Sunday, June 6, 2010

Comic 749: Experimental

Studiousnessitude. ness.
A simple post for a simple comic. I actually liked the alt-text more than the comic - while not perfect, it gets closer to what I'd call the ideal version of this joke, namely, a study that tricks people into some kind of humorous physical harm.

Why do I like the alt-text version more? For one thing, the comic joke makes the trick far too obvious - especially given the repetition of the phrase "scientific study." You look at it, you immediately know what is going on, and so of course any even mildly intelligent person seeing this on a bulletin board would as well. In the alt-text joke, you (probably) didn't get it. I know I had to look up what "urushiol" was (and that fact does push the joke a little too far into the "obscure" category), but that's why it works - you can imagine a reader of this flier completely falling for it.

An added bonus is that the reader of the alt-text poster will get tricked simply by taking a slip of paper; he doesn't have to go into the experiment at all. SUCKS TO BE HIM, ha ha ha, he has poison ivy or something.

So, in that case, my recommendation for this comic would be to replace the text of the comic with the text from the alt-text, and have some not-obvious way of cluing the comic's reader (but not the flier's reader) what urushiol is. Perhaps something about how "Finding out the name for poison ivy's irritant has really improved my pranks" or "If people knew that urushiol was poison ivy, I suspect my fliers wouldn't have so many takers." These are both pretty awkward I know (though well within xkcd precedent) but you get the idea.


here's an unequivocally nice thing I have to say about xkcd: I just found the link in Randall's About page to a firefox add-on that stops alt-text displays from disappearing too soon. As a frequent reader of webcomics, this feature is extremely useful, and I'm glad xkcd linked to it. Try it out (first it told me it wouldn't work with my version of firefox but it does, so whatever).

The next comic will be #750 - Randall doesn't have a habit of commemorating milestones like this, but he does have a habit of having particularly bland - at best - comics on these occasions. (see: 500, 550, 600, 700.)Link


  1. "first it told me it wouldn't work with my version of firefox but it does, so whatever"

    it actually commented on that later, it didn't mean it wouldn't work, it just meant it wasn't necessary. The most recent firefox doesnt make tooltips time out, so this addon is basically obsolete for that version.

  2. Wouldn't your suggestions for a new alt-text just set off another pet peeve, namely explaining the joke in the alt-text? I like the idea of just swapping the alt-text with the comic text.

    Captcha: gazed, as in, what I did at the comic before deciding that it was only okay.

  3. "This book is full of heresy"

    "Let's hold a book burning!"


  4. Agree with Carl on this one. The text in the comic is rather clumsily overexplained (that "HEALTHY TYPE O ADULTS ONLY" bit the equivalent of the man bashing your head in with a rock, screaming "DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE?"). The alt-text, on the other hand, is pithy, sharp and funny. Put that text on the flyer instead. Let them Google what urushiol is, they're XKCD readers, they'll cope.

    Also Google Chrome keeps the alt-text up for as long as you like.

  5. ...
    People actually believe Randall actually believes people actually talk that way?

    Real spoken language doesn't look right written down as dialogue.

  6. Jimbobbowilly (Max William Gore)June 6, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    Most recent:

    I love to read News. It is my favourite newspaper.

    Seriously, is that the best he can do? Most people can recognise a newspaper (even one drawn by Randy), who cares if a proper newspaper name (like "The New York Times" or "The Bumfuck Bugle" or whatever) is slightly less readable than a title saying "News"?

  7. 1. Do people actually buy books for the purpose of burning them? That's amazingly counterproductive.

    2. Pretty sure most people who burn books aren't computer literate enough to make that mistake.

    3. It's the kind of "epic fail" story that would be all over the internet, whether it was first in print or not.

    If they have Kindles, wouldn't they have read it first in that format? Or did they spend more money on hardware?

    Oh, and couldn't they have just copied the original file several hundred times, thus burning several hundred individual copies?

    Yeah, the new one is odd. Like most of Randall's comics, it elicits a laugh, then one is left with confusion and illogic.

  8. Wow, stop talking about the wrong comic in this comment thread.


  9. 1. Do people actually buy books for the purpose of burning them?

    Yes, they do.

    ...Life is funny, in an "I have to laugh or I'll cry" sort of way.

  10. >1. Do people actually buy books for the purpose of burning them? That's amazingly counterproductive.
    The idea is that you still remove a book from supply by doing that. Part of the joke is that this is ineffectual for ebooks because there is no 'supply' to remove a copy from.

  11. I'll bet 750 was a hell of a lot funnier before the drugs wore off.

  12. i believe the joke may be kindle edition = kindling edition

    i dont know. either way those three morons who bought thw kindle version of a book also bought a kindle and then multiplied into 8 people and died.

  13. It doesn't surprise me that the lackwits here have completely missed the point of the joke in book-burning.

    HINT: It isn't Kindle=kindling. This isn't "Family Guy" humor ... this is satire. It is, perhaps, too adult for you to grasp right now. Stay in school, kids.

  14. I believe 750 is another one of Randall's "let's do the same thing as normal people but in a nerdy way!" comics. Carl is to be congratulated for accurately predicting that it would be incredibly bland.

    Also, I personally have no issue with the dialogue being unrealistic. Sure, people don't exclaim "let's hold a book burning", but it's perfectly adequate for setting up the situation. It's the part after that where he was supposed to make a joke that was lacking..

  15. It's satire? How is "haha, if you tried to burn a Kindle you'd die cos it's made of stuff that's harmful if it burns" a sharp observation that will turn what we think about the world on our heads?

    There is nowhere in those four panels we could even begin to say "hmmm... how BRADBURIAN".

  16. "It doesn't surprise me that the lackwits here have completely missed the point of the joke in book-burning."

    You mean one anonymous commenter?

    Ann Apolis they are talking about burning books. What more do you want?

  17. R. look basically I just wanted to say "how BRADBURIAN" and that was the only way i could think of to shoehorn it in


    don't judge me

  18. The schadenfreude in 750 actually made me chuckle a bit. But there were flaws to the comic as well:
    1. The set up. Too long and convoluted. And I was afraid that Randall would go for the obvious "They buy books to burn them, thereby supporting the people they wish to decry, lol" joke. Maybe the chuckle was one of relief when he actually made a somewhat original joke.

    2. It doesn't make sense in retrospect. Burning a Kindle would be more expensive than just burning a book. So the lower cost of the ebook would be a false economy. Anybody could figure that out, even the sort of person who organizes book burnings.

    3. The continuity error. In the newpaper picture (and in panels 1 and 2) there are only three people. But the headline says that eight people died. So, did the fumes spread and kill like five innocent people or what? That's not very funny. And how many kindles would you have to burn and how deeply would you have to inhale the fumes to keel over and die right there?

    Also, the newspaper is depicted more realistically than any human character in XKCD. For that matter, considering how no one's head is attached to their body anymore and how the circles of the heads are incredibly sloppy and noncircular, the newspaper has been rendered with more fidelity than Randall has even paid to a stick figure recently. I don't know if this means anything, I'm just making an observation.

  19. "3. The continuity error. In the newpaper picture (and in panels 1 and 2) there are only three people. But the headline says that eight people died. So, did the fumes spread and kill like five innocent people or what? That's not very funny. And how many kindles would you have to burn and how deeply would you have to inhale the fumes to keel over and die right there?"

    They got more people to go. What's the problem?

  20. Let's burn Reddit Ladies Calendar.

  21. Hey, I'm just happy that Randall hasn't resorted to using paint's circle function.

    Wait a sec...

    Actually, Leonard, since when are heads supposed to be circular? Or even oblique? They're complex and varied 3 dimensional shapes drawn into a 2 dimensional world. At almost no angle would you have a circular head, and the only thing that degenerates their head into a shape reminiscent of a circle is the intense simplification of the drawings.

    Basically stickfigure heads should be more of a rounded triangle pointing downwards than a circle. That was a joke, haha, fat chance. That was a reference. AAAHHH

  22. The whole concept of 750 as a joke fails because the premise is more inherently flawed and comical than the punchline we ended up with.

    Book burning is stupid. The idea that you can improve the world by trying to remove information is foolish. (Especially from the external point of destroying someone else's work.) But Randall isn't mocking this, he's presenting it at face value.

    Buying books just to burn them is dumb. Even if the original premise of a book burning made sense, this approach would still be ridiculous. And it should be mocked. But isn't.

    If burning books made sense, and buying them to do it somehow helped by removing the supply, that still wouldn't work with a digital copy. So buying the Kindle edition is foolish. But again that's not the joke, it's part of the straight-faced premise.

    Assuming you're going to burn books, that buying them to do it makes sense, and that using digital copies is reasonable, a $260 kindle + $10 book is surely not cheaper than an $18 hardcover. At the very least we could count on xkcd to mock people bad at math, right? Nope, not here. Still part of the premise.

    Then we finally get the punchline: computers give off fumes when burned. Ha!


    ... Wait, what?

    All the stuff that should have been comic fodder is accepted straight. You have to accept it as the premise just to get to the punchline. And then the "joke" is the least funny part of it! This comic annoys me not because it's so exceptionally unfunny - there are much worse - but because it walked past 4 potentially better jokes to finish up on this lame one.

  23. @R: The problem is that the extra people are apparently invisible because they do not appear in the newspaper picture.

    @TheMesosade: OK, I should have explained more. I don't mind that the heads are oblique (although, when is your arm ever a perfectly straight line, your torso completely without volume, etc? It seems silly to add a tiny amount of realism to one part of a stick figure but not to any of the other parts). My complaint is that Randall has gotten so lazy and sloppy that when he draws a stick figure head, his curve doesn't line up. Either there's a bit of a gap between the beginning and end of the stroke, or he overshoots and the result is two lines in the circle that seem to approximate two strands of hair, but they don't because they're just a sloppy mistake (the rightmost figure in panel 2 is an good example of this).

  24. You don't have to accept the premise that it's a good idea to burn books. You only have to accept that people would buy books to burn.

    I don't think he's walking past those jokes either. He's just failing to pull out his highlighter and go "hey guys, look at this, it's a joke!" We know each of these acts are stupid. The XKCD demographic knows each of these acts are stupid. The accepted dichotomy is thus: science dudes (such as the XKCD demographic) in column A, irrational fundamentalists (such as book burning types) in column B. Everything they do is supposed to be stupid. We're supposed to laugh at all of it because it's stupid.

    Then comes the final payoff: the XKCD reader gets to gleefully witness all that stupidity backfire and cause harm to those stupid irrational fundamentalists. Science dudes are once again proven to be superior.

  25. Can't you fucking wait for the fucking #750 blog post to comment on fucking comic #750, you fuckers?!

    Anyway, I liked #749 as it is: the fact that it is a scam is very obvious, and the point is that *even then* people will fall for it.

  26. wow, there's a huge influx of cuddlefish complaining about commenting on the new comic when it comes out. the fuck did that come from?

  27. After reading 750 :D
    After reading 750 alt-text D:

    Man, the alt was incredibly bad, especially compared to a relatively funny (to me at least) comic.

  28. Who knows Rob?

    I wish that Carl would post some sort of placeholder thread when the comic comes out just so it would be easy to look up comments on a comic all together after the fact, but what can you do?

  29. There are two ways to interpret this comic:
    1: It's meant to be straightforward. In which case:
    -Randall can't write dialogue.
    -Randall doesn't realise that book-burnings can only be done with a crowd and audience.
    -Randall doesn't know that book-burnings don't necessarily involve burning.
    -Randall doesn't realise that Kindles are expensive computers that allow you download e-books, and not really cheap computers that have one e-book already on them.
    -Randall doesn't know that you wouldn't really die from burning plastic. The plastic used in computer cases only give out fumes at a relatively high temperature (300 C), which while is still well below fire temperature, is high enough that they wouldn't nearly give off enough fumes, from being burned on a bonfire outdoors, fast enough to cause serious damage.
    -Randall also doesn't realise that people don't stick around when they can smell toxic fumes in the first place.
    -Randall forgot to make a joke again.

    2: The entire comic is meant to be about how these three people are so incredibly stupid.
    Except that that's even worse than all the points above combined, because these people are completely made up. It's basically a satire... only without actually satirising something, it's just making stuff up and expecting us to find it witty! And even worse, the forumites are not just eating this all up, but they're actually reacting like those people are real, fueling their pseudo-intellectualism. Stuff like this is WHY 90% of those forumers actually said, in a poll, that they're Mensa-level geniuses!

    And the alt-text isn't a joke, it's yet more pandering. "Nobody reads newspapers anymore" is neither funny nor true, but it's what his fanbase wants to hear.

    Funniest quote on the forum topic:
    "Just noticed, the newspaper said eight dead, with the picture showing three bodies. he is killing binary now."

    For those of you that don't know binary, 3 in binary is 11.

  30. Rob, I just don't usually read the comments here, or comment myself (so granted I don't know the usage).

    But for once I liked the comic and wanted to look up comments about it, and it was fucking tedious to sift through these fucking comments on some other comic I don't fucking care about (750 is fucking awful okay, we all understand that, no need for fucking commenting on it).

  31. continue not reading the comments or commenting yourself

  32. Also, Marsman, people here usually only read the comments on the newest blog post. So having a placeholder post made everytime after the previous placeholder is edited with a proper article means that people won't read the comments on the article itself.

    Or, they probably would, but reading through two sets of comments still more hassle than just having both comments on the current article and comments on the next comic in the same place.

    To everyone else complaining about how there's too many comments on 750, just read the comments on the previous post instead.

  33. The comments are ALWAYS like this, because people want to post about the latest XKCD when they read it. What do you expect people to do, hang around waiting for the next post?

  34. @anon 11:55

    Kindle = kindling is not family guy humor. Have you even seen family guy or are you just saying that to appear edgy and cool?

    Randall fucking LOVES puns. He also likes to make people look really stupid. Making a group of idiots confusing kindle for kindling is EXACTLY the kind of thing he'd do.

  35. Anon at 10:14: Yes, as far as I know nowadays when people burn books they buy them specifically for that purpose. Of course, in the good old days they just took them from their current owners, and probably burned the owners themselves for heresy.

  36. I just expect people to just do things that don't annoy me.
    Actually I expect them to do things to DO annoy me, but I wish it was different.

    But yeah, I don't have a better solution.

  37. "wow, there's a huge influx of cuddlefish complaining about commenting on the new comic when it comes out. the fuck did that come from?"

    Shut up fag

  38. Reading 750 just really reminded me of A Softer World 549

  39. I dunno about 749. In fact, I think 746 was funnier than 749.

  40. you retard why are you talking about 746 this post is about 749 ugh what is WRONG with you people

  41. To add another angle of confusion on the muddled identity of these book-burners, I was expecting Randall to run with the premise that they were stupid... except apparently not stupid enough to be ignorant of the various internets. I thought the definition of "have-not" in xkcd land was "someone with no online experience"? Does this represent a growth in Randall's understanding of the ubiquity of technology in our lives, in that idiots also have access to it?

    Nah, I'm probably overthinking it.

    Then again, they have Kindles. As others have pointed out, it would've been counterproductive to buy them brand-new, so we could assume that they owned them beforehand (the better to read alt.harrypotter.satanic with.) Which again indicates a familiarity with technology which they shouldn't have.

    I guess it boils down to the usual "Randall needs an editor" complaint. On the lightest surface, it's kind of amusing: "let's burn the cheapest books we can! Oops, we died breathing the toxic smoke! LOLOL GMHRO." But when you step on it, you drop through the premise like thin ice.

    Also, I actually thought 758 was kinda funny. Sure, the alt-text wasn't as strong as 756, but the premise made a lot more sense than 752's did while being in a similar vein. And the less said about 755, which was not only a chart but downright insulting to women, the better. I know the post isn't up for any of these yet, but that's just how we roll.

  42. Randall should just end every comic with the last panel of 700. It would drastically improve the quality of jokes.

  43. Ew ew ew oh my god your suggestions for improving 749 were WAAAYYY shittier than 749 could have hoped to be. I normally agree with you, but dear God in heaven, having to look it up doesn't make it so obscure as to not be funny.

  44. Kinda funny how Randall makes comics about how lame he thinks the iPad is (), yet maintains a boner for the Kindle

  45. Wow, the commenters here are as idiotic as the book-burners in #750. Let me spell out the humor of this comic for you morons. The first frame establishes that the main characters are narrow-minded; this can be inferred from the fact that they are book-burners. The second frame establishes that they are not just book-burner stupid, but reaaaaally stupid — not satisfied with burning just one book, they are going to purchase more. This is stupid because it counteracts their stated purpose, as purchasing more copies will raise the book's profits. The third frame suggests that they are not only stupid, but cheapskates as well. The fourth frame provides a dark bit of comic justice to these cheapskate imbeciles.

  46. Okay, Petroc, that's actually not particularly funny. That's basically Shredded Moose level humor, where some unrecognizably stupid caricature of a stupid person gets a violent comeuppance. I mean, really, "Look how STOOPID these people are, HAHA THEY ALL DIED pwned"?

    IDK, maybe if book-burners were on our minds right now. This would be shitty enough if it were actually topical and relevant, since it's such a crude parody of book-burners. But it's completely out of the blue.

  47. It's amazing how the joke of this comic can be so obvious and we're retards for not "getting" it but everyone who explains the OBVIOUS joke has a completely different explanation.

  48. " you retard why are you talking about 746 this post is about 749 ugh what is WRONG with you people"

    Yeah just put it on the 746 post. That no-one will ever read.

  49. Each time I read the comic those book burners sound like cartoon teddy bears from a toddler's video or some shit:

    "Let's build a bridge"
    "I have a hammer"
    "It's too windy!"
    "Let's make cakes instead"

  50. What really pisses me off about this comic is that it's yet another one where Randall cooks up some ludicrous scenario that would never happen in real life and then says "wouldn't it be funny if..."

    But because this scenario has NEVER HAPPENED and NEVER WILL, all it is is an excuse for his 'intellectual' adoring fans to have a hearty laugh over how much smarter they are than dumb fictional fundamentalists.

    I mean, the joke here is seriously that if protesters were to burn e-readers instead of books, they would all die from toxic fumes. Isn't that hi-LARIOUS?!

    People are supposed to look at this comic and say "look at how stupid religious people are! They think that they can burn PLASTIC instead of PAPER! Aren't they dumb? Aren't we so superior to them?"

    That being said, it did remind me of those protesters in Kentucky I think that tried to burn ice cream for some reason or another.

  51. Shit, your blog told me there was a fucking error in posting my comment, so I had to retype it, but then the first one showed up afterwards. Sorry for the double post.

  52. but religious people are stupid

  53. POINT: Kindles cost a fuckton more than the hardcover price. Maybe they're burning the ones and zeroes instead??????????????????????

  54. I love Petroc's explanation; it shows xkcd has sunk so low that its most rabid "genius" fans now think that this "Here are some dumb people. They DIE! LOL" garbage is actual humour.

  55. Some have stated that the idea of a trio of imbeciles suffering a come-uppance as a result of their imbecility is vanilla. But I don't think I've ever seen this scenario applied to book-burners, and I think that the combination of their ignorance and their cheap-skate-ism is what really sells this idea as an original twist. As far as the suggestion that I am a "rabid 'genius' fan" of xkcd goes (as per Fernie Canto), it is a stretch to say that I am to xkcd as, say, Trekkies are to Star Trek. I am just someone who "got" the joke, such as it is; and unlike the rest of you, I don't expect a web comic to be on par with e.g. the canons of Woody Allen or Steve Martin.

  56. When Randall's not funny, you just belittle the medium. I SEE HOW IT IS.

  57. I just expect a web comic to be on par with the dozens of actually funny web comics out there.
    XKCD does not do even this much.
    Still funnier than 94% of Woody Allen movies but I assume Petroc means the good ones. Why do people keep putting Woody Allen in terrible movies?

  58. 750: ...
    Wow, what a piece of shit. This is the first time I've laughed at how much randall's comic sucked instead of getting angry about it. The joke here basically is HA HA STUPID PEOPLE ARE IGNORANT AND STUPID, WE'RE BETTER THAN THEM AND THEY DIE FOR THEIR STUPIDITY HA HA HA.
    It's like a perfect storm of everything that's wrong with xkcd- it's a joke-that's-not-really-a-joke, it's crafted to stroke the egoes of the forumites (so they will continue to in turn stroke Randy), it's got dialogue that George Lucas would laugh at... and, as always, the art makes me want to kill small creatures.
    But even more entertaining is the nature of the joke- it's as baldly cultish as I think xkcd has ever been. It's basically saying, as Petroc has so helpfully pointed out, that the xkcd forumites-- his True Believers-- are in group A, and the characters in the comic are in group B.
    He then goes on to exalt group A, and then show Group B as stupid, and their punishment for being stupid. It puts me in mind of calvinists exalting themselves while gloating over the sinners who were damned to hell for their impurity.

  59. Another hypothesis:
    Randall subscribes to the Allan Ginsberg school of creativity, "first thought best thought" and refuses on principle to rethink his premise.
    He simply lacks the critical judgement to say "No this joke could be put differently, and if it were, it'd be funnier".

    There've been a lot of xkcds - this book burning's just the latest - where the flaw wasn't the idea behind the joke so much as the angle it tried to shoot from.

    And y'know what Dylan says, how writing a great song's easy if you just start with the right angle.

  60. I expect a webcomic to be mildly funny on occasions. xkcd fails at that.

  61. So, Petroc, "Haha these people are stupid" is old hat, but "Haha these people are stupid and tight-fisted" is a creative new twist?


  62. I thought this latest one was clever

  63. People people people.

    Clearly we just don't "get it" and if we did we'd find comic 750 to be one of the sharpest, wittiest, most clever pieces social commentary to ever exist in any medium.

    Petroc gets it and he understands this.

  64. Reading XKCD today was a perfect example of what's wrong with the comic.

    Panel 1: Ah, OK, we've got some stupid people, they want to burn a book.

    Panel 2: Hm, they realize they need to buy the books to burn them. It's a stretch, but I guess they're just dumb.

    Panel 3: Ahh, here we go, instead of buying the real book they're buying the Kindle edition. That's pretty good. Kinda reminds me of 726, but lets go with it.

    Panel 4: What the fuck? So they're just all dead?

    Randall is an asshole.

  65. "Feel free to link us to the appropriate thread, Vernunft."

    Protip: you can wait a couple days until there is actual content on which to comment.

    The way things go here, the actual blog posts are nothing more than a chance for people to ignore the blog and give their own inferior views on the comic.

    Seriously, I am here for the blog author, whose aesthetic judgment is 500 times better than the commenters'.


  66. what are you talking about, i am the worst person on here. You will be better served ignoring my posts and just reading the comments, really. Why are you in such a hurry?

    anyway the reason it is like this is that I am lazy, and I don't post about a comic until almost when the next one is up (or later...), ostensibly so I have "time to think about it." People want to talk earlier, so they do. It's a pattern, you get used to it.

  67. The comic also contains implied commentary about the changing nature of censorship during the rise of digital media, and by extension the way in which digital distribution makes us rethink the way we see physical media. It's not a new line of inquiry, and it's so deeply implicit that it's very possible that it wasn't intentional, but to be fair it's worth considering the possibility that Randall was toying with that line of thought but struggled to effectively present it in comic form.

    Only the alt-text gives credence to the possibility that this was an intended theme, however.

  68. Re: 749

    I thought the alt-text version was utterly pathetic. If you apply a contact poison to something and people are poisoned by it, you will be convicted under health and safety legislation *even if you display a large, clear, well-written warning sign*. If you try to *trick* people into being poisoned, you will quite possibly be convicted under anti-terrorism legislation - and rightly so. So who gets the last laugh?

    Dont get me wrong. Im not a killjoy. Im all for "stupid person who has it coming meets untimely and hilarious demise" comics. Or even "stupid person who doesnt have it coming meets untimely and slightly poignant demise" comics. But this is more of a "I murder a person who isnt a 1%er like me and get away with it because I am SO WIKKID OWSOM!" It is lazy writing and it is stupid and not at all funny.

    TL;DR: I quite liked the original joke. The alt text, not so much.

    Re: 750

    What I said about 749? That "stupid person who has it coming meets untimely and hilarious demise" thing?

    Ive changed my mind. Becuase that describes 750 and its *still not funny*.

  69. "far to obvious"

    Dammit Carl

  70. anon 6:41 poison ivy doesn't kill you.

  71. Jesus, so much fuck to have to respond to. After this, I won't look again at this post, but only at the most recent post. (Figure that out based on my date-stamp.)

    On the argument of how much should be expected of a web-comic
    xkcd doesn't meet your expectations, while other webcomics do. I'm not saying that the standards we apply to webcomics should be set artificially low. I'm only saying that xkcd is as good as I expect from a web comic. The real matter is apparently one of differing expecations, which is unwinnable for both parties. Also, to clarify, I am basically saying that the authors of this blog hold unrealistically high expectations, which none of the popular Sunday comics could fulfill in any greater regularity than xkcd.

    Your post doesn't really identify group A at all, but you seem to mean the people I would classify as "not a moron." I think your group classification is based on my post. Randal's comic only contains Group B folk, so I don't know how you'd derive group A from that.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your recent column, but your reading of my posts lacks in an understanding of humor, which actually disqualifies you from being able to comment on anything discussed within this blog, but I will still humor you in responding to your comments. I have never posted within an xkcd forum, and I don't know how to get a membership, though I assume you go to xkcd then click the forum link. My first post, in which I called everyone here a moron, was not meant seriously, as I obviously don't know everyone here, much less their IQ, etc. Seeing as you don't understand the concepts of humor and sarcasm, this probably threw you off, so let me be clear: the first post was meant sarcastically. My second post, in which I defended the humor the xkcd, was serious. I excuse you if you were referring to my first post. I meant my comment in my first post as an insult to all you fucks who pretend not to "get" any xkcd. I could sit a watching of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and, supposing I were a self-described Monty Python hater, pretend like the jokes rolled off/made no sense to me ... however, I would not actually do that, because then I would be a retard, as the jokes are all quite apparent. All I am saying is that all of you act as like someone controlled by the hive collective as much as an xkcd fanboy, except you're the opposite. I feel like someone at some kind of hypothetical anti-Star Trek convention where everyone keeps pointing out the unrealisticness of the rubber forehead aliens.

  72. I said I wouldn't comment here again, but there are too many thoughts worth addressing.

    Someone sarcastically suggesed that the juxtaposition of the ideas of 'idiot' and 'cheap' is, according to me, what sells this commic. Well then, madam or sir, that is not oxygen you're beathing. It is the idea of the consequence of the combination of the two mind-sets.

  73. Anon 10:50 where did I say it did?

    The point I was trying to make is that the active ingredient in poison ivy is a "noxious substance" within the meaning of the Act. Im sure the law in .us (where Randall is) differs in detail from that in .uk (where I am), but I bet its not by much and I bet randomly injuring people is not looked upon favourably.

    Or then again, maybe .usians claim a god-given constitutional right to bear noxious substances.

  74. Ok so 7:59 your suspension of disbelief would be rattled by that but isn't by kidney theft? Is it legal in the UK? Do I want to reconsider my vacation?

    captcha: preways. like freeways but for toddlers.

  75. but the fact is that characters in xkcd do illegal things all the time, often of a far worse nature than "make someone touch a plant." Murder, for example. Is it a problem there?

  76. @ScottMcTony

    A valiant effort. But for a straw man argument to work, it has to be *much* more subtle. Try again.


    I think you misunderstand my objection.

    Im not objecting to anonymous stick figures in a comic with no continuity murdering each other /per se/ - because, after all, Stick Figure Death Theatre was bloomin hilarious ten years ago.

    Im objecting to oh-so-clever stick figures coming up with tee-hee-arent-I-a-genius plots to murder people seemingly for no other reason than to show how clever the guy drawing the stick figures is *except the plots arent clever AT ALL*. (I recognize that no actual stick figures were depicted in the comic in question, but whatever.)

    XKCD obviously thinks it is Gods gift to nerds, and it obviously wants us to think the same.

    Well screw that.

  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

  78. what the fuck is with people thinking that "having their position mocked" is the same as "a strawman argument"?

    a strawman argument is taking a position, portraying it disingenuously, and then attacking that disingenuous version of the argument and acting as if it has defeated the original argument.

    mocking is what it's called when someone says "OH MY GOD IS KIDNEY THEFT LEGAL IN THE UK???"

  79. Even the alt-text was stolen!

  80. @Rob

    I know what a strawman argument is, which is why I suggested that someone attempting to portray me as objecting to a bit of poison ivy but for some reason silent on the subject of kidney thieves (not the band) was an example of such, since until that point kidney thieves (not the band) had not been mentioned by anyone.

    Nevertheless, my use of "strawman argument" appears to have offended you deeply, for which I can only apologize. I thought it seemed like the correct term.

    However, I stand by my assertion that XKCD is not half as clever as it thinks it is. If that offends you, there isnt much I can do about it except keep my evidently peculiar opinions to myself in future, and perhaps direct you to recall the title of this blog.

  81. I really only object to people who misuse "strawman argument" to mean "someone is making fun of me :("

  82. Millions of people die from exposure to dihydrogen monoxide every year, and yet many companies continue to spew millions of tons of this substance into our air. Please donate to our cause.

  83. i heard that it's a primary ingredient in acid rain

    also coca cola has no qualms about putting it in their products