Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Several of the xkcd comics outline ways to make people feel older by referencing various pieces of popular culture which feel ingrained and "recent", and revealing the time that has elapsed since their release to be longer than expected (for instance, 1393: Timeghost and 891: Movie Ages). This appears to be what Black Hat is doing as he walks in on Megan to announce that all the penguins from a 2005 documentary March of the Penguins about emperor penguins are dead. Megan is familiar with these sorts of antics and assumes Black Hat is indicating that the film is so old that the lifespan of emperor penguins is less than the time since the documentary was released. Frustrated, Megan simply acknowledges Black Hat's statement by agreeing that everyone is aging. Black Hat, however, reveals that he is not trying to make her feel old, because the penguins were all alive "last night" and died of a cause other than time's passage. His announcement that he is "trying to apologize" creates the obvious inference that he killed the penguins. This gives the situation a much darker tone; especially since Black Hat likely is not truly apologizing, as he is very unapologetic in his "classhole" tendencies.
Emperor penguins actually live about 20 years on average, so presumably, barring any intervention by Black Hat, most of the younger penguins and many of the older penguins in the movie are still alive as of this comic.
The title text emphasizes that whatever the penguins' fate, we do get and are getting older. The text may also be a further jab by Black Hat as he departs just to make Megan feel a bit worse.
- [Black Hat walks in, Megan is at a desk.]
- Black Hat: All the birds from March of the Penguins are now dead.
- Megan: OK, I get it. We're all aging.
- Black Hat: What? No.
- Black Hat: I'm not trying to make you feel old. They were alive last night. I'm trying to apologize.
- [Megan turned around in her office chair and is facing Black Hat.]
- Megan: Oh God
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Isn't it Danish not Megan? 188.8.131.52 05:30, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
- No, Danish has longer hair. 184.108.40.206 05:37, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
That is a good point on the point for "Is it Danish, or Megan?", but Danish would have probably helped Black Hat kill the penguins. Another thing to add is Danish won't react like that, but Megan would be more likely.
- Also, if it were Danish, she would have a good come back for black hat. 220.127.116.11 13:54, 15 August 2014 (UTC)BK
Would Movie Ages (http://www.xkcd.com/891) be just as pertinent, if not more so, than Timeghost? Should we include a reference to it in the explanation? 18.104.22.168 14:08, 15 August 2014 (UTC)DBrak
- Good idea. I think we should, so I've included that reference now.
--Das-g (talk) 14:42, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
This is totally off-topic, but I can't help myself. I remember reading somewhere that the film was made by a French team (I think) and they realized they had a hit on their hands. But when they were negotating with a distributor for the USA market that it was demanded that all reference to the penguins' amazing behavior being due to their evolutionary development had to be removed. "Evolution" was a dirty word for the USA market. --RenniePet (talk) 22:28, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
- I don't think RenniePet's comment is off-topic; the same audience that they deleted "Evolution" for used it as an example for family values and ID - is the "Oh God" dialog an allusion to whether Black Hat been playing God? --FractalgeekUK (talk) 00:17, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
- I found a NY Times article on the evolution point: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/science/13peng.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print 22.214.171.124 01:23, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
A thought: possibly at least partially inspired by much-repeated note about current events as of the time of writing -- with Lauren Bacall's death, all the people mentioned in Madonna's Vogue are dead. 126.96.36.199 03:33, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Finally, we get some Black Hat antics! Have you noticed that Randall has lately done less Black Hat comics? Or is just me?
188.8.131.52 20:43, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Am I missing something? Nobody seems to ask WHY Black Hat apparently killed the penguins or even HOW (?!) 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)