388: Fuck Grapefruit
Title text: Coconuts are so far down to the left they couldn't be fit on the chart. Ever spent half an hour trying to open a coconut with a rock? Fuck coconuts.
This comic consists of a chart where Randall has plotted fruits according to two criteria: ease/difficulty to eat on the horizontal axis and tastiness on the vertical axis. The Y-axis goes from "tasty" at the top to "untasty" at the bottom. The X-axis goes from "easy" on the right to "difficult" on the left.
For instance, pineapples are deemed fairly tasty but very difficult to eat, whereas (seeded) grapes are very tasty and somewhat easy, and logically seedless grapes are roughly equally tasty but easier to eat.
Obviously, being easy to eat is preferable to being difficult, and being tasty is preferable to being untasty, so the "best" fruits (regarding these two aspects only) are in the top-right corner, and the worst in the bottom-left; additionally, in the top-left corner are the "difficult-but-worthy" fruits, and in the bottom-right one, the "not-very-tasty-but-at-least-they're-easy-to-eat" ones.
The individual ratings of each fruit are subjective -- very obviously in the case of tastiness, and more subtly for difficulty. Randall does not explain his criteria for ranking the difficulty of each fruit, and it is likely based on only personal experiences. Someone who has grown up in an area where pineapples are plentiful is likely to be more adept at skillfully preparing them. The discrepancies between how Randall has rated certain fruits and how others believe they should have been rated caused a surprising level of controversy. Nine years later, a comic about the best tasting foods 1811: Best-Tasting Colors was released, which also generated a lot of discussion. That comic indicated that Randall had changed his taste over the years. Later, Randall suggests using a 1949: Fruit Collider to create a pineapple with apple skin, thus combining tastiness with ease to eat.
According to the chart, Grapefruit is the third hardest fruit to eat, as well as the second least tasty fruit (from the ones listed at least). Eating one of them is like spending too much of one's time and energy without much reward. Hence Randall's quip in the title: "Fuck grapefruit."
In the title text, Randall mentions coconuts. Randall mentions that he would have to put them so far down to the left on the chart (not far down, just far down towards the left), that they would not fit in this chart. He thus states that it is so much more difficult to eat (especially to open) coconuts than the usual mainstream fruits such as the ones plotted here. If he did include coconuts in the chart, the rest of the fruits would all be pushed to the right side of the chart. He does not say that he does not like to eat the fruit. (Although it has "nut" in its name, the coconut is actually a stone fruit and thus belongs on a chart of fruit.) Having spent half an hour trying (in vain?) to open a coconut, Randall also only has one thing to say about them: "Fuck coconuts." However, harvesting just the "milk" is pretty easy, as you can poke a sturdy stick or metal pole into one of three spots located on the coconut. These spots are lighter and slightly indented from the rest of the coconut and form a triangle shape.
A similar problem is later displayed in a small scatter plot of the capabilities vs cuteness of Mars Rovers in 2433: Mars Rovers. The plot has 3 types of rovers (5 rovers, but two times two are very similar). But far outside the plot to the right is a very cute rover, that did not fit inside the actual plots axis. Of course in this case it actually possible to draw them all, and the X-axis could have been drawn longer to include the last rover! But it is made like this to make a point, that is similar to the one made in the title text of this comic.
In 1701: Speed and Danger, another scatter plot shows exactly what happens when one point is inserted into such a plot if it is far removed from all the other points, in this case even on both axes.
Note that Randall uses similar diagrams in both 1242: Scary Names, 1501: Mysteries and 2466: In Your Classroom, which also contain different items. The first two also have an extra point, and the last two extra points mentioned in the title text. Only the first and the lasts comics points are also off the chart, whereas for the second the description of the point is too long to fit on the chart. Extra info outside the chart is also used in the title text of 1785: Wifi, but this is a line graph.
The table below lists approximate coordinates for each fruit using a scale of -100% (untasty/difficult) to 100% (tasty/easy). The coordinates are based on the included fruits, any new items added outside the current range (e.g. Coconuts) would cause the scales to be reassigned, and thus change the coordinate values of existing items.
The coordinates have been found by measuring each fruit from the center of the drawing (not the center of mass, but center from left to right/top to bottom) to the two axes. The axes are hand drawn, which is clearly visible. The numbers have been obtained by measuring to the nearest point of each axis, not taking into account that the axes are not perfect straight perpendicular lines.
|100%||68%||Peaches||Among Randall's favorite fruits, as it is the one deemed most tasty, and it is far tastier than the four fruits that are deemed easier to eat. While it does contain a stone/pit that may be annoying due to the disposal of the sticky remains, it's large enough to eat around, and Randall apparently sees it not to be that big a problem in the long run. In 1949: Fruit Collider, Randall has also shown his love for peaches, with "watermelon sized" peaches appearing.|
|85%||13%||Seeded grapes||Randall apparently subscribes to the theory that seeded grapes are tastier than unseeded grapes due to higher genetic diversity, but are harder to eat because of the seeds.|
|75%||75%||Strawberries||Actually not a berry but an accessory fruit, like many of the other fruits on the chart. Strawberries are generally sold with a "hull" of green leaves still attached around the crown (and sometimes a bit of the stalk as well), and many people choose to either detach the hull or cut off the top of the strawberry as a matter of preference.|
|72%||100%||Seedless grapes||Randall apparently subscribes to the theory that seeded grapes are tastier than unseeded grapes due to higher genetic diversity, but are harder to eat because of the seeds.|
|68%||-100%||Pineapples||Requires a knife to prepare and can be tricky to dissect without wasting a lot of the fruit.|
|58%||87%||Blueberries||Usually not listed as a fruit but as a berry, although this is still a type of fruit.|
|38%||42%||Cherries||Containing a stone/pit that may be annoying due to the disposal of the sticky remains and taking care not to swallow them, as well as stems that have to be pulled off prior to or at the point of consumption.|
|37%||66%||Pears||Most people will not eat the core of the pear and is thus left with some sticky part that needs to be disposed of.|
|22%||79%||Green apples||Most people will not eat the apple core and is thus left with some sticky part that needs to be disposed of.|
|17%||59%||Plums||Containing a stone/pit that may be annoying due to the disposal of the sticky remains and taking care not to swallow them.|
|15%||-20%||Watermelons||Surprisingly considered by Randall to be easier than oranges, which are fairly easy to peel. A watermelon is larger, so the effort to reward ratio is better, but this shouldn't affect its 'ease of eating' position. On the other hand, it is easy to cut a watermelon into edible pieces. You cannot cut an orange like this. They can sometimes be very difficult to peel, and you will get very sticky when trying. This can be avoided with the watermelon.|
|-12%||79%||Red apples||Most people will not eat the apple core and is thus left with some sticky part that need to be disposed. Green apples are shown as tastier than red may partially be because in his "What If?" book, Randall mentions a specific dislike of "red delicious" apples.|
|-18%||16%||Bananas||The only fruit with a skin that requires peeling with a positive value on the X-axis, likely because it has a nub on the top that makes it far easier to remove than other peeling-required fruits. However, it is likely due to this reason that it is not very far along the X-axis, since ultimately one still has to do some preparation to eat it, unlike all the other fruits on the positive X-axis end. Alternatively, the stringy pith that some people refuse to eat and thus have to pick off also holds it back from being deemed easy to eat. The difficulty could also relate to the different opinion of which end to open bananas in, which was the subject of the much later 1982: Evangelism, especially in the title text.|
|-20%||-85%||Pomegranates||Pomegranates have a very large number of tart, juice-filled arils surrounded in inedible pith and a fairly tough skin. Retrieving the arils is notoriously messy.|
|-46%||-49%||Oranges||Considered more difficult than lemons, perhaps due to the layer of pith that is rarely encountered when preparing lemons.|
|-74%||26%||Tomatoes||The culinary arts, nutritional sciences, and United States tax and customs regulations all treat tomatoes as a vegetable, mostly due to its taste. In the botanical sense, however, it is actually a fruit (specifically, a berry).|
|-86%||-75%||Grapefruit||Grapefruits are seldom simply peeled and eaten by hand, due to their thick skin and the tough, chewy interior walls separating the segments. The conventional way to eat them is by cutting them in half equatorially and digging out the fleshy segments with a spoon (preferably a specialized "grapefruit spoon" with a serrated tip); some also prepare the grapefruit before eating by using a knife to separate the segments from the walls. The flesh also has a notable bitterness to it, in contrast to many of the other fruits on the graph (sometimes balanced by adding sugar or honey, albeit this adds another step to the preparation involved). Randall appears to find this bitterness unappetizing, and this, combined with the laboriousness involved, leads him to have great contempt for the fruit. Hence, "fuck grapefruit."|
|-100%||-15%||Lemons||Considered easier than oranges, perhaps due to the layer of pith that is rarely encountered when preparing lemons. Very untasty in and of themselves; lemons are a common baking ingredient, but are so sour they are rarely eaten as a fruit.|
|Unknown||Off Chart||Coconuts||Coconuts are incredibly difficult to open due to their hard outer shell. It is unclear what stance Randall has on the taste of coconuts.|
- [An X-Y scatter plot of fruit where both axes have arrows in both ends. At the end of each arrow is a label.]
- [The X-axis from left to right:]
- [The Y-axis from top to bottom:]
- [The fruit names are listed here below from top to bottom according to the how tasty the fruit is, not necessarily in the same order that the names are written if one fruit is tall/large and the other low:]
- Seeded grapes
- Seedless grapes
- Green apples
- Red apples
According to the post FRUIT OPINIONS! on the Blag, this was the most controversial comic written to this point, "beating out comics about cunnilingus, the Obama endorsement, and my making 4chan tiny on the map of online communities". The comic about cunnilingus is 136: Science Fair, the Obama endorsement has been mentioned in another blog post called Politics, and 4chan is part of the comic 256: Online Communities. The only comic mentioning Obama before this comic was 360: Writers Strike. A later food taste comic 1811: Best-Tasting Colors also generated a lot of discussions on these pages. Similarly, the discussion page for 1534: Beer was also used a lot because Randall said he did not like beer. So it seems that food is almost as sensitive as politics, although Randall's endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 1756: I'm With Her the day before the presidential election in 2016 where Donald Trump won, seems to have generated even more discussions here than any food related comic.
Change of taste
Later, in 1811: Best-Tasting Colors, Randall once again rates food taste in general, but this time based on the color of the food. (However, that comic may be about colors associated with artificial candy flavors, which wouldn't necessarily go against his feelings on the [non-synthetic] flavors of actual fruit.) Several of the fruits from this chart are included in the aforementioned comic, but not grapefruit. Instead, purple grapes is rated as the worst fruit on the chart with less than 1.5 on a scale from 1-9. This is interesting, as he did not include those in this chart, but has rated green/white grapes very high in tastiness. It seems like he has altered his taste over the nine years between releases, since lemon, which was the worst taste on this chart, has moved up to 3/9 while Oranges have moved further down to a 2/9. Watermelon is also included (both for pink and green) with 6/9 making it seem better than in this chart. Green apples has also moved almost to the top with nearly 8/9 vs. only just above 50% here. Finally, there is cherry (as good as the apple) and strawberry (8.5/9), which fits here for strawberry, but it seems like cherries has moved up a notch. Three fruits not included here are Lime (as lemon), and red and blue raspberries (5.5/9). But it turns out that the worst taste for Randall is not grape, but licorice at 1/9, with both popcorn and coffee worse than grape at about 1.5/9. The best is cotton candy, which beats strawberry by a nose.
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