Cartoon characters Dilbert and his dog Dilbert fly through the air after being dumped by many newspapers.

Dilbert and Dogbert have been dumped by much of America.

Image from Scott Adams' Dilbert comic.

This Is Not A Difficult Decision

After his creator went on a loathsome tirade declaring black people "a hate group" that white people should "get away" from, once-amusing office drone and comic anti-hero Dilbert has been dropped by hundreds of newspapers, his distributor and his book publisher in a rare move of decency and solidarity befitting the close of Black History Month. Online, his still-bellicose creator Scott Adams is whining he's been "cancelled" for "being white." Nope, many argue. It's for "being a racist douchebag."

Born in 1989, the satirical comic strip starring vacant, chubby, hapless Dilbert - first or last name unknown - was at first lauded for capturing the vapid zeitgeist of newly computerized, cubby-holed, white-collar corporate culture. Full Disclosure: When we still worked in a mainstream newsroom, we loved its deadpan skewering of that system's mind-numbing, soul-deadening bureaucracy, the lunacy it bred and the perseverance of so many dogged workers slogging through it. We also loved the evil Dogbert, Dilbert's dog, officially deemed "a sadistic megalomaniac, dreaming to conquer the world and enslave all humanity." At one point in his 34-year-career, Dilbert appeared in over 2,000 newspapers across the country; there were also dozens of books, a video game, a (short-lived) animated TV series and a gazillion coffee mugs and other merch. But maybe 'cause all good things come to end - and we're a fallible species - the deftness of Dilbert waned over the last decade as its creator ran out of ideas and, lamentably, ideals and became what Norman Solomon once called "an offbeat sugary substance that helps the corporate medicine go down.".

In recent years, the strip lost readers and bounced between distributors as Adams began his "long slide into right-wing buffoonery," mostly via a blog. By 2016 he'd become a loud-mouthed Trumper, with the ugly rants to prove it. Electing Hillary Clinton would "diminish" the role of men, women seeking equal pay were like "children demanding candy," if Biden was elected "there's a good chance you'll be dead within the year - Republicans will be hunted," the BLM movement was "a domestic terror organization," he'd lost three jobs "because I'm white," women are "treated differently by society for exactly the same reason children and the mentally handicapped are - it's just easier this way," he'd decided "to self-identify as a Black woman until Biden picks his Supreme Court nominee" (because) I don't want to completely take myself out of the conversation for the job." Last year, he introduced into the strip Dave the Black Engineer, his first black character in years, evidently just to mock "woke" culture, workplace diversity and the LGBTQ community; the tone around Dave was so blatantly nasty that 77 papers dropped the strip in response.

When he needed more time and space to rant, he started a “Coffee with Scott Adams” podcast. And in a now-infamous Feb. 22 episode - his "most expensive podcast right here" - he stepped in his own shit so deep much of America has decided, "You will get what you deserve, honky." In a rambling, racist tirade, Adams called Black Americans - yes, all of 'em - a "hate group" and advised white Americans - ditto - to "get the fuck away" from them." Triggered by a Rasmussen poll he didn't seem to realize stems from a 4Chan white supremacist campaign, he noted only 53% of Blacks agreed with the sentiment, "It's OK to be white." “Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” he said “Just get the fuck away...Because there’s no fixing this...You just have to escape. (So) I went to a neighborhood where I have a very low Black population." Bafflingly citing "the Mike Pence rule" on women, he added, "Every one of you should be open to making a racist personal career decision...which is completely allowable." We have no idea what that means, but it doesn't sound good.

The publishing industry seemed to agree. Hundreds of newspapers have dropped Dilbert, arguing they "believe in the free and fair exchange of ideas, but when those ideas cross into hate speech, a line must be drawn." The Washington Post ripped Adams' "recent statements promoting segregation." The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Antonio Express, USA Today Network cited his "hateful" and "discriminatory" comments. California's Press Democrat, noting the need for "a community conversation" about race, clarified, "It’s not canceling. It’s doing the right thing." Cleveland's Plain Dealer affirmed, "We are not a home for those who espouse racism...This is not a difficult decision." Each vowed to find a replacement that, per Michigan's MLive Media, "does not violate basic standards of decency and respect for others.” Adams' publisher also said they were dropping plans for an upcoming book, and in likely the most pricey repercussion, Adams' distributor said they will no longer syndicate the strip. But the news wasn't all bad: Elon Musk, God love him 'cause nobody else will, charged the media is now "racist against whites."

Meanwhile Adams, who doesn't know when to STFU, daily rails on Twitter against those who "hate me and are canceling me":"I haven't heard anyone disagree," "I was also labeled a misogynist, which I have come to understand is a synonym for male," and in vicious response to a thoughtful black reader - "Black people liked Dilbert. Black people didn’t try to take anything from you" - "Blocking you for being an asshole." All in all, there was much snark and little sympathy for a "rich white Trumper dude whining about how unfair things are": "I think you're confusing being white with being mediocre," "Hey Scott, I appreciate you taking the time to angrily respond to every tweet about this thing that didn’t happen," "I'm so sorry, Scott...I remember the day every white TV writer was fired for being white...It sounds crazy, since there haven't been any for so long!" and, noting Adams had admitted nobody watched his show, "You also seem incredibly charming and easy to work with, so that can't be it." From another sorta fan, "Being an old racist white man isn’t special, but to be willing to burn your comfortable life down for that cred - Do you, Dilbert."

Finally, weirdly, there's Adams' "peculiar," little-noted claim he's "been identifying as Black for a while" - "I like to be on the winning team" - but now "it makes no sense as a white citizen of America (so) I’m going to back off on being helpful to Black America," thus echoing "what white Americans have been saying for the past 400 years about Native Americans, African Americans, Vietnamese, Iraqis (and) many other people." Jon Schwartz runs through our bloody history: The 1629 Massachusetts charter that later helped "500 women, children, and other civilians become dead," Andrew Jackson's "benevolent removal" of 60,000 Indians and its "happy consummation" on the Trail of Tears, Teddy Roosevelt's claim “no (other) colonizing nation has treated the original savage owners of the soil with such generosity," slavery deemed "within the sanctions of justice and propriety," the Vietnam War dubbed "the most significant example of philanthropy extended by one people to another (in) our times," and Bush standing "ready to help the citizens of a liberated Iraq," eager for a well-deserved "outbreak of gratitude." And so to "the genuine distress" of Scott Adams: No wonder he's tired "of not getting the least bit of thanks."

"In a world of Scott Adams', be a Charles Schulz."

A replacement Dilbert comic strip.New and improved and hooded Dilbert.Strip by (blocked) Lukey McGarry

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