The power of pie
I've got nothing against pies, but everything against PowerPoint. Against a program which is killing off thought and ruining the art of speaking.
Of course, PowerPoint isn't solely responsible. After all, any medium can only be as clever as the people who use it. It's not its fault that everything the speaker says is senselessly duplicated on the screen. It isn't culpable for the pie charts, which turn every intelligent discussion into an inane presentation. It isn't responsible for the waning levels of attentiveness as the presenter switches back and forth between the speech and the wedges of pie.
But it is. By its very formality, PowerPoint completes the dominance of the economic world view. However complex the reality, PowerPoint serves it up in simple wedges. Reduces every quality to tables and statistics. Art is judged by the grants awarded to the arts. The latest film about Stalingrad is subjected for the very first time to an objective analysis of the number of extras and the amount of explosives employed. That's the trick of these numerical images and pictograms: they awaken a sense of trustworthy objectivity, because they set out the world in a series of quantifiable templates, which seem no longer to be bound by perspectives, and which, as a consequence, lend the world a seemingly tangible manageability.
And then they snatch that world from our hands. PowerPoint saves us the discussions and replaces the need to prove your point. "That's how it is", is what every pie chart and every column says - thus deflecting any questioning. Should a question still dare to raise its head, it is checked by yet more charts. Climate change displays, immigration infographics and economics columns allow us to see, rather than understand. That's how things are. Full stop. End of discussion. Resistance is futile. They mask reasons, abstract from human culpability and responsibility - and produce, depending on the temperament of the recipient, blind rage or pure indifference. A zero-sum game of slavery to practical constraint and entertainment. No words of common sense can offer a counterargument against wedges of pie. You just take them or leave them.
There is only one antidote to the superficiality of PowerPoint - real speeches, rather than "presentations". A presentation merely presents, in effect saying "this is how it is". A speech makes you consider the question and ask yourself "what do I think of that?" Thoughts aren't "presentable". They aren't real, they stir up reality. So the question is whether we should swallow the pie wedges or spit them out.