498: Secretary: Part 5

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Secretary: Part 5
And they choose Al Gore as Internet Secretary.
Title text: And they choose Al Gore as Internet Secretary.

[edit] Explanation

This is the 5th and final comic in the Secretary story-arc. Black Hat is up to his usual shenanigans. Most of the comic happens in the US Senate chamber room.

Of course, playpen balls have been the topic of many comics before. Notably 150: Grownups.

The other reference of note is of the Tron universe. Tron was an arcade game, based on the movie of the same name, and both released in 1982. The characters would play on a grid in lightcycles which left behind walls of light. The objective of the game was to force the opponent to run into the wall of light, similar to the Snake game. Obviously, there is no such grid by the Capitol.

There are also two obvious procedural irregularities in the comic. First, a candidate cannot be nominated (a prerequisite for a nomination hearing) without the President sending the candidate's name to the Senate. Second, the Senate or a Senate committee cannot sentence a person to death, as that is a role for the courts.

Al Gore was the Vice President under President Bill Clinton and ran as the Democratic nominee for President in 2000.

Al Gore has had quite a history with the Internet, including one oft-misquoted (rather, quoted out of context) interview with CNN in which he told Wolf Blitzer, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Many spun this to mean he claimed to have actually invented the Internet himself, although its pioneers agreed with Gore's assessment.

All comics in the Secretary series:

This series was released on 5 consecutive days (Monday-Friday) and not over the usual Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule.

[edit] Transcript

[The Senate. Black Hat sits before the committee at his hearing to become Internet Secretary.]
Chairman: We were convened here to review your nomination for the position of internet secretary.
Chairman: However, on review of your qualifications, we've decided to sentence you to death.
Chairman: An unorthodox move, sure. But the vote was unanimous.
[Black Hat is leaning back in his chair.]
[Meanwhile...]
Tron Paul: There's no grid! How do I steeeeer!!!!!
[Back at the Senate. Black Hat is standing.]
Black Hat: Well, it's been fun. But I was never actually interested in taking the position. Good lord; listening to internet arguments all day? No thank you.
Chairman: Then why did you sit through all those hearings?
Black Hat: It was taking us a while to move the pumps into the maintenance tunnels.
[The committee members murmur among themselves.]
[There is a panel in the floor between Black Hat and the committee.]
RUMBLE
plink plink
[A red playpen ball bursts out of the panel and rolls towards the committee chairman.]
plink
[The room is still. Black Hat's arms are folded.]
[A geyser of red, white, and blue playpen balls bursts through the panel in the floor. Black Hat is already gone.]
FOOM
[The committee members chase Black Hat out the door as the Senate floor floods with playpen balls.]
[The chase continues into the rotunda, as does the flood of playpen balls.]
[Black Hat stands in the middle of the rotunda as it fills with playpen balls, surrounded by members of the committee.]
Committee Members: Security! Someone!
Committee Members: Get Him!
[Tron Paul bursts through the wall.]
CRASH
Tron Paul: Aaaaa!
[Black Hat grabs the bottom of the lightcycle as Tron Paul goes by.]
snag
Tron Paul: Hey!
[Black Hat swings onto the top of the light cycle.]
[Black Hat crouches on top of the light cycle.]
Tron Paul: Get Off!
[Tron Paul and Black Hat crash through the far wall of the rotunda.]
CRASH
[Tron Paul hits the ground.]
WHAM
Tron Paul: Ow!
[Black Hat runs away.]
Tron Paul: Ughhh.
[The lightcycle disappears.]
Tron Paul: I feel queasy...
Cory Doctorow, above: Hey!
Black Hat: Hi, Cory.
Cory Doctorow: Need a lift?
Black Hat: Sure.
{Black Hat and Cory Doctorow depart in Doctorow's balloon.}
Cory Doctorow: So are you, like, a fugitive now?
Black Hat: Well, I never did give them my name...
[In the rotunda.]
[Senators play in the playpen balls.]
Senators: Let's jump down here from the balcony!
Senators: Senior senators first!
Senators: Wheeee!
Senators: I'm a submarine!
[All is forgiven.]
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Discussion

The Tron video game was based on the movie Tron, not the other way around. Tron the movie was inspired by the video game Pong, but only in a general, Oooh -- computers! sense. (From Wikipedia: "Development of Tron began in 1976 when Lisberger became fascinated with the early video game Pong.") ‎64.20.186.2 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

You're quite correct: the game was, indeed, based on the movie. Made the necessary changes. Thokling (talk) 08:17, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
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