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The Powerpoint Presentation Has No Clothes

Why I am not surprised that it took a military man to point this out?  I can only hope we all take our cue from them and listen . . .

"PowerPoint makes us stupid," Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat.

Notable exceptions to the contrary notwithstanding . . . you all know, in your bones, that there is more truth than its opposite in this! 
Categories > Technology

Discussions - 4 Comments

In this case "military intelligence" doesn't live down to its joke, but up to its true meaning--at least in terms of syntax. That is to say, the military (or at least several generals) are speaking intelligently on this issue, albeit a little too bluntly.

I love it. "PowerPoint makes us stupid." I've been saying this for years!

Power corrupts. And Powerpoint corrupts absolutely.

When I taught as a visiting civilian prof at the Air Force Academy, a retired three-star general told me that one thing I should learn while I was there was how to use powerpoint. Everyone uses it, he assured me. Somehow I'm reminded of a New Yorker cartoon featuring a highly decorated general at a cocktail party, who gravely informs a lady, "We believe our most powerful weapon is the mind."

Jim Mattis was my student when he was a major and he and HR are both friends of mine. I was at the conference in Chapel Hill when Jim made the PowerPoint comment. In my presentation the next day, I related "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say. Then-Brigadier General Mattis commanded Task Force 58, the Marine unit that went into Afghanistan after 9/11. As Jim said to students here at the Naval War College, it was very cold in Khandahar. Once a day, he recieved PowerPoint slides from higher command. When they were "hot off of the press" so to speak, he was able to sit on them to keep warm for at least a little while. See how adaptive a Marine can be!

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