Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
This comic appears to be satirizing art in two different ways. From one perspective, Randall is describing various art forms in unusual ways (e.g., a portrait by Cueball, a video for Megan, and perhaps live performance by Ponytail). From another perspective, Randall might be making fun of time-lapse photography movies. YouTube has a robust collection of videos taken from stitching together pictures or short video clips taken every day or every week; in the 2015 Academy Awards, one of the Best Picture nominees, Boyhood, used a similar method, filming short sequences annually over the course of 12 years.
In each case, the art described is simpler than it sounds, and some might not consider it art. A picture of oneself "every hundred years" will only happen once or twice in a lifetime; a "picture every 1/24th of a second" is the traditional frame rate of cinema cameras for film production, and "watching my face age in real time" is just life.
Then finally another Megan-like character pokes fun at all of them by simply watching their attempts at "art" while she eats a burrito. Randall may also be referencing the many perspectives on art by leaving this comic open to several interpretations.
The use of a burrito as a punchline representing someone who is grounded in reality instead of engaging in esoteric pursuits has been seen before in 1269: Privacy Opinions.
The title text is just more snark, claiming that it's their most ambitious project ever, if the sole criterion for ambition is the amount of guacamole that one has to eat.
- [Four people stand next to each other.]
- Cueball [taking a selfie with his smart-phone]: I'm doing an art project where I take a picture of myself every hundred years.
- Megan [filming herself with her smart-phone]: I'm doing an art project where I take a picture of myself every 1/24th of a second.
- Ponytail [pointing to her face with both hands]: I'm doing an art project where you can come to my house and watch my actual face age in real time.
- Girl with long black hair [holding a burrito]: I'm doing an art project where you all do those things while I eat a burrito.
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What is "Cutie"? If we're introducing a new character name, I'd say it would be the last "Megan". Her hair is longer and therefore not the prototypical Megan. Should the names be switched? Azule (talk) 06:19, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
- Someone on the internet is wrong - so I'm switching things around. Megan is number 2, and Danish is number 4. Pmw57 (talk) 07:33, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
- Not convinced. I think number 2 is a character we haven't seen before, and number 4 is Megan. Her hair's not much longer than usual, and a LOT shorter than Danish's.18.104.22.168 14:14, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
- This is definitely not Danish, who has much longer hair, and should be meaner or at least with Black Hat, and number two girl has much shorter hair than Megan. I have corrected this error- --Kynde (talk) 15:11, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
The first one looks like a selfie?--22.214.171.124 06:43, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
The art projects all appear to be examples of narcissism, as the artists are only showing themselves. 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
This comic is obviously poking fun at those projects of people taking a photo of themselves every day for several months/years and upload the resulting video to YouTube. --NeatNit (talk) 08:13, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
The last seems to be a reference to "Andy Warhol eating a Hamburger" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejr9KBQzQPM
188.8.131.52 08:38, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Isn't it (partially) satire on "Boyhood"? --JakubNarebski (talk) 08:42, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
The first art project also reminds me of the performance of John Cage's A(s)SL(ow)(a)SP(ossible) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_Slow_as_Possible) in Halberstadt which has a sceduled duration of 639 years.--184.108.40.206 10:01, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Some people live long enough that a picture every 100 years could be taken twice in a lifetime. Djbrasier (talk) 19:21, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
- Agreed. People have lived to 122, and it's easy to imagine an 18-year old student starting this project and taking another picture at the age of 118. Lifespans will probably keep increasing too. 220.127.116.11 20:41, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
- He could be one of these Singularitarian guys, and geniunely believe he'll live for multiple centuries. And to be fair, considering the clearly advancing tech level, if Cueball here is still a teenager, him surviving another 100 years isn't that unlikely. 18.104.22.168 14:31, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Do we need the long note about Megan? Djbrasier (talk) 00:46, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
- I don't think the long note on Megan/Not Megan is warranted on this page. I'm not sure where it would go, but this isn't the right place for a discussion on character designations. --Pudder (talk) 10:44, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
- Can it be moved to the Megan page? For example, the Cueball page states that there can be multiple Cueballs in a comic, perhaps this is a case with multiple Megans? Maybe the thing to do is to edit some of the discussion and move it to Megan's page with a note that this is a case where Megan (everywoman) appears twice in a comic. I concur with the consensus from the discussion above that her hair is too short for #4 character to be Danish. Djbrasier (talk) 13:29, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
- I think this is important to put here to avoid people changing it again and again. As far as I know this is the first time two girls looking like Megan appears in the same comic (although I have not read all yet.) For Cueball this happens many times. --Kynde (talk) 17:35, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
- The Megan page specifies that she is an everywoman to Cueball's everyman. If we are to be consistent, then we should have only a brief note here and can add the rest to Megan's page. I'm going to make an update, if people disagree, revert. Djbrasier (talk) 00:43, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Following the conventions set in 1441: Turnabout and 1436: Orb Hammer, I have taken the character that is seems is most Megan-like from the character's behavior and appearance and named her Megan and left the other character of similar appearance unnamed. I will be updating the Megan page presently. Djbrasier (talk) 00:50, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
- Yes that was a mistake that Cueball was mentioned in those to transcripts. When there are two identical Cueballs in one comic, neither of them can be identified as the "real" Cueball. Because there is no specific trait that you can claim makes one of the Cueballs the real one! I have corrected the two transcripts. I will thus also correct the Megan page. However, I do agree with you that it is the second of the two black haired girls in this comic that best represents Megan. First of all in the hair length. But also because the most typical behaviour of Megan, would fit the one commenting on the other artist feeble attempt of redefining art... I had at one point changed it exactly as you did here. So I approve. So it is fine to remove the note. It was mainly to stop people from changing so that the first, short haired, girl was made into Megan... --Kynde (talk) 20:04, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Also, I think we should merge Cueball and Rob, but that's another discussion. Djbrasier (talk) 00:55, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
- I disagree. This Cueball is specified in those comics to be Rob, and the category Rob is in itself made into an under category of Cueball. So if you look at Cueballs apperances, then comics with Rob is mentioned at the top! --Kynde (talk) 20:04, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
- If that is the strategy, then we should re-create Cutie and only use "Megan" for comics in which she is named explicitly. Djbrasier (talk) 21:09, 11 March 2015 (UTC)