Sunday, October 2, 2011

Comic 958: Evil Contains The Seeds Of Its Own Destruction

hotels
[Comic title: Hotels; alt text: 'Rating: 1/5. Room filled to brim with semen, and when front desk clerk opened mouth to talk, bedbugs poured out.']

This is probably the closest we've gotten to Black Hat Guy behaving in what one would call the "classic" manner if one were completely insufferable. Antisocial self-interest! Randy finally remembered!

Of course, this being a day of the week, Randy's comic is full of problems. Some astute (ha ha ha) commenter pointed out in the previous thread that the inclusion of a script to post negative reviews seems counterintuitive at best. First, it somehow knows when he's staying at hotels, and it automatically assumes he'll like it. But then, since he dislikes hotels sometimes, he often has to go and manually change it. The conclusion that the aforementioned commenter came to is inescapable: the only reason the word "script" is included is so XKCD fanboys could nerdgasm over it.

Then we have panel 3. In this panel, Randy does this thing he often does where he points out the flaws in his plan, but doesn't quite seem to realize it. A single negative review won't drive anyone away from a place. It's pretty hard to find an establishment on Yelp that doesn't have at least one one-star review. Most frequently-reviewed places will have several. This doesn't have a noticeable effect on said establishment's popularity.

As Randy himself observes: "the odds of my review putting a hotel out of business are negligible." He doesn't seem to grasp that the odds of his review having any impact at all, let alone an impact significant enough that BHG is getting noticeably cheaper prices and having a noticeably easier time getting rooms, is also negligible. Perhaps if he were to employ a botnet to make hotels he likes suddenly look like roach-havens? But even then, the loss in revenues would cause a considerable hit in service quality. (Here is the part where people protest that it's just a comic and it's not supposed to make sense and where they probably suggest that I must not like (insert fantasy story here) because it has wizards in it or something. Can we just take that as said and move on?)

The rest of the comic after panel 2 is basically post-punchline dialog--not sure if he's ever done two whole panels of it before. You've got a name-drop of the tragedy of the commons to set up what I guess must be intended as a humorous exchange, and a line that you can tell Randy thought was very clever.

78 comments:

  1. Rob, you clearly just haven't studied enough economics to find this funny.

    Which is to say "one introductory first year course and no more"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Agreed.

    I do, however, like "The Tragedy of You're A Dick." That's a nice joke. Simple and completely silly, but nice.

    Incidentally, if you obliterate the mysteriously boxless third panel, and get rid of Black Hat's dialogue in the final panel, the comic becomes a lot more streamlined. Not good, per se, but it's all excess fat.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like how Man Who Is Not Black Hat Guy's feet dangle above the ground, like a child's. It is interesting how some one who criticizes the Monroe's idea is subtly portrayed as small and juvenile. I'm kidding, of course, I would never accuse Mr Monroe of subtlety.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry, Raven, after an introductory first year course you would most likely find this idiotic. Now, maybe if you read the table of contents.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Who the fuck takes a course?

    It's called Wikipedia, guys. Come on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Since you mentioned it, I think Randy just read some Wikipedia articles that pertained to economics and decided to do a comic about them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We may be reaching a new BHG density record.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rob, stop doing detailed, accurate reviews without ad hominems. Without your hate to fuel us, the comment section is uninteresting and flaccid.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You know what I miss? The Megan jokes. More Megan jokes, Rob!

    ReplyDelete
  10. More proof that Randy is racist against Czechs.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Today's joke is very funny. I can see why he couldn't wait until Christmas to use this idea.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This 'Tragedy of the Commons' name-drop, as a couple of other commenters have mentioned, really smacks of Randy's habit of stumbling upon wikipedia articles on things he finds clever/interesting and then using that newfound knowledge to make a shitty webcomic about it trying to appear clever.

    The rest of us, however, got over these sorts of jokes after the first Intro to Political Science lecture, or after the first time we say that humorous cow-economics poster.

    For someone who loves to blow the horn of science/mathematics constantly, telling us all how complex and deep it all is, he really doesn't make any effort whatsoever at applying this view to any other pursuit, so he ends up making jokes on history/political science/economics/literature at the intellectual level of a first-year common room.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was having trouble articulating it in the post (so I didn't put it in) but I also got the impression the tragedy of the commons namedrop didn't really fit. I mean, yes, it's what he's describing, but why would you invoke that as a reason for doing what you're doing?

    ReplyDelete
  14. You wouldn't, but like everyone who discovers a new political/economic concept they find clever, Randy has thrown it in arbitrarily to show off how "knowledgeable" he is.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Let's not forget that Randy probably would invoke it as a reason for his antisocial behaviour.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Huh todays comic was good. Wasn't it? I need my opinions to be validated by this site! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wenceslas didn't massacre anyone - he was murdered by his brother's men. (He also wasn't a king, he was Duke of Bohemia - the pope gave him the "king" title after his death). There was a King called Wenceslas, but it wasn't the same guy (and it was 200-300 years later I think)

    Also - seasonal much? Bring on the Easter Bunny comics.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well sure you can prove anything with facts!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yeah, I checked Wikipedia and it doesn't say anything about a massacre so I guess 1:51 is right. Where did Randall get his inspiration from this time?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wenceslas massacred increasingly-classless assholes?!

    Well good for him, then!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Why isn't this "even Tragedy of the Commons anymore?" It's seems like the exact same scenario as when I vaguely remember hearing it.

    On the other hand, I enjoyed the alt-text. Mostly because I enjoy reading stupid hyperbole for some reason.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Tragedy of the Commons is the notion that humans are all antisocial bastards(*), incapable of practicing self-restraint for the good of the wider community and needing force from authority. It is often used as an excuse either for unfettered capitalism or a command economy, with the outcome being equally shitty in either case.

    Its usually being nonsense notwithstanding, it has nothing to say about fraud or misrepresentation. Anyone can break the terms of a contract or break the law and try to get away with it - the TotC is about some arrangement granting sufficient freedom that abuse is not legislated against on the basis that people will act nicely.

    (*) In fact, there are only two categories which will invariably carry out abusive behaviour: (i) Internet aspies like Randall who reduce human relationships to a series of robotic rules; (ii) big businesses as government regulation becomes so weak in the hope that various sectors become "self-regulating". Most individual men and women, OTOH, are not psychopaths.

    ReplyDelete
  23. OMG DID ANYONE ELSE READ 959? I LOLLED SO HARD MY LOLS WERE LOLOLOLOLING. GOD I SPIT MILK ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD WHEN I READ THIS COMMENT AND WOKE UP MY ROOMMATE BECAUSE I WAS MASTURBATING SO LOUDLY TO THIS COMMENT. HE TOLD ME TO STOP GETTING CHEETOS ON HIS DESK AND THEN I SHOWED HIM THIS COMMENT AND WE LITERALLY LOLD TOGETHER. LOLOLO.

    I cry myself to sleep at night.

    ReplyDelete
  24. the fuck are you talking about?

    ReplyDelete
  25. more like the tragedy of a shitty webcomic, AMIRITEGUYZ????

    ReplyDelete
  26. Randyll Podrick MonrowOctober 3, 2011 at 7:24 AM

    This website's inhabitants argue against your final sentence. I have never seen such a group of obvious social "science" majors in my life!

    You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, maligning the forces of intellectualism and liberalism with your foul, unaccredited accusations. Why, I bet you couldn't even make a graph to save your life! And calling a good man like Randall an "aspie" simply because you lack the intelligence to understand the beauty of his glorious mathematical mind - have you no shame?? As Cantor's proof did to real numbers, I shall do to you, demonstrating that most of you are irrational. I mean, have you SEEN his Megan comics?! Randall is a deeply sensitive, caring individual, and I'll not stand for you dragging his name through the mud! Could a man with "limited empathy with [his] peers" (Wikipedia) make such impassioned defenses of women (http://xkcd.com/385/)? Could he touch so many people with his poignant words (http://xkcd.com/162/)? I think not!

    What a den of iniquity! What vile, loathsome snakes you are! I have half a mind to send you all bobcats! But no, you are beneath me. Instead I will find solace in the milky teats of my beloved Aquarian mail-order bride; as I make love to her, knowing how much she loves it, I will rest easy in the knowledge that I am better than you all in every way possible.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Have you guys seen the latest XKCD? I'm trying to figure out if it's almost three months early, or over nine months late.

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's about 1070 years late; nobody makes King Wenceslas jokes anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Why are people suggesting the latest comic is good? Because it sure isn't. More black hat guy, not doing anything particularly clever (or funny). Randall clearly heard the christmas carol, and thought 'Hmmm wouldn't it be funny if someone was singing that and someone else was like.... no he isn't good!!'

    This is five minutes work, if that.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I used to think the carol went, "Good King Wences last looked out..."

    So, guise, what other hilarious things did you misunderstand as a child?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I always thought "ravished" and "ravaged" were the same word. The issue... really hasn't affected me yet.

    ReplyDelete
  32. @1:42 I used to think Daddy beat me because he loved me, but when I grew up I learnt he was just a drunkard.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I used to think the world was a fine place, and worth the fighting for.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I nerdgasmed when you said "botnet".

    ReplyDelete
  35. We don't call Rob the "cesslord" for nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Floating head count #959October 4, 2011 at 6:45 AM

    0

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

    ReplyDelete
  38. Latest comic is Randy going all "Lol, look how anti-social Black Hat guy is! He ruins peoples fun!" It doesn't even have anything to do with the actual King Wenceles and everything to do with "Hehe, let's be a jerk." Possibly it reflects a deeper desire to control people via destroying their expectations, but I'll refrain from going to "arm-chair" on Randy at this time. (removed and reposted due to a couple typos).

    ReplyDelete
  39. disregard that, i'm a fish

    flip flop flip flop

    ReplyDelete
  40. Penile burninationOctober 4, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    More like Good King FAGceles, amirite?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Too true, Penile. Too true.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Penile burnination = Anal condensation = Boleslav = samefag

    ReplyDelete
  43. Good Tsar Vencislav was a true leader of the Slavs

    ReplyDelete
  44. SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH THE SAMEFAG SHIT ANONYMOUS

    ReplyDelete
  45. Penile BurninationOctober 4, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Yeah, anonymous. Shut the fuck up.

    ReplyDelete
  46. You tell him, Penile!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Dammit, XKCD, if I wanted shitty surrealism I'd come to xkcdsucks.

    ReplyDelete
  48. the latest one (subliminal) is actually pretty good! randy does a lot of weird comics just for the sake of being weird, but this one's off-the-wall in a good way, i think.

    and god help me if i ever say something like that again.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @12:03 You either need more medication or less.

    ReplyDelete
  50. LOL SO RANDOM RANDY XD

    ReplyDelete
  51. GOOMHR, I also saw Guy Fawkes watching Willie Mays catch a fly ball while an armored assault vehicle rolls past!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. 960 was good. My one criticism is that my eyes were drawn to the final panel before I read the first two. That spoiled the punchline a little.

    ReplyDelete
  53. My eyes were also drawn to the last panel (or what I at the time thought were 2 panels), trying to decipher their meaning, because it didn't look like Fedex logo at all. The blue one looked like some sort of a face with big round eyes, and I correctly identified the orange one as Guy Fawkes. Then I read the comic from the beginning and was like "Fedex? That's kind of a stretch". And then went on my merry way.

    tldr: rob is fat

    ReplyDelete
  54. He does a lot of HAHA IT'S DRUGS punchlines for an uptight nerd imo.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I don't fucking get it. I see the word Fedex, and I see the figures the guy's talking about, but what "hidden arrow"? Am I missing something?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Meh on the Subliminal one. Not awesome, not horrible. Would help if the FedEx logo looked like what he said, or if drug humor was his usual vein. Either way, it's not a horrible comic but not one that made me laugh really. It is a refreshing change of just trying to be odd without trying (unsuccessfully) to be clever.

    @9:44- Zing, you win the internet. I have never been hit with such an awesome power of insult as your faggot remark. If I had a heart left, my blood would be pumping out the wound you gave it.

    ReplyDelete
  57. The word "Random" shouldn't beOctober 5, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    I'm sick of fuckers saying things are random. Writing a Transformers review isn't random. Throwing darts at a poster of words and submitting those as a blog entry, that would be random.

    ReplyDelete
  58. 6:42: You'll grow out of it.
    CAPTCHA: batati -- how random.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The FedEx logo has a hidden arrow in it: the negative space between the 'E' and the 'x' forms an arrow pointing to the right. This has associations with travel and movement, which is good because FedEx is a delivery company.

    In this comic strip, Randall has jokingly pretended that he can't make out this simple hidden design because he instead makes out a much more complicated one. It is implied this is because he is on drugs, which are funny. Also part of the design is a guy in a Guy Fawkes mask. This is good because Guy Fawkes masks are cool and edgy on the Internet.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Ohhh. I assumed that's what the FedEx logo actually looked like. I didn't know Randal created that himself. I guess that's pretty cool, then.

    Thanks, cunnilingus.

    ReplyDelete
  61. *sigh*

    Is EVERYONE dumb?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Dicksmash McIroncockOctober 5, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    No, just you.

    Captcha: ganse
    Goatse's grandmother

    ReplyDelete
  63. @Jokes Explained: You actually made me laugh harder than the comic, thanks for that.

    ReplyDelete
  64. @Oct 3 1:42
    I actually thought those were the lyrics up until I read your post.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Guys, guys, you'll never guess what happened. I dug up Kurt Cobain's corpse and shat all over him, took pictures, and sent them to his family.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Seems appropriate.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Random is the new buzzword for "I like it but can't justify it because it has no objective merit, only subjective. I feel like excluding people, but socially so"

    That said, if Randall could just take out the PPD about drug-use, I would like #960. Buuuut, hey. Who are we dealing with here.

    ReplyDelete
  68. So.... do you not have a clue how scripts work? Here's a hint:

    ReviewHotel Good Hotelname

    A script doesn't mean it's autonomous, it means he invokes it when he gets home and gives it an argument or two for what he wants to happen. You don't recreate your blog from scratch every time you want to say something different do you?

    As for a single review... a lot of people specifically read the bad reviews and base their judgement on that. A single recent review that says "bed bugs" would ensure my girlfriend avoids all hotels within a 20 mile radius! Also a lot of hotels don't have hundreds or thousands of reviews. BHG is going for a small impact anyway. Is it going to make a difference to the hotel? No. Is there a slightly larger chance a room will be open next time he wants to go there? Yes.

    ReplyDelete
  69. your complaint about scripts does not actually resolve the problem with his use of scripts. sorry!

    i also specifically read bad reviews and base my judgment on that, which is why i am quite certain this tactic wouldn't really do anything. in order for a solitary bad review to dissuade me, it needs to make it clear that the problem is endemic to the hotel and not merely a fluke or the individual reviewer's craziness. if a large number of reviews all mention the same problem, and that problem is something that might dissuade me (as opposed to, say, 'my complimentary champagne didn't arrive fast enough'), then i will probably look elsewhere.

    and again: he specifically says that there are more vacancies (plural) and lower prices next time he visits, as the result of his single review. this is highly implausible. even if he only wants a slightly higher chance of a vacancy (which is not generally a problem for people who plan their trips in advance), the increased likelihood generated by his review is so negligibly small that he would need to be staying at dozens, if not hundreds, of hotels before he actually sees a benefit of a single extra vacancy. this is assuming that every time he tries to stay at a hotel he finds no vacancy; if you take into account the fact that the odds are pretty good he'll have a vacancy if he makes reservations in advance he may never actually see the benefit--that vacancy will merely be another open room in the same hotel.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Credit where credit is due: the alt text for 958 is the first time in a while I've literally laughed out loud at XKCD.

    ReplyDelete