825: Guest Week: Jeffrey Rowland (Overcompensating)

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Guest Week: Jeffrey Rowland (Overcompensating)
Guest comic by Jeffrey Rowland of Overcompensating/Wigu. Jeffrey is famous as the picture on the Wikipedia article on 'Necrosis'.
Title text: Guest comic by Jeffrey Rowland of Overcompensating/Wigu. Jeffrey is famous as the picture on the Wikipedia article on 'Necrosis'.


Randall himself (looking like Black Hat) is talking to Jeffrey Rowland (sitting with a drink), who writes the popular webcomics Overcompensating and Wigu. That it is supposed to be these two real people is clear from the official transcript on xkcd.

This may be a reference to Scott Adams' God's Debris, in which a delivery guy has a long conversation about the nature of the universe with an old man. While often dealing with complex questions, the old man in the story presents arguments in a very straightforward way. Some have called some of the arguments in the book very clever and original, albeit overly simplistic. This comic could be a parody on that style of philosophy. The ridiculous theory of Jeffrey's about the correlation between Dark Matter and consciousness is perhaps a reference to Dust in author Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, in which Dust is the associated particle with the Rusakov "consciousness" field, interpreted in our universe as Dark Matter. He then postulates that the reason we can't see dark matter is that we are conscious ourselves, alluding to the urban legend that, much like how a watched pot never boils, the mailman will never deliver if you are watching. He then moves on to the subject of ghosts, perpetuating the idea of how far-flung and implausible his "theories" are.

Traditionally, turkey is the main dish of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Thus, the theory mentioned in the last panel is that turkeys started the holiday in order to drive themselves to extinction. This is a reference to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (which merely advocated for people not reproducing. The "Turkey Voluntary Extinction Movement" took this to a much higher level by promoting the mass slaughter of turkeys.)

The title text is completely true: After a brown recluse spider bit him, Rowland started experiencing cell death in his leg. Although the wound itself is benign, it still is featured in Wikipedia articles (such as Loxoscelism). This is the picture of the leg and this is the famous picture in the Necrosis article.

Guest Week was a series of five comics written by five other comic authors. They were released over five consecutive days (Monday-Friday); not over the usual Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule.
The five comics are:


[Jeffrey Rowland and Randall wearing a black hat are sitting together. There is a big globe between them. Mr. Rowland has a drink with a small umbrella over it.]
Jeffrey Rowland: But enough of my theories about Thanksgiving. The real reason we're here is to discuss my hypothesis that dark matter itself is what consciousness is made of...
[The frame focuses on Jeffrey Rowland.]
Jeffrey Rowland: Unobservable to anything that is itself conscious in much the same way the mail-man won't deliver your mail if you are watching the mail-box
[Mr. Rowland raises his drink. The globe is now much smaller than in the first frame.]
Jeffrey Rowland: Which brings us to my theory about ghosts-
Randall Munroe: Wait did you just say Thanksgiving was invented by the Turkey Voluntary Extinction Movement?

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The Turkey Voluntary Extinction Movement has to be a riff on the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (www.vhemt.org [I'm not sure what the "t" is doing there] ). Alas, their primary purpose seems to be selling TShirts (their site concludes with the FAQ Question: How do I order stickers, T-shirts, and stuff?)Traveller (talk) 23:06, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

The "t" is probably there so the acronym can be pronounced "vehement". And the lack of organization is probably because it is no organization but a movement, i.e. just some people advertising an ideology. Their primary purpose is to convince you not to have kids. Mumiemonstret (talk) 14:11, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

The Globe shrinks noticeably between the first and last panels. --ParadoX (talk) 01:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

I believe that was intentional. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Removed the bit about supposed turkey stupidity. There's no evidence (aside from "everybody knows/says" type arguments) to support it, and plenty to discredit the assertion. See, for example: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/release/2003/11/osu-animal-scientist-debunks-dumb-turkey-myth Orazor (talk) 10:33, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps the dark matter/consciousness correlation is a reference to Dust in Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials"?

I don't know anything specifically about Jeffrey Rowland's necrosis, but as a general point, I'm going to stand up for the brown recluses here: https://spiders.ucr.edu/myth-brown-recluse-fact-fear-and-loathing L-Space Traveler (talk) 12:23, 5 November 2022 (UTC)