Randall Munroe teaches us what we all already knew


One thing that immediately struck me about the latest xkcd comic is how mind-numbingly funny it is. In an online world that is increasingly lacking in genuinely funny and original content, I applaud Randall Munroe for making the effort to craft such a cleverly written and highly innovative comic strip. The flow and meter of the stick figure’s words are so vivid and musical, and Randall marks the beginning of this intellectual and comedic adventure with such highly articulate words as: “The right to free speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say.” Incredible! It’s a wonder that the Founding Fathers even thought it necessary to dedicate entire paragraphs to the concept of freedom of speech when our good friend Randall can do the job for them in only one short sentence.

Alright, I give up. Sarcasm really isn’t my thing, especially when I’m going to have to spend so much of my time unravelling this giant honking piece of shit. Honestly, it makes me wonder what kind of person who writes such good what-if columns and had some of the greatest early webcomic strips of all time can be so completely delusional now. Let’s get started.

This comic is just fundamentally contentless at its most basic level and performs absolutely no actual social work: the kinds of people who invoke freedom of speech as an actual defending argument are either 1) such literal plebeians that they wouldn’t be moved by a condescending and unapologetically preachy webcomic or 2) were never even trying to argue with you in the first place and just wanted you to fuck off because you were being annoying. There is no person in the world who would look at this comic and actually learn anything from it. Munroe’s comic is pretty much equivalent to going to a Wal-Mart and trying to teach the customers what free speech means: it’s so obviously pointless, undeniably useless, and completely masturbatory.

And even if this comic actually did answer some sort of real social problem, it’s stupidly blunt, completely unfunny, and not original in the slightest. There is a concept called “satire” that Munroe could have used to convey the lesson that he wanted us to learn, but I guess it was just beyond his capabilities. Instead, he decides to talk to us as if we’re all braindead children, and he makes it incredibly clear that this comic’s sole reason for existing is because poor Mr. Munroe had his little baby feelings hurt after losing an argument against someone.

I mean, really. Look at it! It’s just terrible. The majority of the comic is literally just a stick figure talking to you at various angles and poorly-done zoom in shots in order to add just enough “variety” that your eyeballs wouldn’t instantly implode upon seeing them. For the last panel, he even just draws a literal picture of a door because he thinks that will compensate for his complete lack of any meaningful illustration in the majority of the panels. I would figure that most reasonable artists would try to make up for the lack of illustration with some particularly poetic English constructions, but I guess Munroe decided that the 300,000 people watching him really love to hear his visceral and almost nonsensical musings expressed with both the vocabulary and wit of a 10-year-old schoolchild.

The worst part about this comic is that everybody agrees with it. It’s such blatant preaching to the choir, such an unimpeded pandering to some sort of Reddit self-superiority circlejerk of which I’m 100% certain exists. Munroe could have easily leveraged his audience to address an actual intellectual issue in public discourse, such as, for example, our tendency of overvaluing individual rights in a pluralist society to the detriment of moral development, or perhaps why “absolute freedom of speech” is impossible, or just ANYTHING INTERESTING, really! Not the shitty and completely boring habits of uneducated literal plebeians who don’t know the meaning of free speech.

I’d like to ask just one question before signing off: Why is it that engineers always insist on getting so heavily involved in public moral discourse when they really have no idea what they’re talking about? I’m an engineer too, but at least I acknowledge my limitations. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a philosophy major try to relay an armchair theory about the construction of bridges, or an English major try to demonstrate a faulty mathematical proof. But who knows? Munroe has always seemed to think that our society is becoming the chest-beating jock-dominated world of Idiocracy, but I think that the far more insidious problem is the growing group of middle class STEM-majoring pseudo-intellectuals who arrogantly think that they completely understand ethics, public policy, and morality. Fun fact: you need to actually take an ethics class before you can claim to understand it.

6 thoughts on “Randall Munroe teaches us what we all already knew

  1. Randall isn’t an engineer, though. That’s not what he does with his life. He’s a guy who stuck his foot in the right door at the right moment and been applauded for writing words above stick figures ever since. His degree is the scholarly equivalent of a still birth.

  2. “……The flow and meter of the stick figure’s words are so vivid and musical,…..”

    Really? You wouldn’t recognize a prose meter if it jumped up and lick your thalidomide-stump sucking lips. And as for your comprehension of literary flow, yins is nowt but a prolapsed and thrush-festooned cunt. And no mistake.

    Fun Fact: you actually need to be a citizen of a country other than the United States of America to appreciate how fuct are the Yankee cunts.

      • “…..lel….” ?

        LEL ????!??!?

        What the fuck is that shite?
        Some random substitution of an open vocal tract (there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis when it is voiced) syllabic phoneme in place of the pedestrian O in LOL?
        Well fuck me from behind with modular groovadelic speak! How paralinguistic and prosodic of you.
        It just goes to show the utter folly of teaching the young how to read and write.
        Give you useless young people an fucking attoParsec and you take a gonadophilic mile!
        Is this an inanely inane attempt to differentiate yourself from the millions of other internet game fags? I reckon llsies or llskates is the very next thing. I mean really, the use of vowels is sooooooooooo bourgeois, Innit?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s