204: America

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 18:47, 23 May 2022 by Jacky720 (talk | contribs) (Reverted edits by Xray Kilo Charlie Delta (talk) to last revision by Davidy22)
Jump to: navigation, search
The younger folk in the audience think this is a joke.
Title text: The younger folk in the audience think this is a joke.


On April 20, 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter was allegedly "attacked by a giant swimming rabbit" while solo-fishing on a boat in his hometown. The reality is a little more nuanced: According to Carter, the rabbit had actually been chased into the water by some hounds and swam near his boat. Carter splashed some water on it to compel the rabbit not to come any closer.

Nevertheless, the newspapers ate it up, reveling in the ridiculous notion that anyone would feel threatened by a rabbit (considered by some to be small, harmless herbivores[citation needed]), with respected paper The Washington Post putting the story "President Attacked by Rabbit" on the front page. Since the White House refused to release the photograph, the paper created a cartoon parody of the rabbit, calling it PAWS, in reference to the blockbuster film JAWS, about a killer shark. Carter's opponents used it as fodder for their arguments that Carter's presidency was weak and ineffectual, and basically, the whole thing was blown way out of proportion by the American media, as so often happens with goofy events such as this.

This comic treats the Killer Rabbit attack as a dark day for the United States and uses the phrase "America Must Never Forget," which usually applies to days like the Pearl Harbor attack or 9/11. It essentially claims that, for the entire history of the United States (which starts with the signing of the Declaration of Independence), it is the only event worth remembering.

The rabbit incident is also referenced in 1688: Map Age Guide and in 2086: History Department.

The title text is an assumption that the event has not been remembered in the way the comic jokes that it should have been, and as a result, younger readers will think he is kidding when he says Carter was attacked by a rabbit.


[A timeline with only three ticks with years noted. Each tick is labeled with a line going to the tick. The second tick is much closer to the last on the right and has its year written below the line. The other two have it above the line and vice versa with the labels. Below in the middle there is a caption.]
Declaration of independence
Jimmy Carter attacked by giant swimming rabbit.
Present day
America must never forget.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


I must admit, as a "younger" reader I thought that this was a joke. 18:33, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

To add some further "nuance" to this story:

As noted above, at the time of the event the "newspapers ate [the story] up". But to give another perspective on this...

At the time when this story originally broke I was living in a somewhat rural area, and this story was greeted with a shrug by virtually everyone I knew. In short, anyone familiar with being in the woods understands that they should constantly be on the alert for any abnormal behavior by a wild animal since this can be a pretty clear indication of rabies. This is particularly true of any behavior that can interpreted in any way as aggressive --especially such unexpected behavior as a (small) animal moving *towards* a human being.

Needless to say, the described behavior --both swimming and moving towards a human-- is clearly bizarre behavior for an animal like a rabbit. Among my neighbors at the time the fact Carter attempted to distance himself from the rabbit (or indeed any wild animal behaving in a similar manner) was seen simply as common sense practiced by someone like Carter; i.e. an experienced woodsman.

In short the "Killer Rabbit Attack" headlines were seen as evidence those who wrote these stories had never been near the woods in their life. Arcanechili (talk) 13:25, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Well, also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvs5pqf-DMA