Died in a Blogging Accident has lived up to its name and died... in a blogging accident. That is to say it has concluded. You can still re-live the magic by clicking here to start at chapter 1. For genuine criticism of XKCD, please click the top link to the right (XKCD Isn't Funny).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Comic 928: On Octopiodeses

Raven has apparently committed internet suicide, so I guess I've got to do the reviews from now on. Lucky you.

Title: Mimic Octopus; alt-text: "Even if the dictionaries are starting to give in, I refuse to accept 'octopi' as a word mainly because--I'm not making this up--there's a really satisfying climactic scene in the Orson Scott Card horror novel 'Lost Boys' which hinges on it being an incorrect pluralization."

Okay, I'm going to say it right now. I don't GET this. It LOOKS like Randall drew a bunch of silhouettes and called each a "mimic octopus." Right away, that's not funny, but whatever, that's only the setup, so maybe it'll get better.


No, that can't be.


Is that REALLY the joke? That two mimic octopuses look like a single real octopus? WHY?

Look. Immediately prior, there was something that COULD'VE been funny, where you have a single octopus mimicking a whole school of fish. Humor is about exaggeration, and that might not have been a bad way to go. How would it work? Man, I don't know, maybe some guy goes to the aquarium section of the zoo, sees all sorts of sea life, and asks a zookeeper how many animals they have there. He answers "Oh, just one mimic octopus." The alt-text could be, "Actually, there are two mimic octopuses, and he just talked to the second." Is that funny? I don't know, but then again, THAT'S WHY I'M NOT WRITING WEBCOMICS.

I guess I don't understand the attempted subversion. Maybe if the final picture was captioned "Common Octopus," there could have been humor. That's a mimic, that's a mimic, that's a mimic...oh, and that's a real one. Again, I don't know; I'm not a comedian. But why do two mimics look like one normal one? I checked the forums briefly, and no one there gets it, either. Wow. Way to fail, Randall.

The alt-text really bothers me, too. The main reason you should be refusing to use "octopi," Mr. Comic-about-language, is that it's WRONG. No one cares how many nerd points you think you've scored with your stupid Orson Scott Card reference.

Seriously, Randall, get a clue. And then get a sense of humor. And some artistic ability. And a work ethic. Some social skills couldn't hurt.



  1. oh... the last picture does just have the one, doesnt it.... i thought it was meant to have 2 in the image, and the 'joke' was that the only way to get a mimic octopus to look like itself was to give it another one to copy... but no. just... nothing. no joke at all.

  2. your zoo comic is funny

  3. I guess... they're meant to be mating? Or something?

    Yeah, it's another "WTF? meh" xkcd...

  4. "....I guess I don't understand the attempted subversion...."

    This does not necessarily mean that the subversion was merely 'attempted' - it may very well have been a succesful subversion. Your failure to understand should not be used to malign the author.

  5. Also, spoiler alert maybe?

  6. Why do all these blogs dedicated to bashing randall hinge all of their focus on jokes having a neat, easy to consume set up with an obviously funny outcome? This is a WEBCOMIC. It's throwaway in the sense that these are little things to glance at, get a chuckle from and move on. I liked the whole idea of the mimic octopuses, it was cute. And the 'alt-text' or whatever was funny, that he's admitting the fact that he only holds on to the old "octopuses" is because it's the crucial point of a novel. I like when people acknowledge how trivial the reasons behind their strong held beleifes are.

  7. you probably found this comic funny because you're retarded

  8. @Malcolm

    I wasn't criticizing a trivial, throwaway joke. I was criticizing the fact that there WAS no joke. Yes, the concept of mimic octopuses can be used for humor. You'll see I even took a few stabs at it myself. It's just that Randall has missed any actual humor here, and he's given something utterly unremarkable instead.

  9. @ Malcolm,

    It appears your attempts at pixelating proper grammar are also throwaway in the sense that they are little things at which to glance, from which to get a chuckle and on which to move.

    Ensuring one does not end a sentence or sentence fragment in a preposition sure lends itself to rather strange syntax.


  10. Raven, in her capacity as Vice President of the Christian Comics Art Society (CCAS), along with Chalice Press, has several events organized for this weekend's San Diego Comic-Con International.

  11. @ Aquarians Love To Fuck

    I appologise for not caring about proper grammar or syntax. It's only the comment section of what's basically a hate blog.

    And ending a sentence with a preposition isn't wrong. It's only wrong when without the preposition the sentence would still make sense and have the same meaning. I can't see any unnecessary prepositions in my comment?

    p.s. love your name

  12. @ Gamer_2k4

    Yes, there is little humour in the main comic. For me, the alt-text saved it.

    But still, I can't quite understand how many blogs and support there is simply for criticising one guys comic. Though often the jokes can fall flat, are trivial or meaningless, what do you gain from having pointed this out? Does Randall read these? All I can see is one big I've-pointed-out-their-mistakes-and-that-makes-me-better-than-them party going on here.

  13. Malcolm said:

    "...It's only the comment section of what's basically a hate blog....."


    Love your name too!

  14. @ Aquarians Love To Fuck

    Okay. Sorry...

    It's the grand comment section of what's basically a hate blog!

  15. Don't worry about ALT-F; she just loves to hear herself talk.

    As for why the hate blogs exist, well, it's simple. Why are people vocal about how bad Twilight is, and why does everyone rage against Rebecca Black? Simple. We see someone achieving success for doing something objectively terrible, and it rubs us the wrong way. Blogs like this are a sort of release.

    If I "feel better" than Randy, it's because my income comes from actual work, rather than selling t-shirts with stick figures on them. It's because people like me for who I am, instead of because I pander to their cliques. It's because I accept that women are just other people, rather than crying on the internet about gender rights issues.

    The reason I feel so compelled to rage against Randall and all he does is because, even though there are some people like you who just think xkcd is another webcomic, there are more people who actually take him seriously. That doesn't sit right with me, so I speak out through this blog.

  16. @Gamer_2k4

    Okay, that makes sense. I think I can much more easily see why people would rage at Twilight or Rebecca Black though as they have major inherent flaws. Instead of me seeing them as being simply mediocre (and somtimes quite good) like xkcd, they are BAD.

    I guess I've never really witnessed anyone that's taken xkcd all that seriously, so I've never had to explain why it isn't so great.

    Thanks for 'splaining; you didn't have to. Much appreciated!

  17. Actually Gamey One, I love to read what I myself write - a girl's gotta have standards, Innit? Besides my voice is quite grating. Even I can't stand it.

    "...It's because people like me for who I am, instead of because I pander to their cliques...."

    Personally, I like you precisely for your expert pandering - not to mention your mollycoddling acumen.

  18. Rebecca Black never had any success prior to people thinking her hobby song was hilariously bad and sharing it around. She's a completely different case because she was created by the rage. Joke's on them.

  19. Actually I think your first attempt at a mimic octopus joke is pretty funny. Randall's comic contains no joke whatsoever, though, as you said.

    One big reason I rage at Twilight is because I think it's really damaging to young girls with its horrible misogyny and support of abusive relationships. But yeah, the fact that Meyers got rich for doing something objectively terrible is also irritating. I'll come right out and admit that I'm not good at writing fiction, despite trying pretty hard, but I'm still better than Meyers, and it's not like anyone pays me to write.

    Though, EVERYONE is "just other people," but some of them are still part of a group that faces prejudice and/or oppression. There's still homophobia, misogyny, and racism, and there's nothing wrong with speaking out against those things. I believe a person can be male and still ACTUALLY care about women's issues. If it ISN'T possible for a male to give a damn about women's issues, and all males who pretend to are just doing it to impress women...well, that's just really depressing, actually.

  20. re comic: Randall probably just saw that Octopus Mimic Wow! video that was circulating on MSN about 2 months ago. Damn his topicality, it's insane. Insane I tell you. [Period].

  21. Chaos said:

    "...Meyers got rich for doing something objectively terrible is also irritating...."

    I've no idea who this person is or what she did but, I do know that 'Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.' (H. L. Mencken)

  22. "I've no idea who this person is or what she did..."

    She wrote a series of vampire romance novels aimed at girls in their teens (though a lot of older women read them, too.) It's objectively terrible because the writing itself is bad, structure-wise, and the story is also terrible. The main character has no personality beyond being selfish and whining a lot. And the story is really misogynistic and glorifies abusive relationships. The main character basically has no life outside her abusive vampire boyfriend and the werewolf guy who is also in love with her, who she strings along for 4 novels. At the end of the series, she decides to give up going to college or having a career and instead marries her abusive vampire boyfriend at age 18 and immediately gets pregnant. The werewolf guy falls in love with her newborn daughter.

  23. As everyone knows, the correct plural is "octopodes" anyway.

  24. Well so much for me taking over this week :( I have been more couped against than couping, as it were

  25. Isn't this comic a take on the old "U.S. Air Force Aircraft Identification Chart" thing that has been doing the rounds for years and years?

  26. @Ann Apolis

    Oh. Would you like to? I took you off the "authors" list because I figured, hey, Raven's not here, work won't keep me as busy as I thought it would (meaning I could take next week), and you've never posted anyway.

    But, just say the word and I'll re-add you and take the week off.

  27. Incidentally, you'll need to shoot me an email; otherwise I won't know your address and won't be able to add you as an author.

  28. I want Raven to return with his insights about Penny Arcade.

  29. Raven is a "her."

    As far as I know.

  30. The Last Real Person On EarthDecember 10, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    "Nerd points"