2112: Night Shift

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Night Shift
Help, I set my white balance wrong and suddenly everyone is screaming at each other about whether they've been to Colorado.
Title text: Help, I set my white balance wrong and suddenly everyone is screaming at each other about whether they've been to Colorado.

Explanation[edit]

Many electronic devices have settings to adjust display color and intensity. "Night shift," or similar modes make the display less blue. This may be useful in the evening, since blue light interferes with melatonin, the hormone which regulates the sleep cycle. Exposure to intense blue light in the evening can interfere with becoming sleepy. This comic re-imagines such a mode as influencing the content of messages to encourage sleepiness—or, at least, to dampen the emotional response that might keep someone up too late at night.

In the title text, the reverse has occurred. By setting his white balance incorrectly, the opinions that Randall is reading are more intense, even about "simple" things as having visited Colorado or not (instead of his phone display merely becoming too bluish). This may be a play on angry white male, or similar, which is also characterized by violent expressions of views, and uses the word white. Randall might have meant brightness instead of white balance, with the idea that increasing the amount of light coming from the screen also increases the vehemence of the posts.

This strip then references the fact that on the internet, very few people answer in the singulars of 'Yes' or 'No' or another equally short and definable answer. This may be because there is little perceived value in such a short but factual answer, when you have the opportunity to voice your opinion, sometimes at length. Also in many cultures indirect expression is the norm, or polite; a short direct answer is considered less acceptable, especially in the negative.

It is possible that Randall could be using an xkcd phone, as this feature is absurd enough.

Transcript[edit]

[Comments with peoples' profile pictures in front of them are shown in white comment boxes on a gray background.]
Cueball: The Atlantic Ocean is big
Ponytail: The Pacific is even bigger
Cueball With Full Body Profile Picture (WFBPP): They're both very big
Megan: A lot of people have TVs
Hairbun: Some people don't
Megan: Yeah, that's true
Cueball: 24 isn't a prime number
Cueball WFBPP: Neither is 25
Hairbun: Have you ever been to Colorado?
Megan: No
Cueball WFBPP: No
Cueball: Yeah
Ponytail: No
[Caption below the panel:]
My phone has a night shift mode to help me sleep, but instead of reducing the intensity of blue light, it reduces the intensity of opinions.


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Discussion

Lot of vandals, lately... :( 162.158.75.10 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Yeah, like you! Stop deleting my edits!108.162.246.215 17:19, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I think you're doing it wrong. That or your IP address changed between your edits & your comment here. There are no edits from your IP address in the history for this page. If you sign your posts by finishing with "~~~~" it's easier to track the changes & know for sure if someone's messing with you.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 18:33, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
The user's IP is very similar to the one that posted "(This mode also causes your phone to broadcast EM radiation at the frequency of human thought, allowing Jewish interests control over your brain and psyche)". Statements like that should really be couched in phrasing that indicates they are contested beliefs rather than agreed-upon facts. I really feel marketing interests are of all variety of religious persuasions. 162.158.78.178
Agreed; This site is a reference document, & as such should strive to provide verifiable facts (not opinion) & to include citations when providing contested information. Also, the user seems to be accusing Jewish peoples in particular, which could easily cross the line into hate-speech. In my opinion, any business has a financial interest in deception, manipulation &\or obfuscation; I believe the most plausible conspiracy is one motivated by greed, not religious affiliation. At the very least, the claim that electronic devices contain circuits specifically designed to emit electromagnetic waves which influence our behavior, should be accompanied by citations of a peer-reviewed journal or other appropriate source. It would be pretty hard to hide such a design completely, since 1) electronic devices must register their circuit diagrams prior to approval for sale & 2) such designs would require significant numbers of people involved in order to reach full production, much less widespread production via numerous brands manufactured all over the world. Most conspiracy theories of this type fall apart under the simple challenge of "how many people would have to be keeping it a secret?" In this case, people from all variety of commercial organizations, religions, locations, & lifestyles would have to be in on it; seems unlikely in the extreme, before even getting into the technical challenges such a plan would face.ProphetZarquon (talk) 19:31, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I think if an opinion is common, it could be relevant to mention, especially if it's something Randall may have been exposed to as the comic could be referencing it. But it shouldn't be stated as fact if it's controversial. I don't think this site usually requires peer-reviewed citations, although links that support things are always nice. 162.158.79.47 23:10, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't see lots of vandals or many deleted edits. But if critical things happen please mention it in the Admin requests section at the Community portal. And please don't forget to sign your comments. --Dgbrt (talk) 17:59, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Please stop this chaotic discussion and do not move earlier replies like mine to the bottom! And please understand that all anonymous IP addresses just belong to a proxy, even you can appear by this IP when not signed in. Vandalism happens, look at Wikipedia, but it always turns out that it's better just to revert those edits rather than try to talk to those editors. They don't listen. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:23, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

This one in particular also falls apart on the “why would they do it that way?” front. If people did build mind-control circuitry into phones, why would they tie that feature to white balance? All three of the pixel colors (red, green, and blue) are still in use in both modes, just in different amounts. 172.68.142.29 20:50, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

The new phrasing of altering one's neurochemistry is technically correct, as the pixels of an electronic display do project the EM radiation that is responsible for the light we see. The joke could use some context that this is technically true of displays, although many believe there are interests that wirelessly alter their thoughts, and that this view is generally heavily disregarded. 162.158.78.178 18:42, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

As a jew, i have to say. We didn't put the mind control stuff into your phone. That was the WASPS. We put the mind control stuff into physics itself. 02:49, 16 February 2019 (UTC) 172.68.59.84 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Maybe, instead of actually mindcontrolling people, it just alters their text to make it appear that they're being less opinionated? 162.158.167.30 09:58, 16 February 2019 (UTC)

I'd say that's pretty obviously the intended method, yes. The idea that there is some kind of reference to mind control in this seems a bit... paranoid. Which isn't really to say that your phone/news feed doesn't affect your behaviour and emotional state. That's been demonstrated to be true a few times. But a tin-foil hat isn't going to help anything like as much as shutting it off will.172.68.65.228 06:23, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

I can't believe that for comic #2112 there is not a single Rush reference. 172.68.59.84 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I blame the priests. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 05:41, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
That's cuz no one knows who they are.
They are the priests of the temples of Syrinx...(oh, wait, you mean that no one knows who *Rush* are; see below)
And yet comic #1984 doesn't have any reference to 1984. I haven't heard of Rush and I had only seen any reference to the number 2112 in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock's quest mode...
So you claim to not know who Rush are, yet you know the Guitar Hero quest based on Rush’s seminal 2112 album. If true, then the image of someone sufficiently sheltered in their musical exposure to have had their first brush with the greatness of Rush come through a game brings me joy at knowing the game is introducing even more people to the musical brilliance of Getty Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart. In keeping with the subject of this comic, “Night Shift Mode”, since I’m typing this due to insomnia that has me awake at 5am, I will resist the temptation to scream and rant at the comments of others and say simply that while Rush is indeed a very well know band (inducted into both Canadian and US Rock and Roll Halls of Fame) it is likely that Randal didn’t notice the connection between comic 2112 and the Rush album of the same title, or if he did, didn’t think it worth including in this comic. When the 2112 album was released Randal was a teenager (at the oldest; I’m guessing here, not bothering to look up trivia) 162.158.79.113 10:33, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
The only Rush I've heard of before is Limbaugh, and he's neither musical nor someone to be celebrated.

Is it talking about politics and privilege, maybe? Politics could be intensity between blue and red; privilege could be balance between white and non-white . . . . 108.162.216.82 11:23, 17 February 2019 (UTC)

I agree that the intensity and often lack of civility in racial discussions is very much apropos. Have added it to the explanation (white suppremacy, angry white men, etc.). 162.158.106.6 23:55, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
A couple of times this has been deleted without explanation. If you have alternative explanations of what could the joke is, why setting the white balance would result in more extreme expression, please add them, or can think of ways to clarify, or come here and explain why think it should be removed.
Text in question: "This is probably a play on white supremacy, angry white male, or similar areas where violent expression of ones views and abuse of the views of others are prevalent." 162.158.106.6 01:49, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
While it isn’t unlink Randall to get political, there is nothing close in here about that specifically. It seems more to be a surreal and fun joke comment. This especially doesn’t make sense with the comic itself, which is about how a “night” mode turns down the intensity of opinions. The title text, to me, is Randall “turning the brightness up” like in the day, vastly increasing the intensity of the opinions. Kinda like how when you turn up the brightness too fast it can hurt your eyes, or how night mode can lull one into sleep. Netherin5 (talk) 17:17, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
What suggest this is that the intensified reactions come when adjusting the "White balance" in the title text. Angry white male things are particularly common in the US at the time this cartoon was written, with President Trump, etc. So there is something very specifically about it here. (Link is uses the term white, and Angry white male discourse is characterized by not being particularly balanced, that is not considering various facets of an issue). 162.158.107.149 06:12, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
White balance is not the same thing as brightness (in a technical sense - white balance changes relative amounts of colors, not the white point or black point), so that interpretation doesn't make as much sense from a technical standpoint. (If they meant brightness, they would have said brightness.) It also doesn't make much of a joke (doesn't have the double-entendre). However, you could add that as an alternative interpretation to the text. 162.158.107.149 06:26, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

The value of brevity and directness is very much a cultural one. Women in American culture are discouraged from giving direct answers. Similarly, in Japanese culture, indirectness is more polite, e.g. American Directness and the Japanese So the observation, which was in the explanation, that "In short, on the internet, we probably talk too much and don't cut to the chase enough." Probably originated from somebody coming from a culture that values directness (e.g. an American male.) 162.158.106.6 23:55, 17 February 2019 (UTC)

I think this comic is also a play on logical fallacies that is usually prevalent in heated political debates. But it is applied to more absurdly mundane topics.
For example, this particular one seems to be a play on whataboutism:

Cueball: 24 isn't a prime number
Cueball WFBPP: Neither is 25

CCCVVVA (talk) 17:55, 5 March 2019 (UTC)