Monday, June 14, 2010

Comic 753: The most important thing about comedy...

ich bin ein shitstorm
Welcome to astute-political-commentary-on-a-50-year-delay-comix! Today: A mistake President Kennedy - you know, the guy your parents remember - made back in 1961! A mistake he made before the current president was even born.

A commentator writes that JFK was not, in fact, making a mistake because the notion of the "Global South" is a meaningful and understood concept, and it's not strictly a geographic description in that sense. But I'm going to side with Randall on this one: JFK didn't say "the global south," he said "the whole southern half of the globe," which strongly implies the literal southern hemisphere. And try as I might to defend JFK, Asia, the Mideast, and much of Africa are pretty clearly in the Northern Hemisphere. So I'm comfortable saying JFK made a mistake. At the least, he could have been clearer.

But it's just that: A mistake. Using too literal a phrase, or saying "southern" instead of "lower" (in the sense of lower income). Maybe he meant to say "the southern half of the globe, and asia..." etc. Or maybe he was just writing without looking at a map, and he thought the equator was farther north than it is. Whatever. He listed the regions he was talking about, so it's not like this is unclear.

The question is, why on earth make a comic about this now? This speech is nearly 50 years old. This line is not famous, and as far as I can tell, this speech is not famous. It's not his Ich Bin Ein Berliner speech, which contains the far more memorable and far more amusing error. It's not his inaugural address ("ask not what your country can do for you...") or anything relating to Cuba. He doesn't say we'll be on the moon within the decade. In fact, I fail to see what is really historically significant about this speech besides the fact that he made a small error. Which means, in short, that this comic is nitpicking a five decade old speech.

So then you wonder: Why this speech? It's not like presidential mistakes are all that rare. Sometimes they're absurdly common. Sure, if this speech had been given yesterday, I could see it being a sort of current event thing. It would make the comic outdated quickly (like this one) but it would sure make more sense than it does now. Hell, at least the last comic that said "people refer to world geography in funny ways" is going to stay relevant for a little while.

In conclusion: I do not have a clue what would be going through someone's mind to make them draw a comic like this.

Also: And this is true for many many situations, not just comics: acknowledging that your creation has a terrible flaw - in this case, being 50 years late - does not make that flaw acceptable.

124 comments:

  1. CARL you fat ignorant s.o.b., this is comic 753, not 743!

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  2. ughhgh that is a stain which shall forever live in my url

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  3. I chuckled at the alt text, though. Maybe it's just because the concept of blowing up the moon seems to be inherently funny in a ridiculous sense.

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  4. also carl you fat stupid monster, if there is a north/south divide then one HALF would be the north and the other HALF would be the south, WHY DO YOU HATE PEOPLE WHO ARE CORRECT

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  5. "In conclusion: I do not have a clue what would be going through someone's mind to make them draw a comic like this."

    There's a simple answer to that: Nothing. Randall couldn't think of anything funny (no surprise there) so he scribbled a world map, tossed in a quote, and called it a day.

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  6. I wish more of Randall's comics would start with an admission of the mistake he's making.

    "Ok, so the joke here relies on all of you bursting at the seams to escape your obviously unfulfilling lives, but stay with me here...!"

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  7. Yeah, at least Randall admits that he's late to the party, for a change.
    Perhaps someone should figure out what admission/apology should compliment each comic.

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  8. GOOMH Randall! I too hold a half century long grudge against JFK!

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  9. Note: one common symptom of Asperger syndrome is a desire to correct people and factual inaccuracies.


    Muhahaha, I love you xkcdexplained.

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  10. Without doing any research, I think JFK was talking about a less concrete North-South divide between nations. When you look at it, this correlates very strongly with stuff like GDP per capita and HDI -- much more so than an East-West divide. Placing that exact dividing line would probably lead to a ludicrously complicated sentence, so saying something like "southern half of the globe" is the only way to avoid a stupidly precise construction.

    Randall's just being horribly pedantic. Which, given the timing, is inexcusable.

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  11. Ich Bin Ein Berliner was not actually a mistake. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_bin_ein_Berliner

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  12. I'm guessing Randy recently saw the quote on some TV show (archive footage) or read it in an article.

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  13. Ich bin ein Berliner is terminology used by a lot of Berliners to describe themselves too. Only the REALLY nitpicky ones think that JFK said it wrong...

    Next xkcd comic idea, anyone??

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  14. This one is... so bland.

    Also, I did learn this geopolitical divide of the world but, from what I remember, half of Asia was, indeed, in the North(and Wikipedia agrees, at least), so there. Though maybe at the time Russia wasn't included in the North, so yeah.

    It doesn't make a good point picking on a president's speech of 50 years ago, though. I'm not sure what Randall is aiming for here, but I guess it has to do with that INTP "I can't bear to agree with something that I think is factually incorrect, even though it's just a convention" thing. It's not a good point to aim for, in fact. Actually, it's pretty petty and stupid.

    And so fucking late.

    I'm lacking enthusiasm for this. Mole out.

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  15. ISTP, I think, was Randy's justification for being a pedantic asshole.

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  16. "I do not have a clue what would be going through someone's mind to make them draw a comic like this."

    A lot of XKCD is "found" humor from Wikipedia. Namely, Randall clicks through a dozen or so links, finds something that he (incorrectly) thinks can be funny, and adds a joke.

    For example, hit random link on Wikipedia and you might come up with the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. That kind of sounds like Minas Tirith. Throw in a LotR reference (possibly something obscure to be suitably geeky), a dash of sex, some social awkwardness, and VOILA, you've got yourself an XKCD comic.

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  17. Its such a weak attempt at a generic geography joke that anyone with a pseudo-intellectual superiority complex would think is hilarious. Another good example he could have used would be: http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww336/talligan/xkcd754.jpg (apparently it was 753, not 754 - I fail at naming files)

    Or another could be, in the 14th century,have am arrow pointing at 'christendom'and then another arrow pointing at Jerusalem where it kinda all started! Hilarity!

    Its a generic, lazy, weak attempt at a joke.

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  18. The fact that he's late to the party is the entire joke. That's the punchline. One expects a modern comic to comment on modern events, making this an unexpected and mildly ironic scenario. It's also self-deprecating humor because Randall is implying he's so pedantic that the scenario bothers him enough to tell people about it.

    Both you and xkcdexplained.com failed to grasp that. I'm disappointed. I hope none of you ever watch anything by Monty Python or The Kids in the Hall or else you're going to have to start a bunch of new websites to complain about them.

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  19. Okay I know everyone's talking about 754 by now but hold your damn horses because I don't read xkcd until Carl's weighed in on it. So I'm going to talk about 753.

    That said, WHAT!? WHAAAAT?! Are you fucking KIDDING me?!

    I can't even begin to express how terrible this comic is. For a webcomic that routinely scrapes the bottom of the comedic barrel, this is somehow *markedly* shittier than his usual stuff, and I am fucking amazed that he's capable of topping that garbage.

    The worst part is that I KNOW the fucking retards I know who read the comic are going to feel this one is just as amazingly witty and funny as the rest and quote it endlessly, just like every other one. Fuck my life.

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  20. Anon 7:03: It's still not funny. See Carl's comment about "pointing out a flaw in your own work does not make the flaw acceptable".

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  21. "The fact that he's late to the party is the entire joke. That's the punchline."

    And that's better?

    Also the joke was clearly that South America is coloured red and looks like a chili and it contains a country called Chile. You must be a complete retard to miss that. Durr.

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  22. Hey you, the man in the white houthe
    Before you shoot off your big mouth
    Please do be so kind
    As to switch on your mind -
    The Mid East is nowhere near the south!

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  23. At the first Anonymous about the alt text:

    That's because blowing up the moon IS a funny concept... that was proposed by Mr. Show nearly 13 years ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csj7vMKy4EI

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  24. @Alsworth

    But it's not a flaw. As he often does, Carl is pointing at non sequiter, ironic humor and complaining that it isn't humor because it doesn't make sense. But the joke is that it doesn't make sense. The joke is that the joke sucks.

    Carl is like an old man yelling that rock music is just noise because it's so loud and angry and doesn't sound like big band or opera. He draws a bunch of arbitrary lines on how a "real" joke is supposed to go and criticizes the comic for deviating from those, despite the fact that said deviation is part of a large movement (hence my reference to Monty Python and KitH earlier) and has plenty of people who appreciate it as comedy.

    Is it a great example of said humor? Maybe not. But complaining about the made-up flaws of a bad work is just as stupid is complaining about the made-up flaws of a good one.

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  25. @anonymous 8:42 "The joke is that the joke sucks." So, by this line of thought, every joke ever is inherently good because if the punchline fails, then it was meant to suck and that's the joke.

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  26. @anon 8.42: How come no-one in TEH FORUMZ has taken it like that then?

    Are you sure you're not just overreaching? Maybe you're the funny one here, not Randall.

    EDIT: Oh, and of course saying "Bwah hah I bet you don't like Monty Python or anything EITHER" you just look like an ass because it's rubbish.

    Or, in terms you'll understand, sweetcheeks, HUH I bet you don't like Zero Punctuation or the columns of Charlie Brooker because you JUST DON'T GET how criticism work you NAIF

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  27. @8:42: Sorry no, gotta disagree.

    I get the point you're making, but saying "this joke sucks" is not a joke.

    Finding a funny way of saying "this joke sucks" is a joke.

    "Hey I just found my old notebook of joke-ideas from 1961. And some of it is still gold!" or something like that is a funny attempt to self-deprecatingly lamshade how irrelevant this comic is.
    Just saying "Well I'm late to the party but this has been bugging me" is not funny. At all. It's just an attempt to mask how humourlessly pedantic the narrator's being. (It would be funny if it'd been bugging the narrator for 50 years and he was such a petty twisted loser he couldn't let it go. But coming from a guy in his mid-twenties, it's clear he just heard the line recently and he's just being an arse).


    And another point, thinking that this kind of self-deprecation is in anyway a deviation from what's usually thought of as funny?
    Gotta disagree again. Hell, Shakespeare did it, and even then it wasn't subversive.

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  28. @Ann Apolis: Charlie Brooker <3

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  29. I bet Carl hates Shakespeare. I bet he's all up in Shakespeare's nose about it, like "SHAKESPEARE you HACK Ye Saturday Mourning Breakfaft Theatre already did this plot like two months ago"
    "'Alas poor Yorick I knew him Horatio' NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT SHAKESPEY"

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  30. >Anon 7:03: It's still not funny. See Carl's comment about "pointing out a flaw in your own work does not make the flaw acceptable".

    He isn't pointing out a flaw in the work, it is the work, essentially. This has been xkcd's style since the beginning. The "My Hobby" comics may have been a funnier way of presenting this brand of ironic humor, but it still plays out here.

    >Just saying "Well I'm late to the party but this has been bugging me" is not funny. At all. It's just an attempt to mask how humourlessly pedantic the narrator's being.

    The joke itself is the humourlessly pedantic narrator. And while "this joke sucks" may not be a joke anymore, it was hilarious the first time it was uttered. Munroe's brand of ironic humor can spread itself thin and just be lame at times, but 'd say it's the defining aspect of the comic -- not the self-described "math, sarcasm, romance, and language".

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  31. And might I add it's nearly the same humor that xkcdsucks and xkcdexplained hold for me; I love all three equally.

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  32. "The joke itself is the humourlessly pedantic narrator."

    :\ I don't think so.
    I imagine the typical xkcd reader is going to react to the comic with "Haha, yeah, what was dumb ole JFK thinking?", not "Haha, what is humourlessly pedantic Randy thinking?"

    I don't see much irony in xkcd, except when it's IRONIC LOOK LOOK IRONY! HILARIOUS RIGHT?

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  33. The joke is the pedantic narrator? The way the comic is set up doesn't seem to imply that. Maybe if the caption at the bottom was like "Yeah I'm half a century late on this, so what?" Actually, something like that would make a better alt-text, and it would be like what Zach Weiner of SMBC does with lots of his voteys (you know, when they have drawings of him saying things like "Testicles joke or math joke? Damn, this is hard"). I think SMBC is pretty repetitive, but it does that sort of self-deprecating humor well, much better than this comic supposedly did.

    The only slightly humorous thing I see in this comic is the implication that the President of the United States didn't own a globe. That's not even very funny, though.

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  34. "It's also self-deprecating humor because Randall is implying he's so pedantic that the scenario bothers him enough to tell people about it."

    I think that is accurate and was the impression I got when I first read the comic. This is not a joke about Kennedy, it is a joke about Randall or more generally, about anyone who is bothered by inconsequential things. It may not be delivered in the best way but I don't think it's as bad or poorly thought out as some are saying.

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  35. So basically, Kennedy was talking about any place white people aren't?

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  36. @ Ann Apolis
    If I was aghast at the idea of criticism itself, then yeah, I wouldn't understand Zero Punctuation or the columns of Charlie Brooker. You would be right to point them out to me to demonstrate that it's a popular and well-received way of doing things, just as I pointed out popular forms of nonsensical comedy because Carl seems utterly perplexed by it.

    @ Keep
    "I found this old joke and still think it's worth telling" and "I am aware of this old thing that bothers me and still feel like making a joke about it" are basically the same joke. The punchline is the narrator telling a joke years after it ceases to be relevant. The only difference is that the former implies the narrator was at one point in touch with the world and is now looking back, making him just plain sad, whereas the the latter implies the narrator is and always has been out of touch, making him weird. The latter fits the mood of the joke better.

    Also, I didn't say self-deprecation was a deviation from what's normal, just from what Carl apparently thinks is the definition of comedy. The fact that Shakespeare used it just further proves how wrong it is to criticize its use.

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  37. I call it "The Aristocrats."

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  38. Hypocrite much?

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  39. shakespeare did everything

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  40. "The whole southern half of the globe, Asia, Latin america, Africa and the Middle east", Does it make more sense now?

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  41. the self-deprecation isn't the focus of the comic though. he's not making a big deal out of the fact that he's fifty years late, he's just mentioning it and tossing it aside.

    it's technically self-deprecation because being late is a negative trait, but no way is that the punchline. punchline = president didn't own a globe. alternatively there is no punchline and it's just an observation that people are supposed to agree with.

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  42. one day people will understand that just because Randy says "I know I'm late" it's not self-depreciative humor, and just because his jokes make no sense doesn't make them nonsensical humor.

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  43. LONG POST WARNING BEEP BEEP LIGHTS

    See I'd be willing to believe it was self-deprecation, but:

    a) it's a "Direct From Randall" strip; there's no characters involved, Randall is writing straight to us. There's a history of strips written like this to be ones direct and sincere from Randall: see the mainstream media are teh dishonest one and the mainstream media are teh evilz and moneygrabbing one - and especially compare the latter with this one, which IS self-parodic but places the faults on CharacterRandall rather than NarratorRandall. I think when Randall does strips which are him writing he is being sincere (sincere as opposed to self-deprecating)

    b) he already did this strip (he even says "this bugged me"! it's EXACTLY THE SAME JOKE!). Now you could well say 'well duh he's obviously parodying it now' but clearly from the first strip he doesn't think it's a stupid joke [because he ran it is a comic] so this new strip can't be saying 'it's a stupid joke'.
    See the DRM self-deprecatory one works; he's not contradicting himself, he's merely pointing out that in the past he's perhaps gone on a little too much about DRM. He's not saying 'in the past I was wrong'. Whereas if this new strip was self-deprecating he'd be saying 'in the past I put out a comic using this joke and it was supposed to be funny; now I've put out a comic saying that this joke is totally unfunny'.

    tl;dr i have SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN you wrong
    and the worst thing is i have done it using the liberal arts. for shame, me.

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  44. ALSO that "I know I'm late" bit is a textbook example of lampshade hanging. I think.

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  45. http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/words_that_end_in_gry.png

    Wow remember that? Hardly seems believable given the nitpicky asinine nature of this comic.

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  46. Since the XKCD fans love doing, "Oooh, I know an XKCD that's roughly connected to the subject we we're discussing. Let's laugh at out mutual knowledge," you'd think I could get more sympathy for my hatred of TV Tropes, but no.

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  47. @ Ann Apolis

    So when he's talking to us it's serious, but when there's a character that acts like him that he's criticizing it's a joke? So all the "my hobby" strips are actual things he does? Because those have him plainly narrating that he does something with a small image to demonstrate, which he doesn't at all point out is silly or wrong, exactly like this one.

    And you think "Terminology" was based on a serious complaint? Because there are two possibilities for the basis of that comic: either Randall is completely out of touch with all human civilization and honestly doesn't understand why Asia is called the East and Europe called the West, and it actually bugs him that the world isn't centered around him, or the comic was meant to be a nonsensical statement from an ironically over-pedantic point of view.

    Also, to scientifically prove something is to prove it through experimentation. You meant to say you'd logically proven it.

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  48. You wrote:
    "He doesn't say we'll be on the moon within the decade."
    JFK in the speech at Rice university said:
    "...that we shall send to the moon...a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall...and do it first before this decade is out..."
    Read the speech LOL ;D
    http://www.space-video.info/speech/19620912-jfk-rice-text.html

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  49. @2.49 the fact that I put it in capitals with no capital letters in the rest of the sentence, I feel, was enough to suggest my tongue was, alas, in the vicinity of my cheek. Nonetheless.

    If we take "Terminology" the way you intend it, then, in fact, Randall is doing exactly the same joke now as he did then. Phrased almost exactly the same way. Huh.

    Er, the My Hobbies... I think the 'My Hobby' serves as a marker that he's not being serious, and we know to expect that. But I still contend most of the strips which are written in this very directed from-me-to-you style are things that are intended to be taken at face value.

    I really think you're reading too much into this. Maybe you should start a comic and put these actual jokes into it rather than trying to read them into xkcd ;)

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  50. "Terminology" was most likely intentionally pedantic. This comic is pedantic as well, but that isn't the joke.


    "One expects a modern comic to comment on modern events, making this an unexpected and mildly ironic scenario."

    There are lots of things one might not have expected to see in a comic, like a fiery, alligator-filled tidal wave, or a fetus with a gun. When a comic has done things like that, all expectations for what you might see in the future are kind of out the window. This comic is simply unexpected in that no, I did not know on Sunday that Randall was going to write a comic about a speech by JFK. It is not ironic or unexpected in any sort of special way, because xkcd isn't a series of political cartoons that lampoons only the most current happenings of our political climate.

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  51. Andrew: but that's not the speech to congress cited by this comic. That's the speech cited in the alt-text, which I don't really care about.

    Anon saying that this strip is being "ironic": First off, irony is the last refuge of the scoundrel, secondly, do you have any actual REASON for believing that this strip is meant ironically, or do you just need a way to make it funny and this was what you came up with? Randall has done a joke like the one you are describing, where the humor is person holding a grudge or an amusingly long time - it was comic 725. It's totally different from this one. It's clear who we are supposed to be laughing at, and why, in that one. Here, it's the narrator. Can you find me any other examples of a comic where we are supposed to be laughing at the stupidity of the narrator? I don't think you can. It's just not how Randall makes comics.

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  52. Randall doesn't even really do self-deprecation, when you get right down to it. Real self-deprecation requires a comfort level with one's self that Randall honestly doesn't seem to have. He either engages in reminiscing about the past where he used to do something wrong--the DRM strip that Ann Apolis noted--or he engages in various forms of self-loathing (449 springs to mind).

    It either comes across as forced ("Look, I have flaws too! Just not very many and they're better than yours") or awkward ("God, I'm a terrible person.")

    CAPTCHA: commyc (n) - how to spell "comic" if you want to make the same kind of commentary made by spelling America "Amerika"

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  53. Why this speech? Because the earth is a sphere, and spheres are math-related, and Randy-Boy's anal-retentive autistic mind can't rest until he announces to the whole world that OMG A PRESIDENT MADE A MATH BOO-BOO LOL DUMBASS!!1!

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  54. Why this speech? Because the earth is a sphere, and spheres are math related, and Randy-Boy's anal-retentive autistic mind can't rest until he announces to the whole world that OMG A PRESIDENT MADE A MATH BOO-BOO LOL DUMBASS!!1!

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  55. I didn't think there was anything wrong with this one... to be honest, I tend to have more interesting things to do than analyse a webcomic... I think of xkcd as something that takes the edge off the terrible anticipation that comes with waiting for my toast to pop up.

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  56. @Gryfillion

    Ah, but a TRUE brother-in-arms spells it as "AmeriKKKa".

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  57. I don't think "Terminology" was either a pedantic comic nor a completely nonsensical and intentionally preposterous one: it struck me as a completely pointless, wasteful observation from a guy who has nothing better to say and hopes to get a chuckle from people who'll go "oooooh, yes, this always bugged me TOO (actually it never did, but now that you brought it up, yeah, I'll think it always did)!" -- which, incidentally, is how about 75% of xkcd strips strike me these days.

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  58. um if US foreign policy was not based on the lines of demarcation clearly stated (albeit geographically incorrectly) in jfk's 1961 speech to congress, THEN you might really wonder what was going through randall's mind.

    obviously i'm way out of place in a forum such as this (i don't find fault with this comic in general --though of course the dude ain't close to perfect-- but rather think he's pretty astute. DRM *is* evil, and important, and boring, for example.) but i think the discussion is great.

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  59. it is not "geographically incorrect"

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  60. 10 print "randall is a hack"
    20 goto 10

    rofl rofl

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  61. Wait, didn't he already do the dependencies joke back with the Tautology Club? Or am I mixing this up?

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  62. 754 made me chuckle, even if it is just another sort of homographic pun.

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  63. >Wait, didn't he already do the dependencies joke back with the Tautology Club? Or am I mixing this up?

    Well, they both are, except that one was lame and this one is sort of clever - it's a pun contrasting class dependencies and software dependencies, and the fact that compilers tend to be written in the same language they compile so you need that compiler to compile it.

    Not exactly genius comedy, sure, but this is xkcd we're talking about.

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  64. It doesn't matter whether he's personally done the dependencies joke before, because it's the same "recursion in real life" joke that geeks have been using for ages, including (but not limited to):

    * Searching for recursion on Google.
    * Recursive acronyms, such as GNU, which stands for "GNU's Not Unix".
    * The classic AI koan about garbage collectors.
    * The Linus Torvalds joke that he created the aptitude package manager by installing it using aptitude.

    ...and countless other jokes that take "recursion in real life" as their starting point. The fact that it appears on a class schedule instead of as part of a koan does not make it original.

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  65. In addition to my comments about recursion, I believe that, in light of this very old comic, and regardless of whether 753 was self-referential or not, the proper response to it should still be, "Ha ha, I guess."

    He did promise not to do self-reference, keep in mind.

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  66. 754 did not register with me, because I write software using closed source libraries written by corporations that actually care about quality control. BOOM! OPEN SOURCE WAR!

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  67. 754 is bad, but there's not much to say, really. I figured out the after reading about two words (the title and the word "computer"). What's worse, is that the alt-text basically rehashes a crappier version of the joke.

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  68. "Acknowledging that your creation has a terrible flaw - in this case, being 50 years late - does not make that flaw acceptable."

    I'm not saying that this comic is funny. It isn't. However, the above statement is not generally true, at least when it comes to humor (and incidentally, debate). It's called "hanging a lantern" on the flaw, and it a very common and successful means of directing attention at the intended issue/joke, rather than at the flaw. The problem with hanging a lantern in this case is that there's nothing funny about the comic in the first place.

    Not that anyone bothers to read anything after the first 20 comments...

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  69. It would've been funnier if he stuck some sort of "bootstrapping" joke in there. As it is, it's pretty boring.

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  70. Oooonce again, Randall takes an otherwise simple joke and coats it in obscure "you need to know this first" stuff. I need to start calling him Pandall.

    Also, it's yet another instance of applying computer/science theory to real life.

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  71. I AM A COLLEGE STUDENT TOO OMGOMGOMG

    GOOMH RANDALL

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  72. You don't need to know about that stuff. I don't, and all it meant is that it took me a few moments of extra thought. "Dependency resolution" sounds like plain English to me, and when you notice that the prerequisite is the course itself everything falls into place.

    The main problem is deciding what information is irrelevant and needs to be filtered out, which wasn't immediately obvious to me.

    But I like it. It's not fresh, it's not original, so what? It works. I like it.

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  73. Linux users know about circular dependencies, very few other people do or need to know about them, but Randall did it wrong again. It would have been better if he had put more than one line in so that to do CPSC 432 you first need to do CPSC 357 and to do that you need CPSC 534 and to do that you need CPSC 432.

    He had a go at it in the alt-text (the place where he aims to do the actual joke in each strip) but ... just ... didn't ... quite make it.

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  74. Yeah, I couldn't figure out the most recent one until I looked at the prereq, and then my reaction was just, "oh. Another recursion joke."

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  75. "The main problem is deciding what information is irrelevant and needs to be filtered out, which wasn't immediately obvious to me."

    Agreed. The course could have simply been called "dependency resolution" and the joke would have been a lot clearer.

    ITA, not fresh, not original, but better than the latest crap he's been cranking out.

    http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/2953/754wd.jpg

    And I'm not even a professional joke-writer/T-Shirt salesman like Randall.

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  76. anon 6:00's version is about 10x better than Randy's. I personally view the latest comic as one of the worst XKCD's ever

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  77. I am a CSer and I rolled my eyes at the tired joke.

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  78. I know next to nothing about programming or advanced computer science.

    I understood this joke.

    And it was weak.

    I get it, dependency in compiling (whatever the fuck that means) has some redundancies, so a class on it would be redundant as well! OMG MAKING LIFE LIKE COMPUTERS LULZ

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  79. I kept thinking my browser was broken and wouldn't scroll down for some reason, because the comic just cut off halfway through the second line of the grid.

    Maybe I'm just an idiot, seems like it's poorly-designed to me.

    And the joke wasn't that funny.

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  80. This is good -- apparently comic-randall has now graduated from high school science classes and is now registering for college courses. How our little guy has grown. I hope we get comics about working lousy summer jobs all summer and then in September get to see his big move in and first classes in comic form! These classrooms are big! Professors are different than teachers, some don't care much at all! hahahahhaha college, guys, amirite?

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  81. WTF @ 754. It's yet another lame variant of the old "Recursion [n] : See Recursion" joke.

    In fact, when I google "recursion definition", the 4th match of 874,000 results is a page that points out how old and not funny that joke is.

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  82. Why do you guys even treat these ass-burger cuddlefish like people? They're dead-fucking wrong, full-stop. No need to try to convince them, because all they think they're doing is making headway with you. Stop it. Looking at you, Ann.

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  83. "I get it, dependency in compiling (whatever the fuck that means) has some redundancies, so a class on it would be redundant as well!"

    Actually, I don't think "redundancy" is the problem tackled here; it's a reference to how libraries can create endless cycles of dependencies (A depends on B, which depends on A), which make the program impossible to compile. Thing is, the link between the self-prerequisite, Computer Science and "Dependency Resolution" is something that only makes 100% sense to whom already has a background on writing software, and THAT is the intended joke of the comic. It's a tired, old joke made slightly complicated as simple, pure self-congratulation for the readers; "Congratulations, you know programming!" and stuff.

    That said, the comic wasn't particularly terrible. I found it passable.

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  84. It would be amusing in an actual course brochure, in the same way that T-Rex's http room numbers might raise a smile in an actual building. But - like those xkcds we've had before which might be amusing in spontaneous conversation but are too slight to stand on their own - as one of xkcd's Three Jokes A Week it's a bit pathetic.

    Notes:

    a) If he could come up with a longer list of amusing entries in a course brochure that might actually be quite funny.

    b) Note how in that Dinosaur Comics the unfunniness of the joke is actually part of the joke - T-Rex is portrayed as slightly pathetic by his mannerisms of speech, his overexplanation of the joke to Dromi, and previous characterisation. At risk of angering 10.15 (sorry! I guess someone is just Wrong On The Internet, and they're not funny enough to be a troll), none of that is present in 753.

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  85. You would have to be a complete idiot to criticize a comic on grounds that the comic itself is already lampshading, and no, not just in the alt-text, but in the fucking overt caption.

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  86. so if randall lapshaded everything in his comics he would be immune to all criticism ever. got it.

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  87. Pointing out that you made a bad comic does not make it not a bad comic.

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  88. RE: Anonymous -- Yes.
    RE: Anonymous -- Yes it does.

    Gawd, no one here has the balls to use a true anonymous pseudonym.

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  89. petroc, you bigoted, jew-hating fag, you're always coming on here spouting your white supremacist justifications of randall's shitty comix. go fuck your nazi buddies and get the fuck off this blog.

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  90. Okay, um, wtf. Didn't realize I'm a bigot, or a Jew-hater, or a fag, the latter term being something that only a bigot would say in the context you used it in. But that's alright, pretty typical for Randall haters to be self-contradictory, I suppose.

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  91. too blatant, petroc. troll it down.

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  92. Heh R. you know all my trix!

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  93. I'm not going to remake the comic and post it somewhere. Because I'm lazy. But if the "joke" was supposed to be the author's pedantry, then the caption should have been something like:

    "Did you hear Joe Biden's speech the other day? My June 10, 2059 comic is going to be awesome!"

    It conveys the same acknowledgement, but at least tries to do something with it.

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  94. That's retarded





    June 10, 2059 is a tuesday

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  95. I
    WANT
    PARROT
    DIARRHEA
    RANT

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  96. lol Amarsisr. That would make a really good alt-text.

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  97. @Ves:

    http://xkcdsucks.blogspot.com/2010/05/comic-744-its-all-game.html?showComment=1274923925988#c7698013962172841001

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  98. @ Rupert: except carl needs to make it a guest post

    DAMN YOU CARL AND YOUR BIAS AGAINST PARROT DIARRHEA

    captcha: acterene. The market name of an joint-pain relief cream.

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  99. Carl! Quick! Add 'I know this is a bad review, but..." to the start of this post. NO-ONE WILL BE ABLE TO CRITICISE YOU EVER.

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  100. >http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/2953/754wd.jpg

    Good, but it still goes too far into 'explaining the joke'. I'd probably make it:

    COMPUTER SCIENCE | CPSC 432 | INTERMEDIATE COMPILER DESIGN | CPSC 432

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  101. No no, this is the message Randal was trying to convey.
    http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/676/compscilol.png

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  102. Oh shit, guys. Randall actually made a joke for Wednesday's comic.

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  103. Actually, to avoid criticism, just take the Kevin Smith approach and explain that you didn't make your [insert production here] for critics.

    On top of showing the world how you are both indie and artsy, it also adds the previous benefit of invalidating all criticism.

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  104. Ouch at xckdexplained today. I know they're more making the dig at Randall but still Comp Sci isn't that bad of a field to get into, but acting smug with jokes like these is

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  105. Considering one of the fastest growing jobs in the hilariously pathetic United States economy is software engineers, I'd argue that Comp Sci is pretty worth getting into. xkcdexplained is just going for the low-hanging fruit.

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  106. Wow, some people get butthurt easily. I never even saw that as a dig to Comp Sci students until I read these last two replies. A bit oversensitive to perceived criticism of your career choice, guys?

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  107. Oh lord, not the trolls. I fucking hate the trolls. It seems like their only purpose is to show up and slow down the main plot, but that could just be because things are going so slowly it's hard to tell what purpose they serve.

    I admit though, the juggalo troll was pretty funny.

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  108. Yeah and it really seemed like Homestuck was just about to go somewhere.

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  109. personally i think its funny and clever. why does a site like this exist just to slag off another geeky comic site, 3 times a week, surely you have better things to do! surely this take a lot of effort, stop wasting your life, go play some games, get rinsed, see some friends, do coke,just stop being so petty. i like xkcd, its hit and miss but dont spend my entire life bitching about it. just seems a bit creepy to me.

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  110. blog = entire life

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  111. springs, I don't get it. You came to a blog and then posted the same thing on two different posts. Did you think double posting would give you a better chance of not getting ignored to death? If so, your need for attention has now been assuaged.

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  112. Fred, I'm not in Comp Sci, I think you can just throw it up to me having poor reading comprehension skills and I misinterpreted who the dig was directed at. I thought it was really meant to be towards Randall, but the phrasing made it ambiguous enough (to me) that you could interpret it as a dig at Comp Sci majors

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  113. @springs360 and every other psuedo-white-knighting moron out there:

    Read. The. Goddamned. Sidebar.

    (No wonder Your Webcomic Is Bad used to have "Recurring Comment Bingo.")

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  114. You're conclusion is spot-on, correct. You really DON'T have a clue.

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  115. Don't you mean "YOUR so clever," Mr. Lostman?

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  116. anon, i've decided to help you out out of the goodness of my heart

    you're = you are
    your = everything else

    difficult, I know

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  117. While I usually love xkcd and think that you're overly critical of it...I agree in that this particular comic was really, really lame.

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  118. Okay, You're being completely unreasonable on this one. Fine, it happened 50 years ago. It's not really nitpicking a speech, it's simply finding humor. This is a joke, not a fucking attack on the president. I mean, excuse my language, but is Randall not allowed to find it funny that JFK referenced the southern half of the globe, despite it being almost not true at all? I think the idea of that is pretty funny. There's also the idea that nobody really questions what the president says, and weird stuff is not noticed until later, but the main point of this comic is to show that one of our most beloved presidents made a pretty funny screw-up in one of his speeches.

    That said, I find absolutely no fault with this comic. It's the best one in a long time. Your hate is baseless and self induced.

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  119. Hmm. I'm going with JFK referring to the Global South in not-quite-the-best way, but how about this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WorldCenterOfPopulation.png

    If the southern half of the globe is based on the latitude half of all people live south of, it works out really well (except for Australia and New Zealand). The "enemy" (USSR/Warsaw Pact) was in the north, as were the "allies", but we weren't fighting the Cold War on the enemies home turf. The "battlefield" was in the countries south of the world's population center.

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  120. Anon: Yes, it is nitpicking, because JFK's intent was 100% clear, and a reasonable person could understand that he was not being literal. It might be "finding humor" if he, say, found some humor, but as it is, he just found a statement that was probably meant to be taken figuratively and took it literally. It was an unimportant line in a generally unknown speech. No one cares.

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