2284: Sabotage

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So excited to see everyone after my luxury cruise home from the World Handshake Championships!
Title text: So excited to see everyone after my luxury cruise home from the World Handshake Championships!


This comic is the tenth comic in a row in a series of comics about the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the wake of the COVID-19, the advice from many professionals in the United States is to avoid public gatherings to slow the spread of the disease and "flatten the curve".

In this comic, some group of people (we're not told who) are planning a public event, which is very much contrary to the widespread professional advice, and is said to put everyone at risk by accelerating the spread of the disease in the general population. In an effort to sabotage this event by deterring people from attending, Cueball applies reverse psychology, pretending to be enthusiastically planning various activities at the gathering that most people would go out of their way to avoid: a wild skunk petting zoo, which would most likely result in everyone getting heavily sprayed with violently foul-smelling skunk scent that wild skunks use to drive away predators; and karaoke featuring the song "Baby Shark", which is a song for small children that is generally considered annoying to adults, made even more direly annoying in this case by being spoken rather than sung.

In the title text, Cueball has stepped up his game from merely threatening to spoil everyone's fun to making them fear that they might get infected. He claims to have attended the "World Handshake Championships", which presumably would involve shaking hands with as many people as possible; this would facilitate the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. He furthermore claims to have traveled home from the championship via a cruise ship, which may also cause concern because cruise ships are known for their densely populated environments and lack of extensive medical facilities making prevention and treatment of infections very difficult or impossible. Cruise ships have been a recent topic of interest in relation to SARS CoV-2 due to many people being stranded at sea with infected patients because of COVID-19 pandemic on board.


[Cueball is seated at a desk, typing on a laptop. The top half of the image is the text he is typing in a reply message:]
"I see you're still getting together today! I'll be there, doing my spoken-word Baby Shark karaoke all evening.
We'll also be setting up a petting zoo for the kids. We've spent all week trapping wild skunks!"
[Below the text is a white-on-green "reply" button.]
[Caption below the panel:]
In the coronavirus era, desperate times call for desperate measures.

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I don't entirely understand this comic (else I wouldn't be here), but I don't think that the current explanation is on the right track. It doesn't fit with the title, Sabotage. My reading is that some people are planning to get together IRL, and Cueball is threatening to sabotage their event with Baby Shark and skunks, presumably hoping that they'll call it off. [Edit: Fixed now.] TobyBartels (talk) 05:19, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

+1! John.Adriaan (talk) 05:48, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
My Impression is that upon observing some group of people ignoring the social distancing stuff, he's attempting to scare them off actually having their gathering by piling up a long list of things you wouldn't want to be around. Doing an especially-annoying spoken word version of an especially-annoying song for long periods of time(Possible); Bringing a large number of wild skunks (unlikely); claiming to have just come from a cruise ship after several recent cases of mass-infections on cruise ships, making him seem like a high risk person to be around(probably lying); further claiming to have come from an event involving close, physical contact with a large group of random people, again making him seem like he's highly likely to be infected (almost certainly lying).
In other words, trying to sabotage their gathering so that nobody shows up... in order to keep their stupidity/ignorance/arrogance from potentially spreading the virus to everyone present. -Graptor 05:54, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

Shouldn't this comic be about BHG? Seems more up his alley. Cellocgw (talk) 12:26, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

Who or what is "BHG"? 12:30, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
I guess Black hat guy. --Lupo (talk) 12:31, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
Since black hat usually has sinister motives, this wouldn't be his kind of thing. Cueball here only claims to do these things to help others by persuading them not to attend. So in the end he's really the good guy. Bischoff (talk) 15:11, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
not necesarily. see e.g. 322: Pix Plz. But I agree. Black hat would more likely just set up the skunk thing and other things to ruin peoples gatherings, instead of just pretending to. --Lupo (talk) 15:51, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
Ok, I've seen this several times now by different users. Do you all know xkcd so well, that you can just come up with these precise examples? Bischoff (talk) 07:45, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
I seem to have a mind made for remembering random stuff like that. plus I once had a very boring internship, and one of the few interesting pages that wasn't blocked there, was xkcd.com - so I used to go through the comics (back then the first ~1200)a lot, and ever since regularily look for new ones, and click random from time to time. the search function here + the transcripts really help finding the one you are remembering then. For this one e.g. my random keyword to search for was just "EMP". --Lupo (talk) 07:59, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
I like to think this more as poking fun at the uncountable idiots who still find it necessary to loudly complain (online) against alleged public meetings, or ones that took place a week ago, or sports meetings that have not been officially canceled, when there is no chance that they will be held anyway.
And since this is not our clever and ever sabotaging black hat guy, I find my interpretation more likely. -- 08:33, 25 March 2020 (UTC)

The Baby Shark reference also alludes to some saying the proper hand washing duration is equivalent to singing "Baby Shark" through the Daddy Shark verse. 04:17, 28 March 2020 (UTC)

what other ways can we sabotage events?

for example: pin the tail on the donkey, but the donkey has sensors that make a TON of noise! WON'T THAT BE FUN!? HUH!? WHAD DID YOU SAY!? I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF SCREAMS! -- Willlbrwillbr (talk) 18:24, 20 January 2024 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)