Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
This is another comic based on pointing out just how much time has passed since the release of a particular film. The same basis is found in 1393: Timeghost and 891: Movie Ages, and a similar theme is used in 647: Scary and 973: MTV Generation. Many people remember going to see major films at the time of release, and in their mind it may seem like "just a few years ago". In reality however, many years have passed, and it comes as a shock to realise just how long ago it was.
In the first panel, Cueball states that we are approaching the Back to the Future date (October 21, 2015), which is the date that protagonist Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future Part II, released in 1989. Megan adds that we're even closer to May 13, 2015, the "Star Wars tipping point".
The original first set of Star Wars films was released as a trilogy over the span of 6 years, with the third one, Return of the Jedi being released on May 25, 1983. After that, no films were released for 16 years until The Phantom Menace on May 19, 1999, the first in a trilogy of prequels. Thus up until now, the length of time between the two films, 5,839 days, has been greater than the time between the latter film and the present. Megan points out that May 13, 2015 will mark 5,839 days after the release of The Phantom Menace, meaning that for the first time the release date of the two films will be closer together than the latter film is to the present day.
In the final panel, Cueball points out how weird it is that he (along with most other people) are regularly surprised at the passage of time, given how predictable time is by its very nature. Megan's last line is a reference to the famous opening sequence used in the Star Wars films, which begins "A long time ago...".
The title text repeats the opening text from the films, inserting Megan's suggestion for changing the duration, and extending it to include the Hubble constant for adjusting the distance estimation. The Hubble constant is a value that describes an estimated rate of expansion of the universe. This expansion means that during the 40 years that have passed since the release of the first Star Wars movie, the "galaxy far, far away" has gotten even farther away.
- [Cueball and Megan are walking together.]
- Cueball: We're almost at the Back to the Future date.
- Megan: We're even closer to the Star Wars tipping point.
- Cueball: The what?
- [Diagram showing a timeline from before 1980 to about 2020. Markers on the line indicate the release date of Return of the Jedi, the release date of The Phantom Menace, and May 13th, with arrows showing the intervals in between these three points.]
- Megan: On May 13th, The Phantom Menace will have come out closer to Return of the Jedi than to the present
- Cueball: Wow.
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- [Cueball and Megan stop walking. Megan is in a reflective pose with her hand on her chin.]
- Cueball: It's weird how I'm constantly surprised by the passage of time when it's literally the most predictable thing in the universe.
- Megan: You know, "A long time ago" should have "Plus four more decades" added in rereleases.
Hope the transcript matches normal presentation mores. And I thought I'd keep the title text explanation simple - so I haven't wasted much time if it gets utterly changed. Mattdevney (talk) 12:55, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Does anyone else notice a weird white line through the dates? Djbrasier (talk) 14:39, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
- I came here to ask about that. Linea alba (talk) 16:13, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
- Haha, your username is linea alba. 220.127.116.11 19:23, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
- Same here. I'm wondering if it's stylistic somehow (futuristic-looking?) or just a mistake.--Piratejabez (talk) 17:26, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
- It looks as if he tried to move the labels down, but didn't select the whole line: . But it seems odd that he wouldn't notice it right away, since it cut ALL the digits in half. Linea alba (talk) 18:47, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
- Thanks for sharing. Yes, that's very plausible. Strange that he wouldn't notice it, though...--Piratejabez (talk) 19:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
- Looks like he fixed it :) comic sans line--Piratejabez (talk) 18:30, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
If anyone's interested, I just used http://timeanddate.com to calculate the Star Wars Trilogy Tipping Point, i.e.- the date starting on which The Phantom Menace will have released closer to A New Hope than to the present day: May 13, 2021. --18.104.22.168 18:23, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
- Thanks! I was wondering. That is a bit more hopeful.--Piratejabez (talk) 19:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Be sure to get "Comics to make one feel old" in those categories. 22.214.171.124 19:31, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Shouldn't the alt text say "A *long* time ago (...) in a galaxy far, far..."?
126.96.36.199 00:46, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Damn, so close to May 4th, i wonder if there is anyway to prove that this can technically be the right day ("May the fourth be with you") Jack1197 (talk) 05:08, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Is anyone else here getting tired of these 'this event is closer to another event than to today' things? :/ 188.8.131.52 10:06, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
- Not yet for me. We are further away from the new millennium than the new millennium seemed like in 1984. Ooooh! c. June 1, 2000 is the Nintendo NES/now midpoint. Ooooh! Most of the 80s is now over 30 years old. Ooooh! The women that were barely 18 in all of it are now post-menopausal! Ooooh! Early 80s sorority girls could now have great-grandchildren old enough to like giiiirls! 184.108.40.206 17:58, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
- Wait, what? No. Grandchildren, maybe, but not great-grandchildren. The oldest person meeting the description "early 80's sorority girl" would be someone who was 18 in 1980. Their child, assuming they had one right away, would be 18 in 1998. If that child had a child (the sorority girl's grandchild) immediately upon turning 18, that grandchild would be 18 in 2016. In this model, 2016 is the earliest year in which the great-grandchild could be born. Assuming that by "like girls" you mean "hit puberty," and since the average onset of puberty is close to 12 years, the soonest the sorority girl's great-grandchild could "like girls" would be 2028, thirteen years from now. Even if we allow for the possibility of teen pregnancies, and we assume that each generation gave birth to the next at age 15 (...shudder...) instead of age 18, we're still looking at a date in 2022. And, even if the original sorority girl gave birth at age 15 (three years prior to becoming an "early 80's sorority girl"), it would still be 2019 before her great-grandchildren would enter puberty. 220.127.116.11 20:53, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
- At least here, you register for kindergarten ("Grade 0") in year of birth plus 5. Thus people usually get their Bachelor's in year of birth plus 22. A girl born 1956.0 gives birth 1972.3 but luckily a family member adopts her and she graduates May 1980 because she's a slow slut. Grandchild is born 1988.7, Great-grandson born 2005.0 Original research, but is not unrealistic for that boy to like girls when I wrote that. Just a month after turning 10 a classmate who could pass for 11 went up to me and was like "what are you doing?" while I was lying on the floor. She thought it was funny. (I was the class clown). I saw past her dress until her inner upper, upper, upper, upper thigh and was kind of turned on (months before the sex ed class so I wasn't "groomed" by the teacher's curriculum or otherwise know what to expect). It was so good that I tried real hard to keep a poker face and not let her know what I'm looking at or otherwise spook her away and was feeling like "awww!" when I decided I had to stand up cause a few seconds is pushing it (imagine how embarrassed I would've been if she realized what a naughty thing I was doing!). Maybe this is why I always had a fetish for thicker (not fat) peer+older girls with thick legs in a dress. And that skin color. (And dominantish women. And cunnilingus.) So yes, 10 year olds like girls. 18.104.22.168 21:27, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
More correctly the Hubble Parameter, since the Hubble Parameter has been shown NOT to be a constant.22.214.171.124
02:28, 27 January 2015 (UTC)