Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Cueball is startled every few months when he, again, realizes that he now lives in the 21st century. When he grew up as a child the 2000s seemed very far away — it was the future, but he now exists in that timeframe with the rest of society.
The title text states that "the future" was reached in 2004 — three years before the comic was published. This is possibly a joke on how time works, as "the future" is always, was always, and will always be ahead of the time you're at. There may, however, be a reference to some movie set in the future year 2004...
The 20th century, even the year 2004 was futuristic for people growing up in, for instance, the eighties. This view just belongs to the perspective of people — for people growing up in the 70s the novel 1984 was even futuristic.
- [Cueball sits silently front of his computer.]
- I still do this every few months.
- [He continues to sit for two more panels.]
- Cueball: Holy crap, it's the 21st century.
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This comic isn't that simple:
- what is Cueball doing every few months?
- is 2004 correct? If yes, what does it mean?
--Dgbrt (talk) 20:09, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
- Every few months, Cueball halts his work and realizes that he is in the twenty-first century. Someone who grew up in anticipation of the new millennium (and the new century along with it) may take quite a while to adjust to it. The second bullet point, however, requires some research. --Quicksilver (talk) 07:18, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
"in which he lives in" – this is redundant. It should be "in which he lives. This could be a reference to the song "Live and Let Die", but unless this reference is more clearly explained, it does not belong in the explanation. 22.214.171.124 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- I would expand on this thought and state it should be altered to "in about the time in which he lives in is living in" just to clarify specifically that it's that specific time in which he specifically lives in generally. Thokling (talk) 15:06, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't think the future is specifically 2004. It is unthinkable to Cueball (and hence Randall) that we are even in the twenty-first century. For him, the 21st century was "the future," a whole new millennium. I think the point of the title text isn't that the future occurred in 2004, its that we're living in "the future." 126.96.36.199 01:00, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
You want time-related revelation? I just realised earlier today (2015-Feb-04) that a song released in 2003 was half of my current lifespan ago. 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I think the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," demarcated the "Future" for many who grew up in the late 20th century. The movie provided a plausible look of what life in the "Space Age" would be like. All the technologies, economical realities, societal behavior, geopolitic, etc. appeared plausible and realistic. To many, this was the best guess as to what life in the early 21st century would be like. Of course, it didn't turn out that way (at least the central theme that space travel would be commonplace); which is why we occasionally scratch our head and ask 'what? It's the 21st century already??? (So where are all the Space cruisers we were supposed to have by now?)" Mountain Hikes (talk) 19:03, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
I think the title text is an allusion to the phenomenon that the older one gets, the more one tends to underestimate time spans: what to Cueball/Randall feels like having happened around 3 years ago (namely the beginning of the new century), has actually happened around 7 years ago.--184.108.40.206 21:04, 26 November 2015 (UTC)