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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Speaking truth to PowerPoint
Over at Open University, Eric Rauchway wonders whether Microsoft PowerPoint is "like a handgun -- has its place, but should be kept out of the hands of children and the intemperate? Or is it inherently bad?" Apparently those are, to him, the only alternatives.
I hadn't been aware that there was a committed anti-PPT contingent out there, but I guess I'm not surprised. (Is there an anti-Word contingent? Count me in. Great Louis Menand line: "It's time to speak a little truth to power: Microsoft Word is a terrible program.")
Rauchway poses different theories of The Problem with PowerPoint, but seems to suggest the rub is "presentation software creeping into areas of discourse where it doesn't belong (like, e.g., war planning)." As a PowerPoint spoof Matt Yglesias links to illustrates, PowerPoint has a way of flattening and misrepresenting an issue by boiling it down to nothing.