Recently on Reddit, a link to a "Venn diagram" about "people paid to touch your junk"
got pretty popular (even though it was apparently a repeat post of one that didn't get nearly as popular
. You can see it here:
The image then got plenty of attention with links from a variety of much bigger sites that I'm not going to mention, and it seemed to get a good chuckle out of folks who have been following the whole TSA/junk touching situation.
Well, that is unless you actually understand what a Venn diagram is supposed to show. Those people were somewhat horrified.
points us to an absolutely hilarious deconstruction of the problems with this graphic
and how it's not actually an accurate Venn diagram at all written by Andrew Plotkin
. As he notes, the overlapping parts of circles on a Venn diagram are supposed to include both
sets. In other words, if those three original sets formed a Venn diagram like the one above, the real categorization would be as following:
You have to imagine that the set of "airport-guarding hookers with medical degrees," is somewhat small. Or non-existent in all likelihood. So if we were to draw the chart above to scale
, there likely would be almost no overlap between any of the three circles.
As Plotkin then points out, what the original creator of the diagram meant
for the diagram to show, is that all three of those professions are paid to touch your junk -- and thus a more accurate -- but not at all funny nor understandable, version of the Venn diagram would be the following:
I might quibble with that one a bit, seeing as not all
TSA agents or doctors are necessarily paid to touch your junk (and I guess there could be a tiny subset of prostitutes who aren't either, but I can't imagine that's a very large number), but still, the overall point is there. Though, um, it's not funny. Or really all that understandable.
So, if you wanted to create a Venn diagram that actually makes the same point (sorta) and does it without being the mess above, what would you do? Well, Plotkin comes to the rescue again with the following:
Plotkin then goes on to do a few more diagrams and teach folks a bit about how Venn diagrams are supposed to work -- which is totally worth checking out as well.
They say that if you have to deconstruct a joke, you've probably ruined it, but if that joke contains a Venn diagram, and that Venn diagram is wrong
, but still becomes popular with people claiming it's an accurate Venn diagram, suddenly that deconstruction can be a lot funnier than the original. Kudos to Plotkin for breaking it down...