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Dilbert dude endorses The Donald, because Trump stands up for dead millionaires

Scott Adams, master persuader
Scott Adams, master persuader

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In June, Dilbert creator and insufferable human being Scott Adams pretended to endorse Hillary Clinton — because, he facetiously claimed, he was deathly afraid that Hillary’s fans would murder him in his sleep if he came out for Trump.

Now, having apparently concluded that he’d exhausted the humor potential of this belabored joke, Adams has traded in his fake endorsement of Hillary for a real endorsement of Donald Trump. (archived here). His stated reasons range from the stupid to the selfish, but the issue closest to his heart, and the one that seems to have inspired him to come out un-ironically for Trump, is … the estate tax.

Clinton, you see, has set forth a proposal to increase the estate tax to 65% for those with more than $500 million in net worth. As Adams figures it, everyone who’s accumulated at least $5 million or so will end up paying more as well. And that’s just plain “robbery by government.”

So Adams is plugging Trump because he believes The Donald will fight harder for the rights of dead millionaires.

Adams’ other reasons for supporting Trump make even less sense.

First off, he claims that nobody really knows whether Trump or Clinton will be better at dealing with terrorists or trade, or any of the other big complicated issues that tend to bedevil presidents.

“There are many things I don’t know,” Adams writes.

For example, I don’t know the best way to defeat ISIS. Neither do you. I don’t know the best way to negotiate trade policies. Neither do you. I don’t know the best tax policy to lift all boats. Neither do you. … So on most political topics, I don’t know enough to make a decision. Neither do you, but you probably think you do.

Ok, sure, I don’t have a plan to defeat ISIS. But Hillary does, while I’d be shocked if Trump could find Syria on a map, even if it were circled in red with a giant arrow pointing towards it. Hillary is a far from perfect candidate, but no one can doubt that she takes policy seriously and knows her shit. Trump, by contrast, is a giant screaming baby who knows less about government than a regular-sized screaming baby.

Let me put it this way. Would you prefer your Uber driver to be a) someone with a decent if not perfect driving record who knows every street in your city like the back of her hand, or b)

I have a secret plan to get you to the airport
I have a secret plan to get you to the airport

That said, I would definitely go for a ride with these gals.

Going my way?
Going my way?

Adams has other highly evolved reasons for preferring the last person who should ever be president of anything:

Trump and his fans are party animals:

It seems to me that Trump supporters are planning for the world’s biggest party on election night whereas Clinton supporters seem to be preparing for a funeral. I want to be invited to the event that doesn’t involve crying and moving to Canada.

Trouble is, I suspect that, regardless of who wins, a lot of Trump fans will be partying like this on election night:

Please do not save the invitation
Please do not save the invitation

While Adams claims to be too ignorant to make sense of any political issue besides the estate tax, he is somehow able to diagnose Hillary and her husband’s respective health by watching them on TV. 

To my untrained eyes and ears, Hillary Clinton doesn’t look sufficiently healthy – mentally or otherwise – to be leading the country. … Likewise, Bill Clinton seems to be in bad shape too, and Hillary wouldn’t be much use to the country if she is taking care of a dying husband on the side.

Trump apparently thinks like a pickup artist circa 2005: 

Self-proclaimed pickup artists used to talk constantly about using the neurolinguistic programming (NLP) techniques of “pacing and leading” to manipulate women into having the sex. Adams thinks Trump is the “pacing and leading” master:

Trump always takes the extreme position on matters of safety and security for the country, even if those positions are unconstitutional, impractical, evil, or something that the military would refuse to do. … Trained persuaders like me see this as something called pacing and leading. Trump “paces” the public – meaning he matches them in their emotional state, and then some. … Once Trump has established himself as the biggest bad-ass on the topic, he is free to “lead,” which we see him do by softening his deportation stand, limiting his stop-and-frisk comment to Chicago, reversing his first answer on penalties for abortion, and so on. If you are not trained in persuasion, Trump look scary. If you understand pacing and leading, you might see him as the safest candidate who has ever gotten this close to the presidency.

Adams loves being “persuaded” by Trump and thinks ISIS will too:

The battle with ISIS is … a persuasion problem. The entire purpose of military action against ISIS is to persuade them to stop, not to kill every single one of them. We need military-grade persuasion to get at the root of the problem. Trump understands persuasion … .

In short, Scott Adams continues to be a massive disappointment to any decent people who might have once thought his comics and books were sort of funny.

And he really doesn’t understand persuasion at all.

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jamesworkshop
jamesworkshop
4 years ago

Hillary wouldn’t be much use to the country if she is taking care of a dying husband on the side.

Maybe she should have been trading in husbands for a younger model.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ dalillama & EJ

I think I may have plugged this before, but a mate did a sort of concept album about the history of John Lilburne and The Levellers.

(Easter egg: the voice of Lilburne in some bits is actually Tony Benn)

https://youtu.be/1L_LC6gl1h4

Ghost Robot
Ghost Robot
4 years ago

I have a big book of Dilbert strips and the TV series on DVD. I’m about ready to donate them to an op-shop, methinks. Although the TV show was steered by Larry Charles and Richard Raynis, making it less Adams’ product, mind.

Eccch. What a disappointment Adams has become.

latsot
latsot
4 years ago

Ghost Robot:

Eccch. What a disappointment Adams has become.

Yeah. But in hindsight the seeds of his descent into …this… were sewn years ago. Anyone remember his book The Dilbert Future where he proposed his alternative theory of gravity which he insisted – even years later after people who knew actual things about gravity explained in great depth why he was wrong – was right?

Adams seemed to believe that ten minutes of dubious thought and scribbling, easily refuted by any ten year old, made him the modern-day equivalent of Newton. It wasn’t even an original idea, just a very, very poor one. I was one of the many people who wrote to him to explain why his ‘theory’ didn’t actually explain most of the things gravity actually does and he sent me a – presumably stock – reply along lines which will sound familiar to everyone here: if two theories are functionally equivalent, we can’t ever know which is the right one, so his was as right as Newton’s. Despite the fact that my email to him (and, I assume those of countless other people) was all about how the theories were not remotely functionally equivalent.

Then there was his long-term embrace of quackery of various types, which I can’t honestly be bothered to go into here.

Then there was his blog. If you didn’t see the early days of Adams’ blog, it was very… culty. Comments were rewarded by Adams (and very soon afterwards, by many sycophants) for being the right sort of comments. And of course punished by the same mechanism for being the wrong sort. You’ve all seen that sort of thing a thousand times.

All these things were – as I said, with hindsight – indicators of someone more concerned with their own ego and self-aggrandizement than with literally anything else and now we don’t need hindsight at all to spot it. Either we’ve grown up or he’s got worse. Or both.

For the record, I liked Dilbert in the old days. There were only about a dozen jokes in there, but they really did seem to characterise the absurdity of the conflicting interests of skilled but lowly employees and their generally unskilled managers. At times, the dozen jokes were cunningly expressed and we could almost always map them almost directly to situations we’d been in.

I haven’t read Dilbert for years. I stopped doing so shortly after Adams started his blog. A few weeks ago a friend sent me a fairly new Dilbert strip he was especially enraged about. I am too. I’ll leave you with it:

http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-08-23

Turan, Emissary of the Fly World
Turan, Emissary of the Fly World
4 years ago

I too liked “Dilbert” once. As an aficionado of comics, I realized that it was in most ways a bad strip–very poorly drawn, clumsily paced, with characterizations that varied according to the need of that day’s joke. I also knew that many others (Art Spiegelman , for one) thought the same thing, and hated the strip for those reasons. However, a fair percentage of the jokes worked, and it had a unique point of view (unique on the comics page, anyway), and for me this made it worth the few seconds it took to read each day.

As we know, the strip became a huge success, and made Adams very wealthy. I have to assume that this situation–succeeding with something that people who know more about comics* thought was terrible–has shaped Adams’s attitude towards experts.

*One thing that repeatedly comes through in interviews with Adams, when the focus is on his strip rather than his opinions, is that he has not actually read many comics, and thinks people who take comics seriously are fools.

latsot
latsot
4 years ago

Turan:

Kindasorta offtopic, but fairly early in Adams’ blogging career, he took it upon himself to mentor a fellow cartoonist. That cartoonist was Scott Meyer and his cartoon can be found at http://basicinstructions.net/

Meyer has since stopped cartooning, having realised that he was repeating himself (perhaps he should be mentoring Adams) but he’s currently reposting all his cartoons in order with a description of what he was thinking of at the time. Very instructive and entertaining. If you haven’t read basic instructions, you should.

My point is this: Adams’ mentoring of Meyer was spectacularly unsuccessful. He pretty much advised that basic instructions should look and be more or less identical to Dilbert. Go from 4 panels to 3. Stop trying to do a gag in every panel and leave it for the punchline at the end….. He advocated that every single thing that made Basic Instructions unusual, quirky, fun and great be morphed into something identical to Dilbert.

To be fair, Adams eventually admitted he was wrong, but not with especially good grace.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work. At all. Meyer went back to his original style and was much happier and probably more successful for it.

If you haven’t read Basic Instructions, you’re in for a treat if you look at the archives. If you haven’t read Dilbert…. I’m not sure you’ve missed much, to be honest.

PocketNerd
PocketNerd
4 years ago
Reply to  Ghost Robot

Thus Spake ZaraGhost Robot:

Eccch. What a disappointment Adams has become.

I must break with the pack here and say Scott Adams was never particularly clever or groundbreaking. His good fortune came from being in the right place at the right time: He had a comic centering on office life just as more people than ever were working white-collar jobs. The humor itself was generally shallow, as were all the characters.

Worse, even in the comic’s golden age it was subtly but profoundly misogynist: Dilbert’s coworker Alice thinks her career is stagnant because she’s a woman, but it’s actually because she’s volatile and overemotional. Technical writer Tina is emotionally fragile and often incompetent. Administrator Carol is a castrating shrew who hates being called a “secretary” because it’s not politically correct. Maybe the worst of all was Liz, Dilbert’s temporary girlfriend, who was superficially cute and sweet, but was actually a callous manipulator who belittles Dilbert in order to control him, mocks his interests, and eventually decides to date other men while wanting to continue her relationship with Dilbert. (The horror! The horror!)

To be fair, pretty much every person in Dilbert is a tool; the strip doesn’t really have any likeable characters. But it’s very telling that every woman in the strip is some kind of misogynist stereotype — you can almost hear Scott Adams chuckling “She’s just like that woman in your office! AMIRITE GUYS? HI FIVE!!”

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 years ago

@Ghost Robot:

Although the TV show was steered by Larry Charles and Richard Raynis, making it less Adams’ product, mind.

Also the TV show, unlike the comic, had to pay attention to things like pacing. It also had to create full stories rather than just gags, and actually finish the stories it started. In other words, the TV show format forced a lot of things that Adams generally doesn’t like to bother himself with.

@latsot:
Aiee, I’d managed to successfully forget the gravity thing. Though I definitely got some of the cultiness feeling from ‘Dogbert’s New Ruling Class’ early on.

And yeah, that strip you posted is a classic case of not getting it, in the form of ‘assuming other types people have privilege because society as a whole is finally actually paying attention to them rather than trying to deny their existence’.

latsot
latsot
4 years ago

PocketNerd:

I don’t think you are breaking with any packs, I for one agree.

With one quibble: Alice was originally angry because she was consistently undervalued. She was the best engineer and wasn’t taken seriously.

Then she seemed to mutate into a stereotypical angry woman that nobody could make not-PC comments around.

There are – for me at least in hindsight – some clear indicators of misogyny I should probably have noticed even in Alice’s better days but there are also some pretty good cartoons about her being the superior but undervalued engineer.

latsot
latsot
4 years ago

Ugh, I’m defending Scott Adams, for some reason. I didn’t mean to.

PocketNerd
PocketNerd
4 years ago
Reply to  latsot

Thus Spake Zaralatsot:

I don’t think you are breaking with any packs, I for one agree.

Fair enough! But I know a lot of folks who insist Dilbert is, or at least was, hilarious, even if they readily admit Scott Adams is a jackass.

With one quibble: Alice was originally angry because she was consistently undervalued. She was the best engineer and wasn’t taken seriously.

Then she seemed to mutate into a stereotypical angry woman that nobody could make not-PC comments around.

There are – for me at least in hindsight – some clear indicators of misogyny I should probably have noticed even in Alice’s better days but there are also some pretty good cartoons about her being the superior but undervalued engineer.

I humbly suggest Alice is undervalued because she’s angry, not the other way around. Even in the early strips, she’s confrontational, volatile, and generally disagreeable. Adams has also explicitly said something along the lines of “Alice thinks nobody likes her because she’s a woman, but the fact is nobody likes her because she’s a [gendered insult], and that’s the joke”.

(Unfortunately I can’t find the exact quote, but I remember reading it well before Adams was known for being a petulant, self-important toolbox… so later revelations that he was an MRA-pologist didn’t particularly surprise me.)

latsot
latsot
4 years ago

Nerd: I certainly won’t argue except to say that in many, many strips, Alice was shown to be the best engineer.

I don’t doubt now that Adams had an agenda behind this other than that the best engineer happened to be female. There were other better engineers than Dilbert and Wally and they didn’t have the same stereotypical behaviour, so I think you’re right.

Dalillama
4 years ago

@Alan

(Easter egg: the voice of Lilburne in some bits is actually Tony Benn)

Ooh, and it’s got Maddy Prior in.

sillybill
sillybill
3 years ago

Scildfreja – someone did try it but it was a scam – http://www.vice.com/read/atlas-mugged-922-v21n10

EJ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEv3LpXNX8U

Dalillama
3 years ago

@sillybill
Tlink in my comment is to the original version of thay song, by Dick Gaughan; I had no idea chumbawamba’d done a cover.