Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Comic 975: Occulting the Joke

occulting telescope

[Comic title: Occulting Telescope; alt text: Type II Kardashev civilizations eventually completely enclose their planetary system in a Dyson sphere because space is way too big to look at all the time.]

The most remarkable part about this comic is how incredibly boring it is. I don't mean that in the sense that this one is abnormally boring--God knows Randy is good at making mind-numbingly boring comics. No, I mean that this one doesn't feel like it's even trying to be interesting, even though he is working with such ripe source material.

Comics in the key of "the universe is huge" usually attempt to invoke a sense of something. Sometimes it's meant to invoke a sense of wonder, sometimes it's meant to invoke a sense of cosmic insignificance. Sometimes it's meant to invoke a Lovecraftian sort of terror--the universe is huge and could destroy us at any moment and we wouldn't even know why, etc. But it's always meant to invoke something.

This comic, in contrast, does not attempt to invoke anything. It sterilizes the concept. The character describes his fear in the vaguest, most boring way possible. But it doesn't feel deliberate in the least. It feels, rather, like Randy has decided to take it as a given that if you say "the universe is big," readers will just fill in the gaps and feel the appropriate emotions, and laugh knowingly along with the quirky scientist's attempt to hide from its immensity. No attempt is made to sell this point to the audience, anymore than you need to attempt to sell Randy on the virtues of breastfeeding (even if he is unclear on why there always seems to be a child involved, hogging all the good milk).

I'm also getting some deja vu on this one, but I can't remember the last time he did this. Anyone?

66 comments:

  1. Why are you even worried about this when wild Western Black Rhinos have been rendered completely extinct? Have you no sense of priority?

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  2. Rob I love you I'm sorry I made you take the last one down.

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  3. The new comic is awful because it is not about global warming or Black Hat Guy.

    SAMEFAGS.

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  4. I was mildly amused, but the last 2 lines, "what?", and "He has a point..." just completely killed it. I don't know why they are there.

    I don't know why anything is there anymore. This fucking comic.

    Good save with the milk joke, though!

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  5. Also fuck westerns, and fuck blacks.

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  6. "Telescopes" and "Discs" eh? Wanting to hide from the outside world? That's a super-subtle metaphor for something, I guess.

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  7. Wow, a breast milk joke when the comic had nothing to do with breast milk. What a clever surprise. I'm glad this blog works so hard to be original, and never sinks into the tedium of overusing a tired old joke over and over again, like it often calls out Randall for doing. That, of course, would be hypocritical. It would also be boring. In fact, one might almost call it "mind-numbingly boring".

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  8. My first thought when I saw this xkcd was that Randall must have recently discovered Isaac Asimov's story "Nightfall" - which was written in 1941.

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  9. Hey Rob how did the last Western Black Rhino taste?

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  10. Yeah, honestly Rob. That's like the first comic since 723 making no direct reference to breastmilk or breastfeeding, but you still have to do it! If you make fun of Randy's breastmilk addiction even when he is not making an obvious reference to it, how do you want us to take your critiques seriously??

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  11. The most remarkable part about this review is how incredibly boring it is. I don't mean that in the sense that this one is abnormally boring--God knows Robyn is good at making mind-numbingly boring reviews. No, I mean that this one doesn't feel like it's even trying to be interesting, even though he is working with such ripe source material.

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  12. The most remarkable part about Ravenzomg!'s rebuttal is how incredibly boring it is. I don't mean that in the sense that this one is abnormally boring--God knows Ravenzomg! is good at making mind-numbingly boring rebuttals. No, I mean that this one doesn't feel like it's even trying to be interesting, even though she is working with such ripe source material.

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  13. The most remarkable part about Ravenzomg!'s butt is how incredibly boring it is. I don't mean that in the sense that she is abnormally boring--God knows Ravenzomg! is good at looking mind-numbingly unattractive. No, I mean that it doesn't feel like she's even trying to make her butt interesting, even though she is working with such ripe source material.

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  14. This is the worst meme this blog has ever shat out, and that includes the grammar rant.

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  15. "I can't remember the last time he did this. Anyone?"

    Breastfeed or make assumptions about his audience?

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  16. The most remarkable part about this meme is how incredibly boring it is. I don't mean that in the sense that this one is abnormally boring--God knows the internet is good at making mind-numbingly boring memes. No, I mean that this one doesn't feel like it's even trying to be interesting, even though it is working with such ripe source material.

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  17. The day rob stops making breastmilk 'jokes', I stop coming back to this blog

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  18. http://goatkcd.com/738/sfw

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  19. Why does everyone think that the incredibly boring meme is the most horrible indication of someone's meme quality?

    On this blog, doing that meme makes you some sort of retard, and everyone likes to go round saying how bad it is, because they'll be seen as fat as Rob.

    You think people who use shitty memes are idiots? If you actually had any non-idiot friends, you'd know that a lot of intelligent, educated people make bad memes.

    From my experience, those who make high quality memes with sense and reason are mostly pseudointellectual drop outs, artistic liberals, etc.

    On the other hand, being bad at triforcing is totally cool: "I'm so terrible at triforce I can't even make one triangle lololol," when triforcing ability correlates directly with intelligence, and skipping it serves no intelligible purpose.

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  20. Dicksmash McIroncockNovember 10, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    i think incredibly boring meme is a pretty cool guy. eh suddenly became okay and doesn't afraid of anything

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  21. A man went to a hotel and walked up to the front desk to check in. The woman at the desk gave him his key and told him that on the way to his room, there was a door with no number that was locked and no one was allowed in there. Especially no one should look inside the room, under any circumstances. So he followed the instructions of the woman at the front desk, going straight to his room, and going to bed.

    The next night his curiosity would not leave him alone about the room with no number on the door. He walked down the hall to the door and tried the handle. Sure enough it was locked. He bent down and looked through the wide keyhole. Cold air passed through it, chilling his eye. What he saw was a hotel bedroom, like his, and in the corner was a woman whose skin was completely white. She was leaning her head against the wall, facing away from the door. He stared in confusion for a while. He almost knocked on the door, out of curiosity, but decided not to.

    This disinclination saved his life. He crept away from the door and walked back to his room. The next day, he returned to the door and looked through the wide keyhole. This time, all he saw was redness. He couldn’t make anything out besides a distinct red color, unmoving. Perhaps the inhabitants of the room knew he was spying the night before, and had blocked the keyhole with something red.

    At this point he decided to consult the woman at the front desk for more information. She sighed and said, “Did you look through the keyhole?” The man told her that he had and she said, “Well, I might as well tell you the story. A long time ago, a man murdered his wife in that room, and her ghost haunts it. But these people were not ordinary. They were albinos, white all over, except for their eyes, which were red.”

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  22. Did he shit brix?

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  23. TIL that albino eyes are solid red, without pupil or sclera, like a fucking cartoon character.

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  24. >using TIL
    >not using glorious 'that feel when'

    Fucking redditfags. Go back to being 12 years old, niggers.

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  25. Rob did it ever occur to you that you'd have less idiots to deal with if your reviews were any good?

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  26. remember that time i made a review and the comment thread was the best ever.

    just sayin

    captcha: minest. it could not be MORE mine

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  27. Ravenzomb, remember that time we all hate you?

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  28. "Rob did it ever occur to you that you'd have less idiots to deal with if your reviews were any good?"

    the quality of the review doesn't have any bearing on the quality of the comment threads, believe me

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  29. Yes it does. A good portion of decent posters left after you hijacked the blog and showered it with poor quality reviews. Now it's mainly the easily amused dickheads like me who remain.

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  30. it's true. i'm an easily amused dickhead (EAD) and i'm only here to read the shitty reviews that rob the great and terrible (by which I mean fat and fat) puts up. if not for that, i'd have left ages ago.

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  31. i was lying. i'm not degenerate enough to enjoy lousy reviews. nobody is. i'm only degenerate enough to habitually spam a blog long after it has become irrelevant and been abandoned by its decent posters.

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  32. >altf
    >decent poster

    She's the only notable to have left, so I assume you are referring to her.

    If you don't count the fags from '10 and Neckbeard_2gay4u

    Captcha: hogma, as opposed to dogma and karma

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  33. no fake R., you are the reason i'm still here

    and i will post more now. thanks

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  34. Allow me to be the first to say I liked 976. I like how for the first three panels, it's impossible to tell what the sail is made from. This is a rare xkcd comic that uses its minimal art style to its advantage.

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  35. Ever think that perhaps the point of this one is the fact that you expect to be instilled with some great emotion, and it gets pulled away from you in the last panel? That maybe the point is that it's funny to think that maybe scientists' motivations are not as noble or inquisitive as everyone makes them out to be? But I suppose it's easier to just call it boring because it doesn't do what you expect, doesn't conform, and takes things in a completely different direction than others have before.

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  36. I, for one, am happy being a sheep. Sheep don't get swirlied in high school, right 5:38.

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  37. Deja vu is because the first panel is from one of the 9/11 comics

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  38. I also liked the sail comic. It was pretty clever.

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  39. Hey, guys, what hand do you masturbate with? I like to use my left so I can keep my right hand free to move the mouse to browse for porn.

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  40. I just want to say that the breastfeeding jokes are about the only reason I read this blog anymore. Today's joke was quite good quality.

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  41. thank god there are no words in 976. i would rate it "pretty okay I guess", which is relatively high for xkcd these days.

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  42. clearly you haven't read the ****ing alt text yet

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  43. @10:46 ALTF was a newfag and so are you.

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  44. Right hand. I don't need no porn. I use my imagination.

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  45. On 976: I thought there was, like, a sun coming from his sail until I read the alt-text. Either way, it's bland and pointless. So the sail is made of bubble liquid? Okay... that's cool, I guess.

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  46. And by imagination I mean two cardboard boxes procreating.

    OH YEAH.

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  47. 2:42
    I may be bland, but rich and deep like vanilla icecream. Suiting, considering I have no colour.

    You mistook my figure for a sun evolving from a sail? I laugh at you, meager unlearn-ed mortal.

    Get a sense of taste. I am pure brilliance, and have subverted expectations wonderfully. I DEFINE greatness through minimalism.

    I shall now attempt to transcend perfection and extension (a daring task, in present company), and present myself before the large mighty Rob. Grade me. (1 being the highest, 10 being marked by Rob's seal of approval)

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  48. if you think 976 isn't funny enough, you clearly haven't got the point yet.

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  49. "Ever think that perhaps the point of this one is the fact that you expect to be instilled with some great emotion, and it gets pulled away from you in the last panel?"

    having no emotional content at all is not a twist, it's a flaw.

    "But I suppose it's easier to just call it boring because it doesn't do what you expect, doesn't conform, and takes things in a completely different direction than others have before. "

    I'm pretty sure I complain about how utterly expected the joke is pretty much all the time. not sure where you're getting the idea that I insist that everything fit my expectations (apart from the fact that you are desperately trying to find a schema into which you can place people who disagree with you--they're all conformists who love the status quo!)

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  50. Guys, if I say OP, would you think I'm referring to Rob or the first person to post something in the comments section?

    Also: you're beautiful baby, never change.

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  51. I would think you're referring to a concept specific to anonfag boards like 4chan.

    But yeah usually that means Rob, considering he's the one who "starts the thread".

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  52. I believe we are thinking of the same concept!

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  53. I'm surprised that you didn't jump on the fact that Randy included a "He has a point..." at the end, pretending that people agree with him.

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  54. I almost mentioned it, but I'm not sure quite what to say about it. It seems like such a boring response to it--but it fits the sterile world presented in the comic, I guess.

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  55. you know what else is sterile, Rob?

    YOUR FACE!

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  56. you know what else is sterile, Rob?

    me...I... I've been diagnosed a couple of weeks back.

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  57. 1. Set-up by rob
    2. Further set-up by anon
    3. Anon subverts expectations
    4. Jon Levi drags the joke on in the most boring way possible

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  58. My cat seems to have a bloody vagina. I do not believe her to be menstruating due to he status as "spayed."

    I have learned recently through SMBC that cat penises are spike coated and have considered the possibility that she incurred some genital wounding during sex with an outdoor cat.

    Does this sound feasible? I don't know whether a spayed cat would even be having sex, or whether the spikes of a cat penis commonly cause bleeding in the vagina of their partner.

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  59. you know what else is sterile, Rob?

    @3:00's cat

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