446: In Popular Culture
|In Popular Culture|
Title text: Someday, the 'in popular culture' section will have its own article with an 'in popular culture' section. It will reference this title-text referencing it, and the blogosphere will implode.
Wikipedia is a popular online encyclopedia with articles that are created and edited by the general public. Wikipedia entries have many sections, with the first few explaining the general concept and details behind the subject.
When this comic was written, many Wikipedia articles had a section at the end entitled "in popular culture," listing TV shows, movies, songs, and so on that made reference to the subject at hand. In many cases, this list was extensive, possibly because the people editing the articles were such fans of the subject or the pop culture in which it is referenced. They couldn't help but go into great detail, listing many esoteric and seemingly irrelevant elements of pop culture that were peripherally related to the subject of the article. As an example, see the old article Apollo in popular culture, which as of August 2007 redirects to Apollo. This comic caused a lot of vandalism adding an "In popular culture" section to the wood page.
The joke in this case is that even such a mundane article such as one on wood could have an "in popular culture" section, and, obviously, wooden items are common enough that there are any number of instances of popular culture that could be considered to "reference it," even if that's something as basic as a wooden item being used as a prop in a TV show. Such information would be of little or no use to anybody, and only somebody obsessed with wood, a particular element of pop culture in which wood makes an appearance, or the concept of placing pop culture references in encyclopedia articles would bother to create or maintain such a section.
Also, wood being such a popular material, the list of references could be virtually endless. This is a reference to the fact that the "in popular culture" sections of many Wikipedia articles contained dozens of items, even for articles on fairly arcane subjects. Note that the end of this particular "in popular culture" section is not visible, so we don't know how long it is.
The title text states that in the future, there will even have to be a wiki page with the subject "In popular culture." This article will also need an "in popular culture" section, and it will be obvious to make a reference directly to this title text, as xkcd is part of popular culture and because this title text predicted the creation of and a need for such a page. However, this would then create a circular reference. This could be considered a form of infinite loop, which is one way to cause a computer to crash (lock up). The joke is that the blogosphere could follow this endless train of circular links and itself crash, causing an "implosion."
This comic was actually mentioned in Wikipedia:"In popular culture" content (however, the blogosphere did not implode). However, on April 23, 2014, the reference was edited out. It has since been added under the external links section of Wikipedia:xkcd in popular culture. The reference was added back in May 2015.
- [A fictional screen capture of the Wikipedia article for "wood" is shown. There is a picture of wooden boards labeled "wooden boards."]
- Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many plants. It has been used for centuries for both fuel and as a construction material for... [cut in page.]
- In popular culture:
- In episode 6 of Firefly, "Our Mrs. Reynolds," Jayne is given a wooden rain stick by a villager.
- In the Buffyverse, Buffy often slays Vampires using stakes made of wood.
- The wand used by Harry Potter is made of wood from a holly tree.
- The fence around the back yard of the house in The Simpsons is wooden.
- In the 2004 TV series Battlestar Galactica [rest of page is cut.]
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