0709: "I Am"

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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby mszegedy » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:
mszegedy wrote:
Drooling Iguana wrote:I find this comic offensive as it implies that R2D2 is God's counterpart, when all True Believers know that he is God.


I just find this offensive in the conventional way. This is strange, because I did not find that one about lisp or "God's Lament" offensive.


Really? I'm curious as to why this is offensive to you. I didn't know that the burning bush was, to most, that core a symbol that this would be particularly blasphemous.


Well, just because it relates R2-D2 to God. Not that I'm particularly religious or anything. In fact, I just feel like I should find this offensive, and I am not consciously aware that I don't.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

mullitover wrote:The point is, interpretation matters more than intention. If enough people agree with the idea that the humor on xkcd isn't funny, then it's popularity will slip. That could be the result of a change in Randall's sense of humor, or in what the public perceives as funny, but it does not mean we can establish an objective standard of humor by which to say it is not funny.


We're not looking at the big picture here: if you're going to talk about the artistic merits of the comic as a whole, there are going to be many elements and aspects, many of them subjective, to analyse. But we're talking about the efficacy of one, specific joke. This is not a subjective measure, but an actual statistical one; we're actually looking at the comic's fanbase here, not a random sample! And the simple fact is that a considerable part of the actual fanbase feels unsure about the joke; many of them openly didn't get it, and most of the others are in disagreement on what it actually is!

We are not discussing literature, music or cinema: we're discussing a webcomic, which operates specifically with the classical model of setup->punchline in about 90% of its output. There are very few comics that don't have the intention to deliver a punchline, and they are clearly at odds with the rest of the material. This one isn't; it follows the format of a traditional joke, but it wasn't successful in delivering the punchline clearly. Something similar happened with comic 707, except in that case the punchline did come across, but it was so weak and unrewarding that people were looking for something else within the comic. With this comic, the punchline was just obscure and unclear; and it's quite possible that many people who did get the (supposed) joke were equally underwhelmed by it, and had the similar thought, "is this IT, or is there something I'm missing?".

That kind of thing can only be called successful if the author is deliberately trying to alienate or insult his audience, or if he's really willing to dump the traditional formula and go for something entirely abstract. There is NO recent indication that xkcd is going for the latter; Monday's comic was as obvious and straight as it could be, in fact! And if you allow me to be quite honest, that "interpretation" argument sounds like pure desperation. Gee, what's the problem if this comic was actually that bad? Maybe Randall is in a bad phase, maybe he's losing his touch, maybe he was never funny to begin with -- that stuff happens! Life goes on! Do people really depend that much in this comic? It looks like desperate hunting for "nerd cred", the obnoxious "GOOMH" thing and suchlike.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby mullitover » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:49 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:This is not a subjective measure, but an actual statistical one; we're actually looking at the comic's fanbase here, not a random sample! And the simple fact is that a considerable part of the actual fanbase feels unsure about the joke; many of them openly didn't get it, and most of the others are in disagreement on what it actually is!

I think you have failed to understand my point. It doesn't matter whether we are talking about the entire body of work or an individual work (just as it doesn't matter whether it is film, literature, or art), we are still talking about a very subjective aspect - humor. Since you brought up other mediums, consider music. I generally like Metallica*. I've seen them in concert several times. I think they can produce some exemplary pieces of ear candy. I had the misfortune, however, of seeing them in Denver after they released St. Anger. I thought the music was entirely awful, as did a significant portion of the actual fanbase. However, another significant portion thought it was a "passionate," "raw," and "inventive." It did depart from the style of much of the rest of their body of work in a way I failed to appreciate. I wish it hadn't. I don't believe, however, that I have discovered an objective grounds from which to judge their music, merely a personal one. There's nothing wrong with personal judgement, that's what all of the arts are built on anyway. Attempts to categorize it and objectivize it are, in my opinion, boorish and academic in the most demeaning sense of the word.

SirMustapha wrote:We are not discussing literature, music or cinema: we're discussing a webcomic, which operates specifically with the classical model of setup->punchline in about 90% of its output.

Do you really want your humor to be that formulaic? If so, I can see why you would be occasionally disappointed by xkcd. One of the things I appreciate about the comics, including this one, is that it does depart from that formula just often enough to keep me thinking, "Wait, did I really get that joke or should I reread it." I like to be forced to think about, and sometimes even research the possibilities I might have missed. Even if most of the time it is just what it seems on the surface, there is always the chance that there will be more layers of goodness to discover. That doesn't make me a fanboy. The comic merely happens to match my sense of humor. As I said before, it could change, as could I, and I would cease to enjoy it. That still doesn't establish the objective point of criticism you seem to believe you have found.

SirMustapha wrote:And if you allow me to be quite honest, that "interpretation" argument sounds like pure desperation... It looks like desperate hunting for "nerd cred", the obnoxious "GOOMH" thing and suchlike.

Except that it's an argument with rich philosophical and artistic roots, that has been argued by minds more sophisticated than ours** all the way back to Plato. Hell, I spent 6 years of post-graduate studies going over (and over and over and over) this point, and I have yet to see either side back down.*** (As I mentioned before I am usually on Plato's side - which is to say, your side - on the bigger philosophical issues of objective reality.) I think that the sophists, Plato, Bakhtin, Derrida and others where a long way from desperate in their arguments. The idea of seeking nerd-cred is just as subjective as everything else involved here. If by that you mean an attempt to seem smarter than a person really is, then I disagree that that is the case, based on the intelligence I've seen displayed in some of these interpretations and arguments. If you mean seeking satisfaction in understanding some element of the world around us in a more refined way than others and taking pride in that fact... well that is what academia, art, and intellectualism are all built on, so OK I'm guilty. Also, while GOOMH may be overused (I've never actually used the term myself) the frequency of its use does represent an element of this comic that transcends humor and that you don't seem to get... the connection to a certain zeitgeist that makes it easy to connect the comic (separate from it's humor) tangentially to elements of daily life and thought patterns. I don't think I have the skill, but Randall seems to have maintained it fairly well over the years to have gotten the GOOMH response often enough to annoy you.

SirMustapha wrote: Gee, what's the problem if this comic was actually that bad? Maybe Randall is in a bad phase, maybe he's losing his touch, maybe he was never funny to begin with -- that stuff happens! Life goes on! Do people really depend that much in this comic?

This may seem like semantics, but all I disagree with here is the wording. Yes, Randall's work may lose it's connection to his audience, and doubtless there are those who have never connected to it at all. Enjoying something in spite of criticism that claims objectivity does not make one dependent. People don't need this comic. People don't need Picasso. But for some people, life would be the poorer for missing either one. (And since you mentioned desperation earlier, this kind of abject condescension-sans-reason reeks of it.


*I also enjoy music from nearly every conceivable musical genre depending on my whim - another example of how subjective aesthetic experiences may be.

**Or at least more sophisticated than yours.1

***Not trying to drop credentials, it just ties in so much with this debate, that I couldn't avoid it.

1Just Kidding :lol:
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Okapi » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:23 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Now imagine Threepio's voice "booming" (hah) forth from a burning bush. "I am Why Ach Vee Ach, The LORD your God, and the God of of your fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob... and this is my counterpart, Artoo Deetoo."
You mean Yud Hay Vava Hay; it's important because so many things get lost in translation between languages, especially when idioms are involved.

For laymen, idioms are the nonsensical phrases, euphemisms, and so forth that become part of the language. For example, distance measured in time (15 minutes to my house), the various ways of losing your job (downsized, dehired, made redundent, given the pink slip, sacked, fired), or "spending" time, and so forth.

It isn't too difficult to, well, I don't think I can't say it without starting a flamewar.

The main problem is that the bible was translated from hebrew to greek, to latin, then edited by the council of Nicea, then to church latin, then translated to germanic, to old english, to english. Or from church latin to old spanish, or church latin to old french, or, well, you get the idea. Wars have been fought over which group had the "correct" version.
In fact, the Hebrew letters are "Iod Heh Vau Heh," the original Latin translation being IHVH or IEVE, or IEWE/IHWH, and later YHWH/YHVH and finally the Christian JHVH. Just correcting the pronunciation of your Hebrew letters.

Also, just of incident, if Jesus's name had a 'J,' it would be spelled "Zhesus," due to the Hebrew analogue of J and lack of an actual J; Therefore, Jesus is Iesus or Yesus. I find it funny, studying Hebrew, how much people have butchered names and terms over the years.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Apteryx » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:50 pm UTC

AboutToFly wrote:Randomness, or incongruity, does not make humor.

Wrong. It just makes humour of a certain kind, and you don't like it.
AboutToFly wrote: You can't just put two random things together and make it funny.

Wrong. Monty Python regularly did so with amazing success. Bicycle repairman sketch, anyone?.
AboutToFly wrote: This comic was therefore not funny.

Wrong. many of us found it funny, ergo, it was funny, to some people.

AboutToFly wrote: Anyone who says that I don't have the right to say that is missing the point. I read xkcd regularly because it often makes me laugh. I found Monday's comic funny, but not today's. So, I don't like that, because I come expecting a good joke and I get something that falls flat. And it's obviously not just me who thinks so, nor is it only trolls who hate xkcd.

It is possible for a group of people to find something funny even if it is not. For example, a lot of kids like the chicken-crossing-the-road joke, but I think it's fair to say that the joke isn't funny. Or consider the immature, offensive humor in a lot of modern comedy movies. The jokes may not be funny but that doesn't stop people from liking them. Heck, there are people who laugh at farts.

I don't hold it against Randall that the joke fell flat, it must be very hard to come up with something funny three times a week. I know I couldn't do it. But there's no reason for everyone to rush to defend him as though he cannot make a mistake. I say that if the joke needs to be over-analyzed, half the people on the forum don't get it, and the other half disagree about what the actual joke is, then the joke isn't good. I'm still going to check xkcd on Friday, because there's a good chance I'll enjoy that one.


The entirety of the rest of your post is merely subjective, which you understand yourself, because you admit half the people DO find it funny. Children DO find the chicken joke funny, so it IS funny.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Yakk » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

We have a human, seeing something ridiculously magical, considering it a god. It has a compatriot, R2D2.

Similarly, we have a really geeky movie in which C3P0, looking ridiculously magical, is considered a god by the Ewoks. It has a compatriot, R2D2.

In the alt-text, Bocce is another reference to an earlier film.
"Do you speak Bocce?"
"Of course I can, sir. It's like a second language to me..."
"Yeah, alright. Shut up."
"Shutting up, sir""

LO-M would be the reference to YH-VH (or variants thereof), the translation of the vowel-free way of writing the name of "I am who I am".

And yes, it is an obscure reference joke. I don't expect most of the fanbase of XKCD to get every obscure reference joke dropped. Heck, most computational complexity jokes on XKCD are not going to be picked up by most people who lack a university education in computer science (having a university education in, say, particle physics wouldn't be enough to get computational complexity jokes on XKCD, in general).

There are lots of niche jokes. This happens to be a blasphemous star trek niche joke.
Spoiler:
See what I did there?
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Monika » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:04 pm UTC

Okapi wrote:Also, just of incident, if Jesus's name had a 'J,' it would be spelled "Zhesus," due to the Hebrew analogue of J and lack of an actual J; Therefore, Jesus is Iesus or Yesus. I find it funny, studying Hebrew, how much people have butchered names and terms over the years.

Actually there was no such name as Jesus. The name was simply what is today "Joshua" in English - an extremely common name, about 1 in 4 Hebrew men at the time had it. Later it was changed to "Jesus" to make it look as if he has some kind of unusual name.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Quake » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:21 pm UTC

Ha ha ha ha..
Oh Jesus !

R2
-D2

Yes! We think we've got it, we think we've got it.

THIRD TIME LUCKY !

but...

Someone might be expelled for this. 8)
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:16 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Now imagine Threepio's voice "booming" (hah) forth from a burning bush. "I am Why Ach Vee Ach, The LORD your God, and the God of of your fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob... and this is my counterpart, Artoo Deetoo."

You mean Yud Hay Vava Hay

I figured since we're already using an English translation in a Roman script, we might as well use the English pronunciation of the Roman letters instead of the Hebrew pronunciation of the original Hebrew letters. (Also, I think stuck the tetragrammaton in the wrong place anyway; 'ehyeh asher ehyeh' may be etymologically related, but I know "The LORD" is usually written in place of YHVH after the tradition of speaking it "Adonai", so it really should be "I am that I am, Why Ach Vee Ach, the God of your fathers..." etc. Although, as far as I can tell, the exact lines in the comic aren't even a straight translation of any single sequence of lines in the Bible/Torah, but more of an amalgam of several nearby parts, so what's it matter).

It isn't too difficult to, well, I don't think I can't say it without starting a flamewar.

Now I'm curious. Say what? (Certainly won't start a flame war with me. My internet persona is nonflammable).

The main problem is that the bible was translated from hebrew to greek, to latin, then edited by the council of Nicea, then to church latin, then translated to germanic, to old english, to english. Or from church latin to old spanish, or church latin to old french, or, well, you get the idea. Wars have been fought over which group had the "correct" version.

These days though, we've got projects using the latest linguistic research and the oldest surviving texts to produce the most direct translations possible, so it's not all a translation of a translation of a translation like the KJV anymore.

ADDENDUM on the subject of humor:
My take on humor is a variant of my take on any kind of art (of which I consider humor a genre). My answer to the famously contentious questions "What is art?" and "What is good art?" are: Art is anything presented (whether created or found) with the intention of evoking some reaction, or 'viewed' (listened to, read, etc) with the intention of having some reaction evoked; and GOOD art is any art which succeeds at evoking the intended reaction. Since intentions differ between viewers and between viewer and presenter, what would even constitute 'good art' is inherently subjective, and since the effectiveness of any piece in evoking some reaction differs even between viewers with the same intentions toward the piece, it is even more so.

So, if Randall meant for this to make lots of people go "Huh?", then it is good art from his point of view, if not from the point of view of those who went "Huh?" but came here rather to laugh. Even if that was Randall's intention, to those who came here to laugh and DID find it funny, it is also good art, though for different reasons. So knowing Randall's intention is only important if we care whether this was good art from his perspective; I imagine most of us only care if this was good art from our own perspective, and that depends not only on what Randall put in the comic but on what we came here for and many other factors about ourselves which determine what sort of impact this piece will have on us.

Personally, I come here looking for things that are funny and interesting. Honestly I didn't find this piece very funny, but I sure found it interesting, and since that's half the reason I come here I consider it good enough.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Dezzles » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:34 pm UTC

I don't know why everybody is reading so far into this comic, personally I just found it hilarious that here is God, speaking to Moses through the burning bush, does a big speal about how he is God and is all sorts of epic awesome only to turn around and introduce his counterpart R2-D2. I may be the only one that finds it funny at that level but come on, it's R2-D2...
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby mullitover » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:16 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote: So, if Randall meant for this to make lots of people go "Huh?", then it is good art from his point of view, if not from the point of view of those who went "Huh?" but came here rather to laugh. Even if that was Randall's intention, to those who came here to laugh and DID find it funny, it is also good art, though for different reasons. So knowing Randall's intention is only important if we care whether this was good art from his perspective; I imagine most of us only care if this was good art from our own perspective, and that depends not only on what Randall put in the comic but on what we came here for and many other factors about ourselves which determine what sort of impact this piece will have on us.


Very well put. I think that is worthy of being the final word on the subject (interesting as the whole thing has been).
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby rcox1 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:02 am UTC

AboutToFly wrote:Randomness, or incongruity, does not make humor. You can't just put two random things together and make it funny. This comic was therefore not funny.

Anyone who says that I don't have the right to say that is missing the point.


And yet you seem to believe you have the right to tell everyone else what is funny and is not funny.

I agree that one cannot just two put two random things together and get something funny, anymore that a few thousand random words make a novel. Yet many writers, for instance Kurt Vonnegut put words, sentences, paragraphs in an order that most would consider at least unconventional, and it is good literature.

It is possible that some people find Vonnegut unreadable, but that does not mean he is not a good writer. I would not call those who don't like Vonnegut Philistines any more than I would call people so uncreative that they cannot find the humor in this article pedantic protocol droids with stick up their asses.

Humor is an individual taste. Some people find Family Circus funny. Some people find Monty Python funny(especially the cut scene from Meaning of Life where they are explaining the Lutheran Protestantism). It is truly a waste of time to argue whether these things are funny. One either gets it or one doesn't. We can agree to disagree, but never agree to say that any person has the right to set the standard of what is funny.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Scorpio3002 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:55 am UTC

"I'm Rick James, bitch! And this is my counterpart, R2-D2."

I would just like to say that although I found the strip itself unfunny, it has spawned a hilarious discussion thread. From Lareth's terrific interpretation of the comic as an attempt at a new meme to the internet-argument by people who think they can define "funny" (here's a clue: nobody can).

Jeeze, people, Randall tells an unfunny joke, and you treat it like he's personally insulted you.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby ZzzzSleep » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:01 am UTC

"I am Spartacus.... and this is my counterpart R2-D2"
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby BallZach » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:50 am UTC

One of the few times in my life that I got stoned out of my mind, a couple friends put in A New Hope on old VHS. Damn if that isn't the funniest movie ever now. Anyhow, about halfway through I was hit with a brick of logic that I had to tell everyone. I said, "Dude, dudes, if you're gonna build a robot, right? If you're gonna build a goddamn robot, you're gonna teach it your own language, right? So you can understand it. Well who the hell taught R2-D2 how to beep bloop???" We laughed. We were baked.

/Cool story bro!
//I know I can't be the first person to have thought about this.
///I'm glad I have the answer now. Many sleeps were disturbed pondering it over.
//We were stoned.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Apteryx » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:40 am UTC

ZzzzSleep wrote:"I am Spartacus.... and this is my counterpart R2-D2"


Well played sir.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Scorpio3002 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:55 am UTC

ZzzzSleep wrote:"I am Spartacus.... and this is my counterpart R2-D2"


I'm Spartacus, and that's my counterpart!
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Legendary » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:32 am UTC

rcox1 wrote:I agree that one cannot just two put two random things together and get something funny, anymore that a few thousand random words make a novel. Yet many writers, for instance Kurt Vonnegut put words, sentences, paragraphs in an order that most would consider at least unconventional, and it is good literature.


That is because human brains LIKE stuff happening in ways they don't expect. It's what made Shakespeare popular. There was a rhythm and a LOT of words that nobody had ever heard of before.

It is possible that some people find Vonnegut unreadable, but that does not mean he is not a good writer. I would not call those who don't like Vonnegut Philistines any more than I would call people so uncreative that they cannot find the humor in this article pedantic protocol droids with stick up their asses.


There's a name for this sort of thing ("I won't call X a Y, so I won't call you a bastard."), but I can't think of it.

Humor is an individual taste. Some people find Family Circus funny. Some people find Monty Python funny(especially the cut scene from Meaning of Life where they are explaining the Lutheran Protestantism). It is truly a waste of time to argue whether these things are funny. One either gets it or one doesn't. We can agree to disagree, but never agree to say that any person has the right to set the standard of what is funny.


But there's nothing to get. No one gets it, no one at all. That's why this isn't funny.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Apteryx » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:45 am UTC

Legendary wrote:
There's a name for this sort of thing ("I won't call X a Y, so I won't call you a bastard."), but I can't think of it.


This place simply drips mathematicians.

i am sure one of them could prove for you, sometimes X is actually a Y.

:P
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Legendary » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:27 am UTC

I don't dispute that. My point there is that it's a way to say rude things to people while appearing civil, and, IMNSHO, is a form of communication that must be stopped because that particular way is far too overly used and rather obvious. I have no problem with incivility, but at least put thought into it. :D
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Ryangaffney » Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:00 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure the joke here is that (in Randal's mind anyway) the burning bush was a fake along the same lines as the ROTJ fake. and it's funny to imagine it having similar pitfalls.

Consider that after the empire fell, nobody filled the Ewoks in on the true story (within the film anyway) to their minds they had seen incontrovertible proof of a living deity, complete with glorious shining appearance and the ability to perform miracles. they will probably continue to tell this story for hundreds of years and it will become a central part of their religious lore. In reality however it was a subplot of a almost completely unrelated story involving the antics of a self-conscious robot. Imagine then that if there is no god, the Moses story would have developed in much the same way suppose that the god of the burning bush had dropped similar hints of his mundane nature, now laugh...

..Also L0-M is a pun on Elohim, not because in Hebrew you remove the vowels but because if you say "L.O.M" out loud it sounds somewhat like "Elohim" "Elle Oh Em" but written out it looks like a droid name, particularly if you assume the 0 is a zero.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Atomsk » Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:39 pm UTC

tl;dr, the discussion about the nature of "funny", the one true joke, and w/e reminds me of this.

As for myself, I only got the joke after browsing this very thread, and then I realized had I been a hardcore StarWars fan or seen EpisodeVI any time recently (and didn't skip over the Ewok scenes), I'd "ROTFLing" so to speak.

I guess it is basing the joke on a minute and insignificant detail, that makes it so hard to get.
If the bush was like "No Moses, *kshh kshhh*, I AM YOUR FATHER", or "I find your lack of faith disturbing.", more people would get it.

But the R2D2 meme is pretty cool.
I am captain Jean Luc Picard, of the Federation starship Enterprise. And this is my counterpart, R2-D2.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby clairebb » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:06 pm UTC

Normally I don't like non sequitur humour, but this one had me cracking up, because unlike the Seth McFarlane style of humour, my brain keeps trying to tease some logic out of it. My flatmate, who loves his Family Guy dvds more than his cat, asked me where the joke was...sigh...

Ever try to explain what a non sequitur is to a Family Guy fan? It's surprisingly difficult...
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:26 pm UTC

mullitover wrote:It doesn't matter whether we are talking about the entire body of work or an individual work (just as it doesn't matter whether it is film, literature, or art), we are still talking about a very subjective aspect - humor.


No, I'm not talking about that. I am talking about the efficacy of a joke, which is NOT subjective. It's statistical! I have ALREADY said that!

Do you really want your humor to be that formulaic?


No: Randall does. HE does his webcomic that way. It's not MY fault. If he wants to attempt new forms of humour, that would not make his attempts necessarily good; he has to be good enough to pull it off right. The thing is, this comic is NOT a departure from his usual formula! It's exactly the same thing! He hasn't departed at all, just look at today's comic. It's the same thing: setup->punchline!

Also, what's the problem with a comic being formulaic? People use that formula because it's a good one, it's relatable, it's open for countless possibilities, but it doesn't mean it's necessarily "easy" to do. Breaking formulas just for the sake of it is a pretty stupid maneuvre, you know.

I like to be forced to think about, and sometimes even research the possibilities I might have missed. Even if most of the time it is just what it seems on the surface, there is always the chance that there will be more layers of goodness to discover.


Interestingly, that kind of thing hasn't happened for a very long time. For many months now, the only "research" that you're required to do is about 4chan memes, random items of pop culture and elementary level maths. Wow, so much awesome research to be done there.

The idea of seeking nerd-cred is just as subjective as everything else involved here. If by that you mean an attempt to seem smarter than a person really is, then I disagree that that is the case, based on the intelligence I've seen displayed in some of these interpretations and arguments.


Oh, yeah, me too. Stuff like
"I laughed. I don't know why, but I laughed!"
and
"I don't think I get the joke, but I'm still laughing!"

are fine examples of that.

Also, while GOOMH may be overused (I've never actually used the term myself) the frequency of its use does represent an element of this comic that transcends humor and that you don't seem to get... the connection to a certain zeitgeist that makes it easy to connect the comic (separate from it's humor) tangentially to elements of daily life and thought patterns.


It used to be like that. When I started reading the comic, I also had that odd feeling of familiarity, when I was mentally going "wait, I thought only I stepped on tiles following a certain pattern", which was what that expression originally meant, but what is it now? A comic has a glass of water in it, and somebody will go "Randall, get out of my head! I was JUST drinking water when I saw that comic!". The GOOMH thing has become a badge of coolness; anything you can find to connect yourself with xkcd, even the most idiotic and obvious things, are worth mentioning.

People don't need this comic.


I disagree. xkcd fell like a glove in a community who needed some sort of voice. Nerdiness on the Internet was still quite niche and inexpressive, but when xkcd came along, gradually nerdiness became cool. Not that xkcd STARTED that movement, but it certainly cathalysed it: suddenly the advanced maths and science, the passion of computers and technology, became associated with sex, heroic acts and an active social life. xkcd became much more than just a webcomic; it's a like a style of life arose with it. So I don't think it's too farfetched to say that there are many people who need to like xkcd.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Monika » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:37 pm UTC

Atomsk wrote:tl;dr
...
I am captain Jean Luc Picard, of the Federation starship Enterprise. And this is my counterpart, R2-D2.

Two minds, one thought ;) .
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Zylon » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:02 pm UTC

Y'know, this strip would have been significantly less confusing if Randall hadn't lifted C3P0's exact line of dialog when introducing R2-D2. That, right there, is where it all went horribly wrong. If he'd just left the word "counterpart" out, we wouldn't have been sucked down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this strip, leaving us instead with a simple, contrived, but blessedly unambiguous joke.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby rateguard » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:32 pm UTC

oh, hahaha hohoho hahaha, i don't get it but i LOOOOVE star wars because randall LOOOOVES star wars. haha, this comic's funny. lol "r2-d2," so random, amirite?

hahaha, hohoho, nerdwanknerdwanknerdwank
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Apteryx » Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:11 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:No, I'm not talking about that. I am talking about the efficacy of a joke, which is NOT subjective. It's statistical! I have ALREADY said that!



?. you did say that. We all saw you say that.

We just don't think that makes it a true statement.

Why do YOU think it does?.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby mullitover » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:00 am UTC

SirMustapha,

Now that I am no longer snowed in and my real life is back in full swing, I don't have time for my usually long-winded philosophical replies (which seem to have gone completely over your head anyway). Suffice to say, I did get a chance to tqake a quick look over your post history and blog (the title of which ironically makes use of a classic xkcd meme), and came to the conclusion that you are a sadly negative and judgmental little troll (even trying to criticize people's ability to sense emotion in music), which makes me sad that I lowered myself into trying to reason with you. As someone who seems to have an interest in the arts (especially music) it seems like you might benefit from a less limited outlook on audience appreciation. Try out being a little less bitter and you may find that you've been losing the chance to become a deeper person by understanding the differing appreciations of the wonderfully diverse group of people to be found on this forum.


Cheers
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby AboutToFly » Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:22 pm UTC

I don't think I got my point across properly. I'm not trying to say that humor isn't subjective. I'm making two points: first, that there's nothing wrong with the fact that I don't find the comic funny, and I'm upset that people need to insult me and the other people who didn't like the comic; second, trying to explain why I don't like the comic.

Let me go back and explain why I didn't like it. This isn't me being a jerk, rather I find it important because the same problem that afflicts this comic can be found in many other forms of geek humor. Randomness is not humor. That is not to say that certain juxtapositions are not funny, but rather that it takes more than putting disparate ideas together to make something funny. I understand that some people did enjoy the comic, but judging by their posts here, most of them are Star Wars fans, who seemed to enjoy the comic either simply because it references Star Wars, or because it allows them to make use of their deep reservoir of random Star Wars knowledge. Like many xkcd comics, it is merely fanservice, appealing to a base of fans who are geeks, and are therefore likely to be Star Wars fans. As a non-Star Wars fan, I am left out. On the other hand, had Randall made a good Star Wars joke with a solid punchline, I could have enjoyed it even without liking Star Wars. If I have to go on the forum to have the joke explained to me, that is okay, it's just a joke I didn't get. But when I go on the forum and it turns out there is no joke, only vague connections, then I think the comic failed. Of course this is my opinion. Of course I don't speak for everyone. Of course there are no objective standards of humor. I'm just saying what I think.

There's a name for this sort of thing ("I won't call X a Y, so I won't call you a bastard."), but I can't think of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophasis ?
Theorem (Huneke-Hochster). We don't know much about anything.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Monika » Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

AboutToFly wrote:Randomness is not humor. That is not to say that certain juxtapositions are not funny, but rather that it takes more than putting disparate ideas together to make something funny.

But it wasn't random. C-3PO is worshipped as god in one of the movies (the third one of the original trilogy).

I understand that some people did enjoy the comic, but judging by their posts here, most of them are Star Wars fans, who seemed to enjoy the comic either simply because it references Star Wars, or because it allows them to make use of their deep reservoir of random Star Wars knowledge.

I would consider something that could only be known from reading Star Wars books or magazines "deep reservoir of random Star Wars knowledge". Something from the animated movies, too. But not something from the six standard movies.
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Re: "I Am" Discussion

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:59 am UTC

Random thought: are YHVH-model droids manufactured by Tetragrammatron? ;)
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Re: 0709: "I Am"

Postby mathjazz » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:04 am UTC

So, this comic is funny because God (who appeared to Moses as a burning bush) is giving this huge entrance and then anti-climaxing it with introducing R2-D2, and then Moses asks if God knows Bocce, because he want "one [a god] that speaks Bocce" as if he were shoping around, comparing different gods. Also Elohim (pronounced L-O-him, but sounds like L-O-M) is a name for God, that He calls Himself in the Old testament, and when written LO-M it looks and sounds like a Star Wars name for a droid. It is also funny that C-3PO (who is R2-D2's counterpart) was mistaken for a God in #6, so that adds another level to it. This was a well thought out cartoon and not getting it, while not a crime, is kind of sad, because the Bible is a huge piece of literature and Star Wars is a great piece of pop culture and both are things that everyone needs at least a little exposure to to be well rounded. Kind of like not knowing that Donatello is both a ninja turtle and a painter. Or never hearing Beethoven's fifth and Bohemian Rhapsody.
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