Dilbert – Reborn

Quite recently, I wrote about Dilbert being cancelled by ‘woke‘. At the time, the cartoon strip was being cancelled in some American newspapers because it was lampooning ‘wokeness’ – by having a black character who ‘identified’ as white, and who was subsequently asked by management to also identify as ‘gay’ to balance out the numbers in his company.

It only involved a handful of strips over several months, but as everyone knows, in this day and age, even coming close to the ‘wokeness’ line is enough to get you ‘cancelled’.

But then, something else happened.

I’m in the UK, and I can’t get the fine detail of the hijacked timeline on all this, but it started with a Rasmussen poll in the US which asked:

  • Do you agree or disagree with this statement:  “It’s OK to be white.”
  • Do you agree or disagree with this statement:  “Black people can be racist, too.”
Rasmussen poll questions

For f*cks sake, we all live on the same planet, and we’re all far from perfect, so the correct answers are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’. There is no valid argument against that. It is perfectly OK to be black or white, and people on either side can be racist. It’s an absolute. There was no need to ask the f*cking questions, except to stir up sh*t by using poor wording devoid of any context.

So, since we do have racists (and others of limited thought processes) among us, the results of the poll came out saying that half of black people are not OK with people being white.

The result was immediately hijacked by far right groups – and since America is substantially to right in the first place, that means a very long way to the right. You know – get some guns, kill all blacks… that kind of stuff. So the whole affair became extremely political overnight, and the poll result ended up having multiple meanings depending on where you were on the Swingometer, but with the added confusion that even if you were on the good side, some of the bad rubbed off on you if you got involved.

You see, the problem with ‘woke’ is that it is binary – it only accepts wholehearted support for its view, and everything else is wrong.

Scott Adams then put his head above a parapet and declared that those who claimed it wasn’t OK to be white were more like terrorists, and you should stay the hell away from them. And naturally, the Woke Brigade saw that as wholehearted opposition and ‘racism’.

Now, Scott Adams has a flaw. He is a brilliant cartoonist in the sense he had a popular strip which told a lot of truths. Each strip is succinct, and to the point. But when he talks, or writes prose, then cracks often appear.

The very first Dilbert book I bought was The Dilbert Principle (TDP) back in the late 1990s. That had a lot of words in it, which his later books do not (maybe that was deliberate), and I have to say that it does not read very well. Adams’ anecdotes and analogies tend to ramble, and lack structure. Not always, but quite a lot. And this is especially true when he involves politics.

TDP was funny (and highly accurate, which was the reason I liked it so much), but it could have been a lot funnier with less (and better chosen) words. Adams often keeps going when others would stop, having made their point. Subsequently, his point sometimes becomes less clear as he makes it in several different ways. And I feel that this is what caught him out in this poll situation.

He was referring directly to the poll, and the half of black people who said being white wasn’t OK. He said that that half was effectively a ‘hate’ group, and white people should stay away from them. He should have left it at that, as it is a reasonable observation and comment. But he didn’t. And it was what he then went on to say which damaged his original and very valid statement. He was trying to make a point, but he did it in a clumsy manner which was never going to achieve what he intended.

The whole affair was also further skewed by the fact that ‘it’s not OK to be white’ was now a right wing weapon of choice, and he had unwittingly aligned himself with that whether he liked it or not. He was walking through a woke minefield even before the interview began, and the mines were so close together that it was inevitable he’d step on one. Or several.

The original Dilbert website is now gone, and the only way to see any new strips is to pay an annual membership at its new home. In all honesty, if the cartoons had been free, and subscription or donation were an option, I would seriously have considered partaking once I’d validated the overall content. I say that, because the stuff that isn’t behind the paywall is distinctly political (and US political, at that), and the stuff that is teases at supporting Trump (even though Adams is officially not aligned with any party).

But the bottom line is this: It is OK to be white. It is also OK to be black. It definitely isn’t OK to for either to argue that the other isn’t OK.

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