23: T-shirts

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Original title: Wednesday's Drawing
It's depressing how many of these are real shirtsOriginal caption: I saw the "problem" t-shirt (upper right) on campus a few days ago and suddenly felt so sad.
Title text: It's depressing how many of these are real shirts

Original caption: I saw the "problem" t-shirt (upper right) on campus a few days ago and suddenly felt so sad.


This was the twenty-fourth comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous one was 22: Barrel - Part 3, and the next one was 37: Hyphen.

This comic satirizes the plethora of "snarky" phrase T-shirts that exist today. In the top-left, the character wears a typical (and real) snark shirt, "I see dumb people" (suggesting that the wearer thinks everyone else is dumb, while being a parody of the phrase "I see dead people" from the movie The Sixth Sense). Other shirts shown also suggest that the wearer is better than everyone else, and perhaps the shirts increasingly suggest that the wearer is anti-social moving from top to bottom. Near the bottom of the screen, the T-shirts no longer attempt to be witty and simply have straightforward phrases like "go away" and "die". These are exaggerations of the message that the other more-realistic shirts broadcast.

The final three shirts are also exaggerated shirts that suggest Randall's view that people who wear snarky shirts are overcompensating for the fact that they are already alone or perhaps putting up a tough exterior to conceal their sadness that no one would talk to them anyway. Most notably "maybe if this T-shirt is witty enough, someone will finally love me" sums up what Randall thinks snarky shirts really say. There are shirts with this or a similar message, although it is unclear whether they were created before this comic or as a tribute to this comic.

In the title text, Randall says that it's depressing how many of the shirts in the comic actually exist in real life, further underlining the point that these shirts are overly arrogant, to the point where one might believe that Randall made them up. This highlights the inadequacy of substance within these T-shirts and the emotions they invoke in Randall's mind, as shown in the original caption.


[A collection of phrases on T-shirts. The first and the last on actual black T-shirts worn by the same person, whose facial expression is more sad on the last one.]
I see dumb people
As a matter of fact the world does revolve around me
I can only please one person per day / today is not your day.
You know what your problem is? You're stupid.
Get a clue
Do I look like a people person?
Your village called / they want their idiot back
Go away
I hate you all
Maybe if this T-shirt is witty enough, someone will finally love me.
Oh God I'm so alone.


The last sentence in the comic used to be available as a T-shirt in the xkcd store before it was shut down.

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It should be mentioned that "maybe if my t-shirt is witty enough, someone will love me" is a real shirt for sale in the xkcd store http://store.xkcd.com/products/witty 06:25, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Done. Yfmcpxpj (talk) 02:36, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

There also is a shirt that I saw once that says "See other side of shirt" or something on both sides -- Beokirby (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

These are all real shirts (or close enough to one) by the way. Beanie (talk) 09:27, 10 March 2021 (UTC)