1045: Constraints

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 13:53, 13 June 2013 by (talk) (Explanation)
Jump to: navigation, search
[title-text similarly alphabetized]
Title text: [title-text similarly alphabetized]


An epigram is a brief, interesting, usually memorable and sometimes surprising or satirical statement. Constrained writing is an age-old literary phenomenon, where writers impose rules or patterns in their works. (Haiku is a well known example.)

Just in case you have been living under a rock for the last several years, Twitter is a short message social network / communication service. All messages (known as tweets) on the service need to be under 140 characters, including private messages.

All the words spoken by Megan, from "Yeah" to "alphabetization", are in reverse alphabetical order. It both answers Cueball's question and exemplifies with an ingenious self-reference, while being short enough (136 characters) to be a valid tweet — hence the "whoa"...

The title text, "title-text similarly alphabetized", is also backwards-alphabetized and self-referential.


[Cueball sits at his computer desk, motioning toward the screen as Megan stands behind him.]
Cueball: I don't get why authors and comedians spend so much energy trying to be clever on Twitter. Couldn't they put that creativity into more books and scripts? — Is there something they like about the 140-character format?
[Same picture, only Cueball has his arm down.]
Megan: Yeah. Writers working under tight restrictions produce novel material — like, for example, epigrams employing backward alphabetization.
[Cueball remains at his computer desk. Megan is no longer in the frame.]
Cueball: ...whoa.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Sometimes, seventeen

Syllables are not enough

To just express a Davidy22[talk] 08:25, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

But sometimes they are!

I rewrote your third line as

"To express a thought." -- 21:35, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

The first post works exactly the same way with "sixteen" :P -- 14:25, 10 November 2018 (UTC)

"Whoa." is also an example, but one word examples are particularly easy! --DrMath 06:17, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

I can't see the image... what's wrong with it ? --KoundelitchNico (talk) 14:26, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

I just don't find the alphabetization thing to be all that impressive. Everything is written like that. Am I missing something about the very concept? (C comes before O, then jump back to the start, N, back to the start, C, E, P and T.) (I just don't find: I J U back to start S T back to start D O back to start N T back to start F I N back to start D) (Epigrams employing: G N back to start I Y back to start O back to start L P back to start M back to start E back to start S back to start M back to start A R back to start G I P back to start E) 02:00, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Words wholly taken (not letters individually) do come backward alphabetized. -- 12:56, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Twitter allows up to 280 characters now. The explanation needs some updating. 10:28, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

Done. Herobrine (talk) 07:41, 5 May 2018 (UTC)