1942: Memorable Quotes
Title text: "Since there's no ending quote mark, everything after this is part of my quote. —Randall Munroe
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 when 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 are equally applicable 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. Note that the next quote mark in xkcd is in 1946: Hawaii.
Table of quotes
|"I disagree strongly with whatever work this quote is attached to."||Quotes are often used in, or on, publications and documents to add weight to them by making it seem like the person being quoted endorses their content or message. This quote would actively undermine the reputation of the work, unless said work advertises itself as a farce.|
|"This quote was taken out of context."||Quotes are commonly taken out of context to make it look as though they support a (sometimes fallacious) point, or to falsely imply an endorsement of the work they are attached to. However, since this quote serves no purpose beyond pointing out that it is out of context, there would be no point in trying to use it in this way. In any case, since all these quotes are provided without any real context, it's not clear what taking it out of context would mean.
Alternatively, this quote can be taken out of context to make it seem that Randall is asserting that another quote is out of context.
|"This quote is often falsely attributed to Mark Twain."||Many quotes are misattributed to famous people who are well known for originating a lot of quotes (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 very short, and containing no insight on anything meaningful. However, the irony is that this simple quote stating its memorableness may be enough to get it stuck in your head, making it a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. This quote could actually be useful if you were preparing a presentation on how to give presentations, and wanted to illustrate the misuse of quotes.|
|"I wrote this book, and the person quoting me here is taking credit for it."||The quote is attempting to sabotage the authorship of the book that uses it. Paradoxically, though, by implying that Randall wrote the book, it also implies that he is the one using the quote, and therefore claiming credit that is not due to him.|
|"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.]||Editors sometimes use square brackets within or after a quote in order to make a comment on the quote, such as to note that mistakes or typographical oddities were in the author's original, to correct factual errors, or to provide additional context. Randall is deliberately confusing the issue by including what appears to be an editor's note within the quote itself.
Further confusion would be caused if the quoting author, or their editor, wanted to include a note of their own, such as one noting that this odd construction was in the original quote, because it would be hard to tell what the scope of the claims were, and 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. The implication would be that if you found this quote on such a website, there would be a good chance that it was inaccurate or misattributed.|
|"This quote will be the only part of this presentation you remember."||When used effectively in a presentation a quote should succinctly summarize the ideas being presented in a memorable, pithy phrase that helps to bring to mind the rest of the message. However, it is a common experience, especially if the presentation was weak, or the quote was not particularly appropriate, for them to be the only part you remember.|
|"Oooh, look at me, I looked up a quote!"||It is sometimes recommended to add quotes to a work or, particularly a presentation, to add weight, wit, or authority. However, it is common for quotes to appear to have been included because the author thought there ought to be one, rather than serving any particular purpose, especially if the quote chosen is of questionable relevance. This quote would make it very clear that this was the case.|
|"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, since this is a fairly infrequently used word in most contexts.|
|"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 hippies, typically ones on drugs, announcing what they believe to be deep insights into reality. 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, or perhaps is resentful, having attempted to get them to publish his quote(s) and been rejected.|
|"This quote only looks profound when it's in a script font over a sunset."||Supposedly 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. However, these are often ridiculed as being trite or vacuous. This quote takes the unusual step of acknowledging 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 in order to engage the audience. Using this quote would give the impression that the person speaking lacked confidence in their speech and, particularly, the quote they had chosen to introduce it, being interesting enough to get people's attention.|
|"Sent from my iPhone"||This is the default email signature on an iPhone. Quoting this might lead the reader to think that you typed the preceding work on your phone, or that Randall sent the quote from his phone, and you lazily copied and pasted the wrong part of the message.|
|"Since there's no ending quote mark, everything after this is part of my quote. —Randall Munroe||First off." Now that we have that out of the way, this quote 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 should be the quote, specifying that Randall has also said his name.
This is roughly consistent with the formatting required to perform SQL injection referenced in 327: Exploits of a Mom. Because it doesn’t have any punctuation before the first “, it wouldn’t actually perform an injection attack, instead causing an entire query to be part of a single string. This is also similar to 859: (, having an opening punctuation mark without the closing.
- 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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