Back in June of 2008, Randall Munroe paid homage to a television commercial for the Discovery Channel with his “xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel” (or as many people call it, “We Love xkcd”). The comic proved to be a hit, resulting in multiple YouTube internet videos of individuals and groups of people singing the song… and in some cases acting out the scenes from each panel of the comic. While this only goes to show that Munroe’s fanbase is delightfully insane (and I say that both as a fan and someone who enjoys his fanbase), it also gave me forewarning as to how they’d respond to the latest xkcd, in which Munroe thumbed his nose at college majors to the tune of “Modern Major-General Song” by Gilbert & Sullivan.
The moment I read the comic I knew this would be put to song. And while it took a day before the first videos crept into YouTube, several imaginative (and in some cases… brave) versions to Munroe’s lyrics. The songs range from musical to straight up to off-tune… but even those videos that left me wincing still had me applauding their efforts (though I must admit some surprise someone hasn’t recorded themselves singing it slowly… and then sped it up so they could do an “Alvin and the Chipmunks” version at speed, though now that I’ve mentioned it it’s inevitable someone will try).
What’s more intriguing is the amount of work that went into this filk. Munroe not only crafted a song linking twenty-eight different majors and careers (well, assuming underwater basket weaving is a major somewhere), he linked each one so that they flowed one into the other. And then he went and drew panels for each verse that related in some way to the lyrics… and avoided the temptation to just reuse art (and lyrics) when it came to the song’s chorus. This only goes to show that Randall Munroe is able to elevate stick figure comics… to art. My hat is off to him.