1918: NEXUS

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You also refuse to buy Cisco products because you hate the Thong Song, O. Henry, Deep Space Nine, freshwater whitefish, teenaged Incan emperors, Brak's brother, and vegetable-based shortening.
Title text: You also refuse to buy Cisco products because you hate the Thong Song, O. Henry, Deep Space Nine, freshwater whitefish, teenaged Incan emperors, Brak's brother, and vegetable-based shortening.


Cueball is confusing NEXUS, a USA and Canada border control pre-screening program, with Hexxus, the villains from the animated film FernGully.

Trusted traveller programs like Nexus allow people who match certain criteria to apply for a membership and subsequently save time when boarding airplanes or crossing borders via use of expedited lanes.

FernGully is a story set in an Australian rainforest inhabited by fairies including Crysta, who accidentally shrinks a young logger named Zak to the size of a fairy. Together, they rally the fairies and the animals of the rainforest to protect their home from the loggers and a malevolent pollution entity, Hexxus. Hexxus has previously been mentioned in 1750: Life Goals as an especially hard-to-spell word and in 1767: US State Names (as a replacement for Texas).

The title text is confusing Cisco (a telecoms & tech brand which has a line of switches called Nexus) with:


[Megan and Cueball walking through an airport.]
Sign: Apply for NEXUS Save time at the border
Megan: Maybe we should sign up for this.
Cueball: No way. I refuse to have anything to do with Nexus after what they did to FernGully.

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My first idea -- this is so draft I'm not even going to submit it into the Explanation: Could Cueball be associating NEXUS with the FernGully villain Hexxus? And the Cisco company/brand of IT products with Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko from ST:DS9 and Crisco vegetable shortening? I don't have time to look into the other things referenced, and I don't immediately recognize them, but feel free to build on this if you want. Or don't; I don't have time to care right now. --BigMal // 13:00, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

...and yet you had time to leave this comment Spongebob (talk) 04:44, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

But Sisko saved Deep Space Nine! 13:02, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Wouldn't the reference be to Jake Sisko, rather than his father? The Captain was an important character. Jake was just an even worse "Wesley Crusher" and appeared in less than half of the episodes. 01:43, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Unlikely. I don't think your opinion is that widespread (my circles like him), and Jake is normally 'Jake'. If you talk about Sisko, it's usually Ben (who the Prophets even call 'The Sisko'). 02:46, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Ciscoes are a whitefish in the Salmonid family --13:08, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

The "Thong Song" is sang by an artist named "Sisqo". And The Caballero's Way written by O.Henry features a character named "the Cisco Kid". 13:14, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Cisco Kid went on to feature in Comics, films and a Deep Purple Song

Deep Purple song was ‘Hey Cisco,’ ‘Cisco Kid’ was a song by (Eric Burdon and) War. Miamiclay (talk) 18:57, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

Cisco Kid also a Sublime song. 15:52, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

What is interesting: Cueball does not refuse all that food and cultural phenomena, because of their association with Cisco, but the other way round! So it is by sheer chance that Cueball hates similar sounding things. Sebastian -- 17:05, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Their *supposed* association with Cisco systems? I mean, so far as I'm aware, Cisco there is no *actual* connection between the food items mentioned & Cisco's networking & electronics products. Unless... (see my fifth comment, below)
comment 1 of 5 by 21:20, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
No... Sebastien is pointing out - correctly - that the title text is saying that Cueball is boycotting Cisco systems because he hates the Thong Song, he's boycotting Cisco because he hates Deep Space 9, etc. These 6 or 7 hates (I didn't count) are all leading to one boycott. The other way around, hating Cisco leading to boycotts of anything that sounds like Cisco, would be much simpler and easy to believe. NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:42, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
It also works the other way around, Cisco has a line of switches called Nexus ... 11:05, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Yes! Please add this to the explaination. This is what I came here looking for. 14:26, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Is this poking fun at the backlash to EA right now? 17:51, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Is there name confusion involved? You're talking about backlash to the method of unlocking heroes in EA's recent Battlefront II (re-)release? I'm not aware of the backlash affecting any products/companies with a similar sounding name... Is there a link you could point to?
(One potential point of confusion, though not related in any way to the backlash: Battlefront II was arguably one of the best games released for PS2. It has now been re-designed & re-released for PS4. The backlash is due to the new version having released with the most famous heroes locked in a manner intended to goad players into micro-purchases to unlock them; this has since been changed.)
comment 2 of 5 by 21:20, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Wait, wait... Brak had a brother!? 00:33, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

a few more[edit]

o henry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cisco_Kid

fish https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_(fish)

incan http://emperorsnew.wikia.com/wiki/Kuzco

brak http://brak.wikia.com/wiki/Sisto 13:14, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Cisco Nexus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_Nexus_switches 11:06, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

I was really looking forward to coming over to ExplainXKCD.com and seeing the explanation "We don't get it, either." Disappointed again! Jpd (talk) 14:15, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

I got the FernGully and Thong Song references immediately, the rest I thought might be lyrics in the song, didn't realize Randall found so many other Ciscos, LOL! For FernGully I hadn't realized he got the name wrong, I found that a bit disappointing. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:19, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Other Nexuses[edit]

I'm surprised Cueball didn't also refer to The Nexus from Star Trek Generations. That's definitely something I wouldn't want to sign up for. Sure, it will speed up your travel, but that assumes you can get out in the first place. Shamino (talk) 14:59, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

^^ *THIS!* ^^
comment 3 of 5 by 21:20, 20 November 2017 (UTC)


Also - how about the Google Android phone? Brettpeirce (talk) 15:53, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

But... What fault would you find with a Nexus phone? Aside from it being very old now...
comment 4 of 5 by 21:20, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Isn't the most important connection between Nexus and Cisco, the Cisco Nexus Switch? 09:16, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

There are so many more things called "Nexus": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexus

Broader context[edit]

People sometimes really engage in boycotts because of confusion that's almost that silly. In 2008, some people wanted to boycott Arizona Iced Tea over an Arizona immigration law, even though the company is based in New York. Gmcgath (talk) 16:49, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

I liked Arizona lemonade -- when I could find it; no longer -- and despite their claims of being an American company, production of said lemonade was in Canada. But I like Canada too, so it was okay. --BigMal // 19:57, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
I was not aware Canada left North America can you provide a link for this? --WJBodin3 (talk) 21:41, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
My mother makes the same mistake. :) "America" is used as short for "United States Of America", not "North America". So no, Canada is actually NOT part of America. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 08:02, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Then we have the boycott of Corona (beer) in Mexico following the surge of the Coronavirus...people aren't always well informed! 13:22, 6 September 2021 (UTC)
And the amusement factor of watching the U.S. rename "French Fries" (chips) as "Freedom Fries" as a punishment for the French, for a while there.... The rest of the world couldn't stop telling that joke. The French were delighted, as well. 21:12, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
I remember a few years ago with The Swine Flu, pig farmers started to feel the hate because people thought the name meant we got it FROM pigs, when it really meant pigs were likewise able to catch it or something innocent like that. They had to drop that name and use the more boring scientific name H1N1. Because of idiots and their easy confusion. :) (I am absolutely against catering to idiocy, I say push them to learn instead). NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:19, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

I thought there would be a reference to Sysco foods, purveyors of crappy canned veggies, a company which has been publicly chided for leaving raw meat in unrefrigerated sheds for hours at a time, prior to delivery. comment 5 of 5 by 21:20, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

The comic number is 1918... RFC 1918 is the basis for privately addressed IPv4 networks, you know the stuff that most Cisco Nexus switches are switching and routing. I can't imagine this is coincidence whatsoever. Aaronb1138 (talk) 20:02, 28 November 2017 (UTC) Aaron

This is so weird: I've been following XKCD for two or three years now but have never ONCE seen this comic. I thought it was a new one and was surprised Cueball/Randall was moving in an airport with a) no fanfair and b) no mask. I mean, I know 2 years of pressing Random wouldn't completely guarantee seeing every single comic, but it's still weird to have a statistical uncertainty proven. 13:20, 3 October 2021 (UTC)