Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bad Decision 4

Sometimes, comics take a bit of commentary a bit too far.

This week, Scott Adams of Dilbert fame didn’t take his bit of commentary far enough. And rather than making a wry commentary on the perceptions we have of ourselves, our own ideas, and how those ideas impact others, by not taking this one far enough, he just ends up being smug – which contradicts, I think, the better premise he could have used in this setup: humility.

Anyway, that’s enough of the preamble. On to the comics:

The key here is that once Dilbert types his great idea into an email, he, too, realizes it sounds kinda dumb. But rather than try to sort out why it sounds stupid even to the originator of the idea, he decides to sort it out later – and then never does it. At least not up through Bad Decision 2 and 3, then on to today’s comic.

The only one who acts sensibly throughout this episode is Wally, who:

1) Likely has no idea what the idea is and is thus keeping his mouth shut, or,
2) Knows what the idea is but is going to articulate his criticisms/concerns in a better way than transferring the idiocy of the idea to the messenger rather than the message.

The person who calls the email ignorant and arrogant errs in attacking the person/perception, rather than articulating why the idea doesn’t work – something Dilbert already kinda knows, since he knows the idea sounded dumb in the email in the first place.

Dilbert, too, however, acts foolishly, turning the situation into an I’m right/you’re wrong debate, rather than turning the conversation to the idea and saying, you know, I kinda felt it was dumb in the email. Maybe the two of us can sort it out by talking about the idea, its merits and its faults, rather than turning this into a personal attack or a pissing match.

Of course, this kind of logic doesn’t make for a good comic, since it’s rational, rather than the “dance, monkey, dance” fodder Adams prefers, because it’s so much easier to use DMD material to condescend rather than to exude humility.

I know. I’m overanalyzing the comics again. Still, I was hopeful Adams was straying out of DMD territory for once. Guess I was wrong. But I’ll wait to see what tomorrow holds, hoping that the smug is only a setup for something better.

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