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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 27 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Phone
[*disables social networking accounts*] [*social isolation increases*] Wait, why does this ALSO feel bad?
Title text: [*disables social networking accounts*] [*social isolation increases*] Wait, why does this ALSO feel bad?

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Feel free to add more info. Also, what's the real punchline?

Someone asks Cueball if he wants to go for a walk. He says sure, but first he has to get his phone. The joke is that he describes this as a device that gives him a 24/7 stream of information, much of which is out of context. He also mentions that news can be scary, which is true and often times news outlets will use a title that exaggerates the topic and creates fear to get more people to look at the article. The random emotional stimuli could be from many things such as his text messages or email and several other things that can cause a shift in emotions. The spare battery could reference a portable charger as most phones use rechargeable batteries that can last longer than the rest of the phone.

The title text implies that even after disconnecting from social networks, which Cueball may think causes his isolation by severing him from the real world, which Cueball thinks will solve the problem, he still feels as isolated as he was before. Presumably, he disconnected to solve his problem and be able to focus on his walk, however, he ends up feeling bad the whole walk.

Randall often describes simple object in a very complex or connotative manner such as in 1616 and 203. (Note: He also occasionally describes very complex things in very simple words as in 1133 or in his book Thing Explainer)

This comic could be seen as a counter to 1773: Negativity, as both deal with the inability to escape the media during objectively peaceful pastimes. While in the former, the nature attacks Cueball with the types of comics he wishes to avoid, here, he brings along his phone even though it will ruin the goal of the walk he is going to take.

Transcript

[Someone offscreen talks to Cueball who walks to a small table with some items on it.]
Offscreen: Wanna go for a walk?
Cueball: Sure, just need to grab my device that feeds me a 24/7 stream of opinions, context-free scary world news, and random emotional stimuli.
Cueball: Plus a spare battery so the feed won't be interrupted.



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