608: Form

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Form
'This space intentionally left blank' is less immediately provocative but more Hofstadterially confusing.
Title text: 'This space intentionally left blank' is less immediately provocative but more Hofstadterially confusing.

[edit] Explanation

Application forms, examination papers, etc. sometimes have one or more sections with instructions not to write in them, as those areas are intended for those processing the paper (which includes the infamous phrases "for office use only", replacing "office" with "administrative" or "internal" in some cases).

Some people feel the need to write in the illegal section just to contradict the instructions, as does Cueball in the comic. In real life there are never usually any consequences for breaking this rule. However, in the comic, the form that Cueball wrote on was being filmed by armed men who respond to Cueball's disregard for rules by preparing their guns, thus presenting a potentially serious consequence for Cueball.

The title text refers to Douglas Hofstadter, an author associated with the philosophical concept of self-reference. "This space intentionally left blank" is "Hofstadterially confusing" because if a space on a form contains the words "This space intentionally left blank", then the space is not, in fact, left blank. (Douglas Hofstadter is also the subject of 917: Hofstadter.)

[edit] Transcript

[There is a sheet of paper, with a series of check boxes. A white rectangle is the focus.]
Do not write in this space.
[Cueball is standing with a pencil, looking at the page.]
[Cueball writes something on the page.]
[A group of people with helmets, black goggles, and rifles look at display screens. There is a radar system on a table between them.]
[The screens show sheets of paper. On one screen, it shows Cueball writing on one.]
[One of the men arms his weapon.]
Cha-click
Comment.png add a comment!

Discussion

No comments yet.
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Toolbox

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 or Bitcoin?