Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Cueball is going through the traditional street-protester refrain about the government having control over our lives and shouts "wake up, sheeple!" through a megaphone. Sheeple is a portmanteau of sheep and people used as a derisive term to describe people who thoughtlessly wander through their daily lives going exactly where they are "herded" by the powers that be.
However, in this comic, the Sheeple are gigantic humanoid sheep-men who have slumbered beneath the Earth for ten thousand years, and whom Cueball has inadvertently awoken with his repeated mantra (much as in 555: Two Mirrors). The Sheeple appear to be some kind of eldritch abomination who will destroy the human race, and Cueball seems to be the only one previously unaware of their existence.
The title text says the humans will be led "like lambs to the slaughter" which is a phrase that appears many times in older texts, the Bible as an example. The phrase means that someone or something would be led to its destruction without it thinking to escape from the disaster. The Sheeple are likely to take it amiss, because it indicates the uncaring frequency with which humans kill sheep.
See more Sheeple-related comics at Category:Sheeple.
- [Cueball yells into a megaphone.]
- Cueball: Your government has turned against you! Corporations control your every thought! - Open your eyes!
- [Head-on view of Cueball.]
- Cueball: Wake up, sheeple! Wake up, sheeple! - WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!!
- [Cueball takes the megaphone away from his mouth.]
- [A half-sheep half-man creature rises through the cracking earth, holding aloft a gnarled staff.]
- [Close-up on the sheep-man's eye.]
- TEN THOUSAND YEARS WE SLUMBERED... NOW WE RIIIIIIIISE BAAAAAA
- [A clearly upset Megan goes up to Cueball, hands held out in front of her plaintively.]
- Megan: OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!
- Cueball: What? But I didn't—
- Out-of-frame #1: He awoke the Sheeple!
- Out-of-frame #2: Heaven forgive us!
- Out-of-frame #3: All is lost!
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This one is my favorite comic. That is all, nothing constructive to add here. just praise. lcarsos (talk) 05:33, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Waking up of ancient creatures may be a reference to "The Cabin in the Woods", the movie that Randall, a fan of Firefly, is likely to have watched. 220.127.116.11 10:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
- Considering the comic came out a month before the movie, it's somewhat unlikely. 18.104.22.168 13:08, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
"Oh God Oh God Oh God!" should bring some help!--DrMath 06:46, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Are you sure that the Sheeple are a race? I thought that it was just one giant monster (using the royal "we" in its speech). --22.214.171.124 11:23, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
- I agree - there is no indication that there are more than one Sheeple, but the trees(?) in the background and the loud baaa indicates that the one shown is a giant. Also the zoom in on the mega eye goes that way. I have corrected the explain acordingly.Kynde (talk) 07:25, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I dissagree. "Ten thousand years we slumbered..." ~ ~ ~ ~ 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Aren't they goats? 188.8.131.52 04:31, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Sheeple is a plural word, if it were just the one you'd have to call is a sheeperson. 184.108.40.206 16:08, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
- Both sheep and people have a singular sense so it is not impossible that sheeple has too. Tharkon (talk) 01:15, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
- But "people" as a singular is a collective noun. A people is a group such as a nationality or race, not a single individual member CVictoria (talk) 19:06, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Removed the following paragraph:
This comic may also be a view on Randall's actual political views; the awakened monster in the comic actually represents all the "sheeple". Thus, Randall may be saying that if the "sheeple" wake up and realize that the government is controlling them, without an authority figure (i.e. the government) the sheeple would go wild and pandemonium would ensue.
It seems to be wild speculation, and unless there is something to back it up, I think it should remain removed from the explanation. Suspender guy (talk) 13:06, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
There may be a connection to Tom Smith's song, "Sheep Marketing Ploy." The song describes a series of imaginary horror movies about "Fenton, the Death Sheep from Hell," who has a deep and ominous "Baaa." Gmcgath (talk) 20:40, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
Is that a shepherd's crook it's holding? Subtle, yet serious, irony... 220.127.116.11 12:39, 12 May 2017 (UTC)