Denny Renken sent the following letter (response sent from redirected to Web page).

The overhead projector should be banned, and so should the "slide."

I have been in the Army for 25 years, and much of the time has been spent doing planning and support to operations (that is another story). We gradually shifted from "butcher paper" (flip charts) for key points to overhead projectors with grease pencils or alcohol pens and finally to what we have today, which is mega-overhead projector shows with slides made on Hahvahd Graphics or PowerPoint.

The Command and General Staff College teaches a course on MAKING GOOD POWERPOINT GRAPHICS (use 20 pitch Times Roman, upper and lower case only, put a goofy clip art thing in the corner, etc.) for crying out loud. Command and General Staff College! The place Marshall, Bradley, Eisenhower, etc., learned about the Art of War from Fox Conner (but that's another story).

Well, today we have a smaller (less capable - but that is another story) military that is full of trained staff officers who MAKE OVERHEAD SLIDES for everything. And go to briefings and meetings where they show them to each other. Slide shows are our way of talking at each other nowadays. It is pervasive, it is boring, and it is stupid. And I am not sure how it is going to help us when the North Koreans charge into South Korea, or the Iraqis go into Kuwait, or the Germans go into the Czech Republic/Sudentenland, or whatever happens next (but that is another story).

So I guess I agree with the part of your rant about teaching that deals with the expert and the overhead projector, and find the rest of it interesting too.


Denny Renken

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