EDITORIAL: The day Dilbert got cancelled

By now just about everyone who has followed the popular comic strip Dilbert is aware of the hot water its creator, Scott Adams, currently finds himself in. In a classic case of career suicide, Adams appeared on a YouTube live stream last month and urged white people ‘to get the hell away from Black people,” later going so far as to label Black people as a hate group.

It’s always a bit awkward when a celebrity says or does something in their personal life that is in stark contrast to the beliefs and values of their fans.

For decades a Dilbert daily calendar has resided on this reporter’s desk. In fact one is currently perched less than a foot away from the keyboard that currently bangs out this editorial. That’s never been meant to be a stamp of approval for the personal views of Dilbert’s creator.

To those that have followed Adams at all over the years, the fact he’d offer up such a controversial take isn’t all that surprising. He’s always been one looking to rock the boat on a variety of topics. Prior to the 2020 election for example he predicted ‘Republicans will be hunted’ should Donald Trump lose the then upcoming election. He followed that up with a second Twitter post, claiming ‘police will stand down’ when this hunting begins.

Among the many questions that need to be asked, perhaps the most obvious one is ‘why is a cartoonist even making such comments in the first place?’ He certainly has a large following and a mighty platform in which to offer up his opinion, but to what end? While there’s certainly value in addressing difficult topics, there’s a much better and constructive way to do it.

His personal hot takes have always been out there, though in recent years they’ve taken a much darker turn to where he is today. And so his once beloved office-lifestyle roasting comic strip has all been cancelled, previously appearing in 2,000 newspapers worldwide in 65 countries around the world.

Now it appears the only place to find it will be to search it out on Adams’ own website, in which he promises a more ‘spicier’ version.

For fans of the comic, it was generally easy to separate the creator from his work because his views didn’t typically find its way into the funny pages. Sure a lot of the jokes weren’t for everybody-it wasn’t Garfield after all and the topics covered went beyond simply hating Mondays and loving lasagna.

But for the most part issues of race were kept out of Dilbert’s office and the jokes were generally made at the expense of Pointy-Haired Boss, a stand in for bosses everywhere. Unfortunately Adams’ latest work has begun to cross that line, putting his fans in an uncomfortable position. Just because they find his drawings funny doesn’t mean they support his worldviews.

One thing we will note, it gives a newfound appreciation for our own in- house cartoonist Tim Nimigan and the Our Town series with his ability to walk the line between funny and offensive.

-Adam Prudhomme is the managing editor of the Napanee Beaver

Picturing Our Community

The fifth annual PEC Period Party at the Regent Theatre on Sunday was a rousing success as over 124 people attended the event. All told, there were an estimated $4,000 in menstrual products and $1,300 raised that will be donated to the Hastings Prince Edward Learning Foundation and distrubuted by that charitable group to schools in Prince Edward County. Pictured above are organizers Romana Roblin and Alison Kelly. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)