I know from past blog posts that many of you are interested in the creative process. So I thought I would take you on a journey as I prepare to write a Dilbert movie script. Today is the first installment of this story. I expect it to take 6-12 months. I'll update you periodically.

Everyone approaches this sort of thing differently, so this is just my process.

Allow me to first give you some background.

I have tried several times in the past to get a Dilbert movie made. On three occasions I have had deals with studios. But in the movie business there is a big difference between having a movie deal and making an actual movie. Probably only 5% of movie ideas make it all the way from deal to screen. And your odds are worse if you don't have a script. In the past I always started without a script. One typical process for movie-making is that first you get a studio deal and that gives you a budget and money to approach writers. The better writers won't even talk to you unless you have a deal first. So you have a chicken-or-egg problem because studios prefer a script in hand before funding, but good writers need guaranteed funding before they will write a script. I hope to solve that problem by writing the script myself.

You might ask why I didn't reach into my Dilbert pockets and just pay a top writer to make a Dilbert movie script before taking it to a studio. To put some numbers on that, I would be paying something like a million dollars for a script against a 5% chance of making a movie and getting something back. That business model only works if you are a studio with dozens of projects in the hopper and you only need a few to pan out. It doesn't make much sense for an individual to fund a 5% chance.

There's also the problem of finding a good writer. That turns out to be nearly impossible. If you KNOW a writer is talented, that person is already committed to writing guaranteed hits for studios. For everyone else, you have incomplete information. Can the writer who did a great job with a kid-themed comedy for Disney write an adult-oriented script for Dilbert? How about the romantic comedy writing genius whose best jokes are sex jokes? Does that translate to a Dilbert script? Can someone who has never worked in an office even write for Dilbert?

Then you have the problem of group writing. Most scripts have multiple authors by the time they hit the screen. And every one of those multiple writers claims the movie as their credit. Which one of them was the "Wally" in the room? There's no way to know.

So I'll write the script myself.

Writing a movie is totally unlike writing a book, comic strip, newspaper article or blog. And that means I have no idea whether I have the right sort of skills to pull it off. This is a big project, and I'll be tackling it without the benefit of experience or demonstrated talent in this specific field.

The special challenge of writing a movie script is the complexity. You have dozens of characters, two hours of action, and all of the subplots have to come together at just the right time. I didn't know how to hold all of that in my head while staring at a blank screen on my computer. What I needed was to live inside the movie, figuratively speaking, the way a pinball sees all of the bumpers and flippers in the pinball machine. I wanted to inhabit the script from the inside.

I needed a movie-writing room.

So step-one in my movie-writing process is setting up my writing room. I ordered lots of self-sticking cork tiles that I will adhere to the walls of this room. As I come up with scene or character ideas I will write them on note cards and stick them to the wall where they belong in the timeline.

Movies are, as you know, overly formulaic. In film lingo there is something called a "beat sheet" that is essentially a guide to when certain events should happen in a movie. For example, in the first few minutes of a movie you always want to have some sort of life-changing event, such as a death or divorce. And by the end of what is called the "third act" your hero has to be in an impossible situation. There are dozens of other little rules of scriptwriting. I won't be following the formula slavishly, but it will help to have the "beats" written on my walls so I am aware of any instance in which I might be violating the formula.

I have most of the story arc written in my mind. But I have to translate that into roughly 120 pages of script and 40-60 scenes. Over time I will put all of my notes on the walls and see where the holes are. I'll also use some color codes to know which characters are popping up the most.

I should tell you that I am not writing an animated movie. What I have in mind is a substantial "reimagining" of Dilbert. It won't be a bunch of actors sitting in cubicles and complaining about work. I'm not writing the sequel to Office Space. If the movie ever gets made it will be a re-launch of Dilbert for a younger generation. And I'm aiming for it to be a big-budget "tent pole" feature, as they say in Hollywood. Tent poles are a studio's big feature films that make all of the money.

I plan to do most of the writing while exercising at my local gym. The elliptical machines are perfect for writing because I can do cardio on them with my eyes closed. My hands are securely on the handle things and my feet are on the foot pedals. For thirty minutes I descend so far into my imagination that I forget I am working out. I see the actors performing the lines as I write them. (Meryl Streep plays Dilbert's mother in my imagination.) After my workout, I'll write down any new scene or dialog ideas on note cards and later stick them on my wall.

Once the wall is mostly filled, and I have "engineered" the movie to hit all of the emotional and logical notes I want, I will take out my laptop and start writing. I won't put a single word to page until I have the entire movie story solved. And it has to make me cry when I think about certain scenes. (Remember, this is a reimagined Dilbert with emotions and action scenes and whatnot.) The crying has been a problem lately because I have been weeping on the elliptical as I imagine scenes playing out. I hope that means I am on the right track.


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book


I have two new strategies for fighting ISIS. As you know, all strategies for fighting ISIS are impractical, expensive, and terrible. I'm just adding two more bad ideas to the mix.

The only strategies on the table at the moment are these:

1.       Seal the borders of the Caliphate and kill every living creature within.

2.       Surrender and convert to Islam.

3.       Kill some but not all ISIS fighters and guarantee permanent war plus an eventual strike on the homeland. (Current plan.)

4.       Wait until ISIS consolidates power and builds better targets to hit, such as permanent army bases and government buildings. This too guarantees permanent war and a strike on the homeland, but maybe with better weapons by then.

5.       Build a "filter fence" and try to relocate all of the innocents before killing everyone who remains.

Not great choices.

Here's another strategy: Declare the Caliphate a weapons testing zone and make it legal for any weapons manufacturer to kill people - innocent or otherwise - within the Caliphate for the purpose of testing and demonstrating their weapons. Let's say the U.S. military in this scenario is mostly involved in defending a few staging areas and handling logistics and enemy spotting. But it would be up to the defense contractors themselves to decide which weapon systems to test on the targets.

This idea is immoral madness, right?

Remember that you are comparing it to ideas we know won't work. This idea has huge warts, but it has some advantages too. For example, the defense contractors control Congress, so we know the plan could be approved in this country.

ISIS' biggest advantage is that they are willing to wage permanent war and wear down any outside invaders. But that probably only applies to invaders that have citizens back home to worry about. The defense industry can test its weapons in the Caliphate indefinitely. They would have a profit motive and no moral or legal obstacles.

Let's assume that the U.S. military has to approve all actions by the defense contractors, and collectively they try to limit collateral damage to innocents. It wouldn't be that much different from the current strategy in terms of who dies within the Caliphate. We might find that he defense contractors are more cautious than the regular military because they are trying to demonstrate the pinpoint precisions of their weapons. Dead civilians are bad for business.

Budget-wise, this could be the most economical plan for permanent war. The defense contractors might even pay for the privilege of using the testing grounds. The goal would be to run the war at breakeven from the taxpayers' perspective.

The media should like this idea because it makes the news far more interesting. War always makes headlines, but if you layer on the futuristic weapons testing angle it becomes irresistible. Keep in mind that most of the so-called news would be in the form of press releases from the defense contractors. You would see stories such as "New laser weapon decapitates ISIS leader at his daughter's wedding. No innocents were hurt."

The biggest advantage of this strategy is the psychology. For starters, it says we plan to keep killing ISIS members until the end of time. That removes their biggest psychological advantage by letting them know they can't wait us out. Second, it recasts the situation from some sort of religious war to a simple business opportunity. That's what we capitalists do. And I have to think it takes some of the fun out of being a jihadist.

In the current model, ISIS fighters probably feel they are Allah's noble warriors fighting for the greater Caliphate. Our goal, over time, is to convince them they are nothing but the practice range for our defense contractors. That wouldn't happen right away. But eventually we want to create the idea that nations can either be part of the world community or, well, target practice for defense contractors. I think human nature will cause people to seek the higher status.

My second idea for dealing with ISIS is even worse: The U.N. could declare any territory captured by ISIS to be the legal territory of Israel. Then just sit back and wait while Israel builds settlements and methodically kills all the bad guys. It might take a few generations.

My thinking is that it would be impossible for the Islamic countries to hate Israel more than they already do, so you lose nothing in terms of public relations. And if any country thought they could get away with attacking Israel, they would have done it by now. But they don't, because every time Israel gets attacked it seems to get larger.

The Muslim countries hate Israel, but Israel is not a direct threat to their rule. ISIS is. Under this strategy, everyone but ISIS comes out ahead. Iraq and Syria were going to lose their territory either way.

Neither of my new ideas is practical, as usual. I only think they are interesting because they highlight how bad the current options are.


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book


I have dubbed the coming decades the Age of Magic because our smartphones and other technology will soon allow us to navigate our environment as if we are wizards. Doors will identify us as we approach and unlock for the right wizards only. Lamps will respond to wizard hand signals from across the room. Cars will drive themselves. You get the picture. In about ten years you won't need to physically touch anything you want to control. Your location and identity will be continuously broadcast from your smartphone, and because of that your environment will respond to your preferences as if by magic.

But here's the interesting thing. People will have different levels of magic based on income. The top 1% will be like super-wizards, able to control their environments with both technology and money. If you are rich, you have access to more services, apps, clubs and businesses. Additional doors literally open for you as you approach. Stores offer you more services and even special sale prices. Self-driving taxis are never far from you because their central brain recognizes you as a frequent user. Or perhaps you paid extra to never wait more than two minutes for your taxi.

I won't bore you with a million examples because I think you get the point. The environment will someday snap to attention when a rich person enters the room but it will ignore anyone who can't afford a smartphone or can't afford the services of businesses that allow you to control them via hand gestures and verbal command. Rich people will someday walk among the public like super-wizards.

Yesterday I was putting gas in my car, and on the sidewalk near me was a young woman with a cardboard sign begging for money to get home to Idaho. This is an unusual sight in Pleasanton California. I asked her what her story was and it sounded legitimate to me. She had hit a bad patch of luck. I asked how much it cost to get to Idaho and she said $200. So I handed her $200 from my old-timey wallet and wished her luck. Maybe she bought heroine with the money, but I like to think she is halfway to Idaho by now and on the way to something better. In either case, she is lucky I needed gas. At least it got her off the street.

My point is that in a few years, instead of reaching into my wallet, I could have gestured toward her like Ironman about to send an energy blast from my palm and said something wizard-like to my smartphone such as "Transferus investmentalius $200!" and the money would have transferred from my bank to her bank. (That is probably a bad example. I doubt she has a bank account.)

I expect that we will start using goofy Latin-sounding commands for our wizarding because normal words occur too often in casual conversation. Today we have "Okay, Google" as one of our first wizard commands. Soon we will have commands such as "lampus illuminati" to turn on the lights.

My point is that if you think the resentment about the top 1% is bad now, imagine how bad it will be when the rich have super-wizard powers and the rest of society does not. In 2014, a top one-percenter can blend in with the crowd. In ten years that might be nearly impossible because the environment will change as rich people enter the space.

I expect to be killed by an angry crowd in Macy's within ten years.


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book


As promised, below are the reader submissions for an improved book cover for my book, How to Fail...

The images are small and fuzzy because my blog software was invented in the sixties. I hope to have that solved soon. But it probably doesn't matter for this purpose because I'm looking for your visceral reaction. Assume the text is the same on all versions.

Do any of the proposed covers look better than my original that appears at the top of the list?

                                                      Lilam at 99designs


Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Author of this book




I call my generation the Shit Sandwich Generation. That's because when I was a kid the most important people in the family were the adults. That was the cultural norm. By the time I became an adult, eager for my time in the sun, society in the United States decided that kids were the top priority.

I can see why the shift happened. Life got complicated, and dangerous, and more competitive, so it was no longer feasible to raise "free range" kids the way my generation was raised. On weekends as a teen I would leave my house in the morning, on my bike, and had no obligation to check in with my parents until dinner at 5 PM. I often say I was raised by television. Like E.T., I watched actors on TV to see how one should act and speak. I was in my twenties before a Princeton-educated friend pointed out that "brang" is not a word.

My entire college preparation in high school was comprised of one meeting with a guidance counselor in which he showed me where the college catalogs were stored, plus one day of SAT testing. The rest I had to figure out on my own.

So my generation is sort of the shit between two slices of awesome bread. We take care of the kids. We take care of the aging parents. And sometimes we take care of the grandparents.

Both of my parents died in the past few years. My grandparents were already long gone. And as fate would have it, last year I got separated, which meant losing my wife and step-kids all at once.

Sounds bad, right?

I got a lot of sympathy last year. Man, was that misplaced.

No one would choose the situation I found myself in, but I recognized it as a rare blank slate. I was free to reinvent my social life in any fashion I liked. And I had resources to do just that.

My wife moved only a block away and we remain best friends. The problem was never our feelings for each other but rather the restrictions of blending two sets of preferences. In 2014, marriage is still the best economic arrangement for raising a family, but in most other senses it is like adding shit mustard to a shit sandwich. If an alien came to earth and wanted to find a way to make two people that love each other change their minds, I think he would make them live in the same house and have to coordinate every minute of their lives.

A hundred years ago, if you and your wife enjoyed square dancing, you had everything in common. There weren't any options to discuss. Those were simple times. But fast-forward to 2014 and every human wants to go a different direction. You want to take spin classes and I want to go golf. You want to do yoga and I want to go to the gun range. Every minute of every day involves one or both partners compromising. This is a first-world problem to be sure, but the effect is to rob you of your sensation of freedom. Members of the shit sandwich generation can go a full week without doing anything they choose to do at the moment they choose to do it. The kids need something right away, your spouse needs something, your boss needs something, and the house needs maintenance, and so on. The Shit Sandwich Generation is like puppets that have strings coming from above, below, and every side.

So there I was a year ago with a blank slate, no strings, and an option to create a life from scratch. It was a rare opportunity. The first principle I established for my engineered life involved recognizing that one person would never be the answer to all of my needs. So I looked at all the things I enjoy doing with other people and sought out the right people for those activities. The result is that no one is ever compromising. I only spend time with people who are doing what they want to do when they want to do it. And wow, does that make things nice.

Another pillar of my engineered life is full disclosure. I try to be honest about what I want from people. That's a bigger deal than it sounds because life is normally full of hidden agendas, especially in the man-woman realm. Going into this experiment I thought my honesty would be off-putting. But it turns out that people prefer the flawed and honest version of me over my more "managed" personality. I did not see that coming.

The third pillar of my experiment is releasing my expectations about others. I try to enjoy people for what they are willing to share, as opposed to resenting people for what I thought they should be doing and aren't. I could write an entire blog post on this topic, but for now let's say that if you have unreasonable expectations of other people they will continually disappoint you. But if you can learn to find joy from whatever people have to offer, life is like a candy store. Most people are givers, but they don't want anyone telling them what to give. Once you accept that reality, life is far more pleasant. Obviously this arrangement doesn't work within marriage because marriage is mostly a bunch of unreasonable expectations you put on each other.

Another thing I didn't see coming is that there are now more single than married people in the United States. That snuck up on me. So loneliness is more of a choice than a necessity in 2014.

I'm still early in my lifestyle experiment, but this past year was the most fun of my entire life. No other year comes close. My ex and my step-kids are still nearby and in my life, so that part is good. And the life I have engineered so far is nothing short of wonderful. If I told you what a typical Tuesday looks like for me these days, you'd cry.

I don't think traditional marriage is going away anytime soon. But it probably isn't a coincidence that there are more single and divorced people than ever. Traditional marriage is the biggest obstacle to happiness in the United States. I give it twenty years before society acknowledges it to be a bad fit for modern times.

In the future I think you will see organized groups of "friends" that share duties to make all of their lives easier. One friend might enjoy raising kids and hate working a traditional job, so that friend stays home and does childcare for several single parents in return for a share of the collective income of the group. That is just an example, but you can see how one might engineer a better system than marriage.

If you disagree with anything I've written today, look around the next time you are on vacation. When you see couples vacationing with friends they usually look happy. When you see a married couple having dinner together - just the two of them for the ten-thousandth time - they both look like they came from a funeral.

Marriage is probably a great solution for 20% of the public. The rest of us need better systems.


Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book

P.S. Apparently someone can be a certified genius. ;-)

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Warning: This blog is written for a rational audience that likes to have fun wrestling with unique or controversial points of view. It is written in a style that can easily be confused as advocacy for one sort of unpleasantness or another. It is not intended to change anyone's beliefs or actions. If you quote from this post or link to it, which you are welcome to do, please take responsibility for whatever happens if you mismatch the audience and the content.

Note to Jezebel, Gawker, and Huffington Post:
When you quote this post out of context be sure to leave out the text that doesn't support your misleading headlines.

Have you seen the horrific video of NFL player Ray Rice knocking his wife, Janay, unconscious in an elevator? It looks as if she slapped him a few times and he responded by knocking her unconscious with one blow. It is hard to watch.

The NFL came under great criticism for not coming down hard enough on Ray Rice for domestic abuse. Allegedly, that decision came before the NFL saw the elevator video. Once the video was released, the Ravens and the NFL had no choice - from a business perspective - but to suspend Rice.

Everyone seems to be on the same side of this issue now. When a 200-pound athlete knocks out a smaller woman, it doesn't matter if she started the fight. Rice's response was out of line with the threat. It wasn't likely that his wife's slaps were going to injure him physically.

There is one person who disagrees with the popular view: Ray Rice's wife. According to Janay's Instagram account she supports her husband and disagrees with the suspension for an event that both she and Ray had referred to as "mutual combat."

Now society has an interesting dilemma. On one hand, domestic abuse is such a huge problem that there really is no option but to come down hard on the perpetrators. And since it is common for spouses to stay in abusive marriages, society feels an obligation to protect people even when they don't ask for it, on the belief that they should ask for it, or they would if they could.

In this case, the media, the public, and the NFL have decided that their collective opinions about this matter are more important than the opinion of the victim. Or to put it another way, we have as a society infantilized Janay and judged her preferences to be misplaced or relatively unimportant.

And so the NFL has decided to follow Ray's example and punch his wife, figuratively speaking, by minimizing her wishes and ruining the career and reputation of the Rice family over this matter.

Or have they?

The other possibility is that Janay is a typical abused spouse that needs to leave her husband for safety reasons but is afraid to do so or doesn't know how. You can't rule out that possibility. Only the Rice's know what happens at home.

If society and the NFL follow the wishes of Janay Rice it will be bad for the business of football and it will set an extraordinarily bad example for future domestic violence cases. You wouldn't want future domestic abusers to think they can get away with their crimes by scaring their spouses to stay quiet. There has to be a credible threat from society that is independent from whether or not a spouse cooperates.

We are all working with incomplete information because we don't know much about what happened the night of the "mutual combat." One plausible explanation is that Janay started the slapping and realized too late that football players are trained from youth to slap away oncoming tacklers and blockers. And I don't think football players are trained to use restraint. None of this excuses Ray, but if Janay believes she has a share of the responsibility, and this was a one-off event - which she would presumably know - then the media and the NFL are making her a victim a second time.

So how do you form an opinion in the face of incomplete information? From our vantage point we can't know whether or not Janay is a classic abused spouse and needs all the outside help she can get. We also don't know if she is an intelligent adult who knows what she wants from her life and accepts her share of the responsibility for starting the elevator fight. If society makes the wrong assumptions, we risk double-victimizing Janay by ruining her married life. Or perhaps worse, we risk being seen as tolerating domestic abuse and by doing so we make it worse. There is a big risk if we get this wrong.

In the context of incomplete information, which way would you go? Should we perpetuate sexism by minimizing Janay's preferences, or should we be seen as tolerating domestic abuse, thus worsening it?

Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book



Most sports were invented years ago. But much has changed since then. Equipment technology has improved. We have far more knowledge of health risks. Our attention spans have shrunk, and our options for leisure activities have increased. If you were to invent the rules of sports today, from a blank slate, you would do a lot of things differently.

For example, when tennis was invented, serving was just a way to start the rally. One player bunted the ball into the service box and it was on.

Fast-forward to 2014.

Now the pros are 6'8", their rackets and strings are made from exotic materials, and they are trained to serve at 140 miles per hour. As you might imagine, that creates a lot of double-faults and aces. Both are boring.

To fix tennis, eliminate the serve. That is already happening where I live. A group of folks in my town already play without the serve. Under the no-serve rules either player can start the rally and the point is live on the third hit. You play to 21, win by two, so no more funky tennis scoring with the 15-30-40 ridiculousness. This version of tennis is about twice as fun as playing serve-and-miss while wishing you were getting some exercise.

In 2014 we know a lot about the dangers of concussions. Football wouldn't be allowed as a youth sport if it were invented today. Soccer players wouldn't be allowed to head the ball for the same reason. So let's get rid of football entirely, at least for kids, and make it a penalty to head a soccer ball.

Speaking of soccer, if we invented that game today the goals would be 50% wider to create more scoring and there would be TV timeouts built into the game design so the major networks could more easily monetize with commercials. And the off-side rule has to go; that is just boring. And while we are at it, let's put up a glass wall around the field so the ball stays in play.

Baseball could be interesting if it were slow-pitch and any ball hit out of the park were ruled an out. I might add another player to the outfield, but the idea is to have lots of hits and lots of defense. In the age of smartphones, no one has the patience to watch nine guys standing around in the grass wondering when something might happen.

Volleyball has one of the most ridiculous rules in sports. The players need to rotate positions after every point. The well-coached teams do a quick, synchronized rotation as soon as the serve is hit to get into the positions they prefer instead of the positions the game rules require. Let's just lose the player rotation rule.

Golf also needs to be fixed. The main problem is that 18 holes is far too much time commitment and 9 holes seem too little. I hear that 12-hole courses are being built for exactly that reason. That makes sense in 2014.

Another thing that golf needs to lose is the annoying foursome behind you that makes you feel rushed and guilty. I don't know how to fix that in an economically way, but it sure would improve the game if someone did.

Do you have any other sports you would like to fix?

Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Author of this book




Warning: This blog is written for a rational audience that likes to have fun wrestling with unique or controversial points of view. It is written in a style that can easily be confused as advocacy for one sort of unpleasantness or another. It is not intended to change anyone's beliefs or actions. If you quote from this post or link to it, which you are welcome to do, please take responsibility for whatever happens if you mismatch the audience and the content.

Note to Jezebel, Gawker, and Huffington Post:
When you quote this post out of context be sure to leave out the text that doesn't support your misleading headlines.


I don't believe in equal rights for women; women should have a few extra rights compared to men because women take on the greater responsibility for reproduction. For example, I don't think men should have a vote when it comes to the question of abortion. I would prefer a world in which women work out the abortion issue and just let the men know how it turned out.

When any group of people takes on extra responsibility, society is often willing to grant those folks some extra rights. That's why a military drone pilot is legally allowed to take the life of an innocent child that happens to be in the same car as a terrorist. That's why a police car can exceed the speed limit on the way to a crime in progress but you and I need to come to a full stop at the stop sign.

So in my view, feminists are too conservative. They should be asking for superior rights, not equal rights. I think everyone reading this blog agrees with the feminist goals of, for example, equal pay for equal work, and the idea that women should be able to walk down the street without feeling threatened. Off hand, I can't think of any feminist goal that is unreasonable. There are real questions on how one measures pay gaps and whatnot, and how one approaches a particular problem, but those are details. Feminists have done a great service for humanity by aggressively improving the situation for women. I'm a fan of their work.

My only objection to feminism is that in order for any group to be politically effective it needs to promote a worldview in which there are two kinds of people: Assholes and victims. Nuance doesn't work for politics. Political change needs good and evil and no gray area in the middle. So in the feminist political battle, men are automatically included in the asshole category no matter their personal situation. I don't think that is a conscious decision. It just works out that way.

Consider the issue of men yelling sexual remarks at women on public sidewalks. That situation is usually presented as a problem of men behaving badly to women. For political reasons, you need that grouping because it makes the problem seem extra bad.

But if you start adding context, the men-versus-women worldview starts to break down.

For starters, I don't know any men who make creepy sexual remarks about women in public. Clearly such men exist. But if we are being objective, those men generally exist in the lower rungs of society's power ladder. It isn't the corporate lawyer doing the wolf whistles. It is usually the under-educated laborer who doesn't have an indoor job, or any job. The female victims in this scenario are, more often than not, among the more attractive humans on earth. Those are the ones that are (usually) attracting the most attention. And in our world, attractiveness is power.

In modern society, power comes from three sources: education, money, and attractiveness. People who have all three are at the top of the power pyramid. People who have any two of the three are next, and the people who have only one are the next level down. The unfortunate people who have no money, attractiveness, or education are at the bottom. So when a construction worker hassles an attractive woman on the street, it is often a case of a less powerful person bothering a more powerful person. You lose that nuance when you represent the situation as a men-versus-women problem. The reality is that the bad behavior is (mostly) limited to a small group of relatively powerless men. I would guess that less than 1% of men would be in that obnoxious category.

Bad behavior on the sidewalk is of course very different from the problem of sexism in the board room. In the workplace, the folks with the power are too-often abusing it. But here again the man-versus-woman view of the world can be misleading. The reality is that power corrupts people no matter the design of their genitalia. In situations in which women have power, such as in the typical suburban family, wives are often horrible to their husbands and freely admit it. So the problem is not so much about gender as it is about power corrupting people of all types.

My point in all of this is that feminism is sexist by design. It has to be that way to be politically effective. You need a big, bad enemy because without it you can't generate the kind of change you need. I don't disagree with the strategy because it works, and historically it was in the service of a good cause.

But the long term risk with any good cause is that it can accidentally evolve into the evil it was designed to thwart. I think we are at or near that turning point with feminism. The majority of men in America are already totally onboard with the basic tenets of feminism. When men disagree about the best way to measure pay gaps, or the best system for improvement, we are talking tactics, not goals. As a man, I find it sexist and objectionable to be lumped into the asshole category because of my DNA, especially when I am on the same side as the people calling me an asshole.

In my youth, when old-time feminists were fighting for equal rights I remember thinking they were brave citizens on the correct side of history. In 2014, much of what passes as feminism sounds to my ears like "men are assholes." The more nuanced reality is that people who either have too much power or too little power can be awful humans regardless of gender. And the people in the middle aren't much better.

Feminism has evolved from an entirely good movement to one that is half good and half sexism. I think feminism accomplished 80% of what it wanted with the old worldview of men-versus-women. To get the last 20% you need a different approach. I don't know what that better approach might be, but I hope it doesn't include labeling allies as assholes.

Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Author of this book

P.S. The best way to know you missed the point of my post is that you find yourself leaving a comment arguing with my generalities, as in "Unattractive people get hassled on the street too!"

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Here's the easiest diet plan of all time: Eat as much healthy protein as you can.

That's the entire plan.

Okay, your brain just came up with several reasons why this plan is dumb and incomplete. Allow me to anticipate those objections and address them.

What about variety? You need a diet with lots of variety, not just protein. Wouldn't a focus on protein make you lose out on the variety you need?

In theory, that sounds like a problem. In practice, no one can eat the same thing day after day and feel satisfied. In my case, pursuing protein and preferring variety led me to get a blender so I could eat protein smoothies for some meals. And what do you put in smoothies to make them taste so good? Fruit and veggies.

My point is that your natural impulse for variety will lead you toward new ways to get your protein, and many of those methods will deliver variety in fruits and veggies at the same time.

You can generally gorge on fruits and veggies as much as you want without worrying about weight gain. In theory you could overeat and become fat from fruits and veggies. In practice, healthy food is almost always self-regulating in the sense that you don't crave an overdose of broccoli. You can eat as much as you want of those foods because you probably won't want enough to make you gain weight.

The beauty of protein is that it has three important properties: It suppresses appetite, it doesn't make you sleepy the way simple carbs do, and it helps build muscles that will burn more calories naturally.

Our brains are wired in such a way that it is always easier to run toward something attractive than to resist something attractive. So instead of resisting carbs, you run toward protein, which can also be delicious. There is no need for willpower when you can eat as much as you want of anything in the healthy protein category.

Simple carbs create a physical addiction. You crave your junk food and you might believe your craving is some sort of natural urge baked into your unlucky DNA. But in my experience, and in the experience of people I know, once you kick the bad carbs habit you lose the cravings in a few months. You don't need willpower to resist something you don't want.

Eating poorly is addictive. But it turns out that eating healthy can be equally addictive. It took me years to get there, but at this point junk food literally looks like poison to me. I couldn't be less interested. For me, no willpower is needed because my body is now conditioned for healthy eating.

There are lots of problems and risks with the "eat as much healthy protein as you can" diet plan. If you randomly picked ten people to try the plan, at least three of them would eat charred meat for every meal and die of cancer. But I think you have to compare my plan to all other diet plans - the ones that fail nine-out-of-ten times in the long run.

Dieting is a psychological process. Most diet plans get that wrong, focusing on portion size while relying mostly on willpower for success. My plan turns that around by removing all willpower from the equation. If you feel hungry, run toward healthy protein (some peanuts, a nice steak, a protein shake) and never feel deprived. It might take a few weeks to lose your carb addiction, but during that time you will be eating as much as you want.

Once your body is conditioned to prefer a healthy diet, it becomes almost automatic after that.

There is a lot for you to disagree with in this diet plan. So let me boil it down to one central point to focus the discussion: Your brain is wired in such a way that it is always easier to run toward something attractive than to resist something attractive. If your diet plan gets that wrong, you will fail. So, aggressively run toward good food (protein, fruit, and veggies) and the rest will happen automatically. No willpower needed.

In simpler terms, if your diet makes you hungry or makes you feel deprived in any way, you are doing it wrong. If you run toward healthy food, especially protein, you can crowd the bad stuff out of your life without even realizing you did it.

Again, I remind you not to take health advice from cartoonists. I have no idea if this plan will kill you or turn you into Hercules. But it kind of makes sense, right?

And yes, I have heard of the Atkins Diet. The Atkins diet is about "restricting carbs." That works against the way your brain is wired. My plan is about running toward protein, not away from carbs. You might say that works out the same, but you would be ignoring the psychology of it, and the psychology is hard part.

Scott Adams
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book



Warning: This blog is written for a rational audience that likes to have fun wrestling with unique or controversial points of view. It is written in a style that can easily be confused as advocacy for one sort of unpleasantness or another. It is not intended to change anyone's beliefs or actions. If you quote from this post or link to it, which you are welcome to do, please take responsibility for whatever happens if you mismatch the audience and the content.


ISIS is an interesting situation, in a terrible way, because on the surface there is no solution. Here's what the U.S. military is thinking:

We can't use a nuclear weapon for all the obvious reasons.

We can't invade and stay long enough for a permanent solution.

We can't use precision attacks because the bad guys hide.

We can't bomb stuff and walk away.

We can't attack with an army and get a meaningful surrender.

And...you can't ignore the situation because ISIS has announced that it plans to come after us. And in this regard they are credible.

Are there any options that I left out?

In my novel The Religion War, the sequel to God's Debris, I imagined an ISIS-like group forming a caliphate and using drone technology to strike targets around the world. That future is fast approaching; the news says ISIS is already using drones in the battlefield and they have vowed to attack foreign targets. In the book, the governments of the world were in exactly the no-win situation we have now. So what did they do?

In The Religion War, the first step involved shutting down all communication going into or out of the Caliphate. The border was surrounded and sealed. All cell phones were disabled. All news crews were expelled. In order for phase two of the plan to work, the rest of the world needed to be kept in the dark. That's because phase two involved methodically killing every man, woman, and child in the caliphate.

I don't recommend that plan. But if we are being serious adults, you have to put it on the table. The world is nowhere near the point where such a thing could be seriously considered, but we are heading toward that point quickly and I haven't heard a better plan.

So allow me to suggest a new idea. I call it the Filter Fence.

Instead of finding and killing the bad guys among the innocent population, the invading army first conquers and controls a sparsely populated part of the caliphate that also has good natural resources. Within those protected borders the allied governments of the world would build homes, schools, utilities and all the good stuff. It would be like a little civilized paradise on the border of the evil caliphate. And let's say it is governed by one of the friendlier Islamic countries at least temporarily.

The next step involves attracting civilians to move to the protected area. You could get some folks to come voluntarily to escape ISIS. But ISIS would try to keep as many human shields as possible. Instead of fighting ISIS militarily, you gradually drain away their civilian cover. Every time our military captures some new ISIS territory it would depopulate it and move the innocents to the protected territory. It wouldn't take long before most of ISIS' resources are dedicated to keeping their civilians from scrambling to the protected territories.

At some point, and it might take ten years, the military would announce plans to kill everything left living in the caliphate. And it could do that just by sealing the borders and destroying the food supply. You wouldn't need to fire a bullet.

This plan is horrific, obviously. Lots of civilians would die trying to escape ISIS and many more would die while staying to support them. All I am suggesting is that if we want a better outcome someone needs to come up with a better plan. If you only have one option, you have to take it. And as far as I can tell the only other option is to someday surrender and join the caliphate after they get their nuclear weapons.

If you don't like that plan, here is another.

Suppose we just step back and let ISIS form its caliphate and consolidate power. The irony of a guerrilla army is that once it succeeds in its conquest it has to become something more like a standing army to maintain control. And as Saddam Hussein learned the hard way, it sucks to have an army that is nothing but target practice for the better army. This plan assumes that the worst fate for ISIS involves achieving their near term goals. The moment they become a standing government with government buildings and organized armies with barracks you have excellent targets. ISIS as currently formed would never surrender. But a government formed by ISIS, and infected by bureaucrats until it softened, could be capable of surrender. In other words, you let ISIS win its current battles because doing so makes them an easier target. It is easier to find and kill an elephant in the forest than an ant.

Those are the two plans I can imagine. Do you have one to add?


Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Author of this book



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