Saturday, October 3, 2009

Come Quicker! Shittier, Newer Clothes To Buy!

SO in between all the madness about the xkcd book and the xkcdsucks book, I noticed that there are a whole bunch of new things in the xkcd store! LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

(before we get started, note that I have already commented on the xkcd tie and the linux shirt)

Let's start with shirts, and go top to bottom:

#1. Mr. Hat Polo Shirt. Here is what it looks like:

OK, basically your standard polo shirt, with the standard design in the left breast pocket area, except that it's Mr. Hat instead of like an alligator or whatever. That strikes me as a little weird, but I guess some people just love Mr. Hat. Let's take a close up look at the design:
Man, when you see it like that it seems kind of pathetic to pay $48 for this, no? I mean I know polo shirts are a little expensive but given that the only added value this one has is like a few dozen stitches that basically look like someone with a not-so-steady hand used a marker to draw a stick figure on your shirt. And given that polo shirts are usually worn in slightly more formal situations, isn't a crappy picture of a stick figure the last thing you would want in one of those situations? Especially because basically no one will recognize who he is. So wouldn't it be better to just buy a regular polo shirt, find a marker, and write "I READ COMICS" on the shirt? Yes. Yes it would.

Moving on-

#2. "Woodpecker"

This one is really quite puzzling. Like the Mr. Hat polo, this one features a design only in the top left quadrant of the shirt, and it is also mysteriously poorly done - look especially at the choppiness of the power cord itself. Do these shirts look as crappy in real life as they do on screen? Why would anyone want a product so badly made?

But this is an even more obscure shirt than the Mr. Hat one - because it references only a single (highly forgettable) comic. Given that the bird just looks like, well, an ordinary, non-woodpecking bird, I doubt anyone without knowledge of that particular xkcd will have any clue what the hell is happening on that shirt (how often will a wearer have to say something like "no no no, it's a woodpecker, get it? And it has a drill? So it can use the drill instead of its nose? GET IT? ah fuck it, you just don't get it.").

Actually, I hope to run into someone wearing this shirt just to make them say that.


#3 Tech Support Flow Chart

This is just the chart from this comic, though it has helpfully had most of the words that gave it context removed. Actually, I don't think this one is half bad. I only wonder how large it is printed - how close will you have to be to someone's chest to read it? And how awkward will that be?


maybe randall is secretly putting so much text on a shirt in order to encourage people to stare at each other awkwardly, from really close distances, so that Randall himself can do this without being mocked.

oh god oh god oh god i figured it out.

#4. Correlation Shirt

This shirt is just a comic slapped on fabric. A comic which I was pretty ambivalent about when it came out, but I think as a shirt it is even worse. Shirts should be simple. They have a a slogan, perhaps, but not a story (and this comic is a story, however simple). Glance through the topatoco shirts and see what I mean. (though some shirts deliberately subvert this....) Somehow, this concept just strikes me as very strange to put on a shirt. Not to mention lazy.

On another note, I hate how Randall feels like he has to include a stupid joke in each item description. None of them are funny, all of them feel forced. This shirt gets: "It looks good on you with certainty p>0.95 (although don't push your luck by asking for certainty to a third standard deviation)." How dumb is that? Actually, it gets better - he's wrong. Certainty isn't measured in standard deviations, so his parenthetical command is stupid. It should be "a third degree of confidence" because that is what p is a measure of. If he wanted a Standard Deviation line it would be like, "this shirt will look good on the median 95% of the population (but don't push your luck by asking for it to look good on a third SD of the population)" or something to that effect.


#5. Shark.

This one pisses me off too, for the same reason the Mr. Hat polo shirt and the Woodpecker shirt piss me off. No one will know what the fuck this means, unless they remember the xkcd comic it is from. And I bet you even a lot of xkcd readers will not remember it. Try it though - e-mail this image, free from any identifying data, to a friend of yours who reads xkcd. See if they get what it is.

I guess the idea is that if you like science, you are supposed to wear this shirt to show that science is cool. In that sense, it's just like a black and white, confusing, strange, esoteric version of "Science: It Works, Bitches." We know you like science, we like it too. That's part of why we're here. But we don't need another shirt about it. You already have a perfectly decent one!


oh fuck no i am not.

real fast: Mousepad:

I actually kind of like this. Apparently it's the back of the xkcd book, too. It's a wacky design, it clearly took more effort than all the new shirts put together, and it has a crazy energy about it, a sort of Rube-Golberg-eque quality that fits what xkcd once was. So I will stop this crazy long review of new products on that high note.

god that was too much writing.


  1. I predict that, within a year's time, the "Science" shirt will be more prevalent, and thus hated, on college campuses than Che Guevara.

    $48 for a collared shirt with a stick figure on it? We could buy a set of shirts just like it for the same price and, like you say Carl, draw stick figures.

    The mousepad and woodpecker-drill are fine by me. The flow chart and correlation comic are lame, especially as shirts. There would appear to be a correlation between Randall's taste in shirt art and the resulting shirts' lameness....hmm...

  2. It's too bad he didn't have anyone model this shirt, I was so looking forward to reading somewhere in your review "don't you want to be as attractive as this dude or possibly girl?"

    Anyway, a lot of these say "Randall Munroe is selling out big-time" to me. Mostly the Mr. Hat one (seriously, $48?).

    The mousepad is, I agree, the coolest of the new things, but I dislike it for some reason. Maybe cuz it's just a lot of copypasta'd random stuff that doesn't really tie in together--for me, at least.

  3. Of course you wouldn't like xkcd shirts: you don't like xkcd! You guys aren't the target audience here. Go suck a cock.


  5. Honestly, even when I was an XKCD fan I at most mildly tolerated the t-shirts. They are just not very good.

  6. i, for one, think the mr. hat shirt is nice and understated. how can you not like it? and anyone who knows of xkcd will know you right off the bat. and cmon, $48 is nothing. NOTHING.

  7. actually i can go to like H&M and get a cuter shirt--like 9 of them--for the same amount of money.

    that is like a whole week of clothing!

  8. Yeah for $48 you can get a lot of clothes which aren't unwearable polo shirts. Like, if I were to pay $50 for something, it would not be a light blue polo with a stick figure on. I'd pay $50 for, like, a nice jacket, or maybe a nice pair of jeans--but even then I'd rather stop by my friendly neighborhood thrift or secondhand store and see if they have what I'm looking for there. If for some reason I am paying $50 for a shirt it will be a really fucking nice shirt. I think the last time I did that was when I was buying dress shirts for my sister's wedding.

    Like the tie, this is just one of those things that is unwearable for its actual purpose. It doesn't look nice or professional. It does not look good for casual purposes.

    I suppose it (and the tie) does have one niche: if you want to look like a nerd who doesn't like wearing collared shirts (or ties), and doesn't understand that this is not an acceptable substitute, and would rather be wearing a cheetos-stained t-shirt with a witty nerd slogan on it and a pair of jeans that used to fit, then this is more or less perfect.

  9. $48 is absolutely laughable for that polo.

  10. "unwearable polo shirts"

    well that's just, like, your opinion, man.

  11. If you just go to Eddie Bauer or whatever when they're on sale you can get medium-high quality polos for like $20 a piece. Without any logos at all, if you're lucky. Obviously Goodwill etc will be even cheaper.

  12. The image of the woodpecker with the drill appears to have been resized. That would explain the lack of quality that you seem so incredibly bothered by.

    Also, I see people wearing T-shirts that I don't understand ALL THE TIME. Hell, I wear T-Shirts people don't understand ALL THE TIME. Why the hell does someone need to understand a persons clothing?

    As for the polo... you're obviously not buying it for the same reason you would buy any other polo, or other article of clothing. You would buy this polo to express how much of a fan you are of xkcd, another polo you buy to provide covering to the torso. So if the price is ridiculously high for a torso covering, then its high because people aren't just buying it as a torso covering. If people are willing to pay for it, then people are willing to pay for it.


    "xkcd is one of the most well written webcomics out there.
    Nominated by: Rob Chandler
    Admin Notes:


  14. If people are willing to pay for it, then people are willing to pay for it.

    No fucking duh, shithead. If people have shitty taste, then people have shitty taste. Are my tautologies blowing your mind?

  15. Sure as hell blowing mine.

  16. 50/50. Doubt the prices on the good items are any better than the $48 polo, tho.

  17. I'm ordering the probability shirt. Should get some laughs at the office. And I like supporting independent artists. Well worth the money, IMO.

  18. I would say that the key thing that makes a webcomic shirt "good" is if you do not need to know the webcomic to enjoy the shirt.
    In that case the polo, the bird shirt, and the science shirt are all crap.

    The other new shirts are pretty crappy too, but that is because they are text heavy, encouraging people to stare awkwardly at your chest.

    However, most of the other shirts in the store are pretty clever, up to the extent that I might actually buy them if they did not go to support a kitsch webcomic. In particular, I like the "Useless" shirt. That shirt got me to start reading xkcd in the first place, back around comic 300.

  19. I don't know, I think the Dr. McNinja dolphin shirt is great, and nobody will understand it if they didn't read that particular comic. However, the strength it has that the XKCD items don't is that it's actually a bizarrely funny image and not just a lame character or the entire fucking comic.

  20. So I was wondering about the prices of shirts, as $48 did seem a bit much for a polo shirt with a stick figure on it.

    A tiny bit of googling found me actual tailored shirts, i.e. made to measure shirts that were cheaper than this. You can get a polo shirt to your exact measurements at nearly half the price of this. The only thing you are paying for is the xkcd.

  21. "The only thing you are paying for is the xkcd Mr. Hat."

    I posted prematurely.

  22. The worst thing about these shirts, and in fact most webcomics AND their t-shirt based economy, is that the shirts really don't look like they took any effort to design. Even if they're from an elaborately drawn comic, they usually have LESS effort put into them.

    I'd just love to see some webcomic make an overly elaborate design for a shirt. I don't mean one that covers the entire body of the shirt, but some really complex circular drawing right in the center, something like that, topped off with some big text snappy slogan. Now that would be interesting for a change. Of course, if a webcomic artist is making it, it would probably be total garbage. And that goes double or triple for dresden codak or penny arcade.

  23. @John

    Have you ever read Gone With the Blastwave? It's an incredibly elaborately drawn comic, so I would consider any extra-comic artwork to be an "overly elaborate design"

    Check out this shirt:

    The image doesn't appear in any comics, but it says so much about the theme of the comic and is also just a very silly picture. You can order it for a tshirt or poster.

    Link to comic:

    I recommend reading all of them, there are only 40 something.

  24. @ Fred

    I believe that a smiling dolphin holding a gun is an inherently awesome image. Not knowing the source material does not make it less awesome.

    Also, I am quite impressed by the newer shirt designs of MS Paint adventure. They are very simple and nonpervasive; you could wear them in public and no one would know that you are wearing a webcomic shirt.

    However, I think Carl has mentioned these shirts before.

  25. I was pretty sure the tech support flowchart one was created to become merchandise when I first read it.

    I wish I wasn't right.

  26. captain tacos (the lesser)October 4, 2009 at 10:34 AM

    I think all of us are ignoring the context of the polo shirt. If you look at the pictures in the xkcd store, you will see the wearer of the xkcd polo is engaged in, and in fact decisively winning, a light saber fight. I posit that herein lies the true value of the shirt: it is in fact a polo shirt of dexterity + 2. In which case, it is a great value at 48 dollars, since such a thing would generally cost 4,000 gold.

  27. @ch00f, I have seen that comic before and that's a good example of stuff that would make a good t-shirt. It helps to start with a good comic anyway.

    Really the ideal comic t-shirt would be something that's not just a comic reprinted, it's really dumb that anyone can get away with that, Randall Monroe should really be slapped.

  28. John,

    There is a lot of stuff from places like ScaryGoRound, Wondermark, and Achewood that is not just a comic reprinted. Someone has already mentioned Dr. McNinja here too.

    I agree that most of the webcomix t-shirt industry is just an excuse for sell people something that says "I read this webcomic.".

    I wonder whether the best sellers out of them are what you mention, something that isn't a panel from a comic, or a catch-phrase slapped on a t-shirt.

  29. Most of the Topatoco shirts, while they are usually referencing a comic, are also just pretty designs. I would enjoy the shirts without knowing the comic.

    I think the ones that sell best are probably just comic references, though. People are kind of dumb and worship references.

  30. Danny: If this is any indication, when it was time for everyone to get the free book party t-shirts, the highest demand was for the "Science, it works bitches" shirts.

  31. "People are kind of dumb and worship references."

    Or people are hoping to find other people who share similar, albeit obscure interests. The shared memories of the humor make them happy. What's not to like?

  32. No, people hope that someone will go "oh wow kewl teeshirt i read x too." (x being a webcomic) and then they can have a half hour conversation about x which ends in them getting laid.

  33. @anon 12:51

    So are they intentionally getting the shirts which are nothing but lame references because that will increase the likelihood that the only people who like their shirt are other fanboys, or are they just unintentionally displaying bad taste?

  34. "So are they intentionally getting the shirts which are nothing but lame references because that will increase the likelihood that the only people who like their shirt are other fanboys, or are they just unintentionally displaying bad taste?"

    Well that's just, like, your opinion, man.

  35. This is true, by definition — of the word "opinion" I know what it means, you know, we all know. Your platitude has contributed exactly this to the discussion: nothing. Now, fuck off.

  36. @Lostman

    It was a lame reference to the Big Lebowski. I'm not sure if he's being lame or just very meta.

  37. Disregard that I suck ironic cocks

  38. fuck you guys. just because you don't "get" these shirts doesnt mean other people can't and won't. for instance, i have an awesome reddit shirt that people love. it doesn't "look great" but it doesnt have too. some people might not "appreciate" it, but that's their problem, not mine.


  40. @Bobby_Tables

    No, you're wrong. The fact that us folks at xkcdsucks will not get these shirts means that NOBODY WILL. That's right, you won't even be able to purchase them. Sorry to ruin your party.

    Also, if I end up sucking cocks, I swear to God...

  41. You guys need to resort to mockery and sockpuppetry? I would say you guys are "infantile", but I don't think you would know what that meant.

  42. You need to resort to condescension and arrogance? I would say you are a jackass, but I think you'd take that as a compliment.

    Wait, no, actually I will call you a jackass because I'm not a pussy dropping veiled insults. Jackass.

  43. You have a pretty high opinion of yourself, don't you Tables?

  44. Would you prefer I say I "SUCK COCKS", Amanda? I am sorry my language is too subtle for you.

    Jay, I think you are insinuating I am "condescending". I would say that I am not, I just say what I think. Which is worse, calling someone homosexual (very offensive, according to my opinion), or using complete sentences to make coherent arguments? What passes for "rude" around here is incomprehensible.

  45. Big Lebowski? Haven't seen that. =\

  46. Tables: you are one of the best arguments against democracy I have ever encountered

  47. WTF? He left a freaking typo in that flowchart shirt. "Do it work?" I would have thought he could have an editor look at stuff he's planning on selling to people. At least people who buy one will be laughed at.

  48. Bobby, wait til you meet poore (The_P). You will love him.

  49. @Bobby_Tables

    Welcome to the blog! Please wipe your feet.

    I'm going to try to present a coherent argument for my stance on the shirts. I hope it is up to your standards.

    My issue with these shirts is that they are *only* good for the reference. They have no inherent value (seeing that most of the designs are only interesting if you get the reference).

    So it all boils down to the question: How much are you willing to pay for a sign that says "I read xkcd!" Personally, I own the "No Raptors" shirt. My sister got it for me for my birthday. I think it's just a funny design and I actually have a lot of good memories of the movie Jurassic Park and I share a lot of the same attitudes towards raptors as Randall. I've actually had someone come up and ask me "You don't like dinosaurs?" And we had a 30 second conversation about my fear of raptors (generated by the movie) that had nothing to do with the comic. Had I been wearing the Mr. Hat polo, I would have had to explain that it's a piece of "art" from a guy online or better yet, he wouldn't have found it interesting enough to ask. I wouldn't pay for that.

    Of course, you xkcd folks that "get" these new shirts will be willing to fork over the dough for them and that's fine. I'm not here to tell you how to spend your money and I'm not upset at you.

    I'm upset at Randall. He knows that his fans will fork over loads of cash for anything that he touches, and he's taking advantage of it. There is no logical reason for that xkcd polo to cost anything over $30.

    He's already too lazy to draw real characters (yes, I know it's part of his style, but you can't get around the fact that his style allows him to doodle comics at a rate much faster than, say, SMBC) and yet he still can't take the time to design something fun/original to put on a t-shirt. Even SpaceBalls the Breakfast Cereal had a word-search on the back.

    So here we have Randall copying and pasting stuff that he already made and selling it. By the hour, he is making an astronomical amount of cash (.1 hours copy/pasting into a tshirt order form to earn a few thousand dollars.)

    As someone who produces loads of content for free and who works hard for a living. This upsets me.

  50. You know, I don't think he's real. He's too over-the-top.


  51. @Ch00f:

    I wouldn't say Gone With the Blastwave's shirt design you mentioned is a good example. That image does not appear in any comics because it is the original drawing that inspired the comic.

    As evidence, notice the description: "The picture that started it all."

  52. I love that comic, though, it is worth clarifying - how else would I know that :D

  53. See, it's funny, because Reverse Polish Notation involves putting the mathematical operators before the numbers, and there's a type of sausage called a Polish sausage, and if you reversed that oh the wackiness.

  54. Is it weird that I kind of like the latest xkcd (645)? It reminds me of some of the oldest ones, like meat cereals. I mean, it doesn't even make any sense, but for once at least he's not doing creepy relationship stuff or showing off how much he knows about calculus. That's a plus, right?

  55. have any of you guys noticed this

    am i just the last one in the race, struggling to catch up

  56. The latest xkcd makes me happy. He took an obscure concept and made an amusing joke out of it without having any awkward dialog, straw men, or sex. Also, the alt-text actually was somewhat funny.

  57. The new comic is only funny if you know about Reverse Polish Notation, which is a step up from XKCD's usual not funny even if you know about what its refering to.

  58. "As someone who produces loads of content for free and who works hard for a living. This upsets me."

    So charge for your content. Why do you care what other people do with their content?

  59. @Anonymous

    "So charge for your content. Why do you care what other people do with their content?"

    Because nobody would pay for it. Because it's not xkcd. I put a lot of effort into my work, submit it to Reddit and I get about maybe 2-3 up votes. Randall draws sticks having sex and gets 200 up votes.

    I don't consider myself some kind of brilliant artist or anything, but I feel like I get a disproportionately small amount of attention based on content quality alone.

  60. can I just say, not saying XKCD is above any criticism

    But why do you care so much? If you think its crap, why do you spend so much time looking for criticisms, instead of just not going to the site?

  61. Holy shit, he's right! If we don't like it, we should quit reading the damn comic!

    Wait a minute...

  62. I agree, the 645 is OK. It reminds me also of the earlier ages, a clever enough nerdy joke that is pretty original. And no extraneous information/activity etc. So it's worthy of a slight smile. Also, it is good to see him employing colour more often (even though a cartoon hot dog is hardly ever going to really look terribly impressive...).

  63. "The new comic is only funny if you know about Reverse Polish Notation"

    Everybody check your senses of humor, there is only ONE way this comic could be funny.

  64. I have no clue what Reverse Polish Notation is, but I liked the comic. I think it just works on an absurdist level, nerd references notwithstanding.

  65. So I looked it up, basically it's just putting the operation symbol after the operands instead of between them for some reason? As in "2 2 +" instead of "2 + 2"?

    I guess the comic makes a lot more sense now, but I still think it would be funnier as a random, bizarre image that just popped into his head.

  66. Surely Randall could have thought of a better title than an abbreviated version of the punchline.

    But then again, maybe not.

    CAPTCHA: tannis. It's like tennis but you also get a tan.

  67. New comic: I do know about the Reverse Polish Notation, so I got it on first glance. I even tried to chuckle at it, but it just seems like a very week, obvious attempt at making Maths humour. I know, ideas like those appear obvious but only when somebody else has done them, but I can't help but think the joke is on par with those failed Stand-up Comic jokes:

    "You know, guys, yeah, GUYS, you know? In Mathematics there's the Reverse Polish Notation, in which, like, they put the numbers first and THEN the operators. Like, GUYS, what the hell IS up with that? You know, GUYS, it's like, man, what IS wrong with it? Now you tell me about Polish sausage, and I wonder, is there a Reverse Polish sausage or something? This is like, you know, like! They put the buns first and THEN the sausage? Yeah, like, thank you! Thank you, like, thanks, you know, like."

  68. Whe the hell wears polo shirts???

    Oh wait, I know ONE person who wears them, and that's this math grad student at Harvard, AND he wears them tucked in.

    What is it about geeks and complete and utter lack of style that they think a polo shirt might actually look good???

    Note: I have bought a signed print in the past and liked it. I draw the line at polo shirts, though.

  69. Loads of people wear polo shirts, what are you on about?

  70. Wearing a plain polo shirt is a whole hell of a lot more stylish than wearing gaudy t-shirts with slogans or references on them, no matter how clever

    Fuck you, sam

    (Also CP please don't use absurdist in that way. Absurdism is a position in existential philosophy regarding the intrinsic meaning of being in the universe and is not directly related to the Magritte-et-al "Ceci n'est pas un pipe" Treachery of Images or Dada)

  71. @Anon 5:48

    Duly noted. I'm trying to think of another word for what I meant to say, coming up short at the moment though.

  72. Took me a while to remember of "Reverse Polish Notation". It's a bit funny, but also sounds as if Randall is just slapping a pun together... Well, at least he's back at math.

    Also, he's actually upgrading his art, I appreciate this.

  73. Next item in the XKCD store: Reverse Polo Notation. It's a regular polo but turned inside out.

    Only $48.

  74. My last serious boyfriend is Polish and used the term "polish sausage" to refer to... something else... so when I saw this xkcd I thought I was finally getting the male junk shot I had been asking for. Alas.

  75. Let's all campaign for a male junk shot on xkcd!


  76. It's not going to happen, Aloria and TRiG.

    They kicked Randall out of TGIF, remember?

  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

  78. Oh look. I have a picture now!

  79. "It's not going to happen, Aloria and TRiG.

    They kicked Randall out of TGIF, remember?"

    OMGWTFLOLROTFLMAO HAHAHA you made a reference to Randall you're obviously BETTER THAN GOD*

    * - TOTALLY TRUE reaction from an actual xkcd fanboy

  80. But it's not just a polish sausage, it's Reverse Polish Sausage, so the comic is actually referring to a vagina! You should be happy he didn't draw that!

  81. Fernie Canto:
    A quote of yourself, no doubt, from just a few months ago.

    (that was a joke; you may now laugh)


  82. "I put a lot of effort into my work, submit it to Reddit and I get about maybe 2-3 up votes. Randall draws sticks having sex and gets 200 up votes."

    Wait to go, ch00f. You sound like a whiny, jealous bitch. Maybe people would pay for your content if any of it was good. Perhaps Randall is just much more clever than you are and can come up with a funny idea that can be produced quickly and doesn't rely on the quality of the drawing for it to be funny.

    What don't you understand? Randall had a funny thing going in the beginning. It has declined in quality lately, but he generated such a following that it is now self-sustaining. Yeah, the world isn't fair.

  83. Anon: "Yeah, the world isn't fair."

    I know! Doesn't it just make you want to blog the fuck out of it?

  84. Or, Randall shamelessly panders to an audience who seems to love to pat themselves on the back and will thus pay unduly large sums for crappy merchandise.

    Not that I can fault Randall for exploiting that niche of nerds with lots of cash who like to look smart and like to wear ugly t-shirts. It's brilliant in a way.

  85. Carl,
    Anon 9:17 here. Hey, don't get me wrong. I fully support this blog's existence. I get what you're doing. I was only responding to ch00f.

  86. Jonathan said...
    Loads of people wear polo shirts, what are you on about?

    Anonymous said...
    Wearing a plain polo shirt is a whole hell of a lot more stylish than wearing gaudy t-shirts with slogans or references on them, no matter how clever... Fuck you, sam


    Must be different countries, different parts of the country, different age groups, or different cliques.

    I've been walking all around Cambridge and Somerville, MA, on various errands today, and kept an eye out because of this. I did not see a *single* person between the ages of 20 and 30 wearing a polo shirt, except a couple of fratty-looking Harvard boys.

    Plenty of people over the age of 40 wearing polo shirts.

    Frat boys and *certain types* of geeks* also wear them.

    Not sure which of those groups you fall into, Anonymous, or if maybe the styles are just different in Ohio or wherever.

    *NB: "Geek" in a non-pejorative sense. I'm a geek myself, although don't wear polo shirts.

  87. Around here (NYC,) polo shirts are generally something you wear to meet a "business casual" dress code if you don't want to wear a regular button down. IE, it's more fancy than a t-shirt or henley but less so than a dress shirt. Most people avoid wearing them in situations that don't call for one, because you end up looking super preppie. Like this dude minus the popped collars. And nobody wants to be that dude.

  88. I'm sorry for the hostility, Sam. I mean, it was obviously unwarranted but this is the internet after all.

    I guess the problem with wearing polos is that I really like them except I don't want to look "super preppie", as such, although I don't have a problem with casual dress being more elaborate than t-shirts (I don't even know what a henley is honestly).

    It's like something I read in one of Michael Chabon's essays - the fact that you have to make a choice between pronouncing the word "genre" (this is his example) correctly and not wanting to be thought of as pretentious, and how the people for whom this is a meaningful or even difficult choice are some pretty tragic people, sometimes.

    I like being dapper, as long as I don't feel silly, like wearing a tuxedo to a college class or something. If I am occasionally a little overdressed I make up for it by being immensely overeducated. So to speak.

  89. I'm dissappointed people didn't understand today's joke. Even more, is the replacement of the book ad text with "COMIC TODAY'S CONFUSES YOU HERE CLICK IF". With HERE linking to Reverse Polish Notation. I hate it when people have to explain their joke


  91. i am going to wear a polo today

  92. THIS.
    FUCK YOU!!!

  93. wait what the heck made him do that, does he now no longer trust his fans to look up wiki articles

  94. all your blog are belong to us

  95. yo Leonidas i'm real happy for you and imma let you finish but Leonidas was one of the best Leonidas of all time! OF ALL TIME!

  96. I didn't even notice the link the first time. Maybe people not getting the joke is really starting to bother Randall.

  97. I think Randall is trying to drive explainxkcd out of buisness.

    Also I wear polo shirts pretty much exclusively, and the xkcd one doesn't look too bad, but isn't worth $48 by far.


  99. leonidas made me lol. repeatedly.

  100. Ooh ooh, let me try! I'm good at this.



    lol i herd that 4chan am i cool yet

  101. *herd that ON 4chan

    Haha, I failed

    Gee, I guess I should... BECOME AN HERO over that! Eh? Eh?

  102. A winner is you! You win 5 internets.

    And then you became a zombie. It's time to face FULL LIFE CONSEQUENCES

  103. "Then we will fight in the shade."

    (I love how that was actually said at Thermopylae, or so Herodotus said)

  104. I liked Reverse Polish Sausage to be honest. It really does manage to avoid most of this blog's ususal criticisms as well.

    1) No needless text
    2) Comic doesn't explain the joke
    3) I haven't heard the joke before
    4) It's relevant to geeks instead of "anyone with enough science to earn their GED"

  105. But he put a link up at the top of the page that explains the joke, which is way worse, IMO.

  106. Wait... he DID!? I didn't spot that! Wow, what a brilliant way to spot a reasonable comic, Randall. Really, the Reverse Polish Notation is a very easy reference considering the kind of stuff xkcd has done. I guess that is the ultimate proof that either xkcd IS targeting the lowest common denominator, or that "I feel hurt when people 'don't get' the joke" shit is REALLY getting to him.

    I actually warmed up quite a lot to the comic now, and if it had been done about 6 months ago, I'd have adored it. The joke isn't too strong, but the execution shows true effort and a sharp sense of humour. Hey... maybe xkcd is getting BETTER?

  107. Oh my god, I didn't notice the Wikipedia link before.

    That's just pathetic, Randall. You used to write comics about Poisson distributions and Fourier transforms and shit like that, and left the research as an exercise for the reader. When I first read this comic, I had no idea what Reverse Polish Notation was, so you know what I did? I FUCKING LOOKED IT UP ON WIKIPEDIA. And then I knew what it was, and I understood the comic. I didn't need a goddamn link at the top of the page to assist me. Even granting that the exact phrase "reverse Polish notation" appears nowhere in the comic, it turns out that the first hit on a Google search for "reverse polish" is the exact Wiki page you linked to. It's really not that hard to figure out.

    You write your comic for an explicitly tech-savvy audience; did it ever cross your mind that almost everybody who reads xkcd is capable of find these things out on their own? To me this says quite a lot about how you actually view your readers (or, to be more generous, perhaps how much your target audience has shifted over time).

  108. ^To me this says quite a lot about how you actually view your readers (or, to be more generous, perhaps how much your target audience has shifted over time)

    It's worse than that. Half of the forum posts on that comic are from people who didn't even think to do that until someone posted the WP link. To be fair though, the Individual Comics section went downhill way faster than xkcd and its fanbase did.

    Also, why has no one here or there mentioned the mistake in Randall's link (COMIC TODAY'S YOU CONFUSES HERE CLICK IF)? "Today's Comic" is a single operand on the stack. Not "Comic" affected by a unary "Today's" operator. Can't he even get that right?

  109. Also let's assume that IF is a binary operation taking a boolean value and some evaluable statement. Surely then CLICK is also a binary operation, however it only has one operand, HERE. Clearly it needs a subject, even though the English doesn't require it, and it should be "TODAY'S COMIC YOU CONFUSES YOU HERE CLICK IF".

  110. Huh. It's like German, or something

  111. I'm actually used to IF being used as a GOTO IF in RPN, so I read HERE CLICK as if it were an anonymous block containing the function call Click(Here). But you're right - the reader is the one executing the instruction and not the parser (otherwise both of those "You"s would be "Self"s)

    Mustard already on sausage, not enough postfixins (acknowledged), at least two errors in the "Explain the joke" link. Any other technical errors we've missed?

  112. What's wrong with unary "Today's" operator?

  113. Step 1: translate to Lisp.

    (if (confuses (todays comic) you) (click here))

    Step 2: recursively put each operator to the end of s-expression:

    (((comic todays) you confuses) (here click) if)

    Step 3: remove parentheses

    comic todays you confuses here click if

  114. Hmmmm. I guess I was working on the assumption that Comic is a singular identifier and therefore shouldn't refer to a collection. A construction of the form "Comics Today insert_function_name_here" would have sounded less ambiguous. But then that assumption is only based on a convention anyway...

  115. KindredSprites: I thought it said «Do it work», too. And I responded the same way as you did: What the heck, a typo in a product for sale, how lame is that? But then I looked up the original comic (because I assume the two to be identical and I couldn't believe I didn't notice such a blatant typo the first time I read it), and it looks as if it says "DID IT WORK". With the very-shrinked picture and Randall's handwriting, "DID" and "DO" look very similar, but I think it says "DID" and that it just looks an awful lot like "DO".

    What surprises me about the flowchart is the description "This is the much-requested t-shirt..." Seriously? Okay, I understand that hardcore xkcd fans like this motive, as it's a very xkcd motive (if "xkcd" can be used as an adjective), but why a T-shirt? If xkcd fans requested a large poster with this flowchart on, I would understand it. If they requested flyers they could pass out to their friends or even stickers with this flowchart on, I could understand it. I was expecting this motive to end up on a poster. Or even better: A mousepad. Heck, from a business perspective, if I was Randall, I would have gone for a mousepad, as xkcd fans would have bought ten-packs of them as Christmas presents for their less computer-savvy friends and family. And then he could put "" in tiny letters in a corner of the mousepad and get lots of free publicity that way. But using this as a T-shirt motive... Seriously, why? Way too much text.

  116. What other ways are there to pronounce 'genre', anyway? I only know of the French-sounding one.

  117. 'ʒɑːnrə or 'dʒɑːnrə, so with a hard or soft 'g' sound -- the second option would be, basically, 'john-ra'. Also, Michael Chabon is awesome and should be discussed more.

  118. Anonymous 1:14: Thanks. I'm not a native English speaker, so a few typos are unavoidable, but that doesn't mean I don't shiver in shame for each and every one of them. :-) But thanks for correcting me, now I know it the next time I need to write "motif".

  119. "My issue with these shirts is that they are *only* good for the reference. They have no inherent value (seeing that most of the designs are only interesting if you get the reference)."

    Given that this sentence describes a great majority of xkcd comics these days, the shirts are most probably perfect and will sell like hot cakes.

  120. I had a Romanian friend who pronounced it "JOHN-ray" for a while until someone corrected him.

  121. I used to think it was pronounced "GEN-re", with "GEN" as in "GENeration". Thankfully I never got to pronounce it that way to an actual English speaker. I used to grit my teeth when fellow co-workers or colleagues pronounced words like "engine" in all sorts of wrong ways, but seeing my own mistakes, I got a lot more tolerant.

  122. Aside from the mousepad, all of this looks like it was made my some chinese child using MS Paint and a ball mouse.

    Then again, these were probably made by a chinese kid using MS paint and a ball mouse.

    The only shirt I would ever buy from xkcd is the "sudo sandwich" shirt. Funniest shit ever, still to this day my favorite xkcd.

    One day, Randall will be on television shamelessly plugging himself to promote these. I see this in his future.

    Stop Randall, save the internets.

  123. i'm actually a die hard xkcd fan and thought i would hate this site (i don't), but i totally agree with this, just slapping a comic strip on a t-shirt is WRONG.

    just wrong.

  124. A gallery of python programmers and their beards.
    My initial respect for this guy, due to being a python programmer, was diminished due to being a Randall fanboy.

  125. I'd say that #1 and #2 are all right - they're subtle, at least. The logos are like a tasteful monogram. I'd even be tempted to get #2, since that's the one least likely to be associated with xkcd.

    #3 and #4 are tl;dr. Which is a shame, 'cos 552 is one of my favourites of the more recent xkcds. But I don't think I've EVER seen a comic on a T-shirt - that would be ridiculous.

    #5 is pretty lame. It makes no sense unless you've read the comic, it's another example of Randall going "WHOO, SCIENCE!!", and what font is that? Arial Black?? Oh dear...

    Agree about #6 though - that's good, that is.

  126. I wouldn't call the Woodpecker comic forgettable.

  127. i don't remember which comic you mean. link?