588: Pep Rally

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Pep Rally
You know, pep rallies weirded me out in high school, and they've only gotten creepier in retrospect.
Title text: You know, pep rallies weirded me out in high school, and they've only gotten creepier in retrospect.


Any American who went to high school (I wouldn't presume to speak for other countries) remembers the convocations they had during football or basketball season, in which class would be interrupted and everyone was crowded into the gymnasium for a pep rally. Cheerleaders would cheer, they'd play the school fight song, the cheerleader might do a routine, and the team would be introduced.

This is used to inspire school spirit and get people excited about attending the games, so that they'd come to the games and spend money on tickets and concessions. A common boast at pep rallies is "Our school is the best!"

"But wait," says one of the students, quite logically. Why is our school the best? The student population is simply made up of students living in the general ZIP code of the school's location. There's no intrinsic reason why this school is any better than the rest of them in any way that really matters in real life. And even having the #1 basketball team in the state doesn't mean the students there are any "better" than anyone else.

This comic subverts the usual expectation of unanimous agreement with the cheerleader's sentiment, and reminds you that people who go to other schools, root for other teams, aren't bad people. (And Randall would no doubt argue that this is the same of people who follow a different religion than you, are a different ethnicity, or have a different political party affiliation).

The alt-text says that Randall was weirded out by pep rallies growing up, and now that he's older, finds them even more creepy. Really, if you think about it, pep rallies are a less extreme example of any cult of personality gathering. There are arguably a lot of parallels between a high school pep rally and, say, a military rally under a brutal dictatorship.


[A cheerleader stands in front of crowded bleachers.]
[The cheerleader is waving pompoms.]
Cheerleader: Lakeview High is the best!
Crowd: Yeah!
Someone: Wait, why?
Cheerleader: What?
Voice: A guy on the North High football team helped me rebuild my deck.
Voice: It seems ungrateful to presume we're better.
Voice: I mean, school districts are just based on zip codes.
Voice #2: Their principal donated a kidney to my dad.
Voice: I'm texting with my friend there now. He says it's okay, and we're invited to their events if we want.
Voice: But he sounded kind of hurt.
Voice #2: Why are we doing this, rally, again?
[The cheerleader looks dejected.]

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Reminds me of the whole traditional situation that various war leaders would inspire the troops prior to a battle with the whole "I spoke to God(/equivalent), and He is with us!" sort of thing. Presumably similar speeches were being made by his opposing number. And then there's the comedic subversion of "I had a little chat with God, last night and... I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. But you'll still try your best, right chaps?" 00:11, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Various times in the Bible, the leader would ask if they'd win this fight. God would say no, and the leader would refuse to fight. They only went headfirst into losing fights when they didn't listen to God. So there wasn't that subversion really. At least, not from their point of view. Cflare (talk) 15:38, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
You know, I think he may have got that from somewhere else. 13:07, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

I remember back in high school (not to far back), I once gave an obnoxious and over the top rant in APUSH comparing the high school rally to nationalistic propaganda indoctrinating Americans into an Us-Them Mentality. My APUSH teacher found it hilarious. We also had an Anti-Rally, where all the students (and teachers) who didn’t want to go to the rally would go hang by the cafeteria and play Cards Against Humanity, Mau, Ninja, or whatever else came to mind. I have a distinct memory of my Robotics teacher watching me friends and I play CAH. Also of playing CAH during APUSH and AP Lit after the AP Tests. This has nothing to do with anything, this just reminded me of those events and I thought people may find it amusing. If i’m Off base here, then I apologize. -- Comment Police (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Perhaps we should include a mention of the extraneous comma in the final panel ("...this, rally, again?") as a typo?-DrKaii -- Comment Police (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

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