1079: "United Shapes"

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pyronius
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby pyronius » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:23 pm UTC

I'm a little bit annoyed by this one because the second i saw it i said to myself "PLEASE don't go with the obvious! it's overdone!"

but no. Louisiana is a boot. again...

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby natedogg787 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:07 pm UTC

That's fantastic! It is interesting that West Virginia is a frog. I totally see it now! Usually we say it looks like someone flipping you off (with their thumb stuck out).

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

Yoduh wrote:I think it's enjoyable because while everyone has at one time or another imagined a few states to look like certain objects I think this is the first time someone thought of objects for ALL states and then made such a well drawn visual representation of the idea. It's not only enjoyable for its artistry but also the further brainstorming that will occur when most people look at it and start thinking of their own ideas of what states look like to them.
While some may seem kind of lame or pointless I personally think the majority are pretty clever and well done. I also think at least most of the objects chosen reflect something about the state in some way, further inviting the viewer to think and ponder each object. For example, to you, North Carolina is just flowers, to me, being a native of NC practically my entire life, I can tell you that Randall chose dogwood flowers on purpose (they're the state flower). I think someone else mentioned that california's motto is "eureka" the same as a brand of vacuum...


it irks me because I can't tell how many of the jokes I'm missing. The eureka vacuum cleaner for CA, sure. The elephant tea party for MA, I guess, it kind of fits backward. I see a few that look obviously clever.

Virginia? Virginia has the "Old Dominion" motto, if it was a dimetrodon that would almost pun, but it's a stegosaurus. They try to maintain a reputation for stodgy conservatism, I can sort of see it, but am I missing something clever?

NC looks like a bunch of dogwood flowers wrapped in paper, or maybe in a cornucopia. If I look at i a little different it could be a print dogwood dress, revealing a pair of shapely legs tapering to improbably small feet. Maybe there's a real clever joke I missed. Tarheel state? Probably not.

West Virgnia frog? WV has 14 frog species. I don't right off know of a special connection.

Minnesota? A stack of $20 bills. Many somethings? I didn't get it.

I don't want to spend too much time looking for stuff, and I don't know how many great jokes I missed. Maybe they aren't there. Frustrating.
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby StCredZero » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:23 pm UTC

I always thought Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana looked like the profile of a little slouching man in a big rumpled chef's hat. Minnesota's the hat. Iowa is the face in profile, with big bulbous nose. Missouri is the shirt. Arkansas is the pants. Louisiana, of course, is the boots.

Apparently, I'm not the only one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIMAL

Some include Tennessee as his pan, with Kentucky as some chicken he's cooking. My sister and I also included Michigan as his oven mitt hanging up on the wall.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby TomMorrison » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:42 pm UTC

Dear non-Coloradans: Please desist from revealing any more of our true nature or you will be assimilated in to The Program. Failure to comply will result in the rounding-up of the ringleaders, who will be placed in cryo-sleep along with others in the Vaults in Nederland.

We will celebrate your attempt to subvert our control once a year. You will not be in conscious attendance of these events.

Have a nice day and please don't feed the Park Rangers.

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dg61
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby dg61 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:11 pm UTC

Maybe Indiana shaped like a paintbrush is a reference to the painter Robert Indiana? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Indiana

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby starwed » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:14 pm UTC

I wonder if Kentucky is the only state that has "officially" used its depicted shape. An old license plate[1] had a KY shaped cloud on it. (And I find it pretty hard to imagine any of the others cropping up... :) )

I've also seen several local murals that use the theme.

[1]http://www.worldlicenceplates.com/usa/US_KYXX.html

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Whitekiboko » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:34 pm UTC

[quote="wumpus"
I see a mouse and cheese for Maryland. A "pacman" shaped moon makes no sense, but as a cheesewheel it certainly does. Can't say either is terribly appropriate for the state.[/quote]

There is the little issue of the existence of Delaware. Hard to have a full moon.

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N@te
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South Carolina

Postby N@te » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:15 pm UTC

Personally, I've always found that South Carolina looks like a diamond. Other than that, this is hilarious! I love the Wikipedia page on Colorado. :lol:

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Mikeski » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:32 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
AdamW wrote:
scotty2haughty wrote:Great comic. My home state does look like a whale. Will probably print this one out and pin it to one of my three cubical walls.


What shape is your other wall?


I guess the three cubical walls are extremely thick - they must be at least as thick as scotty2haughty is tall - and so it would be hard to fit a door in them. The fourth wall is presumably thinner.


Well, my walls are rectangular. If his walls are cubical, he's apparently living in four-dimensional space.

Welcome to the third dimension's Internet, Scotty.

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Max™
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Max™ » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:33 pm UTC

Uzh wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:So Massachusetts is a guy riding a tea barge with an elephant for a figurehead.

Wierd, but awesome. Wonder why Randall chose that for his (and my) homestate.


This was a beautiful and well done comic. I hope he comes out with one of the world shortly, or maybe different regions at a time.

I would totally go for that.

Because, comeon, we all do this in our heads


I for instance always see my home country (Germany) as a face looking west. By now it's some guy with a hat in his neck. Before WWII it looked more like a woman with flowing hair and a small crown.

https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Deutschland_politisch_2010.png&filetimestamp=20120102011133

And for the federal states in Germany:

Hessen: A parrot looking east
Baden-Wuerttemberg: A wild boar, sitting, from the back
Bavaria: A vulture with his head looking west
Saxony: A lion or sphinx looking southwest

Georg

That's funny, when I picture Germany it is shaped like this:
Image
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby SerMufasa » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:45 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:Well, my walls are rectangular. If his walls are cubical, he's apparently living in four-dimensional space.


Unless you're living in a college dorm or Japan, walls do have thickness. Conceivably a wall could be built as a cubical, however, that seems like a waste of space.
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby herrmoody » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:14 am UTC

Any ideas on the prevalence of "W" in the titles for Tennessee? My thought is W is the symbol for Tungsten, which (to an English speaker) might be better represented by TN, the abbreviation for Tennessee. Any other theories?

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Mastacheata » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:40 am UTC

relyk wrote:District of Columbia

relyk wrote:Maryland - A wolf howling at the moon, not sure if the star is included here

I'd say the star is not included and resembles the District of Columbia, as that's where DC should be located.

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SEE
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby SEE » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:41 am UTC

Maine: The Vulcan Michigan.

(Of course, Michigan has Romulans.)

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby dtilque » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:11 am UTC

pyronius wrote:I'm a little bit annoyed by this one because the second i saw it i said to myself "PLEASE don't go with the obvious! it's overdone!"

but no. Louisiana is a boot. again...

You would prefer the alternative mentioned upthread?

Note that he also went with the obvious for Oklahoma.


J Thomas wrote:Virginia? Virginia has the "Old Dominion" motto, if it was a dimetrodon that would almost pun, but it's a stegosaurus. They try to maintain a reputation for stodgy conservatism, I can sort of see it, but am I missing something clever?

The only thing even slightly clever about Virginia is that the stegosaur is eating some of NC's dogwoods.

I don't think most states have any kind of clever joke in their drawing.

ETA: I think I get Alaska, though. It's nickname (or maybe motto) is "The Last Frontier". Compare with Star Trek's "Final Frontier" theme. Hence a science-fictiony bear.
Last edited by dtilque on Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Eshru
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Eshru » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:19 am UTC

Fire Brns wrote:As a resident I don't get Florida, the climate isn't suitable for eggplant cultivation. Half the farmland is beef cattle pasture and the other half is oranges.

California makes better oranges anyhow. Don't get me started on the BS strawberries that Louisiana has a festival over either.

Edit: also, working out the whys would be cool. For someone else to do. Cause I'm lazy.

Edit2: the more comment may be dated and was removed.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Fire Brns » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:03 am UTC

Eshru wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:As a resident I don't get Florida, the climate isn't suitable for eggplant cultivation. Half the farmland is beef cattle pasture and the other half is oranges.

California makes better oranges anyhow. Don't get me started on the BS strawberries that Louisiana has a festival over either.

Edit: also, working out the whys would be cool. For someone else to do. Cause I'm lazy.

Edit2: the more comment may be dated and was removed.

You never answered my question. And not to start a fight but California oranges are more acidic, FL's are sweeter. If you are gauging ours on Tropicana those oranges are from Brazil.

On a light point so you forget I insulted your oranges: My friend and I joke that Georgia's primary exports are peaches and racism.
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Eshru
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Eshru » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:51 am UTC

Regardless, tangerines FTW.

I've had both fresh (from the grove) and I like the slightly more tartness to the oranges. Just what you're raised on, I suppose. This country loves sugar, so no wonder 90% of Florida's oranges stay in the country.

Edit: Orange juice tastes like orange perfume anyhow. Fresh squeezed or gtfo. High pulp too.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby drego642 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:59 am UTC

My favorite part is the Georgia = Missouri bit. :lol:

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Shadowman615 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:03 am UTC

relyk wrote:Big list of stuff:

New York - Sectional view of a mechanical contraption I cannot identify (engine, pump?)



My thinking is a transmission, ie from a car.

--- --- --- ---


Hmmm, I wasn't clear on the rules -- is Michigan allowed to be 2 completely unrelated shapes? I guess we'll accept it since it's in two parts. Although Hawaii was a single theme.

No love for DC? My thinking is something like this, but upside-down; also shave off the extra space outside of the basepaths and behind home plate so it makes a diamond, much like the 2.75 sides of DC . Of course, it would have to be a click-to-zoom item like CO.
Image

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby dtilque » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:20 am UTC

Shadowman615 wrote: Although Hawaii was a single theme.

Hawaii is a thrown snowball (Big Island) with the other islands being bits that have come off it when thrown. The snowflakes in the ocean are to make sure we got the idea that it is snow.

No love for DC?


Probably just too small to fit a picture in it. Even in the large size image, it doesn't have much space.
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby davidhbrown » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:15 am UTC

Just got back from a trip to DC where we saw an interesting video installation -- dating back to 1995 no less -- in the Smithsonian American Art Museum that similarly formed each state with images related to the state (in the artist's mind, anyway).

Image

If you have Flash, you can click through the image to go to a page where there's a zoomable version. Don't really get the effect of the (now deteriorating) video loops in the still image, though. It's on the third floor... around the bend from the "Art of Computer Games" traveling exhibit.

Edit: P.S., this is not trying to say the idea's been done already. The works are related, not redundant.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby bjowen » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:16 am UTC

Reminds me of a Frank Chimero project (that looks like it's been taken off his website) - which has Hawaii as a bunch of asteroids in a starry sky:

http://design.org/blog/states-illustrations-frank-chimero
(feel free to make that a real URL, Mr Mod, Sir, I promise it won't bite)

I have always thought that Minnesota looks like a stove-top cafetiere.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:11 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:As a resident I don't get Florida, the climate isn't suitable for eggplant cultivation. Half the farmland is beef cattle pasture and the other half is oranges.

Tomatoes too, actually.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby kiklion » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:47 pm UTC

And of course, everyone ignores/forgets about Long Island. I'll just stand over here, in the corner, being invisible.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby n6mod » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:56 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:For some reason the countershaft is hooked to the output directly, can't figure out what transmission it's supposed to be, looks vaguely similar to an old Ford automatic, but those have the input/output in line, never seen the output run off the countershaft.


It just isn't accurate. It clearly has a torque converter, so it's an automatic of some stripe. But most automatics don't have countershafts, and you're right, I've never seen an output driven from the countershaft.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby ahammel » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:23 pm UTC

kiklion wrote:And of course, everyone ignores/forgets about Long Island. I'll just stand over here, in the corner, being invisible.

Until you secede from New York, you don't get your own shape.
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby orthogon » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

SerMufasa wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Well, my walls are rectangular. If his walls are cubical, he's apparently living in four-dimensional space.


Unless you're living in a college dorm or Japan, walls do have thickness. Conceivably a wall could be built as a cubical, however, that seems like a waste of space.


Oh now this is interesting. I refer you, my esteemed colleagues, to the excellent Steven Pinker book The Stuff of Thought, which discusses how we conceptualise some things, like walls, as two- or one-dimensional, in spite of the three(*) dimensional nature of our universe, and how this is revealed by our use of prepositions.

(*) OR 4. Or 11. Or 25.
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby communisteggplant » Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:32 pm UTC

As someone who grew up on Cape Cod, it's always an arm. I like the elephant trunk, but it's shaped exactly like a flexed right arm. Maybe the dude could be riding the Powerthirst Plane made out of biceps.

Incidentally, that's one of the ways my wife and I first bonded- I'm from Cape Cod, she's from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, we could show each other where we're from using our arms and hands! Also- as we now live on Long Island...I'm fine with Long Island not being anything.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby rebeccaj » Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:54 pm UTC

Relyk, thanks for the list! I couldn't figure out what Rhode Island was.

I think the star on the wolf's back is D.C.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby samwyse » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:43 pm UTC

Dampening wrote:
admiralshazbot wrote:I'm a little bummed out by Kentucky just being a cloud. It's pretty obviously housekey-shaped, if you don't feel like getting inventive. Otherwise, I appreciate the amount of detail that went into this comic.

Hey, at least you can tell what it is. I'm still trying to decipher Hawaii, and it's been like fifteen minutes now. I mean really, what is that even? Snow? Ice cream? Volcanic ash? A huge mound of feathers?


I know I'm late to the party, but I thought that Hawaii was the puffs of smoke coming out of Pooh's jet-pack.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby blowfishhootie » Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:43 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Yoduh wrote:I think it's enjoyable because while everyone has at one time or another imagined a few states to look like certain objects I think this is the first time someone thought of objects for ALL states and then made such a well drawn visual representation of the idea. It's not only enjoyable for its artistry but also the further brainstorming that will occur when most people look at it and start thinking of their own ideas of what states look like to them.
While some may seem kind of lame or pointless I personally think the majority are pretty clever and well done. I also think at least most of the objects chosen reflect something about the state in some way, further inviting the viewer to think and ponder each object. For example, to you, North Carolina is just flowers, to me, being a native of NC practically my entire life, I can tell you that Randall chose dogwood flowers on purpose (they're the state flower). I think someone else mentioned that california's motto is "eureka" the same as a brand of vacuum...


it irks me because I can't tell how many of the jokes I'm missing. The eureka vacuum cleaner for CA, sure. The elephant tea party for MA, I guess, it kind of fits backward. I see a few that look obviously clever.

Virginia? Virginia has the "Old Dominion" motto, if it was a dimetrodon that would almost pun, but it's a stegosaurus. They try to maintain a reputation for stodgy conservatism, I can sort of see it, but am I missing something clever?

NC looks like a bunch of dogwood flowers wrapped in paper, or maybe in a cornucopia. If I look at i a little different it could be a print dogwood dress, revealing a pair of shapely legs tapering to improbably small feet. Maybe there's a real clever joke I missed. Tarheel state? Probably not.

West Virgnia frog? WV has 14 frog species. I don't right off know of a special connection.

Minnesota? A stack of $20 bills. Many somethings? I didn't get it.

I don't want to spend too much time looking for stuff, and I don't know how many great jokes I missed. Maybe they aren't there. Frustrating.


You are looking for meaning that is not there. Most of the images have no noteworthy connection to the states they are aligned with. The comic doesn't say "visual symbols representative of some aspect of the culture of the 50 states." It simply says these are things Monroe thinks the different states are shaped like.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Lurch » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:10 am UTC

Longtime nerd-worshiper of Randall Munroe; first-time caller.

Especially as a "naturalized" Coloradan -- 29 years and counting after being born in the sandwich and living in the van for a short time -- I think the fakey-pedia article is exceedingly hyperhilarious. Then again, I was exposed to Coors brewery fumes for 8 semesters at the Colorado School of Mines (GO OREDIGGERS!!!).

xkcd on!

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Lurch » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:22 am UTC

Oh, and this map dovetails surrealistically with John Linnell's State Songs. John Linnell is -- with John Flansburgh -- one of the Twin Quasars of Rock who founded the greatest band in the history of the universe, They Might Be Giants. If you don't have State Songs, GET it. If you don't know of TMBG, thou art dead to me as a fellow nerd. :wink:

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:21 am UTC

SerMufasa wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Well, my walls are rectangular. If his walls are cubical, he's apparently living in four-dimensional space.


Unless you're living in a college dorm or Japan, walls do have thickness. Conceivably a wall could be built as a cubical, however, that seems like a waste of space.


In the case of hanging something on a wall, it's the surface that matters. This comment reminds me of a college professor who would tell us, before every test, that we were allowed to bring one page of notes, and we could write on all six sides of the paper.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby eyelidlessness » Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:57 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:You are looking for meaning that is not there. Most of the images have no noteworthy connection to the states they are aligned with. The comic doesn't say "visual symbols representative of some aspect of the culture of the 50 states." It simply says these are things Monroe thinks the different states are shaped like.

Considering xkcd's phenomenal history of subtext and cleverness, I find this hard to believe. It's conceivable that there are some states whose shapes aren't significant (to RM) or clever in some way. But I suspect, given that some have explicit references, and some have obscure but discovered references, and RM's characteristic thoroughness on these types of endeavors, there is probably some meaning behind each state—even if some are never discovered.

Anyway, the "hand" of Michigan may be a mitten, but it also may be a Mitt—which ties in well with the Tea Party/Republican reference for Massachusetts. It wouldn't particularly surprise me if Minnesota is a reference to the recall.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
J Thomas wrote:it irks me because I can't tell how many of the jokes I'm missing. The eureka vacuum cleaner for CA, sure. The elephant tea party for MA, I guess, it kind of fits backward. I see a few that look obviously clever.

....

I don't want to spend too much time looking for stuff, and I don't know how many great jokes I missed. Maybe they aren't there. Frustrating.


You are looking for meaning that is not there. Most of the images have no noteworthy connection to the states they are aligned with. The comic doesn't say "visual symbols representative of some aspect of the culture of the 50 states." It simply says these are things Monroe thinks the different states are shaped like.


I get a few jokes. How do I know there aren't others I don't get? I envy you your certainty that there is no meaning intended there, when you don't see meanings.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:57 pm UTC

eyelidlessness wrote:Anyway, the "hand" of Michigan may be a mitten, but it also may be a Mitt—which ties in well with the Tea Party/Republican reference for Massachusetts. It wouldn't particularly surprise me if Minnesota is a reference to the recall.


The recall was in Wisconsin, not Minnesota, unless you're referencing one I'm not familiar with.
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Re: 1079: "United Shapes"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:
J Thomas wrote:it irks me because I can't tell how many of the jokes I'm missing. The eureka vacuum cleaner for CA, sure. The elephant tea party for MA, I guess, it kind of fits backward. I see a few that look obviously clever.

....

I don't want to spend too much time looking for stuff, and I don't know how many great jokes I missed. Maybe they aren't there. Frustrating.


You are looking for meaning that is not there. Most of the images have no noteworthy connection to the states they are aligned with. The comic doesn't say "visual symbols representative of some aspect of the culture of the 50 states." It simply says these are things Monroe thinks the different states are shaped like.


I get a few jokes. How do I know there aren't others I don't get? I envy you your certainty that there is no meaning intended there, when you don't see meanings.


I don't know what to tell you. You are the one who said you were frustrated by your inability to figure out what some of them mean. I tried to help you by saying there was no meaning. If you think there is some link* between the Moai statues and the states of Mississippi and Alabama, or some specific link between clouds and Kentucky that isn't true of any other state, or gnomes and Idaho, I encourage you to keep driving yourself crazy looking for it. I'm pretty confident in my assessment though.

* - Other than the link that Monroe thinks those states look like those things, of course, which is the link explicitly spelled out in the comic. There is literally nothing whatsoever in the comic that suggests it is anything more than that. Even the ones we think are connected to the specific state I'm not convinced are anything more than coincidence. The only two that to seem to definitely be references to the states they are in are the mobster in Illinois and the tea in Massachusetts. The elephant in Massachusetts is, in my opinion, likely there because the trunk resembles that part of the state. This GOP connection that people are making is baseless, whereas the view that it is because Monroe thinks the state's tail looks like an elephant trunk is explicitly stated in the comic.
Last edited by blowfishhootie on Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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