198: Perspective

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I wonder what I was dreaming to prompt that. I hope it wasn't the Richard Stallman Cirque de Soleil thing again.
Title text: I wonder what I was dreaming to prompt that. I hope it wasn't the Richard Stallman Cirque de Soleil thing again.


Firefox is a popular browser, and in 2006, it was the second most commonly used browser. Its more fervent supporters sometimes wrote as if there was a moral imperative to use Firefox rather than alternatives. Cueball, presumably representing Randall, wakes up with a reasonable perspective on the relative unimportance of an internet browser within the world at large, but quickly loses that perspective as his enthusiasm for nerdy things like Firefox gets the better of him. The humor stems from the irony that Cueball is relieved to trade a richer perspective for a simpler, browser-oriented world view. Alternately, the dream may be a reference to Stallman's forceful defense of software freedom, which could be seen as "over-the-top" or circus-like. Another possible joke is that the comic, unlike most other xkcd comics, is drawn with perspective as well as being about a more metaphorical perspective.

The title text references Richard Stallman, an American software freedom activist and computer programmer, and Cirque du Soleil, an entertainment company specializing in big-top circus performances. The two have no connection with one another, so this is one example of an odd combination of topics that would only (and commonly) be connected in dreams.


Sometimes, when I first wake up, I am caught in the horrible grip of perspective.
[Cueball sitting up in bed.]
Cueball: It may be a jewel of open source, but Firefox is just a browser. It shows webpages. What the hell is wrong with us?
Fortunately, this subsides quickly.


This is the first xkcd comic featuring Richard Stallman.

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Can you explain more clearly what's wrong with the explanation? Of course Richard Stallman isn't related to Cirque de Soleil, that's the joke. LogicalOxymoron (talk) 05:28, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

The cartoon is drawn using perspective, which is not normal for xkcd. For me, that is the main joke. Jim E (talk) 15:58, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
In the comic as well as in the explanation, it is written "Cirque dE Soleil" when it should be "Cirque dU Soleil". 16:01, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Fixed that. I'm removing the incomplete tag, because I don't see anything else wrong with the explanation. LogicalOxymoron (talk) 19:18, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps it's truer than folks realize. RMS dances quite well. Ethnic folk dancing. It's not Cirque de Soleil, but it is a side of him most of his fans never see.