202: YouTube

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I pray GunPistolMan never learns the word 'sheeple'.
Title text: I pray GunPistolMan never learns the word 'sheeple'.

[edit] Explanation

This comic is pointing out the fact that many of the comments on YouTube videos are insipid and poorly informed, being pointless arguments over some minor topic, or factually incorrect position.

In this case, the moon landing hoaxers are at the receiving end of Randall's pen.

The comment by bigmike133 confuses the Space Shuttle (which was never capable of landing on the moon) with the Apollo Lunar Module.

The comment from GunPistolMan claims that the video is fake due to the mistaken belief that the moon would have no gravity, whereas in reality every object in the universe made of matter has gravity, including the Moon, comets, asteriods, moons of other planets and so on. The gravity of the Moon is approximately 1/6th the gravity of Earth..

Louis Armstrong was a famous jazz musician, who may have waxed lyrical about the moon, but never went there. The ill-informed CrackMonkey74 meant the astronaut Neil Armstrong. The dare to accuse Armstrong to his face may be a reference to an incident where moon-hoax conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel confronted Buzz Aldrin and called him "a coward, and a liar, and a thief". Aldrin responded by punching Sibrel; Sibrel's attempt to bring charges was dismissed on the grounds that he had provoked Aldrin to the point where the punch was a justified response.

Finally, simpleplan2009 presents the ludicrous position that the moon shot was faked by suggesting that the footage was filmed by actors on Mars, a planet that at its closest approach to Earth is over a hundred times farther away than the moon. Landing humans on Mars (much less landing enough people and equipment to set up a soundstage) is a feat that has still not been accomplished, and if it had been possible during the Apollo era, the landing on the moon would have been trivial task in comparison. In other words, why go through all the trouble of faking it, if doing it for real would have been no trouble at all?

The title text is the first reference to Sheeple which appeared a few more times in xkcd comics.

The reputation of YouTube comment threads as cesspools of abject stupidity and blatant trolling is revisited in 481: Listen to Yourself.

[edit] Transcript

The Internet has always had loud dumb people, but I've never seen anything quite as bad as the people who comment on YouTube videos.
[A YouTube comments page for a moon landing video.]
Comments & Responses
rocckir (48 minutes ago)
this is so obviously faked its unbilevable, why r people so gullible??? morons
bigmike133 (35 minutes ago)
ive seen the space shuttle ass hole it definetly landed on the moon do some research...
GunPistolMan (22 minutes ago)
if it was real why is their gravity? americans r fucken sheep
crackmonkey74 (17 minutes ago)
u dont think we went to the moon why not tell louis armstrong to his face
simpleplan2009 (5 minutes ago)
it was a soundstage on mars

[edit] Trivia

  • On August 25, 2012 Neil Armstrong passed away. He died at an age of 82.
  • CrackMonkey74 later appears in 406: Venting, and then again in 574: Swine Flu.
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In the transcript, it says simpleplan2009's comment was posted 3 minutes ago. However, in the image, it clearly says 5 minutes. Caagr98 (talk) 19:01, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree. In theory a 3 and a 5 could be hand-written to be hard to differentiate, but here it is clear. Changed. (And added the first line.) Mark Hurd (talk) 10:56, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Changed it back, as the actual transcript on the comic page (as seen in the webpage source, and upon which the comic searches are based) says "3". I've added the reasoning in the explanation. NixillUmbreon (talk) 15:31, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
The image is the first source for the transcript here. Randall's transcript simply doesn't match the image.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:11, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

On Gunpistolman's comment, is the heavy boots story worth a mention? B jonas (talk) 16:31, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Not needing a mention in the explanation, but thank you for the link. Richard Feynman would be glowing in his grave at the state of science education in this country. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
The British sketch comedy TV show That Mitchell and Webb Look has an excellent Moon Landing Sketch with similar humor to this joke. Beolach (talk) 22:18, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
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