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No. 444: #also #known #as #octothorpe-insignia

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#also #known #as #octothorpe-insignia

First | Previous | 2016-07-28 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/dinosaur/?comic=444

Strip by: Andrew Coker

T-Rex: An introductory guide on the correct use of
T-Rex: The hashtag character can be accessed by holding down the shift key and pressing '3'.
T-Rex: On mobile devices—
Utahraptor: Let me stop you.
Utahraptor: You're totally #trexplaining this to me just now.
T-Rex: That's the way!
T-Rex: Now you can find all my useful advice in one place!
Credit line: #www.qwantz.com

The author writes:

This comic is funny for several reasons, which shall now be explained in some detail. It is predicated on the combination of two contemporary concepts, namely:

  1. hashtags, which are strings of characters forming a word, words, or an abbreviation, prefixed by the "#" character. The so-formed hashtags serve as labels identifying concepts or themes in textual or image content which may be attached to them in social media postings on such services as Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Hashtags are useful for identifying broad topics that may be contained within a social media post, and for searching for posts containing topics of interest.
  2. mansplaining, which is the condescending, oblivious, and sexist practise of male humans when they assume superior knowledge over a woman or women, and then proceed to explain to the woman something which the woman might already very well either know already, or genuinely have either no interest or need to know. "Mansplain" is a portmanteau word, composed of the words "man" and "explain", whose relevance should be clear to the reader, given the previous explanation.

T-Rex begins by launching into a condescending explanation of how to use hashtags. In the third panel, he explains how to type the hash character "#", which is a procedure that virtually everyone reading this comic would already know very well. Amusingly, T-Rex mistakenly calls it the "hashtag character", rather than the accepted "hash character", thus demonstrating that he may not be as knowledgeable as he pretends to be. The hash character is also sometimes known as the "number sign" because it is often used as an abbreviation for the word "number" when placed before a series of numerical digits, and sometimes as the "pound sign" because of its usage to indicate a measurement of a number of pounds of mass (though not a number of pounds of United Kingdom currency, nor indeed the currency of any of the other nations who use pounds, such as Egypt, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, or Syria—these pounds are indicated by the different "pound symbol" written thus: £), and sometimes as an "octothorpe" from the Greek οκτω ("eight"), referring to the number of line segments extending from the centre of the character.

Utahraptor interrupts T-Rex, complaining that T-Rex is "totally #trexplaining" things to him. This is amusing for the following reasons:

  1. "trexplaining" is a new portmanteau, based on the aforementioned "mansplaining", but here modified to use T-Rex's name. The meaning should be clear to readers familiar with mansplaining, as a claim that T-Rex is being condescending in his explanation of hashtags to Utahraptor. Ha ha!
  2. Utahraptor prepends the hash character to "trexplaining", thus forming a hashtag! This demonstrates that Utahraptor already knows what a hashtag is, and so T-Rex doesn't need to explain it to him at all.
  3. The new portmanteau "trexplaining" actually contains within it the full word "explain", which makes it a cleverer and better portmanteau than the original "mansplaining", because now it is a pun, or play on words. Ha ha!
  4. Utahraptor is a male, not a female. This shows that the phenomenon of trexplaining is not restricted to members of one gender, but in fact that T-Rex condescends to anyone who is not a Tyrannosaurus rex. That is pretty oblivious and speciesist of him!

T-Rex's response is not the expected, "Oh, I am sorry. I shall modify my behaviour to avoid being condescending to you." That would not be funny. Instead, his response shows that T-Rex assumes Utahraptor is making a valiant attempt at using a hashtag, and T-Rex is providing condescending encouragement, thus cementing his role within this comic as that of the oblivious trexplainer. That is the joke. Ha ha!

The final panel contains a topper to the joke. A topper is an additional piece of humour which follows the punchline. (Wikipedia does not contain an article about toppers, but Wikihow has an article on how to write a joke, which explains what a topper is and contains a section on writing toppers.) The topper is T-Rex stating that now Utahraptor can find all his useful advice in one place. This is predicated on the idea that hashtags can be used to search for content. Now that Utahraptor "understands" hashtags, T-Rex assumes that he would want to use them to look up more "useful advice" that T-Rex has to offer. But we know that T-Rex's advice is likely to more trexplaining, and in fact not very useful at all! Ha ha ha!

As a bonus, the credit line under the comic has been modified by placing a hash character in front of the website address www.qwantz.com. This is the website of the original Dinosaur Comics, created by Ryan North, and starring none other than T-Rex and Utahraptor. The implication when combined with the topper panel above is that perhaps this is the place where Utahraptor might search to find more of T-Rex's "useful advice". And in fact if the reader goes to the site www.qwantz.com, what is revealed is a website full of comics with T-Rex giving explanations and advice! This is very clever, and may provide additional amusement to the reader savvy enough to understand it. Ha ha!