AM I THE ONLY ONE who has grown to despise the Dilbert cartoon strip?
I’m not saying I ALWAYS hate it… but over the years one trend which has become IMPOSSIBLE to ignore is that Dilbert has never ever EVER actually tried to SOLVE a problem.
All he does is try to communicate that it exists, and then stand there, as if he were completely utterly POWERLESS to do anything about it. In fact, Answers.com cites no less than 26 separate “themes” the cartoon has dealt with over the years… and NOT A SINGLE ONE of those themes included “solutions”…
That’s what I HATE about it, because what I’ve seen over the years (yes, literally YEARS) is that all of the avid/devoted Dilbert follows first IDENTIFY with Dilbert’s frustration over all the myriad problems/weaknesses with the modern business world, then – this is the source of my hatred – they MIMIC his INACTION.
Each time I find myself walking past a cubicle or office (even executives’ offices) with yellowed, ragged-eared Dilbert cartoons stapled meticulously along the walls in artistic, thoughtful patterns, I mentally bookmark that person, then begin observing their behavior in meetings, on projects, in emails or even in the cafeteria….
Sure enough, a most startling & troubling pattern emerges: these people – from the lowest depths to the uppermost ranks in the company – all too often display in real life the very helpless, powerless, wimpy Dilbert behavior they “identify” with in their beloved cartoon.
I shit you not – if you don’t believe me, then perform these selfsame simple observations in your OWN workplace, and I won’t be a bit surprised if you see the very same behavior right in your own back yard !
So – if this IS the case – then what can we DO about it?
you CAN’T stop people from reading their beloved Dilbert;
you CAN’T stop Dilbert from continuing to bemoan the stupidity of his company while doing NOTHING about it;
You CAN make people aware of “Dilbert-itis” or “The Dilbert Syndrome” (something akin to Stockholm Syndrome), and encourage them to RESIST it…
KNOWLEDGE is the beginning of EMPOWERMENT.
Perhaps what our entire country needs is an “anti-Dilbert” t-shirt – something with a picture of Dilbert with a big red circle around him, and a big red slash through him…
KNOW THIS: You can ENJOY Dilbert, but you DON’T have to BE Dilbert.
And Scott – if you’re reading this – please know I LIKE you, I LIKE (in some ways) your comic strip, but be open to the possibility that your artwork does far more than simply commiserate with your audience. You in fact INFLUENCE them, whether that is your intent or not. And if you DO have the power to INFLUENCE them, then why NOT see if your much-beloved (I swear I actually LOOK like Dilbert myself) characters can actually dare to SOLVE the problems they so eloquently spotlight?
After all, Dilbert started his “career” in April 1989 – over 20 YEARS ago. Don’t you think in that time he’s actually GROWN and MATURED in his career, to the point where he actually tries to DO something about his situation?