0635: "Locke and Demosthenes"

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0635: "Locke and Demosthenes"

Postby indiekid97 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:10 am UTC

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http://www.xkcd.com/635

Alt-Text : Dear Peter Wiggin: This letter is to inform you that you have recieved enough upvotes on your reddit comments to be President of the world. Please be at the UN tomorrow 8:00 sharp.


p.s. hii glasnt!
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby screech » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:12 am UTC

This seemed like a very overt reference.

And who's to say it wasn't actually like this in the book? :o
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby glasnt » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:12 am UTC

@OP: you need the rest of the mouse-over text, dude.

In addition: SQUIRREL! I wonder if that's the same squirrel that Marigold just acquired.

Hi joee.

(I don't understand this comic, but I understand cute and fluffy forest animals.)
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby dasada122 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:13 am UTC

Exellent! More OS Card humor!
The alt text is what did it for me.

EDIT: Oh good, the squirrel got away. Run, squirrel! Run go get the copter!
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Omegaton » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:14 am UTC

I don't get this comic... I'm assuming Ender's Game is related. I need to read more books...
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:14 am UTC

Of course, we all know why he's feeding the squirrel...
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby nickheart » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:18 am UTC

Yeah, how come the squirrel is alive?

But seriously, maybe it was because the first time I read the book was in 2000, but how would anyone be able to acquire any acclaim posting on newsgroups. I believed it then, but now...
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Comic JK » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:20 am UTC

All of Ender's Game is a little dated--the "Russia takes over the world" bit is a lot more of a sticking point for me than a simplified idea of the internet.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Amarsir » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:23 am UTC

This, amongst all xkcd comics, is the pinnacle of me not getting it.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Simon17 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:24 am UTC

nickheart wrote:Yeah, how come the squirrel is alive?

But seriously, maybe it was because the first time I read the book was in 2000, but how would anyone be able to acquire any acclaim posting on newsgroups. I believed it then, but now...


As anyone could clearly see in this beautiful detailed eerily lifelike drawing, the squirrel is alive in the first panel and dead in the 2nd.

I can say that the humor and execution in this comic is easily the best in the past few months, though nowhere near "Xkcd" prime.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby wackojacko1138 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:24 am UTC

I'm not getting the squirrel. Is there some subplot I'm forgetting from Ender's Game?
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Shale » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:24 am UTC

Yeah, this always bugged me (har har) about Ender's Game. There's no way that should have been so easy for Peter and Valentine to pull off, no matter how tiny you think the Internet is going to be.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby davidhbrown » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:26 am UTC

Ender's Game so predates the web... I remember thinking Usernet when I first read it. But same idea, just with more idiots and more GUI.

We're one of the alien races in the Speaker for the Dead book squirrel-like? Boy, it's been so long... hold on, they're on my shelf downstairs. I'll come back and edit when I find it...

Edit: no, that's totally wrong. I was thinking of the pequinos from Xenocide (the third book). Definitely overdue for re-reading.

Sometimes a squirrel is just a squirrel?
Last edited by davidhbrown on Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:31 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby forgotenland » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:27 am UTC

I'm surprised people haven't commented yet on the 0.5-comment average.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Rysto » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:27 am UTC

wackojacko1138 wrote:I'm not getting the squirrel. Is there some subplot I'm forgetting from Ender's Game?

Peter kills squirrels in the book.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Psykar » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:27 am UTC

Have so many people really not read Ender's Game?

In a nutshell:
Family of 5, youngest kid (12ish?) goes off to 'space academy' of sorts to fight aliens.
Meanwhile older siblings do exactly what the comic says, with Peter essentially becoming a 'President of Earth' (Hegemon they call it in the book) as a result.
The squirrels... well Peter used to torture little animals as a kid. Why a squirrel? who knows.


Personally I love the whole series, but it does sound rediculous when you put it like this :D
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:28 am UTC

Um... In Before Locke!
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:30 am UTC

Nice little Nate Silver reference.

Also, hi Milton!
I make this comic.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby kriel » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:30 am UTC

To those who don't get it:

Spoiler:
Locke and Demosthenes, in Ender's Game, are the psuedonyms of two people who write political banter between each other. In doing so, (And having opposing viewpoints), they manage to sway most of the political game however they feel. [Imagine if Republicans and Democrats each had one figurehead at the forefront, and these two figureheads were people cooperating to steer the political game however they feel.]

Now, if this were to happen in practice, you'd end up with a blog that noone ever reads. It's a commentary on how noone reads the best blogs, ever, while things like [link removed] get over a million hits.

... Uh. yeah. I'm tired. And this prolly sucked.


Yeah that's not the kind of thing people want to see. PM the author if you're really dying to know

- fjafjan


Sorry, should have put a better disclaimer on it. Thanks fjafjan. And, uh, I find it kind of strange, I've gotten more PMs from a deleted link than I have from more-or-less my entire rest of time on the fora.
Last edited by kriel on Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:26 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby wackojacko1138 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:31 am UTC

Rysto wrote:
wackojacko1138 wrote:I'm not getting the squirrel. Is there some subplot I'm forgetting from Ender's Game?

Peter kills squirrels in the book.

Thanks. It's been a while since I read that book.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby bantab » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:33 am UTC

For those who have not read Ender's Game, does Peter post as Locke in the book?
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby plin25 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:46 am UTC

xkcd, stop ruining my childhood!
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Connington » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:49 am UTC

Yeah. The whole idea is basically that Peter, the elder child is quite the ambitious young man, and persuades his sister to go along with his plans. He sets up Locke as the reasonable, statesman persona respected by all the smart people, and his sister writes Demosthenes, more popular, and populist, author, who's stock in trade is occasionally paranoid anti-Russianism. He coordinates them, but she writes them, so they don't read the same, and can pass a writing analysis to confirm that. The irony is that each character by inclination would write the other one's articles, but Peter wants to be the ruler in the end, and Demosthenes can't do that. And of course, the pen names are pretty obvious statements.

Anyways, it seems pretty ridiculous on it's surface, although it becomes less so if you think of Peter as the equivalent of a Nate Silver, multiplied a few times in raw talent, an trying to rule the world (although we never know about Nate...) Yeah, the internet is obviously pictured as smaller, but it's beyond the realm of possibility.

And about the Russia thing. It doesn't bother me that much, due to retcons, which remove the references to the Soviet Union, and Russia's own foreign policy. If you follow the sequels, Russia is clearly portrayed as a country in steep decline, noticeably behind China (the world power) or even the West. So they try to grab power to compensate. Honestly, Russia is going through a toned down version of that in real life.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:50 am UTC

plin25 wrote:xkcd, stop ruining my childhood!


Did you have a childhood filled with delusions of dominating the blogosphere or something?
I make this comic.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby auriswildrin » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:54 am UTC

This is all the more funny for me, because I actually just finished reading this book. (It was published a few years before I was born, okay?)

bantab wrote:For those who have not read Ender's Game, does Peter post as Locke in the book?


Peter is Locke and Valentine is Demosthenes.

Valentine's Demosthenes persona becomes a little more important in the sequels, but that's all I'm going to say in case you haven't read the book.

And you really should. It's a good book.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Artanis00 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:58 am UTC

kriel wrote:To those who don't get it:

Spoiler:
Locke and Demosthenes, in Ender's Game, are the psuedonyms of two people who write political banter between each other. In doing so, (And having opposing viewpoints), they manage to sway most of the political game however they feel. [Imagine if Republicans and Democrats each had one figurehead at the forefront, and these two figureheads were people cooperating to steer the political game however they feel.]

Now, if this were to happen in practice, you'd end up with a blog that noone ever reads. It's a commentary on how noone reads the best blogs, ever, while things like [link removed] get over a million hits.

... Uh. yeah. I'm tired. And this prolly sucked.


Yeah that's not the kind of thing people want to see. PM the author if you're really dying to know

- fjafjan


Holy hell! That link is not safe for anywhere!
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Someursault » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:59 am UTC

I always did like the idea of the internet as an open forum for the intelligentsia of the era, where political cognoscenti the world over would engage in a level of debate and rhetoric reminiscent of ancient oratory. It's soaringly optimistic to envision that sort of thing emerging from an anonymous posting environment, though.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Cynical Idealist » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:01 am UTC

glasnt wrote:@OP: you need the rest of the mouse-over text, dude.

In addition: SQUIRREL! I wonder if that's the same squirrel that Marigold just acquired.

Hi joee.

(I don't understand this comic, but I understand cute and fluffy forest animals.)


Do you not know what Peter did to squirrels?
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby speedweasel » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:03 am UTC

I concocted a very similar comic in my head after I read the book a few years ago.

Only in my comic, the majority of the posts consisted of, "Your ghey!! this site is for f4gs!" and "REPENT AND ACCEPT JESUS IN TO YOUR HEART!! THE TIME OF REKONING IS AT HAND!!@!11" ...plus the obligatory Viagra and Russian bride spam.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby joee » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:08 am UTC

I do not understand this comic at all. I guess it's to do with the Ender series.

Also, hi glasnt. I missed you :(
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby jadewang » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:11 am UTC

And then Randall Munroe and slashdot link to Locke, and suddenly, Demosthenes isn't the only one posting comments on Locke's blog. Someone writes a script to make comment/discussion length automatically restricted by Godwin's Law.

(Honestly, I'm a bit shocked by how many people haven't read Ender's Game. Show some geek pride. If you haven't read it by now, go read it. Now. I read it in one sitting.)
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Tath » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:12 am UTC

The Desks and Net in the books were just one representation of how the internet could have went. The two big differences between it and real life are that A) They had limited web access (citizen user, etc) and B) The Net was mostly fora and discussion boards.

Oh yeah, another reason why they didn't just make a blog, and were able to succeed.


They were fucking super-geniuses. Their parents were pretty damn smart, too.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Zapheres » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:16 am UTC

I bet this is how presidential elections are actually done. :shock:
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby eviloatmeal » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:19 am UTC

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe...

Spoiler:
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby westrim » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:09 am UTC

Fk yeah, Enders Game! Also, that poor squirrel has no idea what its in for, does it? :(
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby skeptical scientist » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:16 am UTC

Oh that poor squirrel...

Having read Ender's Game many, many times, I do have to agree that the while the whole Locke/Demosthenes bit wasn't so egregious when it was written in the early 80s, as the internet has, shall we say, matured, it keeps getting more and more ridiculous.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Leroytirebiter » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:24 am UTC

I'm still crossing my fingers for a Cthulhu related xkcd... oh well, a slightly obscure reference to a chapter in Ender's Game is also awesome... Valentine and Peter... and the poor woodland creatures.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby ysth » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:27 am UTC

glasnt wrote:In addition: SQUIRREL! I wonder if that's the same squirrel that Marigold just acquired.
We know that squirrel attacks straw men, so possibly so.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby StClair » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:27 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:Having read Ender's Game many, many times, I do have to agree that the while the whole Locke/Demosthenes bit wasn't so egregious when it was written in the early 80s, as the internet has, shall we say, matured, it keeps getting more and more ridiculous.

Back when people actually talked about "cyberspace" with a straight face...
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Max2009 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:29 am UTC

Yeah, this bothered me when I (finally) read Ender's Game a couple of weeks ago.
The first time that they accessed the "internet" I flipped to the inside cover to check the publication date, when I saw that I felt better. Because it was all wrong. The internet doesn't work like that.

What's with the obsession about the squirrel? Peter killed squirrels in the book, pretty gruesomely too (maybe Peter is really Moot and he invented /b/?). When I saw the title and the squirrel in the first panel I was sort of expecting that.
Anyway, overall comic was a 7.
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