Declaring war on Powerpoint?

This topic was created by Mycho .

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Declaring war on Powerpoint?

We've all heard how Trump's pick for Defense Secretary, General Jim Mattis, is a critic of waterboarding, but it seems he also has it in for another form of torture popular in the US armed forces, Powerpoint.

The New York Times quoted him in 2010 as saying that "PowerPoint makes us stupid." - they also quoted a platoon leader in Iraq saying he spent most of his day making Powerpoint presentations.

In the end I know very little about Mattis. He has two nicknames, the press prefers "Mad Dog", he prefers "The Warrior Monk" - I think I agree with him there. He says waterboarding is less effective than non-torture methods of interrogation, I can get behind that. He says Powerpoint needs to die.

I guess that as a sane man they'll block his appointment, right?

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Re: Declaring war on Powerpoint?

A stopped clock is right twice per day ...

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Re: Declaring war on Powerpoint?

So in this analogy, is he the stopped clock or is he one of Trump's two right choices?

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From the linked article: "It seems that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, a voracious reader like Jim Mattis, understands that cogent reading and writing improves thinking, which in turn yields better strategies."

This. Although I'm all for visualising data - my background is in civil engineering, and we draw plans of stuff for very good reasons - you have to have a clear idea what the end result of whatever you are planning to do should be and how to get there. It's all about the thinking, and writing can improve thinking a lot. Which is where language enters into it. Used and maintained properly it's a very powerful tool.

As an aside, IMO that's the real point of Orwell's 1984. The surveillance stuff is essential, no doubt, but also at its core it is essentially trivial. It's got to be there for the system to work, but it doesn't matter by which means it gets done. Shaping the way people are able to think by manipulating the language they use is something else, and much, much more powerful. If you feel that something is wrong but lack the words to formulate it, you are unable to voice any dissent.

Which is why, for example, a stupid, trivial pop song (or a good novel or a play etc etc) can move you deeply - because it formulates exactly what you vaguely feel. Which is also why autocratic regimes try to control the arts very strictly.

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Powerpoint torture

Both Torture and Powerpoint have limited usefulness, the former however tends to create enemies out of all those it is inflicted on - wether enemies to begin with or not. The latter just bores the stuffing out of people unless kept both short and infrequent.

No one dies during a powerpoint presentation though you may wish to, so it can be a little like a minor torture don't you think?

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