Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Comic 833: Unconvincing


[ALT: And if you labeled your axes, I could tell you exactly how MUCH better.]

It would appear that Randy should take a two-week vacation about every week or so, and then he might be able to consistently produce something that is kind of okay about a third of the time. With 833, he has finally given us a true and proper return to form: utter shit!

In what I'm sure he thinks is an incredibly hilarious subversion of his reliance on poorly made graphs to tell jokes, Randy has had his author-insertion character decide that he should break up with someone because she isn't very good at making graphs! Not that Randy ever labels his axes.

So here we have "I only date the highest class of nerd" elitism along with shitty graph-based humor, and what I can only imagine Randy told himself was the greatest subversion since the correct answer to the time-honored riddle, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

"They'll never expect me to use a graph and then have it FAIL!" says he to himself, chuckling. "And the expected joke, that the graph convinces him, is sufficiently hilarious that they will already be exploding with glee as they read it. I fully expect half of my readers to perish from the sheer brilliance of this excellent subversion!"

And so he released this joke on the world. Unfortunately it's not really much of a subversion--the joke is still "omfgnerds." It's just an elitism directed at those less nerdy rather than a "nerdism is all-powerful" elitism.

Poor Randy.


  1. Well, as soon as I saw the second panel, I was expecting a badly done rip-off of the chart here: http://cowbirdsinlove.com/oldstuff/breakups.html

    I was preparing to rage about how there is clearly a relationship there, so when I saw that he actually didn't rip off cowbirdsinlove and that he was actually not fucking up the basic joke, I was pleasantly surprised.

    Not that there aren't problems, for instance, who actually prints out a giant graph and then doesn't even bother labeling anything on it? There's literally no way anyone could even function in society if they were so Autistic that they assume that everyone understands how they're quantifying inherently non-quantifiable data.

  2. Meh, I actually thought this one was pretty funny. Probably not in whatever "clever" way Randy meant it to be funny, but at least the punchline was kind of jarring and silly enough where it made me laugh.

  3. Somehow this seems relevant to the current happenings at redux... Maybe it all IS a conspiracy?
    As for the comic itself: It is boring, and unnatural; why would WikiLeaks (a site that seems to rely on anonymity) want to "expose" Anonymous--is Randy implying that Anonymous is an intelligence agency? Am I misunderstanding something here?

  4. 834 is kinda good, actually. Had me laughing.

    @10:23 its funny because Anonymous is trying to help Julian and although it is the "job" of WikiLeaks to disseminate secret information, publishing the personal data of Anonymous isn't exactly returning the favor.

    BTW - Most comments here are from Anonymous. The irony.

  5. You are way too easy to amuse, anon 11:07.

    I love the copy/pasted tuxedo dude in the first and last frame. Way to double up the effort, randall.

  6. Yeah the elitism here is kind of ridiculous.

    Labeling axes does not make you smart. It makes you someone who has been to high school.

    I am now pursuing my PhD in physics, and I have not heard any squabbling about axis labeling since high school.

    It's like saying "we should break up because you don't end your sentences with periods. YOU MUST BE AN IDIOT." Like, okay I left a period off by mistake. That doesn't mean I don't UNDERSTAND why we need periods. Pointing out my lack of punctuation doesn't clear up my fundamental UNDERSTANDING OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. It just makes you a dick.

    This is what I hate about geek culture. They need to feel "smart" but aren't actually smart so they pick random weird details that they have decided are the PINNACLE of knowledge. And when you mess up those details YOU MUST BE STUPID and the GEEKS get to be smarter so they can feed they're delusion that they have some higher status than everyone else.

  7. @10:43 Wikileaks just makes everything available that it gets its hands on. It acts without an agenda. The sensational stuff that it has been given involves governments and corporations, but what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? XKCD explores.

  8. God, 833 was embarrassing to read. The awful attempt at subversion is making me feel shame and regret. Even the panels that aren't side-splittingly hilarious are awkward to read. The first panel is kind of an unnatural back and forth, and I can't be the only one who cringed at "I knew data would convince you." a) People don't talk like that, b) Data? What data?
    Seeing Randall project onto his comics really is embarrassing. I imagine he spends many a sleepless night lying in bed with his eyes open, thinking of what he should have said and done during his break up with Megan. 'Oh man, what if she made a graph of our relationship...BUT DIDN'T LABEL THE AXES. I would totally have misled her for two seconds and then BROKE HER HEART.'
    Blehhh anyway. Rob, I enjoyed your exaggeration of Randall's delusion that this is effective and humorous subversion, and your posts are always fun, on point, and make me smile!

  9. Rachel nailed it (PS OMG im also a grad student)

    4 Serious

    captcha: osemin
    I liked rachels post so much i was all osemin

    pps: new comic is passable

  10. combining 4chan with things is comedy gold right randall

  11. I thought once upon a time that Randall would even understand that the phrase "everyone in Anonymous" makes no sense, but so much for that. He's no better than Fox News.

  12. Rachel What PhD work are you doing? I'm looking at PhDs for next year in physics- is there any advice you can give? Anywhere near photonics?

    Also I agree wholeheartedly with this whole 'Geek' culture thing. It pisses me off endlessly when RANDULL lectures about the POEWR f SIENS when he hasn't even set foot in a lab.

    Working as a glorified error checker for a compiler does not make you any kind of authority on 'science' or 'geek culture'.

  13. "Not that Randy ever labels his axes."
    Is it a sexual innuendo?

    "Working as a glorified error checker for a compiler does not make you any kind of authority on 'science' or 'geek culture'."

    Could you be any smugger?

    Also, there is unnecessary post punchline dialogue in the newest smbc (which, apart from that, is very good as usual.)

  14. I actually got a nice laugh from 834

  15. The alt-text of 834 is a joke I wish I heard more often. OMGtehInternetz! has gone on way too long.

  16. Looking at graphs from economic theory notes, I haven't been labelling my y-axis because anything worth graphing is full of too many functions of different variables, and it only makes sense to label each individual function rather than jumble it all on the side.

    Randall could never love me, and I am okay with that.

    Key word in 833: he THINKS he could do better.

    And 834 is mediocre, I give it a 6.5/10 -- good enough, and pretty exciting given the past comics.

  17. I knew Randall would have to voice his stupid opinion on Wikileaks. I just thought it would be sooner. At least it's fairly timely, I guess. And the art is good.

    "Dammit, Julian! You rascal, you!" I didn't think 4chan was on a first name basis with the guy. Shoulda known better.

    Also, isn't it the nerd thing to do to correct news reporters by telling them that Anonymous isn't a concrete organization and doesn't have static members? I thought Randall hated the mainstream media, but his opinion seems to be just as uninformed as theirs.

  18. This comic was utter garbage and it was as if he shit on that one comic (damn similar to this one but good) where it's "your my statistically significant other".

    This one makes me so pissed off... but it's balanced by the fact that I don't give a shit anymore. I'm stage n+1 of XKCD, where stage n is hatred and stage n+1 is I just don't fucking care anymore, not even enough to rage about it.

  19. 834 was one of the best for a while. It isn't fantastic, but it makes a good point (a little overdone, but it is current). It might have been better if kept simpler without the anonymous hive mind thing.

  20. This joke was funnier when it was http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmaEYrmrY4I .

  21. @ThePirateKing

    Either Randall knows a lot less about Anon than he claims he does, or he's pandering to people who knows about the issue from the current news only.

    Either way, it's pathetic. The art in this comic is a bit better because it has no stupidly horrible stick figures, but given two thirds of the comic are a copy-pasted suit and the rest is a badly drawn browser displaying a badly draw site... it's still the usual Randall Munroe shit.

  22. I dunno; I think you can correctly say "everyone in Anonymous." I mean, sure, it's not a static group, but at any one point in time, there are only a certain number of people who self-identify as Anonymous. So those people would qualify as "everyone in Anonymous," even if it's not some organized group.

    Like, I go to 4chan because it contains /y/, but I certainly would never say that I'm Anonymous, and I wouldn't engage in the kind of malicious idiocy that they do. Though I wouldn't totally disparage them, since they provide /y/, which is a valuable service to the public and, most importantly, me.

    But since I don't consider myself to be part of Anonymous, I'm obviously not Anonymous. But someone who does consider themselves as part of that group, and participates in the kind of things they do, obvious is Anonymous. So, like I said, at any given point in time, there are a certain number of people who are Anonymous. So you could say "everyone in Anonymous" just to mean "every person who currently considers themselves to be part of Anonymous," and I don't see a problem with that.

    Or maybe I just have no idea since I'm not Anonymous. They're in it for the lulz, but I'm just there for the guy on guy porn.

  23. HAY GUIES CAN I BE ANONYMOOS TOO?December 15, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Rochambeau's just mad his back-alley error-checking business has been dissed.

    At least he's not in the more dubious fields, like photoshopping the faces of famous celebrities onto the bodies of cheap pornstars, or pandering to the high school crowd with sub-par webcomics.

  24. @Chaos
    Exactly how is /y/ a valuable service to anyone, except maybe the occasional fujoshi?

  25. @Rachel:

    feed their delusion

  26. wow dude you totally tore apart rachel's argument there

  27. i'm not going to dare with google and it probably isn't in my dictionary so what the fuck is a fujoshi

  28. @ 1:34 We fujoshi need our yaoi. Otherwise we wouldn't get turned on enough to have sex with our live-in fwb and then he wouldn't want to do any housework and the house would be a wreck all the time. It's the circle of life.

  29. /y/ is worse than /b/.

    This isn't homophobia or sexism or even a hatred of drawn porn talking.

    /y/ is just, it's... fuck.

  30. "Everyone in anonymous"? C'mon, Randall, did you or did you not make not one but two maps of the internet?
    The joke is "Anonymous would be upset if Assange turned on them," a statement which should be followed not by laughter but by "Huh? What are you on about?"
    Pointless boring hypothetical happen made from the comedy gold formula of 4chan+current events.
    Anyway. Randall clearly didn't finish filling out the exhaustive 15 page form of personal information needed to become a registered and official member of Anonymous.

  31. @ Temporary name: I'm working in high energy physics, analyzing data from the LHC. I just started this year, so I'm not too far into it yet. I don't know much about photonics but the advice I would give you is study for and ace the physics GRE =)

    @Anon ... yea I saw that right after I posted it and hit my head on the desk. I mess that up every single time.

  32. I liked 834's alt-text.

  33. @Anon 5:10: my thoughts exactly.

    It is quit ludicrous to see internet-savvy, 4-chan-lurking randall munroe messing up on basic internet stuff. I mean, even most reporters understand that anonymous isn't really an organized group. It's been explained again and again...

    It's really hard to define what "everyone in anonymous" means. As far as I understand, anonymous is mostly organized via IRC. So what, the IPs of everyone in an anonymous-related IRC channel right now? Because I hung out in one of those once, but I wouldn't have considered myself 'anonymous'.

    Does it mean the IPs of everyone who has ever been in that channel? The IPs of the people who are launching these attacks? (which is not a secret if they used LOIC) The IPs of whoever coordinated and instigated the attacks?

    It is just a stupid thing to say. There's also the idea that Anonymous doesn't even represent a specific goal or action, but it represents the feeling of anonymity on the internet itself. So, releasing the IPs of everyone on the internet?

    We'll go with that. That's what he meant.

  34. @ rachel - I take it you're doing data analysis then?

    I've heard of the GRE- but never in this continent- Is it a US thing?

    So far most of my research has been focused on laser development though I'd love to get into nonlinear and quantum optics-

    i donno lol

  35. He also got Anon's creed wrong, which is surprising because it's plastered everywhere and isn't even totally of their own creation.

  36. Anonymous != 4Chan.

    They might have gotten started by a few moralfags on /b/, but to consider the two groups the same is doing a disservice to both.

  37. Charles Augustus FortescueDecember 16, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    The point of the comic is that the Anonymous movement's power stems in no small part from their ability to hide their identities - in other words, from secrecy. Therefore it seems incongruous for them to be committed to helping an organisation that exists to thwart all forms of secrecy. That is a valid point, albeit that the cartoon itself doesn't really work too well.

  38. @C.A.F.
    Wikileaks exposes secrets to fight corruption, not to ruin the day for everyone. There is a difference between secrets of individuals, i.e. privacy (here I count membership or engagement in a politically active group), and secrets kept by an organization to gain an advantage. This incongruency that you point out is not actually one; a fact that makes this comic extremely stupid.

  39. It's also worth mentioning that to the best of my knowledge, Wikileaks did not "capture" or otherwise "leak" any classified information. They received this information FROM the leak, and Published it, just like any REAL Newspaper or Media source would do. Even if you don't agree with what Wikileaks chooses to publish, their RIGHT to publish what they choose should never be questioned, especially since THEY received the information legally. Freedom of the Press is very important, and shouldn't be stepped on like this.

  40. But DID they receive it legally?

  41. When did "elitist" become a legitimate critique? Gotta love the rampant anti-intellectualism there.

  42. It's not anti-intellectual, it's anti-nerd, which is vastly different.

  43. So this is interesting: I used to frequent a site called PvP Makes Me Sad, there's a bunch of guys who hate Penny Arcade, and then there's you guys. But a quick search revealed nothing anti-SMBC. Not that I'm anti-SMBC, but it's interesting.

  44. That's because people who genuinely enjoy hating things all like SMBC. I'm not sure why that correlation exists, but it does.

  45. How could somebody hate SMBC? It is the best webcomic in existence.

  46. Anyone else notice the Mac layout and themes for the buttons on the webbrowser with wikileaks comment. For such a RMS loving freetard/1337 programmer, I expected better.

    (Oh and calling it now, one of the next 3 Comics will be about Google's netbooks)

  47. SMBC isn't fucking full of itself. You know what the difference between XKCD and SMBC is, writing-wise? SMBC doesn't acknowledge it's got an audience, so it writes jokes. XKCD doesn't write, it panders to a culture of stupid.

    I don't think SMBC is the best comic around, but it's not written by people who will be told they're brilliant for that fucking Lookouts bullshit, then tell jokes about how they don't have enough time to play all the videogames that they want to in their houses made of solid gold.

    No comic is ever improved by communication with its fanbase.

    834 is awful, I don't see what anyone likes about it and they should feel bad for displeasing me, because I'm obviously more right than them. I'm a grinch when it comes to Christmas, so I'd hate 835 even if it didn't suck. HAHA! TREE MEANS SOMETHING OTHER THAN PLANT LIFE HAHA! I'm going to die laughing.

  48. "Nothing is ever improved by communication with its fanbase."


  49. Agreeing with Rachel, even though she is a PhD who still can't use the correct version of "their". (Just for the irony. ;) )

  50. Kind of liked this one, mainly because it wasn't "OH GOD MEGAN BROKE UP WITH ME LIFE HAS NO MEANING TIME TO GO MASTURBATE" nor was it "OMG QUIRKY RELATIONSHIP" so it was a relationship comic that deviated from the xkcd relationship norms.

  51. Yo u mad bro? Just a protip: provide evidence for when he doesn't label his axes. Otherwise, you're just talking out your ass. Your butthurt ass. Prolly cause Randall is funnier than you. Now go ahead and purge this comic like the butthurt child you are. You know I'm right (in that you have no evidence of Randall not labeling his axes).

  52. oh man, I've never seen someone combine "umad?" with "butthurt" in the same post! clearly the god of internet arguing has descended on us in human form and posted an incredibly moronic comment, that we may all be enlightened thereby.

  53. Rob maybe he's just concerned for your prostate health, did that ever occur to you?