“I heard you’re idea’s and their definately good.”

Despite the less than elegant rhetorical flourish, this is pretty funny.  From XKCD.

I am reminded of how liberals insist that conservatives be nice even while they pour out the worst sort of bile (cf. my email inbox).

(I especially like the modil sentance with those apostrafee’s!)

And just because I posted one cartoon…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Legisperitus says:

    Cubicle Shakespeare: Josef Pieper would approve.

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    I’m having trouble following the logic of the first cartoon. How does insecurity lead to conceit? I understand the humorous unfolding, but it seems inconsistent with the narrative. See, the Bayesian parser for probability in most brains rates the probability that insecurity is connected with conceit very low, so it does not belong in the high probability excitatory structured event complex for conceit in the pre-frontal cortex processing the joke. Obviously, then, when the flip morphism is activated at the punchline, the SEC is already contmnated by an improper transformation morphism, so there is a weakened morphism between script one and script two causing the W value in Ermentrout’s cusp catastrophe to be smaller than normal. Ergo, the joke is less funny than it should be. Not to mention the delay in the network caused by the lag in processing how insecurity leads to conceit – this also increases the free energy making the free energy minimalisation less than it could be, further making the joke less funny.

    I just thought I would clear that up before anyone else had to say it.

    The Chicken

  3. wmeyer says:

    Gee, Father, and I thought I was the only one who was finicky over spelling and punctuation. It’s not as though it were rocket science, after all.

  4. Legisperitus says:

    Masked Chicken: That sounds exactly like what happened in my brain when Yoda said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

    Or was Yoda not trying to be funny?

  5. johnfoster42 says:

    Not sure if you’re aware of this, but xkcd is noted for its use of alt text. In other words, hover your mouse point over the graphic, and a text box pops up with an additional joke. This only works at the original site, and not, as here, when it’s been embedded.

    [I didn’t know! I’ll look.]

  6. acardnal says:

    wmeyer, I used to work with rocket scientists and some of them were not very good with punctuation or spelling. But they were very successful, nonetheless, at launching rockets and satellites.

  7. acricketchirps says:

    The clue to the path by which insecurity leads to conceit is in the dark-haired woman’s comment, “Insecurity keeps me humble.” Pride and insecurity very often go together, I know first hand.

  8. wmeyer says:

    acardnal, I know many software guys who take pride in their complete command of software syntax, but turn up their noses at English syntax. The difficulty is, their products don’t expire on re-entry, so (literate) documentation is always a good thing. Unfortunately most of them are clueless about how to achieve it.

  9. acardnal says:

    wmeyer, I agree. Thus, the need for technical writers, I suppose.

  10. The Masked Chicken says:

    ““Insecurity keeps me humble.” Pride and insecurity very often go together,”

    These ideas are contradictory and absolute incongruity does not lead to humor. In fact, there are two types of pride: good and bad, described in the book of Sirach. She was, obviously, talking about the good type of pride (being insecure that one does not measure up to the good one aspires to keeps one humble). He was talking about the bad type of pride (being insecure that one is better than they think leads to overcompensation and conceit).

    Given this, this is certainly a case of cognitive dissonance or talking past each other. This can be a condition of humor, but in this case, it is not, because the meta-level suggests that it is the people touting Internet Enlightenment who, themselves, are not enlightened, while the girl is. She is, nevertheless, the one who disappears, making the claim that an evil (the guy’s interpretation) is really a good. In reality, the girl displays connative humility, while the guy displays conceit. This may be funny, but we classify this as non-benign humor. It is a type of aggressive humor.

    This particular cartoon rankles, a bit. It is typical of the type of a sub-category of humor called aggressive, non-affirming (or sarcastic) which is currently under study in the psychological literature. My suggestion was that they look at Apple Genius employees at Apple stores because I have read that this sort of mocking humor is common, especially towards people who think they are equal in expertise to the Apple employee.

    I know – I suck the humor out of the cartoon, but I just got back from a humor conference where these sorts of ideas were being discussed.

    Now, the second cartoon was really great, but, of course, it was written by chickens :)

    The Chicken

  11. The Masked Chicken says:

    That should be aggressive, non-affiliative humor.

    The Chicken

  12. acardnal says:

    The Chicken,
    I am sorry but all that analysis is not very funny.

    Where is the late, great Jonathan Winters when I need him?

  13. cathgrl says:

    When you hover over the cartoon, it says:

    “But the rules for writing are like magic spells. If you never acquire them, then not using them says nothing.”

  14. AgricolaDeHammo says:

    What I took away from the xkcd comic was this:
    Most people who comment in forums or comboxes have such great self-esteem that the comment things without second thought for grammar, logic, manners. The people doing the “enlightenment” are not to be trusted (they are helping create more of the above) so whatever they’re spouting may or may not have to make sense.
    xkcd is not always laugh out loud funny, it often makes you think and crack a smile while you do that. Ignorance/boorishness on the internet is common knowledge. The joke is that it’s so widespread that to be understood you have to adopt their parlance. The frustration lies in either being part of the conversation or maintaining some semblance of decorum. (imagine the comic set in some dystopia a la Gilliam’s Brazil and form 27B-6)

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    The humor comes because, according to the cartoon, to achieve Internet Enlightenment, you have to, essentially, not judge, since judging is a sign of insecurity, which, the cartoon asserts is bad. The girl who maintained that insecurity kept her humble tried to give up her insecurity, to not judge, as she was told to do, but when she was asked to write a sentence which explicitly manifested this Internet Enlightenment – “I’ve heard your ideas and their definately good,” [which is an in-joke, because there is a temptation to judge the misspelling] – she vanished, as in a typical Monty Python skit, because she was unable to give up her integrity. The two who remain comment on the fact that she wasn’t ready, as if reaching the ability to overlook truth is the desired goal.

    This is sarcasm and irony writ with thin lines. The humor comes from the juxtaposition of the normal script of integrity, which should be good, with the script of relativism, which should be bad, but in the classic flip of humor, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. This humor mocks integrity and is aggressive and non-affiliative. Unfortunately, it seems to be common among some classes of geeks.

    Personally, I find the cartoon conforms to the requirements of humor, but the underlying theology is destructive. Humor is a manifestation of the virtue of hope, but one can hope for both good things and bad things. Just as love improperly directed is the source of evil, so hope which is improperly directed is also evil. Thus, the humor of this cartoon, being aggressive and non-affiliative, indicates that the underlying hope is an evil one. So, the humor is present, but it is an evil, mocking humor.

    Now, such humor can be used to a good purpose, if it is used to correct a wrong. This cartoon, pointing out the classical liberal mentality is putting sarcasm to a good end, so that, even if the humor is evil, the meta-message is good. The audience is asked to tolerate the evil humor for the sake of a larger message.

    I don’t, normally, sit around analyzing most humor to this degree, but this cartoon kind of threw me for a loop.

    The Chicken

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    That should be:
    ““I’ve heard you’re ideas and their definately good,” of course.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    I like that the chicken tells them he wants them to work on saturday while carrying a board with a nail.
    This reminds me of one of the absolute funniest books I have ever read. Yes, it’s juvenile as heck, but I laugh out loud every single time I read it. It is called “Work is Hell” and was written by Matt Groening, the “Simpsons” creator. The “150 types of employees”, priceless, I can find myself and lots of other people I have worked with. Bet you would too. The first 15 or so pages are to me, the best. Binky…oh my gosh. I so identify…
    Warning: The humor is a bit “ribald”, but, funny is funny. This is a world in which me must laugh as often as we possibly can for sanity’s sake.

  18. Legisperitus says:

    Masked Chicken: Seriously, thanks for the analysis. I had the same reaction to the cartoon but could never have explained it as thoroughly.

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