing doesn't reflect that intention. At least not good enough.

    I also dare claim that knowledge of both Spider-Man and the name "Ohm" in physics is basic enough for this to qualify as mainstream humor. Had the reference to Ohm been replaced by Ohm's first name Georg or something, it would have been a nerd reference.

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  96. "Had the reference to Ohm been replaced by Ohm's first name Georg or something, it would have been a nerd reference."
    And yet I suspect that if it had been that way, others would complain about the obscurity of the joke. It's a difficult situation.

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  97. Wow, the latest xkcd is so lame. There is a Russian joke where a physics student finds God and goes to seminary. So, a priest asks him what a "God's force" is. And the student answers "God's mass times God's velocity". And there surely must be other variants of that joke. And adding a Spiderman reference doesn't make it funnier.

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  98. Wouldn't God's mass times God's velocity be God's squared force?

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  99. Even if we take this as nerd humour, this is about as lame as it gets. I think Randall's puns worked when they were self-aware and unexpected, and this is neither.

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  100. Shit, it's acceleration not velocity. There goes my physics cred.

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  101. Fernie still violently overreacting to compensate for his previous cuddlefishiness, I see?

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  102. Now I'm not a physicist or an electrical engineer or anything, but I'm pretty sure that Ohm didn't come up with that particular formula.

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  103. Can whoever writes the next post please mention that the joke would have been SO MUCH BETTER if he had just swapped the last two terms:

    Remember: with great power comes great resistance times current squared.

    First, it just reads much better. "Comes great current squared" is hopelessly awkward, and just reflects Randall's inability to hear the English language.

    Second, it keeps you on the wrong track for longer.

    "With great power..."
    yes, tell me more...
    "...comes great resistance..."
    ah, yes, I see where you're going...
    "...times current squared."
    Wha- what?? Oh, I get it. A nerd joke.

    See how much better it could be?

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  104. Today's SMBC feels... an awful lot like one of the older XKCDs. D:

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  105. "Fernie still violently overreacting to compensate for his previous cuddlefishiness, I see?"

    Nah, it was just a lot of personal shit involved this time around. The comic wasn't too much at fault; it's weak, but I really got it wrong.

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  106. You people need to drink more. You also need to chill the fuck out.

    P.S. - Amanda is the coolest

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  107. i heard alcohol solves all one's problems and is really good for you

    that's just something i heard somewhere

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  108. "Nah, it was just a lot of personal shit involved this time around. The comic wasn't too much at fault; it's weak, but I really got it wrong."

    Then that's even weirder. First you're slavishly defending XKCD against every minor nitpick we throw at it, and we tell you you're wrong. Then within a WEEK you turn into a major XKCD critic. Now you're blasting comis for completely nonsensical reasons, and we tell you you're wrong again. Then within a DAY you switch from "YOU ARE A RAPIST IN COMIC FORM RANDALL, YOU ASSHOLE!" to "It was personal shit, I was wrong."

    You really need to form an identity of your own.

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  109. You like Coupling? And to think I listened to your opinions.

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  110. 'Also, "What.". What?'

    I'll tell you what. it's another desperate attempt to pander to /b/tards: http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/What (nsfw)

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  111. Hmm. I've talked to girls on buses. Once, in fact, I was sitting at the front of a nearly empty stationary bus, waiting for it to move. Two girls were talking about half-way down the bus. They were talking about their families, and obviously hadn't known each other for long. So I went down and sat down opposite them, introducing myself with the immortal line "I'm eavesdropping on you anyway, so I might as well do it honestly."

    I ended up spending the rest of the day with them, walking through the Pompeii ruins. In the evening, we all went our separate ways.

    It helped that (a) we were in Italy: English speakers tend to bunch together in foreign countries, (b) I was travelling alone: I'd developed a knack of butting into other people's conversations: if I hadn't, I'd never have talked to anyone for a month, and (c) I'm gay, which I don't think I actually told them, but it was obvious I wasn't hitting on them.

    ***

    I didn't initially see anything creepy in this comic, but I can see how it could be taken that way. In fact, I believe this is the most interesting comments thread I've seen on xkcd sucks. The link to Shakespeare's Sister was also interesting. I've come across that blog before: I believe it's fairly highly regarded.

    TRiG.

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  112. Your comment about facial expressions has got me wondering: Does Randall have Asperger's syndrome? After all, one of the hallmarks of the condition is an inability to read nonverbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions. His lack of use of such may be due to the fact that he doesn't understand them. Which isn't an excuse for making a consistently shitty comic, but certainly is an explanation for it.

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  113. Everyone on the Internet has self-diagnosed Asperger's syndrome, so yes.

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  114. Thank you for reminding me of Zefrank and his amazing show.

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  115. I don't like this comic, because the subtext I get from it is: "See, silly women, this is what happens when you whine so much about creepy guys making unwelcome advances! Men will be too terrified ever to initiate conversation with you, even the ones you like, and then you'll be sorry!"

    As if women were complaining about any attempt whatsoever to make conversation, and as if it were just *impossible* for a man to make conversation without being a creep or forcing someone into an awkward interaction, under any circumstances. Those crazy women; you just can't win!

    I also agree with the criticism of the way the woman is drawn. Realistically, if she were interested in the dude, she would probably at least have stolen a few glances at him, even if she were terminally shy. There would have been some tiny indication in her body language that she was interested in talking to him. But the comic really, really wants to set up this contrived situation where it's totally impossible for the poor, misunderstood man to know that she's interested, so she is shown to be completely ignoring him. Her entire body is turned away from him and her posture says "don't talk to me; I'm busy". Talk about mixed messages.

    I believe that's where Shakespeare's Sister's interpretation comes from. In real life, if a woman you sat next to on public transportation were behaving like that, she would almost certainly be busy with something entirely unrelated to you and not appreciate being interrupted, and not secretly longing for you to hit on her. Really.

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  116. If both involved parties are shy, it's very possible neither party will notice the other checking them out. (I have had this happen before, on the train.)

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  117. Also, "What.". What?

    Normally I appreciate a good Flat What, but here it just felt forced.

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  118. with 100+ comments this was probably already mentioned, so apologies in advance

    main reason this comic bothers me is that in both fantasies, the girl's thoughts must revolve around the dude. she either has to acknowledge him (stickman's fantasy), or has to blog about how supposedly frustrated she is that some random boring nerd on a train isn't hitting on her (randall's fantasy, as evidenced by the fact that she used the word "cute" to describe him).

    apparently this takes place in some alternate universe where most women don't have to put up with random guys they've never met assuming that if a woman is in public, CLEARLY she must be super interested in his incompetent, blatantly dishonest attempts at starting "conversations"

    and of course that guy is totally sincere right?? Netbooks are SO INTERESTING for their own sake, after all. it's a computer, but LITTLE! holy shit!

    anyway, here's what actually happened to randy on the train that day.

    http://tinyurl.com/yft5z6d

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  119. I dig that book. It's not overtly angry and belligerent. It critiques and expresses frustration in a (mostly) respectful way.

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