535: It Might Be Cool

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
It Might Be Cool
'And ovaries. Man, ovaries, huh?' [awkward pause] '... faithfully.'
Title text: 'And ovaries. Man, ovaries, huh?' [awkward pause] '... faithfully.'

[edit] Explanation

Cueball (or Randall) is administering the presidential oath – reciting the words of the oath to prompt a new president to repeat them back to him. But changes it completely because he begins to wonder out loud: it might be cool to be a woman, hence the title of this comic. Of course the president becomes baffled when he begins to repeat, and phrases the sentence as a question. When Cueball then continues by replying that the menstruation thing is freaky the president is completely derailed.

On January 20, 2009 the inauguration of Barack Obama's first office took place. Chief Justice John Roberts, who was administering the oath, made a mistake while reciting the words. This comic references the event and wildly exaggerates the deviation from the oath for comedic purposes.

In truth, the error was rather small: the oath as prescribed in the constitution is:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Due to a missed memo on the pauses planned by the Chief Justice, Obama inadvertently interrupted Roberts during the first phrase - Roberts begins by saying I, Barack Obama, do solemnly swear, and Obama repeats his name while Roberts finishes that sentence. This disturbs Roberts who was not using notes, and he rendered the next phrase as "that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully," misplacing the word faithfully and saying president to instead of president of. Obama repeated, "that I will execute", then paused. Roberts attempted to correct the wording, but stumbled: "the off— faithfully the pres— the office of President of the United States." Obama then repeated Roberts' initial incorrect wording.

However small the error was it was big enough that Obama did retake the oath of office the day after the mistake was made.

The title text continues the wondering about being a woman going on from the menstruation to the ovaries. To make sure it is clearly the oath mistake that is referenced the sentence ends with '... faithfully.' Thus mimicking the real mistake of placing this word last.

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball is administering the presidential oath.]
Cueball: You know, it might be cool to be a woman.
President: It... might be cool to be a woman?
Cueball: Yeah, but the menstruation thing is freaky.
President: Yeah, but... the... um. What?
[Caption below the frame:]
Turns out I'm even worse at administering the presidential oath than John Roberts.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


How many life sentences has the idiot had to commute? And how long after they were given?

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 19:01, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

You're going to have to be more specific on which idiot you are referring to. Your comment is kind of a non sequitur. -Pennpenn 01:55, 4 December 2015 (UTC)
Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?