I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post about Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ misogynistic rant, but there are a few points I haven’t seen made about it yet, so I might as well. For anyone who doesn’t know, he made this post on his blog, then deleted it when people started mentioning how offensive it was, and eventually claimed it was supposed to be satirical. Part of his argument is that people were taking it out of context, but I read it in its entirety and didn’t really see the humor. Oh, I got that he was TRYING to be humorous in some places, but it was just too creepy overall to be effective. Apparently, however, reading the whole thing wasn’t ENOUGH context, and it’s only regular readers of his blog who would get it. Maybe he has a point here, in that if you already like somebody it’s easier to forgive them when they say something idiotic. Still, that doesn’t make it any less idiotic. And since he’s apparently sexist in his business writings, as per SamuraiFrog’s entry on the subject, I’m not buying the satire excuse. Admittedly, I really don’t know what the hell the Men’s Rights Movement actually is, nor do I particularly care to know. Groups whose message is essentially “power to the already powerful” are really irritating. Adams doesn’t like them either, but that’s not the part of the article that interests me anyway. It wasn’t even his comparison of women to the mentally disabled that bothered me; I figured this was at least SUPPOSED to be funny, even though it wasn’t.
No, what particularly stuck out for me was his suggestion that men make more than women because they’re better negotiators. Maybe he was claiming this as the opinion of the Men’s Rights people rather than his own, but it’s hard to tell, because he seems to switch between his own thoughts and those of the people he’s supposedly mocking with no real transition. Regardless, this irritates me for two reasons. The first is that, even if the statistic is true, I fail to see the relevance. More people who are good negotiators and willing to make sacrifices to get ahead in business have penises instead of vaginas. So what? It’s also possible that better negotiators prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla or strawberry, but would this mean it would make sense to pay people based on their ice cream preferences? The other problem is that this is yet another example of how the pro-business culture seems to regard basic human decency as totally optional. Why the hell should anyone have to negotiate in order to get the same salary as another person doing the exact same job? Wouldn’t you think this would be a given? But no, not in the business world, where nothing is guaranteed unless employers are forced into acting like halfway decent human beings. But really, what else can we expect from Adams? I was never a regular reader of Dilbert, but I kind of suspected what is basically spelled out in this part of its Wikipedia entry: while it mocks corporate culture, it is ultimately pro-corporate in its outlook. It isn’t about the powerless mocking the powerful, but rather the powerful making inside jokes at each other. I’m not saying this is never funny (hey, I’ve found the occasional Dilbert strip amusing), but it’s not effective satire.
Still, I guess we should give the guy credit for apologizing. Let’s see here:
“I clearly wasn’t supporting every element of the Feminist movement, and therefore I was presumed an enemy and labeled a misogynist. I was also labeled an asshole, which I have come to understand is a synonym for male.”
And they also don’t shave their pits, right? You know what, Scott? I’m a male as well, and I also think you’re an asshole. Also, what’s your obsession with insisting you’re “interesting”? If you really were, you wouldn’t need to keep saying it.