23: T-shirts

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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T-shirts
It's depressing how many of these are real shirts
Title text: It's depressing how many of these are real shirts

[edit] Explanation

This comic satirizes the plethora of "snarky" phrase t-shirts that exist today. In the top-left, the character wears a typical (and real) snark shirt, "I see dumb people" (suggesting the wearer thinks everyone else is dumb, while being a parody of the phrase "I see dead people" from the movie The Sixth Sense). Other shirts shown also suggest the wearer is better than everyone else, and perhaps the shirts increasingly suggest the wearer is anti-social moving from top to bottom. Near the bottom of the screen the t-shirts no longer attempt to be witty and simply have straightforward phrases like "go away" and "die". These are exaggerations of the message that the other more-realistic shirts broadcast.

The final three shirts are also exaggerated shirts that suggest Randall's view that people who wear snarky shirts are overcompensating for the fact that they are already alone or perhaps putting up a tough exterior to conceal their sadness that no one would talk to them anyway. Most notably "maybe if this t-shirt is witty enough, someone will finally love me" sums up what Randall thinks snarky shirts really say. There are shirts with this or a similar message; although it is unclear whether they were created before this comic, or as a tribute to this comic.

[edit] Transcript

[A collection of phrases on T-shirts.]
  • I see dumb people
  • As a matter of fact the world DOES revolve around me
  • I can only please one person per day today is not your day.
  • You know what your problem is? You're stupid.
  • Get a clue
  • Do I look like a people person?
  • Your village called they want their idiot back
  • Go away
  • I hate you all
  • DIE.
  • Help.
  • Maybe if this T-shirt is witty enough, someone will finally love me.
  • Oh God I'm so alone

[edit] Trivia

  • Original Randall quote: "I saw the 'problem' t-shirt (upper right) on campus a few days ago and suddenly felt so sad."
  • This is one of the few, early comics that contains a non-stick figure character.
  • This is the twenty-fourth comic originally posted to livejournal. The previous was 22: Barrel - Part 3. The next was 37: Hyphen.
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Discussion

It should be mentioned that "maybe if my t-shirt is witty enough, someone will love me" is a real shirt for sale in the xkcd store http://store.xkcd.com/products/witty 108.162.219.54 06:25, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
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