Monday, January 24, 2011
[Comic title: Na; alt text: I hear that there are actual lyrics later on in Land of 1,000 Dances, but other than the occasional 'I said,' I've never listened long enough to hear any of them.]
I was conflicted when I started writing up the HTML for this post (I, too, am a programming enthusiast, Randall!). For, you see, I could not decide which version of the comic to link to, or which image to display. As a diehard originalist, I naturally opted for the original, but it was a near thing. This marks the first time that Randall Munroe has ever changed his comic or alt text in any way, and I wanted to commemorate it somehow--perhaps I will still do so, with a song, perhaps featuring the word "na" prominently.
In any case, this comic continues Randall's attempts to tell jokes by being as unfunny as possible--this time without any subversion of any kind to speak of! I expect that the subversion is on a much deeper, more "meta" level than any other subversion--you are expecting a joke, and he fails to deliver. Surely that is why, when I walked through the labyrinthine corridors of MIT this evening, the only sound I heard was peals of laughter.
The comic came about, as so many of Randall "My Ping Is Measured In Months Rather Than Milliseconds" Munroe's comics do, when he was reading through some old things on the internet, and discovered the actually rather amusing Hey Jude Flowchart.
"That's good," thought Randall to himself, "but it's not quite hamfisted enough. And it doesn't have enough references. What if my readers, who, let's be fair, have the cultural awareness of a bag of potato chips, haven't ever heard of Hey Jude?" It was not too difficult to come up with some other songs which contained the word "na." And so the flowchart was born.
But so caught up was he in the joy of references that he forgot the most important reference of all: the one to the original flowchart that he ripped off in an inferior fashion! And, since Randall Munroe is a conscientious individual who would never just go back and change errors or quietly add a "zing!" to the end of an offensive alt text, he made certain to point out his error and add a link to a corrected version. The world was right once more.