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Cats do get hairballs, though, so maybe it’s funny because it’s true

Dilbert, 7/19/04

I used to like Dilbert. A lot. Maybe it’s because I’m kind of technically inclined and geeky. Maybe it’s because I used to have an office job that supplied at least of whiff of the bureaucratic nonsense that gets parodied in the strip.

Or maybe it’s because it used to be funny. I realized today while reading it that I haven’t laughed at it for ages now. So I dug out an old Dilbert book I have, and, sure enough, it used to have nice pacing and actual punchlines. Too much of the strip today follows the template used in today’s strip, which goes something like this:

  1. Bureaucratic figure says something revealing incompetence, ignorance, and/or hostility, using latest MBA-spouted buzzword of the moment.
  2. Dilbert or another sympathetic character responds with a cynical yet keen and cutting observation revealing the evil and/or stupidity of his/her superior.
  3. Bureaucratic figure reacts with further hostility.

I mean, look at today’s installment. Hairballs! Ha! Cats get hairballs, and this cat is mean, and also in charge of HR! It’s funny!

I know Scott Adams is really busy running his media empire, but I wish he’d put some more energy into writing these days. As part of my goal of saying something positive almost every day, though, I do want to point out a nice artistic touch in the first panel: here, the reader’s point of view looks over shoulder of the Pointy-Haired Boss and Asok the intern, revealing just one of the PHB’s hair-points and including a rare close-up on Asok’s intriguing back-of-the-head stubble. This, to me, is funnier than anything else in the strip.

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