24: Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey

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Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey
I love the idea here, though of course it's not a great-quality drawing or scan.
Title text: I love the idea here, though of course it's not a great-quality drawing or scan.

Explanation

The name of the comic is a take on the book Gödel, Escher, Bach. The book is about "strange loops", self-reference, and recurring patterns, partially shown through the works of the three people in its title.

Kurt Gödel was a 20th century mathematician most famous for mathematically proving that there are some mathematical truths that can't be proven.

M. C. Escher was a 20th century artist most famous for mathematically-inspired engravings of tessellated animals, impossible scenes, distorted images that contained themselves, and so on.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician during the Baroque Period.

Kurt Halsey is a comic artist from Oregon.

It looks unclear whether the hatted guy is Black Hat. The charachter design wasn't yet standardized. The sarcastic comment points towards that it is.

Trivia

  • Original Randall quote: "One of a series of strips I drew during a long and boring NASA lecture. It careens wildly from intellectual to chaotic to Godel, Escher, Bach to Kurt Halsey to chaotic and sappy."
  • The original comment on LiveJournal suggests that the actual image there was only part of this strip (and that the above is the whole series). Unfortunately, the image link in live journal is broken.
  • Original title "Strip series"
  • This is the sixth comic posted to livejournal. The previous comic was 1: Barrel - Part 1, the next is 13: Canyon.

Transcript

Drawn during an unending NASA lecture.
[Two people are talking, one in a hat.]
Cueball: it's just so hard to compare kids now with kids in the past. you can't help but to belong to one group or the other.
Cueball: and of course every generation seems awful to the one before it. look at quotes from throughout history.
Hatted: yeah, and it sure would be nice to have some perspective on some of this stuff. I just don't know what to make of it.
[Circles are appearing--maybe snow?]
Cueball: i guess you do what you can to help the people around you and hope it turns out okay.
Cueball: in the end, what else can you do?
Hatted: lead a crusade?
[We can no longer see the people, just the circles.]
it's presentism, man. the idea that historical context is irrelevant, that we understand it
all that we need take no warnings from the follies of the past. that we're facing something new.
socrates couldn't imagine the internet. but people don't change.
[We can start to see the corner of a darker circle in the lower right.]
(The borders between the three panels on this line are cracking.)
have you seen those collections of historical pornography? talk about historical context.
did you know the first porn photo was bestial in.
[inside a circle:] nature?
at least that stuff was out of the mainstream
[each word in one circle:]
no
just
in
history
(the three panels have merged into one on each row.)
i don't know about you, but
[circled] I
[uncircled] never
even once seen
[The circles are highly variable in size now, and pressed up against a larger one on the right side.]
[There is mass of circles of different sizes, with some dark fissures in between, against the side of a large circle which we can see part of in the right half of the panel. They look like cells. There's a tiny square in the center of the giant cell.]
[We see only the tiny square, centered. It has a few marks inside it.]
[Closer, the square is divided into rectangles of different sizes, each of which has text in it.]
[Much closer, we can see fragments of the text. Some are sideways, some are cut off, some are too small to read.]
machine language translated by principles of isomorphism it is a consequence of the Church-Turing thesis that ...
but how do you select the channel you wish to se-
thou ... shou ... palin ... stri ... it is a ... crab ...
[Closer still, we can just see a huge sideways s and h.]
[Those letters are faded and mixed with a faded version of the next panel.]
girls take boys away ...
never be further than a phone call and a goosebumped shiver away ...
drove all night listening to mix tapes ...
the past is just practice
[There is a heart at the bottom and, in the lower left, the name Kurt.]
[The same as the previous panel, but with the words blurred out to scribbles.]
[Jagged, shaded shapes and strands start to fall. Faint panel borders appear again. There is a person on the far right.]
(Back to three panels per row.)
[Cueball and Megan are standing amid the fragments.]
Man: There's too much. And so little feels important.
[The jagged edge of the shaded area is encroaching on the sides of the panel.]
What do you do?
[We see them from farther away through a rough hole in the shaded area. Bits continue to fall around them.]
[She takes his hand.]
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Discussion

I have been told during editing comic 287 that the trivia should be below the transcript. But can see here that this is not always the case. As I have stated in the talk on that comic it would make so much more sense to have the interesting trivia above the (in most cases) uninteresting transcript. I only look into the last if I cannot easily read the text. But the trivia info is always interesting to me. And often the transcript is long enough that I would not notice a trivia entry below. I may now know better, but new users may overlook interesting bits of info. If there is a "rule" I would suggest it was changed to the format that this comic had when I wrote this entry. Trivia before transcript. (Written here only because it is todays Incomplete Explanation of the Day). Kynde (talk) 14:07, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The trivia section doesn't belong to any explanation. Like other wikis do, it's at the bottom of the page. If there is important content belonging to the explain section it has to be moved. Trivia means triviality and contains only some sidesteps to some similar issues or even more. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:54, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Agree but the trivia header makes that clear. The transcript is not a normal part of wikis so could have been at the bottom. That is just my opinion. I will not move any trivia sections! And I can see you have corrected the error here so the trivia is now at the bottom. Kynde (talk) 10:59, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
This layout isn't an invention by me. But I think that it's correct to show some remarks, but if it doesn't explain the comic it belongs to a special section at the bottom. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:07, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

This comic is on the "incomplete explanation of the day" like twice a week these days. Is everyone just like me and literally helpless? Because we didn't have this problem when the two Online Communities were undergoing rewrites 199.27.130.204 18:51, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

I think it's sill to require a 'complete' explanation of a somewhat abstract comic. Any 'explanation' is only someone's interpretation. ~~Bob 14:34, 13 May 2014
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