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).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Comic 948: It's Just You, Megan

Title: AI; alt-text: And they both react poorly to showers.

So, Randall has discovered a particular YouTube video. He thinks it's "hilarious." Obviously he's wrong (it's really not funny at all), but that might explain why he has a similar low standard for xkcd. He probably laughs his nuts off every time he finishes one of his strips. However, that's neither here nor there. The problem with this strip (besides the age-old "not funny" thing) is that the setup is so contrived that the joke loses all of its punch. Randall picks two things that computers can do and one thing they can't, then takes a shot a Burning Man attendees (two shots, counting the alt-text).

I don't really care about the insult all that much (the forums, funnily enough, are a different matter), but when that's all the joke is, it totally falls flat. It reminds me of the alt-text of Comic 764, which, in my mind, is Randall at his absolute douchiest (not helped in any way by the fact that he thinks belatedly adding "Zing!" to the end makes it all better). One forumite suggests changing the target of the joke to computer programmers, which admittedly makes just as much sense. The only reason to single out the Burning Man people is because computers can "drive across the desert." You know what else computers can do? Keep an airplane level. Heck, modern fighter jets and bombers can't be flown otherwise. Oh, but that wouldn't fit in with your little insult, would it Randall? Even the chess thing doesn't really apply (at least, not specifically), so why is it in there? And where does Randall "Do me without a condom" Munroe get off making fun of people who can't hold a five minute conversation? Isn't he their king or something?

I know I say this a lot, but this is just a bad comic. It's contrived, it's unnecessarily insulting, and it's just poorly structured. The comic essentially outlines Randall's thought process from "Hey, Cleverbots talking with each other" to "Burning Man people sure are dirty!" No editing was done whatsoever. The way that Randall is explaining the thing to Megan, you'd think she was retarded. But if he didn't say exactly that, how in the world could comic-god Randall tell this joke??

Perhaps I'll leave that question to our "xkcd Sucks Less" submitters.


  1. No comments? You have to boost the popularity of this blog/blag somehow...

  2. Every time I try, the people at xkcdsucks yell at me. :(

  3. The alt text sucks. Randall isn't saying "burners sure are dirty (after spending a week in a desert with limited water supplies and no access to showers)". Burners certainly ARE pretty dirty by the end of the week, at which point most of them are really looking forward to taking a shower.

    Burners don't "react poorly to showers". Randall apparently thinks (as do the authors of countless snarky blog posts and comments) that burners are mostly the sort of people who wear tie-dye, have dreadlocks, and douse themselves with patchouli in lieu of showers (i.e., hippies). I'm not offended by people making fun of Burning Man/burners, but calling burners hippies is a completely ineffective way of making fun of them. Only a handful of the people there come close to the hippie stereotype.

    The right way to make fun of burners: "they're a bunch of 30-something yuppies who don't realize they're too old to wear hot pants and who think that spending a week wallowing in dust makes them revolutionaries even though the spend the other 51 weeks working for the Man"

    To parallel the burners/hippies fail, the wrong way to make fun of nerds: "Nerds play these fantasy games that involve all kinds of number crunching and statistics. Sheesh, when will nerds figure out that their Fantasy Football leagues just aren't cool".

  4. Not the first time I've made that mistake, and certainly won't be the last. My shame shall live on in the URL.

  5. No, I'd say 764 was more insulting.

  6. Looks like Zach Weiner watched the same YouTube video but made a funny comic instead.

  7. Man, remember when SMBC was short and concise and fit in a single panel?

    Those were the days.