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).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Comics 1235-1243: The Humour Quest

I am reviewing nine comics this week, because I felt like reviewing nine comics. Let's go!

1240: Quantum Mechanics

When I read the read the text in the panel, I thought I could see where this is going. But the text below subverted those expectations nicely. A- for legitimate subversion of expectations. However, I'm not the same as saying A- for humour because, well, I didn't really find it that funny. I guess it's just typical Munroevian smugness that inhibits my enjoyment at this comic. D+ for smugness. I'm honestly not just picking these grades randomly.


1239: Social Media

Now this is what I call a joke. Four panels, two punchlines. The comic timing is all there. A for humour comic timing. A+ for taking a much-needed dig at social media, because every time I hear the phrase 'social media' I want to strangle someone.

B+ for the realistic-ish dialogue. B- for the alt text, which wasn't great, but I couldn't quickly think of anything better. The artwork, while not great,

C- for the artwork. It was pretty much just the same panel four times. He did everything but copy and paste the man and the podium. That being said, I can't see the joke working in plain-text form. It needed that beat panel and the *sigh* to really emphasise the guy's disdain at the unbelievable yet plausible stupidity that there are people dumb enough to ask if social media affects asteroid orbits. So I don't think the C- matters. Does any of this matter?


1238: Enlightenment

I like the ridiculousness of this whole scenario where the internet equivalent of enlightenment in whatever this is parodying (my guess is on Star Wars, but nerd law forbids me from remembering the prequel trilogy), and the, uh what's the word, quirkiness. Yes, I said and xkcd comic is quirky. B for quirkiness. So shoot me.

C for actually making sense - although I get how the 'I'm better than you' attitude is rooted in insecurity (of course I know that - I'm writing this blog!) I'm not sure how deliberateley typing a sentence with bad grammer is going 2 fix anything.

A for the cheesy dialogue in the final panel. You may call it post-punchline. But I say it adds character to the comic.


1237: QR Code

A for instant entertainment value. I just love the idea of ten thousand smartphone users suddenly panicking when the realise they have to scan a QR code on the front of the device and wondering whether their plight is the result of bad app design or just good old trolling.

And when you think about it for a second, you think 'how would that work?' Would the user try to take a picture of the phone? Engineer a system of mirrors? Hand-draw the QR code on squared paper, then realise the . The alt text answers one possible question, and allows you to pursue this avenue of thought a little further. So A- for that, as it does strain my willing suspension of disbelief.

B- when you realise that most app stores allow you to install apps with one or two taps of a button, and the entire 'installer' scenario was contrived just for this joke, but it's still a good joke.

And A for succinctness. It's been a while since he's told a joke this good in so few words. And yet it wouldn't work as just text. It makes good use of the visual nature of its medium.


1236: Seashell

I had to think a little too long for this one. The point he's making is mathematically quite simple. I'd understand it in my own head. However the notation is confusing. I could probably explain it to myself with a venn diagram - in fact hey, why didn't he just do that?

Now, I mentioned the point he's making, rather than any joke. similar to the previous comic. However, rather than making a salient point like the nonexistence of aliens, it wastes its effort explaining why the hearing-the-sea-in-seashells thing is total bullshit. And we knew that already, so... thanks? What is even the problem with that in the first place? It's a cute thing to tell children. It doesn't need to be debunked.

D- for a not-so-good point. F for the notation used to explain it. D- for humour, because fuck it. Oh, and F for smugness. Have I missed anything?


1235: Settled

Okay, the thing that bothers me about this one? It just sounds so smug. D- for smugness, or am I jumping the gun?

Explaining the joke? Perhaps. There isn't really a joke to be made, but the point he's making is a sound one. I think he'd be able to make the same point, and make it a little bit funny if he'd just put the lower caption at the top. A for a good point. C- for wordiness. But the wordiness doesn't kill the comic.

I'm not going to question the accuracy of the data. It looks about right. And besides, who needs data to know that the vast majority of people in the western world have some form of cameraphone? B+ for data accuracy.

Whoops, that's only six. But don't worry, you'll get another six tomorrow, provided of course that the sun does rise.


  1. Oh and if my grades seem overly lenient, it's probably because I'm in a good mood. I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I wonder how Randall would feel if he discovered somebody was thinking about his comics again.

    1. He would write a comic about it, as he does with all things.

    2. People think about his comics the whole time. There are people who think about nothing other than his comics, from 176 in the morning to 784 when they go to bed. Their lives are a constant zen of math, romance, sarcasm and language.

      Now if he learned that people were once again thinking negatively about his comics, he'd probably just do his 'ignore bullies' ritual that he learned in middle school, which involves finding a quiet place and chanting "you don't exist, your opinion doesn't matter, you don't exist..."

  4. 1235 is an awful comic because Randall would be the first one to mock/debunk a good UFO/ghost/Bigfoot/Yeti photo taken by cameraphone.

    I've always thought that Munroe was compensating for being a NASA engineering dropout.

    1. Wrong. Randall is never, nor will he ever be, the first to debunk anything. Unless it's about colour names, he does have some decent data on that. But deep down, he knows he will never be as good as the Mythbusters, gods among me that they are.

  5. Two questions: What put you in such a good mood, and do you have any left?

  6. The point 1236 makes isn't even true. If you've got a shell large enough to cover your ear, you're probably in a museum or gift shop.

    1. People buy sea shells? Now there's capitalism at it's finest, taking a product that can literally be found on the ground, and creating value by adding a price tag, after all value is in the eye of the customer.


    3. "People buy sea shells? Now there's capitalism at it's finest, taking a product that can literally be found on the ground, and creating value by adding a price tag"

      And bananas grow on trees, but we still buy them at a store. Just because something can be found consistently in a particular location doesn't mean it's common for the world at large.

    4. You tell 'em, Gamer. And that's not to mention the value-adding industry, whereby shells become adorned with googly eyes and painted flags.

      And they're really not that commonly found on populated beaches. If they're not smashed up by the tides, they're rapidly collected by the handful of beachcombers who skipped a night of boozy sex to be up early enough for the experience of stealing joy from the kids who'll be arriving later in the day.

      Who sells seashells by the seashore? She does. And she's a bitch.