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"I have a lot of gay stuff to do."
February 7, 2014 3:14 AM   Subscribe

In response to India's Supreme Court re-affirming an anti-gay law, the comic strip Dilbert has announced that Asok the Intern is officially gay. Of course it's not the first time that a comic character has come out.
posted by graymouser (130 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The better story here is why Yahoo! have censored today's syndicated Dilbert strip.
posted by gorcha at 3:23 AM on February 7 [23 favorites]


Thats kind of neat I guess, but feels no less performatively vindictive and weirdly smug than pretty much anything else Scott Adams does. I mean, its great that in this instance he is pointed at homophobes rather than women, or people who value education, or people with mental illness, or the pretty much everyone he feels cannot match his certified genius I.Q., but that seems less like something worth celebrating than like something that should be a basic kind of expectation for someone so predisposed to spewing shit everywhere.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:26 AM on February 7 [38 favorites]


I wouldn't want to beanplate this, but I'm intrigued as to whether Scott Adams chose this incredibly artless, didactic way to tell the story because he thought this was the only way he could get this message across to his readers who might otherwise have been indifferent or deliberately blind to it, or because he's unable to address things that don't immediately and directly affect his characters without breaking the fourth wall. I'm unsure which it is.
posted by ambrosen at 3:28 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Vikram Seth on Section 377 and gay rights in India
posted by Blasdelb at 3:30 AM on February 7 [11 favorites]


I guess I'm surprised, about once a year, that Dilbert is still a thing that's being written.

But I guess there are worse things it could be put to use for.
posted by Jimbob at 3:51 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


I much prefer Google's more subtle response to Russian homophobia in today's doodle.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 3:56 AM on February 7 [52 favorites]


Well, even a stopped clock, yada yada...
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:06 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


All this Dilbert hate. Maybe it's my limited access to newspapers out here in the sticks, but I can't think of another widely-published strip (not obscure web comics) that has done more to skewer American corporate culture than Dilbert.

If you think Adams' strip attacks "women or people who value education" or whatever, you might be reading it wrong.

And anything Yahoo hates is alright with me.
posted by tommyD at 4:09 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


The strip on Yahoo News is a rerun from January 28, 1995 with today's date pasted into the space where it normally goes. The same old strip appears on all the newspaper (and other) sites that I have found which run Dilbert's daily comic and the only place the 'controversial' strip appears online is Dilbert.com. (It's worth noting that the current Dilbert strips don't appear on Universal Uclick's omnibus Gocomics.com site; instead it has "Dilbert Classics" featuring strips from well before 1995) This appears to be a decision by the syndicate, but we'll see when Adams makes his daily blog post (which he hasn't done yet). It should be interesting.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:13 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Asok may be officially gay, but is he a certified genius?
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:16 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


If you think Adams' strip attacks "women or people who value education" or whatever, you might be reading it wrong.

It's not the strip we're reading wrong, it's Scott Adam's egotistical libertarian commenting elsewhere that we're reading right. It's a Friday night, I've got some Miles Davis on the stereo, so I'm not in the headspace to go track it down, but a cursory search of previous threads will reveal his pretty shitty attitude towards society.

I do agree that the skewering of corporate culture is not a bad thing, and deserves some respect. I'm just left wondering what he envisages as an alternative.
posted by Jimbob at 4:20 AM on February 7 [24 favorites]


All this Dilbert hate.

I don't think it's Dilbert hate - it's really Scott Adams hate. Adams has been a dick to quite a lot of people, and quite specifically to Metafilter. It's only natural that people here will view him with skepticism.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:22 AM on February 7 [47 favorites]


It would be interesting to hear Yahoo etc explain their thought process, but I don't suppose they're going to.
posted by Segundus at 4:28 AM on February 7


tommyD: "All this Dilbert hate. Maybe it's my limited access to newspapers out here in the sticks, but I can't think of another widely-published strip (not obscure web comics) that has done more to skewer American corporate culture than Dilbert.

If you think Adams' strip attacks "women or people who value education" or whatever, you might be reading it wrong.
"
There is unfortunately more to Adams' public presence than the Dilbert strip, which he seems to either have enough self-awareness or enough editorial support to tone down considerably. In the rest he demonstrates how too magnificent his intelligence is for considering his birthplace on third base when discussing his 'home run', evolution, education, respect for women as people rather than as objects in his idiosyncratically internal dramas, or pretty much anything not intimately tied to his ego.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:29 AM on February 7 [11 favorites]


Jimbob: "It's not the strip we're reading wrong, it's Scott Adam's egotistical libertarian commenting elsewhere that we're reading right. It's a Friday night, I've got some Miles Davis on the stereo, so I'm not in the headspace to go track it down..."

You don't have to look far, just last week he was writing about how Tom Perkins' Nazi analogy is being unfairly mocked.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 4:29 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


Again, this does not appear to be Yahoo, it looks like Dilbert's syndicate substituting the strip everywhere but at Dilbert.com. We'll know for sure when the dead-tree newspapers with the strip come out. But then, if you want to use it as an excuse for your Yahoo hate...

BTW, there's also a section of the Dilbert.com site for "Mashups", with the subtitle "Think you're funnier than Scott Adams?" which allows users to substitute other dialogue in the last panel with whatever they want. The results for today are apparently unedited...
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:33 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I guess it's a "separate the art from the artist" thing for me - I have read Dilbert for over 20 years and have no intent of stopping. Scott Adams is an insufferable twit but his comic skewers corporations in a way that I still enjoy. And hey, he can do something right with this strip.
posted by graymouser at 4:33 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Everyone here remembers with fondness Scott Adams telling us we were important enough to be personally astroturfed by him, but personally I have no problem with him drawing a comic for a living. Then again we all gotta make our own aesthetic choices.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:34 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I guess I'm surprised, about once a year, that Dilbert is still a thing that's being written.

Old comic strips never die, they just fade into background noise.
posted by kewb at 4:35 AM on February 7


Let's not forget Jon and Lyman.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:44 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


In the rest he demonstrates how too magnificent his intelligence is for considering his birthplace on third base when discussing his 'home run', evolution, education, respect for women as people rather than as objects in his idiosyncratically internal dramas, or pretty much anything not intimately tied to his ego.

Wow, I already thought he was a dick, and I didn't know about any of that stuff. I mean, take this for example (from Blasdelb's evolution link above):
I’ve been trying for years to reconcile my usually-excellent bullshit filter with the idea that evolution is considered a scientific fact. Why does a well-established scientific fact set off my usually-excellent bullshit filter like a five-alarm fire? It’s the fossil record that has been bugging me the most. It looks like bullshit. Smells like bullshit. Tastes like bullshit. Why isn’t it bullshit? All those scientists can’t be wrong.

If you are new to the Dilbert Blog, I remind you that I don’t believe in Intelligent Design or Creationism or invisible friends of any sort. I just think that evolution looks like a blend of science and bullshit, and have predicted for years that it would be revised in scientific terms in my lifetime. It’s a hunch – nothing more.
I mean, what is that, if not "I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS THEREFORE IT MUST BE WRONG"? What insane hubris.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:44 AM on February 7 [18 favorites]


it looks like Dilbert's syndicate substituting the strip everywhere but at Dilbert.com.

no, it's in today's kalamazoo gazette
posted by pyramid termite at 4:45 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Dilbert is up there on the list of things I Will Never Read Again, along with anything by Orson Scott Card and music by Michael Jackson, because the personal lives of the creators are full of such horrors.

Woody Allen films, too. I don't think I've ever actually seen one. And I only watch Tom Cruise movies if they're free, generally.

I mean sure we can go on about separating the art from the artist, and I'm sure there are plenty of artists I admire (Pollock leaps to mind) who were also assholes, but there it is. When it's solo-created art, separating the art from the artist is fundamentally impossible.

Also, fuck you India.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:51 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Also, fuck you India.

Fuck you [Indian government], please. A government is not the same as the people it governs. Unless you want to be held to account for Stephen Harper's various bullshit, or even Rob Ford, fffm.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:54 AM on February 7 [32 favorites]


So, the strip is..."A dumb foreign country did something dumb, so I have added a token gay character."

I don't find it particularly impressive.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:54 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


So I'm not really sure about this because I'm not normally a reader of Dilbert, but is Asok gay and his boss just outed him? Which is kinda uncool. Or is Asok straight and has he just been told by his boss that his new job task is being the officially gay character (and no mention of a pay raise.) Is that even allowed under comics employment law?
posted by three blind mice at 4:56 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


who knows? - i'm not impressed either - it's a bald presentation of the issue in a comic strip not known for its stance on social issues and above all, it's not funny, it's strained

i hope he's not patting himself on the back with his drawing hand - he might get hurt
posted by pyramid termite at 4:59 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


if you want to use it as an excuse for your Yahoo hate...

Personally, I haven't yet got beyond a certain puzzlement about the behaviour of some vaguely-defined group of people. (A state in which much of my life is spent, come to think of it.)
posted by Segundus at 4:59 AM on February 7


For people not in the know, there's a Metafilter wiki page on Scott Adams being a dick to MeFi.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:01 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I'm was with you on the "Woah, Dilbert's still a thing?" until I took over buying comics and graphic novels for my library. I saw we had a few Dilbert books in the collection, shrugged, and made no plans to buy any more.

Until I looked at the stats and found out they were circulating like mad. Turns out that we have a couple of patrons on the autism spectrum who fucking love Dilbert. Seriously. Two of them seem to have alternating holds on a few volumes so they constantly bounce between them. I'm not sure if it's a similar thing to the Thomas the Tank Engine or what, just that despite Dilbert not being for me, it's clearly for somebody so that makes it okay in my book.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:01 AM on February 7 [13 favorites]


substituting the strip everywhere ONLINE...

Seattle Times
AZCentral
Kansas City Star
Denver Post
West Palm Beach News Channel
ArcaMax
MachineBuilding.net

and the exception that proves the rule, using the controversial strip (in black and white): Houston Chronicle
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:04 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Adams is one of the poster children for not confusing the artist's public persona with the art.

Dilbert has:

- POC as everyday schmoes rather than exotic plot points.
- Women (including the main character's own mother!) have ambitions and anxieties and foibles that have nothing to do with the usual romantic/matronly tropes. Male characters are routinely mocked for forgetting this.
- Women expected to do more work for less reward in the workplace as a point of bleak dystopian humor
- Business leaders and corporate culture is savagely, methodically dissected and ridiculed.
- The rich and successful are seen as ruthless idiots who got to where they are through connections, evil intentions and dumb luck.

The strip was subversive and progressive from day one, and remains so to this day. Adams can be an ego-fluffing libertarian revanchist in his blogs and essays all he likes... at the end of the day, who he really is winds up distilled into the strip. Judging him on that, I'll forgive him trolling MeFi.

Just once.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:04 AM on February 7 [65 favorites]


i hope he's not patting himself on the back with his drawing hand - he might get hurt

I think he's using his wanking hand -- which given how well developed those muscles are, is probably far, far riskier.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:04 AM on February 7


The rich and successful are seen as ruthless idiots who got to where they are through connections, evil intentions and dumb luck.

Which makes his defense of Perkins and claim of 'unjust criticism' of the super-rich totally inconsistent. Unless he's using Populist Talking Points in his comics to sell it to the masses and make himself richer. Well, you can call that "separating the person and his art". Or you can call it totally dishonest hypocrisy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:08 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


To revisit the point - Card's work furthers his regressive agenda, even the early stuff, and Polanski is a convicted child rapist. Adams can't really be lumped in with them. He's closer to Ellison - someone who's not as smart as they think they are in all ways, and lets their mouth run off without them.

But in the strip that's the focus of this thread, he mocks tokenism at the same time as flipping the bird to India's Supreme Court decision, and it's funny. Some folks' brains only really work when enmeshed in their creative endeavor.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:11 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


Notice that humor is not something on Slap*Happy's list.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:16 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


> The strip was subversive and progressive from day one...

Not really, if Cathy had hit all those bullet points fifteen years earlier.
posted by ardgedee at 5:18 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I find Dilbert funny (or wry, or clever) on a fairly regular basis.

And I find the deliberate artlessness of this move weirdly charming.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:20 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Fuck you [Indian government], please. A government is not the same as the people it governs. Unless you want to be held to account for Stephen Harper's various bullshit, or even Rob Ford, fffm.

You're absolutely right, that was a careless way for me to express that sentiment. I'm sorry.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:30 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Yes, Dilbert is not a bad strip. It relies mostly on current workplace issues, which makes it much, much fresher than Garfield or Peanuts during its last 10 years.
posted by Melismata at 5:34 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I have to agree that Scott Adams is a jerk, but is it better to encourage jerks when they're being less jerky, or just keeping shouting "jerk!" at them?
posted by orme at 5:34 AM on February 7 [22 favorites]


Not really, if Cathy had hit all those bullet points fifteen years earlier.

By the time Dilbert hit, Cathy was entirely about romantic aspirations buttressed by an obsession with body image and achieving appropriate levels of femininity through fashion and deportment. The "humor" was when the character was frustrated by her own self-undermining impulses in her neverending quest to snag the hunky Irving. Cathy was bullshit, and worse, boring bullshit, for a long-ass time.

Two decades after Dilbert hit, it's mocking tokenism and backhanding a government that does not represent all of its people fairly.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:37 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


What I don't understand is why some places didn't print the real strip. Is it the criticism of India? The idea that Ask could be gay? The phrase "gay stuff"? The strip is completely inoffensive.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:38 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Unless he's using Populist Talking Points in his comics to sell it to the masses and make himself richer.

Actually, I think it's something far weirder. Dilbert started as a comic strip about a schmuck engineer and his funny talking dog, but because Adams depicted Dilbert at work with a cruelly and absurdly true view of modern corporate culture, the strip became a parody of modern American work. Even though Adams has become a 1%-er through the strip's success, continuing the formula requires him to ruthlessly mock the corporate world. So even though he is an insufferable 1% twit in his blog and general public persona, the comic remains the biting satire, and keeps fairly fresh to do so.
posted by graymouser at 5:40 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


graymouser, that sounds like the dictionary definition of hypocrite to me. But he wouldn't be the first popular artist to base his art on hypocrisy. Now the question is if there's any sincerity to his stand about the oppression of homosexuals. because if he can be totally hypocritical about at least one of the central premises of his main work, all bets are off.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:46 AM on February 7


It long seemed to me that "Dilbert" was most sympathetic to the sociopathic Dogbert. The people working within the malfunctioning corporation (engineers and managers alike) are, in Adams' view, only deserving of unceasing abuse and mockery because they are too stupid or weak-willed to free themselves from it.

Dilbert is the title character but he's not the hero of the strip.
posted by ardgedee at 5:48 AM on February 7 [14 favorites]


I mean, what is that, if not "I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS THEREFORE IT MUST BE WRONG"? What insane hubris.

He offers an even more loathsome explanation for taking that stand in his blog post about the Metafilter incident:
By now you are probably thinking that my prediction [about evolution] has nearly zero chance of being right. I'll let you in on an industry secret: You're correct. You know all of those books on the market that predict various economic bubbles, social upheavals, and disasters of all kinds? Most of those authors don't believe their predictions are likely to pan out. They're making calculated bets that in the unlikely event they guessed right, they will become famous. That's worth a fortune in future speaking gigs and book deals.

My contrarian prediction about evolution being debunked in my lifetime was the same sort of bet. It's unlikely that I'll be right. But if I get lucky, I'll be the one person who predicted it. And because of the "in my lifetime" condition, I can't be wrong until I'm too dead to care. This is the sort of thing I do that really, really, really pisses off some people, especially the anti-creationist bearded taint guy.
After reading that, I think I can now reconcile the art with the artist. The reason Dilbert the comic strip can be somewhat progressive while Scott Adams the author voices such repulsive opinions on his blog is because Scott Adams is a troll. Everything he says or does is carefully designed to get a reaction out of someone, which makes him much more Michael Brutsch than Roman Polanski or Harlan Ellison.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:49 AM on February 7 [11 favorites]


Artists have difficult personalities. News at 11.
posted by Melismata at 5:51 AM on February 7


Artists have difficult personalities. News at 11.

So do "artists".
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:54 AM on February 7


Dilbert is the title character but he's not the hero of the strip.

No, Dilbert's the butt monkey (warning: TVTropes). But since the strip is satire, and remains fairly well-done satire after 25 years, it remains interesting even though the artist is an ass who sympathizes with the sociopath.
posted by graymouser at 5:57 AM on February 7


graymouser, that sounds like the dictionary definition of hypocrite to me. But he wouldn't be the first popular artist to base his art on hypocrisy. Now the question is if there's any sincerity to his stand about the oppression of homosexuals. because if he can be totally hypocritical about at least one of the central premises of his main work, all bets are off.

I'm not aware of any incidents of homophobia in his past, though it wouldn't surprise me considering the racist and misogynistic comments he has made. However, I don't read the strip as mocking of tokenism like Slap*Happy does. It seems like an embrace of the concept. I'm not gonna be particularly impressed here when someone includes a token gay character in response to a obvious injustice an ocean away. I mean, he has been making this comic since 1989. He had lots of chances to include a significant gay character back when doing so would actually have been a brave thing. Like maybe back when rampant American homophobia was leading to new state constitution gay marriage bans every year? For whatever reasons, he didn't make that choice. Doesn't mean he's anti-gay, does mean he loses credibility as someone to be especially praised for introducing a gay character at the same time as it has become socially acceptable to do so.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:00 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


A few years back I bought a handful of Dilbert collections at a used book store to help facilitate bowel movements. Since I imagine the comic wouldn't be half as enjoyable were Scott Adams less of a narcissistic dick, I extend to him the same courtesy I do to all of the writers, actors, musicians, and artists whose work I enjoy but whom I find personally obnoxious and/or repellent, which is to put the art in one brain cubicle and the creator in another and hope they don't end up knifing it out in the break room.
posted by echocollate at 6:02 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


I'm not gonna be particularly impressed here when someone includes a token gay character in response to a obvious injustice an ocean away. I mean, he has been making this comic since 1989. He had lots of chances to include a significant gay character back when doing so would actually have been a brave thing.

The guy can't win, can he.

What's wrong with mocking tokenism?
posted by Melismata at 6:04 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


What's wrong with mocking tokenism?

As I said, that isn't my read on it.

But he absolutely can't win with me in the more general sense because he is an admitted troll. I would be a fool not to apply skepticism to the idea that he is speaking in good faith at any time. Wolf! Wolf!
posted by Drinky Die at 6:07 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


to help facilitate bowel movements

The early Dilbert books were especially high in fiber.
posted by beau jackson at 6:07 AM on February 7


Adams has now used his blog to comment about the comic he made for today, but has nothing to say about the places it was not run. And I'm not going to be the one to break it to him.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:09 AM on February 7


"I have a lot of gay stuff to do."

Reminds of this old McSweeneys post: The Gay Agenda
posted by Going To Maine at 6:11 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


kalamazoo gazette

I noticed it in the Kalamazoo Gazette today too. Small world.
posted by bbqturtle at 6:13 AM on February 7


In this case, no one favors a government deciding which sexual acts among consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes are allowed and which are punishable by jail.

Huh, I think it might be possible he honestly believes that. Well, maybe he should google Rick Santorum and move on from there.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:16 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Adams has now used his blog to comment about the comic he made for today, but has nothing to say about the places it was not run. And I'm not going to be the one to break it to him.

From that post:
It's only political if there's someone on the other side of the debate. In this case, no one favors a government deciding which sexual acts among consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes are allowed and which are punishable by jail.
Has the man never heard of Uganda, for starters? Is he unaware of all of the horrifying stuff going down in Russia? Does he not know about the massive support from American evangelicals those governments get? Has he not seen the attempts to block repeal of sodomy bills right here in the US?

He's not just clueless, he's another dude who sticks his finger in the air to decide when to jump on the bandwagon. And given his prior remarks, I get the sense that if the roles and trends were reversed, he'd quite possibly make a post claiming no one favors a tiny minority deciding what the definition of marriage is.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:19 AM on February 7 [11 favorites]


Stephen Notley's Bob the Angry Flower comic, which has been running almost as long as Dilbert with much less success, today is interestingly related about how The Artist relates to The World and His Art. Explains a lot about how screwed up many artists are.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:20 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


When someone disagrees with you generally, and then you punish them for the small intersection where they do agree with you, this tends to provoke more disagreement.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:32 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Isn't this character just gay because he was told to be gay? He's an intern!
posted by oceanjesse at 6:33 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


It all reeks of a cyncial attempt to rejuvinate the tired Dilbert brand.

I mean, I still glance at Dilbert for the mild "heh" moment (despite the infamous MeFi trolling; as other have said upthread, one has to be able to separate creator from art most of the time) but given the way this was introduced (the strip's meta-character, Dogbert, annoucing another character, Asok -- rather than building it up through a narrative arc over a series of strips) it's hard to read this as much more than stunt marketing.

Also, the line from Adams' blog that zombieflanders quotes looks super-naive out of context, but in the blog is clearly an invitation to debate (but to debate within the confines of Adams' blog's comments section, which he is master of, of course).
posted by aught at 6:35 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I like how the substitute strip contains the word sploosh.
posted by birdherder at 6:37 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


When someone disagrees with you generally, and then you punish them for the small intersection where they do agree with you, this tends to provoke more disagreement.

Rightfully-earned cynicism as to whether this is actual agreement or just simplistic, emotionally manipulative click-bait is not "punishment."
posted by zombieflanders at 6:39 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Artists have difficult personalities. News at 11.

This kind of things strikes me as "boys will be boys"--a ex post facto justification for bad behavior that doesn't really hold up. There's nothing about being an artist that requires being an asshat. Plenty of artists are kind, generous, thoughtful people. If we excuse the ones that are colossal jerks with "well, artists are just like that" all we are doing is reinforcing their notion that they have some kind of special right to be horrible people because they are so damn smart and talented. That is not right, and it's not something society needs to reinforce, especially with Scott Adams, whose failure mode is "I get to do this because I'm better than you."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:40 AM on February 7 [26 favorites]


This kind of things strikes me as "boys will be boys"--a ex post facto justification for bad behavior that doesn't really hold up.

No, just an observation that artists may not be any damn good at expressing themselves outside of their medium.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:46 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Here's all the user-submitted alternative punchlines, which are variously odd and gross and unfunny and uncensored, but an interesting bellwether of who thinks what.
posted by ambrosen at 6:47 AM on February 7


Also, the line from Adams' blog that zombieflanders quotes looks super-naive out of context, but in the blog is clearly an invitation to debate (but to debate within the confines of Adams' blog's comments section, which he is master of, of course).

It's an invitation for people from all corners of the Internet who otherwise wouldn't bother with his blog to descend upon his comments section with counterexamples of his statement, which is precisely what he wants. And I'm sure he has a chorus of sockpuppets ready to ignorantly refute those counterexamples and spout hateful talking points just to keep the "debate" juiced while he laughs over the aggregate amount of people's time he's wasting.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:55 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I have to agree that Scott Adams is a jerk, but is it better to encourage jerks when they're being less jerky, or just keeping shouting "jerk!" at them?

I'm going to go with "Nice job, jerk."
posted by device55 at 6:56 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I'm half of a mind to think that the "censorship" of the comic is just more shit-stirring on Adams part, he could have submitted the old comics to various outlets himself to give the appearance of censorship and generate controversy.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 7:02 AM on February 7


Has the man never heard of Uganda, for starters?

Or, you know, India?
posted by aaronetc at 7:02 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I'm half of a mind to think that the "censorship" of the comic is just more shit-stirring on Adams part, he could have submitted the old comics to various outlets himself to give the appearance of censorship and generate controversy.

I have admit that had crossed my mind as well.
posted by aught at 7:03 AM on February 7


Has the man never heard of Uganda, for starters?

Or, you know, India?

Or Oklahoma?
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:04 AM on February 7


from the comments on his blog...
@Scott, "no one favors a government deciding which sexual acts among consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes are allowed" might be true in certain social circles or geographies, but surely you don't believe that this is true for the general population -- it implies terrible ignorance on your part. There are oral sex laws, sodomy laws, laws about scat, laws prohibiting the sale of sex toys, and other, more colorful and bigoted laws. And more to the point, there are people who still defend these laws when people try to have them repealed.

[Are those people hiding with Bigfoot? Still waiting for one of those millions and millions of people you say exist to weigh in. -- Scott]

Isnt it obvious? Those people dont like your blog and dont hang around here. They're in places on the net where they feel they belong. If you actually wanted to find some as opposed to expecting them to come to you it wouldnt be that difficult.

[You know these people exist because...you saw a grainy video of one once? Or was it the partial footprint? -- Scott]
This may be the most impressive example of selective blindness in a celebrity ever.

Also, his first mention of the existence of possible censorship/substitution...
Scott— loved the strip, can't wait to see where you go with it down the line. I wanted to point out however, that the strip I received via email this morning is not the same one that ran in the Chicago Tribune today. I read the newspaper online, so I could not make out the date stamp on the strip they ran, but it was not Dogbert's big announcement about Asok. I was not sure if you were aware of this, if the Trib made a mistake (unlikely) or what was going on.
In any event, have loved your strip for years and appreciate the fun, humor and insight you bring to my inbox each morning. Thanks for doing it.

[Editors have the option of running an older strip when they feel the content of that day's Dilbert is not suitable for their audience. I would imagine it happened a lot today. -- Scott]
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:08 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


There's nothing about being an artist that requires being an asshat.

This reminds me of the Oliver Emberton thread a few posts down. Comparing Oliver Emberton to Scott Adams isn't quite apples to apples, maybe more like apples to inflammatory misogynist apples. They're both very impressed with themselves, and convinced that their success is proof that they're geniuses who've been doing everything right, and oblivious to all outside factors that played a role.

Self-promotion gets you to the top very effectively, so it makes sense that people with a bottomless supply of hubris will propel themselves up that mountain. And once they're high enough, they can yell down as well as up. And they love to yell! So we hear a lot of crap from these successholes, and not as much from people with a sense of nuance or humility.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:08 AM on February 7


When someone disagrees with you generally, and then you punish them for the small intersection where they do agree with you, this tends to provoke more disagreement.

I fail to see how those of us expressing some scepticism about the intent behind this (legit statement of artist's views on gay marriage vs. known troll with big stage using an issue to drive attention to his work) is "punishing" Mr. Adams. I'm sure he is a big enough person to withstand some questioning of his motivations.

If I'm wrong on that, I'll personally go apologize on behalf of Metafilter for peeing in his cesspool.

If this is legit, I expect to see some clever use of this to skewer opponents of gay marriage. If not, I expect it likely won't ever be mentioned again because the man has gotten his page views and click throughs.

I would also be curious to know how many papers in India carry Dilbert.
posted by nubs at 7:08 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


This is almost as a big a story as when Cathy came out as boring.
posted by dr_dank at 7:15 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Adams is the reference model argumentarian. He gets the firmware updates first, but he's lacking in features.
posted by emmtee at 7:16 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I like how the substitute strip contains the word sploosh.

I was confused at first, because I thought the "Zip... SPLOOSH!" comic was the one being censored. The sub-text is pretty much just text in that one.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:16 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Despite his history here and elsewhere, I really wanted to give Adams the benefit of the doubt on this issue. But his replies in the comments on his blog where he thinks people who don't want government in the business of people's sex lives and his flippant response to that feedback are is such a perfect example of "privilege in action", it's almost funny. For a certified genius, he really doesn't get it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:23 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


This may be the most impressive example of selective blindness in a celebrity ever.

Nope. Just pathetic trolling.

Look how he's carefully framed the debate so his statement can only be refuted by one of the "millions of people" who actually hold those hateful opinions coming in and sincerely defending them. And look how quickly he pivots to insulting the commenter for suggesting that those people aren't reading his blog.

Adams is a jerk, and people should stop feeding him.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:28 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Dilbert used to be funny, but also seemed to have genuine affection for its characters (even the boss). Now it's just kind of mean and appears to be mocking everyone in it (and possibly the readers, too). Just a symptom of Adams' general disdain for anyone who isn't Scott Adams, Certified Genius.
posted by tommasz at 7:28 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


> ... So we hear a lot of crap from these successholes, and not as much from people with a sense of nuance or humility.

It feels like we quote Yeats about once a week 'round here:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
I'd like to get those lines done up as a needlepoint sampler, surrounded by cute little images of a douchecanoe and an asshat.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:31 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


It's also worth mentioning that Adams' devotion to this particular conception of debate, where he gets to dictate what an appropriate range of opinion is (without which the discussion will naturally be a valueless echo chamber), and where he decides what constitutes a pair of extremes for him to plonk his ass in the logicrationalcertifiedgeniusoid centre of, is far from unique to him.
posted by emmtee at 7:37 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Also, I think it's worth remembering the old saying that we will have achieved racial equality when a mediocre "black" man and a mediocre "white" man have the same opportunities.

With that as a guide, an arrogant guy with little sense of empathy thinking that we should protest India's legal endorsement of homophobia is a great sign for gay rights.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:37 AM on February 7


Scott Adams is a douchebag. Don't we all know that?

I'm just bummed Life in Hell ended without Akbar and Jeff ever coming out. We will never know if they are brothers or lovers...
posted by Nelson at 7:54 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


With that as a guide, an arrogant guy with little sense of empathy thinking that we should protest India's legal endorsement of homophobia is a great sign for gay rights.

Unless this is step one in a longer more cynical strategy that continues, "... okay, now that we have agreed that governments have no right to tell people what to do in their bedrooms and with whom, we all obviously also agree that governments have no right to tax the money we earn either."
posted by aught at 7:56 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


So, if Scott Adams is our enemy, and India is Scott Adam's enemy, that means India is on our side right? I've been teaching the causes of World War I, so I know we want to make an alliance with India fast, before India and Adams make up and ally against us.
posted by happyroach at 8:26 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


What if Al Capp had had a blog?

Although I see scanning his wikipedia entry, in the case of the particular subject at hand, his views were exceptional for the times.
posted by lagomorphius at 8:27 AM on February 7


Nelson, ISTR Groening being pretty clear about Akbar and Jeff's sexuality.

I mean, I grew up reading Life In Hell (in NOW) and it was so so so obvious.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:28 AM on February 7


Huh. I would never have known that Adams had all these issues were it not for this MeFi thread. I guess I've learned something today.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:32 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Well sure, we all assume Akbar & Jeff are gay. But it was also obvious that Liberace was gay and he never came out. Akbar & Jeff are just from a more genteel time, when your great uncle had a fabulously decorated apartment and wore pinky rings and had a string of "nephews" staying with him for weeks at a time but you never said anything.

Groening's public statement is "Akbar and Jeff are either brothers or lovers -- or both. Whatever offends you most, that's what they are."
posted by Nelson at 8:34 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Akbar & Jeff are just from a more genteel time, when your great uncle had a fabulously decorated apartment and wore pinky rings and had a string of "nephews" staying with him for weeks at a time but you never said anything.

My uncle had a long term partner and as a child I have reportedly said "Which gaybar are we taking Uncle Stephen to mummy?"

He also never wore a pinky ring.

Dead now, sadly. The plague, of course.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:37 AM on February 7


tommyD: " to skewer American corporate culture"

What skewering? Every time I saw one of those stupid potato-person comics get xeroxed and slapped onto the HR announcement board, I knew that the drones would be one step farther away from unionizing. I ought to send Scott Adams a fruit basket and thank you card.
posted by Malory Archer at 8:44 AM on February 7 [18 favorites]


Man, way to kill my joke, feckless :-( Sorry for the loss of your uncle. One of way too many. Now I'm looking for one particularly poignant Life in Hell where Akbar and Jeff discuss HIV testing, but I can't put my hands on it.
posted by Nelson at 8:46 AM on February 7


Interesting name on one of these (mostly offensive) mashups Wendell posted above. Mefi's Own?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:46 AM on February 7


Sorry Nelson. It just... my uncle was very much not a Fabulous Gay Man in the early 80's. He was a tormented, deeply conflicted and otherwise pretty normal dude who liked dudes. His father (my step-grandfather, technically, though he married my grandmother before I was born so really he was functionally my grandfather) was not so happy about the gay thing, which sent Stephen into a two-decade spiral of drugs and risky sex.

It just kind of rankled a bit so... :/
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:54 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I think Dilbert is a good example of the subjectivity of humor. Long ago in it's beginning I kind of found it funny. My wife and I still use the phrase "No matter what I do it always feels better when I stop" (a dogbert quote I think) upon occasion.
Nowadays I think it rates somewhere below the low of B.C. I find humor in both of them about equally, and only read it as it's in the local paper. I find the majority of Dilbert to suffer from what all never-ending comics suffer from, excessive repetition, and then there is the elements of viciousness laced throughout, everyone is stupid.
I found the gay comic kind of meh. Why hasn't he addressed the equality rights of people who are gay in America, you know, where he lives, rather than suddenly cast his concern across the globe? Oh, wait, it's because he has an Indian intern. Hell, you know who would be an amusing gay character in Dilbert? Wally, so un-stereotypically gay it would actually be kind of amusing/interesting to see him pull that off. But this? Both not funny (to me), and not interesting... so hey a typical Dilbert cartoon. (yeah they didn't print it in today's paper... I really fail to see why it's controversial)
But, that is just me. As evidenced from the thread and from millions of people who like it my opinions are only my own.

Adams himself is just a big flaming asshole though and through.
Here, in celebration of Perkins, and no thread is complete without a Godwin - even Hitler loved his dogs, which is to say even the most reprehensible of us have good qualities.

(excessive explanation time- no Adams isn't really comparable to Hitler.. that's hyperbole)
posted by edgeways at 8:56 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I was confused at first, because I thought the "Zip... SPLOOSH!" comic was the one being censored.

IKR? A man wielding a huge hose to discharge a forceful blast of something on another man may only be slightly less subtle than actually using the word "gay". However, I'm guessing it's no accident that replacement strip predates the usage of the word "sploosh" as it has been popularized on Archer and how it's most commonly defined on Urban Dictionary.

Also, isn't it a bit misleading for the syndicator to have re-released the old strip with a new date? If they feel they have to protect the delicate sensibilities of certain readers, why not own up to it?
posted by fuse theorem at 9:39 AM on February 7


Those "mashups" are accumulating pretty quickly: "Showing 1-5 of total 128153 Strips" as of lunchtime (East Coast) on Friday.

Oh, sure, all of the ones I checked were offensive, but you gotta ask yourself, "What are the odds there's a pony in there? Pretty good, what with all this manure around, eh?"
posted by wenestvedt at 9:41 AM on February 7


I mean, what is that, if not "I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS THEREFORE IT MUST BE WRONG"?

also why is he licking fossils
posted by Hoopo at 10:02 AM on February 7


Has the man never heard of Uganda
If a man with a Certified Genius IQ has never heard of this so-called "Uganda", who am I to say it exists?
posted by Flunkie at 10:14 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


OBSERVATIONAL SCIENCE!!!!

I've never even seen Uganda
posted by edgeways at 10:39 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


From that post:

It's only political if there's someone on the other side of the debate. In this case, no one favors a government deciding which sexual acts among consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes are allowed and which are punishable by jail.

Has the man never heard of Uganda, for starters? Is he unaware of all of the horrifying stuff going down in Russia? Does he not know about the massive support from American evangelicals those governments get? Has he not seen the attempts to block repeal of sodomy bills right here in the US?


I took his statement to mean that there really shouldn't be anything political about sexual orientation (in an ideal world) and if people have issues with a gay character, they make it political.
posted by juiceCake at 11:36 AM on February 7


I took his statement to mean that there really shouldn't be anything political about sexual orientation (in an ideal world) and if people have issues with a gay character, they make it political.

Or is he trying to say the cartoon is only political if someone from the opposite side comes to his site to debate him? In which case...well, then what was the point of doing it - was the decision in India just an excuse for a cheap joke?
posted by nubs at 11:46 AM on February 7


Surprisingly, the print version of the Indianapolis Star—not noted for being a liberal paper generally—has the new anti-homophobic strip.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:54 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


graymouser, that sounds like the dictionary definition of hypocrite to me. But he wouldn't be the first popular artist to base his art on hypocrisy. Now the question is if there's any sincerity to his stand about the oppression of homosexuals. because if he can be totally hypocritical about at least one of the central premises of his main work, all bets are off.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:46 AM on February 7 [+] [!]


I suspect Adams would view the degree he's inserted himself as a twitching wiggling bug right up the colon of Metafilter as a minor triumph.

I mean ffs people he was deceptive and mischievous, not Idi Amin.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:27 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Or is he trying to say the cartoon is only political if someone from the opposite side comes to his site to debate him? In which case...well, then what was the point of doing it - was the decision in India just an excuse for a cheap joke?

Don't know, don't care. I just don't believe this particular statement is made without the knowledge that others do indeed favour government intervention in the bedroom (with an implied aside that those that scream loudest about too much government are only to happy to have government in our bedrooms, as it were).
posted by juiceCake at 1:23 PM on February 7


I like Scott Adams. He reminds me of Mark Twain in how he likes to derive his own conclusions from first principles rather than blindly following a herd view on everything. That's what makes his prose writing so interesting, sometimes offensive to some, and which is why he is fairly often wrong, because these are not tried and tested theories but just things have that occurred to him recently, often based on not enough data. If he was vetting all his wild ideas to comply with current received wisdom he wouldn't offend anybody 'but he'd be boring as hell. Valuing people based on how closely they follow the party policy of whatever group you identify with, is what is wrong with Metafilter. I like to read interesting new takes on things, written by someone with a sense of humor, whether I agree with them or not.
posted by w0mbat at 2:19 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Scott? Is that you? OK probably not, but once someone astroturfs Metafilter once it gets awfully difficult to talk about them.
posted by Nelson at 2:24 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I've been w0mbat on here since 2005. Do I look like a fucking sock puppet? Have some manners, please.

I don't care that he defended his own work here in the past in a vaguely dubious way. Creative people care about their work, and will do crazy things to defend it. He certainly has a reputation for being obsessive and neurotic, to the point where he couldn't even speak for quite a while. I give creative people the license to act a little weird sometimes.
posted by w0mbat at 2:46 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


If he was vetting all his wild ideas to comply with current received wisdom he wouldn't offend anybody 'but he'd be boring as hell.
Just like Bill Nye. He's totally boring and doesn't offend anybody... in Bizarroworld. (Although a debate between Adams and Nye would be fun... as long as it's not under the terms of what Adams thinks is 'debate')
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:12 PM on February 7


I like Scott Adams. He did me a huge favor many years ago. I only joined in 2011, so I could be a sock puppet.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:38 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


That's what makes his prose writing so interesting, sometimes offensive to some, and which is why he is fairly often wrong, because these are not tried and tested theories but just things have that occurred to him recently, often based on not enough data.

The same could be said of nearly anyone with a blog. What makes Adams's writing different?

written by someone with a sense of humor

OK, only about a third of the people with blogs.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:00 PM on February 7


My first thought on seeing a Dilbert piece was something like: "Wow, Dilbert...still hanging in there! Good for Scott, I guess?" Then I read the Metafilter sockpuppet story and the deleted thread and arrived at this conclusion: "Wow, I had no idea Scott Adams was such an unbelievable jerk. And he hates women, too? Oof."

I used to think he was a smart (albeit frustrated and bitter) person who figured out a formula and a medium to make a lot of money in a short amount of time--not an indefensible thing by any means. Then I dug a little deeper and developed the opinion: he's a manipulative, egocentric petty weirdo that has clawed his way to the top through a combination of (debatably) hard work and Machiavellian douchebaggery; he spends his time convincing himself he's superior to everyone who disagrees with his views. Any criticism--any!--is derided as either playing right into his uber-grandiose ultra-genius design, being an imbecile or possibly both.

I know I'm late to the game, but I was utterly baffled when I read Scott's closing retort here. What is that? Self-parody? An attempt to confound as outsider art? Or just a lot of nonsense like most of what else he's written? Because my feeble non-Scott Adams brain asplode.
posted by ostranenie at 6:24 PM on February 7


I dunno what goes on in his head. He spent all day responding to comments on his blog on this preening about how nobody could show him people who want the government to regulate bedroom behavior but he...deleted comments that showed up in the first hour quoting proponents of sodomy bans. It feels like some sort of compulsion to be perceived as the smartest guy in the room but not really having the ability to deliver on that with his thoughts and ideas unless he can apply underhanded tactics to distort the actual conversation.

I think in the end what annoys me is that he isn't a very good troll, and I appreciate it as an (obviously jerky, don't make a habit of doing it.) form of art. In that artform, he's a big old hack. He gets attention because of his built in Dilbert audience, not because he creates creative and interesting trolls. He literally was figured out and identified as himself in his first comment here because he is so bad at it. In that post you quote to Matt, he shows he is incapable or too lazy to even make an attempt to engage with the argument, just posts a non-sensical quip in defense of his obviously juvenile and ridiculous trolling attempt. A good troll would read it, understand it, and subvert it. (Or would not have been found out in the first place.) But he doesn't do that, and yet he can't let it go without comment. He comments on dozen of posts on his blog in those threads, but none of them are particularly substantive or responsive. Why not take some time to respond in depth to a few people with good points instead of posting one liners to everybody? Well, I guess he just can't let anything go so he has to say something or people won't know that he was in fact right about everything 100% from the start.

Anyway, I like the comic when I get a chance to read it. I liked the animated version too. I think it's a shame he essentially mines the audience for it that is willing to come to his site for low grade trolling opportunities. I'm sorry he seems to have a self image that is strangely dependent on his perception with random internet commentators on his own blog and on random sites that happened to mention him.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:15 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


He's kind of like the antithesis of Bill Watterson - Bill is all, "I know exactly who I am, but I'd rather you didn't." Scott is all, "I have no Idea who I am, and I want everyone to know it!"
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:57 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


The promised second and last chapter in the Gay Asok saga.

"That place is so gay?" THAT'S the best he could do? I feel less trolled and more Rick Rolled.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:18 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


And the first comment there is just...special.
posted by nubs at 10:28 PM on February 7


His site is one big dumpster dive. I feel unclean.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:43 PM on February 7


Dilbert is a comic strip where we all get to pretend that the sickness of American workplace culture is:
  1. Kinda funny,
  2. Absolutely unavoidable, unpreventable, don't even think about it ever changing you lousy hippie.
It treats stuff that is awful and that we should organize to end as a collection of funny little foibles and frustrations. It skewers nothing. Instead, it participates in the sickness. The comparison to Cathy (which pretends to lightheartedly skewer a misogynistic worldview that it actually wholeheartedly embraces) is quite apt.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:49 AM on February 8 [10 favorites]


Can someone explain the joke to me? "The Taj Mahal is so gay". I'm fine with "so gay" being a punchline, but what's gay about the Taj Mahal? Because it's pretty, is that why it's gay? But the Taj Mahal is famously a monument a man built to his dead wife, the very opposite of gay. Maybe it's an "opposite day" sort of joke? But then Adams would be relying on his audience knowing the history of the Taj Mahal, which seems optimistic. Oh yeah, Scott Adams definitely makes me think. Way too hard to explain a dumb joke.
posted by Nelson at 8:17 AM on February 8 [3 favorites]


It's my read that he thinks he will rankle the supporters of the law by calling a cultural point of pride gay, which they will hate since they are homophobes.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:19 AM on February 8


Yeah, I got that part of the joke. But wouldn't it make more sense to point to something that is stereotypically gay? Like "Bollywood is so gay?" Or "Holi is so gay?". On a closer reading the premise of the last panel doesn't make sense either; Dilbert is saying India might nuke itself. Huh.

Now I remember why I don't read newspaper comics.
posted by Nelson at 9:18 AM on February 8


But wouldn't it make more sense to point to something that is stereotypically gay?

No, I don't think so. If this was aimed at America he would say something like, "Mt. Rushmore is so gay!" because pointing to something actually stereotypically gay would be more like making a homophobic comment himself. His intent here isn't to mock gay people even if it isn't some brilliant satire. I could be wrong, but I think that's all there is to it.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:30 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


When bosses gift Dilbert calendars at work, I think it's safe to say you aren't really skewering corporate culture.

A lot of those strips are mean and I think they work precisely because you are obviously not the person being skewered. There isn't a lot of solidarity in Dilbert's universe so I'm not really sure it's any subversive. The sense I get is, Dilbert's smart - most coworkers of his and his boss are dumb or lazy, but they get ahead.

On a personal note, almost every guy who has a Dilbert strip placed prominently on his cube has been someone convinced of his superiority and how others (usually someone asking for stuff) is dumb.

I'm in IT so there's always a bit of contempt for the 'business users' if you will, so this stuff has a lot of appeal. It makes me wonder what the 'business' think of us. (Do they paste Dilbert strips in their workplace too?)
posted by viramamunivar at 1:15 PM on February 8


Scott Adams is a pretty smart and funny guy who is not as smart as he thinks he is, and worse is afraid that he isn't as smart as he thinks he is. For the most part Dilbert is on-target because Dilbert isn't an everyman character like Berkeley Breathed's Opus the Penguin; Dilbert is the pre-Dilbert Scott Adams himself, under-appreciated and over-worked and immersed in a world of insanity which he must endure to survive.

But Adams is insecure, in the same way Stephen King was insecure enough to wonder if he could "make it" again on his own merits. Adams sockpuppeting this place was probably about on a par with Stephen King becoming Richard Bachmann or Peter Sellers doing almost anything Sellers did when he wasn't on film. That kind of insecurity can make you at turns arrogant and defensive, neither of those being attractive qualities. This does not make him inherently untalented or mean, though it might make him seem both things at inopportune times.

I tend to think the last two days' strips are a shot at the underlying banality of considering sexual orientation to be of any interest to outside parties at all. Who cares whether Asok is gay or straight? He's a fucking intern after all. And the Taj Mahal quip is playing on the stupidity of the things people do because $person not is, but SEEMS, $sexual_orientation. As Drinkie Die points out the US version might have been Mt. Rushmore or one of those oversized phallic monuments to our founders on the DC Mall. It's a well-taken point that lots of things criticized as gay aren't even in any meaningful sense, and that the gayness that most offends you exists only in your own heart.
posted by localroger at 2:08 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


What Happened When India Decided It Was OK With Homosexuality — Then Violently Changed Its Mind: A violent police raid could signal things to come with the law criminalizing homosexuality back in effect.
posted by homunculus at 3:09 PM on February 17


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