Cosmic Sans

I wrote at least three different comics about “Darmok.” I am definitely making at least one of them, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to save it for later or just do it now. I also haven’t decided if I’m just going to give up HijiNKS ENSUE and FANEURYSM and just make Darmok comics every day until I’m dead. Decisions are tough. It feels like that one time… with Temba… and the arms or whatever. Metaphors are also tough.


As much as I love “Darmok,” I do take issue with it. Actually, I take a metric assload of issue with it. Let’s assume that at some point the Tamarians didn’t talk like stupid idiots. They HAD to have regular language at some point in order to pass down the stories that allow their metaphors to be relatable. So perhaps they gave up on coherent speech as a people at some point and the Head Tamarian In Charge said, “Guys, here me out. We all know about Darmok, and Temba, and Shaka and what they were all about and what not. How’s about when I finish THIS SENTENCE, we only speak in reference to our shared cultural stories from here on out starrrrrtiiiiiinnnnnng…. NOW?”

I’m sure it worked out great for maybe a day or two, and everyone felt super cool about their complicated new way of not really communicating very well, and how funny it was that they were super frustrating to every other species in the Galaxy, but then… THEN someone needed to find a way to say, “Hey, I think I dropped the remote behind the couch when I was vacuuming. Can you reach back there and check? I would, but you know how my back is.” Then it was just kill or be killed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Captain Dathon and his crew were the last six surviving Tamarians. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were only six of them left and they had JUST started talking this way maybe 6 weeks ago.

Of course it makes a hell of a lot more sense if you consider that maybe they only speak that way in adulthood, or in formal settings, or if they belong to a particular religion are political affiliation, or if they are high born or when they want to infuriate an uncharacteristically dense in this particular episode Starfleet Captain until they are eaten by an invisible monster in order to prove a point.

If you missed the first FANEURYSM comic, it is HERE. If you missed what FANEURYSM is all about, read this excerpt from the previous blog post:

I’ve decided to start making a new, supplemental comic, in the vein of the old LoFi-Jinks comics, which will serve as the comic that “comic Joel” actually makes in the HEniverse. […] I’m starting off with a few comics about Star Trek: TNG to serve as the basis for the conversation in THIS HE comic.

Check out the new comic navigation beneath the comics! 

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 6.32.57 PM

You can now more easily navigate between the different kinds of comics (HEFaneurysmHE ClassicLoFiGuest ComicsPhoto Comics and Con Sketches) with the “Prev. Cat” and “Next Cat.” buttons. You can also click the archive button to be taken to a list of categories with descriptions for each.

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  1. darmoke.jpg

    Also, why does Data look like Ted Shaw (aka Ezri Dax's murderous brother, since we're talking about Star Trek)?

  2. Bahahahahaha*gasp*hahahahahahaha!!!!
    This. and your comments about it. (loved the ep, but I had issues with it, too)
    Much funny.

  3. I explained it all in my Damok fanfic: the universal translator can only interpret their language in metaphor. Much like a Canadian in Louisiana.

  4. What Picard doesn't know is that Tembla Before the Walls is their longest-running sitcom, and these guys are the equivalent of that guy who speaks in Monty Python quotes 90% of the time.

  5. I had big problems with "Darmok," too, when it first aired (I am old). How the hell does a language like that deal with new technology? At some point, you HAVE to invent new terminology, otherwise what everyone else calls a "solid-fuel booster rocket," YOU have to call "Ted and Bill at Bill's house, times a million. The bird flew." Ridiculously cumbersome. Eventually, the whole civilization would collapse as the people speaking in metaphors were all murdered my the people screaming "I DON'T KNOW THAT STORY!! JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU FUCKING WANT!!"

    • Picard probably encountered a ship full of mental patients who were being sent to a new space hospital when they went berserk and overthrew the actual crew.

  6. I never really questioned it growing up. I sort of see it like a gradual lingual shift over the course of centuries. At first language was "normal" but over time, people just kept quoting things and referencing history until eventually, that was all they remembered. In some ways, I could see English doing the same thing. I don't think it will, and even if it does it wouldn't be any time soon, but the way we use similes and metaphors so frequently could hint at that sort of future.

    That's the thing about Star Trek, in my opinion. It magnifies our current social trends onto an alien race so we can see how our actions might eventually effect our futures. Most of the races they interact with in the series are based on an aspect of our natures but amplified. Much as someone mentioned above, there's always that person who speaks 90% of the time in cultural references. If you follow that path far enough, you might get a society like the Darmok one. Star Trek helped us take another look at our lives and how ridiculous some of our habits can be. I think it's great. :).

    • "Dad, pass the potatoes please."

      "…Sikoth, his son in defiance."

      "God dammit, dad! Just pass the potatoes! I was being polite!"

      "SIKOTH! His son in bed without dinner! His X-Box taken away!"

      "….grrrr…. FINE! Jobahn, his plate lacking potatoes."

  7. Joel–

    First off, nice Patreon banner up there!
    Second, this comic laugh-choked me so hard.
    Third, then I read the alt text, and I laughed so hard that there were spots in my vision.
    Fourth, your funny almost gave me a stroke!

  8. So, after this episode, I suspect the Federation established diplomatic ties with the Tamarians. Can you imagine that early exchange?

    "Where is the bathroom?"
    "Where is the bathroom? Oh seriously, am I going to have to demonstrate?"
    (after intense miming)
    "Ah! Drevek, with the river! Temba, his fists closed."
    "No, just show me where. I don't need help."

  9. It was just that Picard met the Tamarian hipsters. They're too cool for normally constructed language.

  10. Facebook and internet memes. That's how it starts. The rest is just the normal course of evolution.

  11. SO MUCH LAUGHING. Sure, everyone else in this house thinks I'm crazy but SO worth it! Joel and fellow commenters, you rock.

  12. My question was always, how did they teach kids the stories in the first place, so that they'd have the reference points?

  13. Dammit! I actually felt "Could I switch my PhD to a linguistics emphasis to write about this?" pass through my conscious mind. Am I'm not even a TNG fan!

  14. I saw this about a year ago on Pinterest, and I just felt you should know that I remember it and laugh to myself often. Aaand of course no-one I know gets it, which I think is why I was so delighted to find it in the first place, it’s Temba his arms wide! So, thanks!

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