406: Venting

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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P.P.S. I can kill you with my brain.
Title text: P.P.S. I can kill you with my brain.


This is yet another xkcd comic referencing Firefly, but it's not so much about Firefly itself as about Summer Glau. Summer Glau is an American actress best known for playing River Tam in Firefly and Serenity, as well as Cameron in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles series. Cueball says that he gives a long and seemingly well-researched reply to a stupid comment on a blog when he feels angry as a way to vent. What we see of his comment begins with Cueball describing the original comment's incoherent and inconsistent spelling and grammar. Then, he proceeds to rip apart the commentator by citing their historical and political ignorance. He signs his comment as "Summer Glau", after which he reminds the blogger to watch the next season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles series.

One likely reason that he uses "Summer Glau" is that she is worshipped by geeks the world over, even those incapable of writing coherent blog posts or comments. CrackMonkey74 would not risk responding negatively to the post, just in case it was actually written by Summer Glau, as they don't want everyone to hate them for attempting to argue with her. In this way, Cueball is assured of the last word in this argument, which makes for a most satisfying vent.

Another possible explanation is that River Tam has a genius-level intellect and is also mentally disturbed. Given xkcd's trend of comparing Firefly characters to their respective actors (especially in The Race series), Cueball is probably using Summer Glau's name simply because an exhaustively researched blog comment seems like something River Tam -- and thus possibly Summer Glau -- would do. The name CrackMonkey74 also appears in 202: YouTube as one of the clueless YouTube commentators, and later appears in 574: Swine Flu.

The title text refers to the famous dialogue delivered by River Tam in Firefly Episode 11: "Trash".


[Caption above the panel:] When I need to blow off steam, I find a particularly stupid blog comment and reply with an exhaustively researched word-by-word rebuttal, which I sign 'Summer Glau'.
[Cueball is sitting at a desk, typing in front of a monitor. A curved line leads up from his hands to the text above.]
In conclusion, on examining the above post by CrackMonkey74, after carefully working my way through the haze of spelling errors (documented in section 3), abuse of capitalization (section 4), and general crimes against grammar and syntax (sections 7-8), I have demonstrated that, beneath it all, the work betrays the author's staggering ignorance of the history and the workings of our electoral system. While the author's wildly swerving train of thought did at one point flirt with coherence, this brief encounter was more likely a chance event (see statistical analysis in table 5) than a result of even rudimentary lucidity.
-Summer Glau
P.S. Don't forget to check out the next season of the Sarah Connor Chronicles this fall on Fox!


Cueball's statement has been widely reused by many bloggers after the release of this comic.

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With the psychology of XKCD readers in mind, I thought I'd look around for real-life applications of this self-same snippet. To quote the meme: "I was not dissapoint!", although to wildly varying effectiveness and with grossly variable style. From among many, I present a meagre and random selection, thus: [1] [2] [3]

Ugh. None of those actually have sections containing the documentations that they are citing. I've been wanting to do one of those kinds of posts myself as I'm actually prone to typing out several paragraphs and including citations when I get dragged into an Internet argument. 07:14, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

(...and remember to check out... what is there currently worth watching right now..? Well, check it out, whatever it is.) 12:43, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm not saying that the explanation is wrong (well, part of it almost definitely is), but I'm not sure that the use of Summer Glau's name is to get the last word. The kind of person that you would use this type of critical analysis on would be unlikely to be a nerd (re: grammar/syntax/spelling/capitalization errors and lack of understanding of the subject involved), but an Internet troll or general idiot. So what would be the point of using that name? My initial impression was that it was giving the appearance of hidden depths to a celebrity (who may or may not be seen as capable of it), and would thus illicit an amusing reaction from the reader. Imagine if you saw a word-by-word rebuttal attributed to Paris Hilton or Justin Beiber. An alternate interpretation is that it would make a favored celebrity look even better, much like the "memetic badass" status that Chuck Norris[4] has.

Barack Obama 7:14, 19 January 2014 (UTC) P.S. Don't forget to vote!

Nerds can make grammatical errors. I don't think that would be the case. And I do not believe use of the name has anything to do with the actual commenter or raising Glau's celebrity status. flewk (talk) 10:37, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

I edited the almost surely wrong part, but this explanation still needs some work by a native English-speaker. 07:05, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this is so much about people losing the chance to sleep with Summer Glau. Could it be more about the character of River in Firefly, who would presumably be the kind of person to write a blog comment like this? 03:53, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, that's what I got from it, too. 22:39, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I figured he used Summer Glau simply because he can, much like his idea for an action movie. This is also reminiscent of Randall's style to be serious until the last moment and throw in something unrelated at the end. Refer to a wide range of xkcd comics. I highly doubt this has anything to do with sleeping with Summer Glau. flewk (talk) 10:37, 28 December 2015 (UTC)