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).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

1232-1234: Three Boring Comics

This week's comics were quite uninteresting. I'm sorry if it sounds like I don;t have much to say about them. Form your own opinions in the comments if you have to. And read the review when you're done.

1234: Douglas Engelbart (1925-2013)

Am I missing something here? So the joke is that he's discussing decidedly modern things in an apparently famous tech demo that happened in 1968? There are better ways of doing an Anachronism Stew. I had to look up Douglas Engelbart. He is the guy who invented the computer mouse, among other things. I don't know about the demo, but I'm guessing it was especially ahead of its time, or somehow prophetic of how we use computers today. I feel like I'd be dancing on someone's grave if I bashed this comic too badly, so instead I'm going to damn it with faint praise.

C for humour. D+ for the references that felt shoehorned. D for wall of text. 

1233: Relativity

No, you're butt would not look awesome because:
  • There is no 'at the speed of light'. This is one of the first things they teach you in relativity. There is only 'near the speed of light'.
  • Your butt would look bigger, but only in proportion to the rest of your body.
  • There are obvious practical issues with flaunting your butt when you are speeding past your observer at nearly the speed of light, namely that you'd be too far away to see after a fraction of a second.
I am only nitpicking it this way, because you need to know relativity in order to understand the comic in the first place. And that makes it not work. It doesn't even make sense on its own terms. It's the sort of thing that is funny to middle school students who know a bit about relativity, but not enough yet to ruin the joke. That is the audience Mr Munroe is aiming at.

And he's putting words in the mouth of Einstein. Zombie Marie Curie was bad enough.

C for premise. D for the unclear punchline. F for possessing great scientists.

1232: Realistic Criteria

I feel like he's done this comic before. White hat guy is back to reprise his role as the unscientific strawman. It says nothing new. It's preachy. Can we please move on now? 

D is for deja vu. D for preachiness. D for lack of a punchline.


  1. 1232: in case we still had some doubts, it is now clear that Randall makes a living by drawing stick sock puppets babbling the boring thoughts that go through his mind, e.g. 'Wow there sure are problems on Earth'. Sometimes he has some extra time to make it vaguely look like a joke; sometimes he doesn't. E

    1233: loooool Einstein says 'butt'. But this is not the worst xkcd ever. I mean, I sometimes cringe a little when there's too much nerd-pandering (aka it's funny because I understand it), but that's what xkcd is supposed to be about, so. However, my knowledge of relativity is very limited, and so my initial reaction was 'wouldn't your butt look uglier/flatter due to compression', but see, it appears I seemingly overlooked the word 'look'. A for making a foul out of me, F for making a fool out of me, and C for humor.

    1234: I found this one funny. It's an all-purpose joke relying on well-known comical devices, that isn't necessarily funnier because of the character used. A for humor, C for the fact that it's probably just a joke he had in stock and thought Engelbart's death was his chance to use it.

    1. As far as I'm aware, there is no such thing as an E grade in the American grading system - it just goes straight down from D- to F, the latter of which stands for 'fail' and never carries a + or - qualifier, except in the case of these reviews, because it's funny that way.

      F-- for bad grading.

    2. Ha, I admit you almost got me on that one! But then I went back to my initial reasoning: 'Doesn't that comic deserve an *E*?'


    3. But you gave me my own terrible idea: wouldn't it be cool if your readers graded your reviews? You'd even feel like a little like Randall!

      Also, that 'foul/fool' things on my review of 1233 was a typo :( I mean, the former.

  2. Did you notice that just in case some people wouldn't get the "Gedankedank" pun, he sort of unnaturally works in the idea that Einstein called thought experiments "Gedankenexperiments" into his "What If" blog post (, which was released the day before comic 1233 was.

    1. Ironically enough, our web reviewer himself didn't get this pun.