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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dilbert Dissed In New Book New Book Takes On Bumpy-Headed Comic Character With Vengeance

Michael Hill Associated Press

Think “Dilbert” is a funny comic strip? A harmless diversion to be tacked to your cubicle wall?

Author Norman Solomon doesn’t.

He argues that the bumpy-headed guy with the flyaway tie is anti-worker, a capitalist shill and a fraud.

And a corrosive societal force that portrays the cubicled masses as inefficient goof-offs.

Solomon’s paperback, “The Trouble With Dilbert,” due out today, takes aim at Dilbert, Dogbert, coworker Wally, the pointy-haired boss, and even strip creator Scott Adams.

Far from seeing Dilbert as a hapless corporate everyman, Solomon contends he is no less than “a tiny bolt on humongous corporate machinery.”

Solomon’s argument runs like this:

“Dilbert” pokes fun at ordinary workers and middle management, as if it’s totally their fault workplaces are inefficient.

In an era of job cuts and corporate abuses, “Dilbert” lets upper management off the hook.

Adams is sympathetic to corporate downsizing tactics and is cynically making scads of money by licensing his creations to anyone.

“Instead of being a weapon against mind-numbing corporate blather, Dilbert is a tool for propagating more of it,” according to the book.

Harsh criticism for what is, after all, a cartoon.

But Solomon sees no need to lighten up.

“I like a good joke and sometimes ‘Dilbert’ makes me laugh. But values and messages are important,” he said from his home near Oakland, Calif.

“The line between satirizing office workers and denigrating them is often crossed.”

Adams brushed off Solomon’s attack.

“I’m totally in favor of demagoguery because that’s how I’m making my own living,” he said. “So I can’t criticize him for doing exactly what I’m doing.”

Adams grouped Solomon’s critique with the other “amazingly tortured arguments” that he is a communist, a satanist - even a betrayer to his vegetarianism for approving a “Dilbert” leather jacket.

“I don’t actually eat leather jackets,” he said.