2824: Abstract Pickup

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Abstract Pickup
Escape Artist Frees Self From Conversation With Pickup Artist
Title text: Escape Artist Frees Self From Conversation With Pickup Artist


Abstract artists are individuals who create artworks that do not attempt to represent external reality. Instead, they emphasize shapes, colors, forms and gestural or non-representational elements in order to convey emotions, concepts or ideas. Abstract art can take various forms, including paintings, sculptures, and other visual media.

Pickup artists are individuals who engage in strategies and techniques to attract and form romantic or sexual relationships with others, typically focusing on short-term or casual encounters. These strategies often involve tactics for initiating conversations, building rapport and escalating physical intimacy. Pickup artistry is often associated with misogyny, manipulative behavior and a lack of respect for others.

Stereotypical pickup artists are misogynistic males who feel disproportionately hard done by and are (over)reacting to the perceived antipathy from "all women" and a typical technique that they might use is "negging", or making a comment which is intended to lower their target's self-esteem under the guise of being perfectly normal (and even complimentary) small-talk. Randall has previously indicated his disdain for pickup artists in 1027: Pickup Artist and 1178: Pickup Artists.

The word "artist" has different meanings in these two phrases. In the first one, it means someone who makes paintings as a profession or hobby, and "abstract" narrows down the types of paintings. In the second, it means a practitioner of some activity, and "pickup" is the (reprehensible) specific activity. The joke is in conflating the two senses when saying that the two groups have merged.

White Hat is a representative of this combined group and in his usual fashion seems to have mixed the two in a peculiar manner, calling a bunch of cubes "cute". He's talking to a group of cubes he has just painted, which he describes as a melange (being an artistic term for a disordered mixture), in his role as an abstract artist. But by the end of his comment he has passed through a disarming compliment (that they are "actually very cute", seemingly saying that few other people will ever think the same), revealing his pickup artist tendencies by seemingly dismissing them as a "dizzying swarm" which few would call "cute"(showing White Hat's signature peculiarity as no one will call a melange of cubes cute).

In the title text, it appears that a third type of artist (the escape artist, again very different from both of the other types of artist) has fulfilled their own "role" by escaping from conversation with a pickup artist. Assuming that the escape artist is a woman, this might be an additional joke that pickup artists are not good at "picking up" women and instead just act like "a bunch of chains" to escape from.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[White Hat holding a paintbrush in his left arm standing next to an easel. An abstract painting of differently sized black and white rectangular square shapes rest on top of the easel.]
White Hat: Hey there, chaotic melange of cubes-
White Hat: you're actually pretty cute for a dizzying swarm!
[The words "dizzying swarm!" are written in wavy bold letters.]
[Caption below the panel:]
Bad news - the pickup artists and abstract artists have merged.

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... nobody has anything to say? -- Dtgriscom (talk) 02:34, 5 September 2023 (UTC)

self explanatory 02:54, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
we just dont like pickup artists, not much more to say - Vaedez (talk) 03:01, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
I do: I think it is weird it is White Hat who performs the pickup-artistry on the abstract painting. Given the character traits, shouldn't we expect Black Hat? -- 12:52, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
I get the impression that, while Black Hat has terrifying and misanthropic tendencies, mere pickup artistry is beneath him. He is, after all, a classhole. I think White Hat (also rarely a sympathetic character) is being used because the casual jerkiness and disrespect (even in a slightly surreal scenario) would cheapen Black Hat's brand.Dextrous Fred (talk) 15:03, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
(Got an Edit Conflict with Fred, above, who seems to have said much of what I do, below but snappier..! But resubmitting mine anyway.) I can't see Black Hat trying to neg a painting. And though BH's SO is notably familiar with and skillful in negging, I don't see it as being BH's MO. Even to make people's life a misery (and it seems a different kind of misery-making thing to nerdsniping or otherwise messing with everyone's heads... somewhat too personal, at least when not already personally provoked by the target of his actions).
I'm less clear in my head about whether it's actually a White Hat thing, as I don't relate so much to him in any clear way (even as a counter-example), but I think it's his kind of equivalent to White Beret's misunderstanding of the 'sciences' (the whole gamut of soft-to-hard, from how to conduct a businesses to quantum effects), but in the field of the 'arts' or otherwise performance-related fields. (I really must check WH's profile/prior comics, to refresh my opinion on him, see if I'm remembering his general role in xkcd correctly enough.)
In short, though the negging might be thought to deserve to 'dark-shade' the hat of the character, a little, it's actually a victimless aggression (against an abstract target, in more ways than one, which cannot suffer ill effects from any of this verbal psychdrama) and overwhelmingly it's a basic misunderstanding incarnated into an odd (but not 'impossible') behaviour. In neither BH nor WB 'territories' of wrongness. But I could perhaps imagine seeing a generic Cueball doing it, however, or even Rob in his odder moments... 15:13, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
Sounds like we need a grey hat character... 16:26, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
Well, if you remove all the negativity artificially added to the explanation by the editors here, the comic isn't ACTUALLY being negative about pickup artistry. Which leaves that being a pickup artist to your own abstract art as being a REALLY weird thing to do, and White Hat is THE character for doing weird illogical things. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:11, 10 September 2023 (UTC)
I suspect the US holiday on Monday had a large portion of editors busy with festivities. Editing will likely pickup today! (See what I did there?) Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 12:54, 5 September 2023 (UTC)

Should we add a "pickup artist" category? 15:57, 5 September 2023 (UTC)

Well, the explanation lists 2, then this one would be 3, if that's all there is that seems like a little too few to bother with a category just yet, :) If someone can find more comics where "pickup artist" is a significant theme... NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:11, 10 September 2023 (UTC)

I too aspire to be a cute dizzying swarm PotatoGod (talk) 23:00, 6 September 2023 (UTC)

I already imagined you as a dizzyingly cute swarm! (But not a swarming cute-dizzy...) 23:13, 6 September 2023 (UTC)

I feel like there is WAY TOO MUCH focus on seeing pickup artistry in a negative light here. Sure, negative examples have figured prominently in popular media (recently seeing reruns of the first season of How I Met Your Mother means I must start with Barney, there was also Charlie in Two And A Half Men, and to a far lesser extent early Howard in Big Bang Theory). But the misogynistic angle taken by jerks is only one type, there's plenty of pickup artists who are simply charming, smooth talking, and respectful! (In a way AGAIN Howard in Big Bang, he was a good guy really, not misogynistic generally, just desperate, and Ashton Kutcher's Walden in Two And A Half Men), guys who pickup women simply by talking smooth and being charming (and usually handsome, LOL!) who aren't desperate or hard-done-by at all! I mean, guys who have such a negative and disrespectful attitude about women are already starting from behind, making charming a woman harder on themselves, it's more difficult to be successful enough to rank as a "pickup artist" that way. There's actually NOTHING in this comic painting pickup artistry in a negative light - okay, "cute for a" sounds like it could be in the form of a Neg, but "dizzying swarm" sounds akin to "dazzling beauty" or something actually complimentary - it doesn't make sense to have THIS much negativity added to the explanation. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:11, 10 September 2023 (UTC)

Those who consciously aspire to 'artistry' aren't really thinking about their (usually?) female targets as anything more than 'material' to their art... perhaps even a challenge to conquer. Anyone who is genuinely free and easy, good companionship, has girls(/boys) happy to hook up with them in a bit of mutual fun (dinner, date, maybe more) with no psychological manipulation intended aren't 'artists', just sociable and not themselves easily smitten by every potential partner they meet (which is another problem).
If you're negging, etc, you're not doing it with honest intentions, and devising/learning the 'art' of doing this is definitely edging towards being sociopathic. Those who are subjected to being picked up (and dropped again, at whim, if not 'processed' in a Tate-like conveyor-belt of such things) are victims way beyond anyone in the casual date-and-split cycles of those who are still floating more naturally in the dating scene.
To call it an 'art' degrades the medium. When that medium is canvas and paints, we already know these are subject to our whims, whether the future holds auctions or bonfires in it. When the medium is skin and tattoo ink then it's a matter of the owner of the skin to ultimately decide as to whether it's good art that makes them happier. A whole thinking person being deliberately 'practiced' upon (without knowing consent) can't really be seen as a positive process. It's a different thing when the aims are more mutual, of course, but that's any one of a number of other social interactions... 09:55, 10 September 2023 (UTC)