Dear xkcd haters,
when I read the last xkcd comic (that one with no text at all, barely any art and no story, message or ideas whatsoever, that one titled „Mutual“, you know), I shook my head over how terrible it was just as you probably did.
However, I would like to point your attention to something it seems you have missed about it.
Meine aufrichtige Entschuldigung geht an meine deutschsprachige Leserschaft dafür, dass ich hier zum ersten Mal einen englischsprachigen Artikel veröffentliche und ihn dann noch nicht einmal vollständig übersetze. Ich kann aber versprechen, dass das die Ausnahme bleiben wird.
My sincere apologies go to my german-speaking readers for this first english blogpost I publish here and don’t even fully translate. I promise though that this will be an exception.
Now Rob over at xkcdsucks has expressed pretty well why this is not poignant, deep, or by any measure even acceptable.
The guys over at xkcdexplained were so horrified that they just gave up on their job for the first time ever, and nobody can blame them.
The xkcdsucksredux guy not only critisized this comic, but rightfully pointed out that Randall has been this lazy before, although it was a long time ago.
What makes me wonder is that no one seems to see that everything in this sad excuse for a webcomic has already been discussed in previous xkcd comics.
First, consider the „imagination within an imagination“ idea, where one imaginary situation influences the other.
Now look at this xkcd made ages ago, back when Randall Munroe still threw out a comic now and then that was somehow okay:
If you compare these two you will notice the newer one just riffs on the exact same idea the older one already explored. It fails to be remotely as clever or original as the first one was, granted. But the idea is still basically the same.
Now one might say that the „Hypotheticals“ comic was not at all about love so deep, sad, emotional and deep as „Mutual“ is. Of course „Mutual“ is about two people so dependent on each other they are no more able to lead their own lives, which was not there in „hypotheticals“. Yet I would like you to compare its title text („A universe that needed someone to observe it in order to collapse it into existence would be a pretty sorry universe indeed.“) and indeed the whole „sad“ situation to the title text in 449 „Things Fall Apart“: „‚I’m nothing without you‘ is a fucked-up sentiment.“
Already discussed. In its entirety. With at least a hint of a little more insight. Long ago.