PowerPoint and the Decline of Western Civilisation

Slacktivist looks at the sort of organisations making use of Microsoft’s Powerpoint, from bat-crazy heretical fundamentalist churches to corporations run by the pointy-haired boss out of Dilbert.

In evangelical churches, Bill Gates’ computerized Colorforms has supplanted the flip chart and the overhead projector (as well as, disastrously, the hymnal).

The slide here is taken from a PowerPoint presentation from the site Last Days Mystery. It covers the very same territory Bruce’s presentation does, the “seven seals” of judgment from Revelation 6, except it uses spiffy bullet-point lists. You can find lots of similar PowerPoint presentations on other “Bible prophecy” Web sites.

This is the ideal technology for this task because, as Edward Miller notes, “PowerPoint … can give the illusion of coherence and content when there really isn’t very much coherence or content.” This is, for many PowerPoint enthusiasts, a feature, not a bug. The illusion of coherence and content is precisely why PP is the preferred technology in corporate America and among Bible prophecy “experts” (and why it was used almost exclusively in Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon).

At some point in the far, far future, historians will recognise the release of Power Point as the point where Western Civilisation went into terminal irreversible decline.

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3 Responses to PowerPoint and the Decline of Western Civilisation

  1. Serdar says:

    It’s just a tool, man. It can either be used badly, to bludgeon someone into submission — or used well, to knife right through their brain and burst out the other side.

  2. J Parr says:

    I can’t remember who the quote is attributed to but it went:

    “America is the only country in the world to have gone from barbarism to decadence without going through a period of civilisation in between.”

    Unfair but apt. How times have changed though. I worked for Unisys back in the late 80′s and went on a presentation skills course run by one of the Americans. She told us it was bad form to change an OHP slide while it was being projected so we were all presented with a polished piece of aluminium (complete with compay logo) that was designed to be hung from the mirror/lens part of the OHP and that you flipped up and down to hide the image while you changed slides.

    Mind you, the upside of low tech presentations is that because of the work involved in making them, they tend to be much more concise and to the point.

  3. ard sloc says:

    Brilliant! But Serdar says it all succinctly – if bludgeoing includes bludgeoning by boredom