206: Reno Rhymes

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Reno Rhymes
Did you shoot a man in Reno? Now, I don't mean to pry.
Title text: Did you shoot a man in Reno? Now, I don't mean to pry.

[edit] Explanation

This comic starts with a line from the song "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash. Cash is noted as saying "I sat with my pen in my hand, trying to think up the worst reason a person could have for killing another person, and that's what came to mind," which fits pretty well with the personality of Black Hat. Rather than react badly, Cueball starts a rhyming game, which they continue until Black Hat refers to the horrifying My Lai Massacre, which is apparently going too far for Cueball.

Line Explanation
You know, I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. Black Hat starts with the original line from the song.
Really? Well I once shot a man in Reno but I couldn't tell you why. Cueball then begins the rhyming game, by saying he can't tell the reason he killed the man.
I once shot a man in Reno then I went home to cry. Black Hat continues, by saying he got emotional after killing the man... Unlikely, given he's Black Hat, and could be him trying to continue, or he could be sarcastic.
I once shot a man in Reno then I watered his cacti. An unlikely action after you have just killed someone... Just Cueball trying to continue the rhyme.
I once shot a man in Reno 'cause they cancelled Firefly. Firefly was a TV series that aired on Fox during 2002. Its cancellation was a source of much annoyance to its fans, a fact frequently referenced in xkcd. In this case Black Hat goes as far to murder an innocent man for this.
I once shot a man in Reno, him and all his succubi. Cueball says he shot a man and a bunch of female demons. Unlikely to happen in real life, and is just probably Cueball attempting to continue.
I once shot a man in Reno and a bunch more in My Lai. The My Lai Massacre was an atrocity committed by US soldiers in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. Here Black Hat says he not only shot a man in Reno, he shot a bunch more in My Lai, meaning that he was actually part of the massacre. Cueball is obviously horrified by this, and ends the rhyme with a "I think we're done", signifying his horror at Black Hat's words.

The title text continues the rhyme, but changes the roles: now the speaker is asking someone else if they shot a man in Reno. It is a reference to The Princess Bride (Indigo says the "I don't mean to pry" part to Westley).

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball and Black Hat stand facing one another. Black Hat is on the left.]
Black Hat: You know, I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
Cueball: Really? Well, I once shot a man in Reno, but I couldn't tell you why.
Black Hat: I once shot a man in Reno, then I went home to cry.
Cueball: I once shot a man in Reno, then I watered his cacti.
Black Hat: I once shot a man in Reno 'cause they cancelled Firefly.
Cueball: I once shot a man in Reno, him and all his succubi.
Black Hat: I once shot a man in Reno and a bunch more in My Lai.
Cueball: I think we're done.


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Discussion

my Lai may also be a reference to Lai's definition, " a lyrical, narrative poem written in octosyllabic couplets that often deals with tales of adventure and romance." Can anyone tell if the poem in the comic fits the Lai's definition? If so, then Black Hat might also be saying "I shot a man in Reno, and a bunch more in my poem", referencing the poem they're saying. ---- -- ‎Bluewin (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Interesting idea, but unfortunately the rhymes are not octosyallbic, which means to contain eight syllables. Bbruzzo (talk) 17:06, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

The "Now, I don't mean to pry" is a reference to "The Princess Bride" (Inigo says that to Westley). 108.162.231.56 21:44, 15 February 2015 (UTC) -- ‎Idanbhk (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Reno: where poets go to satisfy their homocidal urges. The murder rate is through the roof. RedHatGuy68 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't My Lai pronounced similar to melee? Would that not prevent it from rhyming in the comic? 173.245.54.24 07:42, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia gives three pronunciations: /ˌmiːˈlaɪ/ (me-LIE), /ˌmiːˈleɪ/, (me-LAY) and /ˌmaɪˈlaɪ/ (my-LIE). I guess Randall was using the last one. KangaroOS 12:02, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
Melee is pronounced as (MAY-lay), which does not rhyme with the poem, so that would prevent the rhyming scheme from continuing.

Finally. Finished the table. Herobrine (talk) 11:10, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

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