Scott Adams and Me

Hei Lun Chan

Hei Lun Chan

Hei Lun is a retail manager living in Massachusetts. His interests include eating, running, video games and board games. He's a sports fan who doesn't watch sports. He's mostly a libertarian even though Facebook ad preferences thinks he's a "very liberal". His Twitter handle is @heilun_chan

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar Benjamin I Espen
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    says:

    I’m pretty sure that Adams was like that before Trump. Having talked with him on Twitter a few times in the past, I came to the conclusion that he fits the archetype of a sophist quite well: his primary job is to say clever and provocative things, but ultimately he isn’t interested in any truth outside of himself.

    I’ve always found that kind of funny, as one of his signature positions is that he is uninterested in reading anything old or non-technical in subject matter.Report

  2. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    I found his writing interesting, but knew him from Dilbert of course. I don’t think I’ve been to his website in years but that’s just because I already get enough politics in other venues and don’t need more in my life. Last time I was there he was pretty much 100% politics. Nope…got better things to do. I get enough politics on this website. Zing!Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      There was a time when I tried reading his website, but usually it was just a bunch of podcasts. I generally don’t like to listen to podcasts. It takes a lot more effort and time than reading. (That said, I do occasionally listen to some podcasts, but however interesting I find them, their main function for me usually approaches serving as background noise.)Report

  3. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    I haven’t really followed him since he abandoned his blog for podcasts, but aside from that, my assessment was the same as yours: He was a bit out there, but always interesting, and at least the nutty things he said were nutty in novel ways. And sometimes he actually made sense. Everyone else was saying things at least as dumb, but they were serving up canned stupid instead of bespoke stupid.Report

  4. Christopher Bradley Christopher Bradley
    Ignored
    says:

    Adams has become a crazy person in recent years, but the cancellation of the Dilbert animated show was a crime against humanity, IMO. I own both seasons on DVD. Nostalgia, baby!Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Nope, he was always like that; and really, the “Dilbert” strip still is what it always was, poking fun at humorously timid or insipid or vapid corporate culture. It’s just that with the Internet making everything flat, we can see Scott Adams’s political thoughts as well, right as he has them, rather than having to wait three or four years for him to publish a book that everyone can talk about and not actually read.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s the odd thing. Adams hasn’t let any of his politics creep into the strip. Usually, comic strip guys can’t help but let a little bit leak through, but Dilbert is totally walled off. I guess he knows who butters his bread, and they’re half Dems.Report

  6. Avatar gabriel conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    I know too little of Adams to have anything like an informed opinion on whether he was always like that. (I don’t even have an uninformed opinion.)

    I do agree with what I take to be the underlying premise of this OP, though, that Trumpism has encouraged a lot of us (I’d say a large majority of us, myself included) to let our brains be “scrambled.” In a sense, we were already “scrambled,” but we’ve also made choices since then to further scramble ourselves.

    I’d like to say that I can rise and have risen above it, at least in some ways. But I can think of many ways I have chosen not to.

    Not that I’m positing a moral equivalence. I believe Trump’s supporters are on the wrong side, and his opponents are on the right side.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    My take on Scott Adams 2015-2016 is that he was running a sort of Xanatos Gambit.

    If Trump won, Scott Adams could argue “Hey, see? Persuasion works! Buy my book and you too can learn to persuade!”
    If Clinton won, Scott Adams could argue “Hey, see? I was able to make you think that Trump actually had a chance despite all of the things that we all knew! We all knew that he wouldn’t get 240 electoral votes! Look at Sam Wang! We all knew that Clinton was the greatest and most qualified person for the presidency on paper since James Buchanan! AND YET YOU STILL BELIEVED ME WHEN I SAID THAT TRUMP COULD WIN! That’s because I’m such a good persuader! Buy my book and you too can learn to persuade!”

    See? Either way, he wins. BUY HIS BOOK!

    But Trump won.

    And Feynman gave a very important admonition a million years ago:
    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”

    Trump won and Adams fooled himself.

    And here we are.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      On the one hand, I do think Adams genuinely believes what he’s saying, that Trump is actually playing the fool but is in reality a master manipulator and THAT’S why nobody saw any of this coming. I don’t think that’s just bullshit Adams is spinning as a grift, I think he honestly believes it.

      On the other hand, dude. Seriously? You still believe it?Report

  8. Avatar Blake Stacey
    Ignored
    says:

    In 2011, Scott Adams created a pseudonym on Metafilter to call himself a “certified genius”. Five years before that, he was doing the wink-wink nudge-nudge “how do we know the number was really that big” about the Holocaust. “The Dilbert Future” didn’t just get “some” of the science wrong; it dove headfirst into quantum woo on the Deepak Chopra level.

    Yes, he’s always been that way.Report

  9. Avatar Jon K
    Ignored
    says:

    Adams got the insanity of corporate tech, and was clever at spoofing it, years before anyone else did. And he’ll always have that: it was quality stuff. But the strip always framed the situation as individuals; the possibility of systemic change was simply not in the frame.

    When he branched out to peddling advice and insight, the quality varied. Some was insightful. Some was funny. But much, perhaps most, was contrarian positions propped up by handwaving and selective evidence.

    When he jumped on the Trump bus, it just got sad. He would utter things like “master persuader” as if a con man was someone we should celebrate and look up to and emulate. And his victimology, oh please. You suffered because you bravely spoke your truth? No you suffered because you whitewashed a vile fraud.

    Now he pretends that the election was rigged; I guess that’s rock bottom. No amount of clever or funny will wipe that out.Report

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