Saturday, May 29, 2010

Comic 746: Stuck Up

Birth of A? nay, shun
WHY WOULD THIS HAPPEN? WHY WOULD THERE BE A GUN IN A WOMAN'S UTERUS? DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? DOES THIS MAKE ANYONE LAUGH? IS THERE A REASON FOR THIS AT ALL?

Now, there may be a context in which this could make sense, but if there is one thing xkcd is not good at, it's telling you the context for its little stories. Maybe this is a particularly violent family. Maybe it's a crime fighting baby of some kind. Maybe it's a clever plot to rob the doctor by hiding in a uterus. Who knows? xkcd sure isn't going to tell you. It's just like seeing a single image of a long story, and you have no clue why it's there.

Is it possible that the whole thing is a set up for the final line? Maybe. It's hard to imagine, because the emotion focus climaxes with a gun in the woman's uterus but maybe he just really liked the idea of a doctor, so used to telling women to "push" when giving birth, changing to "pull" when something goes wrong. But why on earth choose this as your idea of a humorous way for it to go wrong? Why something so astonishingly gross and violent?

Randall does not have a very good record when it comes to comics about giving birth. Here's one example, here's another. Notice anything? Yes, they both involve male doctors abusing their relationship with their patients by making them think something horrible is going to happen. Ha, ha. Ha. And yes, like the current comic, they both involve the idea of a baby going back into you once it came out. Ha, haha. Of course, like the current comic, they all are terrible.

Now I'm no doctor, but I'm going to hazard a guess as to why Randall is making lousy comics about birth: He's a dude who is pretty young. Lots of guys his age may already be parents, but he is not. He isn't married. He doesn't have a child and when he does, he won't be the one giving birth to it. They comedy is truth and that to make fun of something you have to really know it, and I think that's why a twenty-something male really shouldn't be making comics about birth.

OK, I'll change that - I'm not going to tell people what they can or can't write about. I'm just going to say that for a twenty-something guy to be making these comics, he's going to have a harder time with it.

It is possible to make something good on the topic. Some people have been linking to a certain fetus-themed PFSC comic. I don't think this comic is as funny as the Onion article I link to below - some cuddlefish is going to say it isn't even as funny as the xkcd, but they are wrong - but it's still funny, partly because of how surreal it is ("the McDonald's inside you"), and partly because of how both characters take the events in stride, so calmly.

GOD I STILL CAN'T GET OVER THE FACT THAT THE POINT OF THIS COMIC IS GUN+UTERUS. AGHH.

OK now just as a special little bonus, another terrible thing about this comic is that it epitomizes the lameness that follows from a failure to adhere to the "show don't tell" rule. The doctor sees something crazy! it's a gun! So he tells us, it's a gun. We don't get to see it, we just have someone describe it. It's like the difference between reading a really good book and reading a book that starts out "This book is awesome! It's going to be so exciting and memorable. You are going to love this book."

Now, granted, in this particular case, showing us the gun may have meant showing us the woman's uterus. Which I would have disliked even more. Is that a good argument against what I've written? No, it's a good argument about not setting your comic in a freakin uterus.

Let's get back to talking about context. Here's an old Onion article that bears a remarkable resemblance to today's comic: Nation Shocked by Pre-Natal Shooting. It's worth reading all of. Why is it funny when today's xkcd isn't? Both use the image of a fetus with a gun committing or attempting to commit a violent crime. The key difference is that the Onion has a good reason for this: It's a darkly comic piece parodying the violence among youth in America, particularly violent crimes committed by very very young children. The tone of the article makes clear that it is a parody of real stories that had only slightly older children involved. There's still an inherently icky feeling about it, but it serves a purpose. This comic's purpose seems to just be...well, I can't tell what it is.

OK, I think it's time I head on over into the forums and see what they have to say. Perhaps they can enlighten me. Perhaps they can enrage me. It'll be fun I am sure.

"For some reason, I noticed the fact that the string for the face mask disappears in panel 3."
Maybe you noticed because you were reading the comic and saw it happen? The doctor is clearly using a magic string that disappears when you look too closely at it. That must be it, otherwise the implication is that Randall forgot to finish the drawing for some reason. That would just be silly! he is a professional.

OK this is a comment I really like - admitting the comic makes no sense and suggesting at least a pun that he could have used.

....and that's all I care about. Mostly people who are complaining that this comic makes no sense.

WELL, I guess that is it then! No one can explain this comic.

One final word: Sometimes, xkcd is good. Sometimes its bad. It can be bad for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the joke is ok but it just makes you feel weird because of the subject matter. Sometimes the subject is perfectly inoffensive but the joke isn't actually funny or doesn't make sense. And sometimes, you just can't tell what the joke is. This is a case of all of them - the strange, off-putting subject matter makes you feel gross (i hope) but the payoff is zero; there's no good reason we had to read all that.

142 comments:

  1. One more thing. Why does the baby talk? Why would only a half-born baby talk? Is this to make the comic funnier? No, it's because Randall did not bother to draw the baby with gun, because he's lazy (it can't be an aversion to drawing genitals, as that had already happened), so we have to be told it's there.

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  2. I'm certain I've seen this same joke in another webcomic. A doctor is giving a woman an ultrasound, sees the fetus has a gun and tries to hand over his wallet but can't, and there's an awkward pause in the last panel. It's really blatantly the same joke, only told a thousand times better. Does anyone know the comic?

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  3. No rant about the alt-text?

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  4. I have a theory as to what this comic means, for what that's worth. The alt text says something to the effect of "All those GTA marathons during pregnancy were a bad idea."

    Remember that study that's causing waves all over the internet? The one that says that two hours of gaming is the equivalent of a line of cocaine? You know how if a mother does drugs during pregnancy sometimes that passes the addiction or the effects or whatever onto the child?

    I think that maybe be the joke. Games = Drugs. It's just really clumsily executed.

    Maybe.

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  5. I'm not saying this comic is even close to being as good as Monty Python, but this incident would make a brilliant Terry Gilliam animation. You orbit the point by showing alternate examples, but you don't seem to grasp that unless you have a staid sense of humour you're only really thinking about the fact that it doesn't make sense and fails to contain social commentary because the whole thing is badly presented. The dialogue is terrible, the pacing is off, and the art fails to convey the necessary sense of drama for the intended effect. It doesn't need more details, it just needs to be told more effectively.

    I seem to recall you mentioning a liking for Horribleville at one point. I bet this same comic in KC Green's hands would fit nicely into Gunshow Comics.

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  6. @ 11:19

    I seem to recall you mentioning a liking for Horribleville at one point. I bet this same comic in KC Green's hands would fit nicely into Gunshow Comics.

    It's funny you say that, because I'm almost certain the comic I'm thinking of was written by KC Green.

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  7. The recurring Megan has to be trolling.


    I cannot think of any logical reason for her name to be mentioned outside that.

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  8. I laughed at it the same way I laughed at Oprah's Avenging Minge in "South Park."

    A pistol up a woman's cunt is funny, no matter how you attempt to peel it.

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  9. Cough Alt Text Cough?

    Still a blatant rip off, but you kinda make yourself seem... biased by ignoring that while the obvious joke is obvious is: " 'Gun+Uterus' lolol" the alt text makes the joke "Video games + Youth Violence + Like makin your kid listen to mozart only with guns + Randall doesn't know any girls not named meagan... also a gun in a uterus."

    Seriously. There's a gun in a uterus? okay. Why question it. Go bitch about making out with yourself outside of the universe in a magic bubble next.

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  10. Is it possible that this comic is a reference to Judith Thomson's fetus-burglar argument? As in, this is why abortion should be legal?

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  11. GET A FUCKING EDITOR RANDALL!


    Holy Mother of Shit what the hell is this?

    How do you...What even...I can't even get what the original "Hey that could be funny" idea is that somehow unfortunately got mangled into such a monstrosity.

    This comic is just disgusting. A part of me kind of wishes Randy is trolling with some cheap gross-out 'joke' because at least if that's the cause there's some type of rationality to be found in this otherwise vomit-inducing headfuckery.

    This is up there with 631 in terms of needless horror masquerading as light absurdist humour. And it is HORROR.
    Not in terms of the idea - South Park & PFSC both manage similar ideas in a funny way - but in terms of the awful creepy disturbing execution that Randy gives both jokes.
    Hrm.

    "Please Mr Munroe, lie back and tell me about your childhood. Can you recall any memories associated with BEING HEART-STRICKENINGLY TERRIFIED BY VAGINA JOKES?!"

    Because it would explain a lot.

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  12. I see a lot of people make a reference to alt-text as if it is supposed to explain the comic. Well, I was under impression that alt-text is for a bonus joke, and reading it should in no way be necessary to understand what's going on in the comic. If alt-text makes more sense, or is funnier than the main comic, then Randall should've put it in the main comic, so he is still the one to blame.

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  13. I agree with the Python-mentioning anon. It could work as a Gilliam animation or a Meaning of Life sketch. The humour is mostly from the situation of the gun inside the uterus, and even the PFSC comic shows this by going into elaborate and surreal detail.

    Whereas Randall just posts the comic without thinking of ways to make it funny outside of his own head. This leads to the GOOMH reaction when it works, and confused posts when it doesn't.

    (I almost want the comic to parody those mothers who play classical music to their children. Turns out, Randall's idea backfired and the child didn't become a geek with lightning reflexes.)

    Upon seeing the other two comics to do with birth, I'm creeped out. Oh, and you forgot this one: http://xkcd.com/387/

    It's mostly the way he stares at her crotch as if it's something alien. Randall has issues with the female reproductive system.

    I get that the production of life is a mystery perhaps more compelling than that of what happens when we die, but... I don't think Randall has ever looked at the male reproductive system in that way.

    Because Randall says something feminist once in a while, most people don't see all the comics where he treats women as 'other'.

    Oops. Sorry about the rant.

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  14. Dunno about Yankeeland, but in Olde Briton a pregnant woman is said to be "up the stick" (dunno why). Is this Randall's idea of a play on words?

    In the cuddlefish forums someone references a CBS story from 2005 to explain the joke. Could it simply be that if we were all to go back in time 5 years we'd find XKCD hilarious and timely?

    Either way, this comic is terrible.

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  15. Yeah, I really have to say that all his comics related to birth seem to present it as anything but a normal part of the human experience. For all he claims to 'support' women, he seems to creepily focus on their reproductive parts.

    Has there /ever/ been a joke about a penis in any of the comics ever? And I don't mean 'I do X because I /have/ a penis' jokes, which are jokes about gender stereotypes or the lame premature ejaculation 'speedrun' joke, but an actual joke about penises or the male body as the specific focus of the comic. Not that I particularly /want/ to see one, but I think it's clear that he has a fixation with the female body that can't simply be explained by the fact he's a guy.

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  16. I thought XKCD explained had a nice (and funny) rationale for this:
    “... The child and its “stickup” represents the Author’s fear of obligation and compromise; he cannot maintain his self-deception of being a good and well-adjusted person without raising a child and being faithful to a woman. But, this places the Author in a position of nearly intolerable compromise and obligation. His possessions, free time, and energy must all be devoted to his new child. This effectively robs him of his youth. ...”

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  17. Putting Megan in here was really the worst part in my mind-it went above and beyond the call of creepiness.

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  18. Perhaps it's like Being John Malkovich--the only name Randall can hear anymore is "Megan."

    If that's the case, get out of your own head Randall.

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  19. People are talking about the alt text and saying it helps explain the joke, but that's not the point of alt text. The point of alt text is to supplement the joke, going further or pointing out something else in order to make the comic better. If the meaning of the comic is found in the alt text, you're doing it wrong.

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  20. The first time I saw this comic all I could think was "What is this shit?"

    I'm a long time xkcd fan, but lately I've been frequenting this site more because the new xkcd blows. The farther you go back in the archive the better it gets (sort of). The first example you posted of another birth comic was actually funny.

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  21. There was this comic, CJ, which doesn't help his case:

    http://xkcd.com/194/

    Apparently we should stop talking about penises and instead mention female reproductive organs wherever possible.

    Feminism!

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  22. um was it just me or at the second panel i thought it was a dildo. srry in advance

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  23. Here, I made it 10000x better

    http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/9809/xkcdlaborimprove.png

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  24. It's still not very funny. (Not you fault. 10000x10^-50 is still a very small number).

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  25. There was this comic, CJ, which doesn't help his case:

    http://xkcd.com/194/


    Dear God. Someone ought to edit that comic so that it says

    "Vaginas

    They're where babies come from.

    Now can you _please_ stop making xkcd comics about them?"

    Maybe edit the stick figure woman so she's covering her uterus in discomfort.

    I wonder if he really thinks making these sorts of comics is appealing to women. They just make /my/ skin crawl.

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  26. At first I was thinking, "bleh, another nitpick about how some line moved 2 pixels? typical Carl." but then again, it's not really such a pedantic complaint. After all, once you're done making the comic and are about to upload, don't you have one last look to check it? Don't you see the silly, easy-to-fix mistake and go, "wait, hold on, that's not right, lemme fix it before setting this loose"?

    Incidentally, lines aside, a similar curiosity presents itself in that Randall does not seem to pause and reconsider his "jokes", ever.

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  27. Mr. Munroe is not the first person to think of messing with women who just gave birth. I remember an old Dave Barry column where he finds out that a squid's eyeball is about the same size of a newborn baby, and fantasizes what would happen if a doctor actually gave a new parent said eyeball instead of their baby. I remember laughing at that column. I did not laugh at this comic. Maybe it's the execution?

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  28. Sometimes, when talking to my friends, I start to say something and it quickly becomes apparent to me that the thing I'm saying is neither funny nor interesting, so I sort of tail off and there is often an akward pause. This comic reminds me of that, except Randy doesn't tail off, he continues.

    I cannot fathom how he can write comics like these without realising that they are not funny. =/

    erm... and, yeah, right?........


    ...

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  29. I laughed out loud at this. Mainly because I love the idea that Randall is striding through life FASCINATED by the idea of a baby going back into a womb.

    I like to think he maybe thinks about it for fifteen minutes a day. Maybe has a notebook. "Brilliant birth ideas." It probably reads like the diary of a serial killer.

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  30. This calls for a "pre-Natal" xbox joke.

    And yeah, the comic was awful.

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  31. I wish Megan was the worst part about this.

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  32. Yokin: That's actually a lot funnier. What your rendition changes is the motivation, but it works so much better. It's much funnier because a baby has almost no reason to hold a stick-up. Instead, the woman is now portrayed fantastically maliciously because she used a time of presumed weakness (Giving birth) and staged it for a stick-up. Granted, doctors usually don't carry their wealth in money-bags around the hospital, but you did so much better.

    I find it hilarious, and you should too.

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  33. The latest comic isn't funny, but it is making a witty observation that will be sure to elicit cries of "GOOMHR" from the people who identify themselves as a part of the center of the Venn Diagram. Apart from that, it is more evidence for a pictoblog, except for the fact that most people who are in the target XKCD audience have already made the same witty observation. All in all, not terrible, not funny, just... graph... ness. So yeah.

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  34. Jimbobbowilly (Max William Gore)May 30, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Venn diagrams look like goatass.

    Venn diagrams ARE complete goatass. I could have thought of this.

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  35. Jimbobbowilly: Yeah but the significant point is, you didn't.


    Monday's xkcd is not a bad xkcd. There's a lot of scope for doing a geeky/nerdy analysis of the geeky/nerdy split, so its potential is a little unrealised being just a one-quip Venn diagram.

    But hey, it's not a creepy author-insert trying to avoid the horrors of a childbirth by pushing the infant back inside its mother's vagina, so that's always a plus.

    * * *

    Also the child's gun is definitely some Freudian phallic thing.

    Clearly Randy has never emerged from his own Oedipean phase and is subconsciously aware that should he himself father a son, he will not be able to challenge the boy's lust for its mother and will be left castrated and ineffectual the youth usurping his role; hence he fantasises of using his partner (note: not doing it himself, but having her perform the act) of 'un-birthing' the child by pulling it out of, rather than pushing it into, existence and so resolving the challenge by simply never having to face it - an obvious course of action for someone yet to overcome the Oedipean Complex and become a Man, an Actor in his own right.

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  36. wow today's comic is boring. just really really boring.

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  37. The Venn Diagram is neither a joke nor an original thought. Same goes for the alt-text. I award you no points.

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  38. I didn't mind today's. The sort of self-deprecating undercurrent is nice to see in what is often a self-satisfied comic strip. It's not laugh-out-loud funny but I didn't find it especially irritating either.

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  39. The intersection of the diagram could also be labelled 'People who care whether xkcd sucks or not'.

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  40. "I didn't mind today's. The sort of self-deprecating undercurrent is nice to see in what is often a self-satisfied comic strip. It's not laugh-out-loud funny but I didn't find it especially irritating either.

    Ugh, these are the worst kinds of comics. If one thing that any form of artistic outlet is supposed to strive for, it's inspiring an emotion. The comics that are just... boring... have just failed.

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  41. Well, gosh, after 715 (the one with like 20 poorly drawn graphs of google search results) I was expecting a comic to contain more than one graph, but I guess I was just spoiled. The latest comic is more like 668, except the observational "humor" has become more minimalistic, i.e. half-assed.

    BUT that's not what annoys me about today's comic. What annoys me is that it is directly contradicted by the alt-text. Randall basically says his definition of a nerd is a math, computer or science geek (and a geek is just someone who is "into" something, e.g. baseball). And that's an OK distinction to make, BUT it would mean that nerds would be a subset of geeks, so there shouldn't be a part of the nerd set outside of the geek set in the diagram. If you're going to be making math jokes, Randall, at least do them right.

    Today's comic was better than Friday's (which isn't saying much) but geek humor is so much better if you just tell a joke instead of self-consciously going "I'm a geek! And a nerd! LOL!!!!".

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  42. The only notable part of the new venn comic is that it doesn't work for the alt-text given definition of 'geek'.

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  43. lol

    http://blog.study2u.com/373/10-websites-to-make-you-think/

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  44. Due to misreading the comic while tired, I actually got a completely different, funnier joke. Sadly, this entry made me realize the real joke.

    Which sucks.

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  45. Latest comic is awarded a No Fist rating.
    Pathetic attempt at humour.

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  46. Haha, oh wow, a graph

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  47. Look up "surrealist humor".

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  48. just because it's dumb doesn't make it surrealist

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  49. Look at the bright side: today's comic can be called simply "boring". This is a step in the right direction!

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  50. The alt-text's definitions make "nerd" a proper subset of "geek", thereby making it impossible to have a Venn diagram like that.

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  51. In today's comic,

    Why is the region Outside The circles labelled Both as Nerd and Geek?

    What are the Empty spaces that are the non-overlapping circles?

    The best part of this comic is how randall tries to garner geekcred but seemingly manages to fuck up the most basic of graphs.

    Way to fail at science for ten year olds, fucker

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  52. GEEZUS CRIPES I HATE THE LATEST COMIC!
    I mean, the joke isn't offensive, but the whole comic is pretty much everything that is wrong with XKCD, minus that it makes a lot of offensive jokes.

    So how about a list:
    -the comic is "The only people who care about the difference between geeks and nerds are both". I don't mean that's the punchline, I mean that's /the entire comic/!
    -for a loose definition of "comic". Randall's lazyness knows no bounds.
    -that's all aside from that the joke isn't funny. It's not even remotely funny! In fact, there's no way Randall actually thought it was funny! The only reason he actually put it in is because
    -it's entire purpose is to elect a GOOMHR response.
    -and because he's incredibly lazy and couldn't make a proper joke.
    -the entire thing is wrapped in a chart for no reason whatsoever. Aside from just being an incredibly cheap nerd reference.
    -the alt-text was most definitely meant to be not funny. Because
    -its sole, complete, and entirely intentional purpose is to be GOOMR-bait and getting people to discuss it on the forum!

    Ugh! I feel like I should make an entire article about this one!

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  53. Not related to the current comic, but in an obvious attempt to make something notable enough for Wikipedia, some chick who writes a column for the Boston Globe wrote about the stupid malamanteau comic:http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/05/30/one_day_wonder/. It's worth reading because it's that dumb and terrible.

    Example: "I’m a regular reader of xkcd (even its name appeals to wordy people — it was deliberately chosen by the author, Randall Munroe, to be an unpronounceable and meaningless four-letter word)."

    Its name appeals to wordy people because it's not pronounceable and it's not really a word

    just like most things that show up on your computer screen when you smash your keyboard

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  54. "(we all recognize the real-world phenomenon that it attempts to describe)."

    Give one example. Just one.

    Ugh, what an idiot.

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  55. Urgh. Do not want. Seriously, WHY did he have to throw in Megan as the name? It's just...BAD.

    But TODAY'S. 747. Good god. It's...it's....GOOD! As in, REALLY GOOD. Just...wow. It's like I'm reading early archives. Best xkcd in a long, long, LONG time.

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  56. Yes it is, it's just that XKCD has been particularly crap these past few days.

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  57. So hopefully someone can enlighten me and tell me what is good about this current comic.

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  58. Let me explain the last comic for everyone:
    This comic obviously shows that Randall believes there is a distinction between geeks and nerds. As he bothered to make a comic on this, this opinion must be strong. Hence, he's calling himself both a geek and a nerd.
    See, the joke in this comic is: "I'm both a nerd and geek".
    Ha.Ha.

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  59. I choose to ignore Randall's pretend-self-deprecation-which-is-really-attempt-to-make-both-groups-name-him-their-king.

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  60. Did "Farside" need context? nope.

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  61. ...except that people like Randall, people who make a point of doing things like spending loads of time on a computer, would take PRIDE in being called a Geek/Nerd! This is the exact opposite of self-deprecation!

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  62. it's not self-depreciation, true. but there's a bunch of dorks out there who find one of geek/nerd to be highly offensive (it's never consistent) and the other to be a word of most excellent praise. when someone uses them interchangeably, they write lengthy explanations of why the one they favor is excellent people like them who share all of their imagined virtues, and why the other one is a slur implying that someone is socially inferior that does not apply to them.

    the best part is they usually describe how others perceive them perfectly in the latter case and in the former case describe only how they hope others perceive them in the former.

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  63. "I'm not a nerd, Bart. Nerds are smart."

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  64. Today's comic is great.

    It's painful when people nerds/geeks/whomever get offended over the use of "nerd" and "geek" and worst of all, fail to realize that nobody outside of their circle of geeks/nerds care whatsoever. These people normally say that they're X, and X is okay, but Y is terrible. And of course somewhere else there are people who claim to be Y and that being Y is socially acceptable, while being X is a step short of total social ineptness. This diagram implies that those who make the distinction belong to both groups and are their worst nightmares.

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  65. And of course the forum thread is filled with people trying to make a distinction not realizing that they're the ones being made fun of here.

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  66. @Anonymous 3:02 Farside instantly has more context than Xkcd as the art is not just stick figures and is clearly recognisable. I mean, imagine if Randull tried to draw a mosquito going to work. It would be a stick figure with wings and a long nose. Oh yeah and a label with mosquito and an arrow on it.

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  67. Damn it, Randall! Just when the world had it all sorted out:

    http://images.cryhavok.org/d/1891-1/Nerd+Venn+Diagram.png

    For the record, the above is entirely accurate/foolproof.... well, it WAS foolproof. Damn it to hell... the XKCD alt-textinition will spread like wild-fire, destroying the linguistic progress we had made!

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  68. I was going to make a lengthy post explaining why I rather liked the latest comic (#747).

    But then Rob beat me to it.

    Dammit Rob

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  69. It's a missed opportunity for a good self-deprecating joke though: if the comic was an example of all-out nerd/geekery, graphs and analysis and formulae, comparing & contrasting nerds and geeks and the definitions, and culminating in the observation that well whatever else, the comic-writer fits under the 'uncool' definition.

    A hor hor.

    But no. Oh well.

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  70. Wow... from a comment on that news article:

    5. Only students who can read and understand Godel's Proof should be allowed to consider the question, "Does the word 'malamanteau' describe itself?" To face that question unaided by long acquaintance with the history and practice of mathematical logic could prove fatal to susceptible subjects.

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  71. holy shit, people care more about themselves and defining their particular social group than anyone else! hold the fuckin press.

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  72. Holy shit Jon, I wish you hadn't pointed that out. That is fucking obscene.

    Jesus, I wish people would stop acting as though things knowing about things like Godel's theorems is impressive and exclusive.

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  73. I made this updated version. Not entirely accurate, as there are plenty of crap webcomics.

    http://i49.tinypic.com/vi1ym1.jpg

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  74. Regardless of where they fit into the diagram, they're still all dweebs.

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  75. Have none of you ever had to listen to two people argue for almost an hour on how they are not a dork or a nerd ... or how we don't have a quantifiable way to determine such things. And then after an comment by those forced to sit through this, began to argue which of them was more insecure ...

    Such experiences don't make the comic funny ... The comic just brings up bad memories.

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  76. HAs nobody pointed out that randall's fucked up the labelling again?

    The background is aparrently both nerds and geeks

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  77. The venn diagram is wrong

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  78. The Paranoia agent version of this joke was definitely the best. Where the doctor was emotionally cornered, and ended up delivering Lil Slugger, who bludgeoned him to death with his hooked golden baseball bat.

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  79. This comic is an obvious reference to Stewie Griffin from Family Guy. No more to be said.

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  80. The background is aparrently both nerds and geeks

    So he put the label ABOVE the circle instead of INSIDE the circle. I don't see why that's an unacceptable variant convention.

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  81. @ Femalethoth : Because putting words in the background indicates individuals who are not part of any of the other sets. So for the latest comic, if Randall had put the words in the right places, he could have then put "people with a life" in, say, the bottom right corner, which would have made the comic at least a somewhat amusing and self-deprecating joke instead of a lame circlejerk of fanservice.

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  82. The problem with this comic is that it's not correct. While I agree that the only people who care about the distinction between nerds & geeks are nerds & geeks, that doesn't necessarily mean that the only people who care are BOTH.

    You can be a nerd, or you can be a geek, or you can be both, and have a strong opinion on the matter.

    Randfail.

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  83. Oh god anon, that boston globe article you linked made me lose faith in the whole journalistic institution. I don't even know how to describe it it's so bad.

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  84. Anon 9:57 is correct. The Venn diagram is pure nonsense. It's like having a similar diagram with 'Lennon fans' and 'McCartney fans', and the intersection being 'people with strong opinions on the best Beatles songwriter'. Drivel.

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  85. I dunno, when I read the new one, I saw "People with strong opinions..." to be a trait shared by both groups, not that it was geeky nerds/nerdy geeks/whatever. I still think it's fucking stupid both in concept and poorly done as well, but it ends up making a bit more sense to me.

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  86. the way randy drew it he is saying those people with such a strong opinion are both nerds and geeks. that is the way venn diagrams work.

    he could have created a third set then it might have made sense. but he did not. he is a fucking moron.

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  87. Anon 4:09- No. Randall's Venn Diagram has the outer region (inside the box, outside the two circles) as both Geeks and Nerds. Then, circle A is unlabeled, as is circle B. The region where A and B overlap is "people with a strong opinions on the difference between geeks and nerds".
    As his diagram is made now, it makes absolutely no sense. It's a nonsense diagram.

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  88. Jesus fucking Christ you people are retarded. "oh my god the labels are outside the circles THAT MEANS THEY ARE LABELING OUTSIDE THE CIRCLES." seriously, that is the single dumbest thing you could complain about, ever. AND I HAVE DEALT WITH SOME PRETTY FUCKING STUPID COMPLAINTS IN MY TIME

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  89. Ves, I agree with Femalethoth and Rob on this one; the diagram is only nonsense if you choose to think of the labels as on the background, instead of attached to the circles. The way Mr. Munroe drew the graph is fine with me.

    Doesn't change the fact that A) this is yet another comic where the only drawing and content is a graph (and kind of a boring graph, at that), and B) the observation of the graph is not particularly humorous, or even really original (in my experience). Good try (better than recently, at any rate), but not quite good enough.

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  90. 4.50pm: your name is outside your picture THEREFORE YOUR NAME IS NOT LABELLING YOUR PICTURE

    i am on to you

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  91. All I'm going on was what I was taught in math class. The region outside any circles is part of the set.
    Honestly it doesn't bother me overly much AFA my enjoyment of the comic; as I already said I rather like it. Going by a more strict (accurate) interpretation, no, his diagram is nonsense, but it's easy to see what Randall intended and the joke isn't really ruined because of it.

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  92. except there is no region outside the circles

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  93. You (general you) can debate whether the borders of the comic panel constitutes the limits of the set, but the thing is venn diagrams are labelled with the label for a region placed inside its specific region. Again, this is what I was taught- if somebody would like to jump in and prove me wrong, by all means go ahead. It doesn't matter (to as much a degree) whether or not there's a region outside the circles so much as the fact that the circles themselves are not labeled.

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  94. except those labels are labeling the circles

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  95. No, they're not. That's what I'm saying. Those labels of "Geek" and "Nerd", by simple virtue of their placement outside the circles, are not and cannot technically speaking label the circles. Obviously Randall intends for them to label the circles, but in mathematic terms, they're not.

    How is this not clear?

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  96. because they are CLEARLY FUCKING LABELING THE CIRCLES, YOU FUCKING MORON

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  97. ::headdesk::

    I'm done here. I've made my point already multiple times, there's nothing to be gained saying it again and having you shout at me again.

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  98. yeah see the problem with your point is it is FUCKING RETARDED

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  99. The point is not clear because Ves and Rob are clearly seeing two different charts, based on both what they have seen and what they want to see.

    As I have stated, I agree with Rob, and I think Ves's point is pretty dumb (although I will do so without using all caps), simply because Mr. Munroe obviously intends for the circles to be labeled.

    Also, mathematics does not apply because there are no numbers in this graph, just labels. Make of that what you will.

    Captcha: "appla", as in, what I will go eat now.

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  100. ScottMcToVES IS STUPID STUPID DUMBJune 1, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    OH MY GOD THERE IS A SLIGHT EFFECTIVELY SYNTACTIC ERROR IN THE LABELING THAT DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO CREATE THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF AMBIGUITY HOLLY SHIT THIS IS LIKE ALMOST HALF AS BAD AS THE TIME HE USED WHO INSTEAD OF WHOM MAN THAT TIME WAS HORRIBLE!!!!!!

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  101. @Alsworth:
    The point is not clear because Ves and Rob are clearly seeing two different charts, based on both what they have seen and what they want to see.

    I don't think that's true; it's a matter of defining "what's there" and "what we want to see".

    As I have stated, I agree with Rob, and I think Ves's point is pretty dumb (although I will do so without using all caps),

    Fair enough. Courtesy on the internet though? Be still my heart!

    simply because Mr. Munroe obviously intends for the circles to be labeled.


    A point which I myself have made three times previously; reiterating it here makes four. Nobody is consfused as to Randall's intentions.

    Also, mathematics does not apply because there are no numbers in this graph, just labels. Make of that what you will.

    I think that's an interesting idea, and I think there's a debate that can be made of that, but that's just splitting thinner and thinner hairs. Not worth it, for anyone.

    @ScottMcTony: I AM YELLING THE LOUDEST SO THAT MEANS I WIN THE ARGUMENT

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  102. Wow. Clearly Randall is labeling the circles, that's obvious. Isn't this comic supposed to be about "Math, language, sarcasm, and romance?" How can you pride, nay base, yourself on Math if you can't even draw a freaking Venn Diagram correctly?

    Or have we moved past that and basically said "That tagline is bull?"

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  103. NO WE HAVE MOVED ON TO ACCEPTING THAT THE MANNER IN WHICH I MADE FUN OF VES WAS PURE TRUTH oh wait I am not mocking Ves anymore why am I still using caps.
    Ves I explained why you your point is "STUPID STUPID DUMB" extremely articulately in my all caps string of text.

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  104. see, what the fucktards haven't managed to communicate is the idea that it is actually a Rule Of Venn Diagrams that "labels are ALWAYS AND EXCLUSIVELY WITHIN THEIR CIRCLES AND ANYTHING ELSE IS JUST BY DEFINITION NOT AN ACCURATE LABEL, AND THAT MAKES RANDY INCREDIBLY DUMB DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE IS EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATING HIS IDEA AND THE PURPOSE OF COMMON NOMENCLATURE IS TO BE SURE THAT COMMUNICATION IS EFFECTIVE." they are just asserting that! in so doing they are mostly showing off that they are even more pedantic than Randy, and just as annoying about it.

    but yes, the tagline has always been bullshit.

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  105. Oh please please please point out to me where I said this makes Randall dumb Rob. Or point out where I submitted your strawmanned definition of labels as true for ANYTHING but venn diagrams. I remember when I had to study for this shit back in Precalc; and that was one of the things the teacher drilled into us. No shit that's not a general rule of labels.

    Try to be more accurate next time you go a-trollin'.

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  106. "I learned it in high school! my high school math teacher, who probably had an axe to grind, could not possibly be wrong!"

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  107. Swing and a miss, webster. I've made my statements with the caveat that what I learned may not be, in fact, the ultimate truth twice now, and I've already offered for anyone with the expertise and/or the resources to do so to prove me wrong in the event that I am. Feel free to stop failing at strawmanning me any time you like; you're just looking like more and more of a prick as you do.

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  108. "I LEARNED THE WORD STRAWMAN IN MY HIGH SCHOOL LOGIC CLASS AND I WANT TO KEEP USING IT BECAUSE I CAN'T DIFFERENTIATE MOCKERY FROM A LOGICAL ARGUMENT"

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  109. At this point you're just trolling, and to be honest you're awful at it.

    You get points though for having the balls to admit that I've proven you stone cold wrong thrice now about the nature of my argument.

    Oh, wait, no you didn't. You're trying to play it off as mockery, which has to be the most incompetent attempt at ass-covering I've seen all week.
    Well, that's not fair. You could also have really just been mocking the entire time, which would only mean you're a huge douche.

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  110. except you have never proven me wrong because I have never yet been wrong. but thanks for playing!

    but Jesus, man. you're so dumb you can't even tell when someone has been making fun of you and your stupid fucking opinions the whole time? you're worse than I thought.

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  111. i love when people argue with Rob because he is always so sure he's right and it immediately puts them on the defensive and they fail to realize talking to him any further is pointless as Rob is infallible.

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  112. I'm glad Rob came back out to play. Not that I have any problem with Ves. But, calling somebody a troll is a way of feeding trolls, isn't it?

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  113. they dance and dance and talk as if it was their own idea! "troll," they cry, "troll," tears in their little cuddlefish eyes. but they keep fighting, because they still live in a world where people are right and wrong and where their precious logic actually amounts to something more than a way to amuse humanities majors for a few months. "but why," they demand, "why won't he listen? I've said my stupid little point a hundred times! I've concocted all sorts of arguments that make sense to me!"

    and as I gaze upon their ruined worlds, I declare it to be good.

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  114. Rob, I used to respect you, but this discussion has trashed that respect.

    You're a huge prick here, seriously. What happened to calm discussion to iron out differences?

    for the record, I sort of get what Ves is saying.

    The point isn't that the diagram labelling is unclear, it's that the convention is wrong.

    And for randall, somone who plays on a reputation of being "educated sientist" this is a schoolboy howler. It's on par with not labelling axes correctly (which I think he has done before).

    I can see you're saying it's a silly complaint to make, and maybe it is, because it's still relitively clear what's going on, but what effort would it have been to put the words "nerd" and "geek" inside the regions they define? And as before, it's a fairly small complaint about a generally shitty comic, but it irks me to see a comic "dedicated to math.. etc" manages to get basic conventions wrong.

    But that's not what I'm commenting to say.

    What I'm commenting to say is that you;ve been a capslock riding troll fiend in this comment thread and I sincerely hope that wild dogs bite off your nipples.

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  115. scottmcfagnuggetJune 2, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    See: What Rob said a few posts ago about common nomenclature.
    Now, imagine that it was conventional for the vast majority of comics to include the comic title in the image. Now, imagine Randall put xkcd titles, well, where they are. Is he 'wrong'?

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  116. Rob (WHAT A COINCIDENCE)June 2, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    4:29, rob's a fat, self-hating atheist for what it's worth.

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  117. As for why it doesn't matter obviously
    i mean you're mainly saying rob's a fat cunt and i can't object to that

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  118. ScottMcfagnugget- The convetion for Venn Diagrams is to put the label inside the set This is to avoid confusion with other sets and the global set.
    It's a diagram convention, similar to that of labelling axes correctly on charts, and so on.

    Not doing these things is bad practice, and while in some cases like here, it's clear what's ment, but if your ment to be a paragon of science then getting stuff like that wrong is pretty dire.

    As webcomics aren't used to communicate information to the sciences unambiguously and and consistently, there is no real convention with how things go- compare and contrast penny arcade with mspaint adventures- neither is 'wrong'.

    However- if you put charts into a webcomic, and label them against convention, your chart is wrong; even if the webcomic isn't.

    follow?

    Capchca- monessir- Would you like to see our wine list, monessir?

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  119. It's spelled meant.

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  120. oh sweet Jesus yes.

    there are awesome times, and then there are the "omg I used to respect you" dumbasses. not going to lie, excepting the occasions like Ryan Learn where the stupidity is so great and so remarkable that we're still talking about them months after they have fled to cry about how some horrible monster disagreed with them on the internet, this is my favorite thing that happens on here. it has redeemed many a dull conversation.

    not that this one is dull! far from it. that just makes this one even better. so thank you, pseudonymous troll, for making a hilarious conversation even more hilarious.

    back to mocking dumbass pedants!

    here is what the latest anon wrote: "The convetion for Venn Diagrams is to put the label inside the set This is to avoid confusion with other sets and the global set."

    well look at that! you've answered your own complaint. convention exists (if it actually exists here, an idea towards which none of you fucks have advanced anything more than 'my high school maths teacher' as evidence) to ensure clear communication and no confusion, etc etc. you will note that there is no fucking confusion. it is perfectly clear what was intended.

    it's the equivalent of insisting that a haiku has to have a syllable pattern of 5/7/5, that any haiku without that pattern is a bad haiku. your evidence? "that is what my teacher told me!"

    despite evidence to the contrary I'm pretty sure you fucks actually have a brain. perhaps you should try engaging it occasionally?

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  121. Rob I know what you're thinking but all these walls of text don't really hide the fact that you have a tiny penis.

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  122. actually i would say that one surefire way to hide a tiny penis would be to put up a giant wall around you, so Rob is doing ok here.

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  123. I was going to type a lengthy comment refuting your points Rob. Half way through I started saying something about pie-graphs and got hungry so I stopped.

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  124. you should probably only bother refuting points that can be refuted anyway so it's okay

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  125. Rob if you're going to be a dick (which I whole-heartedly endorse) try being an accurate dick.

    Couturat 1914

    Witchita State University

    Wolfram Alpha

    You may notice the clear separation of the universal set in the first two, and the presence of the labels inside the circles despite the absence of a universal set in the third.

    This whole conversation is mostly retarded; try not to raise the average retard level.

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  126. golly jeepers, you found three whole examples where they put the label inside the circle. that's incredibly rare! because everyone knows if you've found three examples of something it's a UNIVERSAL LAW and doing it any other way is ALWAYS WRONG.

    come on. find me something that isn't a high school teacher which says "the labels always go inside the circles they are supposed to be labeling, and there are absolutely no exceptions and anyone who ever does it any other way is doing it wrong." because I just found you more than three examples of the labels outside the circles, so it must be even more than a universal law.

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  127. ten examples! it must be a universal law three times over!

    in case you were wondering, what you just did is called Confirmation Bias. it is what happens when someone only looks for data which confirms their hypothesis instead of which would refute it--like the ten links I just found you. you will note most of them are on education-related websites, so apparently someone's teachers disagreed with poor ickle Ves's maths teacher in high school. SCANDAL!

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  128. Rob, clearly as you're not a scientist your mind has been tainted with the wishy washy talk of marketing directors and journalism students, who have problems getting dressed, let alone labelling graphs (This is how the trend of wearing a keffiya started).

    Clearly the solution is you must drink a distilled extract of randall monroe's urine, then and only then will you be raised above the inconsistencies and bad practice of non-scientific literature.

    It is unfortunate that this will do nothing for your corpulent bulk or tiny penis.

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  129. wait, rob has been drinking that for years. it has medicinal powers??

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  130. Listen guys, I read a book called Vincent and Viola (http://www.kaplanco.com/store/trans/productDetailForm.asp?CatID=6|CB1025|0&PID=11243) and I learned about Venn Diagrams from it. So I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about.

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  131. Dude. Seriously. You need to calm down. It's just a gag, they're not meant to make sense

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  132. I don't even know why the fuck you care so much to make this fucking idiotic blog

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  133. OOOOH IT JUST MAKES THE CUDDLEFISH SO MAAAAAAD

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  134. i think this joke is pretty funny

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  135. I misread this comic as the woman saying "This is a stickup!" and that actually made it a lot funnier.

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