0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

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theballoonbaby
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby theballoonbaby » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:36 pm UTC

It's just damned funny. Back in the day, people laughed at a man falling on a banana skin: The absurdity! The unpredictability! The physical humour! I'm not saying watching my grandmother fall on a banana skin would be funny. It wouldn't. I don't want her to get hurt.

But just like Bugs bunny, Elma Fudd and any other fictional comedy character you care to think off, we find their physical pain funny because it's a detached spectacle. It's "safe" because no one got hurt. They just got an anvil dropped on them in a fictional environment. It's the same for this cartoon. Anyone who tries it in real life is an idiot. I think everyone on this board would agree with that. I think the problem everyone seems to have is that Randall has done so many "That's so cool! I wanna do that!" cartoons that they're worried someone will accidentally file this comic in that category.

And if someone is that stupid, you probably won't find them on XKCD in the first place.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby nasalhernia » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:20 pm UTC

Isn't this comic funny (for those of us who aren't sociopaths) because this is something we're not likely to do? We entertain ourselves with an idea that crosses the boundaries of what is acceptable in our own eyes.

That said, I have actually pondered this a similar scenario while riding up a long escalator, though not using a chin-up bar.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby A_of_s_t » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:47 pm UTC

hg00000 wrote:This is friggin' hilarious. Why? Mel Brooks tells me so:

Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.


Is it possible? Yes. Could it be a horrible tragedy if some numbskull pulled this off in real life? Yes. But it's still funny.

Man, that quote made my day.
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby who149 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:01 pm UTC

Why are there assumptions that people died? O.o

I mean. Wile E Coyote survived 200 foot falls on a daily basis.
Daffy Duck got shot in the face
Anvils fall on the average cartoon character

Its called Slapstick. its one of the oldest forms of entertainment

I found this comic especially funny ^^

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Lerkistan » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

drwho wrote:It also brings up the point that people can be as obnoxious walking as driving, or perhaps worse, i.e. people in Boston hardly ever observe the walk-the escalator-on-the-right-side heuristic.


Which kind of makes sense, given that you overtake on the left lane in most countries. :P

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby dms33 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:27 pm UTC

mgabrys wrote:+1 if you heard bowling pin sound effects in the last panel.


Well, in the second last panel I swear I heard Hermes Conrad shout "Limbo!" :D

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby cphite » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:21 pm UTC

thrpwood wrote:
cphite wrote:I think it's more a matter of people realizing that it's just a cartoon drawn with stick figures.

Does it matter if these are stick figures or actual actors? In both cases human brain interprets them as "people", otherwise this comic would not work at all. I mean, do you seriosly think someone considers this comic to be about bunch of lines, dots and circles inside rectangles?


Actually, the emphasis should be more on the "just a cartoon" bit; that it's stick figures is kind of secondary. Had it been a movie, I would have said "just a movie" and the point would have stood.

And the point is that it's fiction. It's a visual joke. It's something that no rational person would do; and that's what makes it funny. It's funny for the same reason that watching Bugs Bunny drop a piano on Daffy Ducks head is funny, or watching Moe whack Larry and Curly in the head with a hammer is funny.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby soraos21 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:28 pm UTC

... Please tell me I'm not the only one who started hearing the Katamari Damacy tune at the last panel. To me, that added a whole new level of funny. This particular comic reminded me of an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, where Eris makes a guy fall down the up escalator.
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby pyroja » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

I just registered to say I found the comic funny.

I feel like there are too many Buzz Killingtons in this thread.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Himself » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:46 pm UTC

I found this comic funny as it is presented in fictional context so long as it stays there. At the same time I realize that someone could try this could be attempted in real life with resulting injuries and fatalities. In this sense I have doubts as to whether putting it up was such a good idea. I don't think these are mutually exclusive.
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby RobKohr » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:57 pm UTC

This is the first comic by xkcd where I literally laughed out loud in a long time. I reread it, and even laughed again.

For those who ask how it was funny... it was the delivery.

If it was the last 3 frames, it would have been not funny at all. But the lead up was great. The reader was totally in the head of the hatless guy and trying to figure out what was going on here. The humor was the sudden realization that something as benign as a pull up bar was just used for mass destruction (ok, mass murder).

Most humor is based on setting you up with one belief state, and then showing you a reversal.

The "this is dangerous" people do have a point though. Something this damn funny has a chance of being attempted in real life by a dumb-ass, and it won't be funny then. I think that is a pretty crappy reason to hold back a good joke though. I wouldn't mind a little note afterwards that says "Warning: in real life this would kill people." as it may not be obvious.
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby BytEfLUSh » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:29 pm UTC

drwho wrote:Brave, class-hole black-hat man, I salute thee, and thine apparent Donnie Darko reference.


Damn, I thought I was just obsessed with the movie when I thought of "Why are you wearing that stupid man-suit?"-line after reading that panel. Apparently, I'm not the only one. :)
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby mgabrys » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:53 pm UTC

Know what I find more offensive? Endless war movies and telling everyone ever single soldier we have is a hero. Wonder how many kids got suckered into participating and got killed and maimed in our pointless brushfire wars?

Oh that's different. How? Hows that yellow magnet on your SUV holding up?

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby dbam987 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:45 am UTC

THG is hilarious. When I was in Japan, everyone lined up on the left side of escalators giving space on the right for people to run walk/run up. Not a single person I saw violated this unspoken rule, so much that I feared violating it. :P

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby VelociraptorEvader » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:54 am UTC

70 Meters or 70 Metres? I cringe every time I see Meters being used for distance instead of counting units.
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby J L » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:27 am UTC

Mr. Burke wrote:
jefnvk wrote:
And spoiler: the coyote never died


And unless I am missing something, the comic doesn't show or imply anyone dying, unlike plenty of others.


Yes, and therein lies the problem. This isn't cartoony violence (where people survive obviously deadly event) or GTA violence (where people visibly die). This is a deadly prank made to look harmless. Some idiot might see it, think “hey, that would be funny!” and try to act it out.

And then serve life in prison.


I don't see a difference to cartoony violence, which isn't always dynamite and anvils, but also smacking people on the head, putting mousetraps in their pockets etc., and I never understood how enjoying graphic violence like in GTA or any FPS would be any "better" than this.

I don't want to get in a big argument about this, because I believe it would be rather pointless; I just want to point out how different people react to different depictions of violence. Therefore I don't think there's much of a point in predicting which kind of depiction will inspire other people to reenact it, either.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:04 am UTC

Even though I don't find this comic funny I did enjoy it because it made me think, and because I've enjoyed reading the range of attitudes and opinions in this thread.

I agree with the other posters who don't believe that this comic will increase the likelihood of someone doing this sort of thing in real life, so I don't think Randall did anything wrong or dangerous by posting this comic. And I don't think this comic is in particularly poor taste, either, merely that I don't find it funny, and that I'm somewhat wary of people who do find it amusing. OTOH, maybe Randall's looking to recruit sociopaths / psychopaths for his Army of World Domination. :mrgreen:

FWIW, it'd be pretty easy for anyone with a modicum of imagination to cause a dangerous situation on an escalator without using a chin-up bar or any other props, although such methods might make it a little harder to escape the danger yourself.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:10 pm UTC

Those who continue to insist this comic doesn't depict murder both haven't read this thread and don't understand how torque works.

6453893 wrote:Most violent comedy reflects real life in some way, if not intentionally, then because people have died in a lot of ways. I don't think the fact that escalators are actually dangerous are a valid counterargument, but I also don't think as many people would feel the need to bring this up if the comic itself had been differently executed. If anything, the comic just needs to be more over-the-top, both underscoring the very-real danger of BHG's prank, and adding the touch of surreality that allows us to distance ourselves and really laugh at violent comedy.

You're mostly right: the point for me is that the Black Hat Guy isn't making a point, humorous or otherwise, with his actions. It's just that he's murdering people because it's something he can do, which to me isn't much different from, "Black Hat Guy uses an exploit of chemical reactions to shotgun people to death." With the nitroglycerin pumpkins, for example, it was the psychology of people who would destroy a pumpkin for no reason that was the mechanism for their death. Not, "happening to use an escalator".
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby jpers36 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:13 pm UTC

VelociraptorEvader wrote:70 Meters or 70 Metres? I cringe every time I see Meters being used for distance instead of counting units.


Here in the US, we don't have a word "Metre".

(no offense intended)

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Ronsonic » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:10 pm UTC

NotAllThere wrote:.... occasionally you get someone who reaches the end, then pauses to decide whether to go left or right. Or scratch their ear, or just catch their breath after the exhilarating ride.


I'm always behind someone like that on escalators. ALWAYS.

Maximum amusement is a large family regrouping at the top. :shock:

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby webgiant » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:17 pm UTC

player_03 wrote:I don't get it. Why don't people just climb over or duck under?

Because no one ever responds quickly to the unexpected, and a mob never does. It's why people die from being trampled by a crowd: like the chin-up bar, the person on the ground is unexpected.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Sullivan » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:39 am UTC

This reminded me of an accident that almost happened at an amusement park in Southern California.

The scenario: An outdoor "up" escalator, carrying people to an outdoor elevated platform on which were "serpentine" waiting lines, which eventually led into the building that housed a ride. The trouble was that the park person at the bottom of the escalator wasn't paying attention, and kept letting people on the escalator faster than the ride was absorbing people. (There were no park personnel at the top of the escalator to monitor things.) Oh, people on the platform could have squeezed together and made more room, but they didn't realize the necessity, and as long as the park person at the bottom was just waving people up, that would have only bought a few more minutes. People were just not moving away from the escalator fast enough - there wasn't room for them to do so comfortably, and they weren't aware of the problem, so they didn't.

Like everyone else I didn't realize all this until I was riding up the escalator and near the top. Then I noticed considerable crowding on the platform. As I neared the top people were noticing the problem, voices were being raised, but the situation was getting worse.

This was the only time in my life I can remember that I a) saw an emergency situation, b) was in a position to do something about it, and c) thought of it in time.... I managed to squeeze around and past a couple of people who were between me and the top, and I jabbed the E-stop button.

( Most people probably don't even know there IS an emergency stop button on escalators, or where it is. Well, I am a techie. )

THAT sent exclamations of surprise all down the formerly-moving steps, but everyone kept their feet. I was all set to defend my action to park "security"... but apparently no one around me, let alone anyone from the park, knew what had happened, or why what almost happened didn't happen. They probably thought the escalator had stopped from weight overload, or something.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby djkjr » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:09 am UTC

God I love BHG. He's just so... YES!
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby phillipsjk » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:50 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:Comparisons between Wile E. Coyote and Black Hat Person are not particularly strong arguments either. I can't get my hands on an anvil too easily, let alone precariously balance it upon a mountain top. I can, however, purchase a chin-up bar relatively easy, and find an escalator. In the space of about ten minutes, given my location, I can recreate this comic.

This is a simple prank, and easily mimicked. Indeed, someone came up with the idea before Randall, and put it into practice, resulting in injury. What did that make them? An asshole, of course! Not a classhrle, but your common garden dickhead!


The thing is, as the comic presents it, it is not as easy as just dropping a bar accross the escalator (the boasters' improvisation aside). BHG visited ealier to install mounting brackets for the chin-up bar and disable the emergency stop buttons. The careful advance preparation makes it over the top, just like Wile E. Coyote's traps.

I found the comic hilarious. I think it pokes fun at anti-terror measures put in place since 9/11. No ammount of security theater will protect against determined individuals turning the mundane into a weapon. I don't think I actually looked at the pile-up panel: just the idea of fixing a bar at the top of a long escalator made me cringe. (Read: the action was obviously dangerous to me.)
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby 6453893 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:36 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:I found the comic hilarious. I think it pokes fun at anti-terror measures put in place since 9/11. No ammount of security theater will protect against determined individuals turning the mundane into a weapon.
That never occurred to me. If that was the message of the comic, it is extremely interesting, though way too subtle (given that I don't recall anyone so far mentioning this at all). It makes me think that if he had posted this comic on the anniversary of 9/11 (or the closest date to it), we might all be having a very different discussion.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Hafting » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:24 pm UTC

coyotebush wrote:Why did not-hat-guy just turn around and get on the down escalator?


He already knows what kind of person BHG is. When he pulls a trick like that, you better go the same way - it will be the route that is not blocked. And with the best view too, of course!

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Hafting » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:40 pm UTC

chernevik wrote:It doesn't take much cleverness to hurt people with industrial machinery. The people hurt aren't stupid, they're people stuck on a conveyor belt, strong enough to lift hundreds of people up a steep grade, pushing them into an obstacle.

This is the worst XKCD ever.


It is not. Tripping up people is fun - until they start beating you up for it. This is the same, just insanely exaggregated because it is a comic. Slapstick humor can be fun when well executed. This was. And no real people got hurt, just stick figures tumbling over each other!

Imagining crazy situations can be fun, especially when it does not done for real.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:07 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:The thing is, as the comic presents it, it is not as easy as just dropping a bar accross the escalator (the boasters' improvisation aside). BHG visited ealier to install mounting brackets for the chin-up bar and disable the emergency stop buttons. The careful advance preparation makes it over the top, just like Wile E. Coyote's traps.

Because Wile E. Coyote was nothing if not clinically competent in his malice?
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby PM 2Ring » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:14 pm UTC

6453893 wrote:
phillipsjk wrote:I found the comic hilarious. I think it pokes fun at anti-terror measures put in place since 9/11. No ammount of security theater will protect against determined individuals turning the mundane into a weapon.
That never occurred to me. If that was the message of the comic, it is extremely interesting, though way too subtle (given that I don't recall anyone so far mentioning this at all). It makes me think that if he had posted this comic on the anniversary of 9/11 (or the closest date to it), we might all be having a very different discussion.

Several of us in this thread have alluded to that, although we didn't mention 9/11 explicitly. However, I did link to the Bag Check comic, which is fairly obviously inspired by post-9/11 anti-terrorism measures.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Mr. Burke » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
phillipsjk wrote:The thing is, as the comic presents it, it is not as easy as just dropping a bar accross the escalator (the boasters' improvisation aside). BHG visited ealier to install mounting brackets for the chin-up bar and disable the emergency stop buttons. The careful advance preparation makes it over the top, just like Wile E. Coyote's traps.

Because Wile E. Coyote was nothing if not clinically competent in his malice?

Indeed, doesn't he usually get caught in his own traps?

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby aardarf » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:06 pm UTC

Oh Jesus Christ I laughed heartily at this. Though silently, cause I'm at my desk and don't want to attract attention. Awesome.

Edit: OK wait a minute. Are people talking about terrorism? Mass panic and abuse?

THIS IS A FUCKING COMIC PEOPLE. IT HAS STICK FIGURES FLYING OVER STICK FIGURE HEADS WITH FUNNY STICK FIGURE BODY EXPRESSIONS. IT IS SERIOUSLY FUCKING HILARIOUS.

I really don't think they're trying to encourage you to try this at home.

Edit 2: Oh me yarm I just noticed one guy holding onto another person's hair for dear life. Upper right corner. Fuckin' A.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby jefnvk » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:20 pm UTC

Those who continue to insist this comic doesn't depict murder both haven't read this thread and don't understand how torque works.


And those that continue to insist this is nothing but murder don't understand how comics work.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:39 am UTC

jefnvk wrote:
Those who continue to insist this comic doesn't depict murder both haven't read this thread and don't understand how torque works.

And those that continue to insist this is nothing but murder don't understand how comics work.

Was that a snark? If so, you fail at reading comprehension, but I'll bold the important word to make it a little simpler. Comics and other fictional media are capable of depicting murder. I never claimed the comic depicted "nothing but murder", and although I'd have to re-read the thread to make sure I'm fairly certain no one else did either.

But congratulations on making a post on the internet. May your next one be more successful!
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby jpk » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:22 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
jefnvk wrote:
Those who continue to insist this comic doesn't depict murder both haven't read this thread and don't understand how torque works.

And those that continue to insist this is nothing but murder don't understand how comics work.

Was that a snark? If so, you fail at reading comprehension, but I'll bold the important word to make it a little simpler. Comics and other fictional media are capable of depicting murder. I never claimed the comic depicted "nothing but murder", and although I'd have to re-read the thread to make sure I'm fairly certain no one else did either.

But congratulations on making a post on the internet. May your next one be more successful!


Oh, go home. You're a hopeless waste of skin. I hope you believe in reincarnation, evidently you lost out this time around.

I'll make this as simple as possible, so you can follow what you're missing:

(1) Human beings are pattern-recognition machines. We've got that built in: finding patterns gives us a thrill. Hence music, art, humor, math, science, conspiracy theory, and most of human cognition.
(2) We tell stories about, and otherwise depict things that don't actually happen for various reasons. Sometimes those stories or depictions set up difficult or misleading patterns and resolve them in incongruous ways, or by breaking rules that we'd not considered part of the solution. (These depictions need not be representative; music will do the trick.) This delayed resolution typically results in a sudden recognition of a previously obscure pattern, which gives us an extra-good jolt of pattern-recognition. This extra-good jolt can be found in an unexpected resolution of a piece of music, or a neat solution to a mathematical problem, or many other sorts of domains.
(3) When we find this jolt in a story, it often triggers a brief hysterical barking, unique to humans, which is called "laughter".
(4) Intelligent human beings are capable of distinguishing this sort of jolt (commonly referred to as "humor") from a serious proposal to carry out an action which breaks social rules or otherwise harms or insults human beings.
(5) Apparently, this distinction is lost on you. The comic is classic rube-goldberg/slapstick funny. Panels 1-7 set up an incongruous situation: we expect that something is going to happen, but we don't know what. In panels 8 and 9, the penny drops. Panel 10 is the payoff: ludicrously overstated chaos. Hilarious. Wish you were human enough to get it.

Here's another example: George Carlin has a hilarious routine. The joke at about 4:30 is funny. If George Carlin were to actually go into NOW headquarters and say "which one of you cupcakes wants to come home and cook me a nice dinner and give me a blowjob", that would not be funny. The image of George Carlin doing that is funny.

Funny/not funny. It's a distinction you might want to bone up on. It'll help you figure out where to laugh so you can pretend to be a human being until the merciful end of your miserable humorless existence. This might be useful to you - a "sense of humor" (look it up) is often useful in getting laid. You'd like that, it's fun.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

jpk wrote:Oh, go home. You're a hopeless waste of skin. I hope you believe in reincarnation, evidently you lost out this time around. . . .
Funny/not funny. It's a distinction you might want to bone up on. It'll help you figure out where to laugh so you can pretend to be a human being until the merciful end of your miserable humorless existence. This might be useful to you - a "sense of humor" (look it up) is often useful in getting laid. You'd like that, it's fun.

I found a single joke distasteful, and therefore I'm inhuman? If you have to separate me from the species in order to understand my objection, and likewise all those who would agree with me, I think you don't understand my objection.

But, sure, fine: I'm a humourless sociopath who doesn't get laid or have fun. I'm so glad someone finally understands me. Well done. But in case that doesn't satisfy you, why don't you go back and actually read what I fucking wrote, OK champ? Because it's not that I don't find Black Hat Guy funny, it's mostly that he acted out-of-character in this piece, and that there was nothing else to give his actions humorous context. At least, not to my tastes, and I don't think you would suggest humour can be objectively appreciated.
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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby jschnerf » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

I am shocked and dismayed at how many people missed the actual punchline to this comic.

It's not "violence against stick figures is funny" (tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall in an open manhole and die.)
It's not "sociopathic behavior is funny"
It's not even the hovertext, as is often the case.

It's the look on Non-black hat guy's face (or general demeanor) watching the mass of bodies tumble down the escalator.

He has just spent time chatting with the sociopath who set this up (and remember, he disabled the emergency stop, this was premeditated), discussing hat wearing and psychology. They may be friends, they may be people who just met on the longest escalator in this hemisphere.
He watches the sociopath engage in violent behavior that does not directly affect him.
And then he watches the ensuing Chaos, and wonders... What should I have done?

That look on his face is the look on all of our faces. We deal, on a daily basis, with sociopathic behavior (in our government, at our jobs, within our own families), and far too often, stand and watch the chaos, wondering, "what should I have done?"

That uncomfortable awkwardness that we see in that last panel forces us to do two things: to laugh at it, to pretend we don't identify with that look, and then to sit there in the uncomfortable fact that this is all too familiar.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:09 pm UTC

Sometimes I read forum threads and see people complaining about a strip in such a way that indicates that they dislike that entire branch of comedy (slapstick in this case, I think?), which makes me wonder why they've kept up with the comic so far to begin with. It's possible to make hypothetical serious injuries funny, people, as long as they remain hypothetical. Yes, we agree that actually seeing this happen in person in real life, particularly seeing it happen to people you know personally, would not be funny. Do you see people you know among the group falling down the escalator? Do you even see real people, let alone people you know?
"It's easy to forget what a sin is in the middle of a battlefield." "Opposite over hypotenuse, dipshit."

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby Zinho » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:12 pm UTC

StClair wrote:For me, at least, it's not about the possibility of some copycat reader doing this in real life. It's all about the (continued) presentation of a sociopath as someone clever, admirable, superior, and/or "classy."
Yes, he's always been willing to cause harm, even grievous and potentially fatal harm. (Thinking about the "nerd sniping" strip here, in particular - causing people to stop in the middle of traffic, hilarious!)
I don't like the character. He's not funny to me. He never has been.
That a substantial portion of the readership seems to think the character and his behavior is "cool" both confounds and disturbs me.

How many subscribe to the notion that "hurting people is funny and/or justified if they're more stupid than you"?

I have a theory on this, which may or may not work as an explanation, presented as a FTFY:
StClair wrote:How many subscribe to the notion that "hurting people is funny and/or justified if they're weaker than you"? (emphasis added)

I've met my fair share of those, and they carried titles like "jocks" and "bullies". I'd be willing to bet that many XKCD readers have been on the receiving end of that brand of sociopathy. Even if not, they're surely aware of the phenomenon. Bullies' behavior is evil, wrong, and enough to make any rational person vengefully angry. :evil:

The substitution of intellectual superiority for physical in BHG's case is exactly what makes him both funny and attractive to geeky types. Funny, because of the subversion of the bully archetype, and attractive because it flatters the notion of intellectual superiority harbored in most geeks. Between the (unexpected combination of intellectualism with bullying) and (geeks' suppressed vengeful fantasies) I think it's natural for many geeks' reaction to BHG to be evil glee. :twisted:

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:13 pm UTC

jpk wrote:Oh, go home. You're a hopeless waste of skin. I hope you believe in reincarnation, evidently you lost out this time around.


And I got banned.

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Re: 0954: "Chin-Up Bar"

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:It's possible to make hypothetical serious injuries funny, people, as long as they remain hypothetical.


You're right: it's possible to do so, but it doesn't mean that every time you do it it'll be funny. It's perfectly possible to do a BAD comic, you know. But most people defending the comic seem to think that a comic can't possibly do any bad: if it's a comic, it's funny by default. Or worse: if it's xkcd, it's funny by default.

The most striking thing about this comic is that, at no point in the whole history of xkcd, has Randall made it clear that the stick figures are not supposed to be representations of actual people. In fact, it's the opposite: many times we've seen the stick figures to be representation of people made of flesh and bone (the most jarring being, of course, 631). So, the comic is not "slapstick" at all: if it were explicitly so, then I think the complaints would be over-the-top. But that final panel could perfectly be a representation of a horrific, bloody carnage -- nothing shows that it's not.

And I agree when it was said that there's no justification or rationale to BHG's attitude this time around. "Nerd Sniping" was similarly awful, but at least there was a rationale. This time, there's none: it's just "RANDOM VIOLENCE LAWL!", and it takes a whole lot of talent to make "random" work. I won't voice my opinion on whether Randall has that much talent because because I may be banned again.


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