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, August 31, 2012

1102: Black hats on sale

Alt-text: I lead a small but extraordinarily persuasive religion whose only members are door-to-door proselytizers from other faiths.

I love how today's comic came out just three strips after 1099, since this is basically Mr. Hat's response to that one. So what exactly is Mr. Hat's character? Is he a murderous sociopath, or just kind of a dick? Neither, actually, since as I wrote in the last review, there is no single Mr. Hat. The black hat itself is just a prop that signifies a character trait, in this case that the person wearing it is "not a very nice people". So yeah. There are no recurruing characters in xkcd, no matter what anybody says.

The comic itself deals with a common criticism of one of the claims made by, ahem, a certain lawsuit-happy "religion" based in the Wang of America. And that is also its biggest flaw. The comic just reiterates an argument against something without adding anything to the discussion. It is absolutely unnecessary and not at all funny. Plus I think the argument has been floating around the Internet for a long time. Yeah, I'm adding the "dated reference" tag.

The alt-text is kinda amusing, if divorced from the comic and presented as an out-of-context joke line. Like a entry, I'd say.

Well, this was short, but hey, it's not like I haven't already said all of this in previous reviews. We really need a glossary of xkcd's recurring flaws instead of the review blog format...

Friday, August 24, 2012

1099: You do realize that anybody can buy a beret, right?

Alt-text: Try our bottomless drinks and fall forever!

Today's joke is a play on the term "endless wings". For those of you who don't know and are unable to use Google, "endless wings" is a promotion by the Hooters restaurant (and probably other places as well) where you pay some amount of money and then may eat as many chicken wings as you can stomach. Now, someboy could make the observation that "endless" means the same thing as "infinitely long" and draw a comic about that, but who would go with such an obvious and thought-less joke? Oh, right...

Besides, why would Beret Guy even have infinitely long wings? Is it because he's a mutant? Or the last member of a long lost race? No, it's because Randall thought up a joke that nobody else would find funny. And because the idea was kind of wacky and non-sensical, he just slapped Beret Guy in it without any sense of reason.

We have been led to believe that even though all other characters are basically one-shots with similar hair styles, Beret Guy is the same man in every strip. Now that I think back to it, though, I don't think there has ever been any indication of this in the comic itself. And that makes sense. Why is Beret Guy's (and Mr. Hat's, for that matter) character so inconsistent? Because it's not the same character. Beret Guy is every Cloudcuckoolander in xkcd-land. The beret is not an indication of the character, it's an indication of the chracteristic. Mr. Hat is not one guy who is a kind of a dick. Mr. Hat is every guy who is kind of a dick. It is laziness of the highest caliber, equal to declaring "everybody who wears glasses is a brainiac" and just expecting the audience to run with it.

It is laziness that is Randall Munroe's biggest sin. He is capable of drawing beautiful landscapes, detailed vehicles and even recognizable human beings, but he creates a stick comic because otherwise he'd have to put work into drawing it. He often goes with half-assed, unfunny jokes, because otherwise he'd have to put work into writing them. He never grows as an artist, because that means challenging himself, i.e. work. Randall Munroe's laziness is the reason why xkcd sucks.


P.S.: There haven't been any reviews for a long time, because even if I do usually find something to say about a comic, I can't muster up any energy to write a review, especially since all I really need to do is point at some past reviews and say "these things that were wrong with the past comics are wrong with this comic, too". I have come to the conclusion that xkcd isn't really conductive to the "strip by strip review" blog format and that it would be more effective to just create a wiki that would mainly focus on the many, many flaws of the comic (see the tag list on this blog) - something like Rob's Rants on the non-hyphenated cousin.