Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Finish adding the explanations for all quotes, and make sure none of the explanations are pithy or self-evident.|
This comic "helpfully" provides random quotes to be used by anyone as blurbs, online reviews, motivational quotes or similar short bits of text. Either the webcomic xkcd or its creator Randall Munroe may be quoted using any of the provided lines, as stated at the top of the comic.
In particular, their "usefulness" lies in the fact that almost any of them can be applied to almost any situation. This is achieved by making each quote not really about anything in particular, aside from the fact that they are quotes. This is in contrast to typical quotes, which are never quite this aware that they will be quoted, but this is to be expected when the lines here were made solely for being quoted.
These self-aware quotes are, on a meta level, jokes about quotations generally. Most of Randall's quotes either sabotage the quoting work, reference some aspect of quotes as used in practice, or both---and it can be both when the aspects referenced are about twisting people's words to look like they agree with you.
The title-text does not have an ending quote mark, so "- Randall Munroe" is part of the quote, and possibly everything in xkcd after that until the next ending quote.
|"I disagree strongly with whatever work this quote is attached to."
||Quotes are often used in publications and documents to make it seem like the person saying the quote agrees with the book's or document's message. This quote would be impossible to be used in such a way.
|"This quote was taken out of context."
||Quotes are commonly taken out of context in order to make a (fallacious) point. Randall predicted this and wrote a line that would point this out directly if used as a quote.
|"This quote is often falsely attributed to Mark Twain."
||Many quotes are misquoted as being said by famous people (such as Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss, or Albert Einstein). If this quote was attributed to Mark Twain, however, it would be immediately clear that either it wasn't said by him, or he was lying at the time.
|"I'm being quoted to introduce something, but I have no idea what it is and certainly don't endorse it."
||This is likely the case for many famous, widely admired people who are often quoted for all sorts of arguments, even diametrically opposed ones.
|"This quote is very memorable."
||This is likely not the case; this quote itself is very forgettable, being a very short and bland quote in a list of far more interesting quotes. However, the irony of this simple quote stating it’s memorableness may be enough to get it stuck in your head, making it a sort of self fulfilling prophecy.
|"I wrote this book, and the person quoting me here is taking credit for it."
||The quote is sabotaging the work that uses it.
|"This entire thing is the quote, not just the part in quote marks." [Quote marks, brackets, and editor's note are all in the original. —Ed.]
The quote itself is referencing how sometimes quotes include mistakes or typographical oddities that may make the reader worry a mistake has been made by the quoting author. An editor's note can be included to assure the original was like that.
The quote also references the potential for ambiguity when quoting a quote that includes a fake editor’s note such as this (one that is actually by the author, not the editor). A quote that does that makes it harder to provide an actual editor’s note about the quote, because it could be unclear who wrote each editor’s note. Such problems of clarity can be solved using different formatting or typographical techniques such as footnotes. Programming languages avoid this type of ambiguity by using escape characters.
|"Websites that collect quotes are full of mistakes and never check original sources."
||Websites that collect quotes are infamous for not checking sources. This has been parodied in many ways.
|"This quote will be the only part of this presentation you remember."
||Quotes are used because they summarize succinct ideas into a memorable, pithy phrase. It is a common experience for them to be so memorable that they are the only part you remember from a given presentation, especially if the presentation was weak.
|"Oooh, look at me, I looked up a quote!"
||Quotes are used to add weight, wit, or authority to a work. If your quote doesn't quite manage this, however, then the inclusion of the quote might just look like you're trying to impress people.
|"If you're doing a text search in this document for the word 'butts,' the good news is that it's here, but the bad news is that it only appears in this unrelated quote."
||This would probably occur if you decided to follow Randall's advice and include this quote in your work.
|"Wait, what if these quote marks are inside out, so everything in the rest of the document is the quotation and this part isn't? Duuuuude."
||The quote imitates the stereotype of strange revelations being made by hippies, typically ones on drugs. If it were true, it would mean that whoever wrote the quoting work would be stealing the entire thing from somewhere, with the exception of these two weird sentences pointing it out.
|"The editors of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations are a bunch of cowards who don't have the guts to print this."
||The author of this quote is apparently making a desperate attempt to get a quote published by challenging the editors of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.
|"This quote only looks profound when it's in a script font over a sunset."
||Inspirational quotes are often set in a fancy font above a picture of a sunset, mountain range, beach, etc. to make them look more profound. This quote suggests that, without such formatting, it looks boring and average.
|"I don't do a lot of public speaking, so I looked up a memorable quote to start my speech, and this is what I found. OK, you're staring at me blankly, but this whole thing is a quote. I know that sounds confusing, but... you know what, never mind."
||People often begin speeches with a memorable quote. This quote attempts to explain that it is being used as such, but it fails and gives up.
|"Sent from my iPhone"
||This is the default email signature on an iPhone. Quoting this would lead the reader to think that you typed the preceding work on your phone.
|"Since there's no ending quote mark, everything after this is part of my quote. —Randall Munroe
||Appears in the title text. Randall Munroe is saying that because there's no ending quotation mark, the rest of the book this quote is in is part of Randall's quote, including, weirdly, the piece of text after what the quote should be specifying that Randall has also said his name.
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
- Looking for a quote for something?
- Here are some for general use.
- They can be attributed to xkcd or Randall Munroe as needed.
- "I disagree strongly with whatever work this quote is attached to."
- "This quote was taken out of context."
- "This quote is often falsely attributed to Mark Twain."
- "I'm being quoted to introduce something, but I have no idea what it is and certainly don't endorse it."
- "This quote is very memorable."
- "I wrote this book, and the person quoting me here is taking credit for it."
- "This entire thing is the quote, not just the part in quote marks." [quote marks, brackets, and editor's note are all in the original. -ED.]
- "Websites that collect quotes are full of mistakes and never check original sources."
- "This quote will be the only part of this presentation you remember."
- "Oooh, look at me, I looked up a quote!"
- "If you're doing a text search in this document for the word 'butts,' the good news is that it's here, but the bad news is that it only appears in this unrelated quote."
- "Wait, what if these quote marks are inside out, so everything in the rest of the document is the quotation and this part isn't? Duuuuude."
- "The editors of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations are a bunch of cowards who don't have the guts to print this."
- "This quote only looks profound when it's in a script font over a sunset."
- "I don't do a lot of public speaking, so I looked up a memorable quote to start my speech, and this is what I found. OK, you're staring at me blankly, but this whole thing is a quote. I know that sounds confusing, but... You know what, never mind!"
- "Sent from my iPhone."
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