1. @ Phil – The strip posted above doesn’t seem directly related to the one before it, although it might be possible to theorize a connection (between “impossible goals”, and “giving up”). There’s nothing following after it (at least not yet).

    P.S. Shouldn’t the tag list her whole name (Dorothy Gambrell)? Right now it looks like Toto is expected to show up.

  2. Thanks for the tip about the artist credit tag. Sigh, I think we’ll need to put up with having both forms (for threading continuity) until we figure out how to unify them.

  3. @ Mitch – I just checked the results from both tag forms, there are now no posts tagged “dorothy” that are not also tagged “dorothy-gambrell”. So I think you could just eliminate all the “dorothy” tags, and they will never be missed.

  4. I think I like 80% get it, but a few clarifications would help. For starters, “This country” — USA? Canada? UK? Somewhere else?
    So, to the best of my understanding, for some reason the girl wants to quit or give up, but apparently she finds this is no longer possible, because others will quickly take up what she has surrendered and monetize it. What or why she wants to quit is not entirely clear to me, but let’s take it she has good reason, but can’t, and so laments the fact in a nostalgic fashion; then she sarcastically gives examples: no gutter can she find to lie in, they’re all going to be owned by AirBnB and private equity. Moving to another country is suggested, since she specifically laments that in this country she can’t give up/ surrender, but again, it would help to know specifically which country is being referred to.
    Next she give as an example going into a river with rocks in her pockets (presumably to drown herself as a way of giving up), but she thinks you can’t do that without becoming part of someone else’s content. (How exactly, I’m not sure; is there a recent example of someone’s suicide being monetized by someone else?) “Maybe you could give up there” — in the river? In someone else’s content? Not really sure what is meant by that, but she gos off into a rant about everything being owned and monetized. (I guess this might refer very specifically to YouTube? Is that the missing context? She wants to stop doing her YouTube channel, but there is some recent precedent that you can only abandon it, and it will be picked up by others who will monetize it? Or maybe zombie comic strips??)
    Anyway, the conversation takes a turn to the bizarre when it is suggested she could leave Midguard, which is where we mortals live under Norse Mythology, or more specifically, under the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s monetized version of Norse mythology. Cynical rebuttal that you can only leave Midguard (and get into Asguard) if your parents are Gods, again all referring to Norse mythology, but really just referring to some recent Marvel comic book movies.
    Next up: move to the animal kingdom, but she mistakenly thinks that requires money, but really, it’s all about nepotism there (well, not quite: what’s the word for nepotism when it doesn’t require blood relation?); so, he’s a cat, she knows him, so she makes puppy eyes at him, so that he will get her into the animal kingdom. Punchline, and call-back to the Norse mythology.

    So, hopefully a reference to current events I missed would make it all clear, otherwise, it’s semi-coherent rantings from a paranoid brain with too many obscure referents — time to up the medication…

  5. I feel like my explanation sounds very much like ChatGPT; they’ve been fooling around with using ChatGPT at explainxkcd.com, and it’s actually surprising how good it can be (and how authoritatively wrong it can be), and how wishy-washy useless it can be…

  6. answering my own question here:
    what’s the word for nepotism when it doesn’t require blood relation?

    PS: Kilby, I thought you meant me for a second, because for some reason all my “else’s” got a red underline, but they I saw “elses'” in the strip.

  7. Kilby: no, it’s paranoia on my part, since I saw all those flagged potential errors and ignored them, I thought, damn, I did make a mistake (well, actually, I made several).

  8. larK, I fed your comment from 9:50 AM into ChatGPT, and here’s how it continues it:

    Based on the information provided in the comic, the country being referred to is not explicitly stated. It could be any country where the phenomenon of monetizing every aspect of life exists.

    Regarding the example of going into a river with rocks in her pockets, the character seems to be saying that even if she were to try to give up in that way, someone else would inevitably turn it into content for their own profit or gain. This is likely a commentary on the idea that many personal or private moments are now being captured and shared publicly for the sake of content creation and monetization.

    The suggestion of leaving Midgard, the realm of mortals in Norse mythology, is likely a reference to the idea of escaping from the commercialization and monetization of modern society. However, the character’s cynical response suggests that such an escape is not possible for most people.

    The idea of moving to the animal kingdom and relying on nepotism to gain entry is likely a commentary on the ways in which social connections and privilege can give people an advantage in life, even in non-human contexts.

    Overall, the comic seems to be commenting on the pervasive influence of commercialization and monetization in modern society, and the difficulty of escaping its reach.

  9. Clarkesworld online magazine recently stopped accepting new story submissions because they were overwhelmed with ChatGPT-written stories from people who can’t write but want to make a fast buck. The editor said the quality was the worst he’s seen in 17 years. It made me wonder, though: what if one used ChatGPT for a first draft and then reworked it, using one’s actual human talent?

  10. re:”Next she give as an example going into a river with rocks in her pockets (presumably to drown herself as a way of giving up), but she thinks you can’t do that without becoming part of someone else’s content. (How exactly, I’m not sure; is there a recent example of someone’s suicide being monetized by someone else?)”

    Not recent, but the most famous example of someone who suicided thus is Virginia Woolf in 1941 (and there’s still a lively — monetized? — interest in Woolf’s life, work, and general image).

  11. You’re all familiar with collage, for instance the work of Max Ernst. That is considered art and copyrightable. If you select parts of ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion text and art to create something, is that not collage? Should it not be copyrightable?

  12. Boise Ed: “…what if one used ChatGPT for a first draft and then reworked it, using one’s actual human talent?”

    I’ve heard this as one of the main recommended uses.

  13. MiB says: You’re all familiar with collage, for instance the work of Max Ernst.

    I treasure my copy of Une semaine de bonté

  14. I wanted to see what information ChatGPT had about me, so I entered my own name. It did not come up with me, or a televangelist with the same name, or a comedian with the same name. Instead, it found an obscure (to me) German poet.

    So, I hit the retry button, and it came up with a man with a slightly different spelling of my last name (different vowels). His bio was pretty impressive (if true … see below)

    I hit the retry button again, and it gave me the biography of a very famous sports coach, with the same first name but only a few last name letters in common.

    I hit the retry button again, and it said it couldn’t find anyone and asked for more information. So I asked for “my name” who worked at “my company”. It then gave an interesting biography, with nice claims that I would be too modest to make for myself, but with my actual titles somewhat garbled and adding that I had worked at two other companies in the same industry that I hadn’t worked at. Oddly, since both OpenAI and LinkedIn are part of Microsoft, none of the information came from my LinkedIn profile.

    And — this is key — none of the information was sourced in any way. It found bad information from somewhere, and spewed it back to me in a way that would make it impossible to correct.

  15. I asked ChatGPT to write an obituary for “[My name], the famous American pianist.” It got my age right, and that I’m American and play the piano, but nothing else. Maybe it was confused by “famous” which is one thing I am not. Apparently I went to Juilliard, played with orchestras all over the world, taught many many students, and will be missed.

  16. larK – I did not know that nepotism required a blood relationship. It seems to me that whether I favored my sister or her husband it would still be nepotism even though he is not a blood relationship. Similarly if I favored Robert’s sister (or his BIL) it also would not be nepotism if a blood relationship is needed. What about my step-nephew (I only refer to him as same for this discussion, normally he would just be referred to as “my other nephew”. )

    Though I would include all of these in- laws being favored as nepotism also.

  17. Nepotism is defined as

    the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives, friends, or associates, especially by giving them jobs.

    No blood required.

  18. Doing a quick web search, most of the definitions I find refer to “kinship” or “family relationship”. e.g. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nepotism :

    “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship”

    which I would take to include all family relationships, include non-genetic ones (e.g. husband, step-nephew), but not generally friends and associates. I see from phsiicudu’s comment that there is a definition that includes friends and associates, but I wouldn’t regard that as the “core” usage oft the term.

  19. And I might have buried it, but I did proffer up “cronyism” as a better term for what I was looking for, ie: “it’s about who you know”.

  20. So I guess something to learn from the second example is that the two characters basically go off on their own tangents, not listening or reacting (much) to what the other is saying. So you get an initial introduction of a subject by the girl, and then the cat goes off on his own tangents, and the girl goes on with her rant, and then hopefully they intersect towards the end for some kind of punch-line.

  21. @ larK – I’m sure that “Cat & Girl” has plenty of dedicated fans, and I have to admit to mildly liking two or three of the examples that have appeared at CIDU, but the vast majority are simply too much work for not enough payoff. That’s the same reason that I quit following David Malki’s “Wondermark“, preferring instead to concentrate only on the occasional examples that show up at CIDU.

  22. Well put. There are other strips that fall into the “too much work” category.

    OTOH XKCD is enough work that explainxkcd exists. But the payoff is great enough that it’s worth it (for me).

    Current Nancy is often in the TMW column for me.

    On March 4, 2023 12:09:58 AM Comics I Don’t Understand

  23. I was at one point one of those followers, to the extent of having a quote in my usenet .sig file for a time. I don’t know how I lost interest exactly.

  24. Bluejay pulls a four-horse plow,
    Sparrow why can’t you?
    ‘Cause my legs is little and long
    And they might get broke in two.

  25. Cats don’t tend to have enemies, do they? That’s more a dog thing — the mailman, the car they chase (what would they ever do if they caught it?), any squirrel; cats tend to just deal with things coldly and efficiently — unless they feel in the mood to play with it, but that’s sort of my point — they see the mouse as a toy, not an enemy to be dealt with. So, cats are obsessed with birds, but unless constrained, they will do something about that damn bird, like grab it out of the air and eat it. They won’t be eating their hearts out observing it, getting irrationally jealous when it gets rich… unless you constrain the cat. I guess that’s what this is, observations on cat behavior when said cat can’t get out, only stare out the window. The cats I have known were outdoor cats, so they tended to get things done.

  26. In this case just a reader stand-in — the person observing all this, the person to question the cat’s irrational behavior, allowing the cat to explain that this particular sparrow is a rich sparrow, and we all hate the rich, right?

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