Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Comic 774: Superiority Complex

Atheists and christians
[alt: 'But you're using that same tactic to try to feel superior to me, too!' 'Sorry, that accusation expires after one use per conversation.']

Like the last comic, I find this comic exceedingly boring. Unlike last time, I won't write on forever anyway.

We all know that atheism vs. religion has been a heated debate for a long time, and many of us probably have opinions on it. That's nice. There's a lot of comedy to be had in the debate - I think it's a result of the fact that both sides are so very passionate, so it's easy to turn that into very energetic, funny material. Anyway, the point is, there's a lot of stuff you could do to make fun of this debate, but this comic doesn't do it.

A guy named Filipe wrote me an e-mail about this comic, and he pointed out that you could replace "atheists" and "fundamentalist christians" with any other feuding groups and the comic would have the exact same joke. Twilight fans vs twilight haters; democrats and republicans; social scientists and hard scientists; nazis and minorities, (or, for that matter, xkcd fans and xkcd haters). The point is just about the nature of disagreement, in the abstract. It's getting all sorts of heated discussion, and, perhaps, added pageviews because he choose to use something nerds happen to enjoy arguing about. But when you actually stop and think about it (something so few xkcd fans seem to ever do!) there's basically nothing there.

123 comments:

  1. I find the comic slightly offensive (or rather would, if I gave a rat's ass about what people's opinions are on the Internet).

    Atheists are not as annoying as fundamentalist Christians. Atheists are as annoying as Christians. Radical (fundie-equivalent) atheists are as annoying as fundie-Christians.

    Just because some atheists can be very extreme, as extreme as fundamentalist Christians, doesn't mean they all are. Just like if there are some Christians (i.e. the fundies) that are extreme and annoying, that doesn't mean they all are.

    The comic seems to imply that all atheists are as "annoying" as fundamentalist Christians. The entire set of atheists is extremist, while it is evident that only a subset of Christians are the same.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Defiant, what does an "extremist" atheist look like? And is there a secular version of the Westboro Baptist Church?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Speaking of funny things you could do with this... Cracked's new article about political cartoons accomplishes that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. An "extremist" atheist looks kind of like an "extremist" theist. Basically, trying to force one's own views (in this case, of atheism) upon others.

    Contrary to this comic's belief, there are a lot of atheists that go about their day without bothering anyone or trying to (de)convert anyone. Just like there are a lot of Christians who go about their day without bothering anyone.

    Of course, there are those few fundamentalist Christians that try to shove their beliefs down everyone's throats. Same is true of atheists. Doesn't mean they're all like that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is true of literally every group.

    ReplyDelete
  6. perhaps the use of the abstract in xkcd is what is supposed to be so great about it, not that that is particularly funny, or that that is what randall is trying to do. maybe randall is the ultimate in ironic comedy, and made a comic good at the start and shitty recently as part of a grand joke. Is that a conspiracy?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Eh, I don't know. It's trite and facile humour, but it's not an unworthy observation. A smug jackass is a smug jackass.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm an extremist Caramilk(R) chocolate bar fan. This means that if you say Caramilk(R) chocolate bars are less than the paragon of chocolate ecstasy, I will belittle you, force feed you Caramilk(R) chocolate bars, and tell you how it is beyond common knowledge that Caramilk(R) chocolate bars are the pinnacle of human civilization, and only your extreme idiocy and adherence to ancient dinosaur practices prevents you from realizing this.

    Or rather, that's what I'll do if I'm surrounded by similar Caramilk(R) chocolate bar extremists. Otherwise I'll obviously just act passive aggressive towards you, and make snide comments about how you're a fool once I'm sure you've left and can't overhear me, snickering with my friends about how we're better than the rest of humanity -- nay, we are ABOVE the rest of humanity.

    Anyways, comic fixed.

    Captcha: culayth. I repeatedly have to use my Cu Layth to forge new 'Cu's, because the old ones break under the stress. [link to a Cu Layth, not to the utilization of it or the rods]

    ReplyDelete
  9. We did this already in the last thread!

    XKCDsuckers are just as annoying as XKCD fans.

    ReplyDelete
  10. i think the correct term might be "XKCDsucksters"

    ReplyDelete
  11. One of the important things about XKCDSucks, incidentally, is that (unlike Internet debates) people actually change their minds.

    Internet debates (like debates in general) usually work to entrench opinion rather than change it, and are generally useless at getting anyone to abandon their previously held beliefs. This is why Rob doesn't debate 'properly' (why he's willing to insult people and so open himself to whiney accusations that he's ad hominem-ing); because he knows that he's not gonna influence anyone whether he sticks to the rules or not, and that if he sticks to the rules it's not as fun.

    XKCDSucks, on the other hand, isn't a debate. It's a guy telling you that XKCD, well, sucks.

    "But hang on," you say, "surely that's totally ineffective?". And yes, in a way you're right; cuddlefish come, they read, they disagree, they take exception to the swearing, they rage, etc...

    But one post is not supposed to change their mind in a rush of realisation. What does happen is that, having screamed in the comments "Timing doesn't matter! Floating head syndrome is nitpicking! References are jokes!", they return to reading XKCD...
    ...and, now forced to look at it anew (by the fact they have been defending it) rather than coast along on previous affection, it begins to niggle somewhat...
    ...and generally within a couple of months we have our man. It's not a debate: the inherent suckiness of current XKCD is one of those things that, once you are alerted to it, is there for you to find yourself.

    ---

    Anyway, Filipe is right here - this could apply to any debate where you think one side is as bad as the other. We also have to note that the comic (inc. alt-text) doesn't really come down on either side, allowing people who think like the boy AND people who think like the girl to come away smilin'. And, finally, it's a HOT BUTTON TOPIC (see the last thread!) and so naturally this can be presented by those smilin' people as smackdowny evidence for their side. Woo!

    ReplyDelete
  12. OMG that was so long you guys

    also I rather like "XKCDSucksters"

    maybe "Sucksters" for short

    also also "we have our man" that was SO andronormative of me you guys

    ReplyDelete
  13. Get out of my XKCDSucks experience, Ann Apolis!

    ReplyDelete
  14. As I said. This comic is EXTREMELY devoid of content. I wonder if Randall would have the same reaction if he used "Star Trek fans" and "Star Wars fans" instead. The fact that he managed to stir a 200+ thread in this blog is what I'd call "quite something".

    But, in the end, it's a stupid comic of two stick people talking. And their heads float.

    And Raven, you may retrieve your internets whenever you wish, because you've won it. Fantastic edit. =D

    Waiting for the next comment commentaries to begin,

    Mole

    ReplyDelete
  15. Okay, forget the debate - the REALLY important thing is, Achewood finally updated again! And it's way less fucking creepy today!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the new xkcd is talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, see, Savannah ancestry could be interpreted to mean your ancestors from the plains: prehistoric man/woman/tranny/both/neither/nullo. (gotta include all genders here, I won't be out white-knighted by Randall)

    Savannah is also a place in Georgia.

    Hilarious, right?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just... what is the latest comic? I...

    He realised "savannah" as in the savannah and "savannah" as in Savannah, GA are the same, and then we get some sort of shoehorned clusterfuck, and...?

    ReplyDelete
  19. But what does saying that someone's ancestors are from the Savannah have to do with sexism or women being bad at math?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear god I can't take another awful, unfunny comic.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I find 775 enjoyable when I pretend that it's simply a private view into the ergot-addled brain of a dying Randall Munroe.

    ...That's been my way of enjoying a good many XKCD comics, though. I wonder if it'll start wearing thin soon?

    ReplyDelete
  23. The savanna hypothesis is the evo-psych theory that human behavior comes from what was evolutionarily adaptive when humans lived on the savanna in prehistoric times. The girl in the new XKCD comic describes the actual application of the hypothesis well.

    But no, the "No, I meant Savannah, Georgia" bit at the end was just bad.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Randall is ruining puns and homophones in general! Someone stop him.

    Captcha: reedr. I did not see the reedr. I want that man!

    ReplyDelete
  25. My problem is that when he said Savannah my first thought was the one in Georgia. The other one didn't cross my mind first, so I was left rather confused. So if there was a punchline, I wasn't around to enjoy it by the end.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The problem I have with the new comment is that he says "your" savannah ancestors. If he's using Evo-Psych or whatever overly complicated thing doesn't that mean ALL of OUR ancestors came from this savannah? When I read what Randall wrote it sounds like there is an explict difference between the man and woman with the woman being born in Savannah or on a savannah (which also sounds like she's from Africa making her black)

    So you wouldn't say what he said. You would have said "our savannah ancestors." But that would ruin the tortuous pun that involves SCIENCE.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I enjoyed the fact that Savannah, Georgia would not prepare one for advanced math, because I like laughing at backward hicks from the South. This feeling is pretty common in New England, so it's probably what Randall is counting on (neglecting the fact that he went to college in Virginia).

    ReplyDelete
  28. 775 is the funniest XKCD in months.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Here's hoping that Carl tears 775 apart.

    ReplyDelete
  30. even the forumites consider this one sucky..

    ReplyDelete
  31. It's kind of hard not to be extremist about reality.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think 775 would be better if it didn't follow on from 774. It seems like it could be a recurring strip.

    ReplyDelete
  33. UndercoverCuddlefishAugust 3, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    hahaha it is like a mom joke wrapped in a terrible pun oh randall when will you stop being hilarious

    ReplyDelete
  34. Savannah is also a female given name, so maybe one of her ancestors was named Savannah, in addition to living in the city in Georgia among the vast arid plains. Oh, Randall, you wacky cod!

    ReplyDelete
  35. 11:37 Anon - I know, it had this eerie feeling like Randall's thinking of ripping off Dinosaur Comics by using the same one panel over and over.

    CAPTCHA: puslity. Some kind of shitty "malamanteau" involving pussy that Randall is bound to use to horrifying effect at some point.

    ReplyDelete
  36. So.. the female gender originates from the savanna and the male gender originates... elsewhere? Somewhere where abstract math was practical? Is that the theory?

    Also: evo-psych is the shittiest abbreviation ever conceived. It's awkward to say and annoying to hear and read.

    ReplyDelete
  37. The problem with 774 is that "atheists" isn't qualified, but "Christians" is. Well, that and the whole premise of a Hard Scientist Who Insists On Calling Lots Of People Dumb picking on atheists because, well, he's an American and you guys are apparently still hard for God or something.

    775 is a crap pun, made offensive by the illiterate apostrophe in (urgh) "1950's".

    ReplyDelete
  38. the most fascinating thing here is that some people think that this is a knock on agnostics who call fundie atheists fundies, and some people think it's just a knock on fundie atheists.

    ReplyDelete
  39. God invented weed AND booze, he's p. cool in my book.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Also it is 4 am here on the East coast why am I awake.

    ReplyDelete
  41. He corrected it pretty quickly (the original is still up at xkcdexplained.com) but I'd like to point out the original drawing was _so_ sloppily done that it gave the lady stickfigure a penis. Well done, Randall. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Apostrophes for dates: http://www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/department/docs/punctuation/node21.html

    ReplyDelete
  43. Wow. Two comics, same basic issue, both suck. What a shock.

    ReplyDelete
  44. UndercoverCuddlefishAugust 4, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    @anon1:07 i do hope you are being facetious

    ReplyDelete
  45. @Fred
    The theory (as it is applied popularly anyway, I have no idea about the actual science) is that traditional western gender norms (women= submissive, men=aggressive, women=stay at home nurturers, men=providers) are actually hardwired into our brains because of "Evolution". In general, it comes across as an attempt to justify sexism with science.

    As far as I can tell, the male stick's statement doesn't even make sense when you try to consider it as evo-psych sexism, other than the fact that it is directed at a woman. Then again, it also doesn't make sense when you consider it as referring to her family in Georgia, really. Randall is just working so hard for the pun none of the dialogue winds up making any sense.

    ReplyDelete
  46. When I saw #775 I couldn't stop laughing, seriously. Then I read the comic and my face went from :-D to :-/. Just as stupid, inane and meaningless as always.
    After that, he changed the design. Smooth move, genius, you took away the ONLY thing that made your (intelligent) readers laugh.

    No, really. How come a lot of cuddlefish like this clumsy-and-lazy-drawn comic? Is it for the "high level" Maths? I don't see that anywhere either. Could anyone explain? My guess is that they feel they form part of some kind of "elite", but the reality couldn't be further from the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I know I'm kinda late, but
    @Defiant: This comic is making fun of people who make fun of atheists...wouldn't it be agreeing with you? That kinda confused me.

    @Carl: You claim this comic doesn't do anything. I think what it does is it makes fun of the people in the sidelines feeling superior to both sides. And it really is of no importance whether this is a specific case of atheism vs religion or if it appears in other debates.

    And it's one thing detecting errors in a comic and it's another assuming that all xkcd fans are morons. I mean, I don't understand why people have to label other groups like that. I mean, if you think about it, the demographic of the guys here isn't all that different from the demographic of the guys at xkcd. It doesn't make sense to call them all morons.


    @Comic 775: I only liked 775 because I happen to enjoy puns. Especially extremely corny ones. Though, a problem with this one is how he used "YOUR" Savannah ancestors, like he didn't share those ancestors. That'd make it racism, not sexism.

    ReplyDelete
  48. ah, so this is a comic about Randy saying "it doesn't matter which side you're on, just fucking pick it and fight, man"

    ReplyDelete
  49. You assume that the fact that it can be cross-applied is a negative. Why?

    ReplyDelete
  50. The theory (as it is applied popularly anyway, I have no idea about the actual science) is that traditional western gender norms (women= submissive, men=aggressive, women=stay at home nurturers, men=providers) are actually hardwired into our brains because of "Evolution". In general, it comes across as an attempt to justify sexism with science.


    Yeah, I know, but what do the savanna ancestors have to do with anything? Is the savanna an environment that breeds stay at home nurturers?

    ReplyDelete
  51. "You assume that the fact that it can be cross-applied is a negative. Why?"

    because we don't like it?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Maybe the woman is black, and her ancestors are from some savanna country in Africa. Is Randall suggesting that black people are lazy and submissive?

    Zing!

    ReplyDelete
  53. As far as that goes, I couldn't say, except that I believe moving from forests to the savanna is supposed to be what started our ancestors walking upright. So "Savanna ancestors" could be read "early human ancestors", or something of the like. The female stick is not inferring a correlation between the savanna and being bad at math. She is inferring, "Human evolution (which occurred in the savanna) made women bad at math".

    ReplyDelete
  54. "traditional western gender norms (women= submissive, men=aggressive, women=stay at home nurturers, men=providers)"

    LOL

    Yeah, that's the West all right. Women tending the dozens of babies at home, men off hunting in the wild.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Uh, that's pretty much exactly what traditional western gender norms are.

    ReplyDelete
  56. So StickGuy says humans evolved in a way that doesn't make them good at maths... and this is sexist.

    I suppose it's meant to be, somehow, related to that only women evolved in that kind of way, but if that's the case then Randall really skipped a step there. Or ten.


    Also, I never like it when characters in my cartoons start suddenly swearing for no reason. Half because I always hate it when mediums like this spontaneously stop being PG for no apparent reason, and half because it's a bad misuse of linguistic ability.
    If you're going to put minor amounts of swearing in your medium, either do it to convey something is really serious or make a character swear a lot to portray them badly. Having a single character swear, in a regular situation, in a world where people don't do that is sort of like having a person in real life suddenly start speaking like Shakespeare for a sentence.


    Actually, no, I'll just complain about the language in general. Tell me, when have you ever heard of someone refer to your parents and grandparents as your "[city] ancestors"? Ever? I know it's meant to be a part of the joke, but it just shows how rubbish the joke is! Also: "Evo-Psych" is not a term used in regular conversations outside of people who actually

    Second last point: remember that comic about how if a woman sucks at maths, someone will say "girls suck at maths"? Yeah. It's not such blatant white-knighting here as it was then, but it still does look like Randall is, once again, the woman in this comic.

    And last point: The "Quarterback" alt-text. Okay now this surprised me, because the very last thing I was expecting Randall to do was say, in seriousness, that not knowing sports terms is a sign of stupidity! Half because when Randall normally does this, you'd expect him to mock liberal arts guys, and half because NOBODY WITH COMMON SENSE would say that not knowing sports terms is a sign of stupidity!
    ...also, the whole "is a river in Egypt" makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I mean if it was a real person, there's probably be a story behind it, but you can't give very minor characters untold past experiences in a medium! Ever! It's like Writing 101!



    In other words, what should be a somewhat basic comic REALLY REALLY PISSED ME OFF because of all the smaller things it did!



    It's bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
  57. being a non american, and also METAL AS FUCK, georgia makes me think of mastodon, and savannah makes me think of baroness.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I don't get how traditional "western" gender roles are different from traditional "eastern" gender roles. If anything, women are supposed to be even more submissive in asian societies.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The alt-text is probably like a pun on a song, or "denial", or some shit I can't be bothered to go into

    "it doesn't matter which side you're on, just fucking pick it and fight, man"

    Not accusing Randall of copying cos they're not the same at all, but best thing ever on this theme = this thing here, baby

    Timofei you don't UNDERSTAND the east is allowed to be sexist because that's where manga comes from

    ReplyDelete
  60. Plasma said...

    "Also, I never like it when characters in my cartoons start suddenly swearing for no reason. [mwa mwa mwa] that is sort of like having a person in real life suddenly start speaking like Shakespeare for a sentence."

    Forsooth, who doth not that at least once upon a morn? I know I doth.

    Also, dont dis the swearing. Some of my favourite words are cunts.

    Bling!

    No...

    Zing!

    (I havent got the hang of this yet.)

    ReplyDelete
  61. read this at xkcdexplained and just plain didn't get it

    then I got it

    this is a horrible horrible pun

    RANDALL

    SQUARE PEG

    CIRCULAR HOLE

    ReplyDelete
  62. "read this at xkcdexplained and just plain didn't get it"

    I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE

    ReplyDelete
  63. The folks on the xkcd forum got overall very disappointed with the new comic. But I love the smug fanboy assholes who are still clutching at straws to defend their pimp.

    Captcha: supgcwyy. Wow, I didn't know these captcha words were actually Polish.

    ReplyDelete
  64. LOL, the new xkcd has exactly the same artwork with an added chart on the wall.

    ReplyDelete
  65. PEOPLE FROM THE SOUTH ARE STUPID HUR HUR

    Probably gonna follow it up with a joke about Canada next week.

    A friend of mine had his car break down last week in Tennessee (goomhr etc) and if it weren't for the help of a charitable mechanic, he'd never have gotten running again. I hope Randall gets a flat tire in Arkansas and nobody stops to help him.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Carl, you have officially converted me.

    Although...I have to say this comic did immediately make me think: xkcd and xkcdsucks

    ReplyDelete
  67. I don't get how traditional "western" gender roles are different from traditional "eastern" gender roles. If anything, women are supposed to be even more submissive in asian societies.

    Then that makes them different, doesn't it?

    Also, apparently there's a bunch of civilizations in Africa (lol savanna abstract maths!) where women hunt and kill and fight and kick ass, while men do fuck all, so those are pretty different than our gender roles too. Which means it makes sense to distinguish between gender roles in different parts of the world. Ergo: western for ours.

    ReplyDelete
  68. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Quote Rob ' "You assume that the fact that it can be cross-applied is a negative. Why?"

    because we don't like it? '

    Right there. If that's your reasoning then you can't claim that this is an objective analysis of xkcd's worth. The blog may as well be renamed to "We do not like xkcd but you might. It really depends on what you're in to."

    ReplyDelete
  70. I hate you guys. You made me go and check this new comic. I FUCKING HATE YOU!

    Now, let's see... ugh. No, let me make this all caps, for emphasis: UGH!

    Art: SHIT! PURE SHIT! HOW CAN SOMEONE GET AWAY WITH THAT? THAT'S THE SAME STICK-MAN-AND-WOMAN WITH A SHODDY CHART ON THE WALL! THERE'S NOTHING COMPELLING ON IT! WHAT THE HECK DOES RANDALL DO WITH THE TWO DAYS HE HAS BETWEEN COMICS?! RHAAAAAAAAAAR!

    ...this is taking my wits away, people. This person, you see, he does comics. But they're one panel only. And are not visually attractive. At all. It pisses me off. It metaphorically pisses on the effort and hard work of all those people who at least TRY to make a good job out of comics. That must be it! Randall is playing a practical joke on the world! HA HA! Look at this, he's making a living off shitty stick figure comics! HI-FUCKIN-LARIOUS!!!

    Okay, let's get to the joke.

    It's lame. You know, I read the comments before, and I knew it was bad, but it's worse. The setup makes no sense. The use of "your" in that sentence throws it all off. And then there's a pun! And a thinly veiled "your mom" joke! Randall is a paragon of shitty humor, ladies and gentlemen! And the alt-text is another "yo momma so dumb" joke. Seriously! How... how... how does... this... is... how... ACK!

    Okay, I think we've reached a consensus: this comic is shitty as hell. In fact, it's so bad even the folks in the forums aren't taking it. If that isn't a sign good enough for Randall to just stop making fucking comics, then I don't know what would be!

    Finally, did xkcdexplained add that extra line on the woman's crotch, or was it for real? I'm disturbed...

    Mole (First Prophet of the End of XKCD)

    ReplyDelete
  71. xkcdexplained has been adding stick figure penises for a while now. It's one of the reasons I stopped reading it.

    @rioghasarig: Okay, how about this: the fact that it can be cross-applied means that, in essence, the comic is saying, "Boy, people are annoying sometimes."

    I don't know about you, but this is not relavatory to me. At all.

    ReplyDelete
  72. irt. Fred:

    a) refs please. At least a name, I want to learn.

    So far, I doubt Zulus or Masai are now, or were traditionally, particularly matriarchal. Those are not the only cultures in Africa, but are probably not far off from most others, or from "western" societies, with regard to broad gender roles (male- provider, female- housework).

    b) there's more to sentences than just sums of dictionary meanings of component words.

    When a speaker says "western traditional gender roles" they may be referring to particular nuances of certain European cultures, true.

    But another thing they may mean is to lambast the west for ever holding such wonky views, while avoiding to do the same for allegedly less PC targets. Why else feel the need to put "western" in there- particularly when what's claimed as typically western is not nuanced enough to be distinguishable from a pretty wide-spread, across many cultures all over the world, attitude.

    None of the above makes the west any better. But that's not Timofei's point I think; instead, it's the simple question of why specifiying "western", when what was said is applicable just as well on a much wider range.

    ReplyDelete
  73. "Also, apparently there's a bunch of civilizations in Africa (lol savanna abstract maths!) where women hunt and kill and fight and kick ass, while men do fuck all, so those are pretty different than our gender roles too."

    you mean lions right

    ReplyDelete
  74. @Rioghasarig

    The comic most certainly provides some sort of validity to the guy's claim. The girl is making fun of him, but is not refuting his point.

    She's saying "[Yeah, but] the important thing is you've found a way...".

    She's not refuting his point, and thus subtly implying that it has merit - in that even though it is true, he's being an asshole about it.

    How would people like it if I said:

    Christians are as violent as Islamic extremists (look at all those abortion clinic bombings).

    Americans are as stupid as the dumb and uneducated portion of the Chinese population (look at these dumb things a couple of people said).

    And so on.

    ReplyDelete
  75. irt. R.:

    *punches self* Of course! That makes sense. Also I'm an idiot.

    ReplyDelete
  76. I see. You cannot relate to that. Other people can. That is still not an objective reason.

    (Not saying that there are *zero* objective problems with this comic. You just can't objectively conclude that it is bad and people shouldn't like it)

    ReplyDelete
  77. I think I may have added "western" by habit. In literature classes (where I work at earning my fake, intellectually inferior degree) we spend a lot of time talking about gender, so "traditional western gender roles" becomes a rapid short hand for a large group of traits which it would be a serious, inconvenient pain to spell out each time. Nothing I listed above strikes me as being exclusively western (although there have been societies and cultures to which they cannot be accurately applied).

    ReplyDelete
  78. @Defiant: Oh, I see what you mean. I assumed the girl was being sarcastic.

    ReplyDelete
  79. The new comic is almost exactly the same art, just add a chalkboard and move the arm around.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I don't read a lot of comments and rarely post any here on xkcd sucks... do we always discuss the next comic in a comic's blog post?

    Because it definitely seems like I missed out on some 774 discussion and everyone has moved on.

    ReplyDelete
  81. @Defiant: Yes. Carl is usually slower to write a scathing review of the most recent comment than we are to start mocking it. Also, it helps him out when he does do a writeup.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Each comic is usually up for a while before the matching, and people just can't wait to get started on a new batch of suck.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Does nobody else see this (774) as self deprecating recursive humor? I asked about this in the last thread but nobody took note because rob was trollifying everything.

    ReplyDelete
  84. My problem with most xkcd strips is that they aren't enough of a joke on their own. 775 might be funny if it was a one or two panel exchange in a longer comic. Same with the "no, you hang up first" strip.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Anon 9:12 : Sure, the joke is about how people who feel smug because they are better than smug people are caught in a vicious cycle, Randall had to realize that would include himself at one point. Much as how we feel condescending to Randall because he's so condescending all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  86. @Anon 9:12

    OK. This is going to be long, so buckle up.

    I saw 774 as making the same mistake as most of the people in the 773 thread, ie conflating "religiosity" with "belief in god".

    There is, of course, no way to "prove" that god does not exist (and even if you could, the fundie religious nuts would just change their requirement of what constitutes "proof"). Some have been led by this argument to label atheism as "a religion", since in the absence of proof, disbelief in god requires faith. QED.

    However, most atheists make no such claim. They dont *refuse* to believe so much as *fail* to do so. After all, if god is so pervasive and fundamental, why is there *no* conclusive evidence of his existence? And not for want of looking. So these atheists not unreasonably infer that whilst absence of evidence may not be evidence of absence, it is at least indicative.

    The important distinction is that if god actually came along one day, most atheists would be compelled to admit that they were wrong; whereas it is the very characteristic of fundamentalism that it *cannot* be wrong.

    Christain fundies, for example, still believe that the world and everything on it was created in six days - essentially because some old book written by a committee hundreds of years after the event says so.

    So, in the context of the comic: is this fundamentalist behaviour annoying? It can be, if they gang up and burn you to death for suggesting that the evidence indicates otherwise.

    OTOH, its not clear why the character in the comic claims to find atheists annoying. He doesnt limit himself to an identifiably annoying subset, so we have to assume he means *all* atheists are annoying. Why? The comic doesnt tell us, because it is so shitty. And the punchline (such as it is) seems to be that if you are a dick who hates everyone, then you must by inclusion hate yourself. I assume this is just Randalls self-loathing showing through. I sincerely hope so, anyway.

    To summarize: I think the reason you dont find the comic funny is that it is not funny.

    ReplyDelete
  87. 775

    I was like "Um."

    And then I was like "What?"

    ReplyDelete
  88. Might I point out that, on the theme of recursive criticism, "I find this comic exceedingly boring" is in itself a rather boring and insubstantial critique.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Might I point out that, on the theme of recursive criticism, 'Might I point out that, on the theme of recursive criticism, "I find this comic exceedingly boring" is in itself a rather boring and insubstantial critique' is in itself a rather boring and insubstantial critique.

    Shit, now look what youve done.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Somebody tell me what the fuck the quarterback thing in the alt-text means? Cause I'm either even stupider than randall or it makes no sense (or both)...

    ReplyDelete
  91. wrt the alt-text: apparently there is or was an american football player whose first name was Nile. However, according to the forumites he was actually a halfback instead of a quaterback which apparently are not the same thing.

    The "joke" part of the text is a combination of the jokes:

    1. Your momma so dumb she thought denial was a river in Eygpt

    and

    2. Your momma so dumb she thought a quaterback was (monetary) change.

    I know, brilliant...

    ReplyDelete
  92. Rather than a joke, the Savannah comic strikes me as a protip for sexist people. It's a neat trick, you get to say something sexist, and if the prospective victim takes it you enjoy another quality moment of downtreading women. If she decides to confront her, you can pretend you were making an innocent joke, and get away with it.

    This probably wouldn't work in real life because the sexist comment is very sexist, and the pun is not very good (Sacannah ancestors is much less natural and likely in speech than savanna ancestors). So people would just decide that you tried to be sexist, saw that it wouldn't fly, and are now covering your ass. However, if you were to make a rigorous analysis, there isn't enough information to decide whether you began with an intention to try to be sexist or not, strictly speaking. So in a logically rigorous, innocent until proven guilty setting this little trick would allow you to capitalize on the occasional opportunity to be sexist, without incurring any risk at all of being outed as a sexist in your failed attempts.

    What it comes down to is, I guess, building up on this could allow you to make really sexist TV shows, and then not be sued.

    Also, I am reminded of that one comic where one guy goes "Hey guys, look at me act like a retard" and then "Jokes on you, I was pretendin'".

    ReplyDelete
  93. Ah thank you anon 9:31 I was starting to think people weren't getting it, rather than sidestepping it to mock randy muns, but now my doubt is erased. Well except in the case of anon 10:18.

    Capcha Flolyps: Flowers that grow in your colon.

    ReplyDelete
  94. I stopped to think about it... and my mind returned boobies, so what does it all mean?

    ReplyDelete
  95. Regarding #775:
    I posted this to the XKCD forums, but I'll repeat it here in case Carl sees it.

    Wasn't it Mr. Hat who said "Communicating badly and then acting smug when you're misunderstood is not cleverness"?

    So then what's the deal with this comic?

    ReplyDelete
  96. Woah, woah -- everyone slow down. A CHART? I totally remember them standing in front of a fridge. Did that change or did I just misinterpret Randall's scrawls the first time around?

    ReplyDelete
  97. Oh my god - look at this comment from the forum:

    http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=63045&start=40#p2262603

    "Last I checked, Randall never posted taking a holy oath saying all his comics should be funny for everybody. So anybody crying about the lack of humor in this can make like a tree off a short pier."

    capcha: "magic" - what you would need to create a funny version of this comic.

    ReplyDelete
  98. The savanna ancestor theory is a little more complex, but still not especially rigorous. What it says is human social norms, including gender roles, are all hardwired based on what happened in the savanna. This means among other things male dominance and male promiscuity; the evo-psych people are pretty adamant on saying that it's natural for men to fuck around.

    This is supposed to translate to women being bad at technical or abstract thinking. Sometimes there's also something about how women are bad at spatial reasoning. The actual explanations tend to be all over - typically, whatever could justify the current situation. Typically, the evo-psych method is to explain how something could have arisen in the savanna; the actual studies don't try to argue why it's in fact the correct explanation. Thus, they'd explain the fact that girls do worse on spatial tasks than boys, such as geometry problems, by talking about things hardwired back when men were hunters; they'd never stop to ask whether it's relevant that the gender gap fell as girls started to play sports and then reopened as boys started to play video games.

    The biggest irony is that usually, the evo-psych people's sin is that they ignore or mangle sociology and anthropology. They're usually very explicit in saying that social scientists don't do real science.

    ReplyDelete
  99. From the thread on the forums:

    "I have to say I agree with the guy in the comic, minus the sexism (and the pun). I don't for a moment believe that men are biologically predisposed to be better at abstract math than women, but I do believe that all of us are handicapped by our evolution to be not very good at math.

    For example, I see no reason other than evolutionary exigency that it should be so much easier to visualize a 2-manifold that can be embedded in R3 compared to one which can't be. By any objective standard, RP2 and S2 are about equally complicated as topological spaces; so why is it that the latter is so much easier for humans to understand? I'll wager good money that the reason is evolution: we are wired to think in 3d, because that's what you need to swing from tree limb to tree limb, and accurately place predators and food sources. My signature speaks to how easy mathematics really is. The corollary is that since simple things are hard for us to understand, we must really not be very good at math."

    I'm fairly certain that guy masturbates to MRIs of his brain.

    ReplyDelete
  100. For the anon claiming last comic was self-deprecation: I thing I commented this on the last thread, but, again, Rob was trollifying everything... anyway, the problem is, we take for grantes that the only way to put "Randall Munroe" and "self-deprecation" in the same sentence is if said sentence is about how Randall has none of it.

    Also, LOL at the lions comment. Also LOL at Anon 10:12 going all "non sequitur tract". Seriously, what does that have to do with Anon 9:12's comment?

    Puzzled and misguided,

    Mole

    ReplyDelete
  101. Someone should tell Randall that the Savannah/Savanna pun only works when told verbally.

    ReplyDelete
  102. "Uh, that's pretty much exactly what traditional western gender norms are."

    China, Iran, Africa - all Western!

    Who knew?

    ReplyDelete
  103. "I think I may have added 'western' by habit. In literature classes (where I work at earning my fake, intellectually inferior degree) we spend a lot of time talking about gender, so 'traditional western gender roles' becomes a rapid short hand for a large group of traits which it would be a serious, inconvenient pain to spell out each time."

    Yes, literature classes are hotbeds of ignorant hesperophobia. I mean, they have to occupy themselves with something while their field shrinks in the face of more intelligent, more empirical fields like hard science.

    ReplyDelete
  104. I think that, by reading the comments on the most recent comic in the XKCD forums, I have officially stripped myself of the desire to ever do that again.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Oh look, a troll. How quaint.

    ReplyDelete
  106. "Sometimes there's also something about how women are bad at spatial reasoning. The actual explanations tend to be all over - typically, whatever could justify the current situation. Typically, the evo-psych method is to explain how something could have arisen in the savanna; the actual studies don't try to argue why it's in fact the correct explanation."

    That's not entirely true. I haven't looked into Evo-Psych, but I studied some Evo-Sociology for one of my classes (I minored in soc), and there were some studies to test this hypothesis. For example, one group of sociologist guessed that men are better at directions (spatial reasoning) than women because they needed to be able to move between small groups of women to reproduce. If this is true, we should see that all things being equal, a monogamous animal is less able to navigate than a polygamous animal. So, they found two species of voles: one monogamous and one not, and they subjected them to a series of tests involving a maze. Sure enough, the polygamous animals were better able to run the maze than the voles that had only a single partner.

    One experiment doesn't mean this is a natural law set in stone, but it does illustrate my point than the discipline is more than people sitting around and saying whatever sounds good.

    ReplyDelete
  107. China, Iran, Africa - all Western!

    Who knew?


    Stop being an idiot. The fact that they're the norm in the west doesn't automatically make other places where they're also the norm western. Now go away.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Carter, one of the many problems with evo-psych is that it only looks at savanna explanations that fit current gender roles. So here you had a study with just two species, based on a guess that fits current gender stereotypes. It's verifiable, but not falsifiable; you could come up with other groups that do not have the same polygamy/navigation correlation.

    The problem here is that it's completely not true that it's just men who are promiscuous. In fact, human women are biologically promiscuous as well. One way to tell: the penis size of a species' males correlates strongly with female promiscuity, and humans have larger penises than apes. The complete silence of the Kanazawas and the Pinkers on this and similar issues is one of the big red flags showing that evo-psych is a political discipline and not a scientific one.

    ReplyDelete
  109. why do promiscious female speciaes have massive schlongs?

    ReplyDelete
  110. Has anyone else linked this yet?

    http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1289

    ReplyDelete
  111. "The problem here is that it's completely not true that it's just men who are promiscuous. In fact, human women are biologically promiscuous as well. One way to tell: the penis size of a species' males correlates strongly with female promiscuity, and humans have larger penises than apes. The complete silence of the Kanazawas and the Pinkers on this and similar issues is one of the big red flags showing that evo-psych is a political discipline and not a scientific one."

    Funny, my psychology course included some evo-psych and one of the major points was that women are clearly also promiscuous, but they are predisposed to be more secretive about it - as having one partner who thinks the kid is his and will raise it with you is better than havning none...

    There are some interesting experiments running in evo-psych. Unfortunately, most of what gets through to the (layperson) public is watered down by the reporting to a degree that throws a bad light on the whole discipline.

    For example, I recall a study (don't ask me to quote off the top of my head) which checked whether hormones had any effect on spatial perception in women. It turns out that they performed significantly better on spatial perception tasks when they were menstruating; otherwise, their mean performance was worse than the males' mean. It's an interesting study, and it's only sexist if you assume that women therefore cannot train their spatial perceptions.

    And you don't even want to know what women can do better than men... I tend to see it the same way as physical differences. I'm a martial artist and I know I can beat most women based on size and strength alone. Women who have trained well, though, will kick my ass consistently. Just because their average muscle mass is lower, doesn't mean I don't have a healthy respect for their skills. Same thing for spatial perception.

    Knowing that a sex has a biological predisposition is one thing. Basing your evaluation of another person solely on such predispositions is quite another, especially when you consider their relative strengths to other factors...

    ReplyDelete
  112. But mole, why do people say he is incapable of self deprecation? I read like 80% of his comics as self deprecation. Some of them are pretty brutal too. I guess you could assume based on his dismissive attitude toward other fields of study that he's some kind of ultra jerk and extrapolate from there but that is a tremendous stretch. Is this why people here dislike him so much? Because they read a cartoon wherein two people basically say "nuh uh, no U" and think "I can't believe rando mims would make such an inflammatory political statement"?

    ReplyDelete
  113. Nevermind, I counted it up again for 2010 and it's closer to 30% self deprecating, 20% smug, and 50% goofy/unrelated. That's a pretty high smug level comparatively. I maintain, though, that this one is undeniably self deprecating.

    ReplyDelete
  114. bah, I was hoping you would would interpret this as randal making fun of religious people and get all incensed and rant about it so I could have ANOTHER laugh because of this comic but you must have caught on to that so you pretended to be bored with it instead. Well, you did a good job but it wasn't nearly as entertaining for me. Filipe makes a good point but I'm not sure that means there's nothing to the joke. A lot of jokes can be repurposed like that and still potentially be contextually good. The twilight fan/hater one would probably get some laughs from the right audience. And, oh you who isn't familiar enough with evolutionary psychology to recognize an abbreviation for it when used in with plenty of context, a lot of geeks are agnostics and this is a hot topic with them. You can't complain that randal waters his stuff down to cater to everyone, an argument that I sympathize with at times, and then complain when a specific strip actually is targeted at geeks and isn't very funny to a non-geek like you.

    Also, you let yourself be disarmed by the self-depreciating nature of this strip and for that I'm ashamed of you. There's totally smug superiority complex stuff going on here that you could bash. Who cares if randal was making fun of himself? Make fun of him more.

    ReplyDelete
  115. lexa were any of those words related to any of the other ones?

    ReplyDelete
  116. I too can make no sense of that post.

    ReplyDelete
  117. The lions comment was the best.

    ReplyDelete
  118. learn2read compound sentences. Let me help you: Replace conjunctions and commas with periods and substitute the appropriate values for the pronouns and subjects.

    "Bah (I am unhappy). I was hoping you would would interpret this (the comic that is the topic of this thread) as randal making fun of religious people. I was hoping that you thinking that randal was making fun of religious people would get you all incensed. I was hoping that getting all incensed would mean you would rant about it (the comic that is the subject of this thread). I was hoping that your ranting about how randal is making fun of religious people would cause me to laugh. Such laughter would be derivative of this comic (still the same one we've been talking about). However, you must have caught on to that (ok, perhaps it is my fault this part is unclear. "that" is referring to me laughing at you whining about randal picking on religious people). Realizing this you seem to have pretended to be bored with it (still the comic) instead. Well, you did a good job (with the post where you pretended to be bored with the comic, the post I am replying to here) but it wasn't nearly as entertaining for me. Filipe makes a good point. However, I'm not sure that (Filipe's point) means there is nothing to the joke. A lot of jokes can be repurposed like that and still potentially be contextually good. The twilight fan/hater one would probably get some laughs from the right audience. Similarly, oh you who isn't familiar enough with evolutionary psychology to recognize an abbreviation for it even when used in with plenty of context (i'm making fun of you for not being a geek here), a lot of geeks are agnostics and this is a hot topic with them. You can't complain that randal waters his stuff down to cater to everyone while also doing the opposite*. I do sympathise with this argument at times. When you also complain when a specific strip actually is targeted at geeks and isn't very funny to a non-geek like you you're just being wishy-washy."

    See how dumb it sounds and how much you have to repeat yourself when it's written it like that?

    How about a deal: I'll promise to work on not overdoing the compound sentences if you promise to throw a fit for my amusement the next time randal makes an atheist joke. I mean, why would anyone want to read a post where you don't make any strong points and just vaguely claim that xkcd is boring?

    ReplyDelete
  119. the more you explain, the less coherent your post gets.

    ReplyDelete
  120. (hint: the problem isn't antecedents, it's the fact that none of your sentences or ideas flow into each other, at all)

    ReplyDelete
  121. And it was never clear to whom you were replying.

    ReplyDelete
  122. I don't want to stop and think about it, or else i can't enjoy the comic.

    ReplyDelete