Talk:2191: Conference Question

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 21:04, 19 August 2019 by (talk) (Added a comment about Harry Potter.)
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I don't know to what "Word of Power" in the title text refers. A quick Google revealed something from Skyrim and something from D&D, but I have the feeling there must surely be a more original source for it, even if it is just a common term in folklore or something. Pureawes0me (talk) 07:45, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

I think it means "magic word". The next step, "Unforgivable Curse", is from Harry Potter; a magic spell against someone that will get you jail time. (C. S. Lewis had an apocalyptic option, the "Deplorable Word", which killed every living person except the speaker) So Harry Potter's schoolteacher demonstrates the Unforgivables on spiders... and on students. (You find out why.) Also I think the title text is the platform speaker's response to Beret Guy. [email protected] 09:12, 19 August 2019 (UTC) WhiteDragon (talk) 13:51, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I understand the "Unforgivable Curse" part - it's more "Word of Power" I'm struggling with. I agree that the title text could potentially be a response by the speaker, and I've updated the page to reflect this. Pureawes0me (talk) 10:20, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
It's from tabletop roleplaying games; some of the earliest high level spells from the original edition of Dungeons and Dragons were "Power Word Kill," "Power Word Blind," and "Power Word Stun." These spells have been carried forward into newer editions where they are extremely unpopular because they were designed for campaigns when most monsters had a tiny fraction of the number of hit points typical today, and unlike essentially all of the fifth edition spells, they don't do anything when they don't work, and they don't work based on facts which are theoretically unknowable to the players. So, they kind of have a reputation of the worst high level spells, and are sometimes included in magic items which turn out to be, well, like fruitcake, if you know what I mean. 11:36, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

One thing I feel needs to be said is that this behavior belies a lack of linguistic skill, because any statement can always be phrased in the form of a question, e.g, most easily, "Do you agree that _______?" Or by asking about the details of the comment about which the commenter is most interested in emphasizing or soliciting a response. That this kind of thing happens among advanced academics belies how narcissistic and tone-deaf even otherwise intelligent people can often be. 12:20, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

Similar to how the comic ends in a question? I think your statement is part of the joke. Less of a statement, and more of an utterance. OhFFS (talk) 14:28, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

There is a Russian Folk Tale, among those collected by Afanasyev, called "Go I don't know where, Bring back I don't know what". In that story, the archer Andrey is given several impossible tasks by a tsar who covets his beautiful wife, the last of which is to go to I don't know where and bring back I don't know what. After journeying a vast distance and meeting his mother in law Baba Yaga, he is guided by an ancient frog across a river of fire, and is told "Over there you will find a house. Well, not so much a house as a hut. And it is not so much of a hut as a barn." This is I don't know where. So Beret Guy's intro to his statement may be a reference to this formulaic format.

I think the Unforgivable Curse line in the title text is meant to reference the scene in HP&tGoF when Barty Crouch, posing as Professor Moody, demonstrates their use on spiders to the fourth years in Defense Against the Dark Arts. The curse, be it an annoyed audience member or the speaker, is to be cast of the friendly bug. 21:04, 19 August 2019 (UTC)