1544: Margaret

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Otherwise known as Margaret the Destroyer, I will bring pain to the Great One. Then again, maybe I won't.
Title text: Otherwise known as Margaret the Destroyer, I will bring pain to the Great One. Then again, maybe I won't.

[edit] Explanation

This comic uses the starting lines of an innocent children's book and creates irony by delivering a dark message.

In the book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume, the opening lines are "Are you still there, God? It's me, Margaret. I know you're there, God. I know you wouldn't have missed this for anything! Thank you, God. Thanks an awful lot..." These lines describe a prayer, in which Margaret privately speaks to God, expressing gratitude and seeking guidance.

In the second and third panels, Margaret asks God "Are you scared, God?", and states "You should be". This is similar to threats delivered in super violent action movies, such as Taken, in which the protagonist or antagonist speaks directly to their opponent, issuing threats and indicating that they are coming after their opponent. The final panel is a shot of Margaret standing imposingly in a dark landscape, and a caption over the top of the image says "Margaret is coming for you", making this comic reminiscent of an action movie trailer. The irony is that "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret." is a very innocent book, especially when compared to this type of action movie.

The title text is a mashup of three of Blume's other books: Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, The Pain and the Great One, and Then Again, Maybe I Won't, and likely the inspiration for the dark lines in the comic.

[edit] Transcript

[Margaret, shown in full body, is alone. She is talking while looking out towards the reader.]
Margaret: Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret.
Margaret: I know you're listening.
[Zoom in on her face and torso.]
Margaret: Are you scared, God?
Margaret: Are you?
[Zooming so far in that not even her whole face is visible.]
Margaret: You should be.
[Zooming far out showing her in a white silhouette against a black sky, standing on the white earth.]
Margaret: Margaret is coming for you.

[edit] Trivia

  • There seems to be a typo in the title text with double the:
    • I will bring pain to the the Great One.
    • It could however also be a reference to the book The Pain and the Great One, so this is the "The Great One".
    • Maybe it was supposed to be "thee, The Great One".
  • There doesn't seem to be a typo if you pause after the first the. thee the would have been better. Realizing that God is "the Great One" may be the reason for the last part of the title text (Then again, maybe I won't.)
  • I know you're listening" may refer to an earlier xkcd comic, 525: I Know You're Listening.
  • The idea of turning an innocent children's book into a violent movie was previously touched in 633: Blockbuster Mining.
  • Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret was previously referenced in the title text of 1354: Heartbleed Explanation.

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I love how 'God' is referred to as an 'it' instead of the usual anthropomorphism. 00:59, 30 June 2015 (UTC)BK201

That may be appropriate when god is uncapitalized, but it is ill-fitting for "God". Capitalized God is never genderless in regular speech or composition, so this sounds either like non-native writing (which is fine if it is later corrected) or someone making a statement (which is inappropriate unless the comic makes the same statement). 20:08, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Or thirdly i wrote "it" because this comic lacks any religious specificity or theological discussion, so it was left generic. This page does not speak to a specific religions interpretation of God, I highly doubt all monotheistic religions, historic and present, refer to God as male. If it is a Christian God it does not speak to the aspect, as the holy spirit is female in the original text. Yes if this was a theological discussion you might be right to impose a gender, but this comic that does not delve into any theological issues. As to "making a point" you are the one making a point, as to your own correctness, the nature of this God, and making false assumptions about the English language. As someone who is a native speaker I know that "it" can be used as impersonal or personal and is SUPPOSED to be used when the gender is unknown. 21:16, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Historically, "he" was used for unknown gender. Today, it's "he or she". I don't know your gender, but I can't correctly call you "it". I also don't know the sex of South Africa's head of state, and I won't look that up until after posting this. Can I call him or her "it" because I am uncertain? For a generic god, lower-case god is fine. 23:40, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
WRONG the use of it only as an impersonal pronoun is modern, he was never generic, and is not today http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/pronouns-personal-i-me-you-him-it-they-etc http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/it . Nextime someone challanges your preconseptions, check before calling them out. 00:10, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
"It" is not being using impersonally in this case. "Impersonal" doesn't mean "no gender", it means "no agent". For example, "it is raining", "it is snowing", "it is windy", and so on. Using it as a pronoun proper is by definition not impersonal. So, definitions that call "it" impersonal have nothing to do with this. If "he" was never generic, explain all of the quotes (many of them hundreds of years old) that begin with "he who...". Also, note that the possessive form of "it" was actually usually rendered as "his" until the word "its" came into common parlance, another clue of the historical use of the gender as default. Other languages that haven't lost their gender system, like Spanish, still use masculine as default. 05:01, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Here's a good example of "he" as a gender-neutral pronoun, from 1611: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given." I could produce more, but the point is simply to dispel the assertion that "he" was never generic. 05:29, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Not generic, just assumed that the audience is male :) also from the definition that no one could read "person or animal whose sex is unknown or disregarded " 16:15, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I disagree. "Whosoever" is pretty generic, and its gender is independent of the audience. That definition is for uses like "who is it?", which are used in questions (like that example) and indirect questions (like "I don't know who it is"). Using that for this case reminds me of those "DRIVERS SHOCKED BY NEW RULE IN [STATE]" ads. I looked at one of them out of curiosity (clicking on it cost them money, after all), and looked at the disclaimer at the bottom. It specifically justified the use of "rule" in the advertisement by citing a dictionary entry like this one from Webster: "a piece of advice about the best way to do something". But, we all know that even though the dictionary says that, it makes no sense to apply that definition to "NEW RULE IN CALIFORNIA!" 16:54, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Sorry i could not see any argument? Concede defeat? Dictionary is kinda the winner on this, it is a word, and not even a tricky use of a word. And about it being only for lower case god, that's not true either. I bet you would write the following sentences.
  • I like the god with the Nickleback t-shirt. I like HIS taste in music.
  • I like the god in the bachelorette party with a pink feather boa. SHE relay looks like she is ready for a good time.
  • I like the Snake God. IT would look good with an argyle vest, pleated pants, suspenders and a bow tie.
  • Ohh, look at the cute baby god I can never have one because I am shooting blanks. Is IT a girl or a boy?
As you can see it is all about assumed gender and audience, you just assume you know what God is. Read closely and after you notice i broke every rule suggested, and wrote the sentences as you would have wanted them :), maybe we should go by the dictionary. 20:05, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
One last thing She/he is not even a word as / is not a letter. 20:19, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
I never added s/he; that was someone else who, like me, thought "it" was unnatural. But, would you say it's isn't a word because ' isn't a letter? First off, don't tell me about dictionaries if you can't spell "really", "bachelorette", capitalize "I", and so on. As one who has studied two foreign languages very deeply, Japanese through current materials and Latin through materials using very antiquated English, I have learned that using special-case dictionary definitions creates incomprehensible text unless you are using them in the correct context. You are using it in the incorrect context for this situation. The first two examples are irrelevant because I never said lower-case god was required to be genderless. I disagree with the capitalization of the third one. If it were a proper noun, we would know the gender. If it were truly genderless, that would not be an exception. The fourth one falls perfectly in line with the rules of English, which I laid out; the sentence you used "it" in was a direct question. The three addenda I would add to that rule, although you haven't addressed them, are: "it" can be used for identification ("it's John", "it was a strange man from Boston"), as it has some extra declarative force; we can freely refer to animals as "it", probably partly because it's so hard to sex some animals, and partly because we don't like to anthropomorphize our food; children can sometimes be called "it", as in "The child opened its eyes". Show me an example of real, published English that breaks this rule, and you may have a point. So far, you have nothing.
You where picked on too much as a kid, I am sure God is a big enough "man" not to get offended, even if you are not. It is what the word means. People call animals it because we don't have to worry about them being offended, as they where never called "it" in the playground. In other words we are not concerned with there gender, just as this case. Therefore a god (and the Snake God is capital in this case because it is a entity or title - not a descriptor, see God of Lightning), especially a foreign god (as there is less of a close association with the speaker) that looks like a snake would likely be referred to as it, but just to prove my point i used Amoebae, though i could have used any term that does not clearly define the sex, like joipgsdfgjkpsdfgjsdkjgdsk. Face it you are arguing with someone who bested you. My lack of syntax in this discussion just shows that i am spending far less time on this than you, oh and that you where bested by an idiot like me. I could go on and make a list of all the incorrect things you said, like anthropomorphize when animals don't need to be made human to have sex, but i am smart enough to know what you meant, even though i inconsistently capitalize i as pushing the shift key just takes too long. by the way, you just gave more cases at the end of your argument as to why "it" is correct, thanks, or is it easy to sex a god that has not even been defined. LOL (lots of love) ;) 16:39, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm afraid it is right; it has bested me, because it said so. Until then, I was in the lead. Unfortunately for me, it has learned that claiming victory is all that is necessary, rather than putting together a credible and coherent argument with legitimate examples. 17:23, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
You said it is used when it is hard to sex, I said that it is hard to sex the God in this comic due to it being undefined. Therefore you either refute the second argument, which is only my personal interpretation of this silly little comic and not something I would argue for, or admit defeat. Logic 101 for you :) By the way this is just the internet, don't get so emotional, I am sure you are a good person at heart, just loosen up and have some fun. 15:36, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

If you ever referred to your wife or husband as "it", you may be in trouble. If you refer to someone not of your race as "it", you sound extremely racist. If you call a politician "it", you are making a political statement. Using "it" to refer to a transgender person is extremely offensive. This isn't really that hard. 13:35, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't mean to pick a fight, really. I just feel that using "it" to refer to a capitalized God is extremely unusual. So much so that both I and the initial commenter immediately noticed and commented on it. 23:41, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Mister God, This Is Anna

I though it was Anna, not Margaret... but it turns out that Mister God, This Is Anna is a different book... --JakubNarebski (talk) 13:13, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Judy Blume

The text in the comic comprises titles of Judy Blume's novels:

  • Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
  • Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
  • Then Again, Maybe I Won't
  • The Pain and the Great One
the the

Why the double "the the" in the Title text?{{unsigned ip| Maybe it's supposed to be "thee"? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Look out! It's an anacoluthon! ImVeryAngryItsNotButter (talk) 15:30, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Maybe it's a typo? ;) 12:05, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Maybe it's supposed to be 'the The Great One' 14:55, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Another take on a rarely-used joke

I've seen this threat/insult God line used before, but rarely, and never in this manner.

In one episode of the sitcom One Foot In The Grave, the grumpy old man protagonist is incapacitated. Upon waking up in hospital he finds a bearded patient in a white gown looking down upon him, and for a few seconds believes himself to be dead. He speaks three lines: 'Oh, it's you.' Then in a much angrier tone 'I've been waiting to see you for a very long time.' He then proceeds to grab the patient around the neck and attempt to throttle him while screaming in anger about every misfortune and annoyance in life.

One episode of The Outer Limits features a very old man who has spent his entire life fighting to survive - with such determination and success that he almost overturns the supernatural structure of nature, which should prohibit immortality. At episode's end he finally loses, having resorted to every trick fair and foul in his quest to live another day. In the final shot a mysterious force approaches to collect his soul - and the ghost of the man is seen, readying himself for a fight as he speaks the final line at the oncoming form: "I'm ready for you. I hope you're ready for me."

The final (non-revival) episode of Red Dwarf ends with Death himself coming to collect the supreme coward Rimmer, incarnate as the traditional black-robed figure with a scythe. Rimmer knees him in the groin mid-sentence and flees. 15:31, 29 June 2015 (UTC)


Margaret is kinda hot. Is it normal to be sexually attracted to an xkcd character ? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Dude, Margaret is a 6th-grader, buying her first training bra. You're sick! (Well, either that, or it's not easy to distinguish 13-year-olds from 23-year-olds when they're drawn as stick figures with no context.) 02:17, 28 September 2015 (UTC) 14:09, 29 June 2015 (UTC) See also title text of comic 1354: Heartbleed Explanation


This is almost an exact quote from the end of transformers age of extinction... Optimus prime rhetorically asks his makers of they are scared, then follows with you should be because I'm coming for you (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

stirring the pot

Ooh, ooh, let's say that the "second Megan" in 1496: Art Project was this Margaret girl! I'm sure everyone can agree to that!!! Djbrasier (talk) 15:24, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

No way. This Margaret has already been used once before as mentioned, and she has curly hair. The "other" Megan has straight hair like Megan!--Kynde (talk) 19:18, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Cut it out

Cut out the excessive use of topic headlines. On point, the description correlating to an action movie trailer is hard to read, lacks focus, and includes a synopsis of the comic. The synopsis should not remain as that's what the transcript is for. Also, the part describing the book titles should say that it was likely inspiration for the Title Text, not the comic. 17:32, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Margaret Downy Reference?

Could it be a reference to Margaret Downey, former President of Atheist Alliance International? (Would explain the "or not" in the mouseover text and the wry rephrasing of a traditional prayer.) 18:30, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

No, it is obviously to the character from the books--Kynde (talk) 19:18, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Margaret - throwaway name?

I've noticed quite a few similarities between Margaret and "Danish" - i.e. the thick hair, the sadistic attitude... They the same person, or was Margaret just a throwaway name used for the purposes of satirizing Blume's novels? 17:57, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

No way should this be Danish. This Margaret has already been used once before as mentioned, and she has curly hair. Danish has long but straight hair, like Megan but longer!--Kynde (talk) 19:18, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Judy Blume is a current topic

Judy Blume, author of "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" just this month put out a new novel ("In The Unlikely Event"). I suppose a month's lead time is stretching a bit, but an episode of Commonwealth Forum from the 7th of this month just aired on KQED. It featured Judy Blume and Molly Ringwald talking about Judy's novels, new and otherwise. It seems slightly too coincidental to be coincidence, but that might just be me. Is this worth mentioning? 03:40, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Batman v. Superman

So was I totally off thinking this may have had something to do with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teaser trailer where graffiti "False God" on a statute of Superman. Batman stares at Superman, saying: "Tell me, do you bleed? You will." 04:47, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Not News

Matthew 12:30-32 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

If anyone cares, I wrote a roleplaying game setting based on this and the Left Behind series. http://emlia.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Tripocalypse -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

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