Cueball is going outside for some fresh air because he wants to escape the trolls of the Internet, which is known for hosting several hostile and unpleasant ideas and people. However, as he walks, some grass speaks up to insult him, and Cueball is upset to find that he hasn't escaped the negativity at all. (see 1749: Mushrooms which involves an unusual occurrence of a vocalizing angry mushroom).
The title text expands on this, with him searching Google for how to "block the lawn". Blocking someone refers to a standard setting on websites and online services that can prevent certain users from communicating with you, but it is as yet unknown how this would work for a lawn insulting you. This is made ironic by the fact he is using the Internet to find an Internet technique (blocking) on a non-Internet object, while at the start of the comic, he just wanted to escape the Internet.
The term "blocking" is actually used in lawn-care to refer to techniques where sunlight is restricted from reaching the lower parts of the grass stems and to persuade the root system to grow deeper into the soil.
The negativity Cueball meets on-line is likely due to the results of the recent 2016 United States presidential election and this one was released only three days before the U.S. Electoral College voted for Donald Trump to become the 45th president of the United States, and this was still a bit exciting as there where rumors/hopes that some of the electors would not vote for Trump. (But only two changed away from Trump!) That this is likely is further supported with other recent comics. The first of these 1761: Blame is almost a prequel to this one, as it is about being sad about what happens on-line. This comic here was thus the second sad comics following the election, culminating shortly after his inauguration with a comic simply titled 1790: Sad. (See more on other depressive comics here.)
Later in 1802: Phone, Cueball cannot go outside for a walk without bringing his phone as he cannot stand to be disconnected from his feed, which is the exact opposite of what he tries in this comic. Although in the title text he does try to disconnect, he then finds that this is also bad because it leads to social isolation.
- [Cueball walking on grass]
- Cueball: It's nice to get outside, away from the pain and negativity of the internet,
- [Cueball stops walking]
- Cueball: And just enjoy the cool breeze and the grass under my feet.
- [Cueball stands there, hands to his hips, looking to the cloudy sky]
- [Cueball looks down while pointing a finger at the grass behind him.]
- Grass: You suuuuck
- Cueball: Hey!
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Any chance that 'the pain and negativity of the internet' is a reference to this recent SMBC comic where SMBC's artist Zach challenges Randall to 'out-nerd him now' (seen when you click the red button just below the comic).
I've been wondering whether the first XKCD after that (that is: today's XKCD comic) would refer to it.
126.96.36.199 14:55, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
- I kinda doubt it. SMBC wasn't being "negative" or objectionable - if anything it was a challenge - and even a kind of complement. An adequate response to that kind of a challenge might take longer than a few days to prepare. If we're going to see anything in response, I suspect it'll be more obvious. SteveBaker (talk) 14:02, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
- We better be seeing a string theory joke sometime in the next week... 188.8.131.52 02:38, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- Here you go. 184.108.40.206 12:55, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- @SteveBaker That was my doubt too. Looking forward to an adequate response from Randall though :) 220.127.116.11 07:44, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
- The negative interpretation might as well be humorously exaggerated. Alluding to political correctness gives the defense some weight. A point in favor of our observation, that I came just here to validate, would be the lawn. "Get of my lawn" is a common meme, but even the lawn is impressed with Zach. Anyway I chuckled. 18.104.22.168 17:46, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
- The link at the top does not work. This one should . 22.214.171.124 16:00, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
This article mentions XKCD number 1749 as involving "talking to inanimate organisms", but nobody talks to the mushroom in that strip. Neither does the mushroom talk to them, it merely growls. Ajfaraday (talk) 09:41, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
- I would object to "inanimate". Things are inanimate, and well, maybe dead organisms; but a growling and talking organism is obviously alive.126.96.36.199 16:14, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
I think it's quite a stretch to assume that this is meant to "refer to" the 2016 election. At best it was inspired by the negativity around it, but there has been trolls and negative people on the internet, and this comic is totally relevant even if you ignored the fact that the election happened. I think it's more like someone is reading too much into it based on the fact that it happened close to the same time as the electoral college vote. That would be just one more area where people are being miserable as usual. There is no hint in any of these comics that are supposed to be "about" the internet post-election that they are suggesting anything is changed or different, and that the net use to be a better place. It's more like he's pointing out how the net IS. 2016 is just more of the usual. I haven't noticed anything getting particularly worse than they were before, in spite of that the media likes to suggest. And why not, it gives them something else to blame on Trump. You think after a while they'd realize you don't really have to make stuff up; there is plenty there to work with. 188.8.131.52 05:12, 18 January 2018 (UTC)