(From xkcd. Click for full-sized synchronization.)
xkcd has never been one to shy away from introducing new, out-there concepts, or cause you to rethink the way you look at the world – concepts its sizable fanbase is never slow to leap on.
At first glance, this comic would seem to fall into the same category… but then it begins to go off the rails, effectively pulling the rug out from under the audience.
It’s hard to tell what this comic is trying to do. Is there a particular geekly phenomenon it’s making fun of? Is it trying to trick its fanbase, or just having fun, or is it even making fun of itself?
The funny thing about this comic is, it’s entirely possible to actually do something like this, without the nonsense rules that come up towards the end, and indeed self-consciously to avoid those nonsense rules. But any actual attempt to do so would be so geeky that even considering how geeky Randall Munroe’s audience is, the reference would undoubtedly go completely over most of their heads.
In short, I’m not entirely sure I get this comic. Is there supposed to be a joke? Does the joke rely on some sort of knowledge I’m not privy to, or am I just supposed to have a vague sense of uncomfortableness as I increasingly wonder what’s going on as the elements of the plan become increasingly nonsensical? If, as some of the “rules” imply, the comic is making fun of the sort of real-life nonsensical rules it initially claims to discard, what exactly is the point? Because if that’s the case, I get the sense it changes what it’s trying to do as it goes along. Or is it just a rehash of the joke from this comic?
And of course, it doesn’t help that it’s so long and narrow that I have to pad out this post to make sure the image doesn’t interfere with everything below it…