XKCD Isn't Funny - #1492 - Dress Color

Have you no shame, Randy?

First off, this isn't a joke, but second, it isn't a statement either, although it's clearly intended to be. "A statement about what?" a member of my lovely audience may ask. "A shitty meme argument that everyone got tired about before he could even publish this comic." I answer, giving them a firm handshake while gazing confidently into their eyes.

Like, there are things that become dated quickly, and there's things like this that people will forget before a week's gone by.

This comic is like the worst possible ripoff of the checker shadow illusion, mostly because it doesn't explain what it's doing at all. When people post the CSI or things like it, there's always a caption saying "X and Y are the same color", and/or show a connecting line between X and Y. This comic does neither.

It's especially baffling to me that Randy would make a comic about this when he just happens to have a blog dedicated to peoples' questions which has answered semi-memetic questions in the past.

That blog is also, as of 10:36 PM on February 28th 2015, showing a little sub-banner reading "NEWS! the What if? U.S. edition is out on September 2, 2014!".

This comic is almost worse than #1357. Looks like we have an early contender for worst comic of 2015.


XKCD Is A Graph - #1491 - Stories of the Past and Future

Little-known fact: The 'Dawn of Man' opening sequence in 2001 cuts away seconds before the Flinstones theme becomes recognizable.

That's a pretty dramatic title for a graph, isn't it?

Obviously it wasn't intended to be funny and therefore I can't criticize it on those grounds, but I do have a few thoughts.

It might just be that I've gotten about ten hours of sleep over the past three days, but this graph was kinda hard to read at first. There's a lot going on.

I'd also be willing to bet that this is going to end up for sale as a poster, and if we're judging it as a poster, I don't hold it in high regard. There's too much empty space on the bottom half, it looks like he just found films close to the line and didn't bother finding examples to fill it out. For example, Avatar is conspicuous by its absence, considering it's the highest grossing film of all time.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1490 - Atoms

When I was little I had trouble telling my dad apart from the dog. I always recognized my mom because she had a bunch of extra plutoniums in her middle. I never did ask her why ...

Okay, but if Beret can only see atoms, how can he like, function? The world would be in a constant fog from all the atoms in the air, he probably couldn't see more than a few inches in front of him.

If it's restricted to atoms bonded into solids somehow, how far through things can he see? Has he known what the Earth's core is composed of this whole time and not told anyone? If he can only see the surface of a thing, how can he drive? The windshield would just be a wall of oxygen, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, potassium, titanium, manganese, and iron.

I'd like to pause and thank XKCD for giving me an excuse to google "atomic composition of windshields". Typing that sentence was immediately followed by googling "if using google as a verb should it be capitalized" (it turns out I can go both ways).

And most importantly, if Beret can tell the chemical compositions of things just by looking at them, why couldn't he tell what lug nuts were?


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1489 - Fundamental Forces

Of these four forces, there's one we don't really understand." "Is it the weak force or the strong--" "It's gravity.

As longtime readers of this blog may recall, or may not recall if I didn't actually mention this before, all my knowledge of physics comes from NOVA's presentation of The Elegant Universe that I watched sometime in fifth (?) grade. I was supposed to receive an actual education on the subject in 11th grade, but instead Mr. Guilmain decided to do things like show us his vacation photos, give relationship advice, and tell us to be agnostic, no seriously.

Not that I'm bitter that taxpayer money went to this guy for an entire three years AND COUNTING.

So anyway, I have a feeling this would be funny to me if I had that upper level physics knowledge, but I didn't even know the equations until today. As always, any readers more educated on the subject are warmly invited to write in with their opinions.

I get that it's making fun of how basic physics is taught, and y'know, fair enough, but it does seem kinda petty, like making fun of first graders for having to learn addition before multiplication. The basics have to be taught before the full version.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1488 - Flowcharts

Whoa, and if you overlay a Fibonacci spiral on a golden spiral it matches up almost perfectly!

I'm not going to go into the individual quality of each joke in this comic, because that's not really the point. It's like #730, or a Jimmy Carr routine (even though Jimmy Carr's shit), it's throwing as many jokes as you can at the wall and getting as many as you can to stick. If some don't work, that's fine, the next one will. It does just get tedious if you keep it going for too long, though.

So I do give this one a passing grade. Unfortunately, I have to dock about half the points I gave for uploading an unfinished version of the comic and keeping it up long enough for me to see it.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1487 - Tornado

I have an actual excuse for why this review is late this time. I got my wisdom teeth out and I have been in various levels of pain, sleep, and or drug for the past two days.

This is a good comic, I like how the houses add a little more atmosphere.

I can't remember the last time I actually enjoyed a merry-go-round, or the last time I got on one at all, for that matter.

That's all I've got, I'm on pain meds. If someone wants to do a guest review in the comments, please do.


XKCD Made Me Laugh - #1486 - Vacuum

Do you think you could actually clean the living room at some point, though?

This one got a laugh out of me. The image of a vacuum-cleaner-riding Beret Guy becoming the master of everything is just hilarious. That contrast probably could have been pushed further, like having him demanding money from the league of nations or something, but I can also see how that could just drag out the punchline.

I also appreciate that we get to see Nohat coming in to the comic after the first panel, I feel like it adds an organic element, to use the most pretentious phrasing possible.

This comic reminds me of this really funny 8-Bit Theater comic, which always gets me every time I read through the archives again. I'd like to point out that in XKCD's version, Nohat reacts by insisting that it's not how it works, whereas in "Going Up", the shocked reaction of Red Mage works as a nice second funny bit.

Beret's new characterization as an evil warlock of some kind still baffles me. Whatever happened to the earnest young boy who thought things were muffins?


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1485 - Friendship

The only other Wikipedia vandalism that I would feel zero remorse about is editing the article on active US militia groups to replace "militia" with "fanclub".

This is the stupidest XKCD comic I can remember seeing.

Trying to control how language changes is futile, you can't stop it, no one can. David Morgan Mar made a really good post about this that I can't find at the moment, but if I or someone else can, >this< will link to it.

The word "eyeball" was invented by Shakespeare, along with a couple hundred other words. "Eyeball" is also a portmanteau, and like "bromance", there's a word that describes the same concept, i.e.: eye. The only difference between the two words (aside from the meaning, spelling, and pronunciation) is that "bromance" is modern slang, and "eyeball" has been used so much that we now accept it as a real word.

Also, if this was the Wikipedia article for "Bromance", the title wouldn't be "Friendship", it'd still be "Bromance".


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1484 - Apollo Speeches

To quote my beloved Zero Punctuation: "Too many mother fucking words."

This is just a stupid, stupid comic, and Randy should feel bad for making it. Any actual humor that it could have held is diffused and muted with paragraphs of intentionally dry, unfunny speeches.

The joke should have been in a steady escalation of absurdity. The joke ended up being that Randy put so much effort into something worthless.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1483 - Quotative Like

God was like, "Let there be light," and there was light.

I have to admit a bias as I'm going in here: I hate linguistics, mostly because I used to have a friend who would only talk about linguistics and nothing else. I'm not exactly sure how much that affects my perception of this joke, but I feel that anyone reading should know when something may be affecting my judgement (more than usual anyway). I'd have Andrew review it but it turns out he's too busy working on Half-Life 5.

Now, I've always thought people who use the quotative like are obnoxious, just because every time I can think of, it's been used to tell really stupid, boring stories.
"Ohmygod, the other day my boss was like 'if you don't start acting nice to the costumers, I'm gonna fire you', and I rolled my eyes at him and I was like 'well, listen, if you're gonna fire me, you're gonna lose the hottest person in this store', and he was like 'get out' and I was like 'fuck you, I don't need this', and I stole all the money in the cash register and stabbed everyone in the face"

Speaking of stupid, boring stories, "I found this article on the linguistics of the "quotative like"". I understand not every conversation can be the subject of a major motion picture, but c'mon, silence would be better than that.

I also don't buy that Bald would instantly know what a quotative like is just from hearing the phrase. Reading this comic is the only time I can recall seeing the word "quotative" at all, and I read a decent amount.

The punchline is executed as correctly as it can be under the circumstances, but by the time we get there I just don't care, because we started out in a really stupid, boring way. It's like how track 15 of Sufjan Stevens Illinois is the second-best song he's ever written (best is of course "I Want To Be Well"), but you have to suffer through fourteen whole other tracks to get to it. Alternatively, it's the opposite of how "Live At Domino's" perfectly climax's The Avalanche's Since I Left You, even though everything up to that point and after was also completely worth listening to.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1482 - #NowPlaying

If you click on the post, it takes you to search results for the note on various online music stores.

If anyone's wondering, I'm listening to Space's Love You More Than Football (for the first time) as I write this. Nice melodies. Recommended, so far!

I think this comic is fine. It's an exaggeration joke, which is hard to screw up. I do have some nits, though: According to explainxkcd, this is supposed to be taking place on Twitter, but for some reason it looks more like the comments on a Facebook post. See how the timestamps go forward in time as you read down?

I also dislike how Brian's profile picture is redrawn for each post. It makes the comic look less like a real set of posts, breaking the reader's immersion and taking them out of the joke.

In other news, someone or someones in Britain visited my reviews of #1346, #1447, and #1433 over a hundred times each February 3rd. Does anyone know why? I wouldn't even call any of them one of my better reviews, especially not that first one.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1481 - API

 ACCESS LIMITS: Clients may maintain connections to the server for no more than 86,400 seconds per day. If you need additional time, you may contact IERS to file a request for up to one additional second.

I don't find this funny because I don't know enough about computers to understand all the concepts on display. HOWEVER

I understand the principles of comedy that are being used here. The joke is that the in-comic text is just a really fancily-written description for how a website works, like "visual data will be transmitted to your brain" means "you'll see something". The humor comes from rereading the first statement and realizing that it communicates the same thing as the second. I pretty much get the "Guide" section, but I'm just totally confused by the "Keys" half, which ruins the joke for me. The alt-text does a much better job at being accessible, even including a topical reference to the leap second thing.

I am not saying this comic sucks because I don't know things. I'm saying this is why I personally don't get it and don't think it's funny. BUT, I also think that XKCD should stick to one thing or another, either upscale computer jokes targeted at a specific demographic, or a largely more down-to-earth style with some computer jokes in the background.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1480 - SUPER BOWL

I am kinda in the same boat as Randy here in that I have never been a sports person. Case in point: Until I read the title of this comic I would have written it "Superbowl".

My first reaction to this comic is that it is vastly inferior to #60 (also called Super Bowl), which features an actual joke that isn't a tacked-on "I like to eat the snack food". It even looks tacked on, with the smaller font, like he had everything else finished and added it in at the last minute.

"Caring about something makes people vulnerable, so not caring gives you power." ...that's exactly how I felt in seventh grade, and I find that logic very suspect now. Maybe it's just how vaguely it's worded, but I can't help thinking of that scene in The Incredibles when Syndrome tells Mr. Incredible that he's weak for not killing Mirage.

By the way, I watched The Incredibles for the first time in a few years the other day, and I was amazed at how well it held up. You should totally watch it.

Speaking of things that are incredible, I find the second panel incredibly condescending. To again compare this comic to my younger life, it reminds me of my mom trying to get me to try new foods as a toddler: "Try it, you might like it.".

I'm having a little bit of trouble exactly articulating this next bit, but aren't most friendships formed around common interests? Like, I'm not going to be a total prick and say "No, only talk about these subjects", but I'm going to expect my friends to want to talk about things we're both/all into. Does that make sense?

In conclusion, here's this cool gif of an angry dancing cactus I found on 8chan the other day: