Newspapers across the country are dropping the popular strip over a racist rant.
Yesterday morning, I saw the Cleveland.com headline “We are dropping the Dilbert comic strip because of creator Scott Adams’ racist rant: Letter from the Editor” but did not actually read the story. The headline is fairly self-explanatory but here’s the gist for further context:
Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, went on a racist rant this week on his Coffee with Scott Adams online video show, and we will no longer carry his comic strip in The Plain Dealer.
This is not a difficult decision.
Adams said Black people are a hate group, citing a recent Rasmussen survey which, he said, shows nearly half of all Black people do not agree with the phrase “It’s okay to be white.”
“I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” he says in the video.
He says a lot more in the video, mostly hateful and racist, all viewable on Youtube. It’s a staggering string of statements, all but certain to result in the loss of his livelihood. I hate to quote him at all, but I do so to dissuade responses that this is a “cancel culture” decision.
No, this is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve. We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.
Adams’ reprehensible statements come during Black History Month, when The Plain Dealer has been publishing stories about the work being performed by so many to overcome the damage done by racist decisions and policy.
We’re not the first newspaper to drop Dilbert. Last year, according to The Daily Beast, 77 newspapers published by Lee Enterprises dropped it after Adams introduced his first Black character, apparently to poke fun at “woke” culture and the LGBTQ community. We are part of Advance Local, and the leaders in all Advance Local newsrooms independently have made the same decision we did to stop running the strip. That includes newspapers in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Massachusetts and Oregon.
Today, I see that the Washington Post has joined suit.
Newspapers across the United States have pulled Scott Adams’s long-running “Dilbert” comic strip after the cartoonist called Black Americans a “hate group” and said White people should “get the hell away from” them.
The Washington Post, the USA Today network of hundreds of newspapers, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Los Angeles Times and other publications announced they would stop publishing “Dilbert” after Adams’s racist rant on YouTube on Wednesday. Asked on Saturday how many newspapers still carried the strip — a workplace satire he created in 1989 — Adams told The Post: “By Monday, around zero.”
The once widely celebrated cartoonist, who has been entertaining extreme-right ideologies and conspiracy theories for several years, was upset Wednesday by a Rasmussen poll that found a thin majority of Black Americans agreed with the statement “It’s okay to be White.”
“If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with White people … that’s a hate group,” Adams said on his live-streaming YouTube show. “I don’t want to have anything to do with them. And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people … because there is no fixing this.”
Adams, 65, also blamed Black people for not “focusing on education” during the show and said, “I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of Black Americans beating up non-Black citizens.”
By Thursday, The Post began hearing from readers calling for the strip’s cancellation. On Friday, the USA Today Network said that it “will no longer publish the Dilbert comic due to recent discriminatory comments by its creator.” The Gannett-owned chain oversees more than 300 newspapers, including the Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer, Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Austin American-Statesman and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
For both good and ill, the consolidation of the news business such that single conglomerates own 300 or 77 newspapers means that a handful of decisionmakers control what tens of millions of readers spread across the country get to see.*
Canceling Adams’ strip is ultimately a business decision. Presumably, the editors in question think that continuing to run the strip will cost them more subscribers than they will lose by canceling it.
The ethics of the decision is more complex. “We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support” is a straightforward enough principle. But I suspect Adams is not the only cartoonist published by these entities with objectionable beliefs. Then again, most cartoonists don’t host a talk show where they share their personal views.
I haven’t been a regular Dilbert reader in a very long time, simply because the modality of my news consumption—a handful of Internet aggregators—doesn’t tend to surface comic strips in the way that the newspaper format I consumed in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s did. But I was a big fan of the strip when it first appeared, during what was a golden age of the genre with strips like Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” and Bill Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes.”
I found Adams himself interesting, too, and bought a handful of his non-cartoon books, notably The Dilbert Principle (1996). He gave off a vaguely Republican vibe but seemed quite mainstream, aside from a belief that writing affirmations out fifteen times a day will magically enable anyone to achieve wildly ambitious goals like being the world’s most successful cartoonist.
I cited his blog quite a lot in the early days of OTB but gradually drifted away from reading it in much the way I did other blogs. Overall, he seemed like a really bright guy with some interesting insights into the world.
I hadn’t given him much thought in years, though, until he resurfaced as a thinly-disguised Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign. At first, he seemed to be simply a detached analyst, noting that, however absurd Trump’s claims seemed to a rational observer, they were actually incredibly powerful as influencing measures. Soon, though, that drifted into some QAnon-adjacent conspiracy-mongering and just plain weirdness.
A run through the poorly-organized “Political and social views” section of his Wikipedia page is instructive:
Adams has often commented on political and social matters. In 2016 he wrote on his blog, “I don’t vote and I am not a member of a political party.” In 2007, he suggested that Michael Bloomberg would make a good presidential candidate. Before the 2008 presidential election he said, “On social issues, I lean libertarian, minus the crazy stuff.” In December 2011 he said that if he were president, he would do whatever Bill Clinton advised him to do because that “would lead to policies that are a sensible middle ground.” On October 17, 2012, he wrote, “While I don’t agree with Romney’s positions on most topics, I’m endorsing him for president.” In a blog post from September 2017, Adams described himself as being “left of Bernie Sanders, but with a preference for plans that can work.”
In 2015, although Adams stated that he would not endorse a candidate for the 2016 elections, he repeatedly praised Donald Trump’s persuasion skills. He extensively detailed what he called Trump’s “talent stack.” Adams correctly predicted that Trump would win the Republican nomination and the general election. In 2018, Adams similarly praised the persuasion skills of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, he said the following: “If you’re an undecided voter, and male, you’re seeing something different. You’re seeing a celebration that your role in society is permanently diminished. And it’s happening in an impressive venue that was, in all likelihood, designed and built mostly by men.” Adams said that he temporarily endorsed Hillary Clinton out of fear for his own life, stating that he had received direct and indirect death threats (“Where I live, in California, it is not safe to be seen as supportive of anything Trump says or does. So I fixed that.”). In late September, however, Adams switched his endorsement from Clinton to Trump. Among his primary reasons were his respect for Trump’s persuasion skills, Clinton’s proposal to raise the inheritance tax, and his concerns over Clinton’s health. In mid-October, Adams predicted a Clinton victory would ensure that a male president would never again be elected. He has also stated that being labeled a “Donald Trump apologist” ended his public speaking career and reduced his income by about 40%, and that his number of friends had decreased by about 75%.
Adams predicted in March 2020 that Trump, Sanders and Joe Biden would all contract COVID-19 and that one of them would die from it by the end of the year; in December 2020, when all three men remained alive (although Trump did catch the virus), Politico named Adams’ prediction one of “the most audacious, confident and spectacularly incorrect prognostications about the year.” Adams received further attention in December 2021, in reference to his July 2020 prediction that if Biden were to win the 2020 presidential election, then Republicans would be hunted and there’s a “good chance” they’ll be “dead within a year” and “Police will stand down” — none of which ultimately occurred. On September 30, 2021, Adams had also tweeted “My worst prediction of all time was ‘If Biden gets elected, there’s a good chance you will be dead in a year.’ It was closer to two years. I missed it by 100%”, which also did not occur.
Adams has compared women asking for equal pay to children demanding candy. He pointed out “satanic coincidences” in the Joe Biden presidential campaign. On Twitter in July 2022, Adams argued that if parents believe their son poses a danger to themselves and others, they have only two options, either they should murder their own son or watch him die and maybe kill others.
In January 2023, Adams announced that he was considering taking legal action against political cartoonist Ben Garrison for an allegedly defamatory cartoon about his view on masking and COVID-19 vaccines.
The machinations there are simply weird.
But here’s the thing: Adams has been writing and saying really, really weird things for years now. Presumably, enough people were enjoying Dilbert to make it profitable for these corporations to run the strip. Granted that I’m a white male, I would argue that the sexist comments noted in the above excerpt are more egregious than the weird take on a single polling question was racist.
Again, I don’t object to the various press oligopolies making a business decision or in any way question their right to stop publishing a cartoon strip. Nor do I think Adams’ speech rights have been infringed; he has several large platforms where folks who want to hear his rants can do so. (If, say, YouTube bans him from what amounts to a monopoly platform, I’d be much more concerned.) But it’s odd that this particular rant was the final straw.
*UPDATE: It turns out that today’s editions were the last print editions for The Birmingham News, Mobile Register, and Huntsville Times—all owned by Advance. They had been reduced to thrice weekly a decade ago. So, the Advance-owned AL.com website remains the only “local newspaper” for most of the state of Alabama. There are only a handful of dailies remaining, the most significant of which is the Montgomery Advertiser, serving the state capitol.
His politics have always been a bit weird (to put it mildly), but over the last few years his unraveling seems to have accelerated.
This isn’t cancel culture, it’s these media outlets pulling the plug before something EVEN WORSE comes along/surfaces/ends up on his show.
Is it though? I suspect that a lit of these papers had been looking to dump Dilbert for a while (my understanding is its syndication costs are quite high). However, if they had let one of the lesser MAGA-related rants do it, then they would have left themselves open to the type of “radical libruls” attacks that have cowered newsrooms for years. To that point, despite ending Dilbert over was has been seen as a racist rant, note how gun shy much of the initial reporting was in calling the rant racist, opting instead for the “racially charged” weasel words. It’s remarkable that editorial departments avoided the type of decision that management made.
To me, this is very similar to Adidas finally ending its relationship with Kanye West after years of increasingly bizarre behavior. As with the anti-semitic comments West made, Adam’s explicit racist comments were an easy way to finally make the move (as both explicit antisemitism and anti-Black racism are still considered clearly taboo).
Whether dropping Dilbert costs the newspapers’ readers or not, likely didn’t factor in the decision. Like the elderly university professor that was fired a few months ago, eliminating Dilbert, removes a nagging hassle for the management staff. Each time Adam’s says something outrageous, readers will complain, so the problem is ongoing. Dropping him, the papers will deal with blow back once and in a few weeks all will be forgotten.
Dilbert and Adams, simply became too troublesome to keep.
You can still get to the comics section at the bottom of the WashPo front page, I have started checking Doonesbury regularly.
The only other comic I follow is oglaf (NSFW) which is a bit of a specialized taste I suppose. https://www.oglaf.com/archive/
Adams has expressed weird or problematic views for decades. As we’ve seen with other celebrities like Roseanne Barr and Kanye West, it seems like the press turns a blind eye to a lot of the stuff they say until they finally grab the headlines with something so outrageous and extreme it’s impossible to ignore–and then the press goes on to act like it came out of nowhere.
The list is long. In the 1990s, he questioned the theory of evolution and flirted with intelligent design. What’s notable is that to my knowledge Adams isn’t especially religious. He’s simply drawn toward iconoclastic opinions like a moth to a flame.
He’s also questioned the number that died in the Holocaust, and suggested that women are dumber than men.
All this was years before his turn toward Trump apologia. And even there, he’s always made it sound like he’s not so much pro-Trump as anti-anti-Trump. He tries to come off as some disaffected dude mocking anyone with the temerity to give a fuck (which is easy enough for a rich white guy), and I think the main thing he likes about Trump is the chaotic disruptive effect Trump has had on respectable society. The fact that Trump throws people into a rage is all Adams thinks he needs to know to form an opinion on him. To Adams, that’s automatically evidence that Trump must be doing something right. He thinks that to accept mainstream or conventional takes on things is to follow the herd, and he uses this mindless, empty-headed contrarianism he confuses with independent thinking to act like he’s above it all, smirking at the rest of us down below.
You nailed it. Adams is perverse.
These types of polling questions are destructive. They serve no productive* purpose. They are money makers though. So there’s that.
*Yeah yeah, I know.
Adams helped me to understand Trump’s tactics. I think there is a lot to his theory of humans as ‘soft robots’, which provides a perspective that explains how Trump tactics could be successful and the conditions required for this success. Basically, it sums up the approach for the Right-Wing Media Entertainment Complex.
Beyond the useful information he had, I view him as a guy who knows better….but couldn’t resist the money and adulation he could gain being a troll. Oh, and Dilbert is pretty corny anyway
@Matt Bernius: I am going to second this. Declaring that Whites should stay away from Blacks and that Blacks are a hate group is more than enough, in my mind, to want to cease to be affiliated with him.
Really, as weird as a lot of things he has said have been, this is just about as direct as you can get without slinging a string of slurs.
I will say that his rants were such that I found it difficult to read Dilbert. Of course, it is pretty much the same set of jokes recycled over and over at this point, so no big loss.
@Steven L. Taylor:
Because Adams is perverse, he may be pushing it as far as he can go.
Adams has gotten significantly more unhinged since his wife divorced him, so chalk this up to another example of Divorced Man Energy
After the 2016 election, I tried watching a couple of his episodes. His affect is so bad and ugly that after two minutes they became unbearable. He seems like the type of guy whose ideal life is getting a wife from Estonia for 100K. The fact that he’s done at least 2027 of these things and that somebody is watching is something else.
@Steven L. Taylor: @Stormy Dragon: Honestly, I don’t think it’s so much that Adams has suddenly revealed his secret deep-seated racism (which strikes me as unlikely for someone with a Berkely education who’s lived in Silicon Valley his whole adult life) as that he’s just become increasingly unhinged. I don’t know if it’s his personal life, genuine mental illness, or what.
Actions have consequences. Who’da thunk it?
BTW, the strip was already skating on thin ice when, last year, when Adams made a big deal of introducing the strip’s first Black character. The literal joke in said Black character’s first appearance is literally that he “identifies as White.” source: https://www.dailycartoonist.com/index.php/2022/05/03/dilbert-presents-black-character-gets-dragged/
A later strip undoes it a little bit, but its definitely a sign that Adams might not have the best impluses on the subject of race.
I encourage you to reconsider the need for racism to be “deep-seated.” It is entirely possible to be casually racist in a way that emerges when push comes to shove. His posts in recent days are primarily about reverse racism and bias against white men. And not surprisingly, another “galaxy-brained” elite university-educated Silicon Valley dude seems to agree with those points: https://twitter.com/monitoringbias/status/1629477508444725251
Right, the tech community–that place which is famously free of libertarian Slate Star Codex-like guys who have many interesting ideas about race science.
It must be a mental strain having to rewrite the same half dozen limp jokes a million times. He’s a very limited talent and hit his creative wall decades ago. As he slipped from relevancy it would have probably increased the pressure he felt to get back in the conversation. And then what could he do? Create something new? Take on a new challenge? Apparently not.
I suspect it’s much the same with Elon and Rowling, people who have it all and still feel unsatisfied, hollow inside. Once you’ve been on the tippy top, it’s all downhill. That’s physics, man, physics. All three rich AF and still unsatisfied. It’s almost as if money can’t buy happiness, or satisfaction, or a moral core. . . so many things you can’t buy with money.
Elon spent 44 billion in a sad, needy attempt to be one of the cool kids and in the process has shown himself to be shallow, narcissistic and downright creepy. Rowling’s post-Harry mysteries performed so badly under pseudonym that she ‘leaked’ their true authorship, and the recent movies (with her firmly in control) are an embarrassment. It’s a shame, really, while I never thought Rowling was any kind of genius, she is wonderfully creative and she’s excellent with character. Plot? Not so much. And of course despite claiming to be Labor, she’s always written from a distinctly non-democratic, rigidly class-endorsing POV.
This is what happens to people when they start buying their own bullshit, lose all humility or perspective, and refuse to acknowledge the huge role of luck in their success. Pride goeth, etc…
@Michael Reynolds: “I suspect it’s much the same with Elon and Rowling, people who have it all and still feel unsatisfied, hollow inside.”
The thing is, you only get to be the most important person in the world for a limited amount of time, and it usually happens when you’re young. Then what can you do? Springsteen, U2, Madonna, Michael Jackson were all the Most Important Person in Music for a while, then it faded, as it always does. Some people handle this well — U2 went off and did whatever kind of music they wanted, Springsteen devoted himself to raising his family while continuing to produce, wrote a brilliant memoir and stage show. Madonna, on the other hand, has generally seemed to be chasing after whatever trend is big right now in case she can grab it, while Michael Jackson apparently did terrible things with the license that all the money and celebrity in the world can bring. (Prince, sadly, died too early for us to know…)
That could well be what’s happening with Rowling and Dilbert-guy (not that he was ever top of the heap, but he was pretty big). That point when the work you’re doing becomes less important than the attention it brings you, so you focus on whatever brings you that attention…
I would like to draw a distinction between the low-level employees in tech and the management/ownership people in tech (who despite trying to present themselves as technically savvy frequently are not).
The shining example right now is Elmo, who despite trying to present himself for decades as some sort of engineering genius has always been just a business/finance guy who is only even notable in that field because he started with a huge capital pool and could thus buy he way into big projects.
Well, I am not sure that this is a sudden reveal, as IIRC, some of his prior statements were also in the camp of highly suspect on the subject of race (and diversity in general).
And I have zero difficulty thinking that a guy educated at UCB and who lives in Silicon Valley could be racist. He comes across to me as the kind of libertarianesque white dude who is so convinced of his own inherent genius and hard work that others who are less successful than he must just be lazy.
Indeed–especially since after he left the corporate world he lost his source of inspiration and one can only run so many decades without some new material.
As someone who’s morbidly followed her transphobic descent since 2019, I’ve noticed it’s led a lot of former fans to take an increasingly critical look at the Potter series: the Gringotts goblins as veiled anti-Semitic caricatures, the defense of slavery in the House Elves, her awkward attempts at racial diversity in the white-dominated story, her unconvincing retroactive attempts to get liberal brownie points (Dumbledore is gay, Hermione is black) and more. That’s not to say nobody talked about those things before. But I think people were more willing to give her a pass. They just took her to be a well-intentioned but cringey white liberal.
Besides, what you mention has a long pedigree in the fantasy genre. She made some attempts to modernize it (e.g. treating “witches” and “wizards” as equals, at least in theory), but the framework is still very much traditional, not revisionist. And I think one of her biggest flaws is a refusal to reexamine her beliefs. This sets her apart from Stephen King, whose earlier books have a load of questionable content (in fact I’d say they’re worse on that score than the Potter books), but unlike Rowling he’s shown a receptiveness to criticism and hasn’t allowed himself to fall down the narcissistic, self-pitying, anti-woke rabbit hole.
I would note that Prince was 57 when he passed, which is certainly young to be dying, but I think is old enough to say how he was going to handle the later stage of his career since he was already well into it.
@James Joyner: And not to draw too many conclusions from an area of study, but Adams’ BA is in Economics and his UCB grad degree is an MBA. Despite the prevailing narrative thet universities are havens for All Thing Left, we all know that those fields are not exactly rife with wokeness, on balance.
@Steven L. Taylor:
110% this. There is an incredibly strong line of “smartest guy in the room” libertarianism that is bound up in the creation and continuing functioning of Silicon Valley–especially when one looks at the people who rise into leadership positions. Fred Turner’s book “From Counter-culture to Cyber-culture” does a really great job of unpacking that thread. And all too often that mode of libertarianism tends to have really dubious politics and positions when it comes to topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Beyond Adams, Musk is really bad on this stuff, as are folks like Theil and Andresson.
And that’s before we get to the bigger issues within the Libertarian party writ large which, btw, is having an ugly and very public resurgence of explicit racism fueled to a large degree by White male resentment.
Even The Dilbert Principle wasn’t original — old-school nerds recognized it as ripping off the main ideas of the cult classic Putt’s Law and the Successful Technocrat in updated language, with extra snark.
@Modulo Myself: @Matt Bernius: @Steven L. Taylor: That’s fair. I consider the “I made it through hard work, so everyone who is failing must just be lazy” mindset of a different piece than racism, although it can certainly be used to justify a certain brand of it.
The other thing I find annoying here is the right-wing “martian scientist” game were they pretend like they have no understanding on how English language is actually used in context and thus are naively unaware precisely why people object to a phrase like “It’s okay to be white”.
There’s definitely a type ranging from Curtis Yarvin to Effective Altruism-type guys who know their stuff with coding who end up in talking about monarchies and race or being taken by Roko’s Basilisk.
Part of it is the belief that life is an operating system akin to the one that powers GTA V, and if you just figure out what the original code you can figure out the world. I.e. that’s why people believe we are close to hacking the brain or AI.
Excellent analogy – the fading rock star. If they’d just accept the fact that a big part of their success is down to luck they’d be better prepared for the inevitable and not take it so hard. Life is shaped by DNA, experience, the choices you make and randomness, with that last one playing a role in the other three elements as well. Anyone who has had major success should wake up every morning and thank their chosen supernatural entity because 90+% of the human race never gets beyond, ‘scraping by’.
As Mick sang:
After all is said and done, I gotta move I had my fun, I will walk before they make me run.
Not that he took his own advice.
It’s why I only read the first book. Not that I was thinking at the time that she was, or would become, an awful person, just that I find the whole, ‘and she was a princess all along,’ kind of stories dull after a while. Done well you have Aragorn, but Aragorn was not the star, Frodo the average guy and his even more average sidekick, Sam, were the stars. Interesting that an actual Oxford don born in the 19th century was more of a small ‘d’ democrat than Rowling turned out to be.
@Steven L. Taylor:
Yep. He found his niche, then left his niche. His creativity was just observational snark. “Engineers be like. . .” Yeah, we get it Scott. Got it many thousands of panels ago. It was as if Jerry Seinfeld was still doing, ‘what’s the deal with airline peanuts?’ jokes.
Regarding the Libertarian Party. Much of what is happening there is the result of it having been captured by white supremacists. The Lib Party that was, even as late as 2018 is gone. That leadership has been removed and replaced by neo-nazi adjacents.
There’s certainly right-wing software engineers because individual are individuals, but the portrayal of the tech industry as a bastion of right wing libertarianism is more a media concoction created by coverage of managers who know enough coding to act like software engineers when they’re not.
The people doing the actual software engineering and IT work for the industry tend to be pretty left-wing, if not outright socialists or communists, and to the extent they’re utopian it tends to lean a lot more toward Roddenberry-style “robot socialism” than Rand-style anarcho-capitalism.
Indeed, one of the biggest issues in the industry now is the management/finance-types resorting to increasingly hard-line crack downs on their workers to keep them from openly criticizing the management/finance-types political agendas.
TY for that one. Definitely saving it for future use.
Totally agree, with all of the above. That’s why I tried to call out that this type of libertarianism is much more at the leadership–and equally important VC–level.
I completely agree that a lot of the “do-er” level is far to their left. I work with a lot of them and that focus has led to a lot of organizing work and the start of tech-worker unions (one of which I am a part of). And there are definitely a lot of software bros as well who go in the opposite direction. Like so many areas, it’s never one way or the other.
One thing I’ve always been curious about is the degree to which neurodiversity is involved in people’s gravitation to either side of the spectrum (not to mention thinking one has invented the wheel).
Feel free, it’s not an original concept, so you’re just stealing what I’ve already rightfully stolen. 😉
Didn’t he used to solicit anecdotes and ideas from his readers? I don’t see anything like that on his web page, dilbert.com. Does he still do it?
Something called therichest.com lists Adams as having a net worth of 75 mil. For a cartoonist, coming up with something every day, even recycling the same half dozen jokes, has to become wearing. And probably pays a fraction of his investment income. I can’t help but wonder if he isn’t pulling a Bari Weiss. Rather than just quit, like the inestimable Bill Watterson did, go out in a dumpster blaze of glory that guarantees another fifteen minutes of fame, at least on FOX and maybe at CPAC and maybe he has in mind a profitable grift. Maybe he’ll start doing political cartoons for FOX. That seems to require little talent and less effort.
I’m not at all sure they’re pretending.
@Stormy Dragon: Fair enough. Let’s say that I didn’t follow Prince enough to have a good idea about his late career.
Tom Petty, who died around the same time and from the same causes, did have an exemplary post-Biggest Star in the World career, basically just going back to being the working musician he started out as…
@Michael Reynolds: “As Mick sang:
After all is said and done, I gotta move I had my fun, I will walk before they make me run.
Not that he took his own advice.”
I don’t know about that. He seems to be living the life he wants to live. I can’t imagine he keeps working because he needs the cash — if he were hard up, there are banks and hedge funds paying hundreds of millions of dollars for music libraries. To me, if he’s running, it’s because he likes running, not because anyone is making him, and at 79 if playing stadiums makes him happy, more power to him.
@Michael Reynolds: “It was as if Jerry Seinfeld was still doing, ‘what’s the deal with airline peanuts?’ jokes.”
I just a flash of Seinfeld telling a joke about airline peanuts to an audience of college kids who didn’t laugh because they don’t know what he’s talking about since peanuts haven’t been served on airplanes during their lifetime (since the apparent increase in peanut allergies among children), and then Bill Maher spending his entire show screaming about how these terrible woke college kids are canceling Jerry Seinfeld.
Who, by the way, really knew how to stand down when his moment at the top of the heap had passed…
My suspicion is that the main ideological peculiarity of Silicon Valley is the relative absence of the pre-2016 mainstream conservatism (libertarian in economic issues, conservative in social issues, militarist in foreign policy, small-d democratic about the political system), being a mix of of anarco-communists, socialists, liberals, libertarians and quasi-fascist reactionaries.
And probably the absence of (pre-2016) mainstream conservatives is because perhaps the nature of software development (much abstract speculation about “who things could work?”) selects in favor of the kind of people also prone to anti-establishment ideas (from the left or from the right)
Well, I never read the books, but the movies seem at least center-left – the “bads” are upper-class anti-“mudblood” racists, connected to a house founded by a “Salazar” and with a distinct fascist aesthetic in the latter movies (and the obnoxious “muggle” family of Potter reads the Daily Mail, if I remember), while the “goodies” are almost an alliance of marginalized groups (poors, “mudbloods”, the exception being Potter himself).
Sincerely, I think that these tendency to portrait the “Harry Potter universe” as fundamentally conservative is much post-hoc rationalization (“she is transphobic, then she should be a secret right-winger all along”)
They’re not the… the “goodies” are just as into the other magical races being under the thumbs of the wizards and witches, they just want to replace the explicit “human supremacy” of the bad guys with a “behold the white man’s burden” style veneer of benevolence.
The one character in the whole series we see trying to provide actual agency to a marginalized group (Hermione’s attempt to politically organize the house elves) is portrayed as deserving nothing but mockery and scorn.
There’s also the foreshadowing of Rowling’s evolution on LGBT issues in making lycanthropy a metaphor for HIV/AIDS and then making one of only two werewolves in the series a person who deliberately preys on and infects children. Reenforced by the Dumbledore/Grimwald relationship where Dumbledore can only be a “good LGBT” by becoming a sexless eunuch, because an actual LGBT relationship must be predatory and evil.
@gVOR08: Speaking of the inestimable Bill Watterson, I have read in a couple different places that he is going to start comic-ing again. A whole new strip with a different premise. I hope he can pull it off.
Gary Larson has been releasing a few things recently too, although it mostly seems to be playing around with digital tools than a concentrated effort to get back into cartooning.
@Stormy Dragon: Yeah I’ve read that, tho I haven’t paid it much attention. I equate it too doodling and figure if he ever decides to get serious with it the internets will let me know.
Capitalism – it sucks when it bites you in the arse, eh Scott?
“As Mick sang:
After all is said and done, I gotta move I had my fun, I will walk before they make me run.
Not that he took his own advice.”
Keith Richards was the vocalist on this song, the other Glimmer Twin. Seems de stijl should have caught this.
Our wealthy white people are not ok.
We hear about it more with the famous ones, for obvious reasons, but if you pay attention yo start finding things like this, by Marc Andreessen (founder of Netscape):
I think that when they realize that there are still barriers to what they can say and be accepted, they go fucking insane. A gross oppositional defiance disorder where they get furious that people beneath them are somehow trying to constrain them and hen they double down just to show they can.
Taxing them at 90% is probably the best thing for them, to force them to acknowledge and understand that they are part of a society. It’s for their own good.
Also, Elon is posting stuff today about how the media is racist, as opposed to Scott Adams. Because of course he has.
@Stormy Dragon: I think the tale of two werewolves is easier explained by just not being a very good or consistent writer, rather than anything else. Have an idea, and then sort of just forget about it, going back to basic werewolf stuff and villain stuff or whatever strikes her fancy at the moment.
It’s like how before the advent of plumbing, wizards would just shit themselves and then magic it away. It’s not well thought out.
Dilbert had threads of this stuff in it from the very early days of the strip. His male characters are incels before it became a cause (and was merely a situation for others to be derisive about), the women they were failing at “scoring” with tended to be manipulative, and there’s always Asok, the Indian/Paki/South Asian of some sort intern. These elements weren’t particularly funny in the larger sense of the strip, so in some ways, it’s interesting that they were elements in ongoing threads that would go for multiple days. He probably was always like this, and the key may be that it took several decades for society to become offended by it.
They’ve got a good dose of Disney Princess syndrome (in particular, Cinderella), where there’s a hierarchical social structure in which the protagonist starts at the bottom, then discovers they belong at the top, not through merit or achievement, but innate qualities that have been kept secret from the character.
The wizarding world is extremely hierarchical–either you have magic, or you don’t, and while there are occasional cases like Hermione who don’t have magical parents, it’s strongly implied that the ability is passed down genetically. Rowling does try to use this as a metaphor for racial differences, with the mudblood vs. pureblood ideology of the Death Eaters an equivalent to Nazis or white supremacists. But it’s within a world in which it’s depicted as much more awesome to have magic, and in which the magical people essentially rule over the muggles without the muggles even being aware of it. The books and films never question that aspect of the wizarding world; only the Death Eaters are depicted as evil for their genocidal designs against non-purebloods. So the message is anti-genocide, but casually accepts without question the massive social inequalities already present in its society.
I’m not saying any of this automatically makes Rowling–or any other writer who works with these themes–a conservative monarchist or something. These themes are deeply stitched into Western fairy tales which in turn influence more modern stories, and writers like Rowling (as well as those at Disney) aren’t consciously trying to do anything more than entertain kids and adults. Their fault isn’t that they necessarily hold the worldview of these stories when they go out to vote, but that they aren’t thinking very hard about the implications of what they are writing.
Right, any particular case can be hand waved away by “oh, she just didn’t think that out”. The problem is that basically anytime someone who is not “upper middle class WASP” appears in the book, she falls into a lazy negative stereotype, and at some point you start having to question why that pattern exists so strongly.
@Stormy Dragon: While software engineers may not be right-wing, they are often socially stunted and immature – and do cringy things within their incel/tech bro-culture.
Generally, people mature as they age, and tech companies have cracked down hard in the name of diversity (which is a key, strategic part of the industry), so this may not be as big a problem as it was even 10 years ago, but it’s absolutely part of the historic culture of the software industry.
@Gustopher: “Our wealthy white people are not ok.”
Look no further than the late John McAfee for evidence of that.
@charon: Thank you for reminding me of that comic series. I had forgotten about it some time ago 🙁
One new strip each week, on Sunday mornings.
@Kylopod: “He’s simply drawn toward iconoclastic opinions like a moth to a flame.”
The word ‘iconoclastic’ is doing a lot of work. ‘Drawn towards lies’ is a much better description.
@DAllenABQ: Music and comedy are very different art forms. Nobody begs comedians to come on stage to hear the same old jokes for decades. IMO Mick and Keith gracefully accepted they’d lost the knack and mostly abstained from trying to ram new material down their fans’ thoats.
I have strong doubts Adams came to these views late in life. More likely he has simply lost his filter, whether from loneliness, stress, arrogance, or perhaps age.
@charon: I’m so far behind now it’s kind of nice
Another puzzle piece: Adams apparently has a neurological disorder called focal dystonia that has apparently been making it harder and harder for him to draw as it has progressed.
One possibility is that there’s been a recent change that was going to force him to retire from doing the strip soon anyways, and he decided to get himself dropped intentionally so that he can use it to build right-wing credit for his next endeavour.
@dazedandconfused: I think the dropping of the filter with age is entirely independent of whether the views change. It’s a loss of patience with pretense and nonsense — patience requires an active effort to maintain, and it requires empathy for the people you are being patient with, and caring about feedback from people who don’t particularly like hearing your unfiltered self.
I also see no reason to believe that Scott Adams was always this much of a hateful shithead. I don’t know his background before cartooning, but he always presented like a tech worker with a modest tinge of incel, and there really is a pipeline for those people into the alt-right. An entitlement that comes from making a lot of money from doing what comes easily and never having to examine why others aren’t as fortunate, and feeling like they are smart enough to do anything if they put their minds to it which then collides with the reality that they are constrained by other people — management, hr, brown people who want to be respected, women who want to be respected, etc.
I’ve seen enough people who were decent enough folks with shitty, unexamined politics hit a point where their values and their politics collide, and decide that they would rather be a shitty person than have better politics. Their politics become a larger part of their identity than their values, and they just need someone to lead them towards the shitty values — some form of community of shitty people with shitty values that call the shitty values good things like “freedom”.
But, here’s the rub, if they had some habit that reinforced the better values they believe they have, despite their shitty politics, they would likely have gone the other way as that’s more of their identity.
Or if they had a few life experiences that clobbered them and forced them to realize that their superiority is really limited to a few areas.
And that’s why I recommend smacking the living shit out of software engineers early in their careers. Break their kneecaps, leave them with a terrible limp, and just disabled enough that they learn a touch of humility and even empathy.
Anyway, I don’t know when Scott Adams hit that crossroads. Could have been recently, with the divorce, or long ago. He might simply be revealing the shitty person he always was, but it’s also frighteningly possible that he became a shitty person (with the disturbing corollary that most people can become shitty people).
@Stormy Dragon: Conversely, she is such a shitty writer that there is no instance earlier in her career, before TERFdom became her identity, where you can point and say “this is the evidence of who she is!”
Ok, Kingsley Shacklebolt as a name for a black wizard is a bit of a giveaway…
I think there’s generally a probability cloud between bad writing and bad person that is really hard to pierce with her.
@charon: If you can defense Adams and offer no criticism of his remarks, there’s a name for what you are.
I’d like to think that this would hurt Tesla stock price, but Musk is just expressing what many of his fanboys believe.
There’s also Cho Chang, which as someplace I saw pointed out is like naming a white character Schmidt Lopez
@Stormy Dragon: ” The problem is that basically anytime someone who is not “upper middle class WASP” appears in the book, she falls into a lazy negative stereotype, and at some point you start having to question why that pattern exists so strongly.”
And apparently she ran over your dog.
@dazedandconfused: ” Nobody begs comedians to come on stage to hear the same old jokes for decades”
They do if the star is big enough. At least that’s why Steve Martin says he gave up stand-up.
Well, like I said, I only saw the movies, where the other magical races seem almost absent, for what I remember.
WTF?? What the flaming fuck?? Where am I defensing Adams??
Well, at least by the movies (and probably in most similar fantasy works, not only of JKR) the wizards seem more living in a parallel society than ruling over muggles; yes, in that kind of works, you can see the wizards as a metaphor for an aristocracy; but you also can seem them as a metaphor for an alternative counterculture, or some minority group, or something like that, in breach with the society of the philistine bourgeoisie. Again, I suspect that choosing one metaphor or the other has more to do with the previous opinion about the author that with anything else.
If JKR, instead of transphobe, was a pro-trans activist (or perhaps trans herself!) probably everybody will be saying that Potter discover that was a wizard was a metaphor for a children realizing that was trans or something similar…
The whole “cracking down in socially stunted and immature people in the name of «diversity»” is so bizarre, if we think a bit about that…
After all, wanting an environment of socially well-adjusted people is probably conducing to have an environment of people from the socially dominant groups, for several reasons…
They’re in complete control over the muggles. They watch their every move, make decisions about them without their consent or knowledge, and constantly perform memory wipes on whoever happens to stumble upon the secret. The wizards are a “parallel society” in about the same sense as the robots from The Matrix, or the aliens from They Live.
You see that approach in a lot of urban fantasy, where the witches/sorcerers exist within present-day society as a kind of religion or alternative lifestyle, which “mere mortals” pay little attention to. They have their own meetings, websites, and so on. The Potter books don’t take that approach.
Most of the criticisms we’ve been mentioning have been leveled against the books for years, long before her transphobic turn. People have just become less willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
I know! Goddamn it. I’m pleading jet lag. I’m going to have to sequester my Boomer card, maybe stick it in the freezer for a month.
I have nothing but admiration for Rowling’s talent. But it was inescapably hierarchical, master race but nice master race, white man’s burden stuff, along with an Arthurian, ‘what? I’m actually the king?’ thing. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, write what works, write what you like. I don’t think she sat down one day and said, ‘I’m gonna write greedy goblins as Jews, hah hah hah.’ I think it was probably just a trope she hadn’t thought much about. Again, fair enough, we are all at times tripped up by our own limitations. What she’s doing now, though, is putting people in danger. She’s making herself a tool of people she used to say she despised.
Seems like, but no. It’s not just dated, it’s simply not true. You don’t get innovation by limiting the working group to a particular type. You get conformity, you get limited points of view, similar and overlapping experiences. Redundancy.
I wouldn’t automatically call that good news. The very last Gary Larson “Far Side” collection was just awful. He had clearly lost whatever muse had possessed him before that. (The first collection is also pretty awful; he had an amazing peak, but it was bookmarked by worse-than-mediocrity.)
I say this as someone who still thinks “The Real Reason Dinosaurs Became Extinct” and “If we pull this off, we’ll eat like kings!” are two of the funniest comics ever written.
Perhaps your need to vilify Rowlings is overcoming your judgement? There are three main characters. One of them is from an exalted magical family, but that turns out to be more complicated then it appears. One of them is from a far from exalted magical family who has a stay at home mom and a low level government bureaucrat as a father. And one of them is from a totally non-magical family. But go ahead and hand wave all that away so it doesn’t conflict with your contempt and anger towards the author.
My favorite is “George Washington crossing the street” which for some reason makes me giggle no matter how many times I see.
Second favorite is this one: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/82/67/66/826766396226a0d71b03831dd542372f.jpg
There’s something hilarious to me about the idea that Popeye’s “theme music power up” is diegetic.
@DrDaveT: @Stormy Dragon: It’s probably my favorite comic of all time. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite specific cartoon of his, but I really liked this one.
I agree that he got stale toward the end, and I understand why he wanted to call it quits.
@Miguel Madeira: Diversity does several things for an organization that are key to strategic success:
1) It causes people, over time, to realize that people who are different from you – people you categorize as “disabled” or “women” or “privileged” or “criminals” – are all just “people”
2) It causes our work to be informed by people who have had differing experiences. In software that often creates applications and products that work better for people with poor eyesight or hearing difficulties. In my case I am left handed and have a hell of a time with my iPhone apps because they seem to presume I am holding the phone with my right hand.
3) We end up with limited perspectives on new products and services. Discussions are centered around agreement and compliance rather than conflict and compromises. Products end up serving the dominant group very well.
4) Recruiting re-evaluating requirements. In a previous role we had difficulty recruiting anybody other than younger, white men because the job “required” 80% travel. Basically my team was away from home Monday morning until Friday noon, then they did their paperwork Friday afternoon and knocked off for the weekend. Repeat each week. Of course that schedule didn’t appeal to young mothers and fathers, people who use wheelchairs or who had other physical differences, etc. By changing the job – promoting remote customer work rather than travel – we were able to recruit from a stronger class of candidates. And we saved a ton of money on travel.
People do need to be socially well-adjusted enough to be polite and welcoming of others, and non-violent, but productive conflict is underrated.
Times the infinity: It’s only “cancel culture” because it’s a view that wouldn’t be Viewed As Mainstream on Mad Men. At no point since forever have undesirable views not been removed from public.
Until cancel culture became a phrase that was used, the act of removing from public was Just The Way Things Were Done.
Cancel culture has always been a part of the US and humanity in general.. the question is simply the thoughts/views that are getting cancelled.
I can’t see the connection between what you are saying and what I said:
My point is that a workplace policy that favour social well-adjusted personalities will end favoring people from dominant social groups, for several reasons:
a) People from “insider” social groups are usually more in tune with the “correct” ways of behaviour
b) If you are from an underprivileged background, to have good grades in college you have probably more need of a nerdy/bookworm personality than if you are from a dominant group; a “nerdy/bookworm personality” does not, of course, imply being “socially maladjusted”, but there is some correlation
c) everything that favors more subjective things (like being a good teamworker or a nice person) over more objective things (like writing good code) will be more affected by our unconscious prejudices (including probably the homophilia, the tendency to like more the people more similar to us)
Sorry to be an annoying pedantic but that was one of Keith’s songs
Hah! Someone already beat you to being an annoying pedant.
Things are about to get weirder,
because Rasmussen has been running race-swapped versions
of that same poll,
as in, they asked white people all around the USA
if they agreed with the statement, ‘It’s OK ‘To Be Black. “,
and in THREE very interesting counties,
about 1 in 4 white respondents said No, It Isn’t,
which is insane.
So…which counties do we think are -in-4-person racist hotspots?
And…how do you think people should react once they learn how those counties really feel?
@Steve Ray: It’s a mistake to view the two statements as equivalent, without the larger context that “It’s okay to be white” started as a racist 4chan meme. It’s like saying “White Lives Matter” is equivalent to BLM, and that if you react negatively to the former that means you believe white lives don’t matter. Conservatives consistently misunderstand this point (and I’m being as charitable as possible).
Unless the poll was conducted on 4chan,
or you think Black Americans keep up with 4chan and responded accordingly,
or unless you think that the 4chan worldview is somehow normative,
we should presume the poll responses
were based on the common English meaning of “It’s okay to be white.”
And regardless of all that,
which counties do you think are the top 3 on the second poll?
And how should people react to them?