Life, friends, was boring. xkcd says so.

From a recent xkcd:

But kids, it’s not true! I was here before there was Internet, and I can tell you, people were not bored more often than they are now, and the boredom was not of a finer and more concentrated quality. The mouse-over text says, in an incredulous tone, “We watched DAYTIME TV. Do you realize how soul-crushing it was? But people still watch daytime TV! Even though there’s the internet! People like daytime TV.

xkcd used to take a slightly different stance on this:

Actually, it’s not clear what stance is being taken here — maybe xkcd really does think nature is of interest only insofar as as it generates ideas for status updates.

The right answer is that xkcd doesn’t think anything at all, because xkcd is a comic strip, whose job is to be funny, not to have consistent principled stances concerning how we have lived and what we should do.  There’s a post I never get around to making about how much I disagree with something in one of Louis CK’s famous bits, and one reason I never make this post is that it’s kind of dumb to argue with a comedy routine, because comedy routines are not arguments.

In conclusion, boredom is a land of contrasts.  John Berryman’s “Dream Song 14″:


 

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.


 

God I love this.

 

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4 thoughts on “Life, friends, was boring. xkcd says so.

  1. angry1541 says:

    Very nice…not normally my bag as it’s a bit on the abstract side for me, but I do like it.

  2. brett says:

    It does seem out of character for xkcd. I thought maybe Randal was being facetious but if he is, it’s pretty subtle.

  3. harrison says:

    I’m kind of surprised that you’d make a boredom-themed literary reference to someone other than David Foster Wallace, but then Berryman’s a lot more quotable than most of The Pale King.

    I’m also curious about what the Louis CK bit is that you disagree with…

  4. JSE says:

    I started writing a paragraph about The Pale King but the post was already long! Executive summary: The Pale King is awesome.

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