Will 'Dilbert' Creator Scott Adams Be Canceled Over New Character Woke Movement Will Despise?


“Dilbert” became popular because the cartoon’s creator, Scott Adams, mocked absurdity.

At first, this was universally popular; the strip lampooned the absurdities 1990s corporate orthodoxy was on. The comic, for the unaware, revolves around the eponymous engineer Dilbert, his co-workers and superiors at a nameless mega-corporation, and his anthropomorphic pets.

Because the strip attacked shallow cultural trends, Kafkaesque corporate bureaucracy and the kind of facile jargon that underpinned the “Who Moved My Cheese?”-style business leadership, “Dilbert” had an image of being part of the liberal counterculture.

In the intervening years, three things have made “Dilbert” and Adams problematic for the left. First, the liberal “counterculture” became the dominant corporate culture. Second, it became even more absurd than it was. Third, “Dilbert” and Adams both continued to attack absurdity.

Adams’ slow-motion courtship of cancellation by the left began during the run-up to the 2016 election when he a) predicted Donald Trump would win the presidency and b) didn’t seem averse to the idea. He started a podcast that skewed along conservative lines. That said, he’s still unpredictable (according to Politico, he’s praised the persuasion skills of Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) but, he never repudiated Trump or the Republicans.

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However, if Adams wanted to speed up the cancelation process and make it official, he certainly could have done worse than Monday’s comic, titled “Dave the Black Engineer.”

Surprisingly, it’s not just race that could get Adams’ canceled over “Dave the Black Engineer” — but, instead, the implicit comment on self-identity.

(Here at The Western Journal, we’ve chronicled the insanity of identity politics and postmodern culture. We’ll continue to stand up for a world where A is A and the truth is immutable. You can help us by subscribing.)

The strip begins with the Pointy-Haired Boss (the strip’s antagonist — think Michael Scott with a lobotomy) introducing the new employee.

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“Management asked me to add some diversity to the engineering team,” he says, motioning to a new black employee. “Meet Dave.”

“I identify as white,” Dave says.

“You’re ruining everything, Dave,” the Boss says in the third panel.

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“Let’s see if the world is ready for this. Introducing Dave, the new engineer,” Adams wrote in a Twitter post.

“Dave will be featured all week, so if this one doesn’t get me cancelled, more chances to come,” he added.

Adams had previously tweeted Saturday that a newspaper group he did not identify wouldn’t run the strips.

Well, we now know why. Adams has said the character isn’t meant to explicitly attack transgender individuals — although his logic could still certainly be applied in that arena.

Instead, the target appears to be the cult of self-identity. In Tuesday’s strip, Adams took an implicit shot at progressive whites who support diversity programs for those they deem more disadvantaged than themselves while simultaneously abusing these programs.

In that strip, the Boss is alone with Dave and offering him what’s always charitably termed “coaching” in the corporate world.

“Dave, I support your right to identify any way you want. But I’m trying to reach my diversity targets, and it isn’t helping me that you identify as white,” the Boss says.

“Maybe you could identify as black and solve your own problem,” Dave suggests, to which the Boss replies: “That’s how I paid for college.”

Liz Warren, eat your heart out. (With your “high cheekbones,” of course.)

“I’m still not cancelled? Day 2,” Adams said, linking to the strip.

Maybe not canceled, but he’s certainly been criticized.

Some noted that, in markets where “Dilbert” is printed as black-and-white, Dave actually appears white — as though a man who has spent decades career publishing comics in newspapers wouldn’t know basic facts about print production capabilities.

The broader point here, of course, doesn’t seem to be about race or transgenderism, but rather the obsession with identity in a postmodern culture where identity isn’t fixed.

The only reason Dave is in the office is because of an immutable genetic characteristic, as the Boss explicitly states — but Dave, he identifies as something different.

Transracialism is the one taboo the left won’t touch, partially because it reveals too much about the absurdity of a culture with no fixed reference points and partially because it’s so easily exploited.

That’s why Warren — as well as notable grifters like Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King — have faced significant blowback for identifying as something they’re not.

But that’s because it helped them. In Adams’ comic strip, Dave’s self-identity hurts his standing — so the Boss tries to convince him he is, in fact, the race that he is.

If enough liberals grasp the implications of that — and what it means about society on so many levels — the potential cancelation of “Dilbert” that Adams is making a joke of could get serious in a hurry.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture