On January 6, 2021, a group of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol while Congress was in session to certify the results of the 2020 election, in which President Trump lost a bid for re-election. The attack resulted in an evacuation of Congress, a disruption of the operations of the legislature, and the deaths of several people. While Trump was not directly involved with the riot, he has been accused of contributing to it by consistently refusing to accept the election results, claiming that his opponent's victory was fraudulent, and using inflammatory rhetoric when speaking to his supporters. As a result, officials from both major political parties have called upon Trump to resign, and other avenues to remove him from office have been proposed. At the time of publication, Trump's second impeachment had been mooted but it, and all other events that followed, had not yet happened.
Normal American life, already strained under the COVID-19 pandemic, was dealt another blow by the conflict. Normally planned events continue to be held, but the shadow of current events impacts everything. This comic depicts one such event, a news conference hosted by the State Apple Growers (of an unspecified state). This group apparently had a scheduled meeting to discuss apple variety standards, but their meeting was instead dominated by discussions of events in government, resulting in them issuing a formal statement calling upon President Trump to resign. This statement obviously has nothing to do with apples, and when pressed, the spokesperson makes generic statements in favor of apples, but points out that they're too distracted by more urgent matters to focus on their normal jobs.
This strip appears to be based on a number of private companies and other organizations without specific political missions, which nonetheless felt the need to respond to the event. Famously, both Twitter and Facebook banned the president from their platforms in the aftermath. The events of the strip are reminiscent of Signature Bank and the National Association of Manufacturers calling on Trump to resign. Many national brands released statements of condemnation and announced plans to cut political contributions for legislators who voted against certification of the election results. The joke appears to be that even small and local organizations feel compelled to weigh in on an issue of this significance, even though their influence in the matter is likely minimal.
Cosmic Crisp, mentioned in title text, is a variety of apples developed in the Washington State University that has been on sale since 2019, amid a large marketing campaign. The implication of the title text is that the people involved are in fact, very interested in and concerned with details of apple cultivation and marketing, and hope to return to a state in which they they can focus on those. But the more immediate draw of events makes it difficult to focus on what they usually like to talk about.
Beret Guy is shown to be a member of the State Apple Growers' Association; in 2209: Fresh Pears, he sells "fresh pears" (so fresh, he doesn't even plant seeds until a customer pays for one) and expresses an interest in growing apples, and evidently has either figured out robotic grafting or chosen another approach (or maybe, given his usual eccentricity, he is only a member of the Association as an aspiring apple grower). This is one of very few comics with Beret Guy where he is not really doing anything, although this is also a weird turn of events that the Apple Growers discuss Trump. However, usually Beret Guy is not interested in real-life problems.
- [Beret Guy and Cueball stand on either side of Megan with her hair unkempt. They stand behind a lectern with an image of an apple on the front of it. Unreadable text is written on both side of the apple in two rows.]
- Megan: *Ahem*
- Megan: The state apple-growers' association has decided to formally call on President Donald Trump to resign.
- [A wider shot shows Beret Guy, Megan, and Cueball on a podium behind the lectern. The visible audience consist of a Cueball-like guy, Hairy, and Ponytail, who is holding a microphone to her mouth as she addresses those on the podium.]
- Ponytail: Weren't you meeting to update the standards for new apple varieties?
- Megan: Yes, but we talked it over and this is what we decided.
- Megan: We feel strongly that this is important.
- [There is a narrow shot with a zoom in on Megan.]
- Ponytail (off-panel): Did you discuss anything on your actual agenda?
- Megan: Thanks for the question!
- Megan: We did not.
- [Beret Guy, Cueball and Megan is again seen from the front behind the lectern, Megan's hair even more unkempt.]
- Ponytail (off-panel): Do you have any apple-related announcements at all?
- Megan: Uh, apples are great. Best fruit. Everyone should buy 1,000 of them.
- Megan: We're a little distracted right now, okay??
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I think this is the first strip to refer to Trump by name. Can anyone confirm that? Captain Video (talk) 05:32, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Negatory. 2137: Text Entry is one I remember. 18.104.22.168 06:00, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- The earliest I'm aware of is 980: Money from 2011 (so before he'd held elective office). It's almost unfindable in the giant image. Trump is mentioned in the lower right corner of the "Billionaires" box, inside the very large "Billions" section. 22.214.171.124 06:12, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- And, of course, 2383: Electoral Precedent 2020.
- I was sufficiently interested in this question to actually look it up with the search function. Turns out the transcripts are actually useful for something!
- As far as I can tell, these are the only nine comics (inclusive of this one) that use the name "Trump", and there are only four occurrences of "Donald Trump", including this. So it's not unknown, but Randall does seem to be avoiding it. 126.96.36.199 06:56, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- I think we should make a new category for “Comics featuring Trump,” just as we have for Elon Musk. — The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 03:58, 13 January 2021 (UTC)
Is it really a good idea to take the lack of masks on the spokesfolks as evidence of their mental state? It seems to me that Randall often draws characters without masks when they're not directly topical, even in these days of Covid precautions, and the reporters aren't wearing masks either. It's unlikely that either group is made up entirely of family members who share the same residence , so I would count it more likely that they can all be assumed to be masked in the same way that they can be assumed to have eyes and mouths despite lack of any visual indicators of such. --188.8.131.52 07:48, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Do remember that they also have no clothes on, so unless the masks are important for the topic, then you can assume they have masks just as you can assume they have clothes on. (Or if you like, you can assume Megan and Ponytail don't, as I always do :-p ) --Kynde (talk) 10:04, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Specifically they don't have faces so... [email protected] 184.108.40.206 10:46, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the state is Washington. Washington's pretty well known for apples, and the Cosmic Crisp variety mentioned in the title text was developed by researchers at Washington State University. 220.127.116.11 08:00, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
According to a quick Wikipedia search, the title text's "we have SO MUCH to say" could be a reference to the fact that promotion for cosmic crisp was apparently the largest campaign in apple industry history. If anyone has the time to check and confirm that, we should add it to the explanation. Bischoff (talk) 08:05, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Right now, "Pink Lady" is splurging an ad (basically a 'facetime filter'-type graphics enhanced thing) over here in the UK. Though the classic from my youth was the ¿Golden Delicious? brand doing a Bugsy Mallone-spoof ("le Crunch Bunch"). But I don't follow apple brands (there's a cooking-apple tree in a garden, that I pick from, been there 40-50 years - but now no idea what cultivar it is, etc) and I'm not particularly exposed to US news on apples, only its politics. Just so you know. 18.104.22.168 08:36, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
Does anybody agree that "Uh, apples are great. Best fruit. Everyone should buy 1,000 of them" is a reference to Trump-style way of talking in speeches? Reisbein (talk) 08:31, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Yes already added this to the explanation. --Kynde (talk) 10:04, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- I'd disagree. That's just how distracted people talk. What reason would the apple grower have for deliberately imitating someone's style of speech? Jkshapiro (talk) 02:49, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
May I question that "Nothing in modern American history resembles this"? Possibly nothing in the national Capitol's modern history resembles this precisely, but the Capitol in Michigan was invaded last May, Tennessee had an incident of this kind in 2001 while trying to debate state income tax, and there was that thing at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, in Oregon. And there was Black rioting in Washington and in most other places and machine guns at the Capitol when Dr Martin Luther King was murdered, does that count as modern? And President Reagan was shot in Washington. Presidents and the White House are shot at all the time. The President's personal militia attacking other branches of the government is less usual, or is it? Robert Carnegie [email protected] 22.214.171.124 12:01, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- In the sense of an attempt to overturn fair election results and prevent the orderly transition of power by attacking the Capitol, yes. It's not the "important buildings were attacked/threatened" part, it's the context and meaning behind the actions that's unprecedented. The incident was an unprecedented attack on democracy—it has been described by some as an attempted coup d'état in the United States, and a lot of congressmen and House members, plus the Vice President were close to being seriously harmed/killed during the incident. Herobrine (talk) 14:19, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- I take issue both with your description, Herobrine, and the fact that in some circles, this wasn't looked at as a coup attempt at all, but as an attempt to PROTECT democracy from treasonous congressmen and house members. But I do have a question for you. Exactly what words did the president use in his speech on January 6 to "incite a riot"? Please use direct quotes in your answer.Seebert (talk) 14:29, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Went through the transcript of the speech and noted that I misunderstood one section that my statement was based on when I read it two days ago. Whether he was responsible for inciting the event depends on how you interpret his remarks, but since there is no definite statement in the transcript, I have removed the section from my comment and the explanation. As for the coup attempt part, give me a sec and I'll reply later. Herobrine (talk) 14:41, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Changed to "described by some as (lawmakers, media, etc.)" to avoid misunderstanding. But honestly, I do not think this was an attempt to protect democracy—I think that they were trying to overturn a fair election and prevent the orderly transition of power. Herobrine (talk) 14:47, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- The election results are disputed, and around 75% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats are willing to start a civil war over it. In what way can this be considered a fair election if all audits of the voter registration are blocked?Seebert (talk) 14:55, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Claims of election fraud have been rejected as totally meritless by numerous state and federal judges, state and local election officials, governors, the Justice and Homeland Security departments, and the Electoral College. I do not see how this the election was unfair. As for the "results are disputed" part, that is primarily the result of the president's efforts to overturn the results of the election and unwillingness to concede and admit his loss. Also, please reply with your quotes and sources, thanks. (Will reply again in a few hours, busy now) Herobrine (talk) 15:10, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- People who do not trust the government to run a fair election- are not going to trust numerous state and federal judges, state and local election officials, governors, the Justice and Homeland Security departments and the Electoral College, or for that matter the president to self-audit. These are all GOVERNMENT officials, and we're talking about people who have a profound distrust of the government. Why would you think ANY of those people can be trusted to tell the truth? All you've proven is that you are incapable of fairly looking at people who disagree with you. This isn't about evidence- because neither side has actually presented any believable evidence. The government has yet to produce an audit of voter registration changes, and the people disputing the voter registration only have graphs that indicate pay-for-vote scams. Without an audit by a third party- say some private accounting firm- there can be no faith in your "fair election".Seebert (talk) 15:21, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Seebert, by that token, the people who dispute the fairness of the election claim that the fraud was SO widespread that ALL of these people—numerous state and federal judges, state and local election officials, governors, the Justice and Homeland Security departments and the Electoral College—have committed concerted fraud on an unprecedented scale in the United States. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't all these people from both parties? You're accusing Herobrine of being incapable of fairly looking at people who disagree with you, but doesn't that claim seem far-fetched enough to you as to seem outlandish? When Clinton lost against Trump in what was also a hotly debated election, the electoral margins reported were far less important than in this election. Yet there was no fraud outcry. The big difference here is that Trump is crying fraud relentlessly. Now if a third party would intervene to audit the election, would that be proof enough for the people who back him? Would that settle it? Or wouldn't they claim that said third party was bought off, or was biased from the start anyway? Where does this end? In the meantime, we can see where it has led: to gallows being put up in front of the Capitol by a bunch of would-be executioners.A new user (talk) 17:00, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- "All you've proven is that you are incapable of fairly looking at people who disagree with you." I take issue with that statement. Exactly how have I been unfair when discussing this? When you pointed out parts of my statement that were incorrect or potentially misleading, I rechecked my sources—and removed and clarified those erroneous sections, both in my comment and in the explanation. And even if a third party audits the election and does overturn the election results, what's to stop the Democrats from rejecting it? If the results hold true, will the Republicans accept—or will the president still call the results fraudulent, just as he did in 2012 and 2016? Adittionally, how would you trust a third party, and how could you guarantee that they fairly audited the election? You say we cannot trust the government—composed of thousands of officials from both major political parties and other parties, independents, etc.—but we're supposed to trust a third party to remain truly impartial when dealing with something of this magnitude? Herobrine (talk) 22:54, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Also I feel like there's no point in continuing this discussion any further. My original comment was a reply to another user discussing something in the explanation which has since been removed (and the entire explanation has been edited to be a lot more neutral and unbiased, anyways). Meanwhile our discussion has increasingly veered off on an a tangent, and I'm pretty sure that we will continue to disagree no matter how long this discussion drags on—in fact it's likely to just become more acrimonious while accomplishing nothing. At the end of the day, this is just a comment section for discussing the explanation of an xkcd comic, and there's no need for it to devolve into an endless argument about politics—we've already had enough of that back in 2016. Let's just agree to save the political arguments for other political forums, and end this discussion. I will try to remain neutral and avoid political bias when writing explanations in the future to avoid a similar situation from repeating. Herobrine (talk) 22:54, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- If the interpretation of January 6th is some armed citizens interfering with the franchise of other citizens... that isn't a new idea in America either, is it? It's just usually done at polling stations. Robert Carnegie [email protected] 126.96.36.199 20:30, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- True, but I think that magnitude of the events of January 6th was on a completely different scale. But other editors have already removed that section from the explanation (and made it much more neutral), resolving the issue, so I think there's not much point in continuing this discussion anyways. Herobrine (talk) 22:54, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
Well this is certainly going to be a very controversial comic for a good while. I'm personally under the belief that the election was not rigged and Trump should resign, but I feel we should create a much more neutral explanation than it is currently.--188.8.131.52 16:52, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Yeah, whoever wrote that explanation should resign. They're not even trying to be neutral, it is pure ideological soapboxing being shoveled down the throat of anyone reading. I vote that the first couple of paragraphs be deleted and reworked completely. Or else, this website can abandon any claim it might have had to objectivity and neutrality.184.108.40.206 17:02, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- I think the explanation is hilarious. To me, this strip is about everyone having abandoned doing what they are supposed to know how to do and instead wasting everyone's time sharing their opinion on the subject that is neither their expertise nor purview. The audience's clear disinterest in apple growers' opinion about Trump is conveyed by "Do you have any apple-related announcements at all?" remark. The current explanation just needs a similar remark along the lines of "Do you have anything xkcd-related at all?" to underscore the irony lest someone takes it seriously, and it will be perfect :) 220.127.116.11 18:31, 12 January 2021 (UTC)
- Well, I deleted a lot of the article that was filled with useless information irrelevant to the actual comic. Feel free to add more if you want.18.104.22.168
Apple growers are rightly concerned about bad apples.22.214.171.124 23:01, 14 January 2021 (UTC)
Anyone else notice the veiled reference to Apple (iPhone manufacturer)?126.96.36.199 20:46, 13 January 2021 (UTC)
When you add or remove from this explanation, please keep your political biases out of this. This is a webcomic explanation page, not a political discussion forum. 188.8.131.52
Is it wrong to say that it was a small percentage of actual supporters that attended? I think in the interest of being impartial we should include more facts, not less. 184.108.40.206 20:39, 13 January 2021 (UTC)