Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Comic 932: Mixed Messages


[Comic title: CIA; alt text: It was their main recruiting poster, hung nearly ten feet up a wall! This means the hackers have LADDER technology! Are we headed for a future where everyone has to pay $50 for one of those locked plexiglass poster covers? More after the break ...]

I'm getting mixed messages from this one (HENCE THE TITLE DID YOU SEE HOW I MADE THE TITLE RELEVANT TO THE POST you can love me now if you like). I mean, it's obviously more of Randy's smug "I'm smart and people who don't love computers like I do are dumb" bullshit, but it looks like he thinks that this time when people are misinformed it's their fault--this is "what normal people hear" versus "what computer enthusiasts hear," rather than "what the media is saying" versus "what is actually happening."

You may recall a particularly rapey comic about the bailout back when this economic crisis that launched XKCD Sucks to fame and fortune started. The implied threat of raping someone's daughter was directed at the media. But in this case the media doesn't appear to be at fault--though his usual "OMG MEDIA IS LYING ABOUT COMPUTORZZZZ" rage does appear in the alt text.

Since this comic is otherwise pretty boring--people are wrong sometimes! shocking!--I've decided to visit the forodes to see what they think.

There's some arguing about the analogy:

...it's not even that they tore down the poster, more like they got a whole bunch of people to stand in front of it so no one can see it. So basically we're talking about the digital equivalent of a sit-in.

There's some alarmism w/r/t people not understanding technical details of computing:

Yeah, I can definitely relate. People's reactions to the "situation" are often scarier than the situation itself. It troubles me that we live in a world so dependent on technology, yet very few people really understand it.

And some idiot who thinks that he has a solid grasp on the economy and wants to share with the class:

Love it. This is what I tend to hear with most news stories. "The economy is doomed" is usually translated to "we need to print more pretend money, but the guy in charge prefers not to devalue his hoarded millions" in my head.

But overall pretty boring. They're complaining about how the word "hacked" has become widespread, arguing about alt-text vs. title text for some reason, and generally being boring nerds arguing about stupid shit nobody cares about--something that never happens here on "XKCD Makes Me Profoundly Unhappy And I Am Learning A New Language Just So That I Can More Fully Describe The Depths Of My Despair."

Oh shit, I take it back. I take it all back about this thread being boring. I think I've just found the dumbest comment on the XKCD forodes, ever:

When I see/hear the word 'hacker', the first thing that comes into mind is people like Eric Raymond, Linus Torvalds, Ken Thomson, Dennis Ritchie, Stallman, Knuth, etc etc...
When I read this comic, my imagination produced this in my mind:
hypothetical famed hacker wrote:...Damn, now I have to come up with something significant AGAIN in order to remind people that I'm a renowned expert in the field, so that I have the right to claim that I get this strip!

Better get to work, instead of tearing down other people's posters...

This computer enthusiast believes, or fantasizes, that famous computer people read XKCD and . . . I guess they think it's so brilliant that they want to go out there and remind everyone that they have sufficient credentials (and this fanboy seems to think you need credentials to understand XKCD) to appreciate its brilliance? That, in essence, Randy is so brilliant with his vast knowledge of computing that he makes luminaries of the computer science community act like retarded fanboys in order to prove they "get it."

This comment alone makes it all worthwhile.


  1. 933: Tattoos are nothing--try having a large portion of your bowels removed, and defecating out a hole in your side--you have no control over how much feces escapes, and when, by the way.

  2. 933: Wow, it's been a while since we've had a comic about cancer!

    @10:09 - I have tried it.

  3. Woops, I meant to be talking to an imaginary Randall.

  4. Dear Randall,

    You know, I don't think the whole world needs to know about your cancer story. It sucks, I know - most of us have had a relative or friend with cancer. Some of us have had cancer. A webcomic is probably not the place for this.

  5. That sounds pretty cool, 10:09. Pooping away all day long, not a care in the world. Just walking along, emptying out the bag in your side as you pass a bin, humming a tune just living the sweet life. I'm gonna get one.

  6. What is the deal with 933? There are plenty of reasons to criticize those barbed wire tattoos but radiation therapy is not one of them.

  7. I think Randy has decided that XKCD is going to become a webcomic about cancer.

  8. 933 Megan sounds like an anime fangirl. SHE WILL DESTROY NAMEK IN FIVE MINUTES.

  9. I think if Randy keeps up the excessive focus on cancer, he's going to alienate all of his audience except the hardcore xkcd sycophants from the forum.

  10. 933 is so wrong.

    With all the buildup I expected dome portal/glados-style black humour punching me in the face. Instead I got "The parts of me that are holding me back". That is probably the weakest metaphor for cancer that I ever heard and makes it sound like a stubbed toe.

    This could have been a dowerful device if he were of any use as a writer. But no, he waters it even further down with his utterly useless blathering about "relativistic particle cannons", the speed of the partices and ... killing horses? WTF?

    Captcha: watiumsh. The sound of my reaction to the comic.


    If your fiancee had cancer, you would understand.

  12. It would be interesting if we could calculate a correlation between the amount of merchandise Randall sells and the amount of times he's mentioned cancer that week. If there's a correlation between this last and the severity of Megan's cancer, we could test for a correlation between Megan's suffering and Randall's profits. This is the sort of scientific experiment Randall gets off on, no?

  13. Why do people keep saying the girl with cancer is Megan? The girl with cancer isn't Megan. Megan is the girl he loves and can never have. The girl with cancer is the girl he had to settle for. The girl he took to prove to Megan that he's able to move on, to show that he's well adjusted. And if he manages to convince her of such, well, hell, maybe one day she'll consider giving him a chance if (God forbid) he became a widower somehow.

  14. What is this, Funky Winkerbean?

  15. 933: Another "boohoocancer" strip with an unfunny punchline slapped onto it, with an extra serving of "omglazorsrawsum" alt-title. Entirely passable. One thing I don't get, though is what's comic!Randy's deal in here. Is he ashamed for having a tattoo or what?

  16. 933: How dare you do anything whimsical or frivolous with your life? Can't you see that my girlfriend has cancer?

  17. Barbed wire/celtic band designs are the worst kind of tattoo. My bow-wielding-dwarf-riding-a-balrog tattoo is awesome and unique though.

  18. Someone needs to do a parody of the "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!", except called "LEAVE RANDALL ALONE!" and full of xkcd references and references to his fiancee's cancer.

    Kinda like this:


    "HE'S A HUMAN!! What you don't realize is Randall's making you a bunch of comics and all you do is write a bunch of CRAP about him."

    "You're lucky he still writes comics for you BASTARDS! LEAVE RANDALL ALONE! Please."

    "Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly BASH someone who's going through a hard time?! LEAVE RANDALL ALONE!! PLEASE! *uncontrolled sobbing*"

    I hope against hope that this video gets made.

  19. Me: Ughh, I burnt myself making breakfast this mor-

    Megan: I HAVE CANCER!

    Me: Sorry... Sorry to hear that. It just really burned deep, looks like 2nd degree-

    Megan: I HAVE CANCER!

    Cancer - A humbling experience.

  20. I think some day after he's milked (pun intended) this cancer thing for all it's worth, he'll post something like "lol jkjk she doesn't have cancer! I don't even have a girl friend. Thanks for the sympathy, though."

    I mean, has anyone actually seen his fiancee?

  21. @2:28: He loves but can never have his fiancee because she is dying of cancer.

    @cptnoremac: More to the point, has anyone ever seen his right hand and his fiancee in the same room?

  22. 933: Randy has a new fetish: sending "particle" beams into horses.

  23. Dearest U Kitten,

    A J. R. R. Tolkien themed tattoo?

    Oh dear.

    Your new name is not a vowel challenged version of 'I, Kitten' nor is it a pronouncement of 'U' versus 'Non U'.
    Perhaps it is an homage to me, the Burmese me, as in;

    U Thant?

  24. That's what sheAugust 3, 2011 at 5:57 AM


    It's about this big.

    Now can we PLEASE, as a society, move on?

  25. I just had a thought -- after her chemotherapy, how will one be able to distinguish Megan from the bald xkcd male population?

  26. @6:50: When I highlighted that now EVERY character in xkcd could be Megan, it was not well received.

  27. Rob, in his post said:

    "....you can love me now if you like...."


    Are you sure?

    Assume the position then.

    As a charter member of the "Strap-On Veterans For Truth" caucus, I'm eminently qualified to provide you with the lovin' you so richly deserve.

  28. What the fuck, seriously? After a not-so-bad comic about the CIA hacking thing, we dive right back into formulaic vomit with Megan's Chemo Comic.

    We have: Megan emotionally whipping people just 'cause
    Cancer makes you badass (because that's totally something you go through voluntarily)
    Shitty sickness poetry

    Plus, whenever he touches on the Mystery Illness in the Family that is Now Cancer, he acts as if the very circumstance of coming down with a serious illness makes you a badass, and the worst part, the absolute worst, is when he does this and tries to wax poetic at the same time.

    Because he really, really sucks at this. Case in point: "Grope for comfort before life's slings and arrows"

    Seriously though people are shooting at you and reacting like somebody's hogging the covers means you're turning to religion out of weakness. So someone who voluntarily gets a tattoo for whatever reason can never be as badass as a person who got sick and could afford treatment.

    That's it.

    Getting sick makes you a badass.

    Fuck you, Randy. This is almost as bad as your Diode comic.

  29. Anonymous @ 7:56 AM said:

    "....and the worst part, the absolute worst, is when he does this and tries to wax poetic at the same time....."

    I am not qualified to determine the validity of your edict of a 'worst' or even 'absolute worst' part, but I can pronounce that it is better to wax poetic than wane prosaic as you do.

  30. "wax" in that sense is not used in relation to the waxing or waning of the moon. "Wax poetic" is a stand-alone phrase in English that cannot be altered, like "The winter of our discontent".

  31. That's what sheAugust 3, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    ALTF, you know damn well your clitoris is large enough that you don't need a strap-on.

  32. Well done, ALT-F! Yes, I am now Burmese like you!

    Also, 8:24 is wrong. Go for the kill!

  33. And 'wane prosaic' is a sit-alone phrase in English for those who are non-irony-reading cunts.

    @ That's what she,

    But it needs to be engorged to be effective. Rob just doesn't do it for me - I need props.

  34. That's what sheAugust 3, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Just picture me when you're doing the deed.

  35. You are now Burmese?

    So you have had two or three gold 'bells' the size of oblate peas inserted under your foreskin on the upper-side of your langer so you harmoniously 'ring' when you stroke?

    The Thai ladies will be enthralled like the olden days when the traders from Bagan came a-callin'!

  36. ".....Also, 8:24 is wrong. Go for the kill!....."

    You do make me laugh U Kitten. Usually only I can do that.

  37. Dearest U Kitten,

    I fear I must apologise for my lack of mental acuity regarding the 'U' affair. Upon email discussions with 'my partner in the Crimea'(Half a league and all that...) I came up with the solution.

    Forgive me?

  38. You know I'll eventually break your heart, right?

  39. As long as that's all you break, ALT-F.

  40. Megan is what he wants. Cancer is what he deserves.

  41. "I can pronounce that it is better to wax poetic than wane prosaic as you do."

    That's stupid. You're stupid.

  42. That's what sheAugust 3, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Why is the hacker in 932 the Monopoly guy?

  43. I thought 933 was referring to her heart in a "haha I'm so angsty and my emooootions are preventing me from being a productive member of society so i got a tattoo over my heart so that they know where to remove iiiit" and I was all totally behind it in a "that's kind of a cute angsty way to shove it to that douche" way, but then I reread it and realized she said "oncologist" and I was all, oh Randy we get it =[.

  44. @11:28
    He's not the monopoly guy. He's a sort of mascot of lulzsec, the group who hacked the website.

  45. I guess her hair is holding her back, because that's going too.

    Hmm... in xkcdland, this will make her male, so I guess Randall is saying that being a woman holds you back... which is out of character considering his frequent white knighting.

  46. @ Anonymous 11:11 AM,


    My statement was incredibly fucking stupid and I am so stupid that tha actual concept of stupidity itself embraces a discernable aura of profound intellect compared to me.

    Get it right!

  47. Haha, when I had cancer I went ariund doing this to people. Except mine couldn't be treated with lasers.

  48. @ Michael,

    For treatment, did you get those little radioactive pellets placed in a tiny satchel attached to a harness strapped on an adventurous gerbil that likes to race through toilet-tube sized tunnels to ones nether regions?

    God's speed little buddy. God's speed.

  49. 933, panel 4: Apparently the rest of her body is holding Megan back. Must be why the heads are always disconnected.

    Are xkcd characters actually sentient floating orbs with stick-like parasites stuck on them?

  50. At first I was like "OMG CANCER", but then I was like "LOL CANCER".

  51. And then I was like "MMM... T-SHIRT MONEY".

  52. hey guys did you know that randall's girlfriend has cancer? just thought you should be made aware of this important fact

  53. Thanks Anon 3:33 (fyi: the sign of Satans liberal second cousin), that makes 933 the best comic ever written, drawn, or conceived.

  54. The forum thread for 933 gave us this little gem:

    > I never knew the 'c' in xkcd stood for cancer. :-/

    This guy hates tattoos. I'm not exactly all for them myself, but this is a bit much:

    > Most tattoos are shallow and meaningless. [...] If you think their tattoo is stupid, you probably think they're stupid, and you should probably put your pants on and go, because it'll be really awkward later on.

    Besides that, people have been sharing their own radiotherapy stories. One guy only got two dots. Someone else got eight. There's GOOMH potential there, even though no one's actually said it.

    Then they started talking about circumcision.

  55. Pens/computers are used to write death certificates thus no-one should use a pen/computer to write a whimsical comic, amirite?

  56. Personally, I think the worst of the cancer is over if Randall is okay with writing/joking about it. Megan's finished her radiotherapy, and right now they're at the 'Will it come back in a few years?' phase described in 931.

  57. In 933, why does the man say "No, it's OK" ??

  58. I was a hacker BEFORE it was cool.

    (Can people please love me now?)

  59. Hey, um...not to point out the obvious, but people missed it. this wasn't a cancer strip. If you want to rant about them, at least go to the right comment thread.

  60. Visited briefly, laughed at the incredible misinterpretations and irrational psuedo-psychology, and am now leaving.

  61. Did you like it? incredible misinterpretations and irrational pseudopsychology are the only reasons I visit this place!