XKCD Isn't Funny - #1734 - Reductionism & #1735 - Fashion Police And Grammar Police

I actually kinda like this one. If we put aside the text only 'could be a tweet' -ness of it, I can get behind it. Since the joke is taking reductionist ideas to their (il)logical conclusion, the joke is self-explanatory enough that you don't need to have knowledge of reductionism going in.

Points are deducted for that SUPER lame explanation of "R", though. At least specify that it's a consonant.

See, the difference is that if someone has really terrible spelling/grammar, I can't understand them.

This comic also has a weird tonal disconnect. It starts off with "judgemental and smug" etc, but then suddenly goes into "appreciate that they way you are interpreted is your responsibility" and "understand...". Then it's "vindictive about... proxies for race", but THEN it swings back to "fun to cheer on". See how they don't really form a united statement?

What I think happened is that Randy started off on one side of the fence, but then thought "hang on, I'm on to something!" and tried to make a short version of a thesis paper on the subject. (Honesty time: I would totally read the full version)

If Randy had picked either "they're both bad" or "they're both good", then that could have been a coherent argument in joke form and I would be able to judge that. As it is, this comic fails to make a concrete statement. Even if it was on one side, the bullet point structure is too direct, almost confrontational, to be comedy without alterations.

I will grant that the original observation is still interesting. However, the real interesting discussion is in how the two groups share root origins or are unconciously operating the same function in different ways. This is the hypothesis, we need the data analysis and conclusion.


Questionable Content - #3350 - A Dream Deferred & #3351 - Requiem For A Dream


I'm absolutely reading too much into these comics, but I feel like there's something very profound here. Pintsize has built up this identity as a sexual pervert, his whole shtick is shock value. We aren't shown the actual asking process that lead to these events, but do you think Pintsize expected May to agree? Now that he gets what he asked for, he finds out it isn't what he wanted. His identity was built around something that he did not actually feel. You can even go back and look at #2332 and do a whole rereading of the QC archives where Pintsize curated this identity out of boredom or spite while he was Marten's only friend. His giving free money to Faye in #430 is motivated by an unconscious but enormous gratitude for someone else to talk to.

Just to restate - he is canonically Marten's only friend for TWO YEARS. That is 730 days! I like my friends and suitemates and etc, but I can't think of anyone I would want to hang out with daily for two whole years without anyone else ever being involved. Like, after a while you run out of House reruns to watch and you've told each other all the puns you know. And Marten sucks! First thing he does when he comes home is complain about his job, and he doesn't even know what HIS CLOSEST FRIEND does when he's not around. Pintsize has to put up with this lame asshole for 17,520 hours!

This idea also fits perfectly with the interpretation of the comic that says Marten's mom is a The Wall-esque overbearing and controlling figure that made him grow up into such a loser. Eventually all the pieces will come together and it will turn out that Jeph accidentally wrote a modern Shakespearean tragedy.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1732 - Earth Temperature Timeline & #1733 - Solar Spectrum

[After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before.

Oh, so that's what he was going for with that ice levels comic a while back.

My main problem with this comic as an infographic is that it seems kinda disconnected from itself. Most of the things listed (pottery, writing, Shakespeare), while important to human history, have approximately zero effect on the climate. I understand that it's not Randy's fault that human history is like that - Earth lives on a whole different scale from us - but it still gives us a lot of information that isn't really related to the point he's trying to make. I will say that it's neat to scroll manually through all that history, it's like that solar system distance thing.

I'll also say that, terrible Pokemon joke aside, this comic does a pretty good job of explaining the difference between 'typical' climate change and what people usually mean when they say the phrase "climate change". Speaking as someone that used to have this exact problem (thanks for NOTHING, Michael Crichton!), I think this comic might have converted me to its side.


I, the little guy, am not the person that needs to be convinced. I could work my whole life to destroy as much environment, and I wouldn't fuck things up as much as the big companies do in a day. I don't mean to get all preachy and stuff, but y'know that whole ozone layer thing? They told me in middle school it closed up, but it's still there! We all agree that chlorofluorocarbons caused the big ozone hole (or at least, that's what my astronomy textbook says) but the end goal for phasing them out is still set to 2030! I know that we can't shut everything down overnight, but we've known since the eighties! (According to my astronomy textbook!)

And those big corporation peeps aren't reading XKCD, they're snorting coke off of expensive strippers, since they're all rich and corrupt and rich. So while this comic has nothing but good intentions, it has not succeeded unless it inspires people to go out and do something. It's like that one Chumbawamba song says: "If our music makes you happy or content, it has failed. If our music entertains, but doesn't inspire, it has failed. The music's not a threat. Action the music inspires can be a threat." (that's from the excellent Revolution EP, if you were wondering)

My astronomy class actually explained this to me so I get the joke! And it is a joke, even if it's one that only smart college-educated people like me can understand. 

For you DUMB HICKS, there are like, these spectrum thingies, and the black lines tell you which elements there are in the thing its a spectrum of, BUT THERE AREN'T SUNGLASSES IN THE REAL SUN. It actually lends itself pretty well to this joke, since it puts the sunglasses in the last place that the reader reads (in a traditional western left-to-right style).

This comic would be EXTRA not-bad if "those giant sunglasses" if it was phrased "silicon (for those giant sunglasses" because like, silicon makes glass (and plastic, maybe??) so it'd be scientifically accurate too. That's a nitpick, though, and if we put aside accessibility, I give this one a passing grade.