498: Secretary: Part 5

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Secretary: Part 5
And they choose Al Gore as Internet Secretary.
Title text: And they choose Al Gore as Internet Secretary.


This is the fifth and final comic in the Secretary story-arc. The culmination has Black Hat up to his usual shenanigans in the US Senate chamber room. The hearings have ended, with the chairperson deciding to sentence him to death, instead of confirming his position of Internet Secretary. Black Hat replies that he was "never interested in taking the position." This would be quite weird, as Senate confirmation meetings take a long time. The committee members are obviously surprised, and they question Black Hat, trying to get him to reveal his motives. He then cryptically replies that "It was taking us a while to move the pumps into the maintenance tunnels." The confused committee members then look at each other.

This series was released on five consecutive days (Monday to Friday) and not over the usual schedule of three comics a week. It may be a continuation of the comic 493: Actuarial, in which Black Hat demonstrates great power over even Internet trolls via his sociopathic ways. This would explain why Black Hat was nominated as Internet secretary. These are all the comics in Secretary series:

A red playpen ball bursts out of the panel and rolls towards the committee chairperson, before being followed by a geyser of red, white, and blue balls, which begin to engulf the room and the Senate rotunda. Of course, Black Hat has already escaped by grabbing Tron Paul's lightcycle and using it to smash his way out of the rotunda. Outside the Senate, Cory Doctorow offers Black Hat a lift and asks if he's a fugitive now, and Black Hat replies that they never had his name, which is odd, considering that they know he's stolen a nuclear submarine, along with everything else mentioned in 496: Secretary: Part 3. Back at Congress, they seem to have forgotten about Black Hat's "gleeful mayhem" and are jumping off the balcony into the ball pit below. Playpen balls have been the topic of many comics before, notably in 150: Grownups.

The Senate or a Senate committee, in reality, cannot sentence a person to death, as that would be a bill of attainder, which Congress is prohibited from passing by Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution: "No Bill of Attainder ... shall be passed." "An unorthodox move," indeed. Tron was an arcade game, based on the movie of the same name, and both released in 1982. The characters would play on a grid in lightcycles that left behind walls of light. The objective of the game was to force the opponent to run into the wall of light, similar to the Snake game.

The title text refers to Al Gore. Al Gore was the Vice President under President Bill Clinton and ran as the Democratic nominee for President in 2000. Al Gore has had quite a history with the Internet, including one oft-misquoted (rather, quoted out of context) interview with CNN in which he told Wolf Blitzer, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Many spun this to mean he claimed to have actually invented the Internet himself, although some of its pioneers clarified what Gore actually meant (that "his initiatives led directly to the commercialization of the Internet") and agreed with this assessment.[1][2]


[The Senate. Black Hat sits before the committee at his hearing to become Internet Secretary.]
Chairman: We were convened here to review your nomination for the position of internet secretary.
Chairman: However, on review of your qualifications, we've decided to sentence you to death.
Chairman: An unorthodox move, sure. But the vote was unanimous.
[Black Hat is leaning back in his chair.]
[Tron Paul's lightcycle swerves wildly.]
Tron Paul: There's no grid! How do I steeeeer!!!!!
[Back at the Senate. Black Hat is standing.]
Black Hat: Well, it's been fun. But I was never actually interested in taking the position. Good lord; listening to internet arguments all day? No thank you.
Chairman: Then why did you sit through all those hearings?
Black Hat: It was taking us a while to move the pumps into the maintenance tunnels.
[The committee members murmur among themselves.]
[There is a panel in the floor between Black Hat and the committee.]
plink plink
[A red playpen ball bursts out of the panel and rolls towards the committee chairman.]
[The room is still. Black Hat's arms are folded.]
[A geyser of red, white, and blue playpen balls bursts through the panel in the floor. Black Hat is already gone.]
[The committee members chase Black Hat out the door as the Senate floor floods with playpen balls.]
[The chase continues into the rotunda, as does the flood of playpen balls.]
[Black Hat stands in the middle of the rotunda as it fills with playpen balls, surrounded by members of the committee.]
Committee Members: Security! Someone!
Committee Members: Get Him!
[Tron Paul bursts through the wall.]
Tron Paul: Aaaaa!
[Black Hat grabs the bottom of the lightcycle as Tron Paul goes by.]
Tron Paul: Hey!
[Black Hat swings onto the top of the light cycle.]
[Black Hat crouches on top of the light cycle.]
Tron Paul: Get Off!
[Tron Paul and Black Hat crash through the far wall of the rotunda.]
[Tron Paul hits the ground.]
Tron Paul: Ow!
[Black Hat runs away.]
Tron Paul: Ughhh.
[The lightcycle disappears.]
Tron Paul: I feel queasy...
Cory Doctorow, above: Hey!
Black Hat: Hi, Cory.
Cory Doctorow: Need a lift?
Black Hat: Sure.
[Black Hat and Cory Doctorow depart in Doctorow's balloon.]
Cory Doctorow: So are you, like, a fugitive now?
Black Hat: Well, I never did give them my name...

[Senators play in the playpen balls.]
But in the rotunda
Senators: Let's jump down here from the balcony!
Senators: Senior senators first!
Senators: Wheeee!
Senators: I'm a submarine!
All is forgiven.

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The Tron video game was based on the movie Ton, not the other way around. Tron the movie was inspired by the video game Pong, but only in a general, Oooh -- computers! sense. (From Wikipedia: "Development of Tron began in 1976 when Lisberger became fascinated with the early video game Pong.") -- ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

You're quite correct: the game was, indeed, based on the movie. Made the necessary changes. Thokling (talk) 08:17, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

The Light Cycles though were most likely based in part on the game Blockade which was released in October 1976 [1] 6 years before the movie was released so I would doubt they never ran across some copy of it. 11:40, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

I hav not laughed like this i a ile. 05:24, 28 October 2017 (UTC)qwertybob

Is it just me or does the White House(?) look like the Principle Office[2] from the television show ReBoot? Viridiansurfer (talk) 16:31, 9 March 2020 (UTC)

Italic text

  1. "Net builders Kahn, Cerf recognise Al Gore". The Register. October 2, 2000. Archived from the original on December 15, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2020. "No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President."
  2. "Vint Cerf Interview — Quotes from the Father of the Internet". Esquire. April 24, 2008. Archived from the original on September 4, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2020. "His initiatives led directly to the commercialization of the Internet. So he really does deserve credit."