Talk:1601: Isolation

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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The title text is referring to Yudkowsky's AI-Box Experiment, which was already mentioned in and explained here. -- 09:03, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

If I remember correctly, there's a letter by an Ancient Roman writer complaining that people always write stories down now instead of just telling them to each other. So this mindset has existed for much longer than two centuries. -- 09:08, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

But there had been little update in the technology behind books/writing since then and the news paper! --Kynde (talk) 09:51, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

There is someone (not logged in) that believes that the last panel indicates that it is the same Cueball through 175 years that are ignored by his friends, instead of just a jab at generic people who complains about technology. Cueball being this generic person. I highly disagree with this, but the second I changed it to something else the same IP address changed it right back. I have now made two versions of this explanation. And made it clear that it would mean Cueball and his friends were about 200 years old. Then I will leave it to someone else to choose if both of these explanations should be left in, or maybe even a third be added...? --Kynde (talk) 10:42, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Your explanation is correct and is behaving like a child. 13:41, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
It's neither! Part of the humor is the bizarre reframing that occurs in the last few panels as you suddenly begin to consider that instead of just being a representative sampling of generic people's complaints throughout the years, you suddenly consider that maybe this IS just one guy, riding his hobby-horse relentlessly throughout the decades without letup -- Dude! Take a hint! For me, especially the way he is hanging on a strap in the penultimate panel suddenly makes him seem like he's been stalking these people, following them with his opinions... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
We will have to wait until the official transcript appears. That might settle the question. 15:03, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

it says "sims" not "The Sims". "sim" is just short for "simulator". there are other things that simulate things beyond "The Sims". -- 12:16, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

I would rather say that the main explaination of the joke is a third way: -Cueball represent the kind of person that complains about people ignoring each other. The contemporaries of such kind of person are clearly annoyed by his behavior and ignore him willingly. The complainer should understand the hint that people prefer isolation much better than having to interact with him. -- 12:27, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that this is the joke. It's not that society is becoming more isolated, it's that everybody is intentionally trying to ignore Cueball, and he's not taking the hint 14:54, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Agreed -- 15:04, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

I think that "dude, it's been 2 centuries" refers to the actual notion of people complaining about social isolation due to the current relavant "media" at the time rather than cueball himself- this might be other people, but these guys are all stick figures... It's also very unlikely that someone would live this long. [citation needed] -- 12:57, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

I don't think those people are supposed to be Cueballs friends. They may be strangers, and the idea is that people don't WANT to be social with strangers. Using technology to isolate may be reaction to fact that cities force us into bigger groups that we are comfortable socializing with. -- Hkmaly (talk) 13:40, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

I thought that Cueball being centuries old WAS the joke - it looks like this is just a montage along the lines of 1227, but it was actually Cueball saying the same thing for two solid centuries.

I am inclined to agree that it's one of the jokes. I have never heard "take a hint" used to refer to things someone hadn't personally experienced. While people don't really live 2 centuries, it is a comic, not reality, and the implication he is the same Cueball makes a fun twist at the end of an obvious joke. He's poked at the history of this before, and the joke "maybe it's not technology, maybe it's your personality" has been done at least as far back as the Walkman example, probably much further. GonzoI (talk) 15:44, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Also, this is clearly a lowercase-s-sim, not The Sims. Possibly inspired by the Infinite Fun Space of Ian M Banks' Culture novels, but that's not definite enough to put it.-- 14:16, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, that struck me as odd too. Anyone care to reformat? 17:06, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Anyone else think these might be actual quotes from the relevant times? Quick Google search doesn't support that (but then Google seems to skew its results towards recent more "relevant" responses, to the detriment of historical references -- give me what some random blogger has to say over the historical context! (Google obviously hasn't incorporated this strip yet, because then this strip will be the top result for all searches, and pages like this one will be the rest...)), but maybe Randall deliberately choose obscure references. Against this idea is that when he's done this in the past [citation needed], he's put in the references. But then, maybe he's mixing it up a little.... Thoughts? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I could find nothing to support it either. I doubt it is specific quotes because some are very generic, and because the cartoonist uses the same internet as the audience. If we can't find it, I doubt that would be the joke. GonzoI (talk) 15:44, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
The style and pace and lexicon of the comments seems classically consistent with the ages being depicted. Mind you, that's what a clever person like Randall would try to do, with his dialogue. I was a little unsure about the age of "Bookworm", for the first panel, but a painting by that name was painted circa 1850, so if that was its original title then it might well be an era-accurate term for bibliophiles. 16:47, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I feel like I have actually seen at least a few of these quotes before but like you guys I don't have a source. Yet. 17:19, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Additionally, the results of a Google search for "we even read as we walk", which I thought might be the easiest thing worth trying to track down, currently displays just two results. And those are [ this site's explicit Main Page] and [ this site's implicit main page] - technically something very close to a self-referential Googlewack! (This will doubtless change, if this page's transcript is also indexed, plus the XKCD original's transcript, plus other places chatting about this even including the XKCD Sucks blog, I'm sure. If it isn't already different for other, non-UK, Google front-ends...) 20:54, 9 November 2015 (UTC)