Let's take a look!
[Alt: Don't need any, thanks. I have a backscattering fetish.]
SO - on to the comic and its flaw. This is related to the fact that people seemed to be in one of two camps with regard to the joke here: Either the viagra is there because the men going through the scanner are worried about how their dicks will appear (ie, they will appear small, ie, they will appear correctly sized), or the joke is that it is there so that the guard will have to look at their dicks. Either way, it's a dick joke and we know how I feel about those. We also know how Randall Munroe feels about such jokes, or at least did, before he ran out of inspiration and started making the kind of comics that he had formerly railed against.
ANYWAY, the question is, which joke is intended? It's an important distinction because one joke is funny and one joke isn't. It's a question, I think, of power relationships - does the guard have power over the passengers, because he sees them naked and they have basically no choice in the matter? Or do they have the power, because the guard has to stay there and watch naked person after naked person, while the passengers get to fly off to exciting places? It can be taken in lots of different ways.
I think that if you have to make a dick joke - and you never, ever do - the common thing to do would be to play off of the widely spoken of idea that men are worried about the sizes of their dicks. So the idea that a man, thinking that a stranger would briefly be able to see a representation of his dick, would deliberately take prescription medicine to increase its size is, perhaps, a place where a joke might live.
Alas, that's not what the joke actually is. Randall could have made this comic quite easily, but instead, he added the security guard saying "oh god," making the joke "Ha ha, that man will have to look at larger dicks than he would otherwise have to." Which is just...stupid.
[Alt: There are two or three songs out there with beeps in the chorus that sound exactly like the clock radio alarm I had in high school, and hearing it makes me think my life since junior year has been a dream I'm about to wake up from.]
The flaw is this: The joke is based on the idea that you make a very popular song, but you insert noises that make it annoying. If you think about this premise even a little bit, the problem jumps out: If the song is really annoying, it won't be popular. And, similarly, if a song gets really popular, then a lot of people don't find it annoying. It can't possibly be both, because people don't generally intentionally listen to music that they hate, over and over again.
A more realistic, and far better, version of this joke was done in comic #70, though like the original dick comic above, it's possible that that was so long ago that Randall has simply forgotten it ever existed.
Anyway, even if such a song did somehow become popular, after the first time hearing it, people would probably realize that the song has those noises and not be surprised each time they heard it. People aren't stupid like that. Surely people will begin to speak to one another and say: "Album [whatever] would be good, but what is up with the noises?" It's not like you could stealthily sneak the noises into the song, such that people only notice them after the song is popular. Though I do think that would be a fun idea. Alas, it's not what Randall is proposing here.
Also, wouldn't people get suspicious that the honking sound was coming not from outside the car, but from their speakers? One can tell from which direction sound is coming, after all.
Also, Anon pointed out that he spelled "brilliant" wrong, quite clearly missing the second "I." Take a look! To his credit, he did spell "guaranteed" correctly; that can be a tricky one!
So, there you have it. Two comics where, like so many, Randall could have used the editorial guidance of a friend or colleague, but didn't. His loss, really.
i hope my next 500 posts are as much fun as my first 500! thank you all for reading. this would be a great time to reread the entire blog from the beginning.