Saturday, July 08, 2006

PowerPoint Clip Art

Well, I've gone and done it. Once again, through no fault but my own I've invited a lot of bullshit into my existence. It's these powerpoints. "Sure," I thought, "I'll go to business school. I'll learn 'business' and then I'll make lots of money! I can't lose!" Turns out that a major component of 'business' is making, listening to, and occasionally giving powerpoint presentations.

And I guess I can't complain, this is what I signed up for after all. But it is worth pointing out: nobody likes making powerpoints, actually sitting there at the computer and assembling slides. No one likes presenting powerpoints. And this last one I can guarantee most of all: no one likes listening to them.

I mean, what are we listening to? Sales? A revenue report? A forecast? Some kind of motivational thing? Who gives a SHIT? There's only a handful of people who really need to look at that revenue data: just send them the numbers privately and spare me. To the extent I need to know any of it, put it in a shared folder that I can double-click. That's it. I mean jeez, I check the stock price, what more do you want?

Is it about fostering community and teamwork? A powerpoint can't do it! It's counterproductive! There's only one way to foster cross-departmental teamwork and morale, and it's called hot catered food. If I'm standing in a group, holding a black plastic plate piled high with ziti, then, and only then, will morale be built.

So you have these powerpoints, which are black holes of boredom - these sleep inducing yammerfests where the only excitement is wondering how the next bullet point will arrive: will it fly in from the left or will it be a diagonal wipe? Maybe a dissolve? You're sitting there, mind quickly numbing, and then you get the insult. The slap in the face. It's these idiotic clip-art people who exist in some sublime state of business-world bliss. I've sat through so many powerpoints now, in school and on the job that I've become fairly familiar with the whole stable of Microsoft PowerPoint clip art people.

The clip art people annoy me in two, unrelated ways. First, it's their boundless good humor and can-do attitude. And second, it's because they don't have any hands or feet. Here's an example:

One of my most deep seated fears has always been becoming an amputee. Losing my hands or feet is something I have nightmares about. So how do you think it makes me feel to watch these slides with these faceless yet happy can-do go-getters in the background who don't seem to mind that their limbs all terminate in these little wispy stubs? It freaks me the hell out, that's how.

There's also a second class of powerpoint business guy, who's not as bad. He's the big, buff silhouette guy with a small head. He works hard, he thinks big, and clearly he takes care of himself in his personal time.

Although what do you think of this one:

The small headed buff guy is on the go. He's moving. He's busy. But he also has one freakishly large hand and apparantly is enjoying a game of earthketball. There are so many questions here. Historically, how has evolution treated species with a 15-to-1 hand to head size ratio? If he's going to do that to the earth, shouldn't he set down his briefcase? Why the treasure map style dotted line and arrow at the bottom?

Was this clip-art picture born out of real need? Did someone write to Microsoft and demand some new clip that perfectly fit the mood and subject of the presentation? And this is what they got?

Because don't kid yourselves. Some of the clip art gets pretty damn wacky. Come with me and enter the twilight zone of the clip art people.

Yes, don't be afraid. Fly away with me into the bizarro world where hands and feet are unwelcome distractions, where ties that dangle way below the beltline are welcome, where you will be able to interact with enormous dollar bills - big, flexible dollar bills with high tensile strength. Come with meeeeeeeee...

We have arrived. This is what we think of feet here. Big. Clunky. Useless. Aren't you better off without them?

We have few laws here, but when they are disobeyed, punishment is severe. (psst, don't tell him he can slip the shackle off his stump!)

Le Petite Prahnce?

This powerpoint guy keeps having the same dream. What could it mean?

This may look unusual, but powerpoint guys have almost unlimited asshole-elasticity. Nothing to be alarmed at.


Anonymous said...

This is terrifying; enough to keep me in academia.


Matt Vella said...

I've been missing out on an entire world of clip art. And yet now I fear it as much as I am curious.