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Dilbert

Dilbert is the name of a satirical comic strip about a micro-managed office environment featuring the eponymous software engineer. The strip, created by Scott Adams, has run in newspapers since 1989, spawning several books, an animated television series, and numerous tie-in products ranging from stuffed dolls to ice cream.

Dilbert's success can be traced to its all-too-accurate portrayal of corporate culture as a Kafkaesque world of bureaucracy for its own sake: the boss has power, but no skill; the workers have skills, but no power -- and as they learn that their skills are not rewarded, they become mere placeholders who see innovation as dangerous and count anonymity as success.

The humor emerges as we see the characters making obviously ridiculous decisions, and we realize that the artificial roles assigned to each member of the corporate culture often require us to do exactly the same thing.

Terms invented by Adams in relation to the strip, and sometimes used by fans in describing their own office environments, include "Induhvidual" and "Cow-orker".

Dilbert can be read online at http://www.dilbert.com/

Characters:

  • Dilbert, an often powerless engineer,
  • Dogbert, Dilbert's dog, who doubles as an amoral businessman with fingers in every pie,
  • Catbert, the evil director of human resources,
  • The Pointy-Haired Boss, clueless and occasionally cruel, abbreviated by readers to PHB (see also the U.S. Army Acronym REMF)
  • Wally, a lazy coworker always trying to work the system,
  • Alice, a constantly on-edge coworker,
  • Asok, a brilliant but naive Intern from India,
  • Ratbert, a simple rat,
  • the World's Smartest Garbageman,
  • Dilbert's Mom, homely but intelligent,
  • Dilbert's Dad, an unseen character. He lives at the all-you-can-eat restaurant, because he hasn't eaten all he can eat yet,
  • Bob, Dawn, and Rex the Dinosaurs (not extinct, just (usually) hiding),
  • the Elbonians, the idiotic citizens of a backwards Eastern European nation,
  • Carol, the PHB's misanthropical secretary,
  • Tina, the brittle tech writer,
  • Stan, the all-too-slick marketer,
  • Mordac, Preventer of Information Technology,
  • Ted, the Generic Guy,
  • Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light (a minor devil), and brother of the Boss,
  • Loud Howard, another coworker who, despite appearing in only one comic strip, became a regular character in the TV series.



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