The Bush Administration’s Skill with Bullets
One of the core competencies of the Bush Administration, a competency first noted in this journal two years ago, is finally becoming generally recognized: their skill with bullets. This is not in reference to the .222 rounds of the M16 or the .762 employed by the M60 machine gun, but 12 point bold bullets launched from PowerPoint. This is not to dismiss the Administration’s enthusiasm for metal-jacketed lead as a tool for foreign policy; it merely recognizes that Karl and company aren’t “one trick ponies.” You have to give them a certain amount of credit for recognizing that they can’t achieve domestic (as opposed to foreign policy) goals by spraying the “traditional” form of bullet. Not that they probably haven’t fantasized about it; however, they’ve resisted the impulse so far, an act of uncharacteristic restraint that we must applaud for as long as it lasts! Given their gusto for launching bullets, is it any surprise that they’ve seized on the PowerPoint variety as a primary tool for achieving domestic ends? Their skill with this tool can’t be denied. This skill is immediately apparent to expert users like this journalist, who honed his mastery over a decade as a management consultant. If the connection isn’t immediately apparent, let me hasten to explain that thorough familiarity with PowerPoint is in fact the one essential skill required of a consultant. Like Bush’s political handlers, the consultant needs complete mastery of all of PowerPoint’s advanced presentation options. The recent PowerPoint backdrop, “Plan for Victory,” displayed behind Bush at his recent speech at the Naval Academy, is an excellent case in point. (OK, they don’t use bullets in speech backdrops, but don’t forget Colin Powell’s speech to the UN as the premier example in all of history of using PowerPoint bullets to justify bullets of the hole-making variety!) In “Plan for Victory,” Bush’s advance team (certainly with the personal review of Karl Rove) skillfully employed all of the available advanced features for PowerPoint’s key “fill,” “line,” and “font” graphic components. For example, “fill effects” features enable a pleasing 3-D look to what would otherwise be flat and boring space. Not to mention the very nice use of font shadowing to create a slogan hover effect. I particularly admired their use of the Naval Academy’s insignia in the background, to add additional “gravitas.” While I’m fond of my own Alma Mater’s insignia, I have to grant that the squids did employ a competent designer for the graphic they use on their cufflinks. (I actually still have a pair of those cufflinks, acquired when I stayed in Bartlett Hall during my Cadet exchange visit to Annapolis. “Exchange” is the right word, since I got the Canoe U cufflinks by trading in my Duty Honor Country cufflinks for Ex Scientia Tridens – From Knowledge, Seapower.) With the Bush Administration under fire for incompetence, we think it’s only fair that skills they do demonstrate, specifically their ingenuity in throwing up simplistic slogans with artistic attention to detail, be fully appreciated. Indeed, future generations will likely count their pervasive mastery of PowerPoint as a major school of art, right up there with Stalin’s Socialist Realism.
12.10.05 @ 07:42 PM EDT [link]