1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

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1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby -KF- » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:14 am UTC

Image

Mouseover: Don't fire until you see through the fragile facade to the human being within.

Kinda hoping Tricorn Guy will be a recurring character.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:16 am UTC

Don't Ask, Don't Kiss And Tell

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby SoaG » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:18 am UTC

When the 2 variations of 'historical fiction' marketed to men and women collide...

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby meat.paste » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:36 am UTC

Ah yes. Romantic War Porn.

His lips trembled longingly as the nerve gas began to effect him. He thrust the atropine pen deep within himself over and over again and felt relief as the burning fluid was released within him, slowly allowing his mind to regain itself after a long bout of painful, contractive ecstasy.
Huh? What?

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby iChef » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:38 am UTC

As it seems this a revolutionary war battle and the people in the comic are using muskets that bullet in panel 4 shouldn't be elongated and it shouldn't be spinning. Shouldn't it be a sphere traveling in either a fairly straight line (if they are at close range) or a slight arc. The mini ball and the rifle are still a few decades out at this point.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby mconor » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:41 am UTC

I've never found lips to be sweet in any way. Is that a thing?

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby qvasi » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:54 am UTC

iChef wrote:As it seems this a revolutionary war battle and the people in the comic are using muskets that bullet in panel 4 shouldn't be elongated and it shouldn't be spinning. Shouldn't it be a sphere traveling in either a fairly straight line (if they are at close range) or a slight arc. The mini ball and the rifle are still a few decades out at this point.

Could not the elongation of the bullet be motion blur, and the speed line indicates random tumbling rather than rifle induced spin?

Personally I find it stranger that they're hiding behind cover (indicating fairly modern/guerilla warfare) while being given a pep talk suitable for the old school "stand up straight in bright red uniforms and fire at each other"-tactic. =)

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Theamazingjex » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:57 am UTC

-KF- wrote:[url=http://xkcd.com/1041]Mouseover: Don't fire until you see through the fragile facade to the human being within.


If we could somehow devise a gun trigger that would not activate outside this range of empathy, the problem of war would be solved once and for all.

qvasi wrote:Personally I find it stranger that they're hiding behind cover (indicating fairly modern/guerilla warfare) while being given a pep talk suitable for the old school "stand up straight in bright red uniforms and fire at each other"-tactic. =)


The minute men were entrenching prior to the battle of bunker hills so this seems legit to me.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby scotty2haughty » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:00 am UTC

Revolutionary War? Not exactly current.............. :)
/s/

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby glasnt » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:07 am UTC

The sweetness of their ups?

I do swoon for a decent uninterrupted power supply...

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:10 am UTC

Theamazingjex wrote:
-KF- wrote:[url=http://xkcd.com/1041]Mouseover: Don't fire until you see through the fragile facade to the human being within.


If we could somehow devise a gun trigger that would not activate outside this range of empathy, the problem of war would be solved once and for all.


Only if both sides consistently used it.

If you could get them to do that, you could get them to avoid battle in the first place.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Cal Engime » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:13 am UTC

As I'm sure a lot of foreign readers will be coming to this thread to find out what this is a reference to, "don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" is an order famously given at the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolution. It's become something of a cliché, and most people are probably not aware of its source.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Black Dynamite » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:36 am UTC

meat.paste wrote:Ah yes. Romantic War Porn.

His lips trembled longingly as the nerve gas began to effect him. He thrust the atropine pen deep within himself over and over again and felt relief as the burning fluid was released within him, slowly allowing his mind to regain itself after a long bout of painful, contractive ecstasy.

I'll take twenty!
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Linux0s » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:41 am UTC

Don't fire pepper spray unless it's in the whites of their eyes.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:55 am UTC

-KF- wrote:Kinda hoping Tricorn Guy will be a recurring character.


You mean Colonel Prescott? Yes, he would be awesome to have.
_______________________


Yeah, to non-Americans unawares of the Battle of Bunker and Breed's Hill, the phrase "Don't Fire Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes" was an order given by one of the American militia commanders (I attributed it to Prescott above). While the saying was not original at the battle, it has become historic in America from that battle.

It was given because the rebel militias lacked sufficient ammunition (one of the reasons why the battle was lost) and so they warned the soldiers not to fire until basically they could guaruntee the bullet would have cause a wound/kill.



I was on Bunker hill two days ago. You can still feel the hot passion eminating from the battlefield after all these years... except everyone who's there now is old and a bit dull.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby krogoth » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:56 am UTC

Unfortunatly they are fighting zombies...
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby speedocowboy » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:59 am UTC

May I point Randall to this excellent comic: http://xkcd.com/1015/

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:01 am UTC

qvasi wrote:
iChef wrote:As it seems this a revolutionary war battle and the people in the comic are using muskets that bullet in panel 4 shouldn't be elongated and it shouldn't be spinning. Shouldn't it be a sphere traveling in either a fairly straight line (if they are at close range) or a slight arc. The mini ball and the rifle are still a few decades out at this point.

Could not the elongation of the bullet be motion blur, and the speed line indicates random tumbling rather than rifle induced spin?

Personally I find it stranger that they're hiding behind cover (indicating fairly modern/guerilla warfare) while being given a pep talk suitable for the old school "stand up straight in bright red uniforms and fire at each other"-tactic. =)

The redcoats were known for the "oldschool" tactic you described, while the American soldiers abandoned it for the sake of their overall strategy during the Revolutionary War -- a war of attrition, wearing down the redcoats as much as possible. In fact, the battle that the whites-of-their-eyes line comes from (as I recall) was the Battle of Bunker Hill, which is a great example of this strategy at work. Though the Americans technically lost the battle and the redcoats took control of Bunker Hill, redcoat casualties of the battle were far greater than American casualties, so it served as a pseudo-victory.
The Americans then retreated into a heavily wooded area nearby and the redcoats followed after them. While the redcoats continued their "march in straight orderly lines in the open with bright red uniforms" routine, the Americans hid among the trees in their much less noticeable navy blue and gray uniforms, popping out easily fire on the tactically vulnerable redcoats.
So yeah, the Americans in the comic hiding behind cover isn't as strange as it seems.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby El Cucui » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:12 am UTC

My great-great-great-great-great-great-etc. grandpa, General Israel Putnam, was they guy in charge on Bunker Hill (actually the battle was on Breed's Hill) who said this line. He wasn't this romanitc about it though.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby katindahatt » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:22 am UTC

No, I'm pretty sure this is the usual 2012 crew in the strip. It's the guy in the black hat doing the shooting.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Proginoskes » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:24 am UTC

"An army of lovers can be beaten." -- Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

"History is made by men who do not consider the consequences of their actions." -- Robert Anton Wilson, The Historical Illuminatus! Trilogy

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby BlitzGirl » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:57 am UTC

katindahatt wrote:No, I'm pretty sure this is the usual 2012 crew in the strip. It's the guy in the black hat doing the shooting.

That was my actual initial impression - these people are part of a modern-day reenactment. I think the long hair of the one on the right threw me off, since long hair generally = female in xkcd. But that looks like a real projectile in the last panel, so I think the hair is just an attempt to mimic Revolutionary War-era styling and that's a male soldier. Or a woman dressed up as a male soldier. Or I'm really overthinking this.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:24 am UTC

is this the first time we've seen a man with longish hair, or a stick figure with longish hair that's definitely supposed to be a man?

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby teelo » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:31 am UTC


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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby brandtsound » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:36 am UTC

glasnt wrote:The sweetness of their ups?
I do swoon for a decent uninterrupted power supply...


I read that the first time too, and have to agree- I think you can love your UPS- esp. when it saves your project from total loss.

-KF- wrote: Kinda hoping Tricorn Guy will be a recurring character.


Though I wonder what kind of tension he might cause with Black Hat guy.

I liked this one, though, technically I think the muskets/rifles should be longer. Blackpowder rifles are really long.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Iranon » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:42 am UTC

Given the rate of (undeclared) female soldiers in that conflict, I don't think there is any safe sex assumption to be made here.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:59 am UTC

Cal Engime wrote:As I'm sure a lot of foreign readers will be coming to this thread to find out what this is a reference to, "don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" is an order famously given at the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolution. It's become something of a cliché, and most people are probably not aware of its source.

Like many people my age, I learned about the Battle of Bunker Hill from watching Mr Peabody and Sherman on the old Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. That's how I know that the "whites of their eyes" order was undermined when the advancing British were issued dark sunglasses.

(It was only later that I found out that the Battle of Bunker Hill wasn't fought on Bunker Hill at all, but on nearby Breed's Hill. I guess the light was better.)

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Antior » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:07 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:I was on Bunker hill two days ago. You can still feel the hot passion eminating from the battlefield after all these years... except everyone who's there now is old and a bit dull.


I truly hope you're saying that as a continuation of the joke in the comic and you don't actually mean that. I've seen a number of WWI and WWII battle sites here in Europe. I don't believe in 'ghosts', so I think anything you can 'feel' in such a place is simply stuff you imagine to be there because you read about the history of that place. But all I imagine when I visit such a place is hopelessness, disease, bloodshed, pain and death. No 'hot passion'.

'Hot passion' is what's supposed to happen in the bedroom. Or in the room to the left of comic 1039.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Kaijyuu » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:08 am UTC

Dunno why but I found the alt text poignant. It's like, the opposite of dehumanizing the enemy.


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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby madjo » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:11 am UTC

Iranon wrote:Given the rate of (undeclared) female soldiers in that conflict, I don't think there is any safe sex assumption to be made here.

I'm pretty sure that if there were condoms in that era, they were knitted.

So you're right, it's safe to assume that there was no safe sex.
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby SirMustapha » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:34 am UTC

Sex, lawl.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:49 am UTC

Iranon wrote:Given the rate of (undeclared) female soldiers in that conflict, I don't think there is any safe sex assumption to be made here.


Given the exorbitant pregnancy rates among today's soldiers, I don't think we can make that assumption now either.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:54 am UTC

Iranon wrote:Given the rate of (undeclared) female soldiers in that conflict, I don't think there is any safe sex assumption to be made here.


you don't think the beard kind of gives it away?

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby Iranon » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:05 pm UTC

Pssst. Beard, madam?
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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:11 pm UTC

Having looked at the strip again, what I originally assumed was beard could just be hair.

girlorbeard.PNG
girlorbeard.PNG (8.13 KiB) Viewed 12550 times


also, as for females in the military back then, I hadn't thought of that.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby cperkins » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:22 pm UTC

There is an awesome Quilmes ad that is themed very similarly to this cartoon. It's in Spanish, but can be understood even if you don't speak the language:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W62dc9Q-ZYg

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby DarCK » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:23 pm UTC

I'm not sure which bothers me more those that need to dehumanize their enemy to kill them or those that don't.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby radtea » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:40 pm UTC

Proginoskes wrote:"An army of lovers can be beaten." -- Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

"History is made by men who do not consider the consequences of their actions." -- Robert Anton Wilson, The Historical Illuminatus! Trilogy


So can an army of haters, so Pynchon's claim is a long way from interesting.

Wilson's claim translates as, "History is made by idiots." It explains a lot really, particularly the frequency with which humans attempt to solve problems of scarcity by creating more of it, which is what mass organized killing does as its first, primary, most certain, predictable and reliable effect. Some episodes of mass organized killing--which is in economic terms a dead weight loss, adding nothing to the productive economy--have now and then resulted in settlements that are less awful than the situation that preceded them, but this is so rare that no one who isn't thinking entirely with their emotions would take it seriously as a rational justification for mass organized killing in the future.

"Let's divert resources from productive activity into building machines that kill and train our young men to kill and then engage in mass organized killing that will certainly create untold misery in the hope that something randomly good will come out of it!" is not exactly an inspiring rallying cry for anyone who is more rational than a hormone-addled teenage girl.

War will not be stopped by waiting to shoot until you can see the fragile human being within. War will stop when we start laughing our heads off when some idiot suggests it, responding that the Soviet Union was defeated without war, China will be defeated without war, Iran is so busy defeating itself that the threat of war could only prolong the Iranian people's agony, and that we have better things to do with our lives than engage in mass organized killing.

War is the least efficient, least effective means of solving any human problem. People who advocate it are the public policy equivalent of quacks who promote crystals and energy therapy for cancer, and should be treated with the same derision, however passionate and sincere their irrational and dangerous beliefs are.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby jonadab » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:56 pm UTC

I could be wrong (I'm not exactly a weapons expert), but I *think* the weapons themselves in the comic are shaped wrong to be flint-lock muskets from the American Revolution era. So yeah, it's probably a (weird) re-enactment group we're seeing here, not the original battle.

Also: "Don't fire unless fired upon; but if they mean to have war, let it begin here." (Same war; different battle.)

And no, guns that refuse to fire until you see through your victim's fragile facade to the human being within would not prevent war. They might, however, make domestic disputes more interesting.

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Re: 1041: "Whites of Their Eyes"

Postby TylerGriffiths » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:19 pm UTC

meat.paste wrote:Ah yes. Romantic War Porn.

His lips trembled longingly as the nerve gas began to effect him. He thrust the atropine pen deep within himself over and over again and felt relief as the burning fluid was released within him, slowly allowing his mind to regain itself after a long bout of painful, contractive ecstasy.


I think you mean affect...


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