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, May 31, 2014


I'm honestly struggling to come up with words with which to fault 1374, because it was so devoid of humour and redeeming value, that any criticism I lay on it would seem petty.

Comic title: Urn

Alt text: Can this PLEASE be drawing with replacement?

It's a word play on the word 'urn'. Actually not even a word play, but more an acknowledgement that urns can be used for containing human ashes and for hypothetical probability exercises. I mean really?!? That's like if the teacher's question involved bottles, and the smart-ass student said "Herp. Is one of those bottles full of beer? If so, I drink it and get expelled from school and never have to do math class again." Or in a geography class, if a student was asked why a river forms meanders and says "Daaa. I pissed in the river. Lolololol." about If either of those jokes were told in one of my classes, it would amuse only the dumb kids. I mean, I'm all for making XKCD more accessible, but this is just stupid for the sake of stupid.

I know I've stopped doing alphabetical grades, but this comic gets an F, and a U, and a C, and a K.

Edit: has pointed out that this joke may have been in reference to the recent phenomenon of 'trigger warnings' in college campuses. If that is true, then that makes it 100 times better. It elevates the joke to something more like: "What's next, trigger warnings in high schools? No way man. The only way we'd need that is if students are emotionally retarded enough to be set off by stupid little things like this."

In case you can't tell, I approve of this alternate meaning. And I find it sad that there's NOTHING IN THE COMIC TO SUGGEST THIS. How typical of Munroe to spoil a good joke with piss-poor execution. He either thought of a funny situation to do with trigger warnings in schools, then forgot where he got the idea from and posted it without context, or he made the mistake of assuming that the news story would be so ubiquitous that everyone would know about it anyway.

Then again, I could be giving Randall too much credit, and it might have nothing to do with trigger warnings and simply be a bad joke. After all, it's unlikely that he would consciously write a comic where a female character is in the wrong.


  1. Hm, okay, I agree that this would make the joke better. However I do think you and explainxkcd give him too much credit. As you pointed out, there's nothing in the comic to suggest this. That's something he does from time to time being quite the elitist, but for such an America-centric subject (they certainly don't talk about trigger warnings in college campuses in French media, and I would assume they don't in UK either?), I'd have expected him to give at least a little hint as to what he was referring to. And IDK, maybe he'd have given the comic a name that has to do with TW, or made the girl say something like "wow couldn't you have warned us?" Lastly, he chose to make a probability joke in the alt-text, when he could have ranted a little more about TW. Heck, he could have squeezed a recursive joke in there and write something like "TW: TW".

    Please Jon tell me I'm right and Randall is as big a loser we all expect him to be :(

  2. I doubt there was any intentional criticism of that trigger warning thing. If there was, it's a very badly executed joke. Plus, I'd never heard of them before either, but if I had then "let's take it to its logical extreme" would have already been a tired an uninteresting joke.

    I think it's more likely that he's been thinking about how funny he was as a teenager, and bringing similar material into his comic. "How will we even survive?" was a classic joke. This "LOL teacher, gonna subvert your intentions" thing is another classic. Randall's speaking to the teens in their own language, and us old fogies simply can't keep up with how rad it is.

    1. Agreed. If he was trying to make a point about trigger warnings, he'd have made it much more obvious, and wheeled out White Hat as a strawman.

    2. Mr. Levi... I've never visited an anti-xkcd site before but I was absolutely compelled to do so (and I will hereafter count myself among those with a negative opinion of the "comic") after reading number 1386. Someone should present Mr. Munroe with the award for excellence in being very pedantic. Way to make a difference, Randall.

  3. Could you do 1354?

  4. I feel like if the comic had her "accidentally" misinterpret it as "drawing from a random urn" instead of "drawing at random from an urn", it could have a more coherent joke, but I can't really figure out how to write that without requiring too much setup for what's still a pretty lame joke.

    The trigger warning thing is definitely too much credit. I'm pretty sure the joke is just that urns aren't used for anything except cremation anymore, but that's probably why it was always drawing from a bag in my stats class.

  5. Replies
    1. no don't do another one listen to me

  6. The xkcd isn't funny guy forces people to have Google accounts to comment on his blog. That's not cool. You know what is cool? Anonymous comments. They're always the best ones.

    1. Excluding this one, of course.

    2. Anonymous people are stupid.

    3. Yeah, that cunt has just killed the whole xkcd hate community.

      Although it's mostly that he writes like an undergrad trying to pad out his CV. You could never see Rob or Jon claiming to have pride in their work - theirs was refined bile, and that's what made it so good.

    4. "The way this argument is phrased makes me not want to be on the same side as it. I don't want to be identified as siding with someone that mistakes passive-aggressive sarcasm for comedy.


      That's worthy of a comic, right? That's good enough to feed to all his fans that came here expecting a funny joke, yeah, totally. After all, they're only the reason you're able to call this your job."

      Such a broad exposure of tenderly soft underbelly, prime for the penetrative attack of sharp ridicule. Come on, everybody, let's dust off our pitchforks and burning torches! With our powers combined, we are Angry Mob!

      Oh wait, you have to sign up with Google first. Fuck it.