The Dilbertization of America

At times I'm quite sure I'm the only former Sojourners intern now doing something as unradical as participating in her company's employee stock purchase plan. I'm sure the rest of my old housemates, and those who came before and after me, are fulfilled through vocations that promote faith and social justice—growing vegetables on organic farms, saving lives in women's shelters, and lobbying Congress to get rid of certain American schools that train Latin American hulks to torture their country's civilians.

My life is more like a Dilbert cartoon.

Actually, I work for a newspaper, a business described loftily in journalism school as the Fourth Estate. (Some college marketing guy came up with that myth to convince young idealistic students to spend thousands of dollars on j-school for a degree that qualifies them to work 80 hours a week for a pittance. If you don't believe me, read the "Historical Uses of Market Surveys" section in The Dilbert Principle, and you'll learn how sneaky those marketing-types are.)

The newspaper that employs me doesn't even run the Dilbert comic strip. I have to read the competition to get my daily Dilbert dose, which requires stealing the competition from the publisher's office. (They didn't have a class on this in journalism school. Fortunately, I picked up the skill in the Sojourners magazine office, where "thou shalt not steal" went out the window when Christianity Today came in the mail.)

But when stealing the competition fails, or in the rare case that the day's strip doesn't exactly mirror my work situation, I and the rest of the underlings of corporate America have The Dilbert Principle and a plethora of other well-marketed Dilbert products, including the recently released Still Pumped From Using the Mouse (HarperBusiness, 1996), by creator Scott Adams.

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine January-February 1997
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Subscribe