2430: Post-Pandemic Hat

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Post-Pandemic Hat
Plus a shirt that says "it feels like you're making eye contact."
Title text: Plus a shirt that says "it feels like you're making eye contact."


This is another comic in a series related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant shift from in-person to computer-mediated interactions for both recreational and professional activities. For many, the computer setup used for these interactions is a laptop with a webcam above the screen. As people have become accustomed to looking directly into the camera, i.e. above where the other people's faces are, to simulate eye contact for meetings, Randall implies that there will be issues returning to pre-COVID life. In response, he has designed a baseball cap with an image that resembles a laptop webcam that sits above the wearer's eyes and a message that humorously acknowledges that the reader is likely reverting to virtual meeting habits for in-person interactions and that reminds people that for in-person interactions, one must look the other person's face, not above it like there's a webcam there.

The cap in this strip likely references a tradition of novelty tee-shirts, intended to be worn by women, feature "my eyes are up here!" or similar words written across the chest, and an arrow pointing upwards. These shirts are designed to both tease and parody the tendency of heterosexual men to look at a woman's breasts, usually automatically and without conscious thought. The cap, as a result, compares the conditioned response of looking at a webcam with the instinctive response of looking at a woman's chest, both of which would result in failure to make eye contact during a conversation.

Actual shirt-based text (as in the Title Text) would represent where a video-conferencer is not staring at the screen-top camera to 'fake' eye contact on the other screen(s) but truly aimed at the image of the eyes. The view of such an 'honest' stare could look like a 'chest gaze'.

1889: xkcd Phone 6 'solved' all these problems by putting a camera in the middle of the screen.


[A ballcap with an image of a webcam lens and a message reading "Excuse me, my eyes are actually down here" above a downward-facing arrow]
[Caption below the panel]: Hat for post-pandemic socializing

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I did not get that the oval was supposed to look like a webcam; so this joke made no sense to me at all until reading the explanation. Thank goodness for explainxkcd.com!

How about just wear a shirt with a picture of oneself in a framed app window? To give people a familiar 2D face to make "eye contact" with, without staring into those creepy wet lenses which 3D faces feature. ProphetZarquon (talk) 22:39, 26 February 2021 (UTC)

Post-pandemic, I will still look at the hat first — because depending on what is written there, I might STILL ask that you keep at least six feet (or more) away from me at all times. RAGBRAIvet (talk) 00:33, 27 February 2021 (UTC)

Apropo of nothing, the image of a bright red ball cap with the phrase "This is not a MAGA hat" printed on it flashed into my mind. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 18:55, 28 February 2021 (UTC)

iPhones XS or later with iOS 14 or later have the Eye Contact feature, which digitally alters your image during a FaceTime call so that your eyes appear to be looking directly at your caller. -- 14:04, 27 February 2021 (UTC)

This explanation made no sense to me, but maybe it's the comic (if the explanation is correct.) Does anybody actually look into the camera? I don't; I am always looking lower than the camera. I know that if I were to look into the camera, then everyone would see me "looking at them", but I can't avoid just looking at the face of whomever is talking on Teams or Zoom at the moment, because I need to see their face to better understand what they are saying - plus, it feels to me like I am making eye contact with them. But maybe it's just me? Mathmannix (talk) 13:24, 2 March 2021 (UTC)

Oh, also I feel the explanation should address the irony present for both the aforementioned t-shirts and this hat, due to the fact that in both cases people are going to be reading the words, and thus staring precisely where the words are telling them not to stare! Mathmannix (talk) 14:52, 2 March 2021 (UTC)

The shirts bit did mention that, I remember. Might have been edited out by a revamp. 00:38, 3 March 2021 (UTC)

I don't look at the video windows at all, and my work team just leaves cameras off. We look at the screen-share document or our own work while listening. 21:54, 30 March 2021 (UTC)