Title text: Effect strength => [unstoppable] | Effect range => [2 miles] | Effect duration => [1 year]
"Catcalling" refers to the act of whistling or shouting to express sexual interest in a person, and often constitutes harassment. Annoyed by this practice, Megan alters the Universe Control Console to create a setting in which catcalling actually attracts cats (as the name implies), thus resulting in the catcaller being harassed by the overwhelming feline presence, instead of the other way around, likely in an attempt to discourage the act.
When read without the title text, it could be assumed that Megan is trying not to punish catcallers, but to turn catcalling into a positive thing, since after the change is made catcalling will no longer offend women and instead attract the attention of cats, an animal many people on the internet find cute. It is only with the clarifying information in the title text that it becomes clear that Megan is trying to punish catcalling, thus changing the joke.
It is interesting to note that changing what women find insulting/harassment would involve fundamentally changing their psychology on some level. How exactly the Universal Control Console will make them immune to this specific behavior is unclear. The Universal Control Console is an intentionally ambiguous device, but based on how Megan and Ponytail used it in 1620: Christmas Settings, it can be implied to change people's memories of what reality was like before a change, so using the catcalling example, it might make everyone in the universe forget what catcalling initially was, thus removing the insult of even trying to do it in the first place.
The "Universe Control Console" was introduced in 1620: Christmas Settings as the "Universe Control Panel", where it was used to control aspects of reality related to Christmas. Based on the name, it is presumed all aspects of reality could be altered using this fictitious device. The pointer arrow and menu options shown above Megan appear to depict aspects of the user interface that Megan is seeing. In 2240: Timeline of the Universe someone hit the inflation switch starting the inflation again. And then someone stopped this by hitting the emergency stop. These must also be on the Universe Control Panel.
The Console appears to have been modified/upgraded since its last appearance and features fewer controls while gaining a joystick in this incarnation. It also appears that Megan has learned to operate the console better since first encountering it. (Ponytail, who first demonstrated the console to Megan, could be the offscreen voice in this comic.)
Furthermore, the title text suggests that catcalling now attracts all cats within two miles for an entire year. The prospect of being piled in cats for a year would discourage people from catcalling by a large amount. 1156: Conditioning also persuades people to change behavior related to wildlife.
The redefining of terms related to sexual harassment as more innocent things has also been discussed in 1178: Pickup Artists.
Also, the cursor on the console is left-handed for some reason.
- Offscreen: Hey! Are you messing with the Universe Control Console!?
- Megan: [standing at a control panel with a small lever and what appears to be a display] It's cool. Just gotta fix one thing.
- [Megan still at the control panel; now a mouse pointer appears]
- [Megan still at the control panel; "Catcalling" appears written at the top of the panel above a dropdown menu that says "Harasses women"; the pointer is hovering over the arrow]
- [Megan still at the control panel; The dropdown menu is expanded to show two elements: "Harasses women" and "Attracts cats". The pointer is hovering over "Attracts cats", which is highlighted]
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!