Thursday, October 28, 2004

What'd I tell ya about Dilbert...

A few months ago I noted that Dilbert was the opiate for cube dwellers... ugh, an opiate would be nice, or maybe even smelling salts as I sit here and inhale the aroma's of my neighbor's spicy tuna salad wafting over my cubicle walls. Today, I ran across an article (actually a chapter from a book available on-line) that mentioned a Xerox campaign for 'empowering' it's employees with new corporate doctrines. Xerox decided to use the Dilbert cartoons as both a humorous side line in the training handouts as well as an illustrative aid to understanding the messages of 'empowerment.' A few die-hard Dilbert fans flipped and declared it all a bunch of heretical bunk.

Xerox management had recognized what more gullible Dilbert readers did not: Dilbert is an offbeat sugary substance that helps the corporate medicine go down. The Dilbert phenomenon accepts—and perversely eggs on—many negative aspects of corporate existence as unchangeable facets of human nature ("immutable"). As Xerox managers grasped, Dilbert speaks to some very real work experiences while simultaneously eroding inclinations to fight for better working conditions.

I guess though one might consider that this is a turnaround point for the power of Dilbert. Usually when the squares/parents/or authority starts to condone something it usually looses it's "Rebel" and therefore marketable appeal. Though I seriously doubt this because consumer culture has entered a sort of thralldome it can't escape. Plus, most people who feel powerless would rather complain about their lack of power rather do anything about it. Perhaps I'm the biggest example of this, but I've never considered myself an agitator or instigator. I just want to be a smartass, darn it... I guess that doesn't pay very well unless you've got a lot of time to devote to it.


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