88: Escher Bracelet
Title text: The only downside is that it would be a little uncomfortable.
This image parodies "WWJD" bracelets, which is an acronym for "What Would Jesus Do?". Christians (primarily) wear such bracelets (or other "WWJD" paraphernalia) as a reminder to act in a way that Jesus would act, which presumably is the "Christian" way to act. It is not entirely clear, but this particular bracelet appears to be the rubber type most famously popularized by the yellow ones of cyclist Lance Armstrong's Livestrong charity, which later became a popular fad for all sorts of charitable and non-charitable causes.
In this comic, the "J" has been replaced by an "E" for M. C. Escher, a Dutch graphic artist (1898–1972) best known for art containing imagery that would be impossible in the real world (often referred to as impossible constructions or optical illusions). Among his most famous works are "Drawing Hands" – two hands drawing each other on paper; "Relativity", in which a series of staircases and arches come from the floor, ceiling, and the walls in all directions, each with people standing on them as if each direction is "down"; and "Ascending and Descending" – a building with a staircase on its roof that is a closed square that appears to ascend or descend infinitely, depending on the direction that is walked.
In keeping with Escher's art, the WWED bracelet has a single half-twist in it, creating what is known as a Mobius strip. Although this is not an impossible construction, it is still an apparently confusing structure that Escher used in his art. Most notably, his work "Mobius Strip II" depicts ants crawling around a Mobius strip. One can create this shape simply by taking a strip of paper (or any bendable material), making a half twist, and attaching the ends together. If you draw a single continuous line starting down the centre of the bracelet from the middle of the "W" going left, you will end up drawing from the "WWED", going around again on the "inside" of the bracelet, before coming back around to the front again and ending up at the "D". In other words, the surface of the bracelet has only one side (the front and the back are the same side). The phrase "the only downside" in the image-text may be a pun referencing this one-sidedness. As the title text suggests, the twist in the bracelet might make it uncomfortable to wear.
- [A Livestrong-type bracelet is featured, but with an Escher twist in it. The band is a Mobius strip. The band has the letters "WWED" printed on it.]
- What Would Escher Do?
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