Dilbert ZoneHere is a great article from the 9 March 2006 edition of New York Times. Once you have read it you may want to visit officepirates.com. Just in case you were wondering…I don’t think this is just for men. Office Pirates is a great place for anyone who has ever been stuck in the corporate ‘hamster wheel’.
Yes, an Escape From Stifling Cubicles and a Clueless Boss
By Virginia Haffernan
Published: March 9, 2006
The fact that America’s baby Einsteins cruise through superenriched childhoods and rockin’ luxury college years only to land in the stifling taupe of office cubicles in the prime of their lives is the master joke at the center of Office Pirates,

a new entertainment emporium for men. Office Pirates, a Time Inc. Web site that first appeared on Feb. 22, is the cherished venture of Mark Golin, lad leader and former editor of Maxim and Details. Mr. Golin’s boisterous sensibility is expected to attract ads for cars, liquor, food and girls. Or not girls, because you can’t buy girls, but definitely the others.
Structurally, Office Pirates (at officepirates.com) is a trading post for online ephemera including video, photographs, jokes, blogs and forwardable stuff likeposters and greeting cards that can only be called novelty items. The best of it hits just right, and the worst of isn’t embarrassing. Somehow Mr. Golin really has managed to tap the vein of workday humor and even poignancy that makes “The Office” (BBC) so great and “The Office” (NBC) so not bad. There is a volatile mix of fractured ambition, lust and rage that suffuses many offices that are staffed with men and women 21 to 34 the express demo for Office Pirates and that emotional state needs as many poets as it can get.
Among the first surprises of Office Pirates is that it’s not especially raunchy. Profanity is minimal. It does get gross sometimes. The controlling sentiment is that office jobs are uniquely petty and unfulfilling, and that office workers their hearts and minds suffocated by underemployment will express themselves somehow: by mutilating themselves with office supplies, having sex on copiers, sobbing in the bathroom, opening fire or (above all) ginning up samizdat video and blogs.
A popular video called “Leland Wire” introduces Eric, a disturbed wire-company employee who can’t stand his elderly boss’s incompetence with e-mail. (“He wrote the entire message in the subject line.”) Eric reminiscences about college, where he got drunk, had sex and was called E-Rock. Now he plots his boss’s murder. A written teaser for the video asks: “Are you sometimes ‘frustrated’ on the job? Is your boss ‘clueless’? Do you keep a ‘sidearm’ in your desk drawer?”
In “Bloody Supplies,” a photo essay, imagesof blood-dipped objects appear with warnings: “Scissors are no substitute for toilet paper,” and “Staple removers cannot remove contact lenses.” It’s gross-out humor, but it’s also a clear cry for help: a plea that office life, with its relentless sensory deprivation, be made visceral. If “Bloody Supplies” makes you wince by bringing images of gore to mind, that may be the first clear sign that the site is working.
Many of the Office Pirates gags, however, are not physical. Understated one-liners, in the Jack Handey mode, pervade the site. The best photo essay here is called “Office Romance,” and it’s only four frames. The pictures show two wrinkled old people, in blue bathing suits, at the beach. It might be an ad for a retirement getaway, or Levitra. Here are the four captions:
“Remember, Helen, when they told us office romances never work. And it would just make things weird?”
“No, Ollie. I don’t.”
“See, that’s part of the problem. Goodbye Helen. The ocean is now your home.”
That evocation of airy 20-something relationship analysis “make things weird,” “that’s part of the problem” collides with that tragic, wistful, ludicrous line, “the ocean is now your home,” at just the right moment. Intense office relationships, like that of Dawn and Tim in the BBC “Office,” are simultaneously overblown and underrealized. Where do they belong in a life story?
Another photo essay is introduced with the line: “What a nice day for a hike! What could possibly go wrong …?” The caption to a picture of an Alpinescene after rain supplies an answer: “A rainbow might rape you. And no one will believe your story, because it’ll be the rainbow’s word against yours.”
A section called “Hate Nook” lets users contribute rants about what in the life of Joe Consumer infuriates them. One guy doesn’t like sports drinks that come in enigmatic flavors like Cool Blue and Riptide Rush. He wants the name to convey something he can taste. Another contributor hates food-delivery people who don’t have change; he describes staring downa guy who brought Chinese food recently, trying to humiliate him. That second one brought to the surface a nasty class-obsessed streak on Office Pirates; the meanness might have come as a surprise except that plainly the office schlubs for whom this siteis intended have class anxiety on top of their other problems. What else can explain a noxious and condescending blog called “The 5 Types of Janitors”?
Only one video here the funny but unresolved “Girls in Bras” really gets into pinup territory, but pornography is broadly alluded to, and certainly the site recognizes that by encouraging employees to shirk and by publishing potentially controversial stuff about sex and death, it comes across at least as anti-corporate. This is an interesting and not altogether persuasive direction for Time Inc., which appears to have turned its midtown Manhattan headquarters into a movie set for at least some of the videos on Office Pirates.
A paean to making crystal meth appears on the site; it seems to be a tribute to Americans who concoct dangerous stuff and get away with it.
“Making crank,” one blog says, “is an exercise in good, old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity.”
As long as you have tons of pseudoephedrine, “the rest of the ingredients can be improvised,” it goes on.”You can use paprika, textbooks, ointment, buffalo wings, Rush CD’s or anything else you happen to have handy. All you really need is plenty of imagination, lots of tubing and a certain level of comfort with the thought that at any moment your face could be so badly burned in a chemical fire that any attempt to smile would cause Civil War army surgeons to vomit uncontrollably.”
Civil War army surgeons are a nice touch here. A few people at Office Pirates have some good, funny ideas, and they have gotten the attitude right, which is impressive. Let’s hope it doesn’t blow up in their faces.

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