First World Problems: the PowerPoint Slideslow

sad walrus is embarrassed for you

sad walrus is embarrassed for you

Of COURSE it’s a Powerpoint.

PowerPoint, which can be found on two hundred and fifty million computers around the world, is software you impose on other people. It allows you to arrange text and graphics in a series of pages, which you can project, slide by slide, from a laptop computer onto a screen, or print as a booklet (as Sarah Wyndham did). The usual metaphor for everyday software is the tool, but that doesn’t seem to be right here. PowerPoint is more like a suit of clothes, or a car, or plastic surgery. You take it out with you. You are judged by it—you insist on being judged by it. It is by definition a social instrument, turning middle managers into bullet-point dandies.


I am proud to say that I have stuck firmly to my Never Learning Powerpoint policy and am instead learning Prezi. I think Malcolm Gladwell would be disappointed and Marshall McLuhan would be proud, and that’s enough for me.

Speaking of First World Problems!

6 thoughts on “First World Problems: the PowerPoint Slideslow

  1. Shades of Louis C.K. To take all the humor out of that Powerpoint (indeed, what is funny about Powerpoint?) with over-analysis, it’s interesting how so many of these “problems” orbit around technology. There may be a deeper wisdom here, one involving unplugging if one can (this said in a comment on a blog, I realize…) to manage the “problem”.

    As a historian (and a pedant) I find it fascinating that the terms “first” and “third” world have remained solvent in spite of the complete implosion of the “second” world. I suppose there’s an analogy here to people throwing around Marxist terminology in a world whose “synthesis” will never come…

  2. Well, I wouldn’t rule ANYTHING out politically at this point. Never mind the Second World: everyone in the US will tell you they’re middle class, even though the real middle class is more endangered than the dodo.

  3. I’ve interpreted the use of 1st, 2nd & 3rd worlds to be decidedly non-geographic or geo-political, and more socio-economic.

    In such a definition, anyone who is decidedly comfortable (those people earning over ≥$250k/yr) are essentially the only 1st world citizens. 2nd world people are those who find themselves locked within huge bureaucracies, corporate, government, “non-profit” or some unholy amalgam of the three. A synonym that might be appropriate is Meat Robot. It’s far cheaper to turn human beings into machines than it is to design machines to do the hopelessly boring, repetitive tasks that humans CAN do, but generally lose their souls if they do those things for long.

    The final category, 3rd world, is the appellate earned by those poor, working and non-working, who can barely subsist on what leavings the system can’t quite right-size.

  4. I wish I could remember the term Nancy White uses for so-called Third World nations. The Wikipedia suggestion “Majority World” isn’t satisfactory.

    Actually, I like the option you’re talking about here. And I’d say $100k a year would qualify as First World.

  5. Very good presentation – however you made it – by the way, I hate to tell you it looks JUST like a Powerpoint presentation…… just sayin’ ……………

    I was going to to suggest a slide about forgetting to buy the weekend supply of cocaine or something, but it is probably not appropriate. :D

  6. I didn’t make it, that’s why I could use it! I was just rambling around Slideshare and found it. And nowadays, who can afford drugs? I’m getting high off sniffing my commenters on G+.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.