XKCD Isn't Funny - #1401 - NEW

I'm going to be Frank: Hello, my name is Frank.
Haha, the fun we have over here at XKCDIsntFunnyAndNeitherAreWe.Blogspot.Com

I'm going to be frank: This joke has been done before, a lot. It's an obvious joke that almost everyone makes some variation on when introduced to the concepts of canon and noncanon (and by extension, headcanons). "Canon" is pronounced identically to "cannon". Cannons are weapons, and so on and so forth the obvious joke writes itself.

I do find myself appreciating the use of Black Hat here, though. He's chaotic enough to have a weapon under his hat, and more importantly, he has a hat! The preexisting characterization adds something that the visual pun alone wouldn't have alone. Likewise with the physical comedy.

That explosion in the third panel looks awful, though. The explosion proper isn't terrible, but the debris is just plain bad, it doesn't even look like it's moving.

The question here is if enough is added to the punchline to elevate this from "tired, old visual pun" to "new take on old joke". I personally say no, it doesn't, but it does elevate it to "not crap".

Today's review by Frank Sinatra.


XKCD Is Alright - #1400 - D.B. COOPER

I feel weirdly conflicted about this comic. It is well put together, with the direct setup excused by the premise. It's clearly not intended to be a serious suggestion, and it is self-depricating, which I always like.

Something about this comic just rubs me the wrong way, I feel almost suspicious about it, like I'm missing something obviously wrong about it. I understand that "it rubs me the wrong way" isn't a valid criticism of anything except a handjob, and if someone told me that, say, [320 kps] sucked just because they personally didn't like it, I'd be fairly peeved. I'm not about to say this comic isn't funny just because I don't personally feel it's groove.

With all this in mind, I give this comic a tentative thumbs up, except for the awkward sourcing of the photo in the third panel.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1399 - CHAOS

When I was in fifth grade, my teacher had us all answer a question on the back of a worksheet. We all handed them in, and the next day she'd put them in an order. She brought in her assistant to react to the answers.

Holding up a sheet she read out: "For women." She turned to her helper and asked if she knew what the question was.
"No." her helper answered, shrugging.
Moving on to the next paper, she read out again: "So women could do stuff."
She took a quick glance around the classrom.
"So women were happy. So women were equal. So women had rights."
After she'd gotten through about half the pile, she got to the students that had actually answered the question, like "Women were given the right to vote so that women could be equal to men.". Eventually she reached Britney, who'd written a full paragraph.
"See how using full sentences gives context to the reader?" she asked, taking pointed looks at me and the other people that hadn't passed the little test.

I'm not asking Randy to preface this comic with "THIS IS A JOKE ABOUT JURASSIC PARK.", I'm just saying that as this comic stands, I thought it was just a mad scientist angry that no dinosaurs had escaped the meteor.

To be honest, I'm not sure how he would have given context to this joke. Maybe he could have added another character for him to complain to, or used a more famous quote to open things.

I'm going to close with a question to any of my regular readers: Do I seem like I'm talking down to you? I saw a comment on xkcd-sucks that said:
"Jon, please don't stop writing. You're so much better than "xkcd isn't funny" - that guy seems to write like he thinks he's smart, and it's too much like reading xkcd. The whole needing to login to post comments thing is just nuts on the turd."

I am always looking to improve my content, so just tell me anything I'm doing wrong. I don't think I can undo the needing to login, though. I checked that out, it looks like we're stuck with it in a post-Google+ world.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1398 - SNAKE FACTS

I don't understand why this would be funny. At all.
If the facts were all obviously false, that could have been kinda funny if the facts were clearly false but there was a heavy insistence that they were true. If there were two serious facts and then a pointless, obvious one, that would have been really lame, but it could have been funny.
Instead we get, in order: a fact that when researched is actually one of many hypothesises (hypothesi?), a blatantly untrue fact, and a failed attempt at a parody of a type of typical interesting fact.
Just... what's the point of this? What am I expected to look at this comic and focus on?
The joke in the second fact is kinda funny, but it's in the middle of the comic. If that was the punchline to the whole thing (which would be a lot of buildup for that joke of all things), shouldn't it be at the end?
As always, I invite XKCD fans to show me how I'm wrong, but right now this comic is just a mess.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1397 - LUKE

The joke is that the handle of a lightsaber, the fictional weapon in the Star Wars film series, bears a passing resemblence to a fleshlight, the sex toy, when looked at from some angles.

That's all you're getting from me on this one. I feel like any proper review I did of this one would lead to places I'd rather not go to on this blog.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1396 - ACTORS

[As Greg was unavailable to write today's review, today's review will be written by his second grade self. We apologize for the inconvenience.]

hello cpu peeps the sciency peeps said to talk about this x-ray seed thing ok
i liked it it was like this joke kyle told me he was like
'oh do u think i am hot'
and i was like
'yes bc it is so hot today were getting out early'
and he was like
'well ur GAY for thinkin im hot'
and i was like
'what is that'
and he was like
'go away' and punched me in the arm he used to play games with me but not nymore

nyway x-ray seed is vray original bc i only heard this once b4 which is good sometims kevin says the same joke alot it can be vray annoying

lol shane r u redding this???? lol


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1395 - POWER CORD

This is the third or forth comic I've changed my opinion on after a particularly insightful and persausive comment, but I think this is the mildest opinion change I've had. My original review amounted to "Kinda clever, amusing enough that I can't really criticize it." and this edit is going to amount to "Been done, bland enough that I can't really talk about it.".

It's not just that it's "been done", because if I was about to drop a piece of entertainment just because something in it had been done before, I wouldn't be able to listen to a single piece of music that's been writen after 1900 (except Mike Oldfield, of course). It's that it's been done better, and nothing is being added.

As ThePen IsLiquor pointed out in the comment that started it all: "The "inflating things that aren't normally inflatable" has been done by Looney Toons for decades.". The example that comes to mind is Jerry inflating Tom's head. Tom's head then pops, he shakes it off, grabs a rolling pin or whatever, and starts chasing after Jerry. In this comic, we only get the inflating. So we're not just getting a retread, we're getting a retread that takes part of the original out.

To close, regular commenter Menacing Banjo (who continues to fail to be menacing at even Dennis level) pointed out, this is the second time he's appeared recently, and both times he's attacked someone else. In #1388, he subducted mountains at a guy, and then came this one. It's interesting to me, since this has never really been part of his character before. I'm not about to call it character development, since none of the XKCD cast really have solid characterization, but it is a weird trend that's worth noting.


XKCD Isn't Funny - 1394 - SUPERM*N

First thing: That title is terrible. I've never brought up a title before and I don't think I ever will again since it obviously has no bearing on the actual comic, but seriously: "Superm*n". I get that it's supposed to be able to stand for 'superman' or 'supermoon', but there's no real reason that it needs to do that, unless 'SUPERMAN' and 'SUPERMOON' have already been used as titles for some reason.

As a joke, it's something I can see the thought process behind, and I can understand why he thought it would be funny. It's not like the blatantly preachy #1390 or the almost dadaist #1388. Supermoons are really only slightly closer than normal moons, but people make a big deal out of them, so what if you applied the same idea to other things? That's a decent premise for a joke, although obviously not one you could use more than once. Superman even makes sense as the target of the application, being recognizable and strong.
I can't really fault him on topicality, a quick Google search shows that supermoons have been in the news a decent amount lately. I can fault him on expecting the reader to know exactly what he's talking about: All of the news articles I read had a 'oh, look, the moon's big! cool!' vibe to them, not the 'jesus christ you morons, it's only 7%' tone the comic would seem to indicate. If something explaining that had been included as setup, the joke would have been understandable.
On the other hand, according to CNN*, the most recent supermoon (as of time of writing) appeared "14% bigger and 30% brighter", which seems to me like a notable thing. If it was "5% bigger and 7% bigger", I could absolutely understand a "Why do you even care?"-type response, but as it stands, the moon appearing more than a tenth bigger and more than a fourth brighter seems worthy of mention.
Maybe Randy just has a secret hipster geek news source I'm just totally unaware of that has a radically different perspective on things, but as things stand right now, this comic looks inadequately explained and possibly factually wrong.
*I'm aware that CNN has a history of being inaccurate at times. If the statistics they gave were wrong, please direct me to a more accurate article.


XKCD Can Actually Be Really Good - #1393 - TIMEGHOST

That's... actually really clever. This is, like, A+ material right here. The first panel is a little shoehorny, but it's a decent setup to a really good punchline. I was expecting a preachy thing, but now. Absurdist switcheroo. Seriously, nice job on this one, Randy.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1390 - RESEARCH ETHICS

I think everyone who reads this blog is aware that I'm not the first person to run an XKCD hateblog. There are, of course, the two xkcd sucks -'s, but there's also the cool indie ones you probably haven't heard of, xkcdprime and xkcdexplained, the Pavement and Ween to the xkcd suckss' Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, respectively. [Edit: In this analogy, am I the Chainsmokers or Knife Party?*]

xkcdexplained used the term "agreement chuckles" to refer to the hollow, humorless laughter you get from reading an unfunny political cartoon that you happen to agree with. That is the best case scenario for what Randy was trying to achieve here. The two people don't even respond to Megan's little speech (I'd make an Atlas Shrugged reference here, but that would just be unfair). "Right?" Megan asks, stopping just short of turning her head to the reader and repeating "Right? Did you get that? Facebook wasn't being ethical. GET IT???".

This is apparently in reference to an actual thing Facebook did, but since I don't use or keep with Facebook, and the comic made no attempt to explain the background, I didn't know that, so the comic seemed left field as well as unfunny, boring, and preachy.

My original attempt to review this comic was just going to be "[Greg injured himself by {doing something funny}, this review will be done by 4chan.]" and then a few quotes from 4chan users that responded to my post. I got three comments, and all of them amounted to "It's 2014, who the hell is still using Facebook?". Make of that what you will.

[*Wow, there's a reference that won't mean anything in a year.]


XKCD Isn't Informational - #1392 - DOMINANT PLAYERS


Firstly, I find it incredibly strange that Randy would make a "dominant players" chart and only include basketball and chess. This is during the height of the World Cup and there's not a mention of soccer anywhere YEAH I CALLED IT SOCCER YOU JUST TRY AND STOP ME.

It's also odd to me that Randy "All sexist jokes are terrible and so are all pickup artists*" Munroe separated chess of all things into male and female catagories. Chess, the one major sport that, unless I've been playing it drastically wrong, is decided pretty much entirely on intelligence. I could understand separating Basketball by gender, but chess? Really? Am I missing something here?

[EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that chess is separated by gender due to the lack of a large number female chess players prior to 1970, and therefore a retarded development of the gender's representation in the sport. Fair point. It's still odd to me that he picked basketball and chess to map out, and nothing else.]

Perhaps most irritatingly of all, the scales are missing any label or scale on the Y-axis, removing a large part of the actual information that's supposed to be imparted to us.

*I'm going to have to do a write up of that second comic sometime.



Alt-text: "This isn't an informational illustration; this is a thing I think we should do. First we'll need a gigantic spool of thread. Next, we'll need some kind of ... hmm, time to head to Seattle.

It's always a bit weird for me when XKCD does an informational post, since my blog name becomes rather redundant. I almost skipped this over completely until I read the alt-text. It is actually pretty funny.

I really don't see why Randy couldn't have just put a single panel with a stick figure saying the alt-text, it would have made an informational post that was also pretty clever. Then again, since when has Randy ever used the "background information as setup" method.

Three thoughts on the map without considering the humor:
1. Why are all the surface areas shaped weirdly? Wouldn't it have been more informational to put them in cubes for size comparison?
2. Why isn't there a scale? Wouldn't that make the post actually educational instead of just mildly interesting?
3. Why are the landmasses from Earth colored differently? Shouldn't the water be colored differently instead?



I really just don't get what Randy was going for here. I was expecting some kind of pun, but nope. It's just... a guy can now create mountain ranges, okay.

How the hell am I supposed to review this? What's the punchline even supposed to be? It doesn't even have the excuse that it's not supposed to be funny, because it isn't sciency, it isn't pointing anything out, I honestly have no clue what the point of reading this is supposed to be. Am I supposed to be amused, interested, frightened? Is this the beginning of Beret's dark side, attacking his friends in some kind of geeked-up version of Avatar?

I thought this would turn out angrier, but I'm mostly just confused. If someone can point something out to me that I missed, please do. As things stand, this just seems like Randy had a vaguely neat idea and made it into a comic.