death by powerpoint

Powerpoint is driving the Army nuts.

A funny article in the NY Times about the US military, and how everything they plan or do is being reduced to Powerpoint slides.  The reducto absurdum of war.

Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The article includes some quotes which are fast becoming famous, including this wonderful thing:

“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control.
Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

– Brig General McMaster

Yes, he was referring to Powerpoint when he said, "it's dangerous."

Also via this article, we can all have our very own copies of this amazing Powerpoint slide, a real Army document which illustrates just what they're up to over there. Go ahead and click that link. It's been rendered for posterity as a humble jpg file. I wish George Orwell was alive to see it. He might say, "Sonofabeach, I hadn't imagined this in my wildest dreams."

Poor Microsoft gets blamed for everything. It's another example of how the method has become synonymous with the process. Just like to google something replaced searching for it. Not everybody uses Google, but we all say, "I'll Google that."

Hey, maybe they should try Google Docs. It has a nice lightweight alternative to Powerpoint. And with a satellite internet uplink, they could work on their presentations from anywhere in the field of operations. … Or maybe they wouldn't like that much. This motto might be stenciled on a tank:

No Powerpoint, No Peace

Advertisements