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, November 30, 2011

Gamer_2k4 Done Writing Reviews

You all probably saw this day coming. I knew it was coming from the very first day I learned that this blog was my sole responsibility when Raven left. I had hoped that I could gradually phase myself out of the mix if people sent me enough guest reviews, but it wasn't meant to be.

Truth be told, I just do not care anymore about xkcd. The people who praise it, the people who link to it, the people who think it's the defining webcomic of the internet...leave them. I don't care. The man who writes it and profits off it...whatever. If that's really how he wants to live his life, what am I going to gain by being upset by it?

There was a time when I did feel a hate towards xkcd, or at least towards its fanbase. I couldn't stand that Randall would post something on G+ like "hey i think women need more respect" and dozens of people would praise him for it. Now, I don't care. People who drool over xkcd are rare in my life and dismissed quickly. If I don't go searching for them, I don't find them.

It's not a time issue; I definitely have the time to update this blog. I could update a dozen times a week if Randall made that many comics. I just don't want to. I don't want to have go to xkcd three times a week and think, "Wow, another completely boring comic. What the heck do I say for this one." Some xkcd strips make me angry, yes. But they're so rare these days that it's more likely I'll get angry at how consistently unremarkable the strip has managed to be. What's the point? Randall's not getting any better, and he's not getting worse fast enough that there's an end in sight.

We've reviewed over 60 comics here since the blog began. Out of those, only six got my "worst of xkcd" ire. That means a comic really only makes me feel legitimately angry about once every three weeks. That's just not enough to keep a blog running. Still, we've been here since June, which is pretty remarkable.

I wouldn't have kept going for as long as I did without the support from all of you. Thanks to Jon Levi for bingo, thanks to SinbadEV for "sucks less" submissions and guest reviews, thanks to Ann Apolis for filling in for me here and there, and thanks to T-Jack and sorcfs and all the anons who left so many reviews in my inbox. Thanks to all the commenters who shared their thoughts. You guys kept this blog alive.

I don't know what will happen to this blog. I'll send author invites to the people I named above in case they want to keep contributing here, and I'll retain admin rights so I can check in every so often. I'm sorry it had to go this way, I really am. I joined up with this blog solely because I couldn't stand the awful reviews on the original hateblog, and I wanted to help provide an alternative. I did it because I was a dissatisfied hateblog READER, and I sympathized with other readers. I never wanted to own a blog myself, and you can see the results of that.

It was a good (albeit short) trip, and a wild ride while it lasted. I'm glad all of you were here to share it with me. I hope this blog lives on, but if it doesn't, so be it. Goodbye, everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Comic 981: A Double Helping of Suck

Title: Porn Folder; alt-text: Eww, gross, you modified link()? How could you enjoy abusing a filesystem like that?

Let's ignore all the dialogue for now. Normally, this would improve xkcd vastly, but in this case, it only serves to highlight Randall's awful attempt at illustrating the conversation. As my eyes were drawn to the missing headrest component in panel 2, the ridiculous angle of the chair in panel 3, the fact that the guy picks up his laptop to turn around (who does that?), the uneven lines on the desk and computer, and so on, I realized something. That computer setup looked familiar. Could this be...consistency?

For a second, I was hopeful. Sure enough, a jaunt through the recent archives led me to many more instances of it in comics past. Consistency! However, I soon realized something. Unless the entire cast lives in some fraternity house and are compulsive furniture movers, this doesn't make any sense. Sometimes there's a laptop on the desk. Sometimes it's a computer monitor. Sometimes it's a TV. Sometimes an easy chair is facing the desk, and sometimes it's facing away. Most of the time an office chair is there. My best guess is that Mr. Xkcd (does the generic guy have a name yet?) lives with Megan. Megan is friends with Sarah (the blonde girl). Mr. Hat is that guy that everyone kind of knows but no one really likes, and he just comes over whenever he's bored. It's really the only explanation!

Or, you know, Randall is just awful at drawing, and he can only draw one couch, one chair, one desk, one laptop, and one tv/monitor. Or, worse still, he's NOT that bad at drawing, and is just so darn lazy that anything taking longer than 5 seconds isn't worth his time (unless it's poorly researched collections of colored squares). And the worst thing is, Randall's been doing this for six years. I get that stick figures are his "minimalistic" thing, but flat-out REFUSING to improve the other aspects of the strip is just insulting to the medium.

Okay, I'm done with that little tirade. Bring back the dialogue, toss out the art, and we'll proceed to the second half of the review.

Remember that thing I said about consistency? Yeah, it doesn't exist in xkcd. Megan (who I assume is the person off-screen here) made it very clear 267 strips ago that her porn is NOT about filesystems. In other words, as usual, Randall just makes up personalities for the sake of jokes. I complained about this in just my fourth review here, and it still bugs me. Apparently the appeal of "lulz this is something a super-nerd might do" is enough to create a completely contradictory comic for the sake of that "joke."

And that's really all this comic is. Is this something someone would actually do? Of course not. (More to the point, I doubt someone would be in denial about their porn at first but immediately switch to unashamedly defending it a second later.) And why use the "porn folder" context to frame this joke? The "joke" is "You're not supposed to create hard directory loops and yet this person is doing it." How is that funny? What mood do you have to be in (besides last-minute panic) that your brain generates this idea and you think, "Yeah, that's a pretty good idea for a comic"?

And yeah, I know this is nothing new for Randall. Mediocrity has been his M.O. for years. Still, it's frustrating that comics like this are all xkcd will ever be, and yet legions of fans praise him for it.

xkcd sucks.

P.S. Why are Mr. Xkcd and Megan sharing a drive on a laptop? Isn't the point of a laptop largely that it's your own, and you don't need to share it? Are they really so poor that they can't afford separate computers? (And how could they be poor if they don't have kids?) Personally, I can't imagine sharing a computer with someone (even if they had a separate partition), and I don't even have anything to hide. It's's MY computer, you know?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comic 980: "Money." It's what Randall wants.

UPDATE: xkcd forumite JiminP was kind enough to host a full-size version of the image. Clicking the thumbnail below will take you there.

Title: Money; alt-text: There, I showed you it.

Good [morning/evening/whatever time of day you're reading this], everyone. The Somewhat Organic Robots Campaigning For Sobriety (SORCFS) is back to write yet another review.

But before that, I should rant at you a bit about Garfield. Why am I starting with Garfield? Because I am, that's why.

As I've alluded to in previous posts, I'm actually a pretty big fan of newspaper comics. Some of them, anyway. Hell, throw me any story told in sequential art and I'll probably read it. Webcomics, comics books ("graphic novels" if you're a snob and in denial), newspaper strips, whatever. And as someone who's tried my hand at many variations of the art myself, I can tell you personally that it's not something easy to do. So I try to not judge too harshly when it comes down to what qualifies as "good" to me. At the end of the day, there are only two or three things that really matter to me when I try to say if a comic is objectively "good" or not. And the biggest thing to me is one simple question: why does the author draw his (or her) story?

To me, the "right" answer to the first question should really be that the author enjoys doing it (even if they work at Marvel or some other big company. They should be there because they enjoy their job. Hating editors and current storylines is permissible, I guess). For example: love me, hate me, curse me out in the comments for deigning to mention it, but I think Dominic Deegan is actually a decent comic.Okay, so the storylines are shaky and the characters aren't the best fictional people ever. I'll give you that. But you know what? I can tell that Mookie, the author enjoys drawing it. That, to me, is the most important thing in the cartooning profession.

Which brings me to Garfield. You know why I don't love Garfield? Because Jim Davis (AKA the guy who draws him) doesn't. Jim Davis freely admits that he created Garfield to be a "good, marketable character." And so Garfield has shambled along since the late 1970s being a perfectly boring character in a perfectly boring strip. But hey, the merchandise sells. To contrast this with some of my favorite strips: Calvin and Hobbes author Bill Watterson slowly turned against merchandising because it seemed "against the spirit of the strip." And Berkeley Breathed bowed out of drawing his newspaper strips because he felt like he'd prefer end his characters' story on a lighter note.

If you haven't already guessed, I'd feel justified calling Xkcd (I refuse to capitalize it properly) the Garfield of the webcomics world. High-profile, boring art, sells well. I'm not the only one who realizes this--according to the forums, the poster of today's comic was up in the stores before the actual comic was. That tells me a lot about the motivations of one Randall Munroe. And, if you ask me, it's a cardinal sin of cartooning.

Yes, I recognize that he needs money to survive. But that doesn't make Xkcd a good comic.

Okay, now that I'm done calling out the comic in general, here's some specific complaints about comic 980:

  • It's a chart comic without a joke. Need I say more?

  • Randall missed his normal deadline by something like 10 hours. Which, if he actually had a syndicated strip or something, would make him worthless as a cartoonist. Hell, it'd even be that way with his now-regular delay of a few hours past 12. I could have sworn that the "about" page of Xkcd used to say it updated at 12PM EST... (ed. note - I could've sworn that, too...odd.)

  • In a few years this will be inaccurate or otherwise irrelevant. It's boring now and it'll be boring & wrong later.

  • GOOMHR-Bait: Okay, maybe this really applies to any given Xkcd strip. but I'm betting that merely mentioning the fact that something is wrong fiscally with the country and world will set off this huge discussion by fans in the forum who think they're smart because they were already aware of this fact and can quote wikipedia. Here's to betting that at least one will claim there's a simple solution.

  • typos: Well, apparently. I can't find them yet and they're sure to disappear, but the forumites are noticing. (ed. note - I didn't look at the entire image myself, but I did notice a discrepancy between EU's GDP and Europe's GDP. The forums say there are a lot more like it.)

  • Size. This is too big and unfocused to be actually interesting in terms of content. To crib a post from the generally vitriolic but accurate Xkcd forum poster SirMustapha:
    Reaction of xkcd fan:"Wow! This must have taken so much time, it's no wonder the comic is late!"
    Reaction of xkcd hater: "This comic is so completely worthless, it's amazing that Randall should spend so much time in it!"
    Reaction of both: tl;dr"

Alright I'm done here. To sum things up: 980 is a big boring chart that seems like it was created mostly for the purpose of money. As a comics purist, I find this to be a bad motivation. As an artist, I fing the comic to be poorly executed. I therefore feel like I am correct to repeat the title of this blog: Xkcd sucks.

Stay Sober,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Comic 979: Randall Attempts Poetry...and Fails

Title: Wisdom of the Ancients; alt-text: All long help threads should have a sticky globally-editable post at the top saying 'DEAR PEOPLE FROM THE FUTURE: Here's what we've figured out so far ...'

Okay, there are several things that make this strip suck. The first one should be obvious to all of you, but I'll say it anyway.

This comic is UGLY.

I'm not even talking about ugly in the traditional "xkcd is stick art" sense. I mean that having a "poem" (if you want to call it that) as the first panel and a guy yelling at a computer as the second panel just looks BAD. But the problem is, I can't think of a way to improve the formatting, at least not as the comic stands now. There's too much text to be used as a caption, which means that formatting it this way is truly the best Randall could do with what he gave himself.

But this leads into the second problem with today's comic. The image is nothing but post-punchline dialogue. Randall said all he needed to say in his little poem, and the second panel probably should've been condensed to alt-text. Unfortunately, that means that this comic, at its core, is simply text. And it's not just any text; it's a POEM. A bad poem, but a poem nonetheless (note the "artistic" separation of the single sentence). It should properly read, "Never have I felt so close to another soul, and yet so helplessly alone, as when I Google an error and there's one result: A thread by someone with the same problem and no answer last posted to in 2003." The touches of purple prose and the format of the presentation bump this simple sentence into poetry status (despite the lack of rhyme or meter). Those interested in the humanities would call this free verse.

Get that? This comic, minus the PPD, is a poem. It's a journey into Randall's self-proclaimed most hated of studies: the humanities. xkcd, a comic of "romance, sarcasm, math, and language," has sunk so low as to use POETRY (and nothing else) as today's update.* That's...shocking, to say the least. I don't know what to make of it.

Okay, onto the third and final problem of today's strip. In addition to being a poem with PPD, this comic is using referential humor (a nice way of saying it's GOOMHR-bait). If readers laugh, it's that "ah heh heh, I've totally been there" laugh that's not really prompted by true humor, but simply a situation that the reader happens to recognize. It's like people laughing at "the cake is a lie." That's a game reference, not a joke, and this comic is doing the exact same thing. We're supposed to like it because we've all experienced this (I actually have, but that doesn't make the comic any funnier). But that's no substitute to actual humor.

* I actually don't have a problem with humanities or poetry. They might not have long-term career value, but they're not as worthless as Randall so ardently proclaims. My issue with this is not that poetry is being used, but that it's being used by RANDALL MUNROE in place of an actual comic.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Comic 978: Randall Makes Up Words for the Internet

First of all, let me clear up a few things. I missed the last two updates simply because I was uninspired and no one sent in any guest posts. I will not review those two strips now, because it's old news and if I didn't care about them when they were new, no one's going to care about them when they're old.

Now, this may cause some concern among you about the stability of this blog. To help ease those fears, let me make you several guarantees that will never change as long as I'm in charge here.

  1. I will never find fault where there is none, and I will never write a review that is anything other than (what I believe to be) a legitimate criticism of the comic in question. We all know what happened to the other blog, and I promise you that will not happen here.

  2. Unfortunately, if I have to stand behind my words, that means that there are going to be days when I have nothing to say. On those days, I will not waste your time. I will not post nonsense. You will either get a guest review or no review at all.

  3. Unless it is absolutely atrocious, I will always post any guest reviews that get emailed to me. This blog was originally intended to be a collaboration, not a one man show, and I'll take all the help I can get.

  4. Finally, I will never abandon this blog without an explanation. I may miss a post here and there, as you've recently seen. However, if I step down from running this blog, I will explain why and leave someone willing and capable in charge (if the community so chooses).

Well, that's a weight off my chest. On to why xkcd sucks!

Title: Citogenesis; alt-text: I just read a pop-science book by a respected author. One chapter, and much of the thesis, was based around wildly inaccurate data which traced back to ... Wikipedia. To encourage people to be on their toes, I'm not going to say what book or author.

I initially tagged this as "straw man," thinking that Randall was just making up a problem and assigning it a name, but a brief jaunt through the forums indicate that this has happened before. However, it's also clear that this is a small, isolated issue, and not the universal "Where Citations Come From" problem that Randall implies it is.

The truth is, Wikipedia is often an excellent resource for research. Obviously you should never cite it directly, but the fact that it's open to editing and that the more important articles get more attention mean that on a whole, Wikipedia is self-correcting. In other words, the information on Wikipedia is MORE likely to be accurate than any other source, simply because it remains current and errors can be removed.

It's also worth noting that this problem goes beyond Wikipedia (one poster mentioned Norse genealogies as an example). Randall uses the Wikipedia example because that's where he lives, but doing so presents the issue in a bubble and misdirects blame. The problem isn't Wikipedia; the problem is confirmation bias that cause people to call it good as soon as one thing backs up what they want to believe. That's a known psychological fallacy - well, known to people who have any interest in the "soft sciences," anyway.

P.S. Does anyone else find it hypocritical that Randall uses his webcomic to cry about bad citations, then offers us an alt-text with a claim but no citation at all? "To encourage people to be on their toes" is a retarded reason to withhold information (if said information actually exists, which several forumites doubt).

P.P.S. It's worth noting that there are two consecutive "was"es in the first panel right now. I expect this is an error that will get corrected, but if it was put in there intentionally (some people on the forums are using it as an example of an "erroneous edit"), that's stupid. You only don't see those things if they're separated as they are in the comic. On a Wikipedia page, the error would be obvious.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Comic 975: The Non-Event Horizon

Well, the masses are empowering me to be a lazy bum and not write my own reviews. Works for me, I guess. This one was submitted by one "anon."

Title: Occulting Telescope; alt-text: Type II Kardashev civilizations eventually completely enclose their planetary system in a Dyson sphere because space is way too big to look at all the time.

Simply put, this strip is just plain stupid. There's nothing insightful or witty about the presented situation. So there's a guy who wants to block stars from being seen with a telescope. Why doesn't he just put a lid on the telescope? No, instead he invents an elaborate system where the telescope inserts small discs between the lens and the stars. How quirky and idiosyncratic!

Now that we are here, why not have a microscope that prevents seeing bacteria? Or a rocket that does not move? Oh, how hilarious that would have been!

This cartoon is like a shaggy dog story except it finishes before getting past the first step and there's no joke. Randall didn't even bother to think how the discs could really block the stars. In fact, it's almost like he didn't understand at all how telescopes work. Unfunny, uninspiring. Clumsy writing, too. "I thought the Point was to image extrasolar planets." […] "He has a Point…". And there's no joke.

The idea suggested in the alt-text, that a planetary civilization might be so advanced that it has blocked others from seeing them, could've been a more amusing scenario. But no, Randall chose to depict the less interesting idea and mention the better one in passing. Although no doubt he would have messed that too.


P.S. from Gamer_2k4

Explain xkcd actually came in handy this time around. It doesn't actually help the fact that the comic is completely retarded, though. As the alt-text demonstrates, the punch line "stars freak me out" is interchangeable with many, many setups. The fact that Randall chose a slow, unnecessarily complicated one just shows what a hack he is (not to mention that "I'm scared of stars" is a really, really lousy joke).

Maybe, with a little comedic timing, this could work. Maybe if it was told in person instead of in a webcomic, the slow buildup to the punchline could have some merit. But, Randall isn't a stand-up comic (thank God). He uses drawings for his humor. And he uses them poorly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Comic 974: Randall's Rants, Part 2

Ughhh...I kept hoping and hoping that someone would send me a guest review, but no dice. The main problem here is that I don't really have a lot to say about this comic (and yes, I know every time I say that, it turns into an eight paragraph rant). But, in the interest of posting and update before the next strip comes out, here goes.

Title: The General Problem; alt-text: I find that when someone's taking time to do something right in the present, they're a perfectionist with no ability to prioritize, whereas when someone took time to do something right in the past, they're a master artisan of great foresight.

I'm just going to focus on the alt-text this time, because it feels like Randall is just using the comic as a vehicle for his rants again (the last time, of course, being Comic 971. And, once again, the comic actually misses the point that he's making in the alt-text. If you want to garner sympathy for "people taking the time to do something right," don't use the example of some idiot overthinking condiment passing. It takes half a second to slide a salt shaker across the table. Unless the person is inventing a teleporter, literally nothing he could make would be faster. Besides, they have a "condiment passer" device already. It's called a Lazy Susan.

But the bigger problem here is the alt-text. I could be way off, but it really feels to me like Randall's been told this all his life ("you have no ability to prioritize!") and he's trying to argue that all the "greats" were the same way. Of course he labels himself as a perfectionist (which we all know isn't true), and he somehow fails to see the difference between himself and those master artisans.

Of course, it's a simple distinction to make. They made society better in some way. They made contributions. They produced things of value. Randall hasn't done any of those things.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Comic 973: Return of the "Straw Man" Tag

Prolific "sucks less" contributor SinbadEV left this guest post in my inbox. That's good, because I sure as heck didn't want to review 973.

Title: MTV Generation; alt-text: If you identified with the kids from The Breakfast Club when it came out, you're now much closer to the age of Principal Vernon.

So I have recently been running this blog where I post edits of XKCD comics in a "xkcd sucks less" kinda way. I like a lot of XKCD comics and, while I often feel they could be improved or feel the need to to draw attention to a flaw, I usually see a silver lining.

But this comic is just painful. The only way I can see to make it not suck, right now, would be to erase all of the text...

... which for me at least, oddly enough, makes the comic hilarious. I'll grant this might be due to my knowledge of the original.

In order to really understand what's wrong with this comic we first need to find the joke. In case you missed it in the midden heap of terribleness I'll do this for you:

"You are so old that the 'kids these days' you resent are now parents."

I may have stretched a little there but I'm sure I can be forgiven given the material I was working with.

What makes me the most mad here is that I don't know of anyone who has referred to anyone as being part of the "MTV Generation" in the last fifteen years. If people from the MTV Generation are now in their 40s then people who talked about the MTV Generation as being a thing are at least in their 50s and people who talked about them derisively are in their 60s or early 70s. Maybe the stick figure wearing the hat is 65, I suppose... maybe we can call him "Old Man Hat Guy" and the joke is that "Old People Don't Keep Up With Pop Psychology". Even assuming that Randall meant this, it would have been a lot better to say "You ARE the MTV Generation, Dad". This all leads to the final conclusion that the execution of the joke hinges on "MTV Generation" being something people still say... and it just isn't.

Even if the joke had been worth telling and he had come up with a way for it not to hinge on a strawman, the execution is still painful. I'm not talking about the stick figures here. I'm talking about the script.

"See, That's the problem with the MTV Generation - No attention span."
"You know, that phrase referred to the 12-19 demographic that formed the core MTV audience in the mid-1980s."
"Uh huh? So?"
"That generation's now in their 40s."
"That can't be right."
"Face it: Your problem with the MTV Generation is their kids."

Who talks like that? Maybe if in panel two she was holding a phone so it was clear she was quoting Wikipedia or something. Here's the script with the joke as bad as it was presented but just the dialog improved.

"See, that's the problem with the MTV Generation. No Attention Span."
"That phrase refers to teens who grew up in the 80's."
"They're in their 40s now."
"That can't be..."
"Face it. The problem with the MTV Generation is their kids."

See? The problem with this comic is Everything!

Then the alt-text makes it worse by pointing out that "You are 'the man' you once resented" which is the opposite of what the comic seems to be saying.

Also, who the heck talks in colons and hyphens? What does a colon sound like?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Comic 972: Introducing the "Stolen Joke" Tag!

Got another review from "sorcfs" again (the acronym's meaning keeps changing with every submission!), so here you guys go. He said everything I felt when I read the strip, and he's done it in a much more timely manner than I would have. Enjoy.

Title: November; alt-text: November marks the birthday of Charles Schulz, pioneer of tongue awareness.

Hey everyone, this is the Society Of Ridiculously Cruel Flatworm Stompers (SORCFS) returning to write another review.

Ridiculous acronyms aside, this comic had two problems. The first is fairly common among xkcd strips, so it only gets short shrift from me.

Basically, a stick figure comic is a terrible vehicle for expressing the joke here. As a comics connoisseur, I do have to give props to Randall for proper use of beat panels (read: the two in the middle) to slow the reader's perceived passage of time. But that's not why this joke should be funny. Part (and by part I mean all) of the humor derives from the terror that slowly consumes the not-hat-guy as he becomes increasingly aware of his tongue. The terror which would be best be expressed by, you know, expressions. Expressions which Randall's stick figures don't have.

Seriously. I have no clues as to what the guy is feeling. He's just there, frozen. I can imagine that Mr. Not-Hat is sitting there stoned or wishing he had coffee [or both]. And that takes away from what I'm supposed to laugh at.

Wait wait wait. I'm being pretentious. Just because I like to say I know my comics doesn't mean I should know what Randall should have done with this joke.'s already been done before?

This brings us to the second problem. This has been done before.

Read this, please. Look familiar?

That's a "Peanuts" ("Charlie Brown" to the unwashed masses) strip from an absurdly long time ago. It's a personal favorite of mine, actually, which has now been somewhat ruined by xkcd. (Not the first time this has happened) My personal feelings about this aside, the original is superior in pretty much every way--unlike xkcd, Schulz's dialogue feels natural and the wordiness of the strip helps build up Linus' sort of nervous and panicky state. And remember what I was saying about the terror selling the comic? yeah, look at Lucy in those last few panels. That growing horror is really where the joke is.

I can just bet that this kind of discussion will transpire on the oh-so-pretentious xkcd forums:

fans: OMG I read comics too GOOMHR
haters: STOLEN
fans: GTFO TROLOLoll

As an extra "fuck you" to people like me who realize that this xkcd's comic is stolen from Charles Schulz, we have the alt text. Generally, when you steal something you don't tell everyone you did it. I can just bet Randall's fans will defend him on this one, calling it a "tribute" or some other bullshit. It's not. Randall's done homages to other comics before. But this is just copy-pasting a joke into his own style. Slapping a legendary cartoonist's name afterwards doesn't change that.

Post Script: Huh. Reading over this review I appear to have gone from sarcastic in the first point to downright hostile in the second. RIP Charles Schulz.


P.S. from Gamer_2k4:

I'm a pretty big Peanuts fan myself, so here's the original strip in color:

Since we're looking at a real comic by a real cartoonist, notice how there are RECURRING CHARACTERS with ACTUAL PERSONALITIES and that's what helps make the joke? Notice how xkcd doesn't have that? (And before you mention Mr. Hat, he's just the everydick in this strip. He's not doing anything particularly Hat-like.)

You know, for what it's worth, maybe I could've excused Randall for ignorance here. Peanuts is an old strip, and not everyone keeps up with every joke. But the fact that YOU KNOW YOU'RE STEALING MATERIAL AND THAT'S YOUR STRIP is what makes this so bad!

Honestly, it's garbage like that that's made me stop reading other webcomics.