It was clever of Scott Adams to include his e-mail address in his Dilbert comic strip. The readers are a constant source of grist for the cartoonist's mill, enabling Adams to demonstrate the existence of endless variations on the theme of corporate mis-, mal-, and nonfeasance. I long expected Dilbert to grow stale over the years, but I've been pleased to discover how well it has held up. I make a point of reading it every day.
Last week I picked up a copy of Your New Job Title is “Accomplice,” the latest in an endless stream of Dilbert compilations. Since I'm the kind of guy who always peruses the front matter, I took a minute to skim over the cartoonist's introduction. It contained a passage that took me by surprise:
Eventually, corporate America excreted me. My bosses explained that I was unqualified for any sort of promotion because I had boring DNA and a scrotum. That's a true story, by the way. Reverse discrimination was a big thing in California in the nineties. And for what it's worth, that was not the first time my scrotum had caused me trouble.This seemed a slight departure from Adams's previous accounts of his departure from Pacific Bell. Consider, for example, what he told Inc. in 1996, a mere year after he received his walking papers:
I'd told all of my bosses I would resign if they ever felt my costs exceeded my benefits. One of the benefits, of course, was the positive PR. I get interviewed often. Anyway, in the spring of 1995 I got a new boss, and I reiterated my offer to resign if asked. A few weeks later he asked. The reason given was budget constraints. I'm pretty sure it was a local management decision, not one from the top.infamously compared women who espouse equal pay for equal work to children who beg for candy. His credentials as a men's rights advocate seem bright and shiny, buffed to a high and slightly belligerent gloss.
I noted in particular the claim that California was a hotbed of women versus men “reverse discrimination” in the 1990s. From my own perspective and recollection, it seems to me that Adams's claim is untrue. In the decade of the nineties I was in the midst of academia, the unapologetic ground zero of diversity and unashamed “political correctness.” Our college president during that period was (gasp!) a woman. She presided over the hiring of six tenure-track faculty members for the mathematics department. Four of them were men. She was doing a remarkably poor job of oppressing the guys.
Proof by anecdote!