2241: Brussels Sprouts Mandela Effect

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Brussels Sprouts Mandela Effect
I love Brussels Sprouts Mandela Effect; I saw them open for Correct Horse Battery Staple.
Title text: I love Brussels Sprouts Mandela Effect; I saw them open for Correct Horse Battery Staple.


Brussels sprouts are a leafy vegetable from the cabbage family which were cultivated in Brussels, in what is now Belgium, in the 13th century, giving them their name. Many adults and children dislike Brussels sprouts, perhaps because of their bitterness.

Cueball was one of these people who thought he had a dislike for Brussels sprouts, but after trying them recently he had a change of heart and likes them now. He feels "misled" by the public dislike for Brussels sprouts. Megan chimes in and notes that it is not just him. Farmers started to develop a newer cultivar of Brussels sprouts in the 1990s (as opposed to the 15 years ago referenced in the comic), which taste less bitter than the "original" cultivar of Brussels sprouts that Cueball grew up eating. (A source is provided in the comic as a foot note to Megan's statement. This would be the first of two comics in a row with this type of reference given, the second coming in 2242: Ground vs Air.)

A Mandela Effect is a pseudoscience explanation for a false memory held in common by a substantial number of people. False memories may arise via suggestibility, activation of associated information, the incorporation of misinformation, and source misattribution, and they can be shared, sometimes widely, when one of these triggers happens to many people in a population. But a fringe theory holds that such memories are actually real, in some way related to either reality warping or alternate universes, leaving many people in a reality that contradicts their memory in minor but specific ways. The name comes from multiple people reporting vivid memories of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s, despite Mandela famously becoming President of South Africa and living until 2013.

The characters realizing that brussels sprouts taste good, despite having all of them having distinct memories of the vegetable being unpleasant, is seen as similar to having a widespread false memory.

In the last panel, Ponytail then tricks Cueball into thinking that licorice, another widely disliked food, is good tasting. At this point Megan realizes that this must be a trap. Unlike Brussels sprouts, the taste of licorice has not changed noticeably, so people who hated the taste before are likely to still find it unpleasant.

That Ponytail is up to no good is shown to be true when she additionally claims that silica gel packets are actually edible and taste delicious. This is very false! Silica gel packets are typically used as a desiccant, to keep electronics and other moisture sensitive items dry. They are typically marked "Do Not Eat" to warn people that they are not edible. Although not toxic, and even allowed in some form in food, silica gel has a sand-like texture and no flavor or nutritional value, can cause irritation if digested in the raw form, and the packets may contain potentially toxic additives.

Cueball, having been prepped by both his own experience and Megan's facts are totally ready to believe Ponytail, even to the extent that he seems to feel cheated by the makers of silica gel packets, who he must now think has written Do Not Eat just to keep that delicious gel for themselves. Hopefully Megan can convince him not to find and eat them. Ponytail is often not nice to Cueball, although in other comics it is more like she talks him down, see Code Quality, not directly trying to harm him.

The title text suggests that "Brussels Sprouts Mandela Effect" is a music band, who once were the opening act for the presumably better known band "Correct Horse Battery Staple". This latter group is a reference to 936: Password Strength. It hints at the "good name for a musical band" trope, which Randall before tried to replace by a dot tumblr dot com trope in 1025: Tumblr. Indirectly, he also suggests that Brussels Sprouts Mandela Effect would be a great long password that is now easy to remember (as long as you remember there is an S at the end of Brussels (at least in English, but not in Dutch, which is one of the official languages of Brussels/Belgium)).

For a comic about awkwardly named bands, see 119: Worst Band Name Ever.


[Cueball is standing between Ponytail and Megan talking to them.]
Cueball: I always thought of Brussels sprouts as terrible, but they're actually really good! I can't believe I let everyone mislead me!
[In a frame-less panel Megan replies. Below her is a footnote with a citation to back up her statement.]
Megan: It's not just you! Farmers developed a less-bitter cultivar like 15 years ago.*
[Back to all three as Megan continues to explain while holding her arms away from her.]
Megan: Now the whole world is having this revelation, one person at a time. It's like a real Mandela effect. We secretly switched to the parallel universe where Brussels sprouts taste good.
Cueball: Cool.
[Ponytail lifts a finger as Cueball and Megan turns to look at her.]
Ponytail: Also, licorice is good now.
Cueball: Whoa, really?
Megan: This is a trap.
Ponytail: And those silica gel packets that say "Do not eat"? Delicious.
Cueball: I knew it.


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Brussels Sprouts Mandella Effect dot Tumblr dot com--GoldNinja (talk) 00:20, 14 December 2019 (UTC)

Is liquorice really so disliked as suggested? For me it's "Meh" (Liquorice allsorts are all the better for being partnered with sweetness in various ways), but pallatable enough in its plain form. Although I admit the versions salted with ammonium chloride are a more acquired taste to my (apparently) non-European tastebuds. I won't eat those in handfulls, just the odd occasionally grabbed morsel from the bag that gets rapidly emptied by the continental person who brought them... 00:25, 14 December 2019 (UTC)

Black licorice jelly beans are good (the Twizzler fake stuff not so much), but I mostly don't like the allsorts. Tried the Finnish/European stuff, and that's just plain nasty. However, of my peers and co-workers, I'm apparently the only one that likes black licorice. Still, however, there's always plenty of the bags of black licorice jelly beans in the store around Easter, so the cohort of folk that like them is large enough that it's still profitable to stock.
Most people like liquorice in The Netherlands (which comes in various forms: sweet/salty, hard/soft etc.), it is available at most supermarkets. As for the title text, when I saw today's comic title, the first thing I thought was: is that your new password, Randall? --IByte (talk) 09:47, 14 December 2019 (UTC)
In Denmark we love it, so I guess it is mainly an American thing. Maybe it is also not so varied what types you can get if most people have an idea that they dislike it. I eat some every day. My children also likes it allot. But there are also types of licorice I do not like. I think for children in the first world it is more general that they do not like sprouts than licorice. Have added a note of this in the explanation. --Kynde (talk) 15:58, 16 December 2019 (UTC)

Silica packets are harmless to eat: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/19775/what-would-happen-if-you-ate-one-those-silica-gel-packets (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The joke (a supposedly false statement) about silica gel may be actually a true, keen observation: people are “misled” to believe that it is absolutely NOT edible (i.e. poisonous) because of the strong warning DO NOT EAT they read again and again (see e.g. [1]). Maybe this is intended; maybe it's just a joke (lie) that turned out to be true. What do you think? Yosei (talk) 04:24, 14 December 2019 (UTC)

I think you should not eat them, have added link, but the gel itself is probably not toxic, but can annoy you if eaten as in the packets. --Kynde (talk) 15:58, 16 December 2019 (UTC)

I remember eating Brusseles Sprouts as a kid and those were tasty (and expensive). I wonder if modern sprouts won't be tasty for me.

Perhaps they were expensive because they were well prepared? I too, recall eating Brussels Sprouts and thinking they were tasty...they had been steamed by a gourmet chief, in a light wine vinaigrette with white pepper, and I decided I must have been mistaken about them; later I found I still hated them, normally, and I had just had them uncommonly well prepared that one time. Normally they are not expensive, you might have been paying for the skill, not the subject. On the other hand, there is currently a widespread discussion concerning the vast difference in the currently wide-spread and almost ubiquitous “Cavendish” banana cultivar from its predecessor, almost untasted by living tongues, so it is not unheard of for a change in the produced monoculture causing consumers to suddenly, unexpectedly, finding their tastes apparently changing, despite common parlance using one generic term for all varieties of a foodstuff. Eclair Egglayer (talk) 10:06, 14 December 2019 (UTC)
I realize this is an uphill battle, but I can’t help reminiscing about how Wikipedia, about a decade ago, seemingly implied that “U.F.O.” referred to “a pseudoscientific belief in ‘flying saucers’ piloted by little green men from the planet Mars” rather than being a military and aeronautical term referring to a wide range of common phenomena, some of which are claimed, by some, to be evidence for a widely known pseudoscientific theory. I will refrain from mentioning more recent questionable editing of Wikipedia, as I don’t want to bring any more hotheaded contention to what is already a hopeless struggle, but many of you are familiar with the sort of thing I am referring to. I am aware that Randal’s characters referring to a “real Mandela Effect” already has the implication that “the Mandela Effect is not real”, but do we really want to contribute to the growing conflation of observed and documented phenomena with the pseudoscience explanations for them, simply because the pseudoscience occupies more of the popular consciousness? The redirect currently points to a subsection of a Wikipedia article on False Memories; surely we don’t want to add to any further confusion in common parlance between False Memories and esoteric explanations for them involving alternate realities? Before you dismiss my concerns, think about how often you encounter a firm conviction that “anyone who believes in UFOs is crazy or stupid”, or even more bizarre claims like “Flat Earthers aren’t real” (rather than “Flat Earthers are real people who believe in a particular pseudoscientific theory”). Just because the popular discussion of the Mandela Effect is dominated by discussions that conflate the phenomenon of commonalities in miss-remembered history, with a particular pseudoscientific explanation, must we accept that sociologists and psychologists can no longer discuss the former, because it is firmly settled, in the non-scientific discussions of the day, that any such conversation must be about that latter? Eclair Egglayer (talk) 09:51, 14 December 2019 (UTC)
Tried to read your statment but could not understand the point. Mandela effect is not real! UFO as in from aliens are not real. But of course an object you do not know what is that flies is a UFO. But not from outer space. Cannot understand your objections. Are they against Randall's comic or this explanation? --Kynde (talk) 15:58, 16 December 2019 (UTC)
The "Mandela Effect" is real; the multiverse explanation for that effect is (probably) not real. I think the source of their frustration is that even folks like Randall frequently equate the most well known pseudoscience explanation for the Mandela Effect with the term itself, to such an extent that statements like "the Mandela Effect is not real" are relatively common, despite the fact that the effect clearly is real (I've experienced it myself, from Mandela's untimely death to looking at a book on the shelf & asking my Mom whether the title was pronounced ber-en-steen or ber-en-stiyne). The term references an effect which is real in connection with a theory that is probably not correct; I'm not aware of any early usage of "Mandela Effect" that is not connected to a multiverse merger theory, but phrasings like "real Mandela Effect" or "Mandela Effect is not real" are taking hold of the wrong end of the stick to some extent, in that the effect certainly is real enough, despite the term apparently being coined in connection with one theory that is plainly unprovable & likely malarkey. "False memory" does not differentiate the phenomena from other incorrect knowledge; in particular, with the Mandela Effect there's often no significant reason for the false memory to have formed except that the information involved was typically not of huge lifestyle altering importance to the subject at the time, amounting to a "factoid" which the subject misinterpreted &\or memorized incorrectly. Typical explanations for false memories of events important to the subject's life include unacceptable mental trauma, or falsehoods intentionally implanted by others; In the case of typical Mandela Effect symptoms, there's no readily explicable reason for that detailed-but-false memory to have formed, except that we thought about it more afterward than we actually paid attention to it at the time. A term distinguishing trivial (yet strong) false memories of this type from vitally relevant false memories of the more nefarious type would be welcome, unfortunately Mandela Effect is so specifically linked to multiverse theory that it cannot function as a distinguishing term in this respect (without being dismissed, anyway). In short: the Mandela Effect is real, whether the theory attached to it is correct or not.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 14:46, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

The title text referenced the password strength comic, and I had to go back and check that the comic's example password was really "correcthorsebatterystaple". (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I found out that the new sprouts actually came out in 1999. See: nieuwe zoete spruitjes (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

...Huh. That means that the tasty Brussels sprouts I've eaten as a kid might have already been the new variety (I was 7 years old in 1999, and I think those memories go back farther than that, but I'm not actually very sure). -- 20:24, 14 December 2019 (UTC)
Don't think so, it probably took a few years before they were cultivated in the US. In the Netherlands and the rest of Europe they have not broken through at all. 1999 was the year it was developed. 21:48, 16 December 2019 (UTC)

When my mother prepared brussel sprouts when I was a child, she would boil them to tenderness, aka just short of boiling them to death. This tended to leach all the soluble stuff, like sugars and vitamins, into the water and emphasize the sulphur compounds. In more recent times, I have had them prepared better and prepared them myself better (cut in half through the stem, drizzle with oil and roast or pan fry) and they can be very tasty. Nutster (talk) 18:02, 15 December 2019 (UTC)

Ugh. I always loved sprouts as a kid. Proper loved 'em. They're OK now, but the only thing bitter about eating them now is me: nobody who hated them had any duty to eat them but, because they somehow felt they did, growers created a blander version that haters would tolerate. Wouldn't it have been better - for everybody concerned - to leave them alone?! Those who liked them would eat them, those who didn't wouldn't, and we'd all be happy. Now we have everybody saying sprouts are no good - either because of the entrenched idea that it's an accepted fact, or because these once-tasty delights have been replaced by little nuggets of bland greenness. Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 18:06, 15 December 2019 (UTC)

Oh, and the Mandela Effect: frustrating to everyone in the parts of the world with better reportage on 1980s South Africa, to whom it's like saying 'But surely Tom Cruise died in that plane crash along with Madonna, Bill Gates and Emperor Hirohito in 1987! I fucking REMEMBER it!' Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 18:06, 15 December 2019 (UTC)

I was really damn confused by the alt text until I read the explanation. I kept thinking "saw them open" meant "cut through them" 08:13, 16 December 2019 (UTC)

Yes this was one of those few moments where I mus admit I would never have understood this my self, and also not have been able to search my way to it. BevauseI really never go to a concert with a opening act. --Kynde (talk) 15:58, 16 December 2019 (UTC)
Now this is concerning. There may be a lot more people smiling politely than I'd realised. My family have always made "that sounds like a band name" jokes about phrases that appear in the news, etc. (and it's accepted enough a trope that nobody has to say "that sounds like a band name"), so of course I do that outside a family setting too. It never occurred to me that people might not have a clue what I mean if I say "Large Hadron Collider? I preferred their early stuff." or somesuch. "Ah, Ukrainian Quid Pro Quo. Such a shame it was written off as just a difficult second album."Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 23:52, 16 December 2019 (UTC)
I guess it depends on the way you say it, the context, and the quality. Even though I got the title text on the first try, because I am a regular concert-goer, the puns in your examples are more clearly referring to music. Also it is usually easier to convey such a joke when talking directly to someone, compared to in writing. --Lupo (talk) 07:15, 17 December 2019 (UTC)
Meanwhile, I just ran a search for "Bevausel" while trying to understand your post & only after I saw similar typos in context did I realise you meant to write "Because I"... Bevausel sounded like a band name to me, but that didn't help me make sense of the sentence. Bevausel only performs at one-act shows, presumably? (Also, I've never seen a show where only one act performed; there's always been an intro.)
ProphetZarquon (talk) 14:46, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

Comic seems to have been updated to fix the NPR reference number 10:27, 16 December 2019 (UTC)

I have updated the image, but usually it takes some hours before the new version will be present on this page. --Kynde (talk) 15:58, 16 December 2019 (UTC)

An important thing to note about Brussels sprouts' bitterness is that it doesn't exist for everyone; there are plenty of people for whom Brussels sprouts of any sort simply don't taste bitter because they don't have the requisite taste receptors. Magic9mushroom (talk) 14:41, 17 December 2019 (UTC)