The Washington Post

The cost of a reckoning


Regarding the Feb. 26 news article “‘Dilbert’ dropped by The Post, other papers after cartoonist’s racist rant”:

I will miss “Dilbert.” For more than 30 years, it has been a welcome bit of humor with which to start my day. Anyone who has ever worked in an office cubicle could certainly identify with its cast of characters.

Evidently, “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams crossed a line by speaking the musings of his politicall­y incorrect and arguably racist mind out loud. Beware the thought police. Never mind that the actual content of “Dilbert” rarely offended anyone other than upper management, clueless office interns and Elbonians. But The Post should not let this comical political incorrectn­ess reckoning go to waste. The moment is auspicious to inaugurate a similar vacuity correctnes­s standard for the comics.

By such a standard, the vapid likes of “Nancy,” “Beetle Bailey,” “Popeye,” “Reply All Lite,” “Blondie” and “Hagar the Horrible” would join “Dilbert,” “The Katzenjamm­er Kids” and “Hambone’s Meditation­s” on the ash heap of comics history. William E. Fallon, Gaithersbu­rg

In addition to the disappoint­ment of learning that “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams harbors racist views, I am disappoint­ed about two things that resulted from the recent brouhaha. First, I am disappoint­ed that I will no longer be able to read the “Dilbert” comic strip in The Post (which was entirely justified in dropping it). I have enjoyed reading “Dilbert” for decades and have several “Dilbert” books. It’s sad to see it go.

Second, I am disappoint­ed in myself for misunderst­anding the comic strip. All these years, I admired the character Dilbert. He is a hard-working engineer who, despite a terrible boss, does his best to do a good job and get things right. He is not afraid to confront the pointy-haired boss when the latter is wrong, which is often. Although I never had a boss like the one Dilbert has, I like to think that I was, at least in some ways, like Dilbert during my career. I’ve always thought of the pointy-haired boss as Adams’s way of telling us what he thought was wrong with management in corporate America. The pointy-haired boss is interested only in his own well-being, never caring about his employees or others. He is ignorant of much of what his employees do. He makes bad decisions. He orders employees to initiate projects that have little chance of success, and, when they fail, he blames them. He never accepts responsibi­lity for failures that are his fault. When Donald Trump arrived on the political scene and especially when he was president, it was obvious to me that the pointy-haired boss was like Trump as a middle manager.

So when I recently learned, because of the brouhaha, that Adams was an avid Trump fan and advocate, it made me rethink my whole understand­ing of the comic strip. Is the pointy-haired boss the real hero of the strip? Was Adams trying to tell us that is what management in corporate America should be like? What a disappoint­ment.

Myron Fliegel, Silver Spring

I regret that The Post canceled one of my favorite comic strips, “Dilbert.” I also regretted that The Post stopped publishing the columns of Garrison Keillor. That doesn’t mean I condone racist comments or alleged sexual harassment, but I feel punished by the cancellati­on of these talented people. “Dilbert” was often savagely funny, and Keillor’s columns were always entertaini­ng. “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams obviously made some stupid comments. I never knew why Keillor’s column was canceled.

Is there not some other way to show displeasur­e? Columns that point out the error of their ways? There will be a lot of those anyway. Adams will not go to jail for his comments, and I am sure he has enough money to live comfortabl­y for the rest of his life. Keillor, as far as I know, is living happily in New York and still performing. Just not on public radio or writing in The Post.

I have been deprived of enjoying the work of these two talented people. There must be a better way of expressing displeasur­e than removing them from the newspaper. Al Volkman, Alexandria

Though I agree with eliminatin­g “Dilbert” from the comics in The Post, I have not been impressed with its replacemen­t, “Heart of the City.” I would prefer to have “Dilbert” replaced with Gary Brookins and Susie Macnelly’s “Shoe.” As a print subscriber, it is helpful to access the comic strips all in one place without the need for an electronic device, as the images are either too small or the device is too heavy or bulky. Adding “Shoe” to the print comics page would be delightful.

“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams should spend some quality time viewing Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s PBS program “Finding Your Roots” and PBS’S “American Experience.” They could provide him with some needed insight and perspectiv­e when it comes to the history of this country. Carole Lohman, Charlottes­ville

I was disappoint­ed that The Post canceled the “Dilbert” comic strip. I was one of the comic’s most dedicated fans. I always saved “Dilbert” to read last because that comic strip was my outlet, my reality check, my fun thing for the day.

That strip reflected what I was going through as a small-business owner. Whether it was issues in human relations, informatio­n technology or the water cooler, “Dilbert” had a way of calling it out and making me feel that I was not alone with these issues. “Dilbert” understood. Everyone knew how much I loved that comic strip, so I always received Dilbert gifts and used his episodes in many of my business presentati­ons.

So yes, I was disappoint­ed — but also proud of The Post for canceling. I was relieved, because the very dark side of the creator of “Dilbert” had ruined the lightheart­ed fun in reading that strip. Yes, I will sorely miss “Dilbert,” but I am relieved that by dropping the comic from my life, I will hold on to my dignity and help preserve my heritage. Pedro Alfonso, Washington

 ?? Scott ADAMS ?? A panel from the Feb. 25 “Dilbert” comic strip.
Scott ADAMS A panel from the Feb. 25 “Dilbert” comic strip.
 ?? Scott ADAMS ?? Dilbert’s boss
Scott ADAMS Dilbert’s boss

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