917: Hofstadter

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
m (Clean up, typos fixed: self reference → self-reference)
Line 31: Line 31:
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Megan]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Megan]]

Revision as of 22:59, 4 December 2012

"This is the reference implementation of the self-referential joke."
Title text: "This is the reference implementation of the self-referential joke."


Douglas Hofstadter is an American and to quote Wikipedia: "...an American academic whose research focuses on consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation, literary translation, and discovery in mathematics and physics." In 2007, he wrote a book called I Am a Strange Loop in which he studied the properties of self-referential systems. In popular culture, self-reference is referred to as being meta.

So, the one line autobiography is meta because it is also an acronym which reads "IS META", thus finishing its own sentence.

In the title text, reference implementation is a reference to the standard implementation during a software development process.


[A man sits at a desk, working on a laptop. A woman approaches the desk and picks up a tiny book.]
Woman: What's this?
Man: Douglas Hofstadter's six-word autobiography. After all those 700-page tomes, I guess he wanted to try for brevity.
Woman: Huh. Let's see...
[Close up of woman, reading the tiny book.]
Book: I'm So Meta, Even This Acronym
[Full shot of man and woman again. The woman looks down at the tiny book in her hand.]
Woman: ...whoa.
Man: I think he nailed it.
Comment.png add a comment!


I bet Randall felt so clever when he came up with that acronym. Davidy²²[talk] 01:24, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

IMO he had every right to. ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Is it worth mentioning that Is Meta is an acronym for "I'm," the first word of the acronym? That seems like it would be in the spirit of Hofstadter and "meta," especially since Hofstadter talks a lot about the meaning of "I" in his books. -- 04:28, 4 November 2013 (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 or Bitcoin?