Poor things.

This entry was posted in inequality. Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Poor things.

  1. bzh says:

    I swear, Jessica. You are amazing.
    Thank you for today’s reminder about what really matters.
    Happy Friday.

  2. bzh says:

    P.S. I’m linking to my blog (www.bethsits.blogspot.com). I don’t have too awfully many readers, but they should all be reading you.

  3. calvin says:

    I admit I have more problems with non HD shows than with hunger, which is probably a good sign for me, even though considering HD as a problem triggers question about progress…

  4. kylee says:

    you can never have too much goat cheese in a salad. not enough goat cheese would be a problem.

  5. andy says:

    an even bigger 1st world problem is video buffering.

  6. Rob says:

    Or earthquakes, cholera, and hurricanes, as the case may be. Just saw your cartoon before checking the status of Hurricane Tomas; they align in one out of three.

  7. António Mendes says:

    So true yet everyday the contrast of “problems” increases and developed countries’ citizens feel even less empathy until a real problem hits them.

    • Holly says:

      Yes. and people with the goat cheese type of problem actually complain and whine as if that truly made their day, and perhaps their week, month, LIFE just unbearable. walking a few extra steps to the store! some people walk nearly all day to get somewhere and then walk back home. some people have nowhere to sleep. some people, IN America have no running water

    • Holly says:

      true. and America in particular is the most isolated of first world countries, except for Canada. And North Americans seem much more unaware and uncaring, in general, about the problems of the rest of the world than are the first world citizens of Europe. This false sense of isolation allows many Americans to live such a safe carefree life that they actually complain about getting a Coke instead of a Pepsi for example. Is it because there is not as much need to strive for survival, and yet people are ‘wired’ to look for something to improve, and all they can see is they want a thicker bath towel?

      • SenioritusSufferer says:

        Agreed. We are too selfish ALL of the time (myself more than most).

        On the other hand, must we all crawl on our bellies on burning coals while giving away all our belongings in order to justify our desires (including the unfulfilled ones that fuel our complaints)? There are bigger problems but I am allowed to complain about trivial things (like Google calendar not syncing to my cell phone properly or an overcooked steak).

      • Will says:

        I’m sorry, and I realize I’m almost a year late, but if you think international travel is necessary to find entire communities that suffer from hunger and rape, and you think that everyone in America enjoys the same privileges we do, you are grossly unaware.

    • Holly says:

      Antonio your little sentence has made me want t write an essay!

    • nancey legg says:

      And when a ‘real’ problem occurs, the citizens blame the government!

  8. BuckyTuesday says:

    Why are you using a pair of Venn diagrams? Do you not understand the purpose of a Venn diagram? It’s not to list things, that’s for sure.

    Here’s some nice reading for you: Wikipedia

    • GE says:

      I’m sorry, this is humor.

      You wanted math. Down the hall, take a right.

      Or you could audit humor. Just take a seat in the back and keep quiet, and you might learn a thing or two about the subject.

      • tudza says:

        Sure, but if you are going to use math like tools, even for humor, some people will expect these tools to be used correctly.

        I understand the sentiment here, but I looked at the right hand diagram and said to myself, “Well yeah, the intersection of those is a real problem, but they are real problems individually as well.”

        Perhaps a bar graph would have been a better choice.

        • bartlebee says:

          This. I read it as “The people who have Cholera, and are hungry while being raped.” have more problems than “those who complain about ‘Friends’ not being in HD, so they go out to eat at a restaurant where they have to park far from the door, and that sucks, because it’s pissing outside, and to top it off, the salad that they ordered, which they explicitly said ‘no goat cheese because I’m lactose intollerant’ had goat cheese on it, which, in fact, is too much.” While I agree that Set A’s problems > Set B’s problems, it probably wasn’t what the author was going after. But what do I know. People on here probably think I’m a math douche.

        • GE says:

          I dig math. I use it professionally. Coincidentally, I also get paid to use my humor professionally.

          Neither of these changes the fact that jokes are like frogs: if you dissect them, you might find out more about how they work, but you’ll also kill them.

          That said, I fail to see how a bar graph could convey any effective humor in this context; information on the comparative quantities involved, perhaps, but no humor.

          Of course, I’ll also confess I’m not terribly interested in killing that particular frog either.

        • Matthew Cook says:

          It blows my mind that when someone wishes to point out the major problems of extreme world poverty there are always a couple people who feel the need to bitch about the way they chose to do it.

          No helping.

        • Now this is an excellent example of a First World Problem. Venn diagram? Bar graph?

          To hunger, rape and cholera add lack of access to education. That’s another Third World Problem. Be grateful we are educated enough to quibble over this.

          (Do I have a few minutes before class starts to run back to the cafeteria for more goat cheese?)

    • Matt says:

      you are a douche – get a sense of humor

    • henrykwdk says:

      There just might be some other nice reading: .

    • henrykwdk says:

      Sorry, I meant this: Wikipedia.

    • Holly says:

      You are mired in the need to correct a math test – this is about complaining and whining versus survival. In a survival state, no one cares about Venn diagram

    • Hexcel says:

      Very first world comment completely missing the point. Nice job!

    • Dan says:

      Agreed that this makes no sense the way it is written using Venn diagrams (And yes, i understand the message it’s trying to convey, it’s subtle, but i was able to parse it).

      Don’t make a math/logic joke, and then seem surprised that people point out that the math/logic makes no sense and was not the correct way to present this info.

      • Kevin says:

        When you reference something, you should reference correctly. Also, people can get the message and still think the delivry was poor. Criticizing this ‘joke’ does not equal support of 3rd world poverty – it’s just pointing something out.

        • GE says:

          I couldn’t care less about criticizing or not criticizing the joke – I agree with some of Jessica’s ideas, disagree with others, and I’m neutral about a handful. (I don’t even fully agree with the message implied in this one!)

          But those criticizing the methodology of the joke are missing the point. It’s not a “reference,” Kevin – look around the site. All of the Indexed cards use the visual trappings of math. It’s simply the “gimmick” that Jessica uses – there’s no “reference,” because she’s not attempting to reference the math! Presenting non-math subjects in the guise of mathematical diagrams is simply the jumping off point of the entire comic series.

          Get the message and think the delivery was poor? Sure. But you can’t say “she’s doing it wrong” when she’s not doing what you’re saying she’s doing. Anyone need a tin woodcutter and a lion to go with that straw man?

          If you tell Bill Watterson that stuffed tigers don’t talk, you’re not criticizing the joke or the delivery – you’re criticizing the premise. And while you’re free to do so, there’s little point in partaking in some form of cultural entertainment if you’re going to object to the basic premise. If that’s the idea, then you just don’t like the entire series – why should your opinion on an individual offering be a newsflash worthy of typing up a negative comment?

          Hobbits don’t exist. Big deal. If you don’t like Tolkien, you don’t have to complain that not all people under five foot have hairy feet and melodrama…and then complain that wizards don’t exist…and then complain that rings don’t turn you invisible and sneakily push you to carry them back to their previous owners. Just don’t like Tolkien.

          Oh, terribly sorry, now some prat will come along and accuse me of being “long-winded.” Well, if it takes a full explication to get the point across, rather than the ignorant ignoramus’s 140 characters or less, I’m happy to take up the slack. I prefer “brief,” but the stunning and ongoing display on this site of a lack of basic comprehension of how cultural exchange works is maddening. My apologies to Jessica both for my verbosity, and for her having to deal with that madness.

          • clavi says:

            OK, I know this comment is old but whatever.

            The thing is, it’s not a criticism of the premise – the idea of using maths to illustrate a point is great, and as it’s not meant to be formal or serious there’s nothing wrong with not following exact graphical conventions. The problem is that this graph doesn’t say what it’s trying to say.

            What the graph is trying to say: any of these things are first world/real world problems.

            What the graph actually says: these things are only first world/real world problems if ALL THREE of them are present. Any one on its own is not a first world/real world problem.

            It’s like if someone was using a cartoon to make a joke, but put the frames out of order. You might be able to work out what they were trying to say, but it still isn’t saying it correctly. And if you’re familiar with the correct conventions, it disrupts the joke/message because you have to spend extra time figuring it out. It’s exactly like your point about dissecting frogs – in order to understand the joke, you have to dissect it, so it loses impact.

            Or, ok, better example! In a trashy historical romance story, you wouldn’t expect the culture and customs of the time to be accurately portrayed. So maybe you could let it go if people in England in the 1800s wore clothes more akin to France in the 1700s. But if they started saying “thou art a forsooth on my nerves” you might question it, because it doesn’t actually make sense.

            The lack of proper titles and scales in these graphs are like the costuming inaccuracies that no one cares about. You can even use archaic words from the wrong time period if you like. Just use them in a way that makes sense. Similarly, it’s cool to use Venn Diagrams here (even though they might not be the best way to convey the information) but it would be nice if they were used correctly. Like, each arrow could indicate the entire venn diagram instead of just the middle segment, and that would actually tell us the information it’s intended to.

            It’s not about ruining the fun or taking things to seriously. Jokes like this are fun *because* they take mathematical conventions and apply them to other concepts. A little bit like sciency pick up lines – “I wish I was DNA helicase so I could unzip your genes (jeans)” is funny because DNA helicase is the enzyme responsible for ‘unzipping’ the DNA double helix (ie, your genes). “I wish I was DNA helicase so I could take your clothes off” doesn’t have quite the same effect.

  9. lolamouse says:

    Nice reminder to keep things in perspective. We can never be reminded too often. Thanks.

  10. Cat's Meow says:

    Those real problems still apply in the 1st world, but a Cholera outbreak isn’t too much of a worry.

  11. The distinction between ‘first world’ and ‘third world’ are blurring, and have been since the 1950’s; this type of ‘us vs. them’ does not reflect the actual data. For a nifty data visualization of what I’m talking about see : hopefully your perception will change.

    and also:

  12. Stripe says:

    One difference: Real problems are used as weapons to oppress or as tools of genocide, something goat cheese, even in devestating quantities, could never be truly useful for.

  13. This is why travel is important.

    • sarah louise says:

      Having traveled, I wish the US would make it a priority for kids to travel outside the country and for vacations to be longer so that grown-ups could travel too, and I don’t mean just to Aruba.

      Potable water? Now that’s a real problem. I’ve lived in places where you had to boil it to drink it, and I’ve lived in places where you first had to boil (distill it) and then you had to filter it, for heavy metals like cadmium.

      • Holly says:

        I completely agree with the travel – there are people all over the US who have never been to the next state, let alone even Canada or Mexico. Yes traveling take $$ save some and go, the experience is worth it.
        And… LANGUAGES. Why is it not required for kids all over the US to learn 2 or 3 extra languages? Instead, I look at the web and some states start teaching some language a little bit in grade 1 or 2, and other states don’t allow a child to take a second language until the child is in grade 7. And then only the ‘accelerated’ students. EVERY child should be taking extra languages Spanish Russian, Greek, German Chinese French, Arabic even some obscure tibal language – anything. It broadens the mind.

        • Jeandré says:

          Anthropogenic climate change (much of which is caused by 1st worlders traveling) will dwarf current problems.

  14. Joseph says:

    I thought that this could be a reference to MC Frontalot’s song “First World Problem” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3w1_E1V46M

    • SporkTastic says:

      That’s what I immediately thought of, too.

    • BobTPawn says:

      Which, by the way, is recommended viewing (listening, really, but viewing as well) for anyone interested enough to have read this far into the comments.

  15. odanu says:

    The saddest part is that “third world” problems can be found in any first world urban core or deeply rural area.

  16. fireflight says:

    What’s this?? I ordered LITE Ranch Dressing! Life is terrible!

  17. Sierra says:

    But rape IS a problem in the first world.

    • António Mendes says:

      @Sierra, she didn’t say that rape isn’t an 1st world problem, but it is a real problem in contrast to “1st world issues”. Even hunger is an problem in 1st world issues, because they still have many homeless and poor people.

      • Tamzin says:

        I feel that even rape and hunger are worse in the 3rd world. Laws and attitudes here support the victim of rape, we have organisations to support us physically and emotionally. In some countries women are rejected as unclean by their own families. They have no where else to go and the emotional impact of both abuses must be horrific

  18. Old Geezer says:

    By far your best one yet. Please keep them coming.

  19. AMusingFool says:

    Just want to point out that diarrhea (no kidding) is actually a bigger third-world problem than cholera (or AIDS, or malaria, etc).

  20. Eli says:

    You know what my first world problem is? Someone having the same idea as me but executing it way better. Case in point: notthirdworldproblems.blogspot.com

  21. Pingback: True Words « Bookmole's Blog

  22. Ryan says:

    I think it’s ghastly that a bottle of “Duchess de Bourgogne” was not available at my favorite pub this evening. Sure, they had several others sours, but I imagine settling for Ommegang Zuur is comparable to being hungry, choleric, or raped. Am I right?

  23. Pingback: Max Sanches » Blog Archive » 1st World “Problems” vs. Real Problems

  24. sammyb says:

    How has no one posted this:
    White People Problems

  25. Dave says:

    Shouldn’t goat’s cheese and hunger overlap?

  26. Pingback: ajani.ca blog » Illustration, “1st World Problems, Real Problems”

  27. mr e says:

    first group of grouped problems (ven diagrams) vs second group of grouped problems the space apart shows that even though some problems overlap in seriousness they are worlds apart and 2nd group does not overlap or even come close to first group the math part is correct

  28. Pingback: The Confusion » Blog Archive » Interesting News November 8, 2010

  29. NoriMori says:

    This is gold. It really puts things into perspective. As soon as I have money and an online paying method, I’m buying this as a t-shirt.

  30. Pingback: Vikan á netinu – Arnþór Snær

  31. Steve von Maas says:

    Although I almost always side with humorists over uptight douchebags, I side with the defenders of Venn Diagram purity here, because declining ability to think logically is the cause of many real problems, including America’s pending decline from First World to real-world status.

    • GE says:

      I can agree with the sentiment, Steve, but I see three flaws in that comment:

      1. The implication that the specific choice to use Venn diagrams in a humorous and unorthodox way indicates an inability to construct and/or parse Venn diagrams in a more rigorous context. (See my egregiously overlong comment above.)

      2. The implication that an inability to construct and/or parse Venn diagrams is a direct link to the breakdown of logic and rational thought (if we can get folks to understand why all medical treatments must undergo thorough testing, that a “secular” government does not equate to atheism, and what a damned rainbow actually is, I’ll let them pass on Venn diagram usage).

      3. “Pending”? :)

  32. Pingback: Daily Digest for November 8th 11:00pm | Willem's LifeStreamer

  33. Apogee says:

    The earlier comment was obnoxious and cocky. But to be fair, Venn diagram jokes have to actually work to be funny. You’re saying that “your show isn’t in HD” isn’t a 1st world problem in and of itself. The joke would have been better to have included a big circle around all 1st world problems and big circle around all 3rd world problems.

    Actually, it would have been kinda funny if you were able to think of at least one offbeat, common problem. But I realize that you were trying to make a point beyond humor.

  34. Vanessa says:

    I WISH my problems were as trivial as shows not being in HD…

    Everything is relative.

  35. Pingback: weekly notes: november 12, 2010 « post-rock paper scissors

  36. Kits says:

    Very well said!

  37. Greg McGary says:

    Pema Chodron calls this “bourgeois suffering”

  38. Pingback: Bra länkar – 9 november, 2010 | Third Opinion

  39. Pingback: Sad but True « Simple Living for Just Giving

  40. Pingback: blog(s) of the week(s): indexed & is anything worse than… « MetalFirecracker

  41. Alen Siljak says:

    Thanks for this drawing. I’ve been coming back to it for years now. It illustrates the point so well.