Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Comic 750: Kindling

also you overlooked the OBVIOUS pun

This may be the first comic in a long time where my own personal experience has completely muddled my sense of the comic. Namely, a few months ago, a friend of mine was railing about how terrible e-books are, and after some talk, we decided to try to hold an e-book burning. We came up with the "Kindling" pun and all. Alas, it turns out kindles do not actually burn very well. I don't know how I can prove this story is true (but it is). That said, it's not like those xkcds where I read the joke a few weeks earlier in a comic, because of course there is no way Randall would have been basing his comic on our conversation. So I'm left with this feeling of bitterness about the comic and a sense that it is lame and old, even though I know that this is unfair.

Not unfair is drawing attention to this very recent A Softer World comic about....e book burnings!

That said, I think I can still safely say the comic is, at best, a poorly executed thing regardless of my own personal stuff. In panel 1, Randall seems determined to set up the situation in as few words as possible, normal-human dialog be damned (unless you imagine all those Harry Potter hating religious types actually holding up a copy of the book next to their friends and saying "this book is full of heresy! let's hold a book burning!" and having no other discussion of the matter).

Then there is the matter of panel 2, where the Very Stupid People decide that they need to buy more copies of the book to burn. Stupid people! that is not how you hold a book burning! The point is to get rid of copies that people have, so that they do not have them anymore. It is not to buy extra copies and burn them! If you wanted that result, you could have just not bought the books in the first place. the added advantage being that you won't prop up the profits of the book, thereby encouraging the publisher.

Now some people who are wrong might argue that the stupidity of the people here is the joke. The problem is that - at least in panel 2 - their stupidity is not emphasized at all. There's not even a pause anywhere, the panel is just being used to advance the story line. In other words, yes, the punchline is "these people are stupid," but it's "because they tried to burn a kindle and they died" rather than "because they tried to buy new books to burn."

Anyway, then there is the extra stupidity in panel 3 where they realize that the kindle book is "cheaper" because once you have the several hundred dollar machine, you have to pay less for the meaningless digital copy. And they think that this is the cheaper option for some reason. Again, the joke could have been this - but it's not. The joke is that they burn it and die. Which is the worst joke of the three.

ALSO APPRECIATED: the little trick where you make more characters not by drawing them, but by merely declaring in the text of your newspaper headline that there were eight of them!

ALSO: Don't be all silly and show people that your characters have set something on fire and then dying, because that is hard. Instead, scribble a tiny graphic and write in big letters over it what is happening! That is so much easier! You can take the rest of the day off that way, and the only consequence will be the quality of your comic.

i'm starting a new post tag called "show don't tell" for when he does this.

123 comments:

  1. All I wanna know is why Randy feels the need to constantly attack our people. What did we ever do to him?

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  2. HOLY SHIT you mean you write pissy rants about XKCD EVER FUCKING DAY? Did you ever think of, I dunno, NOT READING IT?

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  3. what? no, i only write it three days a week! how could i do this every day, there are not enough comics!

    i tried not reading it but the rest of the internet kept linking me to it, it sucked.

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  4. oh right, I'm sure you just get BOMBARDED with XKCD links all the time. And like, somebody holds you down and peel your eyelids open so you read them. Uh-huh. That makes perfect sense.

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  5. Actually, they do. They get posted everywhere, including blogs we don't want to stop reading because we like everything else there. Also, there's what you people do to wikipedia 3 times a week whenever there's a new comic.

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  6. His message of hate is commonly spread across the forums I frequent as well.

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  7. The comic's fairly ubiquitous. It is, for better or worse, the most popular comic on the internet, and as such, we can't avoid it.

    Let's put it this way: If you hate pop music so much, why not just never turn on the radio?

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  8. Dan (the new guy!)June 8, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    Surprisingly, none of the people I see on a regular basis have heard of XCKD... all other people I come into contact with just don't use the internet that often...

    even myself, while I've heard of it (I'm here aren't I?, must mean I've heard of it and want to rage! lol), I still prefer print comics, and would much rather read a classic like Calvin and Hobbes than to try and read a comic which *might* make computer jokes...

    but!, the odd time I run into someone that mentions XKCD, I pretend like I have no idea what the heck they're talking about, and attempt to belittle them for reading a crummy comic about stick figures... (Hey!, check that out!, my 7 year old cousin is pretty good with computers too!, I should get her to post some of her doodles as well!) ... yes, I'm a jerk :D

    --Dan (the new guy!)

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  9. 751 is out. Problems: italicization. I admire Randall's effort in italicizing his handwriting, but it really disrupts the flow of the text. I know it's grammatically correct, but it's unexpected in a handwriting context and makes it seem like the father is emphasizing Sports Illustrated (when he should be emphasizing "daddy's" if anything in that sentence). It may seem like nitpicking, and on a certain level it is, but then again all of the dialog is in allcaps, so why is Randall being so pedantic about italics?

    I don't know why the swimsuit issue would be such a big deal (does the family never go to the beach?) but I can see why the father might not want the kid to be reading it anyway.

    Popup ads? The internet ruining children's innocence? Welcome to 1998, Randall.

    It looks like the kid has inherited both his poorly drawn head and his lack of a neck from his father. Just a chip off the old block, I guess.

    "Gosh"? Gee-wilickers, talk about unrealistic dialog. (And another example of PPD).

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  10. @Leonard
    I dunno, I thought the "gosh!" was the only redeeming thing about the comic. it was literally the only way to demonstrate that the kid was young-and-innocent in any way and not just a fucking-douche-bag-13-yr-old. because how are we supposed to determine anyone's age from anyone else's when THEY ARE ALL FUCKING STICK FIGURES

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  11. Actually, it's not unheard of to buy extra copies of books for book burnings. I read about a thing where people could only afford a few copies to burn and actually printed out photocopies in order to have a proper pile.

    'ang on...

    ah, here: http://www.forbes.com/2006/11/30/book-burnings-potter-tech-media_cz_ds_books06_1201burn.html

    "In a tragicomic note, the Philippine Daily Inquirer pointed out that due to the high cost of the book, protesters likely only burned three copies of it, adding photocopies to make the pyre higher."

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  12. it's funny because there's a lot of pornography on the internet, and children exposed to said pornography will speak in stilted anti-sentences

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  13. its also funny that such a comedy rich idea has not been struck before.

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  14. @Sara: The problem is that not even real life innocent 13 year olds say "gosh", much less corrupted-by-the-internet ones.

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  15. you guys are retarded. its actually possible to use the internet without reading every single xkcd the day after they come out. These people are just trolls. Sports Illustrated has to be italicized; that needs to be done in order to be grammatically correct at all. And just because a jokes been around for a while doesn't mean its not funny, and this comic is just as relevant today, speaking of the innocuation our children experience at the hand of the internet. And your criticizing "gosh"? I believe I am speaking for most people when I say go fuck yourselves

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  16. he's right guys PACK IT UP, BLOG IS CANCELLED

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  17. A: "This piece of xkcd merchandise is all full of poorly conceived humor!"

    B: "Let's hold a an xkcd merchandise burning!"
    ---------------
    A: "I only have one xkcd tee-shirt."
    B: "I guess we could buy more."
    C: "I'll look online!"
    ---------------
    "xkcd mens' polo ... $48"
    "xkcd womens' tank-top ... $20"
    ---------------
    newspaper headline: "Hundreds of men dressed as women found burned to death near xxx"

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  18. for that to make sense, you have to assume that womens' clothing is much more flammable than men. Hey, I'm no comic wizard, like Munore.

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  19. So Carl, it seems you had your own 'GOOMH Randall!!!' moment. This amuses me.

    Further, it is odd no one above me has pointed this out.

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  20. Well, not only that it's flammable, but also that there was a source of flame, etc.

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  21. I still prefer print comics, and would much rather read a classic like Calvin and Hobbes than to try and read a comic which *might* make computer jokes...

    Fully agree; it's nice when you have professionals writing comics instead of people who crank out something lousy every couple of days so they can think people like them.

    Although these days, it seems that actually being funny isn't really a prerequisite for syndication anymore... =/

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  22. I kinda threw up a bit with the whole "double penetration" mention. Maybe that's because everytime Randall mentions stuff like that it... seems kinda gross and uncalled for?

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  23. Mikey: Look, sit down. Ok? GOOMH doesn't mean "I thought something similar in some way once! OMG!".
    Ves did a good post about this recently, and in the comments to that good post you can find a good reply by Rinnon.

    GOOMH isn't "OMG I was just walking down a street last week myself!" but rather "OMG I didn't know anyone else had that peculiar idiosyncratic thought about street-walking that I did".

    I don't wanna be a language nazi, right, so if you wanna use the word the way you did, go for it.
    But I'ma contend -and no doubt other folks will too - that Carl's anecdote was GOOMH.


    Anywayyy it's a dumb sycophantic idea so really ideally I won't see it get propogated at all, but eh.


    * * *


    What's creeping me out is (and I'm not pretending I don't use the internet for porn I am a dude y'know) I don't know when I last got an explicit porn pop-up ad. I get suggestive ads, I get poker ads, but double penetration nekkid ladies?
    Is Randy going down some ultra-perverse porno pathways that such a thing'd be tamely acceptable in comparison, or is he living 7 years behind everyone else?

    751 feels like a joke about the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. Even if it was a good joke, it's just not...relevant :\.

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  24. So you know Randall Munroe personally?

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  25. "you guys are retarded. its actually possible to use the internet without reading every single xkcd the day after they come out. These people are just trolls. Sports Illustrated has to be italicized; that needs to be done in order to be grammatically correct at all. And just because a jokes been around for a while doesn't mean its not funny, and this comic is just as relevant today, speaking of the innocuation our children experience at the hand of the internet. And your criticizing "gosh"? I believe I am speaking for most people when I say go fuck yourselves"

    Yes, the dialogue is not important in a comic that has nothing but dialogue. Right.

    You're not a troll. You're a fanboy of the Chris Crocker variety. I imagine you salivate at the mouth whenever you visit xkcd.com, even if it's a tuesday.

    It's ok, you can be saved. xkcd sucks. Embrace the truth. Overthrow your Ravlovian conditioning and accept that jokes about women taking Wikipedia pictures of their vaginas at TGIFridays is fucking stupid.

    "The comic's fairly ubiquitous. It is, for better or worse, the most popular comic on the internet, and as such, we can't avoid it."

    If not the most popular then the largest percentage of zealous fans.

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  26. @ R.

    People can say what they want to say. It's not your job to hassle people for it.

    This is why we have the 1st amendment in place.

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  27. Are you serious, or just trolling? The 1st amendment applies to the government, not individuals. People CAN say what they want, but R has just as much of a right to say what he wants, e.g. to criticize them. It's not his job????? So, people should only do what they're paid to do? Heaven forbid they should have hobbies or express opinions outside of the workplace.

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  28. "oh right, I'm sure you just get BOMBARDED with XKCD links all the time."
    Well first of all, the people who come to xkcdsucks want to like the comic. They tend to have nerd-leaning intelligence, which is the presumed demographic. So there's overlap with other people who also think they should like xkcd. Thus a lot of references.

    Case in point, a week ago I was trying to follow the MTG Pro Tour in Puerto Rico. In one of the videos was an interview with someone who, yes, was wearing an xkcd shirt.

    Now the saving grace there was it happened to be a strip I loved (552). In fact, when I do come across referrals they tend to demonstrate a nice filtering effect so the better few get promoted more. But it does demonstrate that the comic can't simply be avoided. People are constantly saying "this should be a comic you like." Often the correct answer is "yes, it should be.

    You'll see it eventually Anon. Everyone who comes here at first goes "really??" But use your own judgement on xkcd, and you'll find some where you end up thinking "Oh God, am I the only one who think this sucks?" Then remember that no, you're not.

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  29. The new comic seems strikingly remeniscent of something i've seen before...

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1142

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  30. See, the new comic is funny. In that just yesterday, I was thinking about how Randall must be very much out-of-date with the internet as a whole, in between making very old memes and that comic not too long ago where he complained about people using backslashes in addresses, despite that it stopped mattering years ago.
    Then he makes a comic about how porn pop-ups are everywhere.
    GOOMHR!
    (It also doesn't help that his xkcd title logo has a CRT monitor. Or that's just him being magnitudes of lazy again.)

    The other problem with this comic is that the punchline is "A child gives a sarcastic response to his father about how he's already been subjected to porn far worse than that". What's the problem? Having the joke rely on how someone talks, when you're Randall. I mean, this is on par with George Lucas: trying to make Anakin sound romantic, but ends up talking about sand.
    Also, who would just tell a little child "That's my swimsuit issue magazine!"? And why does Randall think it's [i]anything but creepy[/i] to make a little child say "double-penetrated"? Heck, why does he think it isn't creepy to be even have [i]anyone[/i] say that in a comic like this?




    Also, buying books for a book-burning IS sometimes done, but ONLY if it's intended to be a public protest!

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  31. Wait, hang on...

    Did the little kid say that the women "look just like" the porn stars he saw? And in plural?

    AAAAAAAH THAT IS SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF WRONG!

    I mean, aside from that it implies the kid saw so many pop-ups that he can recognise multiple people in non-porn like that, but it also implies that professional women models are also porn stars!


    Even that is beyond Randall's usual level of Wrongness, so in this case I'm actually gonna assume he's just reaaaaaly bad at dialogue.



    ITALICS!

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  32. "Also, who would just tell a little child "That's my swimsuit issue magazine!"?"

    Any other comic would have a close-up of the kid reading its cover. But no, this is xkcd. Thus I-am-a-tree syndrome.

    The close-up thing would be incredibly easy to do, even in Randall's style. Why didn't he?

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  33. "for that to make sense, you have to assume that womens' clothing is much more flammable than men." [Petroc]

    I'm pretty sure women's clothing is more flammable then men. If I held a flame to my arm and a cotton dress, the dress would most likely catch fire first, the hair on my arm notwithstanding.

    I know what you really meant, though. ;)

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  34. You guys really need a life. Atleast someone out there (read xkcd) created something and is pursuing it and becoming famous. If you don't like reading him, don't. If you are jealous of him, get yourself off this blog and go do something constructive.
    Don't just sit there and point mistakes in others's works (more so when that work is being acclaimed widely).

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  35. Sure, yeah, the point of a book burning is to get rid of unwanted copies of the book. Just like those Iraqis burning American flags are getting rid of their unwanted stars and stripeses that they just happened to have.

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  36. @ Anonymous 5:04

    Really? Criticism of "widely acclaimmed" work isn't allowed? Do you NOT know the meaning of the word "criticism"?

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  37. I dunno, I thought "double penetrated" was just the right level of straightforward extreme sex act phrase to be meaningful. The kid needed to display a level of awareness that also touched on unrealistic expectations (it's a reference to the recent, if evergreen, story that just came out about porn warping minds, proving Randall reads Fark at least.) And double penetration is about as ideally as you can express that sentiment in just two words. If the kid had said "sodomized by big black hermaphrodite dick!" that wouldn't be as good, and certainly much creepier.

    I guess part of the lesson here is that brevity is wit, but the more important overarching concern is that if the kid's dialogue gives you pause, then hopefully you're monitoring your own offspring's online activities to ensure they're sticking to appropriate website. Hey, I might be down on Randall for not being funny, but I recognize it when he addresses a serious issue that I can only assume his audience is unaware of, due to an upbringing of eating pork rinds and watching Two And A Half Men.

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  38. XKCD stinks, and people who say we shouldn't criticize it are only giving us criticism, and thus invalidating their own point. This being said, "others's," while sounding awkward, is the possessive form of the plural noun "others." It is grammatically correct, but would have sounded much more acceptable had this nony mouse said, "Don't just sit there and point out the mistakes in the works of others."

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  39. It should be others'. The apostrophe comes after the s for plural possessives (unless the plural does not end in an s, e.g. children's).

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  40. I know it's a slightly different joke, but this is close enough to the "hey guys the Internet is full of CRAZY PORN isn't that funny?" type jokes that were getting old in 2000 that I can't get any enjoyment out of it.

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  41. @ Mikey: not to toot my own horn, but... SHUT THE FUCK UP

    751: Randall keeps using the same obnoxious tropes we've come to expect in xkcd, but at least he's getting creative about combining him. Today we have Ham-Fisted Moral Message crossed with Stilted Dialogue crossed with Graphic Sex. It's like potpurri; you can try to make it smell however you like- doesn't change the fact that at the end of the day it's a mishmash of shit.
    Imma break it down:
    1) The art
    I'm just going to point out, as sara astutely noticed, that Randall had to put in the insipid line "gosh!" to convey the fact that the child is young. In other words, HIS ART IS SO TERRIBLE IT'S FAILING AT ACCOMPLISHING THE ONE THING ART IN COMICS IS SUPPOSED TO DO.

    2) The joke
    There is no joke here. None. No joke.
    There are two possibilities as to what Randy was aiming for here, and both of them suck.
    Either:
    What we have instead of a joke is some high-and-mighty preachy bullshit about how the stuff kids see on the internet is way worse than sports illustrated swimsuit magazines, which is insulting. When I read a comic I expect entertainment (if it's a comic that builds itself to supply entertainment, and xkcd sure as hell ain't a slice-of-life), not the author's moral message. I made this parallel before but I think it bears repeating: Randall, like Seth McFarlane, uses his work to preach his own agenda with the subtle complexity of a sledgehammer, pounding it into your skull. And it's annoying as fuck.
    Or:
    - Randall is trying to make a joke, insofar as "gee guys things have really deteriorated haven't they? remember when sports illustrated was the pinnacle of things-you-don't-want-your-child-to-see? The internet is way worse, lol" counts as a joke, which it doesn't.

    3) Delivery
    I've said it before, I'll say it again: Randall scripts dialogue only George Lucas could love. Who the fuck says "double-penetration" like that? The same people who say things like "hey, can you do me without a condom", I guess. In other words, the unsettling people in xkcdland. Even if Randall knew what other people actually sound like in conversation (I hate to stoop this low, but I can only conclude it means he doesn't have many friends, if he can't even scrape together a passable attempt at normal conversation), this shit would sound disturbing coming from a young child.

    And finally, I know we all like to get on Randall's case for telling rather than showing, but in this case I'm actually very very relieved randall decided to tell instead of showing. God knows we don't need another 631. ::shudder::

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  42. Oh noes, Anon 5:04, you've definitely shamed me into never coming to this site again 24 hours a day, instead I'll do something constructive with my life, like inventing a budget version of an H-Bomb. Everyone will be able to have their own weapon of mass destruction!

    Mole out.

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  43. "You really need a life. Atleast someone out there (read Michael Bay) created something and is pursuing it and becoming famous. If you don't like seeing him, don't. If you are jealous of him, get yourself off this comic and go do something constructive.
    Don't just sit there and point mistakes in others's works (more so when that work is being acclaimed widely)."

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  44. The raunchiness of the ads you see online vary widely depending on where you download your pirated crap from.

    I don't think there's much a of moral message here. It's just pointing out the generation gap when it comes to porn. When people now in their 30's, 40's and 50's were young kids, naughty pictures were few and far between. Nowadays a kid might come across banner ads with bukakke when they're trying to download a Miley Cyrus album from a torrent site.

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  45. @ Ves

    You should play some classical music before you do rants. You come off as being a douchebag. Or perhaps you are, I don't know.

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  46. What kind of luddite hates ebooks? I have one and it's great, I can carry around a ton of books, I can finally read the old classics and I can carry it around in my pocket without cracking the spine or tearing the book.

    I can see somebody not being a fan of them. I was a little standoffish about them but to actually hate them so much that you would attempt to burn one is just psychotic to me.

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  47. Anon 7:20- it's a voice I adopt very specifically for rants. No, seriously. I try to come across as a slightly unhinged maniac with a taste of over-the-top obnoxiousness and aggressiveness (while playing it straight). It works better in real life because subtle things like that are magnified and people understand I'm poking as much fun at myself as I am at whatever I'm yelling about.

    When I'm not going on a rant I don't adopt that voice, so any douchebaggery you detect otherwise, I'm afraid, is my own. :)

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  48. This comic had me completely confused, for many of the reasons stated in Carl's post. The Kindle edition is only cheaper because you have an expensive object to read it on. By buying extra copies, you give money to the publisher of the heretical book.

    But what had me most confused is why there were three people in the frames, but the newspaper said eight died. This completely derailed my understanding of the comic - I thought that they bought up a ton of kindle editions, burned a ton of computers, and basically let toxic fumes loose on their city, killing more people.

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  49. "You should play some classical music before you do rants."

    I recommend this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZazYFchLRI

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  50. As for the latest comic: the unbelievability of dialogue and "tell, don't show" has reached a completely BIZARRE level. Ok, so we don't want to have a double-penetration ad drawn on our computer screen, but, what is THAT? Randall simply writes out something that is SUPPOSED to play out like a joke; it's like going to watch a performance of Beethoven's symphony 9 and being given the printed score of the symphony instead. That is NO WAY to make a comic -- there is no possible way to consider that as a "webcomic" in terms of what it intends to do; this is even worse than 164, since 164 AT LEAST was nothing other than a long rant anyway.

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  51. I mean, I dont think this comic is funny, but it strikes me that it would be outright terrible if he just showed the guys asphyxiating. the "cutaway to a future recounting of the consequences" is a much better way to deliver the punchline, imo.

    now that I think about it, carl, I dont think you should give advice about how to improve the comic. your advice usually actaully makes the comic worse - which is fine! you're not a comic creator, and you've never claimed to be. in fact when people say "what have you created thats better" you rightly assert that, yes, you're not a comic artist, but this doesnt matter because you dont need to be good at something to notice the faults. but when you go on to make suggestions of how the comic may be improved, alternate punchlines, and the like, its as if you're actually pretending at being a better comedian than randall, which kinda makes you lose credibility when you aren't.

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  52. Did anyone think of the bash quote when they read the latest comic? (I can't find it now)

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  53. Anon 9:41- Carl's-- and most of the this blog's, actually-- criticisms on the whole highlight areas where the comic is objectively bad. When Randall tells where he should really show, when he adds in unnecessary and distracting punchline dialogue, when he draws stick figures with floating heads or just plain fucks shit up visually, when he forces the punchline- these are all objective errors. It doesn't matter whether the comic is funny in those cases (or at least as much) because even if it were those are flaws in the comic. I will concede that the line between objective and subjective criticism blurs a bit when his punchlines are critiqued, but suggestions made to address objective errors aren't "a matter of opinion". When Randall puts in a completely unnecessary fourth panel, it's not a matter of personal taste to advise him to throw it out. It's just good sense.

    Also so help me god if anybody ever calls Randall a comedian again I will strangle them with their own intestine. It's bad enough people call Dane Cook a comedian, let's try to leave the label with at least a little bit of credibility.

    captcha: Puber. The joke makes itself.

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  54. I still reckon that Carl is Randall Munroe posting under a pseudonym, because that's exacly the kind of half-arsed mindfuck that Randall Munroe would find funny.

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  55. Yes we must always watch out for Crandall.

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  56. I thought the theory was that Randall, sick of the fanbots [sic] sucking up to him but unable to quit because of the money and prestige xkcd gives him, continues that venture but vents his spleen here at Carl in a terrible cry for help.

    People care too much. It's the same with Zero Punctuation - you have to understand that, while the reviews are reviews, works of criticism, they are also written for fun, to be funny. They're allowed to use hyperbole, simile, metaphor, like the rants of Charlie Brooker (two classic examples).

    So this blog and many 'rants' across the media contain, yes, genuine constructive points, but also exaggeration and rhetoric for comic effect. You don't go crying off to TVTropes going "but xkcd has never killed anyone, thus his claim that 'this comic caused me to die' is SCIENTIFICALLY INVALID". You kick me, you enjoy the language, you disagree (hopefully intelligently) with the genuine points, you chill the heck out.

    We're chilled people. Most of the rage is an amusing facade. Some of it is real. Cope.

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  57. "vents his spleen here as Carl", sod it.

    And "You kick back" as well - Freudian slip?

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  58. Anyone else notice that the book burners were three men and not two men and a woman, two women and a man, or, God forbid, three women? Of course, that would have required 15 more seconds of drawing and would have required Randall to stop internet white-knighting for a change.

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  59. I don't really think the last panel is that big a cop-out. It's a fairly common thing in the webcomics I know of; SMBC for one does that just about every other day.

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  60. One thing I overlooked and only really noticed once I saw Carl's post of it at the beginning of this blog is that Randy chose to not make a panel frame for the newspaper. I think that's a pretty smart style choice.
    I also didn't think he was actually that smart.

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  61. Warning: this comic occasionally contains stilted language (which may be suitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and basic mathematics (which may be unsuitable for toddlers).

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  62. I submit for your approval, a comic about ebook burnings from two months ago:

    http://www.bugcomic.com/comics/e-book-burning/

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  63. oh my god randall get out of carl's head

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  64. Dan (the new guy!)June 9, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    ... While reading Mole's remark, I couldn't help but think that "old" randall might actually be able to make a funny comic about "hat guy" working on a budget H-bomb..

    "new" randall would however muck it up by having a meme, sex, or maybe a political message about a programming language he despises...

    --Dan (the new guy!)

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  65. Jesus eff christ, you people are slow.

    Do you REALLY see the 'eight people' thing and get confused, like some of the commenters? Because if you are, just, damn. That's a little too much overthinking.

    And yeah. "Buying extra copies" is a joke. It's supposed to be a joke. This comic has two jokes. I'm starting to think that Carl wouldn't recognize a joke if it bit him on the ass.

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  66. You are harshly critical of the first frame without suggesting how it can be improved. (In fact, that basically characterizes all your xkcd reviews, but that's beside the point.) Suggest how else frame 1 could have set up the three main characters as ignorant book-burners. Or, if you disapprove of their being set up as book-burners, then suggest a way they could be et up as some type of fun criminals.

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  67. Yeah, we got the joke. Problem: it's not funny.

    Oh no, overthinking. I guess XKCD is for stupid people who don't think at all or ever attempt to quantitatively analyze what they see.

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  68. *"workded up as some type of criminals."

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  69. Petroc: How is this - "Have you heard about this ---- book? I can't believe that they are letting kids read things like that." "What can we do?" "I think we have to destroy it" etc. Still not perfect but you cannot say that is worse. No one would ever say, these days, "let's have a book burning!" since it's so closely associated with nazism and such.

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  70. ATTN: I am not an xkcd "fanboy"; I am just a guy who thinks that all of you are morons.

    Once again, you all prove yourselves as idiots, lapping up the shit of rhinoceri that you happen to encounter on your quest for the perfect web-comic. You imagine that there is no record of your eating the shit of the rhinoceros, but there is the evidence, and you're going down, asshole. You're all gonna die sooner than expected, and I will make it happen. I look forward to having my dick sucked by all of you, and please bring up this matter in conversation as I look forward to the opportunity of unveiling my man-piece.

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  71. Oooh, fun. "You're all wrong! I can't PROVE that you're all wrong, not as such, but there IS evidence, and you all know it's there, and I'll be back as soon as I find it!"

    Petroc, I'd take you more seriously if any one of your arguments had not been answered rationally, and you had bothered to actually reply back. At the moment, you're the one coming off as a moron. If you would like to adjust this perception, please, by all means, present your evidence to the contrary.

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  72. Leonard: I don't think it's Randall's fault that you're an aspie. Quantitatively analyzing the number of people in a one-shot comic? Yeah, I don't think that makes you smart, as much as you might like to think it does.

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  73. I don't think it's my fault that Randall's webcomic, which is ostensibly about math (among other things) contains basic continuity errors that a four year old could spot.

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  74. Petroc = William Monty Hughes Version 2, now with reduced IQ.

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  75. Petroc I completey agree. I'll be right there by your side when we take this fucking assholes down.

    Hear that faggots? You're going down.

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  76. Somehow 751's discussion thread has turned into how people hide their porn stashes.

    ....

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  77. A lot of the problems I have with 751 stem from the stilted dialogue. I swear, Randall could fail a Turing Test.

    It also seems weird that Randall assumes his viewers have even seen pop-up ads recently, given that adblocking is so easy.

    (The porn stash discussion doesn't surprise me. I'm willing to bet there's someone who hides it in what they think is a hysterically funny place.)

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  78. Hey,
    I just wanted to say that, for me, this comic is the best since 722 (which was really good).
    You say the first panels make no sense but I think that's exactly why it's funny. There's no "joke" or "pun" in it. There's something stupid and unexpected in each panel with the last one being the best (the transition from "Whoo let's burn e-books" to "they're all dead and their families wonder what might have happened" is abrupt and a little cliché). The dialog is well-written (no one would say "This book is full of heresy", no one would react immediately and casualy with "let's hold a book burning !") and the little dead stick-people in the last panel are just hilarious.
    If you don't get this one I think you can't like XKCD. I agree that many recent comics quite suck but many are fun too (736, 735, 729, 722). You can say that you don't like XKCD but you can't say that it sucks. There are plenty of online comics that I strongly dislike (A softer world, SMBC) but I will never create a blog to explain to the world how much they suck (since I just think it's a kind of humor I don't get).
    I don't think the blog itself is a bad idea since it's nice to read other people's opinion but you truly should rename it and understand that you just don't understand the kind of humor.

    Vincent

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  79. Noz: You seem to be confused. See, Randall NEVER makes a single comic strip where most of the characters are female UNLESS it's related to sex or requires a scientist.


    I'm serious. The first comic I found, going back from the start, that actually had was 654, nearly 100 comics ago!

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  80. The comment box ate my comment again, and it took a whole day for me to notice it.

    Fuck that, I'm not going to repeat it, I'll comment on this strip again tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, Petroc, you are a moron. A complete idiot. A brain-dead imbecile of the worst kind. If you're going to be a troll, at least try to be original. That "you're all wrong and I can prove it, I'm just not going to do it" has already been done by... by... that guy who I'm sure wasn't Angular Circles. Anyway, I'll just ignore you from now on.

    Let's roll. Mole out.

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  81. I'm still not sure why it's such a stretch to imagine the group expanding from three to eight people sometime between the initial idea, and the actual event. Like... burn burnings are social affairs. Haven't any of you ever been to one?

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  82. Wednesday's xkcd was the pinnacle of humor. Double penetration? L O L.

    Vas has it absolutely right - if you "people" didn't have sub-160 IQ's you would have recognized that his intentionally laid out dialog was both a cutting indictment of your reasoning ability and a poignant statement on modern society.

    Vas, your writing is sublime. Thank you for existing... it gives hope for us all.

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  83. It tells me that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them.

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  84. @Darcy: Because even in the newspaper picture in the final panel, there are only three people. I wouldn't have any trouble "imagining" it, except that my imaginings are directly contradicted by the content of the comic.

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  85. "I don't think the blog itself is a bad idea since it's nice to read other people's opinion but you truly should rename it and understand that you just don't understand the kind of humor."

    Most people here started out liking the comic. There have even been people (Rob and Fernie come to mind) who started reading this blog as fans and ended up disliking the comic.

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  86. ... who the fuck is vas?

    also lol@ petroc. bring it on, boy.

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  87. I don't think the blog itself is a bad idea since it's nice to read other people's opinion but you truly should rename it and understand that you just don't understand the kind of humor.

    Since we're not insecure retards, we don't automatically assume that all humor is good and we're just too stupid to get it.

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  88. Dan (the new guy!)June 10, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    "Henry Jones Sr. said...

    It tells me that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them. "

    Hah!, had I not just finished watching that movie 12 hours ago, I totally wouldn't have gotten that :D

    ... One of my favourite parts is when Indy hands his dad's diary to Hitler, and Hitler signs it! :D

    --Dan (the new guy!)

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  89. I'm confused about something here. People are talking about e-book burning when e-books were but a passive reference coming from Randall listing a Kindle edition in the third slide. Should we really take that so seriously and compare it to other comics about e-book burning?

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  90. Carl go add Problem Sleuth volume 1 to the book reviews sidebar thing RIGHT NOW.

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  91. ...when I tell someone they're "going down," it means I am going to kick their butt or otherwise defeat them in some way. Say it before a game of hoops, and you're declaring your intent to win the game. Pull a knife, and someone is gonna get stabbed and it sure as heck isn't gonna be me.

    So how, exactly, are we going down? Are you going to come to our houses and beat us all up? Mentally destroy us with your witty repartee? Remove this blog from existence through the sheer force of your wishful thinking? I am eager to find out.

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  92. I'm confused about something here. People are talking about e-book burning when e-books were but a passive reference coming from Randall listing a Kindle edition in the third slide. Should we really take that so seriously and compare it to other comics about e-book burning?

    Where do YOU think the toxic fumes came from?

    Or do you seriously think they didn't choose to burn e-books? In which case a good chunk of joke-oid material is out the window. No longer do we have "Haha, they're so stupid they paid for a Kindle machine instead of the hardcover" or "Haha they burned a bunch of Kindles and died", the ebook thing is just Randall randomly inserting "HEY GUYS I KNOW ABOUT EBOOKS" for no reason.

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  93. Worse: they will persuade Randall to do an xkcd about people called Dumbloria, Rob Fatterson and Carl Notageek. Then Black Hat and Megan murder them because they can't quote Firefly season 2* episode 3 backwards. And then they get buried in a grave with a headstone marked 'stoopid'.

    *oh wait WHOOPS

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  94. Dammit Mal next time point out how dumb some Internet dumbass is in a place where it does not COMPLETELY RUIN the context that my comment appears in.

    You get killed in the alt-text.

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  95. "Since we're not insecure retards, we don't automatically assume that all humor is good and we're just too stupid to get it. "

    Well, you guys always complain about people all loving xkcd although you think it's just crap... maybe there's something here you've missed. It's not some random comic online, some (many) people seem to like it.

    Instead of thinking "maybe it's not that bad but I don't get it" you claim that "all those people who like xkcd are morons because, well, it sucks".

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  96. A lot of people like The Jonas Brothers/ Miley Cyrus/ Stephanie Meyer/ Bill O'Reilly/ McDonalds, too, that doesn't make the crap they put out a quality product.

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  97. @Ann Apolis a.k.a. (also known as) the Human in Name Only:

    Firefly season 2* episode 3

    Ahem.

    You are an absolute INSIPID the likes of which this blag (THIS blag!) has yet to know. A tremendous feat I assure you. You see, (this may be difficult for your archaic proto-brain to accept so I shall have to ease you into it) there was no Firefly season 2. Except in the minds of its most beloved fans, of course... Often I bemoan this cruel untimely demise of such a classic. Almost like the death of Alexander the Great at 21... Only more tragic.

    In fact, it was the reason I made a covenant with myself to boycott all future Fox "programs" (such as they are.)*

    @Petroc: I say! A most marvellous intellect to rival perhaps half my own. I am mightily impressed.

    They say darkness serves to make the candle brighter. I would have to agree. The white hot illumination of your genius scorched my very eyes in this hive of Scum and Villainy**!

    Perhaps an alliance and friendship could be arranged to finish this Blasphemous Blag off once and for all? Please contact me. Here, perhaps.

    *Excluding other Joshua Whedon creations, obviously.

    **This is a reference to "The Star Wars."

    -William Monty Hughes, esq
    IQ 224
    "Cogito Ergo Sum

    "I am The All-Seeing Eye of Morality and the All-Knowing Brain of Logic. I wield the All-Powerful Fist of Power. No fallacy goes unpunished. No injustice unkarmafied.

    The disciples of this blag shall die a thousand (consecutive) deaths.

    Intellectually and socially, they already have."
    -William Monty Hughes, Messiah

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  98. "A lot of people like The Jonas Brothers/ Miley Cyrus/ Stephanie Meyer/ Bill O'Reilly/ McDonalds, too, that doesn't make the crap they put out a quality product. "


    Yeah, people who watch Hannah Montana probably are the same as those who like Randall's python jokes.
    There are no xkcd tv ads. People don't like xkcd because all their friends do but more likely because they've read the strips and liked it. The comic built its reputation itself and couldn't have done so if it wasn't quite good.

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  99. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  100. "Almost like the death of Alexander the Great at 21..."

    he died at 32 you retard Is he's Scottish now, too?

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  101. Let me rephrase this because you seemed to completely miss my point: something being popular doesn't mean it's good. Even if the people who like it are generally fairly intelligent. Even if the product isn't "hyped" or promoted. (Spend some time on Reddit or Slashdot and you'll see this to be false.) Smart people can have bad taste and/or be sheeple too, you know.

    You're asserting that because a lot of people like xkcd, the haters must be wrong. But what if more people dislike xkcd than like it? Would you still make the same claim? We really have no way of knowing where the ratio lies within xkcd's target audience. Most of the people I know (who are math nerds, hackers, gaming geeks, etc.) either dislike xkcd or are apathetic towards it. Your experiences obviously differ. Who is right and who is wrong? Both.

    Really, saying "well a lot of people like it, so your opinion is obviously wrong" is about as intellectually dishonest as you can get. Really. Imagine a world where we all based the validity of our opinions on how many people disagree/agree with us. Now do you see how completely silly that sort of reasoning is?

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  102. Fellow XKCDsucksers! I bring you news of a glorious nature! Googling xkcd now brings up this: http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww336/talligan/xkcdsucks.jpg

    How long until this blog rises up above even that of its target?

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  103. There was a time when the vast majority of people thought the Earth was flat. Turns out, somehow, they were wrong!!! How come*???



    * which, in usual xkcd jargon, should be spelled "how cum???".

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  104. "he died at 32 you retard Is he's Scottish now, too?" - Lostman

    Wikipedia again? Really now? I've already discussed this with you, although I doubt it travelled inside your left ear, had nothing to grapple onto (normally, a brain) and was expelled through the right.

    However, it is interesting that you would say that as the Scottish-born actorholic
    Colin Farell portrayed Alexander the Great of Macedonia in the 2004 film titled Alexander.

    No doubt it was overly sophisticated for that glorified spleen lodged within your skull. You likely changed the channel to *sigh* Family Guy, or some other banal exploration of human indignity.

    -William Monty Hughes, esq
    IQ 224
    "Cogito Ergo Sum

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  105. "You're asserting that because a lot of people like xkcd, the haters must be wrong"

    The comment I was responding to was :
    "Since we're not insecure retards, we don't automatically assume that all humor is good and we're just too stupid to get it. "
    and I answered that xkcd is not "some random comic" because many people like it (if I write a shity comic and publish it on my website it is likely no one will like it). All I'm saying is that thinking "I don't get xkcd but maybe other people do" is not being an "insecure retard".

    Moreover, I'm not saying "you can't dislike xkcd" but "you can't tell the whole world that xkcd is the biggest piece of shit ever and claim to be absolutely right about it".

    Moreover when I say :
    "Yeah, people who watch Hannah Montana probably are the same as those who like Randall's python jokes. "
    I do not mean that people who like xkcd are right because they're clever. I just point out that the two situations can't be compared.

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  106. Why can't they be compared? Cos they're different groups of people? So the Jonestown massacre and the Heaven's Gate fiasco can't be compared because although they were both cults where everyone killed themselves 'they weren't actually the same peeeeople'?

    Not saying that xkcd is a cult and some day Randall Munroe will call upon his fans to indulge in mass ritual suicide, of course. But then I'm not not saying that either.

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  107. "Born Colin James Farrell
    31 May 1976 (1976-05-31) (age 34)
    Dublin, Ireland"

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  108. "xkcd is not "some random comic" because many people like it (if I write a shity comic and publish it on my website it is likely no one will like it)."

    Randall just won the webcomics lottery. Many others didn't. Would you say a lottery winner is "not some random guy", or was he?

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  109. WMH <3


    Hey, for all Randy's white-knighting, at a pinch what would you bet xkcd fails the Bechdel test?

    I would say: odds are pretty good, Keep, odds are puhretty good.

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  110. But the Bechdel test is fucking retarded.

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  111. i bet you say that only because randall fails it

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  112. "It's not some random comic online, some (many) people seem to like it."
    The thing is, xkcd /was/ a good web comic. It just went down the intellectual (and artistic) crapper somewhere along the 500-600 area. Those before actually make me laugh a bit, and I can't say that about the new ones.

    "Instead of thinking \"maybe it's not that bad but I don't get it\" you claim that \"all those people who like xkcd are morons because, well, it sucks\"."
    Oh, we get it. Just because you get a joke doesn't mean it's a good one. Ever heard of puns (and if you haven't, lucky bastard)?

    "You are harshly critical of the [entire damned comic] without suggesting how it can be improved."
    Well, the first tip I'm going to give out (as if it'll be followed) is RELEARN HOW TO DRAW. Drawing stick figures just does not cut it.
    Wait, I said /re/learn! Yes, I'm implying that Randall could once draw, because he could! See the early comics and how they were actually drawings and not napkin sketches (at least, most of it)? See, he can't even get away with the (horrible) excuse that he's always sucked at art, because he knows how to draw. He just doesn't give a shit about his work any more.
    This isn't just a Randall thing in this case, though. Newspapers have been suffering from zombie comics for a good while now. Notice that Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes quit? They quit because after that, it probably would've been horrible (and for Berkeley, it was. Outland was terrible). Most comic writers just don't know when the cash cow is getting sick of their hands milking it. Randall isn't an exception here.
    tldr, xkcd has had its good run. Now it's time for it to die. Pay your dues and move on.

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  113. Something nobody seems to have mentioned yet. Vincent L, you don't seem to just be suggesting that maybe we should consider the possibility that we simply don't get it, or the possibility that it's not our subjective preference. You seem to be suggesting that whenever we run into anything we dislike, we ought to automatically assume it could only be a lack of understanding on our part.
    Or maybe you think nobody here can tell the difference between things not to our style and things that are just of little quality? Or, what's more, the difference between things not to our style and things that our own critical judgment insists are of little quality.

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  114. Ian, that is something impressive, but not good. Not good at all.

    Well, at least on my opinion. You see, one of out higher points in relation to the one thing we commonly agree to dislike is that, differently from that wretched abomination that is linked mostly everywhere, including in places where it should not, this blog wasn't exactly shoved upon other people's faces unless they were actively looking for it(or directed towards here by someone else).

    If "xkcd sucks" ever supplant xkcd in relevancy for the search query "xkcd", now fans will have one more point of reason to bombard us with. After all, it's not like you can ignore this place if, when you're looking for your favourite comic, you happen to see this above it on Google.

    Which is pretty petty, but the less reasons we give them, the best. I'm already annoyed by those acephalous cephalopods as it is now, let alone when they're actually right. :P

    Earth be praised, Mole out!

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  115. This may be the first review in a long time where my own personal experience has completely muddled my sense of the blog entry. Namely, a few months ago, a friend of mine was railing about how terrible blogs are, and after some talk we reached a consensus that anyone that hosts a blog, much less updates it more than three times a week, probably needs to find a better hobby. My hobby is reviewing blogs.
    That said, I think I can say that this recent blog entry is a poorly written and essentially hypocritical ‘thing’ as the author so artistically put it.

    In ‘paragraph’ 3, the author seems determined to attack XKCD I a wholly unsound way: by insinuating that simple dialogue diminishes the humor of a web comic. He claims the exchange to be non-human in its conciseness; however I think he fails to understand that there is both a humor and necessity for keeping things short and succinct in comics. I suppose that each comic would have to be equivalent to a fifty panel short story to satisfy his word lust. Find a more mainstream fetish please.

    Then there is the matter of panel 4. Pointing out a logical fallacy as a means to reject the humor of a joke is as silly as hosting a triweekly blog about the trials and tribulations of another mans work. Consider: two peanuts are walking down a street when one is assaulted. Peanut!” hilarious? Not to the author, he is still complaining that peanuts don’t walk.
    I assume the purpose of this blog is to diminish XKCD’s fan base. - if you wanted that result, you shouldn’t write about it, as your only giving Randal more hits. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Except for your publicity, because it causes aids.

    Now some people who are wrong might argue that the stupidity of the blog is the joke. You’re not meant to take this guy seriously, he’s just a funny internet troll with a penchant for bad sentence structure. The problem is that I do believe this self appointed comic guru is in fact sincere. I kid you not; I think he is seriously trying to combat a web comic through a blog.

    ALSO: I have to go poopers now. I suggest you do the same because it sounds like you’ve had a brownie lodged up your ass for a long time.

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  116. So Carl happened to be in a Kindle-burning related situation not long prior to this comic?
    Hmm... GET OUT OF CARL'S HEAD, RANDALL!

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  117. "He claims the exchange to be non-human in its conciseness; however I think he fails to understand that there is both a humor and necessity for keeping things short and succinct in comics. I suppose that each comic would have to be equivalent to a fifty panel short story to satisfy his word lust. Find a more mainstream fetish please."

    except the dialogue is in no way succint

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  118. "mans work"

    Petroc/trolltroller

    Troll harder. You just come off as a whiny fanboy.

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