Difference between revisions of "666: Silent Hammer"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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(general trivia not trivia)
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:Cueball, off-panel: Chair of the American Skeptics Society? Oh, god.
:Cueball, off-panel: Chair of the American Skeptics Society? Oh, god.
:Black Hat: Yeah, this doesn't end well for him.
:Black Hat: Yeah, this doesn't end well for him.
The number of this comic (666) just happens to be {{w|The Number Of The Beast}}, or the "devil" number (the devil being a supernatural entity, which skeptics believe to not exist).
{{comic discussion}}
{{comic discussion}}
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Black Hat]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Black Hat]]

Revision as of 06:48, 4 September 2014

Silent Hammer
'I bet he'll keep quiet for a couple weeks and then-- wait, did you nail a piece of scrap wood to my antique table a moment ago?'
Title text: 'I bet he'll keep quiet for a couple weeks and then-- wait, did you nail a piece of scrap wood to my antique table a moment ago?'


Black Hat has created a set of tools that work in complete silence so that he can go to the house of the chairman of the American Skeptics Society late at night, do some rearranging of walls and moving of windows, just to screw with him in typical Black Hat fashion. A skeptic is someone who questions knowledge, facts and beliefs, especially of supernatural phenomena like the existence of poltergeists which Black Hat is trying to imitate with his rearranging and scratching noises.

The American Skeptics Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting skeptical and critical thinking in education and public discourse. The executive editor, Michael Shermer, is a leading proponent of skepticism, and has written many books and articles debunking pseudoscience, fringe science, quack medicine, alien abductions, conspiracy theories and supernatural phenomena. The Skeptic Society website [1] and Skeptic magazine feature a lot of material debunking anecdotal accounts of these phenomena, explaining how events like "hauntings" could have occurred without supernatural intervention.

One of the premises of modern skepticism is that the supernatural is not rejected out of hand; if a skeptic ever encountered an event with no possible explanation other than a supernatural one, he would be forced to acknowledge the existence of that type of supernatural force or entity. Skeptics maintain that no such event has ever occurred. Black Hat's prank is designed to give Mr. Shermer a seemingly supernatural experience that he would not be able to debunk, so he would have to accept a supernatural explanation, to the detriment of his life's work and that of the society he runs.

In the title text Cueball realizes that Black Hat has (probably intentionally) ruined his antique table by demonstrating his silent hammer.


[Black Hat is hammering something on a table.]
Cueball: What—
Black Hat: Silent hammer. I've made a set of silent tools.
Cueball: Why?
Hammer: woosh woosh woosh
Black Hat: Stealth carpentry. Breaking into a house at night and moving windows, adjusting walls, etc.
[He takes his silent hammer over to a tool bench with other things on it. Two boxes underneath are labeled "Drills" and "Non-Drills."]
Black Hat, narrating: After a week or so of questioning his own sanity, the owner will stay up to watch the house at night. I'll make scratching noises in the walls, pipe in knockout gas, move him up to his bed, and never bother him again.
[The events he's describing are shown in two mini-panels below.]
Cueball, off-panel: Nice prank, I guess, but what's the point?
Black Hat: Check out the owner's card, on the table.
Cueball, off-panel: Chair of the American Skeptics Society? Oh, god.
Black Hat: Yeah, this doesn't end well for him.

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I took the comic to be less about a haunting and more about a "Did that really happen to me?" Especially when considering that Black Hat never bothers him again. 08:16, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Quite so. People who manage to pass the course for most sciences tend to become sceptical. I think that this is to allow them to worship the beast more readily than the uneducated would. -- Weatherlawyer (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The comic number is 666… Is this intentional, given the creepy premise of the comic?

I would think so; after all, Hat guy is metaphorically the devil of this comic. --Fallencrow305 (talk) 21:56, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

I disagree with the Title Text explanation. My guess is that Black Hat was still talking, but Cueball was just being Cueball by absentmindedly trying out the silent hammer with the first piece of wood he found. Cody Hackins (talk) 03:54, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

I doubt it, the first comic shows black hat doing the act. I do think that Cueball could show black hat a use for those drills though.

I don't understand the "this doesn't end well for him" part. Nothing that bad really happened to the guy. 15:20, 10 May 2021 (UTC)