Althouse | category: Scott Adams



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"[O]n March 13, Adams plans to launch 'Dilbert Reborn' on his subscription site, Locals."

"The first strips will feature his character Ratbert as a 'context removing editor' at a media outlet that spoofs newspapers like The Post, he said via text. (He declined a request for an extended interview.)..."
Adams had grown up as a fan of “Peanuts,” he told The Post, and was thrilled to hang out with creator Charles M. Schulz after joining United. By 1990, United had signed several future stars, including Adams... and Lincoln Peirce, creator of “Big Nate.”... 
Peirce said: “It was clear to me that they thought ‘Dilbert’ was going to be their next game changer — something that could eventually join ‘Garfield’ and ‘Peanuts’ in the pantheon of heavy hitters. The funny thing was, some of the sales staff seemed to really get ‘Dilbert,’ and others didn’t.”... 
One devoted reader at the time was future cartoonist Mattie Lubchansky (“Boys Weekend”), who became “weirdly a huge fan” as an adolescent.... “He’s been acting stranger and stranger in public for the last 10 years — and even if you read his comic collections from the ’90s with his commentary, there’s all sorts of anti-‘PC’ rambling that was always there,” Lubchansky said. “I think society has just stopped lionizing this kind of guy.”... 
Adams acknowledges that while he intended [his recent] remarks to break through beyond his “bubble,” which includes about 135,000 YouTube subscribers, he was caught off-guard by the extent and the impact. 
He told The Post he was surprised that “the cancel-culture people” were able to get to the “choke points” that were his various publishers.... Over the sudden loss of so much income, Adams said, “Politics is the reason for the cancellations.” 
But he seems undeterred. Famous figures such as Elon Musk and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk have come to his defense. 
“Only the dying leftist Fake News industry canceled me (for out-of-context news of course),” Adams tweeted Thursday. “Social media and banking unaffected. Personal life improved. Never been more popular in my life. Zero pushback in person. Black and White conservatives solidly supporting me.”... 
[O]n his Saturday show, Adams cited a favorite quote as he seeks his commercial outlook going forward: “In chaos, there is opportunity.”

"When California was drawing up its Constitution to join the Union, the state debated excluding Black people."

"The delegate who brought forth an exclusion resolution said that with migrating free Black people, the state could find itself 'flooded with a population of free Negroes,' which would be 'the greatest calamity that could befall California.' In that way, what [Scott] Adams said, while racist, was less outside the bounds of America’s troubled ideological canon and more in step with it on the question of having a functional, egalitarian, pluralistic society."

The last 2 paragraphs of "The ‘Dilbert’ Cartoonist and the Durability of White-Flight Thinking" by Charles Blow (in the NYT).

"Twitter and Tesla chief Elon Musk defended Scott Adams... in a series of tweets Sunday, blasting media organizations for dropping his comic strip..."

I'm reading "Musk defends 'Dilbert' creator, says media is 'racist against whites'/The Tesla and Twitter chief blasted media outlets for dropping Scott Adams’s comic strip after the cartoonist’s rant against Black people" by Will Oremus (WaPo).
Replying to tweets about the controversy, Musk said it is actually the media that is “racist against whites & Asians.”... 
In further tweets Sunday, Musk agreed with a tweet that said “Adams’ comments weren’t good” but there’s “an element of truth” to them, and suggested in a reply that media organizations promote a “false narrative” by giving more coverage to unarmed Black victims of police violence than they do to unarmed White victims of police violence.... 

Here's the Musk tweet, responding to someone who tweeted that the MSM had concluded that Adams is racist:

The media is racist

Musk then added:

For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians. 

Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America.

Maybe they can try not being racist.

And when someone tweeted...

Adams' comments weren't good. But there's an element of truth to's complicated. Mainly we've leaned into identity with predictable results, and power today is complicated. We were on the right path with colorblindness and need to return to it.

... Musk responded:


I used boldface to identify text that is not in the WaPo article. That is, the WaPo writer does not open up the question whether identity politics is a tragic mistake and colorblindness could be the right answer.

"Newspapers across the United States have pulled... 'Dilbert'... after the cartoonist called Black Americans a 'hate group' and said White people should 'get the hell away from' them...."

"The once widely celebrated cartoonist, who has been entertaining extreme-right ideologies and conspiracy theories for several years, was upset Wednesday by a Rasmussen poll that found a thin majority of Black Americans agreed with the statement 'It’s okay to be White.'... [O]n his YouTube show Saturday... [Scott Adams] offered a long, quasi-Socratic defense of his comments, which he said were taken out of context, and seemed to define racism as essentially any political activity. 'Any tax code change is racist,' he said at one point in the show. He denounced racism against 'individuals' and racist laws, but said, 'You should absolutely be racist whenever it’s to your advantage. Every one of you should be open to making a racist personal career decision.' In the same show, Adams suggested that he had done irreparable harm to a once-sterling career. 'Most of my income will be gone by next week,' he told about 3,000 live-stream viewers. 'My reputation for the rest of my life is destroyed. You can’t come back from this, am I right? There’s no way you can come back from this.'"

Here is today's episode, the one with what WaPo calls "a long, quasi-Socratic defense." You can judge for yourself:

"Mr. Musk bought Twitter because he’s a Twitter addict and, more specifically, an extremely online attention addict."

"On his first day at Twitter he hauled around a bathroom sink to make an obscure, very online joke likely poking fun at a certain earnest kind of Twitter user (usually a liberal) who posts something appalling but also banal and says, 'Let that sink in.' The graph of Mr. Musk’s Twitter posts over his time on the platform looks like the hockey stick graph of global temperature. He can’t stop himself. This is someone with millions of followers who is deep in the bowels of his own replies and mentions, clearly spending inordinate amounts of time looking at what people are saying about him. I can tell you from experience that this is a path to madness...."

Writes Chris Hayes, in "Why I Want Twitter to Live" (NYT).

1. Thanks to Hayes for explaining the "Let that sink in" joke so clearly. I nearly lost my mind trying to listen to Scott Adams explain it as a reference to the expression "Everything but the kitchen sink." And it wasn't even a kitchen sink, Scott. It was a bathroom sink. 

2. I nearly lost my mind, but, unlike Chris Hayes, I do not know the path to madness from experience. I wonder what's happened to poor Chris over the years.

3. The hockey stick graph of global warming pops up. Isn't it great that Nature isn't an "attention addict"? I mean, it's bad enough — or good enough — as it is, with the storms and the heat waves and lightning and so forth. But as long as I'm talking about Chris Haye's metaphors...

4. "Deep in the bowels" — somehow Hayes sounds jealous. The fact is Elon Musk is great at doing quick tweets that interact with other users, and it isn't clear that this consumes "inordinate" time. Seeing how Twitter is flowing along is something he needs to do, and not a distraction. While in there — in the bowels?! — he may easily dash off replies. Some people write fast. Reading/thinking/writing — it's all one flash.

5. Hayes goes on to express dismay that one man is "reigning" over what was once a "collective" in keeping with the "utopian vision of its earliest builders and users" of the internet. "Because we’ve had it before," he says, it's possible to somehow return to "a collective digital life." But before Musk took over, Twitter had declined into suppression and heavily skewed censorship. He's demonstrated an intent to restore freedom and inclusivity. Is that what Hayes is really worried about — the loss of the assistance of the faceless censors who ruled in the pre-Musk era?

"Maybe this will end the 'Dennis the Menace' reign of terror. I've read it every day for fifty years and haven't laughed yet."

That made me laugh, from the comments section of "Is the print newspaper comics page in trouble?" (WaPo).

That comment prompts someone else to say: "Insert GenX rant about 'Family Circus' from the 1999 movie 'Go.'" Okay, I will insert it:

Ha ha. That reminds me of a famous thing somebody once said about the comic strip "Nancy": "It's harder not to read 'Nancy' than to read it."

The article has some material about Scott Adams — whose strip was cut from 77 Lee Enterprises newspapers and who has had individual daily strips censored in other newspapers. 
Adams had recently satirized environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and workplace diversity efforts, and had introduced a Black character named Dave who identifies as White....
Some commenters are taking shots at him, including this: "To be fair, Scott Adams also went crazy seven years ago and stopped being funny when he started being political... not unlike Charles Schultz stopping being funny when he started being religious, or the Family Circus guy stopping being funny when he drew his first comic, which has been repeated twice a week for the last century." 

Scott Adams madly loves his dog, but "she lowers the quality of my life by 40%."

"It really is terrible to live with a dog.... You just can't live and work in a house that has a dog. 'Cause the trouble is: I have too much empathy...."

He says he goes on vacation to get away from his house — which is a burden — and his dog — who is always needy and who is his prisoner. "Every moment I'm not playing with her, she's in jail."

"It's horrible having a dog. I so don't recommend it."

"Searching for a strategy to avoid a 2022 midterm disaster, advisers to President Biden have discussed elevating a unifying Republican foil not named Donald Trump...."

"Biden confidants worry that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is too unknown, that Biden won't demonize Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell because of their longstanding and collegial relationship and that elevating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could backfire.... [S]ome Biden advisers are reluctant to contest every midterm race on DeSantis' signature issue — COVID-19 — because the Biden administration's approaches on vaccine and mask mandates may be a political liability with some swing voters.... [T]here's close to a consensus that Democrats can't hold Congress by focusing on Trump.... Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told Axios: 'I wish that we could just find one face that we could point to, such as with Donald Trump... maybe a composite.'"

Axios analyzes.

Here's the TV Tropes article on "composite characters." 

Certain media, including Real Life, tend to have the time and space to utilize Loads and Loads of Characters, a large number of individuals with significant and/or necessary contributions to the storyline. But in an adaptation it can be difficult to offer adequate time and space.... A solution is to invoke artistic license and compress two or more such figures into a single character with traits drawn from all of them.... Instead of having three different smart guys on the team divided up into distinct fields, you make one of them an Omnidisciplinary Scientist and discard the others....

I don't know how well that will transfer into political discourse, but here's something about "Dilbert":

Dilbert revived LOUD HOWARD, a character who'd proved quite popular with readers of the strip but who the author thought was too flat to make much use of. To make him more interesting, the show merged him with Nervous Ted and had him shout constantly about trivial worries. 

How many Republicans would you have to merge into a composite character as useful to demonize as Donald Trump?

"Newspapers across the United States have pulled... 'Dilbert'... after the cartoonist called Black Americans a 'hate group' and said White people should 'get the hell away from' them....""Maybe this will end the 'Dennis the Menace' reign of terror. I've read it every day for fifty years and haven't laughed yet."Scott Adams madly loves his dog, but "she lowers the quality of my life by 40%."

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