Saturday, December 12, 2009

Comic 674: Child Abuse

for a different take on this comic, see this post.
nothing natural about this shit
Well, maybe John was going to e-mail me about this comic but I'm just going to assume he is not.

Here we see, yet again, that Randall Munroe is not good with kids. We first saw it with comic 441:

What's astounding to me is that he managed to use the exact same weird unnatural phrase ("we made a baby") in both comics. Both of them have the same exact message, "I am not responsible enough to have a child" and both of them make me go "well then it's a good thing you don't have one, and aren't likely to have one at all soon!" Both feature women who seem to think that having a baby is no big deal (in fact, 674's woman just can't wait to get started again!) and both seem to relate to Randall's fascination with female reproductive systems (witness this overtly in 387), though of course that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

Wait, what? The woman in panel 1 is saying "Don't panic" over and over? Say what you will about pregnancy, but one thing I don't think is true about giving birth is that it comes as a surprise. It's not like you are feeling sick so you go to the doctor and he goes "woah, hey, we are going to have to do some surgery here" and then you get anaesthesia and then a few hours later the doctor is like "Yep, just as we thought! You were nine months pregnant, so here is your baby!" Because then I think an appropriate response would be "don't panic, oh shit what am I going to do, don't panic."

As I said, that is not usually what happens; usually you are aware of it ahead of time, and so any panicing is before the birth, not "after the time when your baby is able to stand up and say 'BABY!' like the little dude is doing in panel 1."

Actually, that's unfair. I don't think the baby is saying "BABY!" in panel 1, I think that's supposed to be a label. But of course, that brings up two related, worse problems: 1, The fact that readers are disagreeing as to what it is means that Randall has failed to communicate through visual means what he wanted. He could have used speech bubbles - not exactly new territory - and then we could have seen that this text was not meant as speech. Just a simple, straightforward suggestion.

The other problem, of course, is that his art is so shitty that he has to point out what a baby is because his baby is literally just a scaled down version of every other friggin character he draws.

Anyway, this comic was made by a dumb person and contains very dumb people, and i pity them all.

tomorrow, if I have time, I am going to write a review of the (several years old) Dinosaur Comics book (alternate link), just so that you see that I can write negative things about stuff I usually like.

On the subject of things you can buy from TopatoCo, what the fuck is up with this? One internet cookie to the person who can explain it to my satisfaction. Keep in mind: The size of this poster must also be explained.

Holy crap, Penny Arcade has a friggin video series? That's crazy. Totally crazy. I feel like Penny Arcade is just this unstoppable behemoth of creation, just making and producing more and more and more every day, taking over various field and drawing all human creative potential into their icy grip. That said, I totally suggest you check it out - it's only 3 videos so far, about 20 or 25 minutes of total video, so not overwhelming. And they are promising weekly updates, so I for one will try to keep up.
No one has yet offered to buy me a Winter Holidays present! This is tragic. You already know what I want, but if you are a poor person and still want to buy me a gift you should buy me one of these. Hell, the cheapest thing on TopatoCo is still something I would want to have. Now GO! go buy me gifts, all of you! I don't see why this hasn't worked already.


  1. Well, this seems to be the original... thing. Though I don't know what said thing is.

  2. Carl and his arrogant fanboys are so jealous of xkcd's success, it's almost sad. You hate that xkcd is popular while your worthless efforts in writing and art have failed, so now you're all reduced to hating on Munroe's every move. Why is that exactly? Did Munroe ignore you at a convention or something?

    Oh, and I love how you present your OPINION on ART as if it were FACT. Art is inherently subjective, you'd know that if you had an education. Remember, xkcd is widely regarded as being the greatest webcomic of all time, and a few unconstructively critical blogposts on some worthless corner of the Internet isn't going to change that.

    Furthermore, how dare you even criticize something you obviously have no understanding of? Do you really expect us to take your slanted viewpoint seriously? What credentials do you offer, exactly? Where are YOUR webcomics, huh? Yeah, that's what I thought. You're just another uncreative loser trying to get the attention of a true luminary, probably in hopes of validation. How sad your lives must be.

    Finally, nobody is forcing you to read xkcd, so why do you bother criticizing it? You people really need to lighten up and quit being so angry all the time. Perhaps if you took a few courses in computer science, mathematics or physics, you might live long enough to enjoy xkcd.

  3. Carl how are we supposed to get you gifts if we don't know where you live

  4. am i the only one getting tired of the fake fanboys

    (i hope not)

  5. See also here for information on sears painting.

  6. Strange how the characters in XKCD can apparently be so smart and yet be indisputably retarded, as in this comic. This comic and the other one similar to it just make me made with how stupid they are, both in concept and execution.

    Just send him the money via PayPal with the message, "Hey Carl, here's the money for a Dinosaur Comics t-shirt. Merry Christmas!"

    And you're not the only one tired of trolls, but since it's so obvious that they're trolling, we should just ignore them.

  7. i am not sending money to carl.

    also of note: carl is offering internet cookies, which i thought was punny.

  8. Although I usually agree with your opinions on this blog, I feel that at some occasions you really don't get the point.

    The dialog is quite obviously not intended to be realistic. The woman's comment 'Don't panic!' is an element of absurdity, as is the rather suprisingly hasty arrival of the second baby in the final comic.

    I actually liked this one. It wasn't great, but it was certainly enjoyable. Not despite the unlikely dialog and instant babies, but because of them. There is a humour in dealing with serious issues in this manner, which you apparently fail to appreciate. Which is fine, of course, you don't have to like it, but what I am trying to say is that I doubt that Randall is unaware of the unlikely phrasing of "We made a baby", and the fact that the birth seemingly comes as a surprise. That is intentional, and to me, and surely many other fans of absurdity, it adds to the humour.

  9. I'm pretty sure that's at least the third time that troll's exact message has appeared in the comments. Terrifying! Xkcd fanboys have a hive mind; they think as one! One coordinated mental juggernaut intent on annihilating Carl!

    Or some delightful 14 year old who's only just recently discovered the twin joys of copy/paste and online anonymity.

  10. amanda, everyone else: if you e-mail me, i will make this work. ALL I WANT IS PRESENTS.

  11. "...hasty arrival of the second baby in the final PANEL" is what I meant to write.

  12. Anyone else think 675 is garbage/better-than-expected/incomprehensible? Not that it's out yet, but I figure why not get started discussing a comic in a different comic's comment section early.

  13. I know its nitpicking, but why does the last panel say 'soon'? 9 months is not soon!

  14. Yorik, absurd humor relies very, very heavily on the delivery of the dialog, the attitudes of the characters, etc. - things which are very difficult to convey through the written word and static images. Think about Monty Python. If the same skits are performed by faceless characters with no clear emotions or tonal cues in their delivery of their lines, would they be nearly as funny? The answer is "no", because it's pretty much impossible to do this kind of humor without those things. When your as bad as Randall at writing dialog, it is basically impossible.

  15. Soon is a relative term and this comic was funny. What the hell is wrong with you people.
    It's a four panel joke, all of them are and this one is -actually- good!

    It's a comic with stick people, you knew it was a stick baby. What's the problem here? Why are you criticizing the art of a stick comic you hack, just wait for John. It's a much better alternative.

  16. Even for a stick comic the art sucks. How many necks can you count in a strip? Is it equal to the amount of heads?

  17. "Perhaps if you took a few courses in computer science, mathematics or physics, you might live long enough to enjoy xkcd."

    Huh? I can't figure this one out. Is this, like, a death threat? "If you don't become a computer scientist I will kill you?" Is this suggesting that math and physics classes... help you live longer somehow? Or that even if we take them it will still take years for us to be old and senile enough to find XKCD funny?

    I'll go with that last one.

    Hint: most people here are math/physics/compsci people.

  18. Carl what the hellllllllllll

    You're already so biased on XKCD its not even funny anymoar. Okay, so pregnancy in this strip is unrealistic. Um.. okay... did that just make a kid die or something? What's so wrong with it? The general punchline here is pretty funny, and the whole "don't panic thing" contributed to the humor. I really don't know how you would hate on this strip, but, evidently, you found a way.

    If all comics were realistic, it would be pretty fucking boring. I also don't think Randall is labeling the baby "BABY!" The baby is saying baby because i think he is imitating the guy.

    I'm getting increaseingly annoyed at the whining about the unattatched necks. What the fuck does it matter? Does it ruin the punchline? Did it rape you? Deal with it.

    These days, all I see is just whining about minor details that don't really matter. I seriously can't believe you thought that it was a label, even though the guy said "oh man we made a baby," and they are both looking at a small guy. I think the readers took that hint.

    Even though the first anonymous just randomly stepped over the "stupid responses to criticism" thingy, I agree sort of. We like XKCD, so our light shed upon it is tinted with respect, while you automatically think XKCD SUCKS. I really wish there was a real XKCD SUCKS SUCKS.

  19. Dear first cuddlefish that appeared on this post...

    That Randall's stick figures have heads that fail to connect with their necks is a FACT.

    Cheers, Mole out!

  20. Pro Mole is fucking pro.

  21. I really don't see how you could dislike this comic. Your predisposition towards hating XKCD is getting out of hand.

  22. I really don't see how you could like this comic. Your predisposition towards loving XKCD is getting out of hand.

  23. @Anon 8:15: What's wrong with this blog? Did it rape you?

    Can you show me on the doll where the blog touched you?

  24. Oh! So, I was reading all the comments on the previous post and I remembered that there ARE woman who have babies without knowing that they're pregnant. There's this show called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" on Discovery Health where woman have babies in bathrooms and stuff because they think they're constipated and they're in labor.

    Perhaps Randall was subtlely referencing this series?

    I'd also like to point out that I've never seen this show, but my roommmate has and she promises me it is ridiculous.

  25. My mom didn't know she was pregnant with me until her third trimester, because she was amenorrheic and was told she was infertile. She just thought she was getting fat. Then when she felt me squirming around in there she figured she probably ought to go to the doctor to see wtf was up.

    I am a freak of nature.

  26. aloria is actually an alien parasite.

  27. Anyway yeah. I've had this feeling lately - like some recent xkcds haven't been as shitty as usual. With 670, 673, and the current one - I thought all of those were at least mildly funny. But not funny enough to bother defending them, and I'm not sure if they're actually any better, or if my standards have just been eroded by, for example, 671.

    Anyone else feel like this?

  28. Women going the entire nine months, or the majority of it unawares of a pregnancy is quite common, actually.

  29. panicing should have a 'k,' as panicking

    anyway this comic sucked. "what in the heck is nerdy about this?" and the fridge logic: " do you panic about having a kid?"

  30. No, I'm going to have to say that the most believable situation for the reason the female is saying "Don't panic" is because she doesn't want the male to freak out about having the kid and the responsibility of taking care of it and blah blah blah.

    Now I also noticed that some people are throwing a fit over the "Baby" thing and rightfully so, how old is this kid that it can talk, say baby no less, and stand on it's on two feet completely erect, arms in the air and not being supported by one of the parents? I don't know about you guys, but if you just had a baby, it wouldn't be able to do any of the things this baby is shown as doing, unless this man is just having the breakdown more or less a year afterwards and that's kinda late don't you think? If you don't have some semblance of an idea as to how to take care of the child by this point, just pay child support and get outta Dodge because you're useless.

    Now when people say that you require a shit tonne of Suspension of Disbelief to get anything out of this comic, that's probably because they don't immediately see it and go "omg LOLz that is hiLARIOUS Randall. I may not fully understand what yer saying but you made it and it is awesome" and if you actually read the comments that we put out, how can you not see where we're going? It's not that hard to read and find what we're crapping our drawers over if you read (I realize this may be hard since most of the people commenting are trolls and don't have an attention span longer than 2 minutes) but maybe that's too much to ask?

    Whatever, this comic (to me) wasn't funny, it was stupid, but I'm a rational thinker and I THINK before I do a girl without a condom, and she thinks as well, usually more than I do but Randall claims to be a smart guy, so how the fuck do his characters (that are supposedly intelligent also) miss their partner growing a bit over 9 months? In some ways I could understand if he wouldn't want to bring it up since all men except Black Hat in xkcd are whipping boys who are always wrong in the eyes of woman but how oblivious do you have to be to not notice something like this?

    I'm not even going to touch the rest of the argument with the "do what comes naturally" and other shit because I had already lost respect from the first 2 panels.

  31. Anon 11:59 pretty much nailed it.

  32. I swear to God if anybody makes one more comment about how CLEARLY if you expect basic standards of internal consistency or rough adherence to reality (or a humorous exaggeration thereof) then you're just MISSING THE POINT you fucking liberal arts twat who is JEALOUS of munroe and is PREDISPOSED AND BIASED against xkcd

    i will be pretty angry at em


    Also, fuck anybody who wants to give Mr. Munroe the benefit of the doubt. "Well, he could secretly be referencing and parodying this series nobody has heard about! This is totally plausible, because he has vast amounts of Nerd Cred and is usually really subtle with his references."

    Neither of these things is particularly true. He is almost always extremely blatant with his references--specifically dropping names, working the title of his reference into the title of his update, making absolutely clear that THIS IS WHAT I'M REFERENCING--so expecting a subtle, sly reference is pretty unlikely. The closest thing to a subtle reference he made was that Armageddon/Little Prince shit. You could argue that his recreation of the core of Sunshine was a subtle reference, but since it doesn't make the joke any funnier (in fact, it makes it seem even more prickishly "God these new movies just suck why don't they make smart films like Serenity and Jurassic Park anymore" [and the reason I'm using Serenity and JP is because I'm not actually sure I can think of any other movies that Mr. Munroe likes. Star Wars and LotR, maybe? Primer? Kind of hard to tell, since his attitude is nearly always disdainful]) and so ultimately the possible Sunshine reference just seems like incompetent hackery.

    He does have a fair amount of nerd cred, but then he does have a tendency to Dan Brown the audience. It's most obvious with his DRM stuff, where he spent a bunch of time whining about a problem in a way that clearly demonstrated he didn't actually understand what he was talking about. His updates addressing the U.S. economic situation are another example. His awful proof of the infinity of primes by haiku, which doesn't even come close to encapsulating the rough gist of Euclid's version. The logical errors in that Godel/Russel/Whitehead "list of all fetishes" comic. Those are examples, off the top of my head, where Randall got math or science or current events wrong--and not wrong for the sake of exaggerating his point, because his errors aren't a comic exaggeration of anything. Just wrong. So, his nerd cred is at least not an all-accurate force of divination; assuming that because something exists it's reasonable for Randall to know about it and slyly work it into his comics is a doofy way of thinking.

    Although if Randall were alluding to women who remain largely ignorant of their own pregnancy, that would go a fair way toward addressing our concerns about the rampant averisimilitude of the latest XKCD. Much better than just shouting "It's not SUPPOSED to be realistic, it's supposed to be, um, uh, I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY."

  33. "Women going the entire nine months, or the majority of it unawares of a pregnancy is quite common, actually."
    Really? Huh.

    Maybe Munroe should have drawn a pram or a cradle and some googoogaga noises? And then times 2 in the last panel.

  34. Sarah Palin comes to mind. No one knew she was pregnant until the day she delivered the child. Of course it could've been a hoax, and it was actually Bristol Palin's child. What a fucked up family.

  35. Oh my god, what's up with nearly all criticism lately being about fucking retarded stuff like "hey, this isn't realistic!"
    I mean, come on? That's like criticizing Dinosaur Comics for being unrealistic because dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago. Or bitching about how hugely the C&H superhero-comics suck because "people can't fly duh".

    One day it occured to me that "hey, hasn't xkcd started sucking lately?" and I found this site, and now this has started sucking almost just as much.

  36. @Anon 1:02 -- Nice job missing the point there. CLEARLY you just don't understand our criticisms and are jealous of Carl. Don't you have a life, or do you spend all your time posting on blogs nobody forces you to read?

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. People, come on!!!! This isn't about obscure references or breaking reality or the characters being so balantly stupid! It's a FREAKING CARICATURE. I don't want to use the word metaphor because its literary meaning as I know it doesn't quite fit with this, but I really can't understand why you can't accept it's just a symbolized (and supposedly funny) way of expressing a message (it being: parents can't help having more children even though they know it's a great responsibility)

  39. Mal,

    "Don't you have a life, or do you spend all your time posting on blogs nobody forces you to read?"

    Come on, really? That's pretty weak.

  40. @Julian: Sure, but it's still not funny.

  41. People, come on!!!! This isn't about obscure references or breaking reality or the characters being so balantly stupid! It's a FREAKING CARICATURE. I don't want to use the word metaphor because its literary meaning as I know it doesn't quite fit with this, but I really can't understand why you can't accept it's just a symbolized (and supposedly funny) way of expressing a message (it being: parents can't help having more children even though they know it's a great responsibility)

    I don't think "caricature" and "symbolized" mean what you think they mean. Also noteworthy: quadruple exclamation points, "balantly", unusual parenthetical constructions.

    Oh, and then your actual meaning. Yet another variation of "suspend disbelief so Randall can drive home a shitty and not actually funny message." Awesome, thanks for explaining it.

  42. Hey guys how many more xkcd fanboys can we get that don't understand we're not criticizing the lack of realism?

    I mentioned last time that xkcd 12 is one of my favorites of all time. I'll add to that that 53 is another one of my favorites. That's the one about his hobby being sneaking into drug hideouts and getting shot so the police lose points.

    NEITHER OF THESE IS REALISTIC. Yet they are funny. I do not complain they are not realistic. They're great comics!

    I really, really don't see how people can defend this comic, except for the "Console fanboy theory" that I've read. People aren't fond of liking things that suck. So when confronted with something that makes a thing they like look bad, they immediately defend it no matter how bad it is. It's a natural response, because otherwise they'd like something shitty, and they can't have that!

    That's why you get debates like "The Wii is gay lol graphics look like crap" followed by "Graphics aren't important gameplay is so Wii wins because motion control is an evolution and improving graphics is a way to make a console die!" and "Ha ha motion sensing is crap gimmick and 360 RRODs PS3 rulez." People bought a system, and don't want to feel like they bought the wrong one, so they justify their decision by making their system out to be the best in their head.

    And so it is with xkcd. They found it during the early years, when it was quite good, and because they have a fondness for it, they defend it even when it turns to shit, because they don't want to feel like they like shitty things. Whereas the less fanboy minded of us can accept it and say "xkcd used to be great, it sucks now though, I hope it gets better."

    Also, as I previewed my comment, to Anon 2:12, your statement that Femalethoth's comment was weak? Oh shit, I guess that means all the xkcd fantards that come on here saying "Don't you have a life, or do you spend all your time complaining about webcomics nobody forces you to read" is pretty weak too! Thank you for seeing our side of things.

  43. Also, it appears that the two people in RM's previous bad parents comic are the same two in his more recent one. Accidental continuity?

  44. "don't understand we're not criticizing the lack of realism"
    Then why are poeple talking about women that don't realize they're pregnant and that sort of things? I think that's not the point at all.

    And don't misunderstand me, I didn't laugh at this strip (and neither at comic 12, for that matter; 53 is good, though).

    Also, I have already said I don't really care about xkcd. When I stumbled upon this blog, I thought it was amusing, but lately I find the comments to be very tired arguments that mostly miss the point, so that's why I'm replying. Also becasue I like arguments :P.

  45. When I stumbled upon this blog, I thought it was amusing, but lately I find the comments to be very tired arguments that mostly miss the point, so that's why I'm replying. Also becasue I like arguments :P.

    To quoque, dicklips. The whole "ugh you guys are SO LAME, tired out arguments etc., you guys just DON'T GET IT it's not ABOUT being a journal comic you have to SET ASIDE your stupid BIAS against xkcd and your stoopid expectations of 100% LITERAL ACCURACY" argument is extremely tired and totally misses the point.

    Whatever, cuntsaw. Go ahead and conflate realism with verisimilitude and pretend that inaccuracy for inaccuracy's sake is the same as absurdist humor.

  46. "Go ahead and conflate realism with verisimilitude"
    What? You're the one doing that.

    Anyway, I don't know what else to say. It seems to me that this is a very dumb strip, and, as someone said earlier, everybody is overcomplicating it.

  47. Anyway, I don't know what else to say. It seems to me that this is a very dumb strip, and, as someone said earlier, everybody is overcomplicating it.

    Including you. Trying to pass it off as a caricature, as symbolic? Next thing you'll be telling me it's a satire of a farce.

  48. Well yeah, it was inevitable that I'd overcomplicate it too since the moment I decided to step into the discussion :P.

    And with "symbolic" I mean a much simpler thing, as in "the baby popping up just symbolizes that they had another child" as opposed to "the baby popping up means that she didn't realize she was pregnant".

  49. I think we got that Jules (mind if I call you Jules?) but we're all still kinda pulling our hair out with the fact that she is the one who exclaims "aw crap" whereas maybe it would've worked better if the guy had said it?

    Actually, that would be better, since it was the guy who said "let's just do what comes naturally" so he would be the one responsible for initiating the scenario.

    As another aside and going along with R. said, why didn't Randall just draw a cradle wit ha baby in it or something? He has done copious (relative to what he normally spits out) amounts of work in this comics before, a little extra effort into something a lot more believable than what is presented may have had us simply saying "the joke isn't funny, end of story" instead of us going "holy shit is he fucking retarded? Does he live in some fantasy world where babies can stand unaccompanied after birth, talk and have a sense of self-identification? Does he realize how retarded the joke is and how ridiculously unfunny it is?"

  50. There's one thing the fanboys miss entirely in their crusade in favour of "suspension of disbelief": it's ENTIRELY POSSIBLE to deliver this exact same joke in a much less disfigured way, and the effect would probably be much, much better. I imagine something like:
    Baby in his cradle, mum and dad standing nearby.
    Dad: Okay, we're parents now. What do we do?
    Mum: It can't be *that* hard. Like they say, all we need is to do what comes naturally.
    Dad: ...
    Two babies in their cradle, mum and dad standing nearby.

    Come on, it's not that hard to wrap your mind around the fact that the scenario above seems MUCH more plausible, at least to deliver the idea of completely inept parents, which is definitely stretching things a little. Thing is, it doesn't seem too funny, it's quite deadpan and bland. So, I guess Randall thought the best way to make the joke funny was the exaggerate EVERY POSSIBLE DETAIL, making not just an "unrealistic" scenario, but a completely disfigured one. The most horrible thing is that it's hard to tell what parts are due to Randall pushing it too far, and what parts are due to him not knowing shit about babies.

  51. I have another suggestion for how to improve 674 while still keeping the concept, punchline, and as much of the original dialogue as possible:

    Panel 1
    Close up of positive pregnancy test. (Yeah, this is probably going to require some actual drawing.)
    Girl [off-panel]: Crap! I'm pregnant.

    Panel 2
    Girl [visibly pregnant]: It's time.
    Guy: Don't panic, don't panic.

    Panel 3
    Girl [holding a baby]: What now?
    Guy: Parenting can't be that hard. Let's just do what comes naturally.

    Panel 4
    Close up of positive pregnancy test.

    It it funny? Not really, it's still the same joke after all. I still think it's better than the original, though.

  52. The point: This shit ain't funny.

  53. The comic was pointless and not funny, but I thought the alt text was amusing.

    Actually, I think he thought of the alt text, then came up with a stupid comic to justify posting it.

  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

  55. Both Dave's and Fernie's fixes still have dialogue people here would consider contrived had the comic been actually written like that ("crap, I'm pregnant"? wtf?). I mean, the changes they made are arbitrary; ultimately the "joke" relies on a structure that can't be "reallistically" built in 4 panels. So, the more realistically it is told, the less funny it becomes. In fact, read the fixes again, they are not funnier, they are more dramatic; they have a "tragedy" feel to them. That's also why I think the "Aw, crap" at the end is kind of important, their frustation is part of the show. In the properly drawn version, one of them may be facepalming or something, if you really don't like post punchline speech.

    Also, I realize it really can't be fixed if the original idea is stupid to begin with. I agree, don't get mad... My point is that it kind of lives to its potential as it is.

    But mainly you're just pissed about the baby thing, aren't you? Hehe...

  56. I don't think that a pregnancy set-up requires such a ridiculous set up, the supposed humour of 'oh wow we have a baby' doesn't really come off. A rewrite like Fernie's doesn't improve the humour, of course, because the joke is pretty pedestrian to being with, but it makes it clearer. For once, the joke in the comic is somewhat subtle (at least to the extent that we are deprived of images of steamy stick sex), but the really clumsy set up de-emphasises it so as to obscure it. I don't quite agree with Mal that the comic makes no sense -- I think it's not too hard to work out the intended joke -- but I certainly agree that there are barriers perhaps to comprehension and certainly to enjoyment. The fact that changing the label in the final panel from 'soon' to 'later' or '9 months later' would mark a big improvement demonstrates just how basic some of the errors he made are.

    I think the bigger problem, though, is the parenthood context. It's inevitably going to be clumsy because of the nine month time lags involved. Advice along the lines of 'do what feels natural' or 'follow your instincts' is pretty common in many contexts, not just parenting, so he really could have stuck inappropriate sex in a different context and the joke might have worked better (although it would sacrifice the situation of 'hilariously' making their problems worse). In any case, of course, we're stuck with a pretty stupid core joke.

  57. Ha! Ha! Philosophers are arrogant.


  58. I don't understand how xkcd manages to get less and less original every single week.

  59. The philosopher's shitty little beard was kind of a nice touch.

    The fact that I think one head out of five was attached to the body wasn't. Come on, Randall, if you're going to incorporate nice little visual details, how about making the rest of your art less abysmally incompetent?

    Oh, hey, the joke. Meh. Didn't really provoke a reaction from me--as you can see, I distracted myself by looking at the artistic minutiae before thinking about the material. This would've been much better as a Dinosaur Comics, with the over-excited philosopher being played by T-Rex and the more levelheaded reactionary being played by Utahraptor. Keep in mind I don't mean a literal transcription--Ryan North would've actually explicated the "racecar on a moving train" experiment, and then the dialogue between Utahraptor and T-Rex would've also been worth reading. North is exceptionally good at the "T-Rex takes silly idea to its silly extremes" comics, and it seems like 675 is trying to be like that.

    Let's re-read it, giving these mouthpieces characterization Randall never, EVER bothers to.

    Eh. Final panel is way too boring to be a worthy line of T-Rex dialogue. Still, mentally overlaying Randall's crappy drawings with the charming image of Utahraptor leaping from off-panel to correct T-Rex was fun.

  60. Munroe made a big mistake with the alt-text ("hint: it's the one that involves less work".)

    Expect thousands of jokes about Randall's laziness.

  61. Holy shit did I just find this one funny? I think I did. Maaaaan.

  62. The new one, not the baby one, fuck it.

  63. The only thing I liked about the latest xkcd was the classic philosophy major douche goatee.
    The rest of it is still very true, and the reason that I don't find it funny is probably because, as a computer science person, I'm frequently having to field asinine philosophical inquiries from people who don't know what they're talking about that challenge mathematical assumptions (questioning Cantor's diagonal proof, saying that 0.9_ does not equal 1, etc), and so the "joke" hits a little too close for me.
    I feel very sorry for theoretical physics people because they have it much worse. PROTIP: You cannot talk about quantum physics casually.

  64. Man, that brings up an angry discussion I had IRL about a philosophy major douchebag who seemed convinced that 0.999... = 1 signified some major contradiction or fuzziness in mathematics, and I could not get him to understand that no, this isn't some contradiction. I couldn't even understand where he thought there was a contradiction. Mostly he just seemed confused about how mathematics proceeds from definitions and axioms. Honestly, that argument ended up being one of the times I got most angry in person with someone for being thickheaded.

    It doesn't help that I'm both a philosophy major and a physics major. I'm in too many target audiences!

  65. First sentence, "about" should be "with".

  66. I'm a mathematician, so I can relate to the latest xkcd, but the smugness of delivery is disturbing even to me. FFS Randall, you often don't know shit about some topics, and then you make comics on these topics and it often makes you look like a retard. And now you're basically a pot calling kettle black.

  67. A quick thought about the last xkcd: did Randall just stop trying to connect his heads? On the other hand, the philosopher isn't floating over his chair, so it seems we have some improvement. Yay.

    Except for the fact Randall threw us the "Tell" instead of the "Show" again with the "Racecar on a train" idea, there isn't much wrong with this new xkcd. Also, I'm a bit too busy for over-analysing, so have a nice day.

    Mole out!

    CAPTCHA: charlate. That's what charlatans do.

  68. I keep seeing complaints about the heads being attached. I'm not sure they're supposed to be. I remember reading somewhere that this is intended for some optical illusion or another which only works if the comic art is sufficiently abstract. I can't remember where I read it. Something tells me it's from understanding comics, but it could also just be from a bad dream or maybe from xkcd itself. I don't know. I've never really cared about that. What pisses me off is the main character's permanent slouch. Slouching to the point where you have to put effort into slouching that hard, or have some spinal cord problem. He seems to be straightening up in the second and especially third panels.

    I've SO been there on the 0.999... = 1 discussions. It's one thing if a person doesn't understand, quite another when they dig in to their position and smugly question your intelligence and worth for choosing the establishment's viewpoint.

  69. Yet again, RanDULL presents us with a strip that could be humorous but he instead kills with his complete non-understanding how humor works.

    The first panel is ok. We are clearly presented with two idiots but in an absurdist style. OK, I can go with that. At this point, RanDULL needs to decide why these parents are so unaware about human biology. It is here that he truly deviates from his target audience to be seen later in last panel. There is no reason for the third panel but apparently, RanDULL has decided a penultimate "beat" panel is his new motif.

    Ahhhh, the payoff panel. I would expect that "what comes naturally" to two math/sci geeks as that one is trying to install a new video card in the baby curious if he did find the PCIe-16 slot (think about it) while the other parent writes a driver wondering if the baby is Windows 7 compatable.

    Instead we find the reason they're clueless is they're both teenagers.

  70. I posted about the new comic in the Dinosaur Comics post. The short version: Randall is treading very safe, very unoriginal, very certain-to-hit-its-readers-very-hard ground, doesn't do anything exceptional with the set-up, is quite bland and unsurprising, but has nothing particularly bad about it. In short, it's vastly, ridiculously superior to the previous comic.

  71. As someone who recently had a kid, I can tell you that sex is not "what comes naturally" to a woman who has just been through childbirth.

    Of course, by the time the kid is on his feet, she'll be back around, so this could just be an extremely delayed reaction/very odd sense of scale vis-a-vis time.

  72. I keep seeing complaints about the heads being attached. I'm not sure they're supposed to be. I remember reading somewhere that this is intended for some optical illusion or another which only works if the comic art is sufficiently abstract.

    oy, what the fuck is this shit?

  73. The illusion, of competence.

  74. what are you guys saying? 675 is terrible.

    obnoxious character gets put in his place by an obnoxious character. ha! take that, obnoxious character!

    what is the joke even meant to be?
    if it's "philosophy is a waste-of-time circle-jerk", then the first three panels kind of get in the way by admitting that sometimes philosophy is useful.
    if it's "look this guy is an ignorant douche" then...yeah. he is a douche. but if that's the joke then making him out to be representative of Philosophers reads like an uncomfortable kind of stereotyping.

    also the fact that the physics-ruining thought experiment doesn't exist beyond a hilArious title completely collapses the joke. cos we don't know if the philosopher is being a douche thinking he's a genius, or is randall making fun of a genuine game-breaker and actually he is the douche?
    like femalethoth said, if this was dinosaur comics the thought experiment would be real and laid out and ultimately hilariously punctured by utahraptor. instead it's just randall going "no this guy is wrong and stupid because i say so".

    -- a philosophy student so take all the above with a grain of salt :-/

  75. I thought this comic was funny because there's so many geeks hail him as an authority on subjects he found on Wikipedia at 11:00 PM on a Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday.

  76. @Anon 3:15: Ha! This is clearly his best work yet--a self-parody to end all self-parodies!

    @Anon 1:54: Randy probably just got in an argument with a philosophy major and couldn't prove him wrong, so he got pissed and made it into a comic.

  77. I genuinely thought this was funny. He must be doing something right.

  78. caswin: As opposed to disingenuously thinking it's funny?

  79. For the cuddlefish who don't understand, our criticisms are for the purpose of correcting the hero worship of Randall Munroe, not Munroe himself.

  80. Rob: Yes, it can be as opposed to disingeunously thinking it's funny.

    Consider the lol spectrum (Which I made up and will describe below). People who say "lol" pretty much find the topic mildly interesting, or worthy of their attention. It's pretty much the pinnacle of disingenuous laughter.

    Anyway, the lol spectrum follows this pattern.
    lol, LoL, LOL, ROFL, LMAO, Haha, HAHAHA, LOL IRL, LOL IRL FOR REAL, followed by coherent sentences expressing their amusement. (Not an exhaustive list)

    At the beginning, it's the least real of expressing your acknowledgement of the hilariousness of the topic (NTS, condense that), at the end, it's the most genuine.

  81. But when you say "lol" you aren't saying "this isn't actually funny" most of the time (unless using it ironically, which is entirely different because it's so much more fun to say "OMG I JUST LOLED FOR REAL" ironically). It's not disingenuous, it just is not intended literally.

    Disingenuous is claiming to find something funny when you don't--trying to convince others that you found it humorous when you didn't. It also implies that the purpose you have in claiming to find it humorous is dishonest, as well--more than just trying to fit in, for instance.

    Though I suppose genuine/ironic is a better contrast than genuine/disingenuous here. XKCD is frequently ironically humorous. It just seems weird to point out that your enjoyment is genuine. Maybe not, though.

  82. it is weird in this case because no one said hey caswin i am sure you don't really enjoy this strip even though you say you do

  83. It sort of makes sense in the context that we were just saying it is unintentionally funny because it is like Randy is making fun of himself? Maybe?

  84. "also the fact that the physics-ruining thought experiment doesn't exist beyond a hilArious title completely collapses the joke. cos we don't know if the philosopher is being a douche thinking he's a genius, or is randall making fun of a genuine game-breaker and actually he is the douche?"

    I'm actually thinking if the "title" of the experiment is a reference to a "airplane in a treadmill" experiment, which is SUPPOSED to be clear enough for us to make the connection, but different enough to avoid the whole argument to resurface again. I *think* the sentiment shown in the comic is that, no, the thought experiment doesn't really make sense, and the douchebag in question is a phony philosophy grad who doesn't know what philosophy is actually about. But this is taking the comic with the utmost generousity, and the result is still the same: it's a bland, unoriginal comic.

  85. Ha ha! Get it? Philosophy isn't defined by complex mathematics so they're all stupid!

  86. Rob: o hai. I added the "honestly" bit because, while going through the comments, I saw a theme of how fans of the comic were supposedly defending something that - ahem - LOL ISN'T REALLY FUNNY, and any defense of it was a knee-jerk reaction or something. So... yes, I guess it would be as opposed to finding it disingenously funny.

  87. caswin: That is what I thought you meant. I think there is probably a better word than genuinely there! I am not just being a dick here, I am not sure what the better word is, but, like, even a knee-jerk reaction is genuinely enjoying it on some level--albeit a shallow one. You are trying to indicate thoughtfulness and reflection (ish). Help me find a better word!

  88. Rob: Um, um um um. "Really"? No. "Actually"? Maybe if I hated xkcd more often. So no. "Deeply"? I think that's closer to what we're aiming for, but... no. Is there an adverb form for "cuddly"? Actually, that brings me to a question I've been meaning to ask: Exactly who or what are these "cuddlefish" I've heard so much about?


    All your questions, ever, answered in the comment thread therein.

  90. Everyone is allowed an opinion. Many people on the internet really like XKCD for whatever reasons. But a lot of those reasons are based in some sort of logic.
    Your opinion ,however, does not seem to have much logic at all.
    You say that "Munroe is bad with children" and his "fascination with the female reproductive organ", to what end? Is this the point you are trying to prove?
    The reality is, Monroe is trying to prove the SAME THING as you. How is that bad? At least he recognizes his weak attributes.
    Finally something that you should maybe think about:
    If you dont like the comic then DONT READ IT!
    Its a simple enough concept, I hope you start to live by it instead of (badly) bashing someone's idea.
    Grow up and move on.
    As much as your opinion is

  91. "Many people on the internet really like XKCD for whatever reasons. But a lot of those reasons are based in some sort of logic."



  92. Oh, yes, the "logic" of XKCD fans is usually known as "Modus Ponens", in which we have the following prepositions:

    P = comic was drawn by Randall
    Q = comic is funny
    And the implication
    P -> Q
    So, P -> Q, P |- Q

    See? The XKCD fanboyism is based on LOGIC!!!!

  93. The most amusing thing about this blog is how they claim to hate the kids worshiping Randall, but everyone on this blog worshps Carl and Aloria.

  94. That's not true, Rob tried to kill me once.

  95. To be fair that probably wasn't malicious, he was probably just hungry.

  96. I'm pretty sure half of everyone here insults Carl every posts. the first 30 comments of any post are half filled with "Carl your review sucked" then at around comment 30, some cuddlefish tries to make us see the error of our ways and we argue for a bunch.


  97. Pretty much everyone who's an active poster disagrees with at least one thing from every one of Carl's posts and Aloria is a dumb person who has dumb opinions.

  98. i dunno what you guys are talking about, i for one envision an ideal world in which carl and aloria are king and queen

    and rob is the fat jester who is only funny because he is fat

  99. I love when the xkcd fanboys think we worship Carl and Aloria. Like, really? Is that what you get out of this? I sometimes don't even read the posts anymore.

    And Aloria is a jerkface.

  100. I don't hate the player, I hate the game.

    The aloriagame.

  101. People, do you not get the purpose (or concept) of a joke? This is one that shows what would happen if people were to approach parenting as so many other things are approached. This approach is improper for parenting, but proper for those things of which I spoke earlier.

  102. I think I know a way to explain this. xkcd stick figures don't reproduce like real people. Babies have a small chance of just appearing between a stick figure with hair and a stick figure without hair when they are standing a certain distance away from each other. Hence the "We made a baby!"

  103. I find it rather disturbing that someone is that devoted to hating something to read every strip and write hate speach about it. But that's just me. If you don't like XKCD, that's your own choice to make, but writing hate speech about everything a guy makes just because you don't agree with the humor is fucking stupid. I, for one, love XKCD's brand of the lowest forms of humor. Something doesn't have to be high-brow to be funny.

    And the point of the strip was that nobody's ever taught how to be a parent. All they're taught is how to make babies.

  104. I apologize for my post, two posts above. I really had no grasp of the concept of xkcd sucks, and now, while I may not agree with the sentiment, I do fully approve of the idea. Not that you need my approval, but I just want to demonstrate my ability to be....not....stupid.

  105. In these situations I like to recall Socrates' claim that an intelligent man is a man who knows he knows nothing. Take it in what sense thou wilt.

  106. Dear gods, you're not supposed to go wild over a sarcastic 4-panel comic. Plus, the joke there was quite good.

  107. wait, why not? How many panels does it have to be before I can go wild over it?