1079: United Shapes

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United Shapes
That eggplant is in something of a flaccid state.
[Click comic to enlarge]
Title text: That eggplant is in something of a flaccid state.

The large version is here: http://xkcd.com/1079/large/

[edit] Explanation

In this comic, each state of the United States of America has been filled-in with an object of similar shape. Due to the size range of the states, some states are too small to clearly make-out in the normal size image. Click here to see the large version, which makes every state perfectly clear.

Very few, if any, of the shapes used are stereotypes of the state; they are merely objects that look like the state. Some of the objects are those which the states are widely known to resemble. For example, Michigan is represented by a mitten or glove, and a pot with handle takes the place of Oklahoma (with the panhandle region of the state filled with a literal handle). Others, however, are more creative. Few would have likely pictured Texas as a dog or Alaska as a bear with a jet pack and laser gun. There are several incredibly simple objects filling some states. Kentucky is filled by a cloud, which conceivably could have been used for any state, and Wyoming, one of the nearly rectangular states, is simply an envelope. There are three pairs of states that are related. Georgia and Missouri each contain an image of the other, drawing attention to their similar shapes, North and South Dakota are the top and bottom halves of an amp, and Alabama and Mississippi are moai facing in opposite directions.)

Colorado contains what looks like a Wikipedia article. A close-up of the fake article is provided [1]. The following references are made in the Colorado article:

New Mexico according to Randall's transcript is "A liquid container labeled for something of unusual and silly danger". The labeling is upside down and it refers to the nuclear testing facility White Sands Missile Range located in New Mexico for the nuclear bomb.

This end up
Property of White Sands Missile Range
??? [A hazardous materials square]
Contains White Sand
This product contains chemicals known
only to the state of Nevada.
Contents under pressure from parents
If swallowed, induce labor
56 fluid ounces
and 14 other ounces

The title text makes fun of Florida which is sometimes called "The penis of America". Obviously, this penis is somewhat flaccid (not erect). The use of the word "state" is a pun, as it means some particular condition (flaccid state) as well as a political entity (The State of Florida).

[edit] Transcript

The United Shapes
A map of things states are shaped like
[Each state has some item wedged to stay inside its borders]
Official transcript Comments
Alabama: A moai head facing east. Moai are Easter Island stone statues
Alaska: A teddy bear with a jetpack and a ray gun
Arizona: A refrigerated shelf containing milk, bread, and pastries.
Arkansas: A measuring cup.
California: A vacuum. An old-fashioned upright vacuum cleaner (lying down to the right), green with a yellow bag.
Colorado: The wiki article on Colorado. A fake Wikipedia article on Colorado. Below the text as seen in the provided close up:
[web address:]
Article Talk
[Main article {note that Randall forgot the closing parentheses ')' after the pronunciation}]
Colorado (Pronounced [ˈeːijaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl̥] is a US State encompassing portions of the Rocky
Mountains and the Great Plains. The region has been inhabited since at least 11,000 BCE, and
some archaeological evidence suggest the state – with roughly its current borders – has literally
always existed. Colorado is separated from Wyoming by a 28-mile demilitarized zone, and
has at times exercised substantial regional
power via the installation of puppet governments
in neighboring states
Geographically, Colorado is eleven-dimensional,
though seven of those dimensions are tightly
compacted and difficult to detect in most areas
of the state. Colorado is home to the nation's
oldest continually-operated wormhole and two
of President Lincoln's horcruxes.
The wildlife in Colorado is commonly characterized
as "erratic", particularly in the radiation zones
around Longmont. The State's timber wolf
population is largely bipedal; the Park Service
has expressed "concern" at their attempts to enroll in
[Fact box with correct State flag and emblem and fake motto:]
State of Colorado
"Si parare possis, vivere septem."
(With preparation, survival is
possible for over a week.)
Connecticut: A train conductor's hat.
Delaware: A meerkat.
Florida: An eggplant.
Georgia: Missouri. The outline of the state of Missouri, with the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Hawaii: A snowball.
Idaho: A garden gnome, sitting down.
Illinois: A gangster with a guitar case, upside down.
Indiana: The brush of a paintbrush.
Iowa: A tomato, lettuce, cold cut and cheese sandwich.
Kansas: A stand-up piano.
Kentucky: A cloud.
Louisiana: A boot with some gum stuck to the bottom of it.
Maine: A Vulcan salute.
Maryland: A wolf howling to the moon, upside down.
Massachusetts: An elephant, being ridden by a man, carrying tea.
Michigan: A mitten for the lower portion, an eagle for the UUpper Peninsula of Michigan.
Minnesota: $160 in $20 USD bills.
Mississippi: A moai head facing west.
Missouri: Georgia. The outline of the state of Georgia, with a pair of Georgia peaches.
Montana: One half of a muffin.
Nebraska: A blue VW type 2 with mattresses sticking out the back.
Nevada: A clothes iron.
New Hampshire: A tall brick factory building.
New Jersey: A bent-over old person.
New Mexico: A liquid container labeled for something of unusual and silly danger. A yellow liquid container with upside-down labeling.
This end up!!
Property of White Sands Missile Range
Contains White Sand
[Written inside a hazardous-materials diamond with the ? very large, and the three '4' in the three top part of a diamond shape divided in four these three sections being blue, red, yellow. The lower part has a radioactive sign on the same grey background as the large rectangle.]
??? 4 4 4
This product contains chemicals known
Only to the Sate of Nevada.
Contents under pressure from rich parents
If swallowed, induce labor
56 fluid ounces
and 14 other ounces
New York: A hybrid transmission with standard manual-style gears and a torque converter sliced in half.
North Carolina: A bouquet of flowers.
North Dakota: The top half of an amp.
Ohio: Underwear (Briefs).
Oklahoma: A covered pot, dripping with boil-over.
Oregon: A locomotive.
Pennsylvania: A very thick book with a bookmark.
Rhode Island: The bow half of a boat's hull.
South Carolina: A slice of pizza.
South Dakota: The bottom half of an amp.
Tennessee: A number of children's books, placed in a slightly askew pile.
Texas: A dog sitting in a bowl.
Utah: An oven.
Vermont: A microscope, upside down.
Virginia: A stegosaurus.
Washington: A whale.
West Virginia: A frog.
Wisconsin: A skull.
Wyoming: An envelope. The back side of a white envelope, sealed with red wax, with a black heart next to a signature (lower left corner).

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Hooray, another comic that only Americans will get. Randall, some of us live in *other* parts of the world. Davidy22[talk] 13:47, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Wait, so an American addict with a mostly-American audience is supposed to limit himself to cartoons that everyone can understand? And people say AMERICANS are the arrogant ones. 07:59, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Could someone please explain the stereotypes? I'm American and I don't really see any jokes. As far as I can tell, he just picked images that fit in each state. -- (talk) 07:59, 24 March 2013 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

We still have to fix this thumbnail issue. --Dgbrt (talk) 16:47, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

For the most part I don't think the shapes have anything to do with the states other than what happens to fit. The Louisiana "boot" and Michigan "glove" are commonly used to describe those states shapes. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

People in Michigan actually say things like "I live in the thumb" 05:18, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure how this really constitutes an explanation. The current text seems to amount to "Yeah this comic is all perfectly clear and logical everyone gets all the references alright I gotta go have fun now!" I think this needs an incomplete flag, but I don't know if someone who isn't a moderator can do that? --Mynotoar (talk) 22:32, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Could the signature in Wyoming be Randalls own one? Compare it to 1005: SOPA. -- 09:06, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

He does lotsa comics the rest of us can undrestand, too. After all, though, he IS American. Texas: that's a cat? 16:26, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

<rant> The bear in the state of Alaska is NOT Winnie the Pooh. The most recognizable version is yellow with a red shirt. The original illustrations didn't have a shirt, but were still yellow. Further more, there ARE other cartoon bears to choose from, or it could just be a non-affiliated one that Randall created for the sake of fitting in the state of Alaska. Add to that the fact that Winnie the Pooh never had a jetpack OR a raygun and there is a pretty solid case for that bear NOT being Winnie the Pooh. </rant> Anonymous 04:51, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

I did correct a former typo done by Randall himself, but Winnie the Pooh is just what he was thinking about. Please start a discussion on such an edit first, maybe we can say Randall's painting is bad, but that's what is on his official transcript. And SO this does only belong to the explain, the transcript is just only a transcript of the ORIGINAL comic. I'm sorry, but please don't change this until you know what you are doing, please ask for help first. You will get kind answers by many people here. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:29, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Undoing edits

I expanded a bunch of descriptions, especially with an eye for people who may not be able to see the comic. This was the "incomplete explanation of the day" comic the day I started adding to the wiki. For example, Utah was described as "An oven." I changed this to "A white stove" because the entire appliance is called a stove (an oven plus drawer below, cooktop above, and upright piece with controls at the back of the cooktop).

Dgbrt undid all my changes without explanation. Would someone please explain what, if anything, I did wrong? I know I'm new here, but I did look around before making any changes. Is there an "o

Corollary question: Someone also removed the actual text that appears in the various images.

Is there an official-from-Randall transcript somewhere?

Thanks. Karenb (talk) 21:48, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Dgbrt replaced the transcript that was present with the transcript that can be found here, or in the page source of the original comic. It's not always perfectly accurate, but I usually just trust in it since Randall probably knows what he drew. If you feel that there's a typo/stuff-up somewhere, feel free to change it. Accuracy trumps the original transcript. Davidy²²[talk] 00:48, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, David! That makes a lot of sense. Karenb (talk) 01:37, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Is this ready for the incomplete flag to be removed? Explain section has been updated to explain the shapes that can be explained.Tornadowrangler (talk) 03:35, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Tornadowrangler

A note about Maryland -- the transcript description is incomplete, because the wolf (main part of the state) appears to be howling at a full moon (across the Chesapeake Bay). That bit of land is referred to as the Delmarva peninsula, because it includes nearly all of Delaware, the eastern part of Maryland and (not indicated on this map) the southern tip belongs to Virginia. 04:13, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

I always thought NC & SC look like a bird beak & VA looked like a bird in flight Beastachu (talk) 19:35, 8 November 2015 (UTC)


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