Posted tagged ‘Dilbert’

Dilbert, You Ignorant Slut

1, May, 2008

Dilbert has jumped on the 2.0 train, and his forgot to pack his irony. Or even his sarcasm. Hell, he seems to have left his lovably sweeping contempt for technocorpland back on paper somewhere.

With its embrace of nearly all the standard 2.No gambits–mashups, widgets, ratings, personalized pages, and so on–Scott Adams seems have forgotten everything he’s ever penned about corner-office blockheads, fad-mongering moneygrubs and pointless marches to launch.

It’s the Stockholm syndrome in a cubicle: Scott Adams has become the enemy.

Take the promo for the mashup feature (please). “Think you’re funnier than Scott Adams? Click on the strip below, replace Scott’s punchline with YOUR OWN, and let the voting begin!” Is it just me, or does that sound like the sort of cheerleaderish 2.0h come-on you’d expect from a Kellogg’s “social media” venture?

Dilbert mashup

I think a self-aware Scott Adams–one who knows that his well-trained ear for corporate bumblespeak is his greatest weapon–might have had some sport with himself. Like: “Scott Adams doesn’t feel like working today. He’ll be snoozing in his cubicle while you write a punchline. When you’re done, click on an ad to make him some money too.”

The site leaks breathless hucksterism, punctuated with exclamation marks.

New! Do More With Dilbert! Now in color!

See color Dilbert every day! Share with your friends! Rank your favorites! Get it now!

Register now! It’s free!

The beauty of Dilbert humor is that there is never an exclamation mark. Look at his strips and imagine the punchline with an exclamation point. It doesn’t work. The punchlines in Dilbert strips are droll, understated, with the heavy undertow of existential doom.

No. 1: Dogbert: Stop breaking my business model.

No. 2: Dogbert: Stop breaking my business model!

No. 1 is funny. No 2 is not–but it’s elbowing you in the ribs, trying to stir a giggle.

I suspect the problem is that Dilbert 2.0 is “brought to you by” Dice: The Career Hub for Tech Insiders. In the site’s at-least-trying-to-“get”-Dilbert FAQ there is this icky revelation:

Q: Hey, wait a second! All of a sudden there are ads on my widget! What gives?
A: Okay, okay, okay, we need to come up with some way to pay for all the great new doodads you are now getting for free (have we mentioned the free part recently?). We love you, but we gotta eat! Anyway, these cool new ads may even help you get a better job one day – and then who are you going to thank? Go ahead, take the job search for a spin and you may find a brand new Pointy Haired Boss of your own.

So it appears, sadly, that Dilbert has been undone by his own capitulation to the forces of evil technocommerce. I’d call that ironic but. . .well, it’s too obvious to be ironic. Time for a cup of coffee. Hold the artificial sweetener.

Addendum. I tried to add the Dilbert widget to my sidebar so you could see it without leaving my site. The code flipped out my widget and as a result you see nothing but the headline I gave it, way at the bottom of the sidebar. I can’t seem to fix it. It’ll stay that way for now. That, I think, is irony.

Addendum 2: Thanks to reader Martin English for calling Dilbert 2.0 to my attention.