A week after posting — and subsequently deleting — a blog post about “men’s rights,” Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams continues to be criticized for comparing society’s treatment of women to the coddling of children and mentally handicapped persons, while lamenting the unfair treatment of men. In his lengthy post (which you can read here), Adams writes:
“The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.”
Adams took down his original post after people began to object, but he defended himself on the Feministe blog, which he claimed had distorted his meaning. “Is this an entire website dedicated to poor reading comprehension?” he wrote, before concluding. “You can see that the comments about the piece were little more than name-calling. When confronted with that sort of reaction, would it be wiser to treat the name-callers as you might treat respected professors with opinions worthy of consideration, or should you treat the name-callers as you would angry children, by not debating and not taking it personally? You’re angry, but I’ll bet every one of you agrees with me.”
On Sunday, in a post titled, “I’m a What?” Adams reinstated his original post as the backlash refused to subside. “I didn’t take down the piece just because I thought doing so would be funny, or because I wanted attention,” Adams blogged, expressing some delight in the furor he had ignited. “Those were bonuses. The main reason is that when a lot of drive-by readers saw the piece, and they didn’t know the context of this blog, it changed the message of the post to something unintended. As a writer, unintended messages are unbearable.”
Adams insists that his post was some sort of forensic exercise that his loyal readers — he presents them as some sort of über-rational Dilbert nation — understand, but he did eventually offer an apology. “To the best of my knowledge, no one who understood the original post and its context was offended by it. But to the women who were offended by their own or someone else’s interpretation of what I wrote, I apologize,” we wrote, before signing off. “Thank you for making my week so interesting.”
Are you buying this, PopWatchers? What do you make of his original post? I assumed he was half-joking throughout because — well, because a lot of it was straight-up cuckoo. Are you still a Dilbert fan?