0817: "Mutual"

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NotAllThere
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby NotAllThere » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:22 am UTC

F3ngles wrote:I like it - somewhat Escher-esque.

On a side note, maybe somwhere sitting on a tall wooden table, is a snowglobe that is our universe. There sits a man on a tall wooden stool beside said table whose sole purpose is to stare at the snowglobe and keep our universe in existence. One day, he will blink, and in that split-second our universe will end and cease to be.


There is yet another theory that says this has already happened...

"A universe that needed someone to observe it in order to collapse it into existence would be a pretty sorry universe indeed." A cooler universe would be one that just needs someone to think about it.
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby psyche » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:58 am UTC

This seems to be somewhat a reference to the kabala, where the pure, formless existance started the process of creation just to experience itself.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Mjauti » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:11 am UTC

Mr. Burke wrote:My, a haven't-gotten-over-Megan-yet comic. It's only been, like, three comics since the last one, ain't it?


As far as I know, noone here has ever been able to prove that Megan even exists outside the xkcd comic world...

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby jozwa » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:11 am UTC

I hope the people who praised the diode comic aren't disliking this, because this one is even wittier and simpler. Just a little random paradox/recursion thing. Let's see... it's like when you watch old home movies of you watching TV.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Lithophagist » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:13 am UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blivet

First thing that came to mind here. Seemingly provocative but completely meaningless on closer inspection.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:14 am UTC

J L wrote:Sorry, I don't get it. It's lovely, but how does the title-text relate to the picture?

So a universe doesn't need someone to observe it in order for it to exist.
And both of them imagine the other imagening them.
So overall that means, although they cannot observe if there is really someone imagening them, it is well possible?

I think the connection is supposed to be: if things need to be observed in order for them to exist, then who is observing the observer who is observing reality into existence? One of the other people he's observing into reality? Then can't we just as well say that person is observing reality into existence, and the first person is just there to observe the observer into existence so he can observe the rest of reality (including the first guy) into existence?

If things needs to be observer in order for them to exist, doesn't that imply that we're all mutually observing each other into existence? We are all each other's dreams...
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby pegasos989 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:34 am UTC

I am in the "insipid" camp here. The concept is fine but I think that Randall has done it several times before and this is quite bland and boring redo. It somehow lacks the Randalesque feeling: It seems like it could be a Randall-inspired guest strip by some forum-goer (good imitation but lacking originality and cleverness). The alt text was pretty witty, though. I liked that one.

Actually, I like the Ying & Yang redo in this thread a lot more than the original strip. As Ying & Yang represent the eternally flowing sides that are always different but always in balance, it adds a lot to this strip. Kudos for that.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby J L » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:45 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J L wrote:Sorry, I don't get it. It's lovely, but how does the title-text relate to the picture?

So a universe doesn't need someone to observe it in order for it to exist.
And both of them imagine the other imagening them.
So overall that means, although they cannot observe if there is really someone imagening them, it is well possible?

I think the connection is supposed to be: if things need to be observed in order for them to exist, then who is observing the observer who is observing reality into existence? One of the other people he's observing into reality? Then can't we just as well say that person is observing reality into existence, and the first person is just there to observe the observer into existence so he can observe the rest of reality (including the first guy) into existence?

If things needs to be observer in order for them to exist, doesn't that imply that we're all mutually observing each other into existence? We are all each other's dreams...


Which would make the universe a sad and beautiful place indeed. Thanks for your thoughts! I think that was pretty much what I've been looking for.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby purpleriot » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:21 am UTC

J L wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
J L wrote:Sorry, I don't get it. It's lovely, but how does the title-text relate to the picture?

So a universe doesn't need someone to observe it in order for it to exist.
And both of them imagine the other imagening them.
So overall that means, although they cannot observe if there is really someone imagening them, it is well possible?

I think the connection is supposed to be: if things need to be observed in order for them to exist, then who is observing the observer who is observing reality into existence? One of the other people he's observing into reality? Then can't we just as well say that person is observing reality into existence, and the first person is just there to observe the observer into existence so he can observe the rest of reality (including the first guy) into existence?

If things needs to be observer in order for them to exist, doesn't that imply that we're all mutually observing each other into existence? We are all each other's dreams...


Which would make the universe a sad and beautiful place indeed. Thanks for your thoughts! I think that was pretty much what I've been looking for.


Also, the "collapsing" is a destructive idea; it's like saying that the pain (analogous to the collapse) felt by each person in desiring the other to think of them is the proof of their existence.


Anyway, it's a shame so many people are complaining about this comic. He's used similar themes before, but this is particularly good in its simplicity, so essentially it's as deep as you want it to be. And the alt text adds something too. Because it's so sparse and subtle, I felt I had to come here for the first time because I was curious what meaning people took from it.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby rdnetto » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:45 am UTC

Mr. Burke wrote:My, a haven't-gotten-over-Megan-yet comic. It's only been, like, three comics since the last one, ain't it?

Hush, you. Some of us like these comics - xkcd usually has intellectual depth, but it rarely has emotional depth.

Pfhorrest wrote:
J L wrote:Sorry, I don't get it. It's lovely, but how does the title-text relate to the picture?

So a universe doesn't need someone to observe it in order for it to exist.
And both of them imagine the other imagening them.
So overall that means, although they cannot observe if there is really someone imagening them, it is well possible?

I think the connection is supposed to be: if things need to be observed in order for them to exist, then who is observing the observer who is observing reality into existence? One of the other people he's observing into reality? Then can't we just as well say that person is observing reality into existence, and the first person is just there to observe the observer into existence so he can observe the rest of reality (including the first guy) into existence?

If things needs to be observer in order for them to exist, doesn't that imply that we're all mutually observing each other into existence? We are all each other's dreams...


What about people who are their own dreams?

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Dataflashsabot » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:47 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:Image

Completely off-topic, but I must know: Who drew this?! I see it everywhere.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Heavenslaughing » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:01 pm UTC

shashwat986 wrote:Image

Just made it. This was the first thing that popped into my head..


Shashwat986: Mind if I nab this and use it as an avatar? I find it quite fun.

In some ways, this comic answers some recent discussion that every XKCD should be funny. Most are, and some aren't. This one works more like a Zen koan. It's not a philosophically novel concept, and it doesn't have to be. It's a simple, thoughtful image that captures a pleasant set of questions. Earth-shatteringly funny or thought-provoking? No, but it's an enjoyable daily XKCD.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Vaskafdt » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:06 pm UTC

Dataflashsabot wrote:
Ghavrel wrote:Image

Completely off-topic, but I must know: Who drew this?! I see it everywhere.



not me.

not my favorite comic.. I usually only like the sad once if they have a better joke in them somewhere.. and this title text didn't really string it together for me.

too my tastes I always liked about 55% of the comics by Mr Monroe, and given that, I don't really see any decline in quality.

P.S. after reading the comment that compares it to MC Escher's work, (I haven't seen it myself at the first look) it does seem a bit more clever to me.
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby pegasos989 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:08 pm UTC

Dataflashsabot wrote:
Ghavrel wrote:Image

Completely off-topic, but I must know: Who drew this?! I see it everywhere.


Well, it is one of the most common reaction images so I doubt you can track it to its source (You could try using TinEye, if you really care about it, though). I mostly consider it to in the same category as the long neck reaction guy.
Image

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby ModestMouse » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:41 pm UTC

This one made me think a little. I think this is related to the Diode cartoon.

Her life (aka her universe), his life (aka his universe). Two universes intermingling, aware of each other, so each universe is apparent and real to the other. If they stop intermingling and go their seperate ways (two universes avoiding collision), then the universes will become unaware of each other and cease to exist. The two universes may continue to intermingle and live in harmony. The two universes may collide and destroy each other. In which case, it is probably better that the two universes diverted collision by avoiding each other.

I just pulled this out of my bum :lol:

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby bfishly » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:47 pm UTC

Like atleast one other here, I have read near every comic on this site, and seen some of the truly stunning work. I'm not what it was though, but today's drew me to the forum. What an incredibly applicable and versatile concept that was been represented so cleanly. It made me think of every moment of loneliness, every moment of love, religion, every partner I've ever had and every one that I've desired. I think it really summarises the concept of relationship and connection with others and ideals. It also is strangely applicable to the iterative shaping of perception which is formed through personal connections on a website such as this one. Everyone you know here (for the most part) exists as a whole person in your mind, occasionally receiving touches from the perception itself to shape the ceramist's work. That last one was a tosh abstract....


So hello all, nice to meet you!

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby PedroSanchez » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:57 pm UTC

I liked this comic, mostly because of the mouse over text. It seems to me that he is right on the money with it, and I would like to know where he got the inspiration for it. Collapsing into existence relates to Quantum Mechanics, a wavefunction is collapsed when it is observed, but doesn't really exist ( or have a form ) until this happens, so if it is left unobserved, it doesn't really exist. The comic seems to relate this idea, that we need her to "observe" us, to make us feel like we exist, but knowing this we feel very sorry, just like the universe must, constantly searching for that interaction in order to validate ourselves.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby xkre » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:42 pm UTC

Long time reader too. Had to register for this one.

The comic by itself isn't too interesting (to me) but what got me thinking was the title text.
As far as I know it's a reference to quantum mechanics or that's the first thing I thought of and none of the other explanations really convinced me.
Think about Schrödinger's cat, the cat is both dead and alive until observed. The state collapses into either of these cases when you observe the cat.
Reading deeper into those articles you'll probably also find some stuff talking about this in a bigger scale like universes and how quantum mechanics and wave function collapse applies to them.
Anyway the title text still doesn't make any sense to me. I don't really get what it's trying to depict and what's so sorry about it and also how it relates to the comic.
I'm still kind of hoping to see someone explain it so that it makes sense for me too.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Saint_Thomas » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:07 pm UTC

I've been reading XKCD for years, and I felt like I finally had to register after the recent spree of comics, particularly this one.

What.The.Hell? Firstly, we've now had 4 comics in a row without a joke - secondly, this particular one is either severly egotistical or severly depressing (and not in a funny PFSC way). Both are pretty poor topics. This comic literally even made the wonderful people at XKCD Explained give up. I think it made my brain give up.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby gnomeza » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:09 pm UTC

Soooo.

Gödel, Munroe, Bach: A measureless golden braid?

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby ideit » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:09 pm UTC

NotAllThere wrote:
F3ngles wrote:I like it - somewhat Escher-esque.

On a side note, maybe somwhere sitting on a tall wooden table, is a snowglobe that is our universe. There sits a man on a tall wooden stool beside said table whose sole purpose is to stare at the snowglobe and keep our universe in existence. One day, he will blink, and in that split-second our universe will end and cease to be.


There is yet another theory that says this has already happened...

"A universe that needed someone to observe it in order to collapse it into existence would be a pretty sorry universe indeed." A cooler universe would be one that just needs someone to think about it.


An even cooler universe would be one that could observe itself into existence

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Sofie » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:15 pm UTC

Aww <3

This is the kind of comic that made me love xkcd.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby NotAllThere » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:21 pm UTC

ideit wrote:
NotAllThere wrote:
F3ngles wrote:I like it - somewhat Escher-esque.

On a side note, maybe somwhere sitting on a tall wooden table, is a snowglobe that is our universe. There sits a man on a tall wooden stool beside said table whose sole purpose is to stare at the snowglobe and keep our universe in existence. One day, he will blink, and in that split-second our universe will end and cease to be.


There is yet another theory that says this has already happened...

"A universe that needed someone to observe it in order to collapse it into existence would be a pretty sorry universe indeed." A cooler universe would be one that just needs someone to think about it.


An even cooler universe would be one that could observe itself into existence


However, if the universe gets too cool, we get heat death. Which is uncool. Hopefully, however, uncool enough to reach LHC temperatures and start it all over again!
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Felstaff » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:39 pm UTC

Image
In a controversial new theory, "The Big Bacon" AKA "The Big Banger", scientists suggests the universe began when a non-entity thought about bacon, and the imaginary bacon reciprocated. Certain scientists have stated "it's bacon all the way down". Philosophers, such as Francis Bacon, surmised that a pork-based Utopia would result as an offshoot of the sizzling meat product's ability to create a universe simply by thinking about a guy coincidentally thinking about bacon. As a result, they are thinking of remaking Oliver Sacks film "Abaconings", starring Kevin Bacon and Hamuel L. Jackson
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Mazzula » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:54 pm UTC

"A universe that needed someone to observe it in order to collapse it into existence would be a pretty sorry universe indeed."

What does the word "exist" mean, if it is divorced from the idea of the possibility of being experienced?

Suppose I describe two apples which are alike in every way, except that one of them does not exist. What is the difference between these two apples? I think it has to do with the possibility of one of them being experienced.

I don't think there is any objective test that reality exists, the only test is the subjective one. And even that doesn't demonstrate a universe that exists apart from the experience of it, that is it doesn't show that the universe exists as a separate object.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby toothbrush0 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:06 pm UTC

I too had to register when I saw the comments here. If you ask me you're reading too much meaning into this. He's probably just using Agda where mutual denotes mutually recursive data types. My hypothesis seems incorrect when reading the alt-text though, since Agda isn't lazy; then the universe would have to be observed before being evaluated into existence... :P

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Wnderer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:30 pm UTC

This seems to relate to thread in the science forum 'Regarding the Quantum Mechanics of Electrons', where we were discussing the collapse of the electrons wave function in the double slit experiment.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby squall_line » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:04 pm UTC

xkre wrote:Anyway the title text still doesn't make any sense to me. I don't really get what it's trying to depict and what's so sorry about it and also how it relates to the comic.
I'm still kind of hoping to see someone explain it so that it makes sense for me too.


This post sums it up in a way that I agree with:

Canned Soul wrote:This comic reminds me of the word "Mamihlapinatapai" of the Yaghan language, considered the "most succint word" by the Guinness Book of World Records. The word describes "a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that they both desire but which neither one wants to start."


That is, the guy is thinking about the girl, and longing for her. The girl is thinking about the guy, and longing for him. However, since they're only thinking about each other, they don't know that the other is thinking about them, too. It takes an outside observer, like us, the readers, to see that they have a mutual thought connection, which can then be used to bring them together into a relationship.

Another way to fix it, of course, is for one of the two of them to admit that they (still) have feelings for the other one.

This is one of the many reasons I stress open communication in my relationships, and constantly try to impress the importance of communication to my gf. Last week, what started as an e-mail exchange leading to a mutual breakup ended up becoming a lengthy phone conversation that got a lot of things out in the open between the two of us, and put the breakup aside. Nobody is a mind-reader, and if everyone relies on mind-reading as a form of "communication", bad things are sure to happen.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby xkre » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC

squall_line wrote:That is, the guy is thinking about the girl, and longing for her. The girl is thinking about the guy, and longing for him. However, since they're only thinking about each other, they don't know that the other is thinking about them, too. It takes an outside observer, like us, the readers, to see that they have a mutual thought connection, which can then be used to bring them together into a relationship.

Another way to fix it, of course, is for one of the two of them to admit that they (still) have feelings for the other one.

This is one of the many reasons I stress open communication in my relationships, and constantly try to impress the importance of communication to my gf. Last week, what started as an e-mail exchange leading to a mutual breakup ended up becoming a lengthy phone conversation that got a lot of things out in the open between the two of us, and put the breakup aside. Nobody is a mind-reader, and if everyone relies on mind-reading as a form of "communication", bad things are sure to happen.

So, because they aren't open about their feelings, the other won't observe their universe and it will never collapse in to existance and that's what's sad?

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Mooglefrooglian » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:43 pm UTC

A repeat? The first one (girl on the ship) was awesome, but this one is really stale after that. Kinda sad.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Sprocket » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:46 pm UTC

When I hear the word "mutual" in the context of a relationship I assume it means "mutual break up" so when I first saw this comic it seemed to me to be about the way two people hurt and miss eachother and feel alone even when they claim out loud "this break up is mutual." Two people thought of and then CAUSED eachother to be sad and lonely thinking about eachother.
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Felstaff » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:47 pm UTC

I've already proved it's about bacon!
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby SirMustapha » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:49 pm UTC

Saint_Thomas wrote:This comic literally even made the wonderful people at XKCD Explained give up.


I came here to mention exactly that: THIS COMIC BROKE XKCDEXPLAINED.

Also, the M. C. Escher comparison made it even worse: This is like Escher, but ANGSTY!!. Urgh.

Randall, for God's sake: get an editor. It won't do you any harm. Even being a well known detractor, I am seriously shocked at how bad this is.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby StNowhere » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

I have to admit to being honestly surprised when I came to this thread and found people actually cheering this comic. "Insipid" is doing this comic a favor; to me, "insipid" implies at least some thought went into it, although that thought is unoriginal and lacking anything remotely interesting. To me, this comic simply screams LAZY; instead of what I'd like to see - a comic that presents a certain viewpoint but allows the viewer to come to their own conclusions as to nuance - this one simply forces you to invent its meaning. This comic works on multiple levels because it starts on none of them.

Now, Felstaff's bacon version ... that, I can get behind.
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Dave » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

Mooglefrooglian wrote:A repeat? The first one (girl on the ship) was awesome, but this one is really stale after that. Kinda sad.


Considering the amount of debate it has provoked over what it means, 'stale' isn't a word I'd agree with.

In fact, while I think the comic itself is decent enough, it's all the interpretations and explanations in here that I've enjoyed most about it.

XKCD isn't always laugh-out-loud funny, and never has been; Just look at the very first comic.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Dangermouse » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:23 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:
Image
In a controversial new theory, "The Big Bacon" AKA "The Big Banger", scientists suggests the universe began when a non-entity thought about bacon, and the imaginary bacon reciprocated. Certain scientists have stated "it's bacon all the way down". Philosophers, such as Francis Bacon, surmised that a pork-based Utopia would result as an offshoot of the sizzling meat product's ability to create a universe simply by thinking about a guy coincidentally thinking about bacon. As a result, they are thinking of remaking Oliver Sacks film "Abaconings", starring Kevin Bacon and Hamuel L. Jackson


Awesome!

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Jourdy289 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

trent kersting wrote:First Post... I've read this comic regularly since around 100, and this comic finally forced me to post.

Simply awesome. My favorite comic yet.


Same here, I very rarely come here, but this... This is art.
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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby Capn Squid » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:48 pm UTC

Randal needs to do a comic about a critic trying desperately to come up with an original way of complaining about something not being original.

"I realize that this Almond Fudge Swirl ice cream is absolutely free, and that I'm completely free to enjoy it or walk away from it as I like, but I feel the need to complain once again that this flavor is similar to, but not as good as, the Rocky Road free ice cream that I enjoyed last year."

But that would mean giving them undeserved attention, so never mind.

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Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby StNowhere » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:04 pm UTC

Capn Squid wrote:Randal needs to do a comic about a critic trying desperately to come up with an original way of complaining about something not being original.

"I realize that this Almond Fudge Swirl ice cream is absolutely free, and that I'm completely free to enjoy it or walk away from it as I like, but I feel the need to complain once again that this flavor is similar to, but not as good as, the Rocky Road free ice cream that I enjoyed last year."

But that would mean giving them undeserved attention, so never mind.


I think I find myself suddenly understanding SirMustapha just a little better. Only a little, mind you. :D

Are you suggesting that XKCD brooks no criticism? That the only valid opinions are praise? I've enjoyed XKCD for some time now; read every comic at least five times (even the ones with the red spiders or the guy in the barrel, that have nothing to do with anything other than Randall emptying an old notebook of drawings), found some that made me laugh and others that made me think. Which makes it all the more depressing when I find one that does neither. The fact that it's freely presented makes no difference; I didn't come because I expected to be disappointed and simply wanted to complain. I came because I had hoped for an example of what I know Randall is capable of doing, and instead, I found something that (admittedly, in my opinion) was egregiously bad. Is that opinion invalid simply because it doesn't agree with the praising masses? Am I trolling a forum simply because I decided to voice my displeasure in what is, ostensibly, a forum for discussion of individual comics, not simply parroting of kudos?

I'm not walking away from XKCD because I find one comic to be terrible. Nor will I do so because I've found several recent comics to be below the par that I've seen previously. The reason: I expect that this is just a period. Maybe there's some trouble that we don't know about that limits the effort Randall has been able to put forth. Maybe he's hit a wall with ideas - it happens to the best of writers. Maybe he's just lost his touch; I don't know. What I do know is that the day I come here ready to be disappointed and find myself vindicated, you won't see me complain, because I'll be long gone. Until then, I will keep up the hope that it will improve, and continue to assert when it doesn't, regardless of whether or not you would rather not see the complaint.

fr00t
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:06 am UTC

Re: 0817: "Mutual"

Postby fr00t » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

I like it. He may have done variations on this before but it is a common human experience that is both humorous and sad. The art is aesthetically pleasing; the alt-text is related, lighter, and appeals to the nerdy side of the reader.


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