Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Rembrandt was a 17th-century Dutch artist. Megan shows Cueball an alleged photo of Rembrandt's parents at the time that his mother became pregnant; his conception. Since photography wasn't invented until the 19th century, it can't be a real photo. Megan responds to Cueball's disbelief by stating that it is an artist's conception: an artistic imagination and depiction of an event.
The joke thus is a pun on the phrase 'artist's conception' that can mean two different things: one, Rembrandt's mother becoming pregnant with him and two, the creation of the image.
The title text refers to James McNeill Whistler who painted a portrait of his mother, known to Whistler himself as "Arrangement in Grey and Black No1" but more commonly known as "Whistler's Mother". As a joke on this, Megan seems to want to show a photo of Whistler's mother, which would probably be pornographic or at least different from the famous portrait. The ::click:: is Megan switching to that picture on her laptop.
- [Megan is holding a laptop. Cueball is sitting at a desk and turned around to face Megan.]
- Megan: Hey, look - Rembrandt's parents having sex!
- Cueball: Waugh! Why do you-
- Cueball: ...Wait, how can there be a photo of that?
- Megan: It's an artist's conception.
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I don't get it. 188.8.131.52 07:57, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
It is a pun. Artist's conception can either mean an artist's description of an event where no real photo is available; or the artist's biological conception, meaning the sex that led to his birth. 184.108.40.206 08:02, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
- Ohhh an Artist's conception, I get it! 220.127.116.11 08:15, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
- Example of an 'Incredibly Lame Pun' actually being hilarious. --Dangerkeith3000 (talk) 17:07, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't get the "whistler" reference in the title text... anyone? 18.104.22.168 09:21, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
- "Whistler's Mother" is a famous American painting by James McNeill Whistler of his own mother. --Aaron of Mpls (talk) 11:39, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Insert heartfelt groan here: -----> [. Groan! ]22.214.171.124 12:15, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I was too busy being grossed out by the prospect that it was the artist who conceived the image of his own conception. Be it Rembrandt or Whistler. Unresolved Oedipus complex, anyone? 126.96.36.199 13:05, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Incidentally there is a great reference to Whistler's Mother in the movie "Sneakers". Dan Akroyd's character makes the reference regarding his blind colleage ("Whistler"). Great movie.
- In which scene? --DaB. (talk) 18:06, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
- Dan Akroyd's character is called "Mother"; I don't think there is any more reference than that: two characters, Whistler and Mother. "Whistler", incidentally, is a reference to being able to whistle the tone needed on old pay phones to get it to give you a free call -- Whistler is a phreaker. -- 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Anyone know what "click" refers to in the title text? Trek7553 (talk) 15:15, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
- the "click" because of Cueball working on the PC and not listening to Megan any more. 184.108.40.206 15:38, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
- That does not make sense...Trek7553 (talk) 17:42, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
- Actually it's Megan switching to the next picture (that of Whistler's mother) on her laptop. -- 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- This is the best answer so far, I think you're right. Trek7553 (talk) 17:42, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
- It's Cueball closing the door as he leaves the room. Schmammel (talk) 14:40, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
- I think you're right - otherwise "come back" doesn't make sense. MR (talk) 01:17, 5 April 2013 (UTC)MR
Does that mean that a painting of an artist painting a picture of Rembrandt's parents having sex would be an artist's conception of an artist's conception of an artist's conception? MrBigDog2U (talk) 15:30, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
- Whoa, that sounds like it would be an artist's Inception! Mr. I (talk) 01:41, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
- But if he only claimed that he was painting it, but it turned out that he wasn't, that would be an artist's deception. Nyperold (talk) 20:41, 20 September 2016 (UTC)