Posts Tagged ‘Randall Munroe’


Not Now, Martin

August 21, 2016

Detail of xkcd #1722, by Randall Munroe, 18 August 2016.Sometimes this comes up with my sense of humor and the necessity of explaining a joke derived from the stories of Steven Brust. Randall Munroe presents his own version of the question: Just how many novels must I read in order to receive the joke at its intended value?

To wit, I can’t explain the not/now joke properly insofar as it seems difficult to decide just what, between five hundred and, oh, say, two thousand pages is required in order to receive the full punch, and in truth, by the time it gets to twenty-four novels with no guarantee that the final tally won’t get larger, is it really worth it just to know why “not now” is one of the funniest jokes in literature?

Meanwhile, yeah, good luck with the sword.



Image note: Detail of xkcd #1722, by Randall Munroe, 18 August 2016.


Stick Figures and Stories

April 23, 2015

Randall Munroe.  "PermaCal".  xkcd #1514.  19 April 2015.It is not unheard of to sit motionless in a moment of private dazzle over the most ridiculous of details, thinking, somebody had to draw that! And, yes, it is true that better writers can give animators a reason to draw pretty much anything. Never mind.

Meanwhile, when one’s business is drawing stillframes of stick figures, it almost makes sense that somebody took the time to draw it. To wit, a metajoke from Randall Munroe:

The flood of PermaCalNTP leap-second notifications was bad enough, but when people started asking for millisecond resolution, the resulting DDOS brought down the internet.

So, yeah. The cartoon itself is obviously one of those ideas that strikes a writer, and if his medium happens to be stick-figure cartoons—one-panel wonders welcome!―the only remaining question is why would he not do the bit.

Yet, this is also one of those occasions when it seems like the whole point is the metajoke. As in, you know, that whole cartoon exists so he can deliver the DDOS joke.

Maybe. It’s as good a speculation as any other. But consider the stories we tell.

No, really. Consider the world that goes into that joke. Consider the users―the consumers, the people―who could make that happen. And, well, what is up with their stories? What does life look like in that condition?

Really, even the metajoke was inevitable, one way or another. The rest is just luck of the draw. Somebody thought of it, and somebody had to draw it. Even stick figures tell stories. Pretty cool, eh?



Munroe, Randall. “PermaCal”. xkcd #1514. 19 April 2015.


Indulging Necessity: Yeah, That’s an Excuse

April 13, 2015

Detail of 'xkcd' #1510, by Randall Munroe, 9 April 2015.Honestly, I tried to work this into the last post, because, you know, really, who doesn’t need a picture of Napoleon with an octopus on his head?

Still, though, it just didn’t work. You know, thematically. Motif. Ambience. All that.

And the image of a stick-figure Napoleon with an octopus on his head is, in fact, a detail of xkcd #1510, by Randall Munroe.



Alternative literature, or, the problem with subjectivity

November 2, 2011

XKCD #971 — Alternative LiteratureOh, just click the link.