Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Comic 660: Just Plain Evil

Sympathy for the Devil
For a second comic running, I don't have too much to say. This worries me.

Yes, the comic feels like it was taken out of SMBC, had its humor removed, and stuck on XKCD. That's not a problem, really, it's not like SMBC should, or does, have a right to this sort of "best case / worst case" joke. But SMBC does have a fairly unique style in terms of being completely mean spirited, as in this best case/worst case comic [i would thank the poster who posted it but it was anonymous...]. XKCD can't really make up its mind on this. Is it all sweet and sad etc, at times, but at other times just plain evil. It leads to a sort of webcomic personality disorder, where not only can we not recognize a stick figure as being distinct from any other, we can't even know the sort of way that xkcd stick figures usually act.

Usually, with a character, you are given some cues about them - even if it's the first time you are meeting them, you see their clothes, say, or their hair, or the way they talk, the words they use, etc. And this is good, and important. because in order to care at all about the characters you have to know something about who they are, what they think, how they respond in certain situations.

But in xkcd there is none of that. There's just - stick figure. usually a plain stick figure is a man, but that's all. We don't know a damn thing else, ever, and in my opinion, that leads to forgettable characters. Does any other popular webcomic have these two features? No running characters (ok, besides the played out and one dimensional Mr. Hat) and no visual or verbal cues about them?

Anyway, I know I didn't say much about the comic - I'll leave that to the physics kids. But take this rambly essay loosely inspired by the comic in its place.

99 comments:

  1. Ouch. Well, you still haven't been published, ROB.

    ReplyDelete
  2. FOURTH

    You might say I was quite fourtunate.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can't wait until comic 666.

    ReplyDelete
  4. SIXTH

    So many people have commented on the upcoming 666... Truly this is a sign of the apocalypse.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wondermark is a good comic without recurring characters... then again, it's far more absurdist than xkcd could ever be.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh - I didn't say no recurring characters. Heck, SMBC, Kate Beaton, the Natalie Dee and Drew comics, I'm sure a bunch of others I read, they don't either. But they have better visual cues - for example, if one of their characters is older than another, you can tell by looking at them. Does any other comic lack both?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I noticed that the artwork of the comics you linked to was of the earlier style. Looking at the numbers:

    Sweet and Sad: 162 201 442
    Just Plain Evil: 102 29 219

    From the intro of the xkcd Sucks book, 442 is the only one written since this blog began with 409 and the rest were well before 285, one of the first Carl remembers reading. So, the evidence seems to show that xkcd had this "webcomic personality disorder" even in the golden age. (Actually, for a while, I thought xkcd was doing pretty good again, but that's another issue.) So, I'm curious, what does this mean for xkcd and the insights in this essay?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hmm, I'm not sure I see your point for this comic. This is just "physicist doesn't know how to console someone and always thinks in terms of physics." Why is it important that we should care about the character?

    On the other hand, this joke was really "I know a little bit about physics and I found a way to put it in a web comic" and also "scientists take every word literally" all combined into one big joke bomb!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like today's, but I think the last bit of dialogue is a little weak; it doesn't really add to the joke significantly. It's effective, though.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Today's seems like an abortion of a good idea. What if people applied the sort of malignantly militant apathy and cynicism one encounters in online political debates...to CLASS ELECTIONS?

    Oops! Randall already told that entire joke in the first two panels, and the first half of the third. Then he dribbled out another panel and a half because he's retarded.

    Alt-text is mostly harmless, just him blathering on about stuff no one cares about. Raise your hand if you think he heard of the Bull Moose party from one of the CRACKED.com articles on Teddy Roosevelt.

    ReplyDelete
  11. agreed with xyzzy: an amusing idea, weak dialogue. and agreed with whoever was annoyed at the double title.

    alt text amused me, though.

    p.s. the "drunkn" on the sexclusion one is still not fixed.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like how Randall forgot to remove that errant line in the second panel. It looks like something an editor could have picked up.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree with Femaltethoth (Mal from xkcdsucks). It's a pretty good idea for a joke, destroyed by XKCD's classically awful presentation. You get a punchline halfway the third panel, so you're wondering if you're supposed to laugh because apparently it's not done yet. Then it sort of drivels on, and then you get another semi-punchline/observation. The observation itself (debate about politics on the internet is bullshit) is okay, if not entirely original, and can be turned into a decent joke which Randall obviously caught the gist of but then couldn't turn into a smooth-flowing joke.

    I'm guessing this is one of those comics that he showed his friends, and his friends told him it was funny, like how he said he did with that cartoon vaginas one. Unfortunately your friends won't want to hurt your feelings and as such aren't as good as an editor.

    When an XKCD comic seems bland and there's nobody on the forums to make fun of though, I can always turn to Sinfest. The great thing about sinfest is that it's not only consistently awful, but the forums are filled with self-proclaimed theologists in a constant battle for supremacy. This is a particularly fine example: http://www.sinfest.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=4865&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    ReplyDelete
  14. The comments so far nailed the problem pretty well: the delivery is all contrived and messed up. I see potential in the "learning politics on the Internet" topic, but the build-up is ruined, and the final line is an extremely lukewarm way to round up the strip. It just doesn't click. There's no pace, no dynamic.

    ReplyDelete
  15. woops, i guess i don't agree with xyzzy. i meant the dialogue thing etc about this one, 660. i don't like the politics one.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Anyway, I know I didn't say much about the comic - I'll leave that to the physics kids."

    Gee, and you wander why people say you're not in the target audience...

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Gee, and you wander[sic] why people say you're not in the target audience..."

    Except Randall mostly just makes use of highschool science nowadays and already stated he hates not being understood.

    XKCD dumbed itself down to the point you have to 'wander' if the super-nerds it's apparently dedicated to are the target audience to begin with.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't think he heard about the Bull Moose party from Cracked, I think he just went "HEY BULL MOOSE THAT'S A PRETTY CRAZY NAME FOR A PARTY AMIRITE?"

    Also to quote xkcd explained (which is pretty good in its own right), "Note: the author feels that women are superior to men."

    But wait a minute. xkcd has terrible copy-paste art, characters all look the same except for minor changes, Randall is putting a punchline in the third panel of the comic and has a fourth one for no reason...

    My God. xkcd has turned into Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

    ReplyDelete
  19. dinosaur comics lacks any visual cues

    ReplyDelete
  20. But can you apply the CAD rule to xkcd? Let's find out.

    #661
    #660
    #659
    #72 (via random)

    Funny? Funnier than the originals? You decide!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Whoops, stuffed the last one up. Here is the correct link.

    #72

    ReplyDelete
  22. @Sam
    #661 was actually quite funny, in a "arguing with trolls on the internet" kind of way.

    ReplyDelete
  23. "...But in xkcd there is none of that. There's just - stick figure. usually a plain stick figure is a man, but that's all...."


    Perhaps, Randall, the folowing is intended:
    The willing suspension of disbelief is a formula celated by Samuel Taylor Coleridge to justify the use of fantastic or non-realistic elements in literature. Coleridge suggested that the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.

    It might be used to refer to the willingness of the audience to overlook the limitations of a medium, so that these do not interfere with the acceptance of those premises. The audience tacitly agrees to provisionally suspend their judgment in exchange for the promise of entertainment.
    Then again:
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I liked the new one. Although the joke I got was that the boy was thinking he could just say one thing and then just not reply if he was wrong (i.e. like on the Internet). So I didn't get the joke till right at the end after 4 panals of build-up.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dude, enjoying a comic because you didn't understand it is just as bad as disliking a comic because you didn't get it--except worse, because "poorly-communicated" is generally a flaw when dealing with media like this.

    Anyway, here's how I would've re-written this:

    Have the girl make a couple generic campaign promises. Have the boy launch into a long speech about the meaningless of politics. Have him get more and more impassioned, as the girl tries to interrupt. By the time he's really getting into it, spittle flying from his mouth, the girl finally just shouts him down that THIS IS JUST THE MODEL U.N., JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.

    Then he sits down, sheepishly.

    Not a great punchline, but I like it better than the first one.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well, Toothpaste for Dinner sort of has non-memorable generic characters, although sometimes they wear things like business suits. but generally, they are either just male/female/child or tall/short or human/non-human (dog/cat/etc). He does deviate though when he draw "caricatures" of people like himself, but those are super rare.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Mal - was that to me?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I think TFD might be the closest guess yet. Dinosaur comics doesn't have too many visual cues (beyond the fact that they are FRIGGING DINOSAURS) but they are consistent from comic to comic - it's the same T Rex and utahraptor from day to day, so once you've read a few, you already go into each comic knowing a little bit about what the characters are like.

    Also, if you can find more than 5 posts out of 300 I've written where I say that I am not qualified to judge the comic, I'll send you cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  29. So, you had to stretch extra hard to find something "wrong" with it today?

    No recurring characters? Seriously, we're 600 comics in at that point, it is known that for the most part there aren't recurring characters. Hell, essentially there aren't characters in xkcd. You yourself say that you used to enjoy xkcd. It didn't have recurring characters then, and it was still enjoyable. So, no recurring characters obviously is not the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  30. That that is supposed to be this. Know what I'm sayin'?

    ReplyDelete
  31. The boy in the barrel was a recurring character.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Carl,
    Could you possibly do an anti-post? I mean, could you critique a comic you actually liked, like on of the older ones? Maybe you could put it in the FAQ. I think it might help to contrast the older comics from the newer ones.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Don't forget girl. She is recurring. Her main (only?) theme is that she is superior to boy.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Jon:
    Much like many of this decade's American commercials :-(

    ReplyDelete
  35. Goddammit Sam, that's not the CAD rule; you have to take out the dialog on the last panel.

    And that wouldn't work at all, since XKCD doesn't have art.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Another smart girl making the boy look stupid?

    I honestly think Randall has some sort of problem with gender.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Or maybe YOU just have a problem that there might be a girl somewhere who is better at you than something...

    -T_A

    ReplyDelete
  38. The_Autodidact,

    Enjoy being a white-knighting virgin until you kill yourself while strung out allergy medication and Smirnoff Ice in a back alley behind a Babbage's.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh how I love the term "white knight"...You can't think of a comeback that isn't overtly mysoginist, so you act as if NOT being a mysoginist is a bad thing. Genius.

    -T_A

    ReplyDelete
  40. Damn it, Sam, now that errant line in panel two is all I can see.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Well, that and the floating head in panel three.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Yes, because everyone who doesn't agree with a single notion of gender equality is a mysoginist(sic).

    You have extremely simplistic notions of what equality between men and women is if you think "showing a woman being better than a man at something" is a legitimate expression of feminism. True feminism is about celebrating both the strength and capabilities of women while simultaneously embracing the traits that make them feminine, albeit often in non-traditional ways.

    Anyway, I'm not the one who read deeply into an anonymous comment and tried to project a sense of misogyny onto someone I disagree with in order to attack them and attempt to paint myself as a champion of gender equality. The only one here who seems to have any issues is you.

    Oh, and protip: misogyny is not a blanket term to cover all instances of men saying negative things about women. It's an active attitude of hatred and resentment toward the opposite gender as a whole (and it's called misandry when it's from a woman and directed toward men). It's a very specific term and using it as broadly as you have, with as little evidence as you have available, is academically dishonest, and it makes you look pretty dumb.

    PS - fun fact: misandry (which is the correct spelling) shows up underlined in red in this box as though it's misspelled (which means it isn't even in the spell checkers dictionary), whereas misogyny shows up as just fine. Hooray for equality, amirite?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hahahah. Oh my, The Autodidact, It seems I just watched you get brutally raped.

    ReplyDelete
  44. @ The P

    If you'll allow me to tack this on to your post, my definition of a "White Knight" would be a male misandrist.

    So, Autodidact, who feels the need to sign off without the charm of Sir William de Monty Hughes, would be a White Knight is this case.

    Unless of course the term "White Knight" has been bandied about too much recently.

    ReplyDelete
  45. is it just me or is xkcd sucks like... getting kinda boring. Everyday it's like "ooh, i've got absolutely nothing to say. Um, yeah. And XKCD sucks." And that took like 2 days after the comic came out. I mean, seriously.

    Jeez carl. Your posts are sucking lately.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I blame the fact that xkcd has lately been either mediocre (meaning there's not much to criticize and not much to praise either) or confusig (meaning it's kinda hard to know what to say).

    ReplyDelete
  47. Go 3:37. You've got the answers for us all.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I fully admit to only vaguely knowing what the CAD rule is.

    (Keeping the dialogue is likely an acceptable compromise with xkcd though, since removing the dialog would rely on the art in the last panel of which there is frequently none.)

    ReplyDelete
  49. I thought this one was funny. The punchline (and to a certain extent, the "save") sold it for me.

    ReplyDelete
  50. @Sam

    Googling "CAD rule" turned up an ED page on CAD, which says,

    "By the simple act of removing the second and third panels, and removing the text from the fourth panel, the comic is made much funnier."

    And 10:28A anon is right, with xkcd's lack of art, the CAD rule doesn't work as well with it.

    ReplyDelete
  51. You know, the P, your claim to non-mysoginy would be so much more convincing if people who share your position wouldn't cheer you on with rape jokes.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hey dipshit,

    1. Rape isn't misogynistic. The_Autodidact is a guy, and male-on-male rape is often used in taunts because it is humiliating. If TA were a girl, Anon probably wouldn't have mentioned rape, because male-on-female rape is a much more taboo subject.

    2. Even if that comment was misogynistic, that wouldn't say anything about The_P. Hard as this apparently is to understand, he and the Anon are not the same person.

    ReplyDelete
  53. omg jay you're supporting poore

    you guys must be the same

    OMG

    ReplyDelete
  54. I can say nothing of the autodidact except that he must have had a poor teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Jonathan,
    I think you have hit the nail on the head. If that is indeed the joke, then you need all panels.
    XKCD nowadays has improved quite a lot, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  56. In unrelated news, the current Google logo looks like a penis.

    ReplyDelete
  57. 1. Rape isn't mysoginist? RAPE? NOT MYSOGINIST? Rape is pretty much the pinnacle of mysoginy. Escalating mysoginy leads either to rape or murder of a woman or both.

    Have you ever examined why male-on-male rape is apparently so hilarious to you? Hint: It's going to be rooted in mysoginy. Also, misandry. But then, the 2 often come in a 2-for-1 bargain.

    For reference, see: The entire fucking feminist blogosphere.

    2. Did I say that the two had the same position? Once more, for slow people:
    I said that people who shared his position often are demonstrably mysoginist, the "White knight" bit serving as a sexist dog whistle (I saw more than one such dog whistle in P's posts, but let's leave that aside). I'm not saying P is mysoginist (I actually agreed with quite a bit of his post), but that it's not unreasonable for autodidact to make that assumption when he flaunts opinions held by mysoginists. Which really puts quite a damper on P's outraged "How dare you mistake me for a mysoginist! My feminist cred, let me show it to you..." song and dance.

    Or to put it another way: If you use mysoginist talking points, you have no right to be offended when someone mistakes you for one.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Rape is about power, not sex.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'm sort of confused. Now it's bad that we don't know how a XKCD stick figure usually acts, while it's usually terrible that the XKCD stick figures are far too predictable and keep to their stereotypes/tropes/whatever far too much? I'm not saying XKCD is the paragon of hilarity, but this really just makes it seem like you couldn't find anything to critisize in today's strip.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hey dipshit,

    1. Rape isn't mysoginist? RAPE? NOT MYSOGINIST? Rape is pretty much the pinnacle of mysoginy. Escalating mysoginy leads either to rape or murder of a woman or both.

    No, rape is fucking gender neutral. You're so busy being offended that you don't see this. The perpetrator is almost always a man, but the victim can be either.

    Also, misogyny is the hatred of women. Rape is usually not rooted in hatred. You are using the wrong word.


    Have you ever examined why male-on-male rape is apparently so hilarious to you? Hint: It's going to be rooted in mysoginy.


    It's not hilarious to me. I just wrote a post on how we don't all share the same opinions. Did you read it?

    I said that people who shared his position often are demonstrably mysoginist ... I'm not saying P is mysoginist ... but that it's not unreasonable for autodidact to make that assumption when he flaunts opinions held by mysoginists.

    1. No, you said that he was a misogynist, and cited his supporters as evidence.
    2. You said this. Technically you didn't say it directly but you very strongly implied it.
    3. What opinions specifically?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Jeebus, all of this fustle and bustle, and it seems like the only crime here was that T_A used the word "misogynist" instead of "sexist".

    ReplyDelete
  62. XKCD is misogynist/sexist because it uses males as the default template of a person, as becomes evident by the fact that male stickfigures are completely featureless and 'neutral' while the female stick-figures are defined solely by their hair. So whereas the male template is completely neutral and allows us virtually endless combinations of traits applied to it, the female template has been arbitrarily limited in an attempt not to make it female, but by making it not-male.

    This outrageous display of gender-bias shouldn't be encouraged and therefore XKCD is deserving of any mockery it gets in order to diminish its iconic standing in 'nerd culture'.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Precisely! It should have been that a featureless stick figure would be female and all the males have the distinguishing organ from which Randall has thus far shied away.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Actually... the Autodidact commited more crimes... one of them being... abuse of ellipses...

    ReplyDelete
  65. Rob, Kaderie, don't you guys have some liberal arts classes to go to?

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hey Person-of-the-non-witty-insults

    I'm not "busy being offended". In fact, I find this all to be rather amusing. Also, you just scored on my anti-feminist bingo card. Several times, even! :D

    You're either trying really hard to say the things you think'll offend me the most or you're just that ignorant. I'm going to kindly assume the former. Because seriously? A crime that boasts 90%+ female victims and is perpetuated almost exclusively by one gender? It doesn't get any more gender un-neutral than that.

    So, if rape isn't rooted in hatred, what is it rooted in? Are you one of those people who believe rapists are lonely, sexually frustrated men and that rape is a compliment?

    A word of advise: Stop talking out of your ass. It seldom makes one look good. Go and read up on the topic. You might find out that most rapes are commited by highly mysoginist serial rapists, who are also mostly promiscious, i.e. perfectly capable of getting laid. That, as Rob said, rape is not about sex, but about power. It's not sex they want. It's about getting off on women's pain and struggles.

    Yeah, totally not rooted in hatred.

    ***

    I find it highly interesting that autodidact implying that he's okay with women being portrayed as more competent than men in fields that are male-dominated (thus having strong anti-woman biases) gets singled out for being misandrist, but that a comment that flat-out states that the image of a man being "brutally raped" is funny and the follow-up comment explaining that such an experience would be humiliating for the victim instead of horrific as long as said victim had a penis are fucking a-okay. And somehow, not misandrist at all. Also, not at all feeding into an atmosphere where male rape victims are afraid to go to the police.

    Yeah, I read your point about how you don't share the same opinion just fine. But here's the thing: you can see a lot in what a group objects to and what not.

    ***

    "No, you said..." "You said this..." "Technically you didn't..."

    Make up your fucking mind.

    Since my original point was that intent doesn't matter shit and that, when people misread you, you likely used poor communication skills and should own up to them...

    I'm sorry.

    I'm sorry if, in my original post, I used ambigious language. I'm sorry if I failed to communicate my original opinion and intent. I accept responsibility for you jumping to the wrong conclusion.

    I am, however, empathically NOT sorry if you're clinging to your misconception of my opinion just so you can insult me some more. I am not sorry if you use your misconception to build a strawman to attack, even after I clarified my position. THAT responsibility lies with you.

    ***

    Rusty

    Lol, is that your idea of smack talk?

    ReplyDelete
  67. get back in the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hey dipshit,

    I'm not trying to be witty and you're not amused. That is a rhetorical technique that is common on the internet, because it creates an air of superiority: you're just so above it all, nothing your opponents say can faze you. It's blatantly transparent and we both know it's a lie. I don't know what you feel reading this, but that's not it.

    Everything you write is dishonest.

    Because seriously? A crime that boasts 90%+ female victims and is perpetuated almost exclusively by one gender? It doesn't get any more gender un-neutral than that.

    It's not 90%+, it's 90%. You threw that plus sign in to make your point look stronger. 9 in 10 rape victims are women, and 1 in 10 are men. Does that 10% not matter? Do you think that is enough to categorize the act as misogynist?

    But that's irrelevant, because we're talking about rape only in a certain context (taunts), and rape in this context is implicitly male-on-male. That is the truth. Think: when was the last time you saw rape thrown in the face of a female commenter anywhere? I can't remember ever seeing it done. Anyone who did it would be shouted down. Because it would be threatening and unacceptable.

    So, if rape isn't rooted in hatred, what is it rooted in? Are you one of those people who believe rapists are lonely, sexually frustrated men and that rape is a compliment?

    Rape is about power.

    Let me ask you something. Are you actually a feminist, or is it a self-righteous lie to strengthen your own position (whatever it is)? Do you realize what you just did - you used rape to lash out and discredit me in a malicious and wholly dishonest way. Do you realize how disgusting this is?

    No, I don't think rape is a compliment, you poisonous fuck.

    I find it highly interesting that autodidact implying that he's okay with women being portrayed as more competent than men in fields that are male-dominated (thus having strong anti-woman biases) gets singled out for being misandrist, but that a comment that flat-out states that the image of a man being "brutally raped" is funny and the follow-up comment explaining that such an experience would be humiliating for the victim instead of horrific as long as said victim had a penis are fucking a-okay. And somehow, not misandrist at all.

    You have failed to understand the discussion. Literally nothing you just said was correct.

    Make up your fucking mind.

    No, you don't get to shift blame to me for your own inconsistencies. You did not clarify your position, you took on a new one. You have said nothing meaningful so far. I suspect you have nothing meaningful to say.

    ReplyDelete
  69. You've gotta love that in the last week we've had pretty mediocre xkcd comments to discuss, instead we get these awesome debates going on :D

    ReplyDelete
  70. Kaderie is hilariously inept at just about every aspect of debate, logic, and thinking in general. Are you also one of those people who insist it's "classist" to market lower quality, cheaper foods to the working class?

    ReplyDelete
  71. kaderie is just one of those people who are idiots.

    ReplyDelete
  72. You know, if Kaderie were to say that using male-on-male rape as a form of taunt is a sign of potential homofobia, it would be extremely obnoxious and silly, but at least *coherent*. But since when is raping a MALE person an act of misogyny? Not only that's obnoxious, but it doesn't even make sense.

    So, yeah, lol, Jay, you hate gay people, lol u fag

    ReplyDelete
  73. --"This outrageous display of gender-bias shouldn't be encouraged and therefore XKCD is deserving of any mockery it gets in order to diminish its iconic standing in 'nerd culture'."

    Gee, Nathan Poe is truly too broadly applicable. But I'm going to assume you're a Poe, given the context.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Math Mage, The phrase "Poe's Law" would be a much better choice than "Nathan Poe." It is, after, the law, not the man, who is applicable to the situation.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I do enjoy reading these reviews, but this one missed the mark. First, we get that XKCD has a lazy art style. This is not news, and does not impede the enjoyment of the comic for anyone who enjoyed it in the past. Don't focus on that aspect unless it's absolutely necessary.

    Onto the joke. I'm pretty sure this comic was Randall's way of saying, "Hey, did you guys know that in physics a 'moment' means a single frame in time, but to normal people a 'moment' means a couple minutes? Hilarious, right?". Technically, it counts as a joke - one word with two meanings causing confusion. However, unless the reader is hypersensitive to the word "moment" (I am, apparently), the joke is lost. The key word is thrown out there with the rest of the dialog, making the setup vague and the payoff undeserved. Randall could have saved this comic by showcasing the word "moment". Randall really needs an editor.

    Regardless of the weak setup, the last panel completely kills the comic. Panels 1-3 set up the physicist as the butt of the joke, while Panel 4 doubles back and claims he was right for mocking the "incorrect" usage of the word. Person #2 seems to be claiming that Person #1's posit of "feeling the emotion instantly" goes against the rules of physics: "If your crazy thoughts were correct, the rules of space and time would be violated, causing the total destruction of life as we know it!" I don't find that sort of elitism funny/insightful/true, and could do without it.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Regardless of the weak setup, the last panel completely kills the comic. Panels 1-3 set up the physicist as the butt of the joke, while Panel 4 doubles back and claims he was right for mocking the "incorrect" usage of the word. Person #2 seems to be claiming that Person #1's posit of "feeling the emotion instantly" goes against the rules of physics: "If your crazy thoughts were correct, the rules of space and time would be violated, causing the total destruction of life as we know it!" I don't find that sort of elitism funny/insightful/true, and could do without it.

    Uh, actually, he was just extrapolating from physics. If you could have shit like quantum nonlocality, or instantaneous transfer of meaningful information, you WOULD be able to do a ton of crazy shit with reference frames. If you let causality get buttfucked re: instantaneous communication, it gets buttfucked.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Jay, come up with an insult besides "poisonous fuck;" it's getting repetitive.

    At least use synonyms, man. I usually enjoy reading what you type but that line is just getting old. It's certainly apt, but I'm certain you can at the very least come up with a few synonyms for it.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Um, dude, I have never said poisonous fuck before. I am like 99% certain of this. Can you think of any examples?

    Thanks for the rest of what you said, though.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Sorry Jay, but uh, you kinda did. In your last post, even.

    ReplyDelete
  80. --"Math Mage, The phrase "Poe's Law" would be a much better choice than "Nathan Poe." It is, after, the law, not the man, who is applicable to the situation."

    But it is not Poe's Law that applies, in a strict sense, so it still isn't right. Believe me, I was going back and forth over that one.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Kaderie, I never accused T_A of being a misandrist - I explained what misandry as a simple point of information that seemed a proper accompaniment to my argument. Please try to address factual claims rather than making false inferences and attacking them to make yourself look better.

    A quick aside about rape - 90% of REPORTED cases of rape are female. This 90% also includes cases where the woman revoked consent AFTER the act occurred - or, in other words, she had consensual sex and then reported it as rape later (this is rare, but completely legal). Many studies also suggest that cases of male-male, female-male, and female-female rape are so under-reported that less than 10% of these cases are brought to light every year. NOTE: I am not trying to make light of the seriousness of men raping women. I am trying to point out that anyone who constantly parrots how serious rape is as a way to paint OTHERS as misogynists is uninformed and dishonest in their actions.

    On a completely different note: Math_Mage, your attention to detail, and anguish over such a small semantic distinction (especially when posting on a blog's comment page), is a possible sign of autism. You should get that checked out.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Hey generic-insult-here

    I'm not even going to touch the dishonest crack. But yes, I have actually trained myself to be darkly amused about shit like this. If I didn't laugh about it, I'd just sob, I think.

    You do realize that when people talk about "1 in 4 X does Y" it does not mean the rate is precisely 25%, right?

    "U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999) estimated that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male"

    An example quickly taken from wikipedia. But of course, typing into google is way too much effort when you can just assert shit, which is not dishonest at all *rolls eyes*

    Yes, I don't care about men getting raped - this is why I object, over and over again, to using their experiences as taunt-fodder. Wait, what?

    You actually believe people don't throw rape taunts at women? Lolsob.

    Welcome to the internet.

    Strong Trigger warning...

    This is a female feminist who objects to a rape joke. One of her arguments is that she herself was raped and it's so-very-unfunny to use that act as comedy-fodder. Here are some choice comments:

    "I guess the guy who raped you somehow left his dick behind, because you have a major pole up your ass. Pull it out and lighten up."

    "You’re a liar. You made up that story to further your feminist agenda. But if, by chance, you aren’t lying then at least there was a time in your pathetic life when you fulfilled the only purpose!"

    "YOU’RE PROBABLY TOO UGLY TO GET RAPED!"

    etc.

    If you spend any prolonged time at all in the feminist blogosphere you see comments like these all. The. Time. I think we're just coming from vastly different experiences on this one.

    To get back to what we were originally arguing about: Are rape taunts of any kind mysoginist? And my answer is still yes. I asked you a question you never answered: Why is it supposedly humiliating for men to get raped, but not for women? I'm gonna answer for you: It's because the male victim is put in the position of being the woman. It comes from the same place that gives us such smack-talk like "You X like a girl!" and makes losing to a girl the worst thing evar.

    And, as a side not, to the commenter who thinks I'm being inconsistent by attributing this to mysoginy instead of "homofobia" - the two are not mutually exclusive. They are, in fact, interconnected, reinforcing each other. Calling gays "effeminate" (ZOMG, you're like WOMEN! The horror!) is, after all, one of the favorite insults of homophobes.

    ***

    Yes, rape is about power. That is what I said. You still haven't answered what it's rooted in if not hatred.

    Now this part just made me go WHUT? I lie about being a feminist because...it's going to make my position stronger? Because feminists are ever-so-popular? HUH? Yeah...WTF doesn't even cover it.

    I used rape to discredit you in a malicious and dishonest way. U-huh. Dude, I'm just rephrasing the things you say and ask questions - because your position is so fucking inconsistent and, when it's not, it's pretty horrific, which is why I continue asking wether you actually mean it that way.

    The "Rape as a compliment" was out of line, I'm sorry. You had no context to know what I meant with that. (For reference: here)

    ***

    That was not about "the" discussion, it was an observation that I found disturbing. Congratz on deflecting.

    ***

    Aaaand you're clinging to your assumptions. My language was ambigious and I already apologized for that - but that does not mean your reading was correct. My position is not inconsistent and I did not change it after my first post.

    The P

    Did I specify you when I said people called autodidact misandrist? Cirtur helpfully explained that "White Knight", to him, meant "Male misandrist" and then proceeded to call autodidact one. Please try to address factual claims rather than making false inferences and attacking them to make yourself look better.

    ReplyDelete
  83. If you'll excuse me, I'll be back in the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  84. @Mal Sorry for the confusion. The paragraph preceding the one you responded to points out that in non-physics situations, a moment is defined as "a few minutes" rather than "one frozen frame in time".

    Using that definition, Person #1 is incorrect in the assumption that Person #2 is positing that the emotion was experienced instantaneously. Person #1 then extrapolates from that misunderstanding in the classic "Duh, the world would end if that were true" scenario. Extrapolating like that makes sense if you're in a physics setting (like a classroom) and someone doesn't understand how to use physics terms. However, it is a huge mistake to do this in normal human interactions.

    That realization is probably the intended "joke". Yet the last panel indicates that Randall sides with the socially-inept physics student, standing by his socially horrifying decision to mock someone for using a word with multiple meanings. Even if the comic was brilliantly executed, I find that stance to be unpalatable elitism.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Why the fuck is "mysogany" misspelled in microsoft word have to contribute to your childish rant?

    I think kaderie hits the point, and i'm actually an XKCD hater. I'm really tired about how yall just do that generic assault comment and think that youre all tired of these fucking posts. It's because they mean something to themselves! Fuck you al contradictory people! I was like skimming and then found this website. "Cool. Maybe they express some opinions that I- OH FUCK NO. I DON'T GIVE A SHIT IF THE HEAD IS ATTATCHED OR NOT. FUCKING INCREDIBLE." I know Carl is really lazy and doesn't spend that much time on it, but seriously. Pull it together.

    I really don't give a shit if you go like "ooh he's stupid. What an idiot. Yeah, i quoted from your comment and destroyed your case afterwards. Yeah."

    I really don't want to give a fuck. You can feel better in your own little world of thick membraned skulls that you 'won', but in reality, many people think that you people are fucking contradictory douchebags. Like me. I would not care if you made my post look like complete crap. Go ahead. Waste 30 minutes of your life. Insult me with things like "he's a crybaby" and show links to a crying baby and say that's me. That's how fucking childish you are.

    Go ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Kaderie, if you feel like continuing this, email me. arkhaio [at] gmail [dot] com. No one is reading this thread anymore.

    Anon, most of your comment doesn't make sense, but I'll respond to two things. Most people here aren't trying to WIN. This is just another form of self-expression. There are no winners. Also, I don't care much about the floating heads either.

    ReplyDelete
  87. The_P:
    --"On a completely different note: Math_Mage, your attention to detail, and anguish over such a small semantic distinction (especially when posting on a blog's comment page), is a possible sign of autism. You should get that checked out."

    I tend to check my writing more carefully when I'm writing in places where it's likely to get criticized (which means here and the local "Intelligent design is totally a scientific theory" Facebook group). Between the comment on "Nathan Poe" here and Ar_Pharazon's correction of my spelling of "disputandem" on the 661 thread, I think I am justified in doing this.

    Of course, this does not preclude the possibility that I have autism. Never checked, and not sure I care enough to, since it hasn't caused me serious trouble irl up to this point.

    Anonymous:
    --"Yet the last panel indicates that Randall sides with the socially-inept physics student, standing by his socially horrifying decision to mock someone for using a word with multiple meanings."

    It does? I read the words "very wrong". By my simpleminded analysis, that means Randall thinks this is a bad idea.

    ReplyDelete
  88. One response to this entire editing process.
    It's school election, children aren't going to be using perfect grammar, the dialogue fits teh characters. Also, the administration of my old middle school always told us not to promise that we'd fix problems, so that people wouldn't get mad at us if we didn't.

    ReplyDelete
  89. why are all these comments talking about the wrong comic?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Because Carl is terrible and fat and lazy and is never talking about the current comic.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I think Randall doesn't try to intrest his readers with characters, but rather with his commentary on society, technology, etc. Having faceless stick people could be a metaphor for how generic the world's problems and strengths are.

    Also, a lot of his GOOD comics work purely for the fact that they are faceless. For example, in "I am not a ninja" the fact that you don't know what they're thinking until the end is partially whar makes it funny. Think about it. If they had faces, what will they be? Would the woman be angry? That would just make it less funny. Would the man have that stupid cartoon embarassed grin on his face? That would just look stupid.

    ReplyDelete