775: Savannah Ancestry

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
(Screwed up the wikilinking to the caveman sex article: fixed.)
(Adding instructions to the create template on creating new comic pages was the second best idea I've ever had, next to requesting that the anti-spam mechanism here be changed to confirmedit. I love not having spam so much. Good explanation too.)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
{{comic
 
{{comic
 
| number    = 775
 
| number    = 775
| date      = 2010-08-04
+
| date      = August 4, 2010
 
| title    = Savannah Ancestry
 
| title    = Savannah Ancestry
 
| image    = savannah_ancestry.png
 
| image    = savannah_ancestry.png
Line 8: Line 8:
  
 
==Explanation==
 
==Explanation==
 +
[[Cueball]] is apparently trying to teach [[Megan]] something mathematical, feels frustrated at his lack of success, blames that lack of success entirely on his student, and appears to use evolutionary psychology, specifically a popular trope/myth about women being bad at abstract thinking, as an excuse.  Evolutionary excuses in this context are trying to lay blame somewhere other than either participant, and so can be seen as comforting, but of course they falsely place all women in an inferior position to all men, at least when it comes to "abstract math". She naturally objects to the excuse, rightly calls it bullshit sexism, and indicates this isn't the first time she's heard him say something similar. This criticism of evo-psych is well explained in [http://www.alternet.org/story/104149/caveman_sex%3A_how_evolutionary_psych_pushes_sexist_stereotypes|Caveman Sex: How Evolutionary Psych Pushes Sexist Stereotypes by Martha McCaughey].
  
The man is apparently trying to teach the woman something mathematical, feels frustrated at his lack of success, blames that lack of success entirely on his student, and appears to use evolutionary psychology, specifically a popular trope/myth about women being bad at abstract thinking, as an excuse.  Evolutionary excuses in this context are trying to lay blame somewhere other than either participant, and so can be seen as comforting, but of course they falsely place all women in an inferior position to all men, at least when it comes to "abstract math".  She naturally objects to the excuse, rightly calls it bullshit sexism, and indicates this isn't the first time she's heard him say something similar.  This criticism of evo-psych is well explained in [[http://www.alternet.org/story/104149/caveman_sex%3A_how_evolutionary_psych_pushes_sexist_stereotypes| Caveman Sex: How Evolutionary Psych Pushes Sexist Stereotypes by Martha McCaughey]].
+
But the twist is that he turns out not to be talking about her lower-case savannah ancestors, the ones in the African savannah of eons ago (so he now claims, anyway), but rather of her very recent "ancestors", better called parents, who live in the city of Savannah, Georgia, USA. They apparently know each other well. The implication is now much more personal: that her mother didn't prepare her. Of course, Randall uses only upper case everywhere, so he has avoided making a comment on the man's veracity in what he intended to say.
  
But the twist is that he turns out not to be talking about her lower-case savannah ancestors, the ones in the African savannah of eons ago (so he now claims, anyway), but rather of her very recent "ancestors", better called parents, who live in the city of Savannah, Georgia, USA.  They apparently know each other well.  The implication is now much more personal: that her mother didn't prepare her.  Of course, Randall uses only upper case everywhere, so he has avoided making a comment on the man's veracity in what he intended to say.
+
Teasing people about their mothers in the USA, specifically about their mothers' stupidity or fatness, is a common enough theme in popular culture that there is a series of jokes that start with the words "Yo mama" that exemplify the genre. The title text is apparently the woman starting to defend her mother, but then lapsing into a Yo Mama joke without the introducing words, showing that she is stupid to think that a quarterback (one of the positions played in American football) would be a river in Egypt. To actually believe that would be utterly stupid, but we are asked to call to mind the Yo Mama joke "Yo mama so stupid she thinks a quarterback is a refund!", and the common pun, "Denial (sounds like "The Nile") is a river in Egypt". Having done so, this turns into a joke about the woman: that she's so stupid she can't keep these two jokes straight, and a meta-comment about the title text itself: that the woman is in denial about her mother being stupid.
 
+
Teasing people about their mothers in the USA, specifically about their mothers' stupidity or fatness, is a common enough theme in popular culture that there is a series of jokes that start with the words "Yo mama" that exemplify the genre. The title text is apparently the woman starting to defend her mother, but then lapsing into a Yo Mama joke without the introducing words, showing that she is stupid to think that a quarterback (one of the positions played in American football) would be a river in Egypt. To actually believe that would be utterly stupid, but we are asked to call to mind the Yo Mama joke "Yo mama so stupid she thinks a quarterback is a refund!", and the common pun, "Denial (sounds like "The Nile") is a river in Egypt". Having done so, this turns into a joke about the woman: that she's so stupid she can't keep these two jokes straight, and a meta-comment about the title text itself: that the woman is in denial about her mother being stupid.
+
  
 
==Transcript==
 
==Transcript==
[A man and woman are at a blackboard with equations and graphs on it.]
+
:[Cueball and Megan are at a blackboard with equations and graphs on it.]
:Man: Look, I'm doing my best, but the fact is your savannah ancestors just didn't prepare you for doing abstract math.
+
:Cueball: Look, I'm doing my best, but the fact is your savannah ancestors just didn't prepare you for doing abstract math.
:Woman: See, that's just the kind of bullshit sexism that discredits evo-psych. Your "evolutionary histories" always seem tuned to produce 1950's gender roles.
+
:Megan: See, that's just the kind of bullshit sexism that discredits evo-psych. Your "evolutionary histories" always seem tuned to produce 1950's gender roles.
:Man: Evolutionary? What? I meant Savannah, Georgia.
+
:Cueball: Evolutionary? What? I meant Savannah, Georgia.
:Woman: ... Hey! Let's leave my mom out of this.
+
:Megan: ...Hey! Let's leave my mom out of this.
  
 
{{comic discussion}}
 
{{comic discussion}}
 
[[Category:Comics featuring Megan]]
 
[[Category:Comics featuring Megan]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Rob]]
+
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
 
+
[[Category:Math]]
The two sure look like Megan and Rob, but they seem not to be from the transcript.  I've included the categories anyway.
+

Revision as of 14:45, 15 March 2013

Savannah Ancestry
She's a perfectly nice lady from a beautiful city, and there's no reason to be mean just because she thinks a quarterback is a river in Egypt.
Title text: She's a perfectly nice lady from a beautiful city, and there's no reason to be mean just because she thinks a quarterback is a river in Egypt.

Explanation

Cueball is apparently trying to teach Megan something mathematical, feels frustrated at his lack of success, blames that lack of success entirely on his student, and appears to use evolutionary psychology, specifically a popular trope/myth about women being bad at abstract thinking, as an excuse. Evolutionary excuses in this context are trying to lay blame somewhere other than either participant, and so can be seen as comforting, but of course they falsely place all women in an inferior position to all men, at least when it comes to "abstract math". She naturally objects to the excuse, rightly calls it bullshit sexism, and indicates this isn't the first time she's heard him say something similar. This criticism of evo-psych is well explained in Sex: How Evolutionary Psych Pushes Sexist Stereotypes by Martha McCaughey.

But the twist is that he turns out not to be talking about her lower-case savannah ancestors, the ones in the African savannah of eons ago (so he now claims, anyway), but rather of her very recent "ancestors", better called parents, who live in the city of Savannah, Georgia, USA. They apparently know each other well. The implication is now much more personal: that her mother didn't prepare her. Of course, Randall uses only upper case everywhere, so he has avoided making a comment on the man's veracity in what he intended to say.

Teasing people about their mothers in the USA, specifically about their mothers' stupidity or fatness, is a common enough theme in popular culture that there is a series of jokes that start with the words "Yo mama" that exemplify the genre. The title text is apparently the woman starting to defend her mother, but then lapsing into a Yo Mama joke without the introducing words, showing that she is stupid to think that a quarterback (one of the positions played in American football) would be a river in Egypt. To actually believe that would be utterly stupid, but we are asked to call to mind the Yo Mama joke "Yo mama so stupid she thinks a quarterback is a refund!", and the common pun, "Denial (sounds like "The Nile") is a river in Egypt". Having done so, this turns into a joke about the woman: that she's so stupid she can't keep these two jokes straight, and a meta-comment about the title text itself: that the woman is in denial about her mother being stupid.

Transcript

[Cueball and Megan are at a blackboard with equations and graphs on it.]
Cueball: Look, I'm doing my best, but the fact is your savannah ancestors just didn't prepare you for doing abstract math.
Megan: See, that's just the kind of bullshit sexism that discredits evo-psych. Your "evolutionary histories" always seem tuned to produce 1950's gender roles.
Cueball: Evolutionary? What? I meant Savannah, Georgia.
Megan: ...Hey! Let's leave my mom out of this.
comment.png add a comment! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

So I don't get whether Randall is being sexist or feminist here, or just making fun of both. The comic itself is pointing out how people use pop-evo-psych to justify their own very convenient entitlement, feminist, but then the title text calls the woman and her mother, stupid in no uncertain terms, so the man wins this one handily anyway. Despite the fact that he really is being mean, first putting her down as inherently inferior, then getting personal. I guess I don't like it when the mean person wins, whatever the gender... ‎66.108.88.159 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Making fun of both.Guru-45 (talk) 02:17, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
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 or Bitcoin?