When I worked at my old college, our dean decided one day that the modern corporate culture idea of having a casual Friday would be a good innovation. A few months later, he looked about in consternation, and remarked that he thought casual day had gone too far (I have my own opinions on this, considering most people had not in fact become very casual at all, and charity requires me to refrain from commenting upon what I think was really at issue). Shortly after this exchange, one of my book clubs offered 'Casual Day Has Gone Too Far', a collection of Dilbert cartoons, which had become the object of break-room bulletin boards and interoffice memo attachments around the country.
The book has a brief introduction (Scott Adams recounts in it that he felt cheated once upon buying a buying guide which had no introduction, hence, he felt required to include one), which includes email instructions for subscribing to the online Dilbert newsletter, which is published 'whenever I feel like it', according to Adams.
Then, of course, we jump immediately into 'the good stuff', the columns.
The sociology, psychology, and even the sex appeal of Dilbert -- all of these have been variously explained and lauded or decried in other places, so I shall not go into detail here, save to say that there is something very true about the representations found in this small column that resonates with anyone in any way familiar with corporate America. Of one political satire in Britain, a columnist once commented that with regard to its reflection of reality, that 'reality is twice as true but half as funny' -- this dictum can likewise be applied to Dilbert.
The first column starts out with Dogbert explaining leadership.
(Fair warning -- how does one adequately describe a cartoon column in words, without pictures? Forgive me if this analysis becomes something less than the actual columns.)
Dogbert explains that leaders start their careers as morons, drawn to meetings like moths to porchlights, with a high bladder-to-brain ratio (which makes enduring meetings easier on both counts), and they succeed because, being untempted by logic or coffee, they continue along the path of promotion until the reach their true skill level (often, that of recognising others, underlings all, with true ability) -- and Dogbert's conclusion is that leadership is the way of removing morons from the productive flow.
Adams' wit is scathing, unmerciful, and has no 'sacred cows'. He parodies all levels of the production chain, from the lowest to the highest, often showing the inverse relation of skill to responsibility, authority to intelligence, productivity to reward. He demonstrates the imperviousness of all levels of the corporation to logic. He likes to invent corporate-based 'lingo' which, if it appeared in an actual memo (and some of this actually does appear in the real world) it would most likely be taken seriously.
With regard to casual days, this has been seen as the evil plot of HR Director Catbert. Alice determines that 'it's just another sadistic human resources plot to make people quit.' Others decided that they loved casual Friday, because 'it combines unattractive with unprofessional while diminishing neither.'
Finally, Dilbert shows the golden road to visibility in the large anonymous corporate structure.
Dilbert: I significantly increased my visibility at work today, Dogbert. Yesterday I was invisible to my management. But today I am known by all.
Dogbert: You screwed up, huh?
Dilbert: Ooh yeah. Big time.
And so it goes. Perhaps it is not only casual day that has gone too far.