274: With Apologies to The Who

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With Apologies to The Who
Trivia: Roger Daltry originally wrote "Don't try an' Digg what we all say" but erased the second "g" when he moved to reddit.
Title text: Trivia: Roger Daltry originally wrote "Don't try an' Digg what we all say" but erased the second "g" when he moved to reddit.


This comic refers to the song "My Generation" by the British rock band The Who, which was released in 1965. The song is about intergenerational conflict and has been regarded as a very decided proclamation of youthful rebellion. Cueball adapts the lyrics to describe his own generation, the Millennials. As people born from the 1980s onwards grew up with the internet, this generation is also nicknamed "digital natives." It is therefore natural that the updated lyrics should refer to blogging and internet slang. The actions performed by Cueball while typing the text relate to the original music video, in which The Who smash their instruments in true rock star fashion. Cueball wails his keyboard like a guitar and smashes his monitor in the end.

The title text jokingly suggests that the band's lead singer Roger Daltrey originally meant the line

And don't try and Digg what we all s-s-say

as a reference to the social news site Digg, but changed it after switching to its competitor Reddit.

Explanation of Terms

An explanation of the terms in this comic:

"noobs" is a synonym of "newbie," which is a person who is new to an online community and is thus often not familiar with the rules and norms of the community. Cueball is suggesting that old people are not competent/familiar with the online realm.
"the tubes" is likely a reference to the saying series of tubes.
"grok" is a synonym for "understand." Cueball is suggesting that people of older generations have difficulty understanding internet slang, which is often true.
"bloggin'" (blogging) is the act of writing in a blog.
Original Lyrics

The original lyrics of the song run as follows:

People try to put us d-d-down
Just because we get around
Things they do look awful c-c-cold
I hope I die before I get old
Why don't you all f-fade away
And don't try and dig what we all s-s-say
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation


[Cueball is sitting at a desk with a computer, typing.]
Monitor: People try to shut us d-d-down
just 'cause our music gets around
[Cueball is standing on his chair and typing with his keyboard across his hip.]
Monitor: Old folks act like total noobs
get off our net; you block the tubes
[Cueball is really wailing on the keyboard.]
Monitor: Why don't you all just d-d-disconnect
and don't try an' grok our d-d-dialect
[Cueball smashes the keyboard into the monitor.]
Monitor: I'm not tryin' to cause a big s-s-sensation
I'm just bloggin' 'bout my generation


The song was actually written by guitarist Pete Townshend.

Roger Daltrey's name is misspelled as "Daltry".

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«"grok" is a synonym for "understand".» Well, no. The word is from Robert Heinlein's «Stranger in a Strange Land» published in 1961, where it is defined as «Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.» Obviously, this word belongs to the old people being dissed in the lyrics. Sodapop (talk) 09:08, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes, which means that Grok is out of place in the anachronistic song lyrics, being a word whose popularity predates the actual Who lyrics. —Kazvorpal (talk) 05:41, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Not really. The word "grok" was popular in the Unix community of the late 60s and 70s. As Randall is familiar with Unix hacker culture, it's "his word". The Jargon File defines it like this: "When you claim to "grok" some knowledge or technique, you are asserting that you have not merely learned it in a detached instrumental way but that it has become part of you, part of your identity. For example, to say that you "know" Lisp is simply to assert that you can code in it if necessary — but to say you "grok" LISP is to claim that you have deeply entered the world-view and spirit of the language, with the implication that it has transformed your view of programming." 21:28, 24 August 2020 (UTC)

in xkxd vol. 0 it said "I'm not sure how he's typing that last line" as part of the extra annotations. 10:21, 21 November 2023 (UTC)