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FutureStarrHow the Creator of Dilbert went From Star to Train Wreck
For many white-collar workers, the Dilbert comic strip has served as a cultural beacon. It humorously takes aim at office life and gives insight into daily work tasks.
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert comic strip, recently made some controversial remarks. As a result, hundreds of newspapers are discontinuing publication of his comic.
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, a comic strip published in over 1,550 newspapers worldwide, has seen his fortunes take an unexpected tumble after hundreds of American newspapers dropped his work following racist comments. Born in 1957, Adams rose to national prominence during America's 1990s downsizing period with his satirical cartoon syndicated around the world.
Adams began writing Dilbert while employed at Pacific Bell in the late 1980s, inspired by his time-wasting during meetings. He wrote it with a semi-satirical, often sarcastic attitude about how white-collar workers in modern corporations navigate their social and mental landscapes.
His career took a turn when Dilbert was turned into an animated series on UPN in 1999, for which he served as showrunner and executive producer for two seasons. Unfortunately, after the cancellation of the series, he left UPN.
Despite that setback, Adams has persevered in writing Dilbert, which is now distributed in over 1,550 newspapers around the world. Additionally, he has penned several nonfiction works of satire, commentary and business.
He is currently the editor of a business book imprint at Penguin Random House, though Portfolio, the division that specializes in business books, has announced it no longer plans to publish his newest work, Reframe Your Brain.
Adams has become a controversial figure on Twitter, where he often posts racist and homophobic remarks. On YouTube he has made similar controversial statements that have garnered him many followers. On an episode of his podcast Real Coffee with Scott Adams he made racist comments about Charlottesville hate rally and U.S. Capitol insurrection among other topics; additionally he called for white people to murder Black people - an idea likely to land him in prison.
Scott Adams has built a career on his sometimes provocative and humorous observations of the workplace, culminating in Sunday's Dilbert. Describing it as "a train wreck," the cartoonist, who is white, could face serious repercussions for his controversial remarks about race; newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and USA Today Network announced on Sunday they would no longer collaborate with or publish Dilbert strips.
The Pointy-Haired Boss is the inept manager of Dilbert and his colleagues, often serving as the main antagonist in the comic strip. Although his real name is never revealed, he is depicted as a stereotypical late middle aged balding middle manager with prominent pointy hair.
He is an incompetent, disorganized manager who shows little concern for his employees' wellbeing. His attempts at solving business problems often result in desperate measures which prove counterproductive. Furthermore, his temperament is often bitter and hostile; he uses his anger to shut down any project that doesn't suit him.
One of the most enduring characters is Dilbert's pet dog, Dogbert. Highly intelligent and always willing to help out even though he harbors contempt for him, Dogbert acts as both mentor and advisor for Dilbert even if he often displays manipulative tendencies.
Dogbert is the antithesis of the Pointy-Haired Boss. He's arrogant, conniving, and devious - willing to put people in harm's way if it serves his own interests. Additionally, Dogbert enjoys taking advantage of others and will use his persuasive abilities to persuade the Pointy-Haired Boss that Dilbert is intelligent enough for the job.
Scott Adams is one of America's most renowned cartoonists, having created Dilbert and written over 20 books. Additionally, he's a public speaker and author, with his own food company that manufactures frozen vegetarian burritos called Dilberitos.
He began creating Dilbert in 1989, but it wasn't until 1996 that it truly took off and Adams could pursue writing full time. Its insightful critiques of high-tech corporations proved popular enough for it to become a millionaire's hit - leading him to quit his day job and pursue writing full time.
Adams began drawing Dilbert based on his own workplace experiences. Before becoming a cartoonist, Adams had worked as a bank teller, computer programmer and financial analyst.
Dilbert initially focused on his personal life, but soon decided to pay more attention to his workplace as well. He realized that most of the people he worked with shared similar characteristics and struggles.
Adams created Dilbert, Dogbert and the rest of the cast as his main characters. However, he also added Wally, a socially awkward employee who attempts to do nothing but adds lighthearted humor to the show. Additionally, Wally is Dilbert's friend even though he sometimes despizes him.
Dilbert's other co-workers include Ted, a sarcastic but capable worker who often gets left out of meetings or ignored. Asok, an Indian intern who doesn't work at the company but helps Dilbert out by delivering his mail.
Scott Adams was the valedictorian of his high school class and went on to work in various dead-end jobs before creating Dilbert comic strips. He took inspiration for the character from those around him at work, particularly his co-workers at Pacific Bell in San Francisco.
He began creating Dilbert in 1989 and quickly achieved fame for it. Initially, the comic focused on Dilbert's personal life; however, over time it has increasingly focused on workplace issues.
Dilbert is a sarcastic, cynical engineer who works at Xerox. His ideas often go ignored while his social life suffers greatly; additionally, his romantic life often suffers as well.
His mother, Dilmom, is a quiet and intelligent woman who mistakenly assumed Dilbert worked at the railroad due to his technical aptitude. Unfortunately for Dilbert, she has become a passive-aggressive and uncaring parent even though she does appreciate her son.
Her father, Dilbert's uncle, is a stereotypical late-middle aged balding middle manager with jowls who has since developed his signature "pointy hair." Unfortunately, he lacks managerial skills and often attempts to compensate through numerous group therapy sessions and failed business strategies.
Catbert, the evil HR director, is ultimately to blame for Dilbert's travails at work. As gatekeeper and policy enforcer for his company, Catbert creates and enforces rules with blind loyalty to serve only their own interests.
He has a very sarcastic and cynical demeanor, often employing devious tactics to achieve his objectives. Although his ideas are usually sensible or even revolutionary, they never get implemented due to his lack of power to make them happen.
Dilbert creator Scott Adams has recently found himself in a difficult situation. A number of media companies have indicated they will remove him from their rosters due to his recent comments regarding race and racial profiling.
One of those publishers was Andrews McMeel Universal, which announced it was ending its relationship with Adams via an e-mail to employees. The statement read: "We are terminating our business relationship with Dilbert due to his racist and hateful comments."
Adams' comments came after a video clip of him labelling Black people as members of a "hate group" was posted online last week. This sparked widespread outrage among his fans, many of whom criticized him for not being more sensitive about the issue.
The strip's central character, Dilbert, is a technologically minded white male. He wears a white shirt, black trousers and an odd red tie that sticks up.
His coworkers include Wally, a middle aged man who studiously avoids work; Dogbert, Dilbert's canine roommate; Asok, an intern without formal education; and Alice, an accomplished engineer who finds her male colleagues increasingly inept and arrogant.
She is Dilbert's friend and occasional adversary. Though an accomplished engineer, Dilbert often doesn't respect her due to being female. She can be angry and aggressive at times but also shows compassion when caring for the Antimatter Dilbert.
Carol Cerberus is the Pointy-Haired Boss' misanthropic and bitter secretary, who feels undervalued and degraded in her job. She takes out her frustration on all employees, particularly the PHB, often plotting against them to prove a point.
She is described as having short light brown hair styled into a triangular shape on her head and usually wearing pearl earrings. At first, Adams only created minor character stories for her; however, her popularity quickly grew to the point that he began creating full storylines featuring her.
Her hatred for the PHB led to her becoming a recurring character in the strip and one of its most beloved. She has gone so far as to send him on several trips to New York City with stopovers in countries experiencing violent rebellions, hold press conferences to announce his status as a serial killer, and shoot him multiple times with crossbows and harpoons.
Dilbert is the stereotypical technical-minded single male who understands engineering and has great ideas, yet is ignored at work and lacks a social life. He struggles with relationships and often comes off as having an unlikable attitude.
In the strip, Dilbert lives with his anthropomorphic pet dog, Dogbert. He has a tendency towards megalomania and enjoys taking advantage of unsuspecting customers - often leading to trouble for Dilbert's boss.
Many migrant families are facing immense difficulty completing the US asylum app due to a dysfunctional border policy. This leaves them in precarious situations with the possibility of facing jail time if their cases are taken seriously.
Recently, the Biden administration has promoted CBP One as a way to prescreen asylum-seekers. Unfortunately, migrants sometimes struggle with using it, which can significantly slow down the process of being scheduled for an interview at a port of entry.
A new app that makes it easier for migrants to request protection at a US port of entry has made it simpler for families to separate at the border. But providers are concerned that this app, promoted by President Biden as an expeditious process, could potentially disadvantage those most vulnerable asylum seekers who lack reliable internet connection or technological proficiency.
CBP One is an app designed to assist those at border crossings get appointments with Customs and Border Protection officials for humanitarian immigration processes. It enables immigrants to submit their own biographic data as well as other personal data, and schedule appointments up to 14 days ahead.
The app, which can be downloaded free to a mobile device, is currently only available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole languages. Unfortunately, language restrictions present a major obstacle for migrants who speak different languages and lack technical experience with using the app.
In its initial week of availability, some migrants were rejected or delayed because the app couldn't accept their photos. This requirement for a live photo for each login has caused concern that this could be an unnecessary security measure and has caused applications to move more slowly.
It can be especially challenging for the most vulnerable asylum seekers, who often lack basic digital skills or access to high-speed Internet. Even when they can use the app, it has been plagued with glitches, an absence of transparency regarding appointment availability each day and language options not common among speakers of English or Spanish.
Some migrants have reported the app blocking their photos or requiring them to share their location. This poses a security risk for those fleeing government persecution in their home countries, particularly when the app is used to coordinate travel for refugees and other migrants to the United States.
It is essential that any program designed to enhance border crossing efficiency ensures fair access for all who seek processing - especially those most vulnerable, who can experience discrimination and harm during their journeys to the United States.
A new US government app now enables some migrant families to schedule appointments for land ports of entry before they arrive at the border, potentially making things safer and less chaotic for vulnerable individuals. Unfortunately, critics have noted that it causes many migrants to split up at the border; children separated from their parents are transferred to shelters run by Health and Human Services while adults remain in detention centers or facing deportation proceedings.
Enrique Lucero, director of migrant affairs for Tijuana's city hall, has been helping asylum seekers create profiles using the CBP One app and secure appointments at multiple shelters in Mexico City. One such individual is 19-year-old Cristian Valencia from Michoacan state who fled his home seven months ago due to threats from organized crime groups in Mexico.
Lucero and his staff have assisted dozens of migrants create profiles on the CBP One app, including Maria (15-year-old Haitian girl) who arrived in Tijuana last week from Matamoros, Mexico's border city where hundreds of Haitians are waiting for their asylum cases to be processed. But her face is not recognized by the app despite having dark skin, according to Maria.
Facial recognition issues can be especially frustrating for Black and Latino asylum seekers, who are often ignored by the immigration system. They may have more difficulty navigating an app that requires an image of your face along with some basic biographical data.
Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, co-director of the non-profit Sidewalk School in Reynosa and Matamoros, which assists refugee children with literacy programs, reports that while some Black asylum seekers have been able to use the app, others are being blocked due to poor internet connections. She fears this lack of accessibility could impact those most at risk groups - particularly those with darker skin tones - due to its limited functionality.
Efren Olivares, a racial and economic justice director at the Texas Civil Rights Project, has been witness to family separations occurring at border checkpoints. Adults are being detained in detention centers while their children wait in shelters run by HHS; these separations were occurring even when adults had arrived legally at legal ports of entry.
CBP's new mobile app, which allowed vulnerable migrants to request exceptions from Title 42 policy that has since 2020 restricted their entry to America, was quickly overwhelmed. Within two weeks, tens of thousands of people had registered using it daily at 0900 hours. As a result, CBP has had to slow down processing times for those most vulnerable.
CBP acknowledges these delays, but says the app's efficiency can help expedite legitimate land crossings and reduce wait times at ports of entry. Its scheduling feature allows asylum applicants to set appointments with Customs and Border Protection staff who will verify their immigration cases and confirm if they're enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols program.
However, the app has raised several privacy and immigrants' rights issues. For instance, it uses facial recognition technology to check if individuals are enrolled in MPP and have pending immigration cases; additionally, GPS functions track users' locations when they submit information through the app. Without proper protections in place, these technologies could enable CBP officials to identify and surveil individuals at any time without warning.
Many advocates have called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement clear safeguards so sensitive and private information isn't stored in error-prone government databases, but rather used only to protect public safety and integrity at ports of entry. Doing this would guarantee that app does not prevent those most vulnerable from accessing US asylum protections.
CBP's website does not adequately explain how users, particularly those using the MPP enrollment verification feature of the app, give consent for their pictures to be taken and compared with existing databases. Furthermore, it fails to inform people that this feature utilizes facial recognition technology or that TSA supervisors can utilize it to determine if someone can travel domestically.
These issues are made even worse by CBP One's biometric verification features that fail to capture images of a significant percentage of applicants, particularly darker-skinned migrants. As a result, some of these individuals must rely on advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations in order to obtain exemptions from Title 42 or request consular assistance in Mexico.
In January, the Biden administration introduced CBP One, a mobile app designed to manage asylum applications from Mexican migrants seeking exemptions under Title 42. As reported by WOLA, this platform enables eligible migrants to request an appointment up to 14 days in advance to approach U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at ports of entry to apply for asylum; however, demand has been high as space on this app quickly filled up.
This app is intended to replace a less formal and often confusing process that relied on recommendations shared with CBP by NGOs, immigration attorneys and other service providers. Available in both English and Spanish, the application aims to streamline in-person processing by streamlining data entry.
CBP claims the app can reduce wait times and crowds at ports of entry. However, critics have raised concerns that it could be used to track and search people without their consent or knowledge. For instance, it uses facial-recognition technology to verify whether individuals are enrolled in MPP and have pending immigration cases; additionally, GPS technology is employed to track users' location when using the app.
These issues are especially pertinent to those without access to smartphones or weak internet connections, as well as those who do not speak English or Spanish. Furthermore, many of the most vulnerable asylum seekers may be targeted by scammers who charge money in order to use an app.
One of the more serious concerns is that this app's reliance on cellphone camera and GPS functions may allow CBP to track users in remote parts of Mexico, such as desert stretches. This data can then be compared with existing CBP databases to monitor immigration movements - especially those deemed dangerous.
But the government doesn't explain how this process would be carried out or safeguard migrants' privacy and personal data. Furthermore, it lacks details on how it will be simplified for those who require it most - those without smartphones or unfamiliar with the app's processes.