960: Subliminal

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Once you see it, you can't help seeing it every time. Until your body finishes metabolizing the mushrooms.
Title text: Once you see it, you can't help seeing it every time. Until your body finishes metabolizing the mushrooms.


The FedEx Express logo, for comparison

This comic is about the FedEx logo and how there is a subliminal/hidden arrow in the logo; specifically, in the whitespace between the "E" and the "x". When Cueball looks at the logo, he instead sees a wild scene including Guy Fawkes, Willie Mays and an assault vehicle. Megan then replies "...You either need more medication or less. Not sure which." Which is implying that he is taking medication for some condition that causes him to hallucinate (or something similar). The implication being that he either needs more medication because it isn't working properly, or less medication because it is causing him to hallucinate in itself.

Guy Fawkes was a British revolutionary who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. His likeness is nowadays used as a symbol of protest, most famously in the graphic novel and movie "V For Vendetta" and by Anonymous and the Occupy movement.

Willie Mays was an American baseball player for the San Francisco Giants who made a famous over-the-shoulder catch in the World Series. Some consider it to be the best defensive play of all time in baseball.

The title text is a play on the Internet idiom "once you see it, you can't unsee it," although it says that you can't unsee it until your body has finished processing the magic mushrooms, that you must have taken for some reason, which would be why you would keep seeing it in the first place.


[Cueball and Megan are gathered around a computer. Cueball is seated interacting with the computer while Megan stands behind them with an arm resting on the back of the chair.]
Cueball: What hidden arrow?
Megan: I thought everyone knew about it. Pull up the FedEx logo.
[Megan is now pointing at the screen.]
Cueball: Where is it?
Megan: Right there. Look at the whitespace.
Cueball: I don't see it.
[The next panel shows a stylised view of the FedEx logo. The white space above the 'ed' in Fed is decorated to look like a tank turret with the barrel extending into the letter 'F'. Along the bottom of the letters a baseball player with the number 24 on his back is reaching out to catch a baseball. The baseball is forming the centre of the 'e' while the arm provides the break for the tail. The baseballers head marks the centre of the 'd' and the number 24 is coloured in blue to show the lower half of the stroke of the 'd'. Toward the right of the image the space between the 'E' and 'x' has been decorated to look like a Guy Fawkes mask, with ties wrapping around the 'x' and being drawn off-screen. A faint outline suggests the whitespace above the 'x' is a hat, with the brim extending into the upper part of the 'E'. Two speech bubbles are visible above the drawing, both spoken by off-screen characters.]
Cueball (off-screen): All I see is Guy Fawkes watching Willie Mays catch a fly ball while an armored assault vehicle rolls past.
Megan (off-screen): ...You either need more medication or less. Not sure which.

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Actually, I'm starting to see the tank in the logo after seeing this comic. It's a kinda squat tank, but it looks sorta right. Davidy²²[talk] 08:29, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Whoever designed the FedEx logo should look up the word, "subliminal." For something to be subliminal, by definition, we shouldn't be able to see it. By his definition, 9/11 was a subliminal message. 00:44, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Actually, subliminal just means it's lower than the absolute threshold of 50% perception, meaning that anywhere from 0% to 49% of people can detect something and have it still be 'subliminal". Maybe you should go re-check your definition? :-) -- 08:59, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I love everything about this comment. The unfounded belief that the logo's designer specifically believed it to be "subliminal," the mistaken idea of what "subliminal" means, the crazy out-of-nowhere reference to 9/11. It's a masterpiece. 13:08, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
The article you reference about Absolute Threshold has no mention, as far as I can see, regarding the word "subliminal". Likewise, the definition of subliminal according to wiktionary is, "(of a stimulus) Below the threshold of conscious perception, especially if still able to produce a response." (Threshold being defined as, "The magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested"). By these definitions, absolute threshold does not apply so the original poster's definition of subliminal can be considered correct. If a person were to notice the stimulus, then it would be above the threshold for conscious perception and hence not subliminal. Unless you know something multiple dictionaries don't, you might need to "re-check your definition". The points relating to unfounded belief and the 9/11 reference in the above reply still stand though... -- 03:57, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
If the stimulus is below the threshold of perception for more than half the population, ie 51%, it would be by definition subliminal. The definition would apply to the subject for the majority of people.
Just because something seems obvious once you have seen it doesn't mean everybody else sees it too. 18:31, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
It has to fall below the threshold of perception and still produce a response. You have not demonstrated that the second part of the definition applies to this situation. 12:50, 8 June 2023 (UTC)

Am I the only one that thinks the arrow is going the wrong way for English readers? If you are reading it in Arabic of course, it is REALLY going the wrong way. I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 23:16, 22 January 2015 (UTC)