Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Megan asks Cueball about his day. He tells about his visit to a military aircraft museum at the air force base and lists some of the things he saw. It starts with things you would expect at a typical museum, such as a mix of aircraft from different eras, before revealing the fact that Cueball was able to watch missiles being loaded, which is something that would be out of place and potentially dangerous at a museum. Realizing this, Cueball remarks that he hopes that he was at a museum, and Megan asks him if he hears helicopters. The implication is that Cueball observed the actual military operations at the base; the sound of helicopters might imply Cueball is now being pursued by the military, or may simply be evidence of some military operation potentially related to what Cueball observed.
The mention of "planes from different eras" alludes to the fact that military aircraft are often still in use after a much longer time than they were originally designed for. An example of this are the US Air Force's B-52 bomber, first introduced in 1955 (62 years before the publication of this comic) and expected to serve into the 2040s. Additionally, aircraft museums typically house military aircraft from previous eras, such as from WWII and the Cold War, to show the evolution in aircraft design and to showcase technological advances.
The title text builds on this premise. Randall says that he had fun visiting another Air Force "museum", but he adds that if they don't have a museum (in which case he was trespassing on a military base) then he denies ever having been anywhere near it. Fortunately for Randall, there is in fact an Air Force museum nearby: the Air Mobility Command Museum about half a mile south of the Dover Air Force Base.
- [Megan walks from left over to Cueball.]
- Megan: How was your day?
- Cueball: I visited the military aircraft museum over at the Air Force base. It was really neat!
- [Both walking together to the right.]
- Cueball: They have planes from different eras, all kinds of cool equipment, and you can even watch missiles being loaded.
- [Beat frameless panel. Cueball and Megan walking.]
- [Both still walking.]
- Cueball: ...at least, I hope that was a museum.
- Megan: Do you hear helicopters?
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Might the title text be referring to the concepts of alternative pleading or kettle logic? Spagovir (talk) 19:34, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
- I could concur with either / both, but more Alternative Pleading than Kettle Logic. Mostly since it seems like the former uses hypothetical language like "If" and "in which case" - which this does - and the latter seems to be more about solid but contradictory statements - "I enjoyed Dover Air Force Base. I've never been to Denver." Also, it seems like Kettle Logic statements should have the same goal, "I'm innocent because of these conflicing reasons.", in this case maybe it's not a problem because it's a museum and it's not a problem because he hasn't been to Denver. But he didn't say that. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:21, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
- "I've never been to Delaware in my life" is what he wants the listener to tell anyone who asks.184.108.40.206 22:45, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
And I hear if you have a basic understanding of computer systems and know a reservist Colonel, you can hack into the flight schedule, reserve two fighters fully loaded down with as much ordnance as they can carry, and go on a rescue mission to save your father who was shot down in disputed airspace. OldCorps (talk) 18:31, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
- What movie is that? (... at least, I hope it is a movie.) Chrullrich (talk) 18:43, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
- Iron Eagle. OldCorps (talk) 19:23, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
- At least it was easy to get to. Better than the space museum I went to last time, had to actually go into space for that one! And the only thing on exhibit was this strange communications satellite that was armed with nuclear missiles for some weird reason. (Space Cowboys, just saw it for the first time last week, LOL!) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:52, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
The mention of "planes from different eras" alludes to the fact that military aircraft are often still in use after a much longer time than they were originally designed for. Examples of this are the US Air Force's B-52 bomber, first introduced in 1955 (62 years before the publication of this comic) and the C-160 Transall, which has been in service in, e.g., the German Luftwaffe, since 1967 (50 years before). Additionally, aircraft museums typically house military aircraft from previous eras, such as from WWII and the Cold War, to show the evolution in aircraft design and to showcase technological advances.
It struck me as more, if not entirely, the latter. I didn't perceive any allusion to the fact that "military aircraft are often still in use after a much longer time than they were originally designed for" 220.127.116.11 05:13, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
- I've removed the C-160 Transall because the German Luftwaffe doesn't belong to any US Air Base. But have you ever seen a B-52 bomber? It's a really historic plane.--Dgbrt (talk) 12:31, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
- I find the fact that museums would house aircraft from different eras would be WHY he thought it was a museum, that the joke is that the Air Force uses such old hardware that a base can be mistaken for a museum. Worded like it is in the explanation, "Additionally, museums blah blah blah" is a weird way to word something that's a basic part of the joke. The joke is almost entirely the former, that the military keeps hardware in use far longer than is wise. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:52, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I have seen older aircraft on static display at Oceana and Willow Grove Naval Air Stations. I wouldn't be surprised if the same was also true of some Air Force Bases. BradleyRoss (talk) 03:09, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
- Implication of pursuit?
The implication is that there was no museum to begin with and Cueball went to observe the actual air force base and is now being pursued by the military.
I don't think there's anything to credibly suggest Cueball is being pursued. Hearing helicopters implies they are close enough to perceive a military operation of some sort, but it could easily be launching aircraft departing to another destination as it might be pursuit of Cueball. Is there anything to justify the last 7 words? JohnHawkinson (talk) 01:54, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
- Realistically, they would be pursued by MPs and probably local police in vehicles, not helicopters. But if Cueball was (intentionally or accidentally) able to get on a base and into a hangar where they were loading ordnance onto jets, they might very well include air units in the search for him. The bigger question is where was Megan while Cueball was inside, seeing as she was close enough to accompany him in the not-so-tactical escape. OldCorps (talk) 11:48, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
- I think you mean "ordnance," not "ordinance." The two words mean completely different things. --18.104.22.168 12:31, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
- Yup, thanks. I'm writing these half asleep, appreciate the sanity check. Corrections made.OldCorps (talk) 13:48, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
- He's not running and the visit of air base probably happened some time before their meeting. Meaning if they are pursuing him NOW, it shows they are doing it very ineffectively, which on the other hand matches the fact he was able to get inside air base and out without any problems despite, presumably, wandering around without any attempt to hide as you would do in museum. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:53, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
- I agree with Hkmaly, I understood this as being some time later (later that evening, maybe even the next morning), that he's relating his experience to Megan while chatting, not that he's currently leaving. Also that his uncertainty about what he actually did would imply that there was no actual pursuit at the time, that said helicopters may have been looking for him, but he just happened to leave before anybody found him. And Megan is reassuring him that if it really was a base that they'd be looking for him even now. After all, if this was RIGHT after, Megan wouldn't ask the generic question, but more specifically "How was the museum?", and he wouldn't have to start by saying what he did. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:52, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
- I took the helicopter line as implied pursuit / searching. I might have been influenced by the fact that I've been playing Grand Theft Auto 5 lately, and EXACTLY THIS happening when you get more than a little Wanted, helicopters looking for you. LOL! And that if you visit their mixed military base you get more than enough Wanted to get said helicopters looking for you. :)
- Aaaaand I just realized I can take Megan's line two ways. "Don't worry, if it was a base you'd hear helicopters" (my initial take) and that she actually hears (or worries that she hears) helicopters searching for him. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:52, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
- My take was, that the fact that Missiles were loaded during his visit might have been in preparation for a strike, so cueball's hope is not him not being pursued, but not having witnessed the first moments of a war. The helicopters would then be a reference to Radar in Robert Altman's "M*A*S*H". The title text seems to make the pursuit interpretation more plausible, though. Diz (talk) 06:08, 16 June 2017 (UTC)