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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 15:36, 20 March 2013

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Food Rule
I won't eat invertebrates, because I can fight a skeleton, but I have no idea what kind of spooky warrior a squid leaves behind.
Title text: I won't eat invertebrates, because I can fight a skeleton, but I have no idea what kind of spooky warrior a squid leaves behind.


A vegetarian is someone who chooses to eat only vegetables and no meat. While apples are always allowed and hamburgers are always forbidden, there are doubts about foods like honey, eggs, milk or fish. This gives different varieties of vegetarianism depending on exactly which foods are allowed. Vegetarians tend to summarize their eating habits in one sentence, like eating "nothing that once had a heartbeat", "nothing that can have children", "nothing with eyes" or "nothing with a face" (this last one being the subject of the comic).

Randall presents two rules about what can be eaten (one in the comic and one in the title text). He also presents a list of allowed and forbidden foods which matches both rules, so it's not clear if the list refers to one rule, the other or both at the same time.

According to the rule in the comic, Randall eats things with or without a face, but not things for which he needs to use Google to figure out whether they have a face or not. While it's clear that a cow has a face and an apple does not, some beings are harder to classify into one of these categories. For example, the Squid in the comic has eyes and mouth, but it would be hard to tell whether that counts as a face. This would be a problem for the vegetarian standard rule of "nothing without a face", however Randall avoids it by refusing to eat anything which poses any doubt about the class to which it belongs. This quite openly mocks the vegetarian rule of "nothing with a face".

The rule in the title text is about not eating invertebrates. The first four items on the list are meat from four different animals of the type vertebrates and the last three items are from plants. These are all OK to eat. But the middle three items are three different animals of the type invertebrates. Randall does not eat these! These animals do not have any skeleton. Randall is joking about how the animals he eats might come back to haunt him, and in the case of a cow or fish (or any other vertebrates - with skeletons), he imagines that they would come back as a living dead skeleton. Any undead creature that returns as a skeleton he believes he will be able to fight. But since he has no idea how an undead squid or oyster (or any other invertebrate) would look, he feels unprepared to fight such a spooky creature and thus declines from eating them. This may be the worst excuse ever for not wishing to eat a certain type of food. But it may be better than to just say that he thinks they are disgusting...

Randall has previously mentioned his dislike of certain foods (namely lobster) in 1268: Alternate Universe.


[There is a caption above a list of food with indication whether it is OK or not to eat. Below is another caption.]
My food rule:
Red meat
Shrimp X
Oysters X
Squid X
I won't eat something
if I have to Google
to figure out whether
or not it has a face.

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