0449: "Things Fall Apart"

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cyberia
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby cyberia » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:27 am UTC

Moo wrote:Preview-ninja'd by Quixotess but I'll post it anyway in response to her.

No, cyberia, I think Quixotess was simply musing as to where the best place is to place the dash for maximum effect. I disagree with her conclusion but understand what she did there.

(As you say Q, that word is the end of the sentence so by sacrificing a letter that isn't even pronounced it conveys quite well that she was interrupted while letting us see completely what she was trying to say).


Okay, I see what you're getting at. I didn't read that as the last word in her sentence so Quixotess' comment kinda went over my head.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby RSMaster » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:29 am UTC

"I'm nothing without you"

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby stormoftara » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:44 am UTC

I think people abuse the words "I love you". They become automatic and lose meaning. Clinging to those words won't save a broken relationship. *is all super jaded about love*

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby DVC » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:01 am UTC

cyberia wrote:
Quixotess wrote:The part about this comic that most grabs my attention is the dash.

She says "Who are you trying to reassur--" before being interrupted. Now, in such a context, the dash is supposed to indicate that she wasn't able to finish her sentence because she was interrupted by something. In the middle of a word it means she wasn't even able to finish the word. Yet with the dash only cutting off the "e", her last word wasn't interrupted at all. The "e" is obviously silent--its role in pronunciation is to retroactively alter the sound of the "u". So the dash makes little sense there.

Yet, when I think of what his other options were, it appears that it may have been the best choice out of a bad lot. Anything less than "reas" is going to leave the word uncertain, "reas" will cause confusion given that most English speakers will initially read it as "reez," and "reass" and "reassu" have the word "ass" far too prominently in them.

I think I would advise finishing the word in any case. True, it isn't perfect because it implies that the sentence is cut off, and "reassure" appears to be the most natural end of that sentence, but it is less strange and initally confusing that "reassur."

...What?


Wait...what?

I don't know if I understand your post but if you are querying the use of the dash at the end of the word, then, grammatically, it should probably be an ellipsis but I don't think there's any great meaning to it. It just signifies the sentence being cut-off by the other character's speech.


Actually both have been used for this purpose. The dash is actually the older way of doing it, previously the ellipsis was reserved for 'time passing'.

I found the first poster's thoughts interesting. My suggestion would have been "Who are you trying to reassure, me or y—"

Incidentally alt+0151 is a short (n) dash and alt+0150 a long (m) dash. I don't understand why our keyboards only have hyphens and no dashes on them but we have the tilde (~), the pipe (|), the hat(^) and the left hand inverted comma (`) which is hardly ever used any more because the right had inverted comma (') actually passes for both.

For me, the hyphen just doesn't cut a dash!

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby robzy » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:02 am UTC

To those that are critical of the comment: I don't think that a statement is trying to be made, or anything like that. I think rather it's trying to put the spotlight on an interesting situation.

Rob.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Quixotess » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:08 am UTC

@DWC: Hmm. I like your solution best so far.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby trefusius » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:21 am UTC

This reminds me: can anyone explain to me why "God Only Knows" is considered a romantic song? It always sounds like a song about despair to me.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby charmuska » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:42 am UTC

There's almost some kind of similarity between today's comic and today's C&H comic.

I personally read the last line as "Who are you trying to reassur-[e here?]"

Ah whatever. Who am I trying to convinc-
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Dobblesworth » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:53 am UTC

Awwwww, I really feel sorry for the guy :(
...
Nah, not really. Reducing your view of a relationship or a person down to basic three words such as "I love you" isn't always that effective. I suppose break-ups will always be hard for at least one member.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Lord Duffler » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:02 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:Has nobody considered the possibility that he actually loves her?

I agree tbh. He loves her, so they'll get through this as long as she loves him. I've been the guy in this conversation, and we ended up moving in together. Ofcourse I said "I love you" in a language where the phrase still has some meaning.....

English need a new word for love. One it would be punishable by death to use in a soap-opera, and moderate torture to use in a sitcom....

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Quixotess » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:07 am UTC

Lord Duffler wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:Has nobody considered the possibility that he actually loves her?

I agree tbh. He loves her, so they'll get through this as long as she loves him.

Erm...I don't think so. She has raised doubts about the relationship that he is unable or unwilling to address. He is also displaying a lack of willingness to communicate. This is not good. Even if he does love her, such a shitty approach to problem solving and bad communication shows that he's not able to handle their relationship.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Moo » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:09 am UTC

"I have serious concerns about our relationship that we need to discuss"
"Nah nah nah I can't hear you I love you I love you"
"Please talk to me like a grownup"
"I'm not going to communicate with you I love you I love you!"
"If you really cared you would think of my feelings as well as your own"
"I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you!"

Can you see how something's not right here?


Once again preview-ninja'd by Quixotess. :)
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Dr.HenryKillinger » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:11 am UTC

Erm...I don't think so. She has raised doubts about the relationship that he is unable or unwilling to address. He is also displaying a lack of willingness to communicate. This is not good. Even if he does love her, such a shitty approach to problem solving and bad communication shows that he's not able to handle their relationship.
My sentiments exactly.

This is not going to be a popular one. The actual strip isn't bad at all, imho. Makes sense. He's doing exactly what she says, reinforcing her conclusions.

But the alt-text just makes it weird. Because that's referring to when a person's doing that and even meaning it. Which is not what seems to be the case in the strip. That would offend people who've been in that position and meant it. In fact, that's sometimes been exactly what the situation calls for in some relationships, what the other partner is looking for, though obviously not the one in the strip.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Quixotess » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:15 am UTC

Moo wrote:Once again preview-ninja'd by Quixotess. :)
But yours is colorful. I'd have to check the manual to be certain, but I'm pretty sure that makes us even.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby sje46 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:29 am UTC

trefusius wrote:This reminds me: can anyone explain to me why "God Only Knows" is considered a romantic song? It always sounds like a song about despair to me.

I love that song.

So does Paul McCartney. He said that it's his favorite song of all time.

He loves her so much that if she left him, life would be pointless. SO it's both despairing and romantic.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby NThisStyle-10-6 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:55 am UTC

Has nobody considered the possibility that he actually loves her?
That's irrelevant. Love doesn't conquer all for everybody. There are cases where people feel that the emotions are not worth the situation, even if the obstacles could be considered minor by those who highly value the emotion. He may love her, but no matter what he does, even if she believes him, it might not be enough to make it worthwhile to her.


To sort of reiterate the last thing said here: It doesn't really matter whether or not he loves her. It matters that they don't love each other. Because if he loves her and she doesn't love him, they're wasting time that they could each be spending on finding someone who is a better fit/whose love is stronger/who is willing to work to fix problems/etc. One-sided relationships just don't work. And being on the side of "this is no fun anymore" while the other person is just ignoring all possible problems is more than mildly irksome. But, think what you will and do what you want. You (the world) are going to anyway.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby LittleChrist » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:33 am UTC

Today's XKCD is eerily similar to today's Explosm comic. I wonder why?

Edit: Even today's Ctrl+Alt+Del comic is somewhat similar. What is up with today and failing relationships! I count this as a very bad omen.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby hideki101 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:42 am UTC

this one seemed applicable as well.

EDIT: And QC is going through another relationship arc too. but that breakup has been ongoing. maybe July is bad for relationships?
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Eiphel » Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:49 am UTC

This has just happened to me, with me being in the girl's position. (I even have the long, dark hair.) I'm fairly sure that she thought she did love me, but the fact was she was self-destructive, and expected me to drop everything for her. The relationship was making me utterly miserable. The fact that she loved me did not mean that there wasn't a problem.

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Meh

Postby pegasos989 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:50 am UTC

Didn't like the comic at all.

It wasn't about math, computers, etc. It wasn't funny. It wasn't much romantic. It wasn't bittersweet.

It likely wasn't directly about Randal's life either.

It was just a "This kind of stuff happens" notation and alt-statement. And as someone who has been that guy there and gets emotinally extremely dependant on people around me, I don't see how to enjoy this comic.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby slakr » Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:52 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:
cyberia wrote:Wait...what?

I don't know if I understand your post but if you are querying the use of the dash at the end of the word, then, grammatically, it should probably be an ellipsis but I don't think there's any great meaning to it. It just signifies the sentence being cut-off by the other character's speech.

I think a dash is the correct punctuation mark to use here. That' s what's usually used for interruptions. My post was musing on whether he placed it in the best possible spot. Conclusion: no, but close.


That's why some people don't read poetry. The good stuff's got both soul-touching romance and bad grammar. It'd be enough to bring to brink of insanity anyone who dares to ignore meaning in favor of trivialities.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby ThemePark » Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:59 am UTC

I find it funny that so many people don't like it or think that the different parts don't play well together. I think they fit together perfectly, actually. "I'm nothing without you" is likely to be the guy's next line when he has drawn all meaning out of "I love you".

The comic makes perfect sense too. Girl doesn't see anything in the relationship. Guy deep down probably knows this, but still loves girl. Girl plus relationship is probably all guy has going for him in his life. Guy, while knowing the relationship is as good as over, clings to every last straw, and says "I love you" because, while meaning it, he refuses to accept that the relationship is over and so acts like a child who tries to "cover his ears" to drown out all the bad words.

Off-topic: Enneract, your avatar is awesome. :D
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby pegasos989 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:05 pm UTC

ThemePark wrote:The comic makes perfect sense too. Girl doesn't see anything in the relationship. Guy deep down probably knows this, but still loves girl. Girl plus relationship is probably all guy has going for him in his life. Guy, while knowing the relationship is as good as over, clings to every last straw, and says "I love you" because, while meaning it, he refuses to accept that the relationship is over and so acts like a child who tries to "cover his ears" to drown out all the bad words.


Yes. I understand that. That is exactly the part I've been in.

Just don't see what exactly should be funny or even bittersweet about it?

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:10 pm UTC

The sad thing is I have a friend just like this.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby soccerray » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:10 pm UTC

At first I thought the male was the one with "hand" in the relationship. It didn't seem like he actually loved her, but rather said the magic phrase to get her to quiet down and continue to have regular couple sex with him. Then again, the final panel makes him look so desperate that my previous guess seems impossible. Someone mentioned the title was a reference to something that I didn't pick up so I wouldn't be surprised if it was important to understanding the meaning of this comic.

Also, I just noticed how the girl is backing up and leaning back more every panel and the guy keeps reaching for her.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby sunami » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:17 pm UTC

Enneract wrote:I've been the guy in that comic, and I meant it :\

Ai, me too. However, I do look upon that unfortunate half hour of conversation and cringe every time I replay it. I was too immature for my age then.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby elnerdo » Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:31 pm UTC

Holy crap. This is so fitting. My girlfriend just broke up with me on Thursday night (I guess technically Friday). It was situation just like this comic. She essentially stopped loving me, and we stopped having fun together, but I clung to every last straw until she finally just told me "I don't love you. I want to break up."

:cry:

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby kriel » Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:41 pm UTC

<depressive>
Spoiler:
you know... this is sadly a mirror of my own relationship. especially since i have longer hair than my girlfriend. she's not exactly bald, though...

</depressive>

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Dr.HenryKillinger » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:06 pm UTC

ThemePark wrote:I find it funny that so many people don't like it or think that the different parts don't play well together. I think they fit together perfectly, actually. "I'm nothing without you" is likely to be the guy's next line when he has drawn all meaning out of "I love you".

The comic makes perfect sense too. Girl doesn't see anything in the relationship. Guy deep down probably knows this, but still loves girl. Girl plus relationship is probably all guy has going for him in his life. Guy, while knowing the relationship is as good as over, clings to every last straw, and says "I love you" because, while meaning it, he refuses to accept that the relationship is over and so acts like a child who tries to "cover his ears" to drown out all the bad words.
Except that's not funny. So that's why people are looking for alternate interpretations. The guy's likely clinging to the relationship for the sake of the relationship, not her, and doing exactly what she said, just going through the motions because he doesn't know what else to do.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby japanese_jew » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:21 pm UTC

The center cannot hold.

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Cytoplasm » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:23 pm UTC

kellsbells wrote:I hate it when the word "love" is treated like it overrules everything else that isn't so blatant. That's why I like this comic - just saying the word doesn't make it true if your actions don't back that up.


Yeah, I agree. I am about to be the girl in this situation. It's really sad when things fall apart (and if they fall apart more than once with the same person. But that's probably the 'head's up' that things aren't working :? )

I like ThemePark's view though. It's quite true.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Downward_Spiral » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:26 pm UTC

Don't get me wrong but the guy in this comic comes across to me as a complete loser. He is probably more in love with the fact that a girl, *any* girl is into him than in love with the girl herself. He is probably the kind of guy who calls her twenty times a day and leaves like 5 consecutive messages when she doesn't pick up. "Hey, it's me again... I know I just called three times and left a couple messages, but I was thinking maybe you were in the shower so you might pick up this time? Anyway, I love you, call me back when you see this!"

He should be more worried about being himself than being the hollywood romantic-comedy 'perfect gentleman', telling her what he thinks she wants to hear. Sadly pretty much the only way to understand this is by going through a situation like this comic :(

For God's sake stick figure dude, have some pride!

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Warped_Jack » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:30 pm UTC

:(

When you see it like that, I totally hope I haven't acted like that before...

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Red Hal » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:58 pm UTC

Been there, done that, got the emotional scars.

Putting aside for the moment the obvious - that Randall has absolutely no duty or obligation to post any comic on any topic whatsoever - one of the things I like about XKCD is its juxtaposition of humour and pathos. There are days I come here and smile wryly. Other days I laugh out loud (yes, thank you, I *can* read without moving my lips). Then there are days like today, when I read the comic and just think quietly for a moment about my own life and the realisation that others, too, have been to the painful places that my own life's journey has taken me. Why *shouldn't* a comic do that?
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby pinkgothic » Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:05 pm UTC

Lord Duffler wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:Has nobody considered the possibility that he actually loves her?

I agree tbh. He loves her, so they'll get through this as long as she loves him. I've been the guy in this conversation, and we ended up moving in together. Ofcourse I said "I love you" in a language where the phrase still has some meaning.....

English need a new word for love. One it would be punishable by death to use in a soap-opera, and moderate torture to use in a sitcom....


I'm actually surprised most people in the thread don't seem to agree. It's a bit of an obsessive love, granted, but I can see myself in that situation, at least hypothetically. I'm reading it with something of an incredulous tone. A bit like, "Wait, we are having fun, aren't we?", except, not in any way accusingly, just baffled and yearning. And instead of opening things up to that tedious and very unaffectionate debate, simply saying "I love you!" to make a point that this may just be all that matters.

It really all depends on the tone. I can see myself being the girl and stopping with the nitpick after those lines, but only if they're delivered convincingly.

Really, I do read the "I love you"s more as a "Breaking up seems a bit of an extreme cure for 'lack of fun'. We've got something wonderful going here, and I think we should fix things rather than just break up, because, you know... I love you," except a lot less overtly nitpicky/accusing. Potentially very cute and endearing.

Potentially.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby Alder » Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:09 pm UTC

Hmmm...

I don't know if there's a layer of irony that I'm missing, but this one didn't really appeal to me on any level. Oh well...
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby space_raptor » Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:40 pm UTC

It's funny how a lot of people can get such different things out of a comic made with simple stick figures, eh?

I think the point is that contrary to the song lyric, love is not all you need. You need more for yourself than just having this other person in your life.

My roommate is dating this girl and I've seen him actually physically wince when she calls. She's just dependent on him, and it kinda squeezes a lot of the other fun stuff out of his life. But they love each other, or have convinced themselves that they do.
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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby DeadCatX2 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:02 pm UTC

This seems familiar...

Bush: The US does not torture.

-- What about Dilawar the Afghani cab driver? (murdered at Bagram, a US base in Afghanistan) Khaled el-Masri? Maher Arar? (Canada gave this guy $10 million in restitution for being kidnapped and sent to Syria for torture by the US)

Bush: The US does not torture.

-- But Major General Taguba (who investigated Abu Ghraib) says "There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes"

Bush: The US does not torture. The US does not torture. The US does not torture.

-- But the New Yorker's Jane Mayer wrote in "The Dark Side" that the International Committee of the Red Cross gave the CIA a report last year indicating that the US has engaged in what is "categorically torture".

Bush: The interrogation methods used to question detainees have been lawful, safe and effective. The program has yielded valuable information that has helped the United States and other countries save lives and disrupt terrorist operations.

-- But Jack Cloonan, a former special agent for the FBI's Osama Bin Laden unit from '96 to '02, tells us that torture does not work, and that by treating prisoners humanely he was able to get information about al-Qaeda, including when OBL wakes up, what he would eat, that they were being trained to use airplanes as weapons, that there were two al-Qaeda operatives in the US in March 2000....

Bush: But we save lives! We disrupt terrorist operations! We're preventing another 9/11! We're getting valuable intelligence!

-- Then why were Guantanamo's top officials being briefed about torture techniques that the Chinese used to gain false confessions from Americans during the North Korean war?

Bush: But we save lives! We disrupt terrorist operations! We're preventing another 9/11! We're getting valuable intelligence!

-- Valuable intelligence like what you got by having Egypt torture Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi? That would be the lie that "Saddam and al-Qaeda are connected"

Bush: Saving lives! Disrupting terrorists! Preventing 9/11!

-- ...

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Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby libra » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:08 pm UTC

For once, Randall has been in my head. However, I'm not going to be held responsible for any psychiatric bills he may have incurred from that brief sojourn.

In the case of my romantic breakup, I was the one who did the breaking up when it became quite clear to me that my then soon-to-be-my-ex was pulling at the reins, testing me.

I think the stunned silence I got online when I told her "Then, from this moment forth, we are just good friends, and nothing more" really said it all. I don't think that my ex realised how I handle people who test me.

We chatted recently. Her life's the one that fell apart. A shame, really. We really were good together.

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MattisBel
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:17 pm UTC

Re: "Things fall apart" Discussion

Postby MattisBel » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:22 pm UTC

I think people abuse the words "I love you". They become automatic and lose meaning. Clinging to those words won't save a broken relationship. *is all super jaded about love*


I agree that many people abuse the words "I love you" and that they can become simple habit over enough time and their impact really lose their meaning. In a measure to prevent this, I've found that sometimes a breakdown can go a long way. "I love you.. and I want you to know that every time I say that means just as much as the first time I have said so and you really are that special to me".
Which isn't to say a breakdown could fix a breaking relationship but I do feel that when the most powerful words to convey your emotion lose their impact you've lost a powerful method to show you care to another person. While there are many gestures and ways to show you love someone, sometimes that simple "I love you" means the world but never should that be the last bastion of worth in a relationship.

Edit: Fixed some awkward wording.
Last edited by MattisBel on Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:29 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Who looks at a screwdriver and says "Ohhh This could be a little more sonic!"


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