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 9, 2013

Comics 1246-1249: The Scattergun Approach

1249: Meteor Showers

"Surely 16 bad jokes are better than one, right, right?!?" Randall says. To be fair, some of them are quite good. They're just diluted in with the bad ones. I chuckled at "Not viewable in region 2 countries" - this is just the kind of absurdist humour that xkcd thrives on. B- for absurdism, but I don't think it was played up as much as it could have been. In short, he ran out of ideas. Two of the jokes actually seem to be the same (February 10th and August 12th).

The scattergun approach to humour sometimes works well, when the jokes are actually told well with, you know, pictures, like in Circuit Diagram, one of my favourites, but this one is too wordy, and I think the Comma Police are going to come get me for this sentence, So I'm just going to say: D for wordiness, which brings me on to...

F for artwork, because this violates Show Don't Tell in so many ways, has no real artwork, and could have just as easily been made in Excel.

1248: Sphere

Ugh. F- for artwork. I know I gave the last one F, but that one was not designed to be artwork, which is bad enough. But this is an honest-to-gosh attempt at a depiction of two human beings, and it still sucks. No expressions. No movement. No soul. These stick figures are going to hell.

I'm also going to bring out the old F- for characterisation.

And that's without even getting into what they're saying. Stick-Megan's smugness is just radiating off the page. F- for smugness.

That said, it would actually be excusable if there had been some half-decent artwork to make us empathise with the character. Maybe replace the beat panel with a series of zooming out views of the planet. Show Don't Tell! Is it really that hard?

1247: The Mother of All Suspicious Files

This looks like a joke between friends that got out of hand. Randall and a group of his friends were sitting around a table at a LAN party or something, and joking about a computer virus. One of them suggested what the virus might be names. "That's not suspicious at all." someone else sarcastically remarked. The rest of his friends pitch in suggestions for names for this suspiciously named file like its some digital Royal Baby or something, whilst Randall is frantically taking down notes under the heading 'COMEDY GOLD'.

C- for the premise. It's not bad. Just not good either.

D- for the failed attempt at the scattergun approach. Like me, you probably read the whole thing, thinking that there would be a series of little jokes. Alas, those things that seemed so funny amongst Randall's friends at the LAN party are now not so interesting.

F for artwork. I don't think I need to explain why.

1246: Pale Blue Dot

So this is a joke about NASA's famous Pale Blue Dot. Most xkcd readers probably know about this already, but I'm sure some of them don't. So I'm giving this a C for standalone value.

The actual joke is pretty good. It gets a B for humour. I think it was 'lens cap picture' that did it for me.

for (un)realistic dialogue. D- for the wall of text. D-- for the essay-length alt text. And B+ for artwork, because it's the best we've seen in over a week. 


  1. You are far too lenient, Jon. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. No, I am not ashamed. I am lenient for a reason, because it gives the F grades all the more impact if there are a few mid to high grades to contrast it with. If I gave every comic an F, then it would mean nothing.

      Furthermore, this is Randall Munroe we're talking about. In all his years of school he's probably never got anything lower than an A-. Every B, C and D is an arrow through his heart.

    2. You are indeed too lenient. Try dipping into the rest of the alphabet. Plenty of letters available.

    3. Most of the other letters don't sound like letter grades. That's the problem.

    4. Well, you should be ashamed. I taught you better than this, Jon Levi.

  2. Thank you for offering cogent analysis. IMO, the other blog hasn't done so since Rob took over, let alone since Rob began phoning it in. Keep it up.

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